I picked up, The Edge of Grace, while at the ACFW conference this year. Christa won my heart over when she wrote Walking on Broken Glass. I knew then she was going to be one of those stand out authors and a favorite of mine. Her first novel dealt with alcoholism and her newest, well, some would say it faces the gay issue, but for me, it was more of the grace issue.
Whatever the issue we are facing it all comes down to grace. God's grace. That same grace I ask for, I too, should be willing to give to others. With that being said, this wasn't a great read for me. I wanted to love it. I love Christa! As far as talking about grace, she nailed it. Made me look at myself and ask, "Do I really give grace?" There were many pages that just didn't settle well with me. During one part the main character is explaining to her son that love is love. Sometimes girls love girls and sometimes boys love boys. As a Christian, I struggled with this. I would have loved to see the main character give grace, but stand in faith. Easier said than done? I am not so sure. I haven't been faced with this issue.
See, in the book the main character loses her husband at a young age and is now raising her son as a single mom. Life is tough already, but now her brother has called her up and said the words, "I'm gay." Throughout the book we see her love him. We see her question her brother and their relationship. I think it is more a question of, "Who is this person I thought he was?" Is the issue more about him or her? I think for all of us, it's really about us and how we handle it.
I always taught my children we how the power to show people to Christ or to turn them away. We love the sinner and hate the sin. For me, being gay is another sin we struggle with. It doesn't mean we turn away from one we love, but it doesn't mean we accept the sin in our lives. We love and allow God to do the rest. We are not to judge.
I am just not sure where this book leaves me or if I have even given you a good review. I feel the Christian faith is on issue here more than anything. I had to ask myself, "Yes, I give grace, but to what extent?" Can you be a gay Christian? Well, can you be a gossipy Christian? Sin is sin and for me, I can walk away from this book with a greater understanding of giving grace.
I can tell you I would have liked to see more faith in this book. I can tell you I wish the main character would have shared with her son that being gay is a sin. I feel in this book it was being said that it is acceptable. Sin is never acceptable.
I admire Christa for being transparent and standing outside the circle to share from her heart, bringing us a book that will question the way we walk in faith.
You can find this book published by Abingdon Press.
Christa Allen does a great job at drawing a reader in to someone else's world. I couldn't tell you how many times I paused to think about the main character's internal thoughts while reading this book. I really felt bad for her being widowed so young, and being a single mom of a son, and then feeling like she'd lost her brother, when in reality she hadn't. She just lost her image of him and had to reframe everything she'd believed about him.
I loved how the character questioning her assumptions made me think about my own. Especially when it comes to stereotypes. That Lady Gaga reference even made me laugh out loud while I was reading. The weird thing is that this story hit a bit close to home for me because right after my kids went to college last year (like literally the first month they were there) some guys were beaten up pretty badly and two were put in the hospital just because they were gay. The attackers knew this because they caught them leaving a "coming out" type party. That was scary for me because it happened where my kids went to school, and in a pretty "liberal" college town. It can happen anywhere. Hate crimes still happen and they are always wrong. Just like rape is always wrong. Great points there.
Also good points about how knowing something about someone shouldn't make you love them any less. Granted, no one wants to think about what people do privately, but it's true that one of the first things people think about is sex. But we don't think that about other people when we first meet them, right? Good thoughts. Also good ones regarding judging. Only God knows the persons heart and where they really stand with him. It's not our job to decide who He accepts and who he isn't. I still don't know how I feel about the whole faith thing in regards to sexual relationships, but I am sure many Christians sin in the area in heterosexual relationships, too. Does that mean they won't go to heaven either? I guess that depends on your faith slant. I lean more towards grace and that God is greater than any sin we can commit. He can handle us. Truly. Nothing we can do is new under the sun, right?
Anyway, all in all this was a brave story and well-told. I applaud the author's courage. I like books that make me think and especially make think more about my faith and how I treat people. This book does exactly that. This is one story that needed to be told and she was the perfect person to tell it.
I was very disappointed with this novel. It was more about "accepting" the sin of homosexuality than it was about loving the person while still holding true to Gods word on this subject. I was raised to believe that you love the person but take a stand against the sin. This novel showed Caryn compromise her convictions and accept the sin as normal. It also promoted lesbian / gay websites at the end. I am against so called "gay christians". It is an oxymoron.
Caryn Becker has a busy life. Following the sudden death of her husband, she has to balance being a single mother to her son Ben with running her own catering business on a daily basis. Then one day she gets a call from her brother David, telling her he is gay. Caryn already has a hard time accepting this announcement, but then comes the even more disturbing news that David is the victim of a hate crime. Now Caryn will need to do some deep soul-searching in order to reconnect with the ones she loves.
This is the second book I have read by Christa Allan, and I was not nearly as impressed as I was with Walking On Broken Glass. For one, the plot was not quite my cup of tea. I felt incredibly trapped in Caryn's unforgiving, small head. She seemed very out of place in today's tolerant world, but I am sure there are still many people out there who struggle the same as Caryn does. Still, I think I would have enjoyed seeing the point of view from others, like her friend Julie, or even David. And I liked Ben, who performed like a true little kid would speak and act. This book carried the same easy and powerful writing style that I came to love from Walking On Broken Glass. Allan's dialog really packs a punch when conveying the conflicting emotions of her characters. I will definitely pick up Allan's next book, but I am hoping for a tough issue that's more relevant to today's lifestyle.
Already trying to juggle being a single parent with paying the bills and building up her catering business, Caryn Becker's world is further sent off-kilter after her brother David phones to tell her he is gay. Not knowing how to cope with this news, Caryn chooses to avoid her brother and the close relationship they once had. A sudden phone call reporting her brother was the victim of a hate crime and severely injured propels her back into his life, and forces her to confront her own beliefs and make some difficult choices.
Christa Allen has created a novel that will leave you thinking for days afterwards. Her characters are interesting and realistic, and put a human face on an issue that many are struggling with in the church today - can you be gay and be a Christian? The first few chapters immediately gripped my interest with the drama that was unfolding. Unfortunately, I found the middle of the book to be somewhat slow and plodding, and it wasn't until her brother was attacked that I found the story picked up again in pace, and then held my interest until the end.
Christian readers will appreciate Allen's sensitive handling of the subject matter, and consider for themselves the balance between love and grace and God's truth. Regardless of one's view of homosexuality, this novel is a recommended read to spark thoughtful discussion as we consider our own response to those who identify as David does. A solid recommendation of 4 out of 5 stars.
This review is based on an electronic copy provided by the publisher via netgalley for the purpose of completing this review.