And You Invited Me In

Title: And You Invited Me In
Author: Cheryl Tyler
Publisher: Atria Books, New York
Year: 2008

And You Invited Me In is written by Cheryl Moss Tyler. The book cover tells us Cheryl Tyler holds master’s degrees in special education, and in human development counselling from Vanderbilt University.

This is the first novel reviewed for CreatedGay.Com. While we are not in the habit of reviewing novels, we feel Christian novels have a lot to offer. Pilgrims Progress is a classic Christian novel, which has helped many people in their Christian walk.

There is a gripping quality to this novel. This reviewer is not a fast reader and usually does not read large portions of a book in one sitting. The first day over half of the novel was read.

The title, And You Invited Me In, captures the interest of queer Christians, because many gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have felt invited out by churches. They have been removed from positions of church leadership, or have been kicked out of their churches.

This novel calls Christians to live out their faith in a way that shows love and compassion to gay people. Love and compassion are much more effective at changing hearts and encouraging people to renew their relationship with God than hate and rejection.

There are times when tragedy or crisis forces us to question our theology, our understanding of the Bible, our concept of God, and how we should live out the faith. The question, “What would Jesus do?” echoes in our minds as we try to figure out what to say and do. Abortion, divorce, remarriage, and homosexuality are hot topics that can challenge our understanding of the faith and how to live out the faith.

Alex has AIDS. When his sister Annie learns Alex does not have long to live, her family faces a crisis that challenges them to rethink how to live out the faith. While some church people feel Annie and her family should have nothing to do with Alex, Annie and her family feel compelled to invite Alex and his partner Scott to move in with them. Alex and Scott end up moving to Alex’s homophobic home town. Because Alex moves back to his home community, family and friends are forced to confront more than just their feelings about homosexuality. Alex dies while staying with his sister’s family.

The love Annie and her family show Alex and Scott impacts on Alex and Scott. Unconditional grace wins! Scott reconnects with his Christian faith, and his life starts to change. Many gay men who renew their Christian spirituality are faced with the difficult question of how to reconcile their spirituality and their sexuality. Some gay men who come back to the church struggle as they wrestle with the idea of trying to get married, and live as a straight people. Scott struggles to reconcile his spirituality and sexuality. As the novel ends, we are not sure what Scott will do as he examines his faith and his sexuality. We are left with the challenge to write the unwritten chapters of the rest of Scott’s life.

This book can be used as a tool when discussing how to show God’s love to many people who are often shunned by Christians. The book could make a good gift for family members and friends who are not sure how to respond to loved ones who have come out.