Author Tim Kurek (Photo Credit: TimKurek.com)
Christian author Tim Kurek sparked intrigue in the summer of 2012 when he announced his first book project, "Jesus in Drag." Recognizing that the title was a bit too inflammatory, he inevitably changed it to, "The Cross in the Closet" and released the literary work this fall.
The story told within its pages details his very personal journey after willingly giving himself the "gay" label for a year, telling every person close to him that he had same-sex attraction (he's actually straight). TheBlaze interviewed Kurek to learn more about his fascinating social experiment -- one that has profoundly changed his life.
Growing up in a household that had an overwhelming negative view of homosexuality, Kurek said that he saw the gay community as the “worst of what sin had to offer.” However, years later, finding himself emotionally impacted by a gay friend's story, he decided to do the unthinkable.
Kurek pretended that he was gay and then observed societal reactions over the course of a year. The experiment was so personally profound that he subsequently decided to write about his experiences in an effort to show others how being labeled a homosexual impacts many facets of a person's life.
"The project's not about being gay. I'm not gay," Kurek told TheBlaze. "I could never do that and experience that -- but I could see the externals of the labels."
(Photo Credit: TimKurek.com)
Participating in this project was a monumental task. Not only did the author have to figure out the best way to "come out" to family members, but he also needed to convince everyone in his life that he was gay. Additionally, he had to balance this quest with assuring that he didn't hurt anyone in the LGBTQ community.
To keep order, while also convincing those around him of his faux-sexuality, Kurek brought three key individuals into the loop. His best friend, Josh, was able to connect to his family and report back regarding how they were handling his newfound "coming out" behind his back. Then, his mother's best friend was cued in so that, in the event that his mom couldn't handle his sexuality, the friend could act as a "kill switch."
And finally, the author convinced an acquaintance to pose as his boyfriend throughout the process, as he didn't want to allow anyone to legitimately develop feelings for him (he told the individual about his plans). The entire process was intense, as Kurek followed it through in literally every aspect of his life.
"I remember when I came out to my brother and his wife...I was so unnerved by the entire experience of it that I excused myself and went out to their back deck," he told TheBlaze. "It was so emotionally unnerving to go into this experience and to cross that point of no return -- but it was a necessary thing to do."
Kurek discussed "The Cross in the Closet" on ABC's "The View" back in October:
Some would naturally question why Kurek felt the need to take the experiment so far. He claims that he was compelled to understand what being labeled "gay" does to an individual. Since he was already limited in his understanding due to his heterosexuality, he felt that he needed to delve deeply into this scenario in order to get as close as possible to a realistic experience.
The experiment, which he conducted throughout 2009, has long been concluded, but its impact has forever changed him. Despite his strict upbringing and his past views on the purported evils of homosexuality, he now considers himself an ally of the gay community and his opinions about homosexuality and sin have evolved as well.
"I don't believe that being gay is a sin. I don't believe that acting on being gay is a sin," Kurek said. "I believe that sexuality is kind of like a weapon. You can use it for good or use it for bad."
Prior to completing the task, Kurek had no idea just how closely he would connect with the gay community, as he had never spent a substantial amount of time with gays and lesbians. This, too, has changed; Kurek maintains friendships with some of the people he met during the process.
"There's so much pain and such a struggle going on in that community in terms of religion, in terms of politics," Kurek told TheBlaze.
Many Christians, of course, would reject these sentiments, dismissing the author's views as too liberal or Biblically unsound. But Kurek noted that he has read the holy book "at least a dozen times" and that his library is filled with books about apologetics and with commentaries.
"I know what peoples' criticisms of me are. I know that I make some statements that aren't kosher," he added.
Contrary to what many might assume, Kurek described himself as "very conservative" in the personal standards he has for his own life. As for sex, he plans to wait until marriage to partake. While he has a progressive strain on some issues, he applies the Bible very literally to his life.
Following his experiment, some of his closest family members have actually joined him in becoming allies. His brother and sister-in-law, while "still very conservative in their politics and in their faith" have had their eyes opened as a result, he contended.
"The people who were in my life during the experiment -- I didn't have a single negative reaction...about the experiment or about the fact that I had lied," the author told TheBlaze.
Based on his account, the experience as well as the subsequent book project helped Kurek to see people for who they are rather than identifying them by their labels. Instead is differentiating individuals by categories such as atheists, gays, Republicans and similar groups, he encouraged Americans to "look at people as people."
Interestingly, Kurek was also very accommodating to those with whom he disagrees. In fact, he defended peoples' rights to believe that homosexuality is, in fact, sinful. While he made this point, he also noted that he doesn't want those individuals who embrace such a notion to "be a jerk about it." He also warned his fellow Christians to beware -- that there may be a time when they find themselves relating all-too-well to the gay community.
"There may come a time when Christians have their rights taken away from them," he noted. "And they will realize how much it sucks."
You can read more about Kurek on his web site.