A Story “Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing”
Have you noticed that everyone seems to have written a book lately? It seems to become the thing to do but we forget sometimes that there is a huge difference between writing a book and being author. To write a book today all you need is a story and a working knowledge of the English language and both of these are lacking in Randy Eddy-McCain. We have read his story many times by many different people and setting the story in Arkansas does not make it new. Also there seems to be no editing here.
“One year before the Little Rock Nine bravely endured threats of violence and death to integrate Central High School, Randy Eddy-McCain was born in Arkansas. He grew up in a conservative Assemblies of God church where he fell in love with Jesus as a little boy. As Randy got older, he felt called by God to go into the ministry, but he had what religion taught him was a problem. He was attracted to men, not women”. Does this not sound familiar?
Randy hope to grow out of this “phase” he was in. He begged and prayed to Jesus to help him become straight but, of course, that did not happen. “Without an example of how a gay man could be a Christian, Randy moved back and forth between what seemed like two conflicting worlds. “As a Christian he tried not to be gay, and as a gay man, he tried to ignore how much he still loved Jesus and wanted to minister to people in need. Turmoil turned to peace when Randy was able to embrace both his faith and his sexuality”. He doesn’t tell us how he managed to make peace with himself and his god so I have to wonder why he even bothered to write this book.
We learn that a little over 20 years ago he was in a committed relationship with another man and that we was the openly gay minister of Open Door Community Church and I take that to mean that since he could not find a church to accept so he did the next best thing—he started his own. (Kind of like when we were children, if we did not like the game we were playing, we stopped participating and started our game; one we could win.
“Too many parents have hurt their children when they thought they were being faithful to their God. Too many LGBTQ kids have committed suicide because they were bullied and were taught that their sexuality made them an abomination to God. Too many men and women have left a faith tradition they really love because they were asked to leave until they could “stop” being gay”. The blurb on the book says, “Randy Eddy-McCain’s life story demonstrates that a person’s faith in God can exist without being in conflict with his or her sexuality”. In a way it does just that but he really does not deal with the issues that brought him to that point. Is it that God did not give up on him or is that since he was not comfortable with that god so he looked for one he could find comfort with. (This, in effect, is selling out, is it not). If you not fit one place, make up your own space where you fit). To me it seems like moving from one closet to another.
We have all heard stories about those who are Christians and are able to make peace with that even when told that they do not fit—religion and sexuality are considered opposing ideas—or at least they once were. Times have changed almost everywhere except perhaps in Arkansas. I do not understand why Randy who could not find peace in his home state never thought about moving somewhere where he could be himself.
I found the writing here to be simple and at times almost insulting the reader because of the tone of the writer. It is as if he is talking down to us as he lauds himself as if to say “Look what I was able to do” and maybe if you try you will be able to do the same. After reading this I am sure I do not want to do anything that the writer tells us. We live in a big world where separatism today is no longer a necessity. (And what about that Judy Garland reference in the title?). I must say, however, that the book’s cover is quite interesting.