Wallace, Brandon. “Straight-Face”, Green Bridge Press, 2014.
Life, Love, Learning
Brandon Wallace was raised in Arkansas, a place where I lived for seven years but unlike Wallace who hid his sexuality, I was openly gay while I lived there and it was a terrible experience. It took a while for me to get out and now I can look back at those painful seven years. As he grew up, Wallace knew that he had been called to the ministry and also that he is/was a gay man. He was afraid that coming out would destroy his chances for serving God and probably make getting a job very difficult so he hid who he was hoping that he would one day find love and acceptance. However, it seems as though God had other plans for him and he was taken on a journey that would allow him to lead a life openly and authentically. With this book, we join him on that journey during which he learned to accept himself and his faith. He gives us a story about learning, love and life and his reconciliation with himself.
Wallace does not hold back—he gives us his raw and candid story and in one of the chapters he even writes his exegesis of a biblical verse that really helped him discover and live with who he is. He had to live behind a mask of a straight person that we all know is not easy. There have been so many coming-out and coming to terms with stories that it is rare to find one that has something different to say. Brandon Wallace gives us one of those and it is written with humor as well as serious reflection.
We go past biographical facts and read how he saw the world. We feel the frustration that he felt yet he doesn’t dwell ion it and writes as if we are actually having a chat about who he is.
We now see that many people are coming to terms with the way gay people have been treated throughout time and many evangelists and other church people have had difficulties with LGBT issue but there is change coming and it is coming quickly. Wallace notes this new acceptance and we see by reading him, he is not in the place where he once was. It seems that the days of hiding and wearing the mask are ending. The new Brandon Wallace writes in italics thus making it easy for us to separate the old from the new.
There is a concentration on various periods in time in which Wallace analyzes experiences and shows us how they influenced his life and his dealing with his sexuality. His call to the ministry never ceases and he learns just how to deal with both issues. I do not think that the intent of this book is to write about living and hiding as so many have done and still do but rather about the challenges that are faced by such living. One of the differences here is that this is not about the dismissal of religion but integration into it as a complete person. We see that wearing masks is dangerous and with narratives like this one, we can hope that hiding and masks will soon become part of an ugly past.