dying to be straight by Michael Beckford
With the recent legislation regarding gay marriage, the issue of homosexuality is a hot topic at this present time. The right to marry, have a family, and live a normal, productive life is central to the declaration given by those who share their lives with a same sex partner. But what if you wanted to be heterosexual? What would be the outcome if you had faith that God would answer your prayers? In dying to be straight, Michael Beckford presents a compelling story that exposes one man’s struggle to change his sexuality and the faith that allows him to proclaim that “…no homosexuality has any power over [him] in the name of Jesus Christ” (Beckford 171).
Paul Stringer lives an alternative lifestyle. By seventh grade, “…the ways of homosexuality were placing [him] in a state of unfamiliar metamorphosis,” (35). He changed the way he walked, the way he talked, even the way he dressed! By college, he decided to practice bisexuality where he would “…have flings with the girls in the morning and sneak out with the guys at night” (79). It isn’t until he becomes the father of a son and faces serious health issues that Paul decides to seek God to change his sexual preference.
Paul’s desire to become heterosexual, even though the “…same people who were casting [him] down as a sinner going to hell were also fornicating behind the bleachers” (42), may seem odd at first. Most times, a person either never thinks about their sexual orientation or thinks about it as a source of pride. But Michael’s first-person writing style allows the reader an intimate look into the mind of a man who lives a reality many may never experience – the yearning to change one’s attraction to the same sex! It is this yearning which leads Paul to seek freedom from his desire for men through religion - a controversial and challenging thought for some, as we hear of churches who claim to “cure” homosexuality. But Michael manages to transmit this message in a persuasive manner, making the reader consider that through faith and a belief in a power greater than us, real and miraculous change can manifest!
Paul’s every moment – from the horrific to the light-hearted - is presented in a straight-forward, no chaser manner, as Michael challenges the reader to discard preconceived notions of who deserves to be loved and who does not! 1 John 4:8 states that “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. “ To me, dying to be straight promotes that very message, because if God is love, then “…love has no boundaries; it transcends past race, gender, and even sexual preference” (72). Thus, let us all live in…