Timothy Kurek was a self-described homophobic.
Growing up and attending his Nashville Christian church, he was taught the lesson of God’s wrath in the Biblical story of “Sodom and Gomorrah,” and he believed that homosexuality was a sin.
“You learned to be very afraid of God,” said Kurek.
But that all changed when, four years ago, a lesbian he knew from karaoke night confided to him that her parents had disowned her when she came out. Kurek felt that he failed her.
“I feel God really kicked me in the gut,” he said. “She was crying in my arms and instead of being there for her, I was thinking about all the arguments to convert her.”
From there, Kurek decided he needed to change his thought process regarding homosexuality and embarked upon a year-long mission he called “spiritual espionage”, and he decided to live as a gay man for a year.
“It finally clicked,” he said. “I needed to empathize and understand.”
And that he did, hanging out at gay bar and parties and documenting the journey.
While it may be easy to attack him for living a lie for a year– he did it with the good of a greater cause firmly in mind.
By documenting his journey’s in his self-published memoir, “The Cross in the Closet.”, Kurek hopes to change minds within the Christian community and to bridge the divide in the debate over gay rights.
He chose today (Oct.11), which is National Coming Out Day, to launch book sales and has pledged to give all proceeds to a charity that helps LGBT youth who are homeless.
And he openly admits that his less-than-authentic journey cannot match that of an out and proud gay man.
“I will be the first one to say that my experience is severely limited,” he told MSNBC. “There is no way I could possibly understand what it’s like to be actually gay.
“And the book itself is not at all about what it is like to be gay, but only about how the label of gay impacted my external life and how those things kind of altered my faith and challenged my beliefs.”