Skip to main content


Faraway: A Suburban Boy’s Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer

We grimace at the sight of Louis CK’s recent comedic interaction with child molestation on SNL because know deep down inside that this is nothing to laugh about.  In a new book by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer tell the story of Kevin’s journey through adolescence, trying to find out his orientation as a gay teen living in St. Louis.  He met a man who he thought he could trust, but things turned out to be a nightmare.  Instead of guiding him in the right path, Ray pushed him into a life of sex trafficking, whereby he sent young Kevin to homes in St. Louis to meet with older men.  The story is a sad tale of the kind of thing that can happen right under our noses if we aren’t careful to become aware of such things.

The thing that is striking in the book is how Kevin befriends Stevie and Squirrel and he sees how a friendship should work, even in the hellish circumstances they were in.  The authors write, “I realize now, of course, that the day I had just experienced should not be a day experienced by any kid.  There was nothing normal about it.  But, for some reason, I felt at home with Stevie and Squirrel (43).”  Stevie didn’t have a home but stayed at Sam on many days, and Squirrel was also all around the town.  These three shared times at Forest Park, at the zoo, even at the Muny as a way to stick together.  And yet, they also shared each other.  The thing that struck was that Kevin felt a tinge a guilt about his actions, even remembering in church the lector quoting Romans 1 about unnatural and natural relations, but not enough guilt to make him stop.

The disgusting nature of the events in Kevin’s life come to the forefront as he is forced within an inch of his life to have sex with a boy while being filmed.  The abuser told Ray that he could use the boy again next time, a word that is appropriate for such repulsive activities.  Yet, this is not the end of Kevin’s story, for as he tells in the chapter on hope, he became an ELCA minister, eventually dealing with his own past through psychiatry in Hawaii.  Kevin puts the blame for his past on every institution that sought to denounce and ridicule gay teens, from the church to the schools and families. 

Thanks to Two Harbors and Speak Easy for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Popular posts from this blog

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

The Paraclete Poetry Anthology, Edited by Mark S. Burrows

Bringing words to life on a page is hard work, and no work is harder than poetry.  Poets take the visceral, the mundane, and the disjointed and frayed things of life and put them on their head.  This new anthology of poetry put out by Paraclete Press and edited by Mark S. Burrows, takes the best poetry of today and brings together old and new poems from these gifted creators.  You find poems from Scott Cairs, SAID, Phyllis Tickle, and others.  The collection stems the span of 2005-2016 and includes both religious poems and themes, as well as themes covering a broad swath of topics.

One of the beauties of this collection is the array of poems that the anthology includes in its pages.  One poem in particular stuck with me as read through the collection.  Anna Kamienska is a wonderful Polish poet who interacts with the wider lens of faith while looking carefully at the world we live in.  She says in her poem named Gratitude, (44)

A tempest threw a rainbow in my face
so that I wanted to…