on October 1, 2017
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by Fortress Press
In 2012, at the age of twenty-seven, Amber Cantorna came out to her family as gay. As the daughter of a Focus on the Family executive, that transparency cost her everything.
Refocusing My Family is Amber's journey from the suffocating expectations of Focus on the Family to the liberating joy of claiming her own identity.
A powerful story of survival, Amber's struggle under the weight of perfectionism, reputation, and appearances is transformed into freedom when she boldly steps into her identity and discovers that the true love of God surpasses all.
When I saw the title of this book I laughed and immediately reserved it from the library.
If you grew up in the evangelical church like I did you couldn’t avoid Focus on the Family. They had programs on Christian radio for kids and adults. They had books in church libraries. Pastors used their materials in sermons.
Of course the family that they want you to focus on is a heterosexual and patriarchal one.
The author grew up with Focus on the Family as the family business. She was even the voice of some of the characters in their kids’ radio drama. She was trained to be the perfect Christian woman. It all fell apart when she realized that she was gay. Her family’s response was basically to tell her to knock it off because she was going to make them look bad.
She remains estranged from her family, who still maintain that they are “loving her” by refusing to have contact with her until she leaves her horrible lifestyle and returns to the religion she was raised in. They will be “there for her” whenever she comes to her senses. These are the people who drive gay kids to suicide. I’m reminded of when my uncle came out and my parents said that their pastor told them to keep loving him because eventually he may come back to “a godly lifestyle.” (They have, he hasn’t, and we’re all good!)
She discusses how she found a gay-affirming Christian church where she ultimately met her wife. I think this would be important for gay people who very strongly want to stay in the faith. Personally, I’d say run fast, run far after all that but other people feel differently.