I may not be the most obvious choice of reviewer to appraise a book which can be categorized as both Christian and LGBTQ, for the two very obvious reasons. Still, R. Mark Vinson chose to send me an ARC of “All Roads” – and I am very glad that he did. It is a delightful book, and one which I felt a great deal happier and lighter afterward for having read. Vinson (I will call him Mark for the purposes of this review), as well as being an eloquent and somewhat elegant writer, comes across as a good, kind person, and there is no other outcome you want or end up foreseeing for him than a happy one.
Taking us back to the turn of the century, Mark shares with us his calling to God, and his happiness at finding a progressive church which welcomes and indeed encourages members of the LGBTQ community to join; Mark himself becomes very actively involved, becoming a deacon and a diplomat for the church. Between them, its founders and members work tirelessly to promote equality and understanding of LGBTQ rights in what is outwardly a pretty conservative, God-fearing small Texas town. In fairness, most people he encounters, even those Republicans in the council and the many other more traditional, perhaps resistant churchgoers, come across as generally quite amenable and respectful, even if they don’t share Mark’s liberal views. Without wishing to spoil any of the book, Mark and his friends remarkably achieve what would have probably been some pretty admirable outcomes for the time, including a Pride parade in their relatively modest town. Most encouraging is the support they gain from perhaps some surprising corners.
This is a very nice book to read. It doesn’t go down the serious path of focusing on hate that it might; I don’t doubt that there were examples of it, but Mark is just a person who chooses to focus on the joy and the hope which goes hand in hand with his Christian ideals. He is clearly a respectful and respectable person who chooses to live his life with a degree of class. The only real adversity in this book comes in the form of its romantic elements, which may include those who aren’t yet ready to come to terms with their sexuality – and even these are handled with sensitivity and good humour. I very much enjoyed Mark’s uplifting memoir, and hope that he continues to write about his journey with the same resolve and cheer – I think he deserves it, in return of for giving the same to his readers.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: r-mark-vinson faith spiritual memoir biography lgbtq