Pull Up a Seat at the Table
A Feature Review of
Space at the Table:
Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son
Brad and Drew Harper
Paperback: Zeal Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Tim Otto.
(NOTE: The following outline [A-G] has some mild spoilers. If you wish to avoid them, skip to the first full paragraph.)
If you are evangelical, and married, here is an experiment you can try at home:
A. Make love to your spouse.
B. Give birth to a baby boy.
C. Notice that the boy prefers ballet over baseball. Boys more than girls.
D. When he is age ten go for walks with the boy. Have better theological conversations with the precocious, funny, sensitive boy than you have with most adults. Spend hours consoling him for his rejection by other boys his age.
E. Put the boy in an evangelical school in which baseball for boys, ballet for girls, and rejection by other boys, all get mixed up with God.
F. Wake up in the middle of the night crying. Realize you are crying because you love the boy so much. Spend the rest of the night awake, anxious about the principalities and powers arrayed against him.
G. When the boy is 17, learn that he has discovered sex. Realize that given his sensitivity, he is going to find other beautiful boys like him. Boys who, in some ways, understand his experience better than you. Boys whose caresses will feel like healing for the rejection he has felt. Boys he can hold, boys who will welcome it, boys who will return his affection.
If your results approximate those of father Brad Harper and son Drew, you should write a book (the above is an imaginative remix of the basic setup—that a conservative, evangelical pastor discovers he has a gay son). Space at the Table is a candid, funny, devastating account of the outcome. Brad and Drew take turns telling what happened. A terrific story, it features elements such as divine revelations, a fairy godmother, a recipe on how to cook yourself if you are gay, and a dead person who must ride in the backseat . . . in the middle.
Because it is a true story, you may want to take a couple of heart-hardening pills in advance. That is, unless you think books should saw through your chest bone, rip your ribs apart, and use your heart for a trampoline.