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Interview: Thom Hunter, Author of Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do

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A Christian married father of five who fought, fell and rose again to fight against unwanted same-sex attraction, Thom Hunter encourages others to press on, move beyond excuses, and claim responsibility and power through the Grace of God.  Mr. Hunter truly believes that the church has failed in its responsibility to provide hope and healing for those who struggle with sexual brokenness. A former deacon and elder who experienced the pain of church discipline and removal, Mr. Hunter knows first hand, for which he speaks.

A former newspaper and magazine editor, journalism professor and speech-writer, Thom Hunter spent 20 years with AT&T as a public relations executive and chief of staff. Mr. Hunter now writes and speaks full-time of things that he feels passionate about.

Readers can learn more about Thom Hunter and his works by visiting his website, blog, facebook and twitter.

Please tell us a bit about your book and what you hope readers will take away from reading it.

Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do examines the roots and the roadblocks of sexual brokenness – unwanted same-sex attraction, pornography addiction, adultery, idolatry and emotional dependence — and provides understanding, encouragement, hope and help through Biblical truth and Christian compassion for the freedom-seeker and those who travel alongside.

The book recognizes the struggles Christians have with sexual issues and the irony that faith can actually worsen the struggles as Christian work to hide them. My hope is Christians will understand sexual sin is no greater than other sins and that the shame and guilt they bear and the judgment and condemnation they usually receive or inflict are all contrary to God’s intent. Accepting forgiveness, grace and mercy is the first step to overcoming.

Who/what inspires you the most within your book?

Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do is definitely non-fiction. The book inspires because it is a truthful testament to survival for those who may see themselves as being in a situation beyond hope.

Most inspiring are the expressed thoughts and hopes of the people in the book who do not abandon the sexually-broken, but instead walk with them in truth, with compassion and consistent encouragement. That takes a lot of forgiveness. The courage of my wife is very inspiring, as this has been a very bumpy road at great personal cost to her.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?

Beware the gospel of guilt: From him who fails much, much failure is expected. Sometimes letting go means prying out of your mind the memories that haunt you in your solitude. Rejections you felt long ago but put on a permanent re-wind in your mind. Abuse that clutters your heart and makes it hold back when you want to release it to love. Confusion that crowds in and chases clarity away, making you feel uncertain and unworthy of being redeemed. Guilt that grows stronger, fed by shame that you shine like a precious trophy on your mantle of self-destruction, gleaming from the polish of self-hatred.

If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?

Surviving Sexual Brokenness would be tough to make into a movie. However, my other current project, The Weight of Who I Am, is more autobiographical and follows the path into and out of brokenness. I can see Leonardo DiCaprio as me because he displays mental anguish well and has stamina for long personal journeys. I would like to see Sandra Bullock play Lisa, my wife. She exhibits the inner strength and determination that is necessary to stand by someone who is clearly on the wrong path but working hard to find the way out.

What are your favorite aspects of writing?

I enjoy the freedom to be transparent and to share a personal perspective on issues that affect so many people, but are rarely discussed. Writing gives a freedom that conversation can’t, but it also inflicts a certain amount of discipline. I like competing for the fleeting time people have today to spend in self-exploration.

Your least favorite aspects of writing?

Deadlines. I like to work on several projects at a time and that becomes very hard when deadlines require finishing one when the interest is high on the other. But . . . deadlines do drive me to completion, so perhaps I should be more thankful for them.

Who are some of your favorite authors/books?

Francis Chan – Crazy Love
Mark Batterson – In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity
Max Lucado – Fearless
Ray Bradbury – Something Wicked This Way Comes

What are you reading right now?

The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist, by Craig Groeschell

If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors – dead or alive – who would they be and what would you serve them?

Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, John Piper, Ayn Rand, Harper Lee

Barbecue ribs, corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, fried okra, watermelon

What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?

Something Wicked this Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury.

I would like to have written this book for many reasons, including the time-period of the early 60’s, the use of the carnival and Mr. Dark as pivotal stand-ins for the conflict between good and evil and because of the haunting quality of the story-telling, which makes it unforgettable. Fictional accounts of the transition from childhood to adulthood can fall flat. This one does not. Bradbury was an excellent storyteller.

What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?

The true aim of life should be not to exceed others, but to be always exceeding oneself. For such ambition leave you free from the bitterness of jealousy and envy and neither wishes nor works harm to any, permitting you to rejoice as much in the success of others as in your own.

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