The Church of Whosoever: Extra Grace Required by Robert Hill
Followers of my blob will be surprised at this review. It isn’t my normal genre, but as I know the author, I promised to read and review.
The Church of Whosoever: Extra Grace Required follows the intersecting lives of LGBT Christians as they strive to express their faith and cope with the after-effects of their pastor’s heart attack. Among the congregants are a single grandmother, evicted from her home and marginalized by her family, wondering what comes next; a lesbian couple struggling to be good foster parents to a young man who’s discovering his way; an African-American female impersonator returning to COW after a long absence and finding the love of his life; a dual-gendered man, whose son runs away after finding him dressed in women’s clothes, giving these clothes to Goodwill and vowing to play it straight; a nameless chain-smoker lurking in the church’s shadows and imagining the worst; and diverse others – whose stories touch upon the challenges faced by LGBT Christians as they strive to embrace and share God’s love and reconcile themselves to a world that often doesn’t support them – collectively considering how to respond to their long-serving pastor’s imminent retirement.
This book is roughly based on a real church. A church where everyone is welcome regardless of age, gender, race, orientation, or financial circumstance. In other words, whosoever. Whosoever walks through the door is welcome.
For a first novel, the writing is not bad.
The author has stated he feels this is a new genre, LGBT/Christian fiction, which it is not. Many people think that LGBT and Christian are not compatible. I do feel, however, that this genre has a limited audience.
Although the publisher has listed this as a romance, I feel it is more of a drama. There are romantic undertones, but they are not the main focus. The main focus is on a deep faith and fellowship with God and Jesus.
If you are looking for a ‘feel-good’ read that emphasizes a true Christian spirit, you’ll like this book.
I’m giving it 4 stars because there are a few problems in editing.
Robert Hill was raised in an Army family, then served 20 years as a U.S. Army officer. After retiring from active duty, he spent a decade working in broadcasting and education and, as fate would have it, returned to the Army as a civilian, writing doctrine and developing curriculum. He’s been a life-long churchgoer, going where the spirit has led. Over the years, he and his family have been members of Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian and Metropolitan Community Church congregations. After spending a year in Afghanistan from 2009-2010, he decided at age 54 to get a tattoo. He chose these words from 1 John 4:18 — There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out all fear. This is his first novel.