Out of Focus (Paper)

My Story of Sexuality, Shame, and Toxic Evangelicalism

  • 9780664267957
  • 5.5 x 8.5
  • 266
  • 75.00
  • Paper
  • 0664267955
  • 10/23/2023
  • 7-10 days processing
$ 19.00


A 2023 Indies Award Finalist

A blend of heart-wrenching memoir and astute cultural analysis, Out of Focus will help heal individuals harmed by evangelicalism’s toxic influence and inspire Christian communities to pursue a path of love and inclusion.

When a mass shooter killed five people in an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, grieving people graffitied James Dobson’s Focus on the Family headquarters with the words “Their blood is on your hands.” Such an accusation against evangelicalism comes as no surprise to Amber Cantorna-Wylde, whose father is a Focus on the Family executive and cast Amber out of her family when she came out in 2012.

From severed family ties to hate crimes, such enmity is the fruit of a religious movement that considers it more faithful to reject your child or even to kill than to accept and love LGBTQ+ people. Evangelical organizations like Dobson’s, along with pastors like Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, and Robert Jeffress, built an empire out of their conservative Christian beliefs and convinced millions of Americans that sexual purity, patriarchal families, and militaristic nationalism were God’s priority. Cantorna-Wylde shows readers how the political and personal intertwine to cause shame and suffering that Jesus would never desire, including the long-term effects of identity-repression, trauma, and family estrangement.

Product Excerpts and Related Resources


"Amber’s power and presence as a storyteller have never been more electric—or more necessary. Her deft hand and compassionate voice help create the breathing space we need in a world that favors extremes over nuance and winning over community. Amber has a hard story to tell, but the journey leads her—and us—to a joyful and thriving existence every person deserves to experience." —Flamy Grant, award-winning drag queen singer/songwriter

"In Out of Focus, Amber shares her incredible story through the epicenter of toxic, anti-LGBTQIA+ evangelicalism to an affirming, holistic spirituality with profound authenticity and bravery. Her insights are captivating, her wisdom is deep, and her message is one that will continue to bring healing and hope to countless queer people who are seeking a life-giving faith. Every queer Christian and ally should read this book!" —Brandan Robertson, pastor and author of Filled to Be Emptied: The Path to Liberation for Privileged People

"Amber’s story is not uncommon, but it is uncommon to find someone who has the courage to be so open and transparent. Amber’s story offers important lessons and insights for everyone, and for those who have experienced something similar, I believe it will serve as a source of healing."—Liz Dyer, founder, Real Mama Bears

"Out of Focus is a damn powerful read, no matter how you look at it. Amber generously shares many heart-wrenching glimpses into her story—ones that all of us in the LGBTQ+ community of faith deeply resonate with. Her courage to shed light on ideologies and people who continue to do harm to the queer faith community is breathless and a call to action." —Stacey Chomiak, author and illustrator of Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming-of-Age Story

"Reading Amber’s accounts of her first love, coming out to her parents, and her struggle with health issues—no doubt partially caused by the stress of living with rejection—should move one to empathy. But what deeply impresses me about Amber’s story is the important role I think it will play in the rising tide of LGBTQ+ awareness for the world, including, hopefully, the church." —David Hayward, The Naked Pastor, www.nakedpastor.com

You May Also Be Interested In...

Stories of My Life
Words of Love
Getting to the Promised Land
Post-Traumatic Jesus
The Soul of the Family Tree
Second Thoughts about the Second Coming
Not Your White Jesus
Worth Fighting For
The Hero and the Whore
After Evangelicalism
Sign up to learn about new releases and other updates from WJK