Surviving Sexual Brokenness: An Interview with Thom Hunter

Thom Hunter is a Christian married father of five who fought, fell and rose again to fight against unwanted same-sex attraction. He encourages others to press on, moving beyond excuses, to claim responsibility and power through the Grace of God. Thom believes the church has failed in its responsibility to provide hope and healing for those who struggle with sexual brokenness.

Thom is a former newspaper and magazine editor, journalism professor and speech-writer. He spent 20 years with AT&T as a public relations executive and chief of staff. He now writes and speaks full-time.

Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do is his third and most recent book.

You can visit his website at www.thomhunter.com or his blog at www.signsoffastruggleblog.com. Connect with him on Twitter at http://twitter.com@Thomasthefree and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thom.hunter.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Thom. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do?

I was identified by a teacher in the 7th grade who was the first person to ever use the word “gifted” to refer to me in any way. I hung on to that and have been writing since. I probably wrote well before then, but never allowed anyone to read it. I can not remember when I was not writing. Now I really am one of those writers who must.

My two earlier books were published in the early to mid-90s. I’ve probably always been on a journey toward writing Surviving Sexual Brokenness, as I struggled for many years with sexual addiction and knew many men and women who did as well. I wrote the book after a painful downward spiral as I was confronted by my sexual issues. I wanted to let people know that we can survive these issues; marriages can survive; families can survive. I also became very concerned that cultural trends do not reflective most people’s personal beliefs. I want to be supportive and encouraging to those who are strong enough to stand for what they really believe, even if they are struggling themselves.

Q: I love your title! Can you tell us why you chose it?

I think the title sends a number of messages. For one, most things that are “broken,” can be repaired. Also, most of the struggles that overwhelm us are survivable. However, it’s through grace, both from God and to each other, that we truly find the strength we need to rebuild our lives.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

There’s a void for books that tell the truth about unwanted same-sex attraction, adultery, pornography addiction and other sexual issues that impact Christians as well as non-Christians. For that reason, many Christians who struggle with these issues can find themselves going deep into hiding and experiencing a lot of fear, guilt and shame. I think by sharing the truth about these temptations from a biblical perspective, but with compassion, I can make a difference. I also wanted to issue a challenge to the church to quit abandoning and rejecting members who struggle. If all places, the church should be the first safe place to turn for help. People need to be equipped.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

WestBow Press did a great job designing the cover, setting up a website to complement my blog, creating a targeted e-mail campaign and preparing what I believe is a very effective YouTube trailer.

I’ve promoted primarily through my blog, Signs of a Struggle, and through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. I blog regularly on SBC Voices and some other sites. I recently taped a television appearance on a Lifetime women’s program, “The Balancing Act,” and I am working on a college campus tour in Texas. I need to do more public speaking, but I know it’s a controversial subject, so it takes a while to convince event organizers.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

While I have tried very hard to combine the personal and the practical to come up with a book that is inspirational but very challenging, there are other books that are somewhat similar. For instance, Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faith and Homosexuality.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

I turned to page 115, to a chapter titled “If You’re Going Through Hell, Don’t Stop at the Gift Shop.” Basically, this section talks about how we can get trapped in endless cycles and find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, which becomes a personal hell. The idea is that we need to stop lingering and making the wrong choices and . . . well . . . get the hell out of there.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, I do. I have a book finished, with the working title of “Want Grace with That?” and I have another book well underway. It is more autobiographical and deals with the personal devastation of my struggle and its impact on my wife, children, church and job. It is tentatively titled “The Weight of Who I Am.”

Q: Thank you for your interview, Thom. Do you have any final words?

I just want people to know that they can overcome what seem like insurmountable issues, especially in the area of sexuality. Surviving Sexual Brokenness examines the roots and the roadblocks and provides understanding, encouragement, hope and help for the freedom-seeker and those who care enough to travel alongside.

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