Singer and songwriter Rory Feek is about to release his new book Once Upon a Farm. But don't expect to find the book in your Christian bookstore. Though Rory is a Christian musician and writer, in his new book, he writes about the fact that one of his daughters, Hopie, is a lesbian.
Hopie and her older sister, Heidi, were Feek's children from a previous marriage, but Joey raised them as her own when she married their father. (The couple also had a daughter of their own, Indiana, in 2014).
In the third chapter of the new book, Rory recounts the moment his daughter breaks the news of her lesbianism to him. He writes, " And so Hopie kept the truth to herself, just like she always had. Sometime during that time at the kitchen table, she told me about how she and Wendy had met and how there had been other girls. Other relation- ships. But she never told Joey and me. Instead, she went along with us rooting for her to marry our friend's older brother or date some guy that she and we knew wasn't right for her, for different reasons."
The news came as a surprise to Rory. "I can honestly say that in all those years before this, it had never occurred to us. To Joey and me. Not really. That doesn't mean we didn't think about all the possibilities of why Hopie was so awkward around boys when she was younger and was awkward still even in her twenties. But we never seriously gave it a moment of thought. We just kept praying that God would send her the right man, someone who would treat her well and love her for who she is.
And He did. Only it wasn't a man. It's Wendy."
Rory admits that he has to "rethink everything I've ever thought when it comes to some things" because of Hopie, he admits, but he's come to the realization that "my job is to love her. She gets to make her decisions in life. All of them. I can approve or disapprove, but it's her life, and she has a right to live it as she chooses."
In fact, Hopie's wedding is slated for sometime around this coming Halloween, and it will take place on the family farm where Joey is buried. "And I'm going to be excited about it," he says. "It will be a special day for someone who is special to me and her someone special. That is all I need to know."
Nevertheless, Christian bookstores will not be selling the book. Rory explains, "In a different chapter of the new book, I share the story of how my oldest daughter Heidi says she's an atheist and has no interest in organized religion," he shares. "For some reason, they are fine with that. But the chapter about how my middle daughter Hopie says she's a Christian, but disagrees with some church doctrine, is somehow unacceptable. That seems so strange to me."
"I get it though, this is tough stuff... because they have their beliefs and want to stand by them. And I want to honor that," he adds. "But honestly, what is it that they would prefer I do? Shun my daughter? Or not share something that we as a family are going through, just because it's challenging and divisive?"