These days homosexual activists and a large segment of the evangelical church are on a collision course. Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends seeks to stave off the damage – perhaps even prevent the crash..
From the outset author/researcher/Professor of Psychology Mark A. Yarhouse lets us know that he favors the church’s traditional stance. He is by no means what he calls an “assertive advocate” – someone who is trying to get the church to change its position on homosexuality. But he does advocate for changes.
With clear logical writing he lays the groundwork for his thesis in the first section of chapters (“The Big Picture”). In the two following sections (“Honest Answers to Questions Facing Families” and “Questions for the Church”) he fleshes out the details, making the case for:
1. The evangelical community to start looking at same-sex attracted individuals as “our people” instead of giving them the message: “God hates you; you need to change” (p. 164).
2. Christian parents, pastors, teachers, and counselors to offer same-sex-attracted individuals an alternate to the “gay script” (which basically says, a same-sex attraction tells you who you really are and you need to explore this identity to be fulfilled as a person, p. 49 ). One way of counteracting this script, Yarhouse suggests, is by thinking about the topic in a new way, carefully separating “same-sex attraction” from a “gay identity.”
3. The evangelical community to shift their focus from trying to figure out why people are gay and how to get them to change, and concentrate instead on what is. Yarhouse says:
“…by focusing so much energy and attention on these two issues, the church has actually provided little by way of instruction or guidance or pastoral care to those Christians who are sexual minorities….