from My Recommended Reading List (Part 2 of 12)
One of my goals for this blog in 2013 is to spotlight my “Recommended Reading List”. “Loving Homosexuals As Jesus Would: A Fresh Christian Approach” is the selection for February. To view the complete list of my favorite books on the subject of same-sex attractions, click this link. . . My Recommended Reading List
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t agree with every single idea, concept or thesis discussed in every book on my list. But each selection contributes insight and understanding to the subject.
A quick acknowledgement before we start. Try not to judge this book by its cover. Literally. The term “homosexual” has pretty much fallen out of favor when used in reference to a person. In addition to being obsolete, it is also offensive to many in the LGBT community. In your interactions and communication, use “LGBT” or “gay” instead. For the purposes of his book (published 10 years ago), the author uses the terms “homosexual” and “LGBT” interchangeably.
“Being forced into the closet is not healthy for those who have chosen to embrace their homosexuality, and it’s not healthy for those of us who have chosen to come out of homosexuality . . . I believe that loving gay people requires us to fight for their right to live outside the closet without consequence, whether or not we agree with homosexuality.”
– Loving Homosexuals As Jesus Would: A Fresh Christian Approach, pages 28, 29
It should have taken me 2 – 3 days to read this book. I was not expecting an emotionally and mentally draining exercise that would languish for about a month.
Within me was a very strong identification with (and resurfacing of) the experiences and memories cited by the author and the men he quoted. But I also found myself having an unrelenting need to face myself at the end of nearly every chapter. Prayerful analysis about who I was, my walk with God, my behavior and my motivation. Questioning the quality of my relationships. And how well did I love others and myself?
While some of you are already familiar with Chad Thompson and his book, I am honored to introduce him to many of you for the first time. I am also deeply appreciative that he was willing to answer some questions about his ministry. It has been a blessing to be able to learn from his perspective. He is a great communicator and is humble about how God has been able to use him.
Rather than focusing on the hot button issues in the news headlines, I wanted to ask Chad about his insight and work regarding young people and how Christians must learn to show love in more proactive, practical and demonstrable ways that can be acknowledged and received by others. I also wanted to touch on the personal growth he has experienced since he made the decision to be so transparent with his life more than a decade ago.
Darrell Martin: Chapter 2 of your book is entitled, “Whoever Loves First”. Explain the meaning of this phrase in the context of your message. What do you wish to communicate to your audience?
Chad Thompson: There are many gay youth struggling with unwanted homosexuality. Some of them will seek help from the church; if we are unprepared to understand them and show them genuine love, they will eventually turn to the gay community for support. There is a battle for the souls of those who struggle with sexual identity issues, and whoever loves them first wins.
Darrell: You’ve stated that a lot of Christians perceive any demonstration of grace (kindness, empathy, love) toward LGBT people as an implicit endorsement of homosexuality. Please explain this observation further. How can we reorient our assumptions and perspective?
Chad: I heard a Christian mother in an interview after attending a Christian conference on homosexuality. She told the reporter “I am so relieved, I feel like I have finally been given permission to love my gay son.” I wondered what ever made her think she couldn’t. We often hear the phrase “hate the sin love the sinner”, but I think sometimes the wires get crossed and we end up hating them both. We feel guilty if we show genuine love to someone who is gay. We feel like it is our “Christian duty” to tell them that homosexuality is a sin, even though they’ve already heard it a thousand times. We feel like it is our job to convict, convince, and condemn the gay person. We want to convict their heart, convince their mind, and condemn their behavior; but this is not our job. Our job is to show love.
Darrell: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Confusion, distrust, misinformation and fear in media, politics, religion, education and entertainment. On all sides of every issue. How can a questioning young person find his way through the maze?
Chad: When a student questioning his or her sexuality approaches their school guidance counselor for help, they are typically thrust into the school’s social welfare mechanism: the Gay/Straight Alliance. This is a group of gay and straight teenagers who meet to provide emotional support for gay youth. Sounds like a very humanitarian idea, however the groups tend to affirm the gay identity and give no credence to the idea that change is possible. Why can’t there be Christian groups on campus that provide the emotional support without the propagandizing? It doesn’t help that those who have homosexual orientations, yet have made the decision not to embrace the gay identity, are often ridiculed in movies and on TV.
Darrell: What challenges lie ahead for Christians in reaching the current (and next) generation of teens and young adults? Anything new or different?
Chad: The entirety of chapter four in my book is dedicated to the momentum and direction of gay activism in the schools. I wrote the book in 2003 and now, a decade later, just about everything has unfolded as I predicted it would.
Darrell: It has been almost 10 years since your book was published. What has your life been like since then? What is your understanding now of your sexuality? What has been the most surprising reaction or lesson you’ve experienced in the past decade?
Chad: Like any person who grows and changes with time and experience, some of my opinions have changed. But my resolve is stronger than ever to remain celibate until heterosexual marriage. I believe that God changes people. I believe this because love changes people; and God is love.
Darrell: Thank you Chad for taking time out of your busy schedule to field my questions and answering them so thoroughly. Your compassion and willingness to share through your book and ministry give me and others hope. And thank you for helping Christians connect with others through radical respect, love and humility. May God’s grace and strength continue to be with you.
For more information about Chad’s ministry or to purchase his book, click this link. . .
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2013.
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