from My Recommended Reading List (Part 9a of 12)
One of my goals for this blog in 2013 is to spotlight my “Recommended Reading List”. “Sexual Identity: A Guide to Living in the Time Between the Times” by Dr. Mark Yarhouse and Dr. Lori Burkett is the selection for September. The link to part 2 of my synopsis of this book is found at the end of this post. To view the complete list of my favorite books on the subject of same-sex attractions, click this link: My List of Recommended Books
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.
“Sexual Identity” is the third title by Dr. Yarhouse to be featured on this blog. It (more than any other on my list) has been most influential in helping me reconcile my sexual identity with my Christian faith.
Why and Who: The Objective and the Target Audience
This book is a resource for Christians who find themselves distressed and, at times, overwhelmed by their struggles with same-sex attraction. It is a book, then, for those who contend with same-sex attraction and want to live faithfully before God in all areas of their lives, including their sexuality and sexual behavior.
This book ultimately intends to support people who continue to suffer with issues concerning their sexual identity. By sexual identity we are referring to a person’s (1) sense of gender as male or female, (2) sexual preference, for example, toward the same- or opposite-sex, and (3) behaviors or intentions in light of their sexual attraction . . . we are not primarily focusing on helping people change their sexual orientation, though sexual orientation or sexual preference is one of the three main things that make up sexual identity. So we do not ignore sexual orientation, but we are not focusing exclusively on changing it either. – pages 3, 4
The goals of this book are to provide support and practical assistance to devout Christians who have attempted to change their sexual orientation but, thus far, have had partial success. – page 7
At the same time, this book is for those who choose not to identify with those [same-sex] attractions, or who have decided that these attractions do not define who they are as a person. – page 12
The goals of this book, then, include increasing your understanding of the things that influence our thoughts and behavior, enhancing competencies, identifying patterns of thinking and behaving, and utilizing various religious resources to help you live your life consistent with your understanding of God’s call on your life. – pages 18, 19
Summary of Content
Each chapter includes practical questions and exercises that engage the reader. In this blog entry (and the next) I will give a synopsis of each chapter.
Chapter 1: Sexual Identity
The first chapter is divided into two parts. After a brief introduction to the book, the authors offer a five-stage model of sexual identity development and synthesis. If you contend with SSA, intentionally considering where you are at this point in your life can begin to clear up some of the muddle you may be experiencing. Factors that may augment a person’s resolve to live his or her life in accordance with the traditional Christian sexual ethic (and dis-identify with their SSA) are also explored. They are . . .
- the actual amount of same-sex attraction one experiences
- prior experience in same-sex relationships (or lack thereof)
- one’s internal motivations (based upon one’s own beliefs and values)
- the ability to evaluate the principal meaning of one’s beliefs (and assumptions) and to reconcile it with one’s specific circumstances (the situational meaning of experiencing same-sex attraction) and
- one’s family and peer group support
Chapter 2: Our Sexuality
An examination of the following is the focus of this chapter:
- how is our sexuality related to our experience of God’s calling and sanctification?
- what is God’s revealed will for sexual behavior? (understanding the Christian’s redemption and future glorification is key)
- the issues that skew our understanding of sexuality and sexual behavior
- the three levels of understanding same-sex attraction
Chapter 3: Myth and Reality about Same-Sex Attraction
Ten of the most common myths are addressed but the one I have chosen to include below is the one I think most strugglers need to hear and their loved-ones (especially Christians) need to understand. Many people who contend with homosexual attractions and inclinations (myself included) have dealt with tremendous pain, shame, fear, guilt and doubts. The guilt trips, unrealistic expectations, over simplifications, over spiritualizations, and patronizing messages (intentional and unintentional) burdened down upon us by families and friends can be crushing and suffocating at times. We know you mean well, but . . .
“Focusing Principally on the Goal of a Chaste Life over Orientation Change is a Sign that the Person Has Given Up.” – This is a MYTH.
Focusing less on changing your sexual orientation and more on living faithfully before God while still experiencing same-sex attraction is not the easy way out. It takes courage and commitment to acknowledge and squarely face sexual desires while affirming God’s will for your sexuality and, whether attractions wane or not, to embrace living faithfully before God in the chaste state. – pages 44, 45
Links and Resources
(1) This is the Amazon.com link for this book:
(2) The link to Dr. Yarhouse’s website and blog:
(3) The Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity:
- conducts research
- provides clinical services/consultation and
- offers training for professional counselors and lay counselors in the community
At their website you will also find
- an introduction to Sexual Identity Therapy
- a nationwide referral directory
- a comprehensive selection of very informative academic papers authored (or co-authored) by ISSI members
- sexual identity resources for youth, parents, youth pastors, spouses and student life staff at universities and colleges
Here’s the link:
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2013.
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