Friday, January 30, 2009

A couple of great articles

I found an article written by Steve Simpson over on the BWC blog. He is a clinical psychologist and teaches a class at Fuller Seminary’s School of Psychology called “Clinical Issues in Sexual Diversity.” His article was titled "Even Ted Haggard" and you can read it here.

And when reading that article I stumbled across another that he referred to in the BWC post. You can readt that one here.

Here is a brief excerpt from the second article...

I give an assignment in one of my classes that amuses and delights me. I love it for two reasons: (1) it will be one of the best learning experiences the students ever have and (2) I’m an intellectual sadist. I love scaring people into learning something. God’s done it to me plenty, so I figure he doesn’t mind if I spread the love.

I teach a class called Clinical Issues in Sexual Diversity at a Christian graduate school of psychology. I require the students to spend three hours in a “sexually diverse environment” (translation: some place with lots of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people). There’s only one requirement: they have to have a conversation with at least one of these sexually diverse folks.

At first, this assignment is anything but popular. Most of my students are straight evangelical Christians. Some of them have never even met anyone who isn’t heterosexual. Some of them believe strongly that homosexuality is a sin. They’re pretty mad at me when I give them this assignment. After they complete it—not so much.

When these budding psychologists sit down and talk with a sexually diverse man or woman, they discover the people behind the “issue.” They make friends. They connect with hearts and minds that get buried under contentious issues such as gay marriage, homosexual ordination, etc. They hear stories—often painful—from people who long for God and community but feel ostracized. One of the most common accounts my students hear is about men or women who lost their relationship with God and their Christian family because of their sexual orientation. Some withdraw in fear, while others get outright excommunicated. Regardless, the cycle of shame that follows is sad and predictable.

Many Christian churches denounce homosexually, claiming (or at least strongly implying) that anyone in a homosexual relationship cannot be a Christian. In response, a lot of homosexuals abandon church and sometimes even their relationship with God. Even if they don’t intellectually believe that God hates them, they often feel this way. They’ve heard for too long their sexual orientation makes them depraved. They shrink away from their relationship with God and His Church. A cycle of shame begins that makes some feel—and sometimes even act—like they aren’t worthy of God’s love.



Blogger Jeni said...

Hey! What a coincidence that just before I stopped here at your place, I read a post on one of my other favorite places and it was about a family dealing with a son with transgender issues. I had already commented there but went back, commented again and gave the blogger your URL to this post today!
If you go to this post, you can read the full story:

Thanks for posting this for two reasons now!

10:23 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Glad you passed it along to them and I hope that it helps them.

I am very much interested in this topic due to the way "Christians" treat it. I know a pastor whose son has recently come out as gay and they are having a tough time with it.

I'll drop by the blog that you referred to and read it. I'll probably leave a an encouraging comment too.

Thanks for letting me know.

10:27 AM  

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