Book Review: Hope For the Same-Sex Attracted

5 Comments

Over the past few years, I have realized more and more how poorly the church addresses the issue of homosexuality and same sex attraction.  I have known that for a while, but it has only been in the past few months where I have finally decided to do more reading and honest looking at the issue.

I feel strongly that the church needs to A) be more educated on the topic, B) have true love, grace, and humility on the topic, and C) have more outreach and ministry toward Christians and non-Christians alike who have same-sex attraction.

Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted by Ron Citlau was published just this year and was a valuable resource to me.  The author has personally dealt with same-sex attraction and approaches the issue with the love and gentleness necessary.

Toward the beginning of the book, Ron discusses the issue of identity and how nothing, not our attraction, urges, or gender, identify us.  Our identity is in Jesus as His children.  Sexual identity is not the same thing as sexual desire.

The book is divided into three parts.  The first is about obstacles, the second is about gifts, and the third is his final thoughts.  It is clear throughout the book that the author truly is seeking a way for the same-sex attracted to flourish and have a abundant life as Jesus describes.  At the same time, he is firmly committed to the authority of God’s word and recognizes that there are specific ways that believers need to live, whether in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship.

Pros: I appreciated how the author never set up homosexuality as the worst sin ever as so many Christians and churches seem to do.  In fact, in several places, he mentioned how his points were not limited to same-sex attraction and relationships, but they were applicable in opposite sex attraction and relationships as well.  Secondly, I appreciated how in the gifts section, Ron talked about the gift of singleness for the same-sex attracted and also the gift of opposite-sex marriage for the same-sex attracted.  I appreciated how he put both out as legitimate biblical options, as well as specific ways to know if you are called to one or the other.   Finally, I appreciated how Ron repeatedly called the church to have ministries, healing spaces, and vulnerability.  Whether the issue is same-sex attraction or some other issue, the church needs to be open and vulnerable.  That is where true growth can occur and community can thrive.

Cons: There were one or two instances where it seemed like the “rules” Ron was putting forth were not necessarily Biblical.  One thing that I am not sure what I think about is how multiple times he mentioned that a person dealing with same-sex attraction must be in a close, godly, mentoring relationship with someone of the same sex.  I will be honest and say that I mostly don’t know what I’m talking about as, again, I am only recently starting to learn more about all that encompasses this issue.  But it seems a little inconsistent.  Women are told all the time not to counsel or mentor with men because of the potential for stumbling.  Then again, I’m not sure how I feel on that as a hard and fast rule either, but that is a nuanced issue for another time.

In the conclusion, Ron talks about how throughout it all, he hopes that the reader’s takeaway is that there is hope.  He recognizes how easy it is to feel hopeless, like there are no paths, or at least no good paths, to take. But there is hope.  And you can tell on just about every page that the author is truly on the reader’s side and wanting to bring hope through Jesus.

The front cover says, “Biblical direction for friends, family members, and those struggling with homosexuality.”  I do recommend it for anyone in those categories!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review.

 

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Hope For the Same-Sex Attracted

  1. This is such a touchy topic in churches, and it drives me nuts that people put it out there as “the worst sin ever.” It just closes them off to us and how can we share the love and truth of Jesus if we’re busy condemning them?
    I’ve also been learning some really interesting things about the usual cause behind same-sex attraction in a class I’m attending, and I really think there is freedom for same-sex attracted people, but again, having support from the church would help, instead of judgment. ❤️

  2. Recent scientific and psychological studies have proven that there are no usual causes for gay people being gay. The old research that “proved” why gay people are gay was often misconstrued evidence. Today, many professionals in the biological and medical fields have found nothing to show a “gay gene” and are finding that it’s too complicated to try to say what makes gay people gay. The nurture v. nature argument is also a shallow one since many gay people have exactly the same experiences as straight people.

  3. I have a couple of clarifying questions, Bonnie, about what you wrote. Maybe I am just reading it wrong, but I am unclear in one point and confused in another. 🙂 1 – Does your sentence before the “Pros” imply that the author gives a case for believers rightly living in a homosexual relationship? and 2 – I am confused in your “Cons” paragraph about whether his recommendation is to have a mentor of the same sex (which is what I think you said) or the opposite sex (which is what you seem to question the wisdom of). This whole thing is a topic that really interests me; as you know, it has directly touched our family.

    • Hi! Thanks for commenting.
      1) I did word that in a confusing way. The author does not believe that a follower of Jesus can actively engage in a homosexual relationship. I should have said that whether a person is same-sex attracted or opposite-sex attracted, the author believes there are specific ways to live under Jesus.
      2) The author’s recommendation is that regardless of sexual attraction, a person should be in an opposite-sex mentor relationship. My confusion is in regard to the fact that typically “the church” recommends that women and men not counsel together due to the potential stumbling there as opposite-sex attracted people. If that is accurate, then it seems that it would also be dangerous to require a same-sex attracted person to closely counsel with someone they might be tempted to stumble with. Personally, I do not believe that there ought to be hard and fast rules in either situation, as the Jesus of the Bible is not about one-size-fits-all rules, but about hearts being turned toward God in dynamic relationship with Him. Instead, I think each person, each couple, each counselor, should be walking with the Holy Spirit, follow His prompting as to their own personal struggles and strengths, and take necessary precautions as He leads them.

      • I wondered if that were what you were questioning about his recommendation. That is something I have never pondered. Worth thinking about.

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