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.