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Posted January 27, 2011
In this book, Mr. Yarhouse describes his concern for the current way of dealing with homosexuality. As an experienced counselor, he is worried about the lack of empathy and understanding that people show, particularly for those parents who are not available, would not listen nor interact with their children when they express their interest for the same sex. He divides the book in three parts. In the first one, the author makes a sort of trip through history and customs in order to define what homosexuality is. The second part is addressed to families that are dealing with a homosexual member and the third one considers the same, but in a church environment.
I was disappointed when reading the first part, because there is such a resemblance with humanistic and philosophical texts, specifically with the politically correct speech with which Mr. Yarhouse carefully makes his statements. Actually, it seems that he is tiptoeing around the issue. For example, he says that "our conclusion is that homosexual behavior is not appropriate for the Christ-follower." (Page 35) It is unclear if he is saying that homosexual behavior is then appropriate for those who are not Christ-followers, particularly after considering biblical, scientific, social, ecclesiastical, cultural and doctrinal arguments. In this respect, I would have liked that he were a little more exact with his opinion, so that it did not seem as a justification for homosexuality or weakness of biblical principles. However, he does bring out a very good point, the fact that homosexuality is not the only sin and is often THE only sin many tend to see, forgetting about greed, lack of love, pride, guilt or labeling others.
My opinion began to shift with the next sections, despite humanistic values permeating in the text. Mr. Yarhouse considers that there is a difference between attraction, orientation and identity. From this point on, he exposes how it is that people consider a number of factors that influence their decision to adapt their behavior and shape it into a homosexual identity. Therefore, he invites us to be good stewards of our sexuality, taking care of ourselves and our marriages, not conforming to the culture of this world (therefore, affecting our society and its worldview), as we also better our relationship with God. He invites people to be humble and charitable and consider a different approach, and empathic one, for the mere fact that Jesus also died for homosexuals. By doing so, he also invites us to reflect on what it is we believe and why, and not take judgment into our hands.
What I think is the best way to summarize Mr. Yarhouse's opinion is a testimony of a homosexual man who was driven to church by Christians who showed him love and not rejection; he was authentically wanting to have a relationship with God (page 96). This man describes how, during prayer, God put in his heart the conviction that he had to change his preferences because they did not agree with Him. He says that his life was never the same after that prayer; I think this is what the author intends to take the readers to, focusing not on a sexual identity, but on identity in God.
Bethany House Publishers gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a review, and this does not bias my opinion about the book or the author.
Posted November 5, 2010
Homosexuality And The Christian Mike A. Yarhouse, PsyD Bethany House Publishers Usually, I lead off a book review with the copy that is written on the back of the book as in introduction to the content that was reviewed. This is one book that doesn't need such an introduction. Homosexuality is a controversial enough of a topic without adding the additional fuel of religion to the fire, but this is a subject that the church really needs to face, and face it head on. When I got this book, I was wary that the author may be coming at the reader with an agenda, thereby making this a very long read full of theological errors. Whenever you present a topic like this in a manner that predisposes one side over the other, you lose all credibility as well as any theological stability. The copy on the back of the book was very careful to not use specific language that would give away the bent of the author, so that left me with having to dive in unprepared for what I would face. For that, I was very thankful. Within a chapter I found that Yarhouse, though careful in his presentation, was perfectly clear on his purpose: The church needs to change how they react to homosexuality. Right now, there are three types of people that read that last statement in two different ways. The first type of person is the Conservative Christian who reads that bold statement as a statement of activism of homosexuality and revision of church dogma and they reject it out of hand. The second type of person reads that statement and agrees that the church is too hard on homosexuality, and they believe that Scripture needs to be re-interpreted. After all, how can a loving Jesus reject people who are born that way? The third type of person reads that statement and agrees that the church needs to change because the church is becoming too accepting of homosexuality. Christians need to get back to the Old Testament and remove homosexuals from their midst. All three of these people have it completely wrong. Yarhouse goes through the topic, step-by-step, and reveals the reality behind the homosexuality issue. He breaks down the concept of a gay identity and how that differs from same-sex attraction, and the choices that face the homosexual community. He broaches the issue of what to do if your child or teen, adult child, or spouse announces that he or she is gay. How do you handle that situation? What do you say? Who do you blame? Yarhouse delves into the incredibly controversial topic of reversing homosexuality, and he brings to the forefront the question on many people's minds: what causes homosexuality? This book is well written, heavily notated and thoroughly engaging. Yarhouse's conclusions are hard to argue, and even if you tried, he has the statistics to back it up. The book is a little difficult to pick up if you have only a few minutes, because he has packed every chapter with pages of information. Every Christian needs to read this book, and every pastor needs to own and study it. That is not a simple recommendation, this is a crucial need. It will challenge everything you ever thought about sin and same-sex attraction. Get this book! I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review as a condition of receiving this book, nor would they have been able to make me write one if I thought it was horrible. My opinions are my own and do not reflect the author or BethanyWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2012
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