Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Sexual Identity: A Call for Understanding

Image may contain: 20 people, people smiling, people sitting and outdoor
A photo, from a long time ago.
When it comes to understanding sexual identity we live in a land of confusion, precious little understanding, and even less mentoring. 

What is lacking is a civil discourse. (For what a civil discourse looks and sounds like, see Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination.)

A true civil discourse on sexual identity will go deep, and lead to understanding. Only when we understand can we evaluate. In America, when it comes to sexual identity, I see 99% evaluation and 1% understanding.

In deep discussion that leads to understanding we get at worldviews. Much disagreement on sexual identity is rooted here, in mostly prethematic and pre-reflective assumptions, especially when it comes to ethical matters and protest. When it comes to worldviews, they are mostly unexamined. This is neither good nor helpful.

I am a Jesus-follower (albeit imperfectly). My worldview is Christian-theistic. The Bible provides me with a narrative, a text, a script, within which many moral issues find their meaning and answers. 

Everyone has a script they live by. Everyone. This means you. The judgments and evaluations you make find their explanations in the deep worldview assumptions you have. 

I'm issuing a call to Jesus-followers: grow in understanding your worldview. This will help you explain your views on sexual identity. This will allow you to civilly discourse, if you can find a non-reactive, thoughtful person who wants to understand you.

Do you want to talk about sexual identity? Then study. How important is this to you? Do you just want to pontificate and spout off your unexamined beliefs? Or do you want to invest in loving God with all your mind?

The prevailing American cultural script is: stay shallow and react on social media. I challenge you to revolt against such superficiality and grow deeper. Understand before you protest.

Study sexual identity, from our worldview perspective.

Begin with these three books. Be prepared to go slow. Be prepared to think. Be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have within you. Be prepared to do so with gentleness and respect. (See here.)

All by Mark Yarhouse:

Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministry

Sexuality and Sex Therapy: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (Note esp. the connection between worldviews and sexuality; e.g., if one is committed to metaphysical naturalism [atheism].) 

Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture

(My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.)