A Primer on SSA-Christianity Issues

I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of introductory resources for those of you trying to better understand the variety of social, moral and psychological issues surrounding the issue of homosexuality and Christianity. The list, while far from comprehensive, is meant to be representative in its emphasis of the post-ex-gay discussion from recent years.

1. Start with Christopher Yuan’s notes. They’re clear, concise, and accessible. He’s got a crazy testimony. He’s smart, Chinese American, and a gifted speaker.

Christopher Yuan
– notes on nature vs. nurture
– notes on hermeneutics and biblical ethics
– testimony video (ABC, bilingual, former med student & drug dealer)
– testimony book (co-written with his mother)
– speaking engagements

2. To better understand the issue of biblical ethics and how it impacts everyday life for gay Christians, I’d check out some of the more recent, “new school” writers who like to take to social media to write punchy, bite-sized yet nuanced pieces. Representing liberal Side A, Justin Lee is founder of the Gay Christian Network (forum). Representing conservative Side B, Microsoft employee-turned-philosopher Ron Belgau is co-editor of Spiritual Friendship (blog).

 Hermeneutics and biblical ethics (new)
– Justin Lee, Side A essay – summarizes Torn
– Ron Belgau, Side B essay
– Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian (book and reply to Timothy Keller)
– Wesley Hill, Washed and Waiting (book)

3. The Spiritual Friendship blog is perhaps the best online resource. Its contributors, all Side B conservatives, like to discuss the importance of genuine friendship for gay Christians who wish to live a fulfilling life of celibacy, while downplaying things like orientation change so commonly emphasized by ex-gay groups (Exodus International, NARTH). Some better posts:

Spiritual Friendship
Ron Belgau
– growing up gay
– meaning of “gay”
– unclarity of “gay”
meaning of “sexual orientation”
clarifying “sexual orientation”
– criticism of Jones & Yarhouse orientation change study
– reply to Vines
– language of rights
– language of the heart (Pope Francis video)
Wesley Hill
– against proof-texting
– vowed friendships
coming out
sanctification and homosexuality
celibate gay Christians
good in being gay
– gay couples at church
expecting orientation change
study on mixed-orientation couples

4. The online medium, unlike traditional book publications, keeps things up-to-date, and, I do believe, makes it easier for people to share an authentic perspective on these issues in a way that’s relevant and personable. The downside is that it’s rarely scholarly. For more academic work, you can look at some of these.

Hermeneutics and biblical ethics (old)
– Robert Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (book) – condensed, short, well-researched (but beware: Gagnon’s “clinical”, often defensive tone can be a turnoff)
– Robert Gagnon & Dan O. Via, The Bible and Homosexual Practice (book) – dense, thick
– The “Homosexuality” Debate: overview of books from 1990s-2000s (site) – missing some yet older Side A classics (e.g. Mel White, John Boswell)
– a mathematician’s detailed perspective (link)
– more links to scholarly works (links)

5. For psychological literature on issues of etiology (root causes) and conversion therapy (reorientation), some resources are:

Reorientation / conversion therapy
– Mark Yarhouse, Sexuality and Sex Therapy (book) – pastoral counseling
– Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality and the Christian (book)
– Lisa Diamond on female sexual fluidity (video)
– Joseph Nicolosi (NARTH co-founder) on conversion therapy (website)
– Vice News on conversion therapy (video) – one-sided, but contains real footage from the Journey into Manhood retreat hosted by People Can Change
– Christianity Today on shutdown of Exodus International (links)
– Josh Weed: a success case of mixed-orientation relationships (blog)


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