Parenting Resources Related To LGBT

The following resources track both sides of the LGBT debate for parents. Of particular note is that many of these are produced by students in their 20’s. I’ll try to give a brief summary next to each one.

Two resources that serve as bookends to the discussion are Washed and Waiting and Torn. What makes these books a compelling read is that they’re both written by younger guys who grew up in a solid Christian family and a healthy environment. They take two very different sides as they work through the excruciating effort of ‘coming out,’ and searching scripture. Wesley Hill decides to remain celibate while Justin Lee interprets scripture to allow him to move forward in a same sex relationship.

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Need help loving someone who is gay or lesbian? Andrew Martin remains conservative in his interpretation of scripture but refuses to let truth get in the way of loving the LGBT community. He’s written a good book entitled, Love Is An Orientation.  He’s living and working in a gay community, has started a foundation and pours his life out to help as many as possible.

Many of our college students are reading Matthew Vines (pictured below). He got big time attention when a YouTube went viral. Here’s one and even if you watch just 2 minutes, you’ll note how young he is and how soberly and seriously he approaches the subject. I believe he stretches scriptural interpretation way too far in order to fit his preference but it’s important to notice his work.

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Finally, here’s a fantastic resource. Laurie Krieg is a happily married Christian young woman who struggles with same sex attraction. She’s a tremendous thinker and handles the scripture with great care. Her blog offers great insight and can be a pivotal discussion tool for you to use with high school and college students.

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Three Questions to Ask Yourself About the LGBT Debate

The gay-lesbian debate remains entrenched with each side fortifying its walls. And as long as it stays at the ‘debate’ level we’ll only intensify the problem. Like the ubiquitous comment section on the Internet, it’s far too easy to hide and fire off distasteful words from a position of relative obscurity.

Jonathan Merritt says it this way:

The Christian Church in the West is now facing the most important debate of our time. It threatens to shred the church by the seams and leave it in a tattered heap. And more importantly, it intimately involves people with feelings and emotions and dreams that have been socially marginalized and deserve to be respected, loved, and heard.

Those on the left must stop labeling anyone who holds to a traditional Christian sexual ethic a “bigot” or “hater.” Those on the right must quit claiming that everyone on the left is a “heretic” or “doesn’t believe the Bible.” – Jonathan Merritt

Ask yourself three questions:

1.  In the difficult challenge of balancing truth and love, which side do I usually err on? Do I tend to recheck, rethink and clarify my position from the Bible? Or do I try harder to love individuals, wondering if I compromise too much? When faced with uncomfortable situations, how do I attempt to reduce inner tension? The difficult balance can be stated this way:

When truth is delivered without love, it is perceived as anything but true. When love is used to avoid tension, it ignores the bottom line welfare of another person and is hardly loving.

Rightly gauging our tendencies helps us achieve greater balance and take better risks.

2.  How deep is gender? Skin deep or soul deep? Does masculine or feminine change when the body is modified?

Rightly understanding our culture’s gender confusion can deepen our love for people.

3.  How personal are my interactions on the subject? Do I work hard to stay at the impersonal level or am I stepping into the messiness of relationships with all that entails?

Rightly engaging our world means interacting with and caring for real people. People like us, with emotions and hurts, dreams and frustrations.

While the debate rages, we can quietly build relationships that maintain both truth and love. Like is often said around here: it’s not the absence of conflict but how conflict is handled that defines a good relationship. Notice this balance of truth and love in Paul’s prayer for the people at Philippi:

“…that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)

Car vs. Phone

A bunch of parents were hanging out the other night, talking about trends in technology and how it’s impacting their families. One guy threw out the frustration of his son’s hesitancy to get his driver’s license. Several nodded, some joked and most of us reflected on the countdown in our own lives. Like Nascar, we were at the starting line, foot on the gas and watching the flag. Not a second to waste. The driver’s license represented freedom.

To fully understand today’s adolescent and the growing number of kids who delay getting their license, ask yourself two questions:

  • Where’s the action?
  • How do I get there?

A seismic shift is occurring under our feet and no sooner do we get some traction on one plot of ground when something beside us begins to fall away. It’s a funny thing. That one meeting launched several further discussions. You know, the meeting after the meeting. And in one of those encounters a guy came out with this:

“The car represented a gateway to independence, exploration & above all a social life with other teens. I think the smart phone fills all these desires or…squashes them”

We’re migrants to a new reality. It takes a few minutes to figure out how the natives function. And for many of us, it leaves us shaking our heads. For the license, and the necessary car, were markers of having arrived. A culturally agreed upon milestone.

Today’s adolescent chafes at limitation. Ironically, the car- able to transport us to the place of action- is ridiculously limited to time and space. One place at one time with only one set of people. The phone on the other hand transcends limitation. Instant, global, interactive, collaborative and multidimensional, it stamps the ‘car’ as antique and tows it prematurely to the museum.

Temptation: The Issue is Never the Issue

Two spicy stories in the life of King David can help you and your adolescent communicate better and navigate the turbulent waters of today’s temptations. One has to do with sex, the other with murder.

Your job as a parent is to help your son or daughter become an independent thinker. And in the fast world of technology, stopping to reflect on life and the deeper aspects of it is an uncommon thing. We’re really into the ‘play’ and the ‘stop’ buttons, but rarely ‘pause.’

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Insight from David’s life can make a lasting impression for our kids. He blew through several stop signs on one occasion, without pausing and reflecting, while in the other story, he reflected and consequently did the right thing. Two stories. Huge implications. Extreme results.

Story #1:  II Samuel 11:1-5 (David & Bathsheba)

If you skim this story you’ll likely think it has to do with sex. But it’s not until you stop and study it, dissect it and reflect that you’ll come to realize just how deep the human heart is.

  • Kings go to war in the springtime.
  • This spring, David didn’t go, but instead remained in Jerusalem.
  • David’s identity was closely linked to his military power.
  • He was restless, couldn’t sleep, got up from his bed, and paced the roof of the palace.
  • The palace was full of wives and concubines- lots of legitimate sexual options for a king at that time in history.
  • But instead, he gazed beyond the palace and saw a beautiful woman bathing. Her name was Bathsheba.
  • He then inquired about her and found out that she was married and that she was somebody’s daughter.
  • Nevertheless, he sent for her and had sex with her.

Don’t miss the tension of the story. Real kings go off and fight during the springtime. David’s male identity was under fire. And the surface issue became a sinful attempt to touch a core issue in his life. God was there for him. God was available. God was willing. Why did he miss the connection? Why do we? We miss the ‘pause’ button.

Story #2:  I Samuel 24:1-12 (David & Saul)

If you skim this story you’ll probably think it’s about murder. But that’s only the surface issue. On this occasion, David used the ‘pause’ button. But look at what was going on:

  • As a young man, David killed Goliath. But instead of King Saul honoring David, Saul became jealous
  • This jealousy caused King Saul to hunt David for 14 years. He chased him and kept David on the run for what must have seemed like ‘forever.’ To kill him.
  • And then the event happens. Saul enters the very cave where David and his warriors are hiding. Saul takes off his robe, puts it on the ground and steps away to pee.
  • David’s men urge him to kill Saul. They even quote something that God had told David. They say, ‘here he is. God provided this chance.’
  • David sneaks forward, cuts a corner piece off Saul’s robe, then pauses. Even feels guilty about cutting the robe.
  • David reflects and remembers. “God is God and I’m not.” It’s God’s job to take the life of an anointed king, not mine.

Pause button! David used it. And it became one of the defining moments of his life, where trusting God and trusting God’s timing ultimately propelled him to the throne as king. Imagine if David had been able to do the same thing when he was restless that one night, from not going to war, when he forcibly took Bathsheba.

The ‘pause’ button is a very powerful button indeed. For it links our surface temptations to the root energy behind them. And once we see the core issue, we can better gain control over surface issues.

Good Reasons For Kids To Have Handheld Devices

Regardless of your worldview, religious stance or the people you hang with, opinions explode onto the scene when it comes to kids and technology.

I was recently encouraged to read a blog on the positive elements of kids using devices. And notice, this mother and librarian (lover of literature) is writing in response to an opposite opinion in the Huffington Post. Talk about opposing concerns….just glance at the two titles:

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12

vs.

10 Reasons Why I Will Continue To Give My Children Handheld Devices

The two articles perfectly sum up my position. I’m all over the board. I’m here today and over there tomorrow. And like most of life, balance only occurs when we properly embrace the tension.

Ever been out of the country and stopped by a straw market? You know, the places that sell ‘local’ stuff on the cheap? Over the years I’ve watched kids look at guitars at such markets, watched their brains calculate the price compared to back home, watched the light come on. “Hey, I’ve got to pay $200 back home and it’s only $40 here. I’m in.”

Ever tried to tune one of the $40 types?

Don’t.

They can’t hold the tension. They sound like crap.

Back to technology for kids. Avoid the extremes, enter the tension, up the responsibility (both yours and your kid’s). Check out both articles and how they specifically apply to your parenting concerns. Take one or two ideas and fine tune the guitar.

 

Half-Girl

The half-girl rules the land.

Each of us, regardless of gender or stage of life, find ourselves increasingly in world of commercial sexualization. And no one has suffered more than the girl. Like a strip mine destroying the land in search of the precious metal, the girl has been commercially harvested for her apparent value. Her body.

She is now a half-girl.

Technology brokered the deal and it was fast. Real fast. But the misuse of technology often leads to disconnection. Consider some of the fallout from our rapid-fire change

  • Separation of pleasure from procreation – contraception technology has allowed broader culture to harvest sexual pleasure from its intended purpose- to create life. As a result, the woman loses her distinctive life-giving role and begins to look more and more like….a man. Our culture’s current confusion about marriage and gender remains intricately linked to our technology.
  • Separation of body from soul – a girl’s true power comes from her feminine being. Her body merely enhances her person. To isolate her body from all that she is brings an objectifying strip-mine approach and sets society up for massive social problems.
  • Separation of the real into the virtual – Further disintegration occurs as people bail out of the physical real. Once the girl is harvested and packaged into a pleasure-dispensing image, the ratio of risk to pleasure is inverted. Many guys opt for the “pleasure only” package, avoiding deep relationships of commitment.

But the Christian fights against anything remotely resembling the half-girl. Our opportunity is both timely and potent. Consider the power of a life that is distinctively set apart from the half-girl world, where the whole person is developed and valued. How are you doing with the following checklist:

  • I resolutely resist the half-girl menus of
    • Soft porn magazine covers in the checkout lane
    • The mall’s sophisticated package of the half-girl
    • The online secret delivery system of the half-girl
    • Erotic books that explore explicit content through private e-devices
  • I view girls first and primarily as a person, complete with a set of vulnerabilities, concerns, dreams and a growing need to relate with God
    • The girl running the cash register. What’s her name? A fear that she has?
    • The co-worker. Where is she most vulnerable and how do your prayers reflect that tension?
  • I help develop my family and friends in terms of how they think, work and love far more than how they look
  • I think in terms of two worlds operating together (spiritual and physical) as it takes both to make sense of one
  • I spend more time talking with young girls about their journey with God, their relationships and their future than I do about what they’re wearing or how they look

As you evaluate your interactions with the world’s half-girl, what customized list would you put together to ensure that you’re at a much better spot next year at this time?

Marriage & Same-Sex-Attraction

You may find some great topics of conversation below, even for parents of middle-adolescents. It provides parents a non-flashpoint chance for a good discussion. See what you think….

http://www.lauriekrieg.com/blog/what-is-it-like-to-be-married-to-someone-who-struggles-with-same-sex-attraction-by-matt-krieg

The benefit here is to show what life can look like beyond the cultural argument. Far too often our kids are held hostage with media phrases:

  • Why did God create me this way?
  • Its not fair to deny me my sexual preference
  • Blacks used to be prohibited from certain restaurants too
  • A person’s sexual orientation is their own right

Once we admit to living in a fallen world, where we all have our hangups and orientations, we can advance the discussion to a higher level.