Advanced Counseling Seminar: Same-Sex Attraction

biblicalcounselingSame-sex attraction is a unique temptation, often compounded by the church’s response to those who struggle with this issue. If we are going to be any help to our friends in this area of life we have to first think carefully and critically about our responses. As part of our advanced crisis counseling training we are attempting to equip counselors in how to offer counsel and care to a host of complicated situations. Our first seminar will address this important topic. Our seminar will help us in three particular ways: listening to important voices; learning to avoid generalizations; and studying a real case.

As part of preparation for this class I have given each of my students a long list of resources to consult, read, review, and with which to interact. A host of books, articles, and essays allow us to learn from those who are on the front lines of thinking about this sensitive subject. In particular I wanted us to learn from people with whom we do not agree. It was important to me that we hear their arguments, not simply so we could refute them, but so that we could understand their heart. We need to be able sense the concerns, burdens, loves, hurts, and hopes of those who disagree with us. This allows us to be more compassionate and sensitive in our care and counsel. Our reading allows us to listen to New Testament scholars, social commentators, gay men, ex-lesbian women, theologians, counselors, and more. The host of voices will help us to think critically, think compassionately, and think holistically.

Our seminar also aims to help us avoid generalizations. Reductionism as it relates to the subject of same-sex attraction is incredibly dangerous. Reductionism can be extremely hurtful to our friends. Our discussions during the seminar will recognize a host of different situations, contexts, and individuals. There is no such thing as the “gay lifestyle,” and we want to avoid thinking that all gay men, or all lesbian women, are the same. Each person is an individual with their own history, their own feelings, their own thoughts, and their own struggles. Sensitive counsel must avoid generalizations to be helpful. We will need to think carefully about a variety of situations and how each unique situations requires a unique, yet still Biblically faithful, response. Avoiding generalizations allows us to be better counselors.

Finally, our seminar will look at an actual case study and discuss it together. I am indebted to Dr. Mark Shaw for providing us with a helpful case study to review and discuss together. We will review the case in parts, taking time to discuss in small groups and then collectively. We will think about homework assignments, goals of particular sessions, and the manner of our communication. This should be a profitable discussion that allows us to put into practice the various theories of Biblical counseling.

This is a topic that is important to me for a variety of reasons. I love my gay and lesbian friends dearly. It is my desire that our church would be a welcoming place to everyone who has a same-sex attraction. It is my desire that we would love those who disagree with us as well as those who agree with us. It is my desire that we learn how to navigate a variety of situations with grace and truth. It is my desire that we be ready to help our many brothers and sisters who struggle with a same-sex attraction in our own church and who feel alone and frustrated. It is my desire that Biblical counselors be real helpers to, and real friends of, our same-sex attracted friends. That’s the design of this seminar and I am excited to participate in it.

Registration for the event is closed but you may still sit in and quietly observe if you have not registered. If you registered you should have done some of the recommended reading already. The seminar takes place February 21st at 9 am, please join us and pray for this workshop.

Comments

  1. rclarke620@aol.com says:

    Hi Pastor Dave, How long will this seminar last? We are interested in sitting in but have to leave at 11:30 am at the latest. Bob & Wilma Clarke

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