What are your thoughts on Yarhouse's “gay script” vs “the Christian script”?

Hello David! Have you read Mark Yarhouse’s book Homosexuality and the Christian? If so, what did you think about it? Did you agree/disagree with anything specific? If you haven’t read the book, I’d be curious to know your thoughts on what Yarhouse calls the “gay script” vs “the Christian script” are. This is what he writes:

Here’s what I think this (the gay script) script looks like:

  • Same-sex attractions signal a naturally occurring or “intended by God” distinction between homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality.
  • Same-sex attractions are the way you know who you “really are” as a person (emphasis on discovery).
  • Same-sex attractions are at the core of who you are as a person.
  • Same-sex behavior is an extension of that core.
  • Self-actualization (behavior that matches who you “really are”) of your sexual identity is crucial for your fulfillment.

This is Yarhouse’s “identity in Christ” script:

  • Same-sex attraction does not signal a categorically distinction among types of person, but is one of many human experiences that are “not the way it’s supposed to be.”
  • Same-sex attractions may be part of your experience, but they are not the defining element of your identity.
  • You can choose to integrate your experiences of attraction to the same sex into a gay identity.
  • On the other hand, you can choose to center your identity around other aspects of your experience, including your biological sex, gender identity, and so on.
  • The most compelling aspect of personhood for the Christian is one’s identity in Christ, a central and defining aspect of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

These are the two scripts that Yarhouse gives (word for word). He says there are more, but his book revolves more around what the world says verses what Christ says, which is represented here with these two scripts (The gay script is the world’s message and the identity in Christ script is what the church’s message is supposed to be [he acknowledges that the church fails in this area and addresses is very well]). What are your reactions to these scripts? Is there anything you’d like to add/subtract to one (or both)?

Thank you for taking the time for considering my question!

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Hi Isaiah,

Thank you for such a perceptive and considered question.

I have read some of Yarhouses book and I think he does a very good job as a professional psychologist and someone who remains orthodox in his theology, but shows the care of Christ to so many LGBTQI/SSA people.

I would take Yarhouse’s Christian script and add:

  • Same-sex attraction does, whilst in a non-resurrected body signal a categorical distinction of embodiment in one’s sense of personhood and identity, but is ultimately “not the way it’s supposed to be.” (N.B. I see same-sex attraction as a result of the fall, but not morally culpable. Same-sex sexual desire and lust however are as they involve willing toward the unrighteous end goal of same-sex attraction).
  • Same-sex attractions may be part of your experience, but they are not to be the defining element of your identity, Jesus Christ is. That said, being same-sex attracted is part of one’s identity and human, embodied reality.
  • You can choose to integrate your experiences of attraction to the same sex into a gay identity, but what is meant by “gay” is a boasting in one’s weakness, but recognises that the once good desire for companionship is entangled with one’s fallen body, which can receive the graces of celibacy or marriage to an opposite-sex partner.
  • On the other hand, you can choose to center your identity around other aspects of your experience, including your biological sex, gender identity, and so on.
  • The most compelling aspect of personhood for the Christian is one’s identity in Christ, a central and defining aspect of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Let me know your thoughts of my changes!
Warmly,
David.

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I really appreciate your perspective on this important subject and I like how you dig deeper on Yarhouse’s first three points. They are important distinctions that help me understand how deep same-sex attraction can go, but how much deeper God’s unfailing grace and love is.
Thank you very much for answering! Your struggle is real and it’s about time the church realizes that and responds as the hands and feet of Jesus. Praying for you, brother.

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