Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens

A question recently posed to me was, “What are some challenges that dads face today”? So many answers came to mind but the only thing I could get out was to live out my worldview consistently before my children so that they may see the truth of the glory of God. As a Christian the culture has placed additional weights on my shoulders as my two young children grow up in a society radically different from my own. How can I as their primary influencer teach them to navigate the waters of today’s culture while holding tight to the Christian worldview?
9780825443961Tom Gilson has complied the relevant questions and answers into a compact guide to discussing homosexuality with teens. In what is an understatement, Critical Conversations is chock full of questions teens face but it doesn’t stop there. Gilson goes on to discuss places where teens would face these challenges, a unique feature I’ve not seen in other places. He discusses their relationships with professors, administrators and the like, skilfully guiding conversations, seasoned with salt and peppered with wisdom.

Gilson breaks his book down into three sections. He introduces us to the subject matter through laying down for us essential background information. How did we get here? Where did this all come from? How can we be light even in difficult times? In part two he helps us to navigate the dangerous waters of relationships. This, I believe, is where the real wisdom is to be found. Gilson encourages us to do five things, and to do them well;

  1. Ask Good Questions
  2. Be a Safe Listener
  3. Don’t Brush off Questions
  4. Explore Ideas Together (an extremely important point)
  5. Watch out for Land Mines

In a way the foundation is built for the following section which is all about handling the challenges our teens face. In being a good example of how to handle the questions when they come up, we model for our children the way they can engage their friends and professionals around them. When we give our teens the safe space to engage these questions and issues, they in turn, feel more adept in accepting the challenge culture is handing them.

Among the many things this work is to be commended for one sticks out in my mind above the rest, the nontechnical answers to extremely tough questions. Not only does Gilson tenaciously defend the biblical worldview in a Q&A format, he shows us that the biblical standard is really the only viable and consistent option which one can live by. His answers are Word-soaked, prayerfully considered, and filled with experiential wisdom.

Critical Conversations helps parents to steer their children and their conversations towards truth and therefore is more than helpful today. When truth is trampled underfoot or tossed out altogether we need a recovery of love towards those who hold varying worldviews and lifestyles which clash with ours. Tom Gilson lays out the challenges our teens face without creating straw man arguments and shows us, through the biblical texts, the best way forward. I will be definitely using this volume when my children are ready to take on this crazy culture with the truth of Christ.

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