Book Review: Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Gide To Discussing Homosexuality With Teens, by Tom Gilson
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.]
This book is written with an assumed audience for Christian parents of teens, or those who will soon be teens, in the aftermath of the ungodly Oberfell decision of the Supreme Court, but the book is useful and practical for youth ministers and teachers at parochial schools as well . This book is written to be intensely practical, and also as part of an overall method of being both honest with one’s children but also being the sort of parent who genuinely listens and who provides a safe atmosphere for honesty and candor at home that builds trust with one’s offspring, with the hope that such an environment will lead to a greater ability to encourage that our belief system passes to the next generation. The author is both bluntspoken and honest in his opposition to evil, as well as equally honest about the success of the wicked strategy used by activists to overhaul society through propagandistic means that have largely been successful thus far in poisoning society against God’s ways, and those who profess to believe them. The author writes from the perspective of seeking to address serious issues of concern in a thoughtful way that provide encouragement in the difficult task of remaining true to one’s faith in the presence of active social hostility, which is something some of us are used to but that the majority of mainstream Christianity has not, until now.
In terms of its structure and contents, this book is designed with a clear tripartite structure that takes up just about 200 pages of thoughtful and practical material on the parental instruction of teens regarding how to deal with the homosexual social agenda in ways that are both honest, loving, and biblically accurate. As much as possible the author quotes material from first-hand sources to avoid as much as possible biased representation. The first part of the book provides the background of the problem of the LGBT (or whatever acronym of the month is being used) agenda, namely howe we got here, what marriage is, and marriage and morality in the Bible. The author is strong and accurate in his discussion of these topics. The second part of the book examines ways that parents and teens can relate in truth, love, and strength, basic principles on talking with teens about difficult subjects, and relating to friends as well as authority figures at school. The third part is the most practical of all, and it provides rapid-fire discussion of practical help in dealing with the most important questions and bumper-sticker accusations that people have about Christians and the biblical opposition to immorality, including homosexuality. The first set of questions dealt with involves intolerance and hate, the second set involves social policy, making special comparisons with the past (and present) racism issues, and the third regarding God and the Bible. It is only in this last set of questions that I would take issue with the author’s view of biblical law and which biblical laws are still in effect.
Judging from my look at books to review, this book is part of an early wave of books that I am likely to review in the future that are written about the Christian countercultural approach to evil laws and wicked behaviors on the part of political authorities. And though this book gets a few matters wrong, being written by someone who does not have a thoroughly consistent view on biblical law, the vast majority of this book, particularly the author’s approach to the moral law and its continuing relevance, as well as the proper way of understanding Jesus’ own teachings on marriage, and also the Christian obligation to love our enemies and to pray for those who curse us and revile us and all that, is spot on. The author presupposes that his intended audience respects the thoughts and contributions and struggles of teens (and people of all ages) to be well-liked and accepted by peers, and is especially wise in suggesting the importance of building strong ties with people of like mind as a way of overcoming the hostility of an increasingly corrupt world, to provide the strength and encouragement to set a good example even in evil times. This book is sound advice about marriage and sexual morality in general, and ought to provide support to parents who wish to be up front with their teens about biblical obligations while providing respect and concern for the well-being of their teens. As I know a lot of teens and a lot of parents of teens, this is a book I would highly recommend to them, as it is a subject that is likely to remain important and contentious for a long time to come.
 This is a serious issue these days, of course: