Journal File

Journal of Psychology and Theology, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

Journal File


This section of the Journal attempts to keep readers informed of current resources of an integrative nature or those related to the general field of the psychology of religion appearing in other professional journals. A wide range of psychological and theological journals are surveyed regularly in search of such resources. The editor of the Journal File welcomes correspondence from readers concerning relevant theoretical or research articles in domestic or foreign journals which contribute directly or indirectly to the task and process of integration and to an understanding of the psychology of religion.

JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY AND CHRISTIANITY

Yarhouse, M., Burkett, L., & Kreeft, E. (2001). Competing models for shepherding those in the church who contend with same-sex attraction Vol. 20 (1), 53-65

The authors present options for the most prominent models for the shepherding care of homosexual parishioners; that is, what they call the gay-affirmative and ex-gay models. The authors offer these models to discuss competing methods for caring for these individuals within church bodies.

The reject/rejection model, according to the authors, is the model of shepherding most common in more conservative churches. The under girding belief of the church body concerning homosexuality is that it is a sin. The church, via the pulpit messages, makes very clear that there are black and white (i.e., right and wrong) activities in which to partake. Homosexuality would fall under the wrong activity in which to partake; thus the homosexual is wrong and in need of punishment, including removal from the church. The authors point out an important distinction here. In this model, the person is rejected, not just the behavior. One of the critiques of this model is the lack of compassion and the perceived lack of understanding of one's own humanity.

Another model discussed by the authors is the refer model. In this model, the church comes to the conclusion that they would not be able to provide ample services to the homosexual person. Thus, the church would refer the person out to another institution that would better serve the individual. Further the church may believe they should focus more on other ministry activities, such as missions or prisoners. The pastors following this model may either feel under trained to work with this population or, if they desire to serve this population, may believe the overall ethos of the church body is not conducive for best serving homosexual individuals.

The repair model is the model most widely publicized. There are a number of local and national organizations/ministries designed to help homosexuals to change their orientation. The authors do point out that some of the people involved in this organization may not desire to change their orientation, but may be seeking support in the Christian community.

According to the authors, the resolve model is when churches emphasize intention not orientation. That is, homosexuals are encouraged to live a chaste life as modeled by Christ himself. So any treatment or ministry work with homosexuals are not concerning their orientation, but providing an understanding support to remain sexually pure. This model centers on self-discipline. The authors discuss the difficult nature of this model in that those trained to work with homosexuals in this way are in need of a great depth of understanding of same-sex attraction and church doctrine/theology.

The recognize model is briefly described as creating an environment for homosexual individuals to accurately explore their inner world. One's inclinations, feelings, beliefs, etc. are analyzed and explored in light of some sort of valuative framework.

Lastly, the authors discuss the embrace model. The embrace model celebrates the gay and lesbian lifestyle. A gay identity is a goal of those sorting through their same-sex attraction feelings. …

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