Our special guest is Stephen P. Stratton, Ph.D., co-author of the book, Listening to Sexual Minorities: A Study of Faith and Sexual Identity on Christian College Campuses and a Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care and a licensed psychologist (KY). Previous to his full-time appointment at Asbury Theological Seminary in 2006, he served as an adjunct professor at Asbury University, where he was the Director of the Center for Counseling for 18 years. He is an Approved Supervisor for the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and a Health Service Provider/Supervisor for the Kentucky Board of Psychology.
Students arrive on campus with various boxes of belongings to unpack, some heavy, some tidy, some more valuable, some more private. For many students, two of these boxes could be labeled “My Faith” and “My Sexuality”—and these two can be among the most cumbersome to handle. How to balance the two without having to set one down? How to hold them both closely, both securely, but still move forward to settle in with new friends in a new environment? How to keep from dropping one or the other, spilling its embarrassing contents for all to see? Such can be the struggle for any student, but especially for any sexual minority who identifies or struggles with an LGB+ identity or same-sex attraction on a Christian college campus. For these students their faith and their sexuality often feel both tender and in acute tension. Who is God making them to be? What do they need to grow in to develop faithfully, and what might they need to leave behind? How can they truly flourish?
The research team of Yarhouse, Dean, Stratton, and Lastoria draw on their decades of experience both in the psychology of sexual identity and in campus counseling to bring us the results of an original longitudinal study into what sexual minorities themselves experience, hope for, and benefit from. Rich with both quantitative and qualitative data, their book gives an unprecedented opportunity to listen to sexual minorities in their own words, as well as to observe patterns and often surprising revelations about life and personal development both on campus and after graduation. Listening to Sexual Minorities will be an indispensable resource not only for counselors and psychologists but also for faculty, student-development leaders, and administrators in higher education as well as leaders in the church and wider Christian community who want to create an intentional environment to hear from and contribute to the spiritual flourishing of all.