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Recruiting Young Love Recruiting Young Love Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality How Christians Talk about Homosexuality Howby Mark D. Jordan
Synopses & Reviews
In the view of many Christians, the teenage years are simultaneously the most dangerous and the most promising. At the very moment when teens are trying to establish a sense of identity and belonging, they are beset by temptation on all sides—from the pressure of their peers to the nihilism and materialism of popular culture. Add the specter of homosexuality to the mix, and you’ve got a situation ripe for worry, sermonizing, and exploitation.
In Recruiting Young Love, Mark D. Jordan explores more than a half century of American church debate about homosexuality to show that even as the main lesson—homosexuality is bad, teens are vulnerable—has remained constant, the arguments and assumptions have changed remarkably. At the time of the first Kinsey Report, in 1948, homosexuality was simultaneously condemned and little discussed—a teen struggling with same-sex desire would have found little specific guidance. Sixty years later, church rhetoric has undergone a radical shift, as silence has given way to frequent, public, detailed discussion of homosexuality and its perceived dangers. Along the way, churches have quietly adopted much of the language and ideas of modern sexology, psychiatry, and social reformers—deploying it, for example, to buttress the credentials of anti-gay “deprogramming” centers and traditional gender roles.
Jordan tells this story through a wide variety of sources, including oral histories, interviews, memoirs, and even pulp novels; the result is a fascinating window onto the never-ending battle for the teenage soul.
"Jordan (The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology), professor at Harvard Divinity School, tracks the rhetoric evangelical Christians have used to oppose (or, in fewer cases, support) homosexuality. He argues that this rhetoric has an underlying concern about adolescent vulnerability. Over the span of nearly a hundred years, from the early 20th century coining of the terms both homosexual and adolescent to mid-1990s youth ministries, he unpacks and traces the intellectual genealogy of well-known figures, such as Anita Bryant, Jerry Falwell and Paul Cameron, as well as lesser-known and committee-produced works. His recounting, however, is less about individuals than patterns, which explains in part the limited selection of writings he considers, among them psychological treatises, polemical works, pulp novels, and pamphlets. At several points, the connections between the rhetoric and adolescents themselves seem absent or tenuous, a fact Jordan explains partly by noting the historical silencing of actual young people. Also, his analysis ends before the contemporary debates about same-sex marriage begin in earnest. These minor issues aside, this work provides excellent insights into the development of Christian arguments about homosexuality. (Apr. 15)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Mark D. Jordan is the Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity at the Harvard Divinity School and the author of many books, including The Silence of Sodom, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Sexual Characters
1 Degenerating Youth
2 First Reports of Hidden Worlds
3 A Social Problem
4 Spirit of the Homophile Race
5 Meeting Face to Face
6 Churchly Liberations
7 Saving Their Children
8 Coming Out of Homosexuality
9 Polemic in a Time of Plague
10 In Search of New Youth
Conclusion: How Not To Talk about Sex in Church
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Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General