Forthcoming Book: Listening to Sexual Minorities

Listening to Sexual Minorities Cover smThere are not many days that are as fulfilling to a writer as the day you send your book manuscript to your editor. Today I was able to send in the “completed” manuscript for Listening to Sexual Minorities: A Study of Faith and Sexual Identity on Christian College Campuses. I place quotation marks around “completed” because, inevitably, there are minor edits to be made after it is gone over with a fine-toothed comb by the editor, but it is off my desk for the time-being, and that is why I celebrate today.

What can the reader expect with this book? This is both an academic book and an accessible book. Let me unpack that apparent contradiction. This is a more academic book insofar as the primary focus is explaining a longitudinal study of the experiences of sexual minorities at Christian college campuses. We go over what we found in terms of the salience of their Christian faith, their experience of the campus climate, their response to campus policies, their psychological health and emotional well-being, recommendations they would make to administrators, advice they would give to incoming sexual minorities, and so much more. To do that, we had to show the data and explain it, so in that sense, it will read as more academic.

At the same time, we have many breakout boxes to explain the material and “take away” summary points at the end of each chapter. We draw on interviews we conducted with students, and we share their experiences in their own words. In that sense, it is accessible.

This is also a co-authored book. Janet Dean (Asbury University), Stephen Stratton (Asbury Seminary), and Michael Lastoria (Houghton College) collaborated with me on the longitudinal study these past three years and were instrumental in moving the material from a research study to a book-length manuscript.

The schedule for the release of the book is March/April of 2018. I’ll keep you posted!

In a couple of weeks I’ll be in New Orleans to speak to Chief Student Development Officers at CCCU institutions. The CCCU is the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and they are hosting a conference in New Orleans focused primarily on student development issues and concerns. Where do I fit in? Several years ago I was named senior fellow to conduct a study of sexual minorities at Christian colleges. That study was a collaborative project with Steve Stratton and Janet Dean (Asbury). It was published in 2009 in the Journal of Psychology and Theology.

Our research group got together again and joined with Mike Lastoria (Houghton) to conduct a similar study at more institutions. That study is currently under review, but I will present some of the findings from it at the CCCU event in a couple of weeks.

As a frequent consultant at CCCU-affiliated institutions, I will also provide addresses on concepts that have seemed relevant to those consultations – concepts like stewardship of sexuality and relating to others with “convicted civility.” it should be enjoyable and much better than the last trip to New Orleans (a symposium at the American Psychiatric Association that dealt with the sexual orientation change debates).

I was told by a friend to look for a New Orleans staple: alligator on a stick. (Frankly, I think I’d rather face the psychiatrists again…)