Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nurture plays a role

Those in the church who play to the natural or 'born that way' basis of homosexuality are aiding the persistence of a moral imperative.  The moral imperative arises in giving persons who are homosexual, and their supporters, a base from which everything else must follow.  If something is set by nature then everyone has to have an answer – not just the one.  And, if it is from nature - a quirk of genes - then even the person’s biological parents perhaps think they had no control.

Yet, homosexuality is unlikely to be set by nature (or only by nature). Nurture also plays a role.  A talk I recently heard at a church can be read to imply that nature solely is at play (refer the green highlighted text on this linked post).

Many seem to wish only blissful ignorance of nurture when it comes to homosexuality.  Few parents doubt that they influenced a child’s well-being or education (‘he took up his father’s interest in cricket’, ‘we made sure she had the best tutors’), yet they seem willing to ignore their acts or omissions of influence on a child’s sexuality.  In a novel by Hugh Mackay, ‘Winter Close’, 2002, the protagonist identifies with parental acts or omissions.  The protagonist is a counsellor – a psychologist – and offers this reflection during a counselling session:

Protagonist: “I’m constantly surprised by the number of clients I see who
disapprove of their kid’s values, yet have trouble detecting their own
influence in shaping them.  No wonder their kids are confused.”

We parents reap what we sow.  We are somewhat like gardeners – applying fertiliser when necessary and weeding away undesirable elements.  The quote in part captures a notion of how people are often quick to externalise a problem rather than grasping how internal influences are to blame.

If by act or omission we nurture a particular sexuality, then that sexuality may arise. Christian parents have a powerful aide at their side in the form of modelling – modelling a sound heterosexual relationship, ensuring that their children are fostered in a church that depicts other heterosexual relationships and honouring God by identifying how marriage is itself a model of what God has eternally established for the church.  Christian parents can also monitor and guide children’s external influences – internet browsing and television viewing.


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