In Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk, Brad Hambrick hopes to aid Christians in developing genuine friendships with those inside and outside of the church experiencing same-sex attraction (SSA). Hambrick first tackles the many shortcomings that he believes Christians often commit in our attempt to communicate our beliefs. One such issue that the author observes is how we turn the conversation into arguments or debates in which one side or the other must win. However, Hambrick argues that Christians should be intent on forming fruitful friendships so that both sides can candidly voice their opinions without the feelings of guilt, shame, or disappointment. To do this, Hambrick suggests a helpful framework in understanding the differences between SSA, gay identity (GI), and homosexual behaviour (HB). The author contends that feelings of SSA by themselves are not unlike thoughts that we have when tempted towards pornography and stealing. Instead of immediately condemning all who exhibit SSA as sinners, we are to establish safe relationships where we encounter the individual as a person to care for and not a problem to fix. Another point that Hambrick raises is that churches need to rethink their approach in ministering to those with struggles of which SSA is one that is not often discussed. Many times, our strategies gravitate towards either putting them into support groups or ignoring the challenges that the struggler is facing. On the contrary, Hambrick insists that churches should be genuine, caring communities where we genuinely engage in a person’s history, interests, and passions instead of solely focusing on their weaknesses as problems to be rectified. Of course, the author does not downplay every sinner’s need for the gospel but he highlights the importance of creating a welcoming and nurturing environment in which those with SSA can openly discuss their struggles. The last part of the book is very practical and outlines useful approaches that Christians can take when conducting conversations with Christians and non-Christians who experience SSA.
I would recommend this book to Christians in all walks of life as this topic is highly relevant to our times. With the rapidly changing views society has towards gender and sexuality, many Christians are at a loss in how to lovingly caring for those who struggle with SSA while maintaining our beliefs. We have often dealt with these issues by either taking an argumentative stance or choosing to remain silent. Hambrick encourages Christians to boldly stand for what the Bible teaches while being gentle, caring, and sincere to believers and non-believers alike. This book enabled me to gain valuable knowledge and ideas on how to engage in constructive conversations instead of simply avoiding sensitive issues for the sake of not appearing offensive or argumentative. All Christians, regardless of our different struggles, have been saved by Christ who died for us so that we can die to sin and be alive to God. Instead of trying to win the debate every single time, let us aim to build friendships that are genuine and nurturing while also proclaiming the gospel truth to all, including ourselves, who need it.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Cruciform Press.