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Posted 2/29/16 at 11:20 AM | Audra Jennings

A Parents’ Guide to Honest Discussions About Homosexuality

Critical Conversations by Tom Gilson

Parents of teens today may have a tougher job in front of them than parents of any other generation in recent history. While immorality has always existed, the Western world has never seen such a time of moral confusion, especially regarding sexuality, gender and the definition of marriage. To help parents cut through the lies and political correctness and find a way to impart truth to their teens, Tom Gilson has written Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents' Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens (Kregel/February 27, 2016/ISBN: 978-0825443961/$15.99).

This is one of the most complex issues Christians face today, and it’s rife with landmines. In Critical Conversations, Gilson describes the efforts by some to paint Christian beliefs as hateful, making many believers hesitant to speak truth for fear of being seen as homophobic. Even teens growing up in faith-filled homes can be suspicious of how Christians treat LGBT people. Gilson says this can separate them from their church, their parents and most importantly their belief in Christ.

With a foreword by Sean McDowell and endorsements from apologists including Alex McFarland, Critical Conversations is a dependable and highly practical guide that will help parents understand the history of this issue and its far-reaching cultural and spiritual implications. Gilson also uniquely provides clear but compassionate and biblical answers for two dozen anti-Christian objections, enabling parents to counter the questions teens face in the media or even with their classmates at school. Parents will be able to help equip their children with answers to popular arguments such as: “If you disagree with homosexuality, you’re a hater,” “You’re on the wrong side of history,” “The Bible doesn’t even mention gay marriage,” and many others.

Encouraging parents to avoid pat answers or the “Bible brush-off” of “The Bible says it. Believe it,” Gilson calls parents to take their teens seriously and do their homework. “If Mom or Dad will talk with them respectfully about this topic, they’ll know they’re being treated seriously,” Gilson advises. “If there are hard questions the parent can’t answer, that’s actually OK — as long as the parent stays in the process and seeks to uncover the right answer alongside the teen.”

The stakes couldn’t be higher for moms and dads, and despite it being what Gilson calls the “perfect storm” of awkward parent-child conversations, he believes with proper equipping, parents can navigate these crucial discussions, drawing their teens back into closer relationship with themselves and their family and giving them the confidence they need to stay connected with Christ and Christianity.

Learn more about more about Critical Conversations and Tom Gilson at or on Twitter (@ThnkngChristian).

About the author

Tom Gilson, author of Critical Conversations
Tom Gilson

Tom Gilson is the Senior Editor and Ministry Coordinator for the top conservative daily online news and insight website The Stream, and for years he’s interacted with those of differing viewpoints on his blog, Thinking Christian. A 36-year veteran of ministry leadership with Cru, BreakPoint and Ratio Christi, Gilson holds a Master’s degree in organizational psychology. He’s the author of Critical Conversations: A Christian Parents’ Guide to Discussing Homosexuality with Teens, as well as more than 150 articles found in publications such as Discipleship Journal, Touchstone Magazine and Salvo. He also served as the lead editor for True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism (Kregel). Gilson speaks regularly on topics relating to faith to national conference audiences.

When not studying or writing, he enjoys canoeing, sailing and long walks in the woods. He lives with wife, Sara, in Lebanon, Ohio. They have two college-aged children.

Keep up with Tom Gilson at or on Twitter (@ThnkngChristian).


Posted 2/23/16 at 5:59 PM | Trace Embry

3 Solutions to Negative Cultural Influences

Today’s culture tends to negatively influence our teens. Here are three practical solutions.

Picture provided by Emily Elisabeth Photography

What Your Teen Wears

How your teen dresses is important. An example, is paying more for name brands.

I know a young man who once boasted about all the money he had in his car’s fancy wheels and expensive sound system; yet, the car itself would barely run!

Like this car, how far will style, alone, take our kids? Let’s teach our kids the value of a substantive life and being good stewards of their God-given resources. Believe it or not, this will be invaluable to their future employers, neighbors, customers, and families.

Who Your Teen Dates

Is it wise to allow our teens to be alone in a car with the opposite sex? Allowing a teen boy and girl in the same car together, alone, is a bad idea. FULL POST

Posted 2/15/16 at 5:31 PM | Marianne Kurtz

The Period Chronicles Part II Volume II…whatever!

I found myself here again the past week. Blowing out of proportion things that are said, letting my imagination get away from me and even if not out loud, definitely in my head, accusing and mentally trying not to cuss out stupid people!

What qualifies as stupid people during this time?? EVERYONE who is not me! And the whole time thinking…God, please let my female vitamins come soon because feeling this way is stressing me out. Why does everyone want to piss me off right now??

Oh and I better not look in the mirror or try on any clothes right now…because then there will be hell to pay and it won’t matter if you came from my womb or the FedEx man dropped you off on my doorstep! You are all going to die if you say ONE WRONG WORD!

Well, my son who is in California, he did just that! He said the wrong thing and for days we would talk and could not get around this. I kept trying to see it in a different light, but it was not working. I did everything I knew I could do: FULL POST

Posted 2/6/16 at 8:46 PM | Marianne Kurtz

As I Find Myself...another piece

Never good enough. Never pretty enough. Never good enough!

Yep. I was bulimic. Yes. I guess I have experienced body dysmorphia, if you absolutely MUST give it a name, which I hate. And, yes. I am still walking this out. One thing that I found, that helped me more than anything, was asking God to show me what others saw, because I could never see it. I don’t know how the image in the mirror can be so completely distorted. But, I was a size 3 and when I would see something different in the mirror I would just think somehow…this is what a size 3 looks like. So, the clothes would fit…it’s really hard to explain. I have not talked to anyone but God about this…so I’m not sure what the “mainstream” diagnosis is. Obviously, not going to find that here!

The point is…that when I asked God to show me what others saw in me. Because, I had people tell me all the time how beautiful I was, how I had lost so much weight, and they would say these things and I would nod and smile. When I looked in the mirror…NOTHING what they would see. I saw a much larger body, a face with so many flaws…like my eyes would just float to the flaws and only to the flaws and my hair…well…actually my hair was pretty cool looking, for its day! FULL POST

Posted 2/6/16 at 6:05 PM | Marianne Kurtz

Did My Dog Replace My Son??

I thought my life would have gone so different.

I had this really great picture in my mind, I got the whole plan.

When my boys were young I made the decision to live single because I didn’t want a bunch of men in and out of my boys’ lives while I try and find the right one. I thought I would raise them and then right around the end of them being with me God would bring my man, delivered to my doorstep, and the boys would be happy and all is sound on the Kurtz home front.

Well, that is not at all how it has worked out.

My son joined the Navy, definitely not what I thought would happened when they were little and I made this great plan! My other son is still with me and I am very thankful for that and I am obviously still single. I am…mmmmm...mostly…content being single. I go through times, and there have been very long periods of time, when I enjoy being single and want to get my own place that has things that my boys can’t break or ruin by sleeping on my new yellow couch with a blue pen!!! And then there are times, they are usually shorter, that I long to be with the right man. But, this loneliness that is from so deep down within has NEVER lingered that long. FULL POST

Posted 2/6/16 at 2:27 PM | Veronica Philips

Duchess The Menace

Back Link: Princess, the first baby, was all natural, but after her birth, I developed complications with my Fallopian Tubes. Hence, both Sweetness and Duchess are IVF babies with very different journey's.

Riddle me this, how does an innocent, perfect, 3yr old angel, smuggle a bottle of hand lotion into her crib, without her parents seeing it, at bed time? Wait, there's more! How then, does she have the presence of mind to form INTENT, and wait until her parents are settled (I was not asleep, but Merrill was, just saying) then pull out said bottle of hand lotion, and commence to spreading it all over the crib, her body, her hair, her blankets, her pillows, THEN say, “Mommy, I yucky” . Yes baby. Yes you are.

Four years ago, as I lie on my back, in that horribly uncomfortable bed, I turned my head to Merrill sitting in the corner of the room, and with tears forming in the corner of my eyes I simply said to him, “It is what it is” . The road to that bed, in that room, had been a long, painful, emotional journey, but we were done. Well, Merrill was done. I, for whatever reason, was hell bent on self-destruction, at all costs. He wasn't going to watch my journey of destruction anymore. He just wasn't, because as a man he should be able to fix me, protect me, make me stop crying, but alas, he couldn't. He was just as helpless as I was, and he didn't understand why I was so focused on destroying myself. We KNEW that the consequence of FAILURE was going to be the mind numbing, crushing blow to my Spirit. “After this, we're DONE, right?” he asked me on night through tears. ” Yes, Doll, we'll be finished. I promise". When I finally, in defeat conceded to his authority, he agreed to the injections, the hormones, and the mood swings. All that went through my head, as I lie on that bed and looked over to him. The realization of the finality of this situation, had just happened settled in, and I wept, because either way, the search was over. Forever! FULL POST

Posted 2/2/16 at 6:14 AM | Marianne Kurtz

It's Never Too Late To Teach

It's never too late to teach it's never too late to train.

I have always taught my kids that just because we didn't have enough to get what they wanted or do what they want as a kid does not mean hey have to stop striving towards that.

My older son always wanted karate but with my work schedule and the financial status of our life, I could never do it for him. But what makes only what I can do for him his only option? Totally doesn't! He still has his whole life!

So, listen do your best, don't feel "the Jone's" pressure.Teach your kids that it's never too late. It's never too late to learn karate, to learn to skate, to take voice lessons, piano lessons, to have a dog (I got my first dog at age 43!), and it's never too late in life to learn anything new! We should always strive to do more, learn more, be more.

When I am teaching them it's never too late I also include how the mistakes they make today and the decision they think they are old enough to make...well, they aren't! I mean, scientifically people! Our kids decision making faculties of their brains aren't even fully mature until AT LEAST 25!! And that's for the quick developing. So, get married, have babies, leave the scene of an accident (oh! That's just the decision that two members of my family made that are now living with me-not because of that-remember household change thing that happened), anyway! Any big decisions should always be run through an adult...just to have a sound mind to talk things through with. A mature mind! FULL POST

Posted 1/26/16 at 9:46 AM | Marianne Kurtz

Stand Up For What You Believe In

It's easy to say what you believe in behind closed doors but what about when you are out in public. As the world gets louder about what they believe in it's time that Christians and parents who believe in spanking, (not beating their kids) controlled discipline, speak up for what the Bible says.

Too many opinions about it not being the correct way to discipline! It is the Christian way and IT does work when consistent and not done in anger. As Christians we cannot just sit back and watch the world tell us how to raise our children when the answer lies in the Word not the world.

The problem has been not being consistent which in turn leads to anger in discipline and that is where the problem begins because then you get mad and see red. Don't beat them down with words or an object or your hands, Train them up in peace, love and the rod of correction - Most call this the paddle! ! It is better to walk away and take a breather from any situation if you are angry and get over it before dealing with it...disciplining children should be no different. Walk away for a moment; don't keep saying stupid stuff and expect things to not blow up in your face. Take a moment, get over it, think reasonably and then deal with it in peace. If you spank in anger you impart anger; spank in peace and surety that you know "Spare the Rod..." then you impart peace. It works! FULL POST

Posted 1/19/16 at 10:32 AM | Marianne Kurtz

Child Training Begins Right Here

I really have no other way of beginning the training then by sharing some of my own scenarios and then later explaining how they played out. I already told you about the Barney show and how I trained Jacob to answer when I called him no matter what he was doing. I do think I need to elaborate at bit more on that subject. You will learn by experience that what I am about to tell you will happen in many areas and when it does you’ll think, ‘I read this in that parenting blog and I am NOT going to get frustrated, I’m just going to continue being consistent because she said this would happen.’ It’s ok you can laugh out loud (LOL) at that especially when it happens.

We got through the initial ‘Barney training’ ( but that was not all there was to it because for some reason answering when I called him it suddenly did not apply to when he was playing so I had to run the whole training again. In the time following it would happen about once in each situation however, not for his brother growing up seeing Jacob get spanked for this he just knew, plus I taught them to warn each other to listen so they won’t get spanked. They were not allowed to be happy about the other getting spanked or they would both get spanked. Our saying from the word of God was, “Am I my brother’s keeper? YES” Eventually the answering when I call became answering, “Coming” and get up and come to me because I soon found out that just answering led to more loud communication like, “Come here” and they would answer, “What?” and so and so forth. Needless to say I had to evolve the training to what suited our lives. FULL POST

Posted 1/12/16 at 2:01 PM | Marianne Kurtz

Momentary Loss of Vision

It gets easier, at least he’s not dead, etc…all the stupid things that people say when your kid joins the military. All of this is true but please don’t say these things to a mom who just sent her child into the military. I know we’ve learned the “rules” about when someone dies but I can testify that the feelings you feel when your child joins the military are like the experience of death. Saying these things do not help and they don’t make it feel better they actually make you feel like you are losing your mind or so different from other people that there is something wrong with you…that would be how I thought anyway. And although they might be true, does not mean they should be said.

I didn’t do the research about this “empty nest syndrome” and I didn’t even once think I might ever go through it and I do still have one son at home (and the two that now stay with me) so I don’t know what is out there to be said by others. But, what I do know is what I felt. Let’s just be clear that I am doing much better now. My son left for San Diego last Thursday and I only melted into my bed for that night and ½ of the next day…that is better. I did allow myself that time…no one would want to be seen without a smile on their face, right?? I’m Just saying that I had a really hard time when my son left. GOT IT? FULL POST

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