Reflections on Dr. Yarhouse’s Visit
By Asia Weimer
A few weeks ago, Dr. Mark Yarhouse visited campus to share his research regarding gender dysphoria and LGBTQ students on Christian college campuses. He posed thought-provoking questions regarding how campuses should respond to gender and sexuality differences and how they can create safe spaces for discussion and self-discovery.
The relevance of Yarhouse’s research cannot be overstated. If you’re a business major, this will be the journey of many of your clients. If you’re an education major, this may be the journey of some of your future students. And if you’ve had family members, friends, or others close to you who have wrestled with these subjects, then you know first-hand the relevance of what Yarhouse covered.
This is undoubtedly something we’ve heard before; we must love our neighbors. But what does this actually look like in real life? For me, the journey of loving individuals starts with realizing I have nothing to lose by hearing what someone else thinks, believes and feels, but instead, so much to gain. Coming from a place of humility and kindness makes it a lot easier to listen to the journeys, hurts and triumphs of others.
I think as believers we fear that listening to or being around those we disagree with is a compromise of our own convictions. But instead, these times should be moments that encourage us to grow in knowledge of others, in empathy, and in understanding of how Christ saw others. Jesus saw everyone and chose to be with them regardless of who they were, pointing them with love and gentleness towards the Father; we should do the same.
Practically speaking, Yarhouse encouraged me to be more intentional in looking for common ground. I’ve been encouraged to become better at pressing in to difficult conversations on sexuality and gender, and I’ve been gently urged to give others the space to talk about their stories. I know that this kind of space is created by being gracious and slow to speak with my words and my actions.