Homosexuality and the Christian College Student

Team Members/Contributors

Christine J. Gardner Wheaton College Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

Homosexuality is one of the most critical issues facing the Christian church today. Our identity as sexual beings is central to our understanding of what it means to be human. And it is this identity that is dividing the church. Christian colleges once thought they were immune from the challenges posed by homosexuality because the private institutions require their students to agree to lifestyle expectations prohibiting sexual behavior. But recent events on campuses across the country have brought this issue to the forefront. This project examines the intersection of identity, agency, and spiritual formation among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Christian college students. How do the students negotiate their identity formation as both spiritual beings and sexual beings? I propose to conduct a rhetorical analysis of in-depth, open-ended interviews with students, alumni, faculty, and administrators at eight Christian colleges and universities. The consequences of inattention to this issue are significant for the church as a whole: At the extremes, Christian colleges may be forced to sacrifice their religious distinctiveness or they may risk alienating the very students they are called to serve. Love must win out, but what does this mean in the context of the Christian college?