Until recently, my plan for talking with my children about sexuality followed a linear approach. Introduce the basics, I thought. Help them understand their bodies and the fundamentals of God’s design for sex within marriage, and then slowly move toward discussing topics such as same-sex attraction, gay marriage, or transgender identity. (In my mind, “slowly” meant years down the road.)

Today’s culture, however, has altered that trajectory for me and many other moms I know. Amid quickly changing laws and norms pertaining to sexuality and relationships, a strictly linear mindset is no longer realistic. Depending on the age of our kids, many of us find ourselves needing to discuss both the basics and the more complex issues simultaneously.

This is no small task, especially when so many of us as adults are trying to navigate the shifting sand ourselves. We don’t want to get these conversations wrong. Deep love, kindness, and respect for all people—who bear God’s image—must accompany any concepts or convictions I attempt to relay to my children. Where else will they spend more time learning how to love and view people through a gospel lens (or not) than at home? These discussions ultimately are not about issues, but people—many who’ve been hurt, shunned, or altogether rejected by the church. Real people, real pain, real families.

Traveling this road well will be a challenging spiritual practice for me as a mom and also for my three kids, ages 4, 8, and 11. Yet it will also provide a wonderful opportunity and one that today’s cultural issues prod us to embrace. As Ron Sider expressed on ChristianityToday.com: We are “being compelled to examine our beliefs and ...

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