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Staying Afloat on the Sea of Terminology

As both a parent and mentor, I’ve been reading up, asking questions, and wrestling out conversational touch points regarding sexuality, the gender unicorn and cultural feeds like, “love is love”. I’ve talked to a number of parents wanting to compassionately engage their teens about issues of sexuality and gender, but who feel like they’re drowning in a sea of progressive terminology. I confess, I often have similar feelings. A few basic truths continue to make me brave.

The first is, “love is not love”, as much as cultural individualism seeks to blur distinctions. Distinction is our reality. We were created male and female in the image of God, under the authority of God, and because of His love. God’s love exists in four unique forms: Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape, and are characterized by romantic love, family love, brotherly love and God’s divine love.

Romantic love is only one type of love and our attractions don’t represent a single option of expressing deep affection for others. No one kind of love should fully drive or define us. Each form is beautiful and serves an assigned, appropriate purpose in our relationships according to God's design.

Secondly, labels can significantly influence who we become. For some, the struggle against superficial stereotypes is real, and it often stifles the creative brilliance that God has instilled in each of us. I want to celebrate the unique strengths and personal charm of my children, and yours.

Thirdly, bearing each other’s burdens with compassion and hope is so important. In Christ, the ultimate goal isn’t to be 'straight' or 'not straight', but to live a life that is Holy. Imagine if our top prayer then, is that God be gracious in allowing each person to be so captivated by Jesus, that each will be compelled to please Him above anything else.

Here's a final encouragement for you and for me, as we may tread deep waters.

“Sometimes what is best for us includes challenges, even consistent sin temptations, because God designed us to be refined and strengthened by persevering during challenging times.” -Kathy Koch “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

AmyJo Pleune

Director of Church Engagement


Healthy conversations with your teen: 


Blog Goal:The Talk With Your Teen blog encourages and equips Christian parents to have consistent, open, and meaningful conversations with their teenagers about relational and sexual health.


About us: This blog is hosted by The Joshua Center from Positive Options. The Joshua Center exists to mobilize the body of Christ to embody the Gospel as we build a culture of life in West Michigan.


Parenting teens can be challenging. We offer Biblically based social and sexual health workshops that help ground teens in God's truth and authority as they navigate a hypersexual and rapidly evolving culture focused on individualism and self-gratification. Talk with your Teen articles expand and build on these trainings by encouraging and equipping Christian parents to have ongoing conversations with their teens regarding sensitive cultural issues. For more information about our workshops, for both teens and their parents, please email

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