In this thoughtful and thought-provoking book, Jeanette Howard takes readers Into the Promised Land: Beyond the Lesbian Struggle. Taking a firmly scriptural position, she encourages Christians who struggle with lesbian attraction to enter fully into God's promises. She bases her teachings on the journeys of Israel into the Promised Land. Howard had assumed when she became a Christian that God would take away her homosexual attractions, that she would marry, and have children. He has not done that. Instead she has embraced her celibacy in obedience to Scripture, in order to further her walk with Christ. Her struggles with homosexuality and depression have given her an uncommon spiritual depth.
Though directed at Christians struggling with lesbianism, much of the book applies to any temptation--sexual or non-sexual.
Because the first chapter is cool and didactic, readers should persevere into the second or third chapters which warm. Howard is a crisp writer with a penchant for strong analogies and illustrations. Her chapters on our weaknesses and on friendship dependency empower the reader to see God's strengths in a new way. She shares her struggles and temptation.
Chapter eleven marks a change of direction, as she leaves the teachings on entering the Promised Land. She addresses problems directly related to temptations to lesbianism, such as loneliness, beliefs about the sources of sexual orientation, importance of celibacy and the stresses of churches' teaching marriage for all people, lost dreams, the importance of good touch, and the supremacy of godly love. She includes a bibliography.
Into the Promised Land is a good source for those who want to minister to homosexuals and befriend those who struggle with homosexuality, but it still leaves many practical questions. Perhaps Jeanette Howard will write another book directed to us who would like to help and encourage our sisters and brothers in their struggles but who don't know how.
Once toward the end of the book she mentions an "unyielding right wing (that) overlooks mercy and grace in their pursuit of righteousness." (p. 196) Some of us could use help in that department. With the foisting of promiscuity and homosexuality onto American school children, homosexuals become our enemies. We tend to compartmentalize all homosexuals, even those who struggle to obey God, into an enemy camp. Rather than encouraging our brothers and sisters in the Lord to overcome temptation, we fear being tainted by their sin instead of recognizing our own. – Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
But fearing the response of God's people should not be one of the trials we persevere under. I long for an open and transparent church where we not only welcome the sinner from afar, but also embrace him or her as one of "us". I long to hear admissions of perseverance under difficulty, grace through temptation, and restoration after failure from those in leadership so that we, the average churchgoer, can empathise and be encouraged on our own pilgrimage. (p. 196)
It’s one thing to say homosexuality is wrong, but it is far more difficult to leave it behind. In this sequel to Out of Egypt, Jeanette Howard describes her struggle to live out her decision—despite the relentless pressures of friends and culture. Each successful step into God’s “promised land” comes at the cost of daily battles with enemies of the soul she knows all too well.