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Archive for July, 2014

I Stand With Others to Oppose Sexual Conversion Therapy

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

JohnSmidPensiveB&W#1I was involved in Love In Action for twenty-two years and served on the board for Exodus International for eleven of those years. I entered the ministry with the hope that as self proclaimed experts in their field, they could help me to eradicate homosexuality from my life. It was my belief that somehow through those that ascribed to being professionals in conversion therapy, they would have the answer for my search to find what they said was “freedom from homosexuality.

What I found was further shame and an ongoing message that I needed “healing” from “issues” that may have led me to be gay to begin with. So, after leaving ExGay ministry I have finally come to see that being gay is not something that I need healing from. Rather is is something I needed to accept about my life and embrace the truth. It has been in embracing this truth that I have finally feel the best emotionally and psychologically that I have ever felt in my life. I am more emotionally stable than I’ve ever been. I believe in myself, have tremendously decreased anxiety and I have a far more balanced sense of my whole being than ever.

Through my attempt to gain the healing I believed I needed, I was told that I had an intimacy disorder, that I struggled with misogyny, and that my wounded childhood caused me to have unmet emotional and psychological needs that I used to somehow attempt to repair my same sex deficit. The anxiety that I lived in while I believed I was sick and needed healing was an underlying reality for all of the years I embraced ExGay thinking.

I came to realize that Sexual Conversion Therapy was at the core of my imbalances and anxiety. It contained the message that I was sick, unhealthy, imbalanced, and that I needed healing for sexual brokenness. This was at the core of the anxiety and shame filled thinking that plagued my every day life. I have found it interesting, if not amazing, that today as I’ve accepted myself as a gay man I no longer struggle with any signs of an intimacy disorder, nor the psychological imbalances that I experienced all through those years. I no longer expend the internal energy attempting to cover up the shame that seemed to be a predominant factor in my life. I’m no longer wishing I would die early so as to not have to live in the pain of a broken life that seemed to never be healed.

I am a free man as Christ promises we can be through a relationship with Him!

For this reason personally as well for all of those who have had similar circumstances I stand with this group of nine others in a public statement against Sexual Conversion Therapy (and other terms for it such as Reparative Therapy).

This is our public statement:

Former Ex-Gay Leaders Unite in Opposition to Conversion Therapy

BuzzFeed did an exclusive article about our statement. (click here for article)

Another post by Daniel Gonzales (click here for article)


Conflicting Message with the Word “Change”

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

I saw a link to an interview with Jackie Hill, a professed Ex-Lesbian. It’s titled “Ex-lesbian Spoken Word Poet Slams Macklemore’s Anthem ‘Same Love’ for Claiming Gays Can’t Change.” I was quite disturbed because of the message of eternal damnation for homosexuality, and the mixed messages about the concept of change.

In the lyrics of Macklemore’s song he says:

I Cant Change And I can’t change

Even if I tried

Even if I wanted to

And I can’t change

Even if I tried

Even if I wanted to

Macklemore’s  lyrics communicate the plight that so many have lived as they’ve tried their hardest and in faith, to change their sexual orientation.

For over twenty-five years I heard and taught the message “you can change” in connection to homosexuality. Thousands of people were deceived including myself due to an unclear message of what the word change means. Many, if not most us believed it meant we could experience an eradication of our homosexual desires. We were taught God could to anything, and if we believed in faith, God just might give us our miracle. So, we desperately sought to find changes in our sexual orientation. I believed that I would experience a damaged relationship with God if I didn’t find the change I looked for. I sought deliverance, counseling, prayer healing, and I spent $30,000 and invested most of my adult life seeking this kind of change. I found no change at all.

Very often the motives for people like me to experience such desperation was a theology that taught that someone who was homosexual would die an eternal death at the hand of God’s righteous judgment for what we called homosexual sin. I believe this theology is fraught with problems. If that were true, then habitual gossips, slanderers, and others would also find their eternity in jeopardy.

Jackie says in her article, “she saw that she “deserved Hell” for her lifestyle” She then goes on to say, “If God chooses not to change my desires, he has promised to give me his Holy Spirit that will help me flee from them.”

“I actually started to consider hell in exchange for her being my wifey,” Hill said in her poem. “Then one day the Lord spoke to me. He said, ‘She will be the death of you.’”

Jackie seems to believe she will lose her eternity because of being actively gay. It appears that her motivation to suppress her lesbianism is due to that intense fear. And yet, she has not found the changes that she says can occur and “slams Macklemore’s anthem ‘Same Love’ for claiming gays can’t change.” This is deceiving, and for some who experience homosexuality, it is potentially dangerous to their relationship with God because it conveys that someone can change their sexual orientation and yet Jackie speaks in her article as though she herself has not experienced that change.

This message also sends parents and loved ones into spiritual tailspins in fear that their children will also go to hell if they don’t change. This theology therefore beings destruction to the relationships between gay people and those they love because they fear hell for them.

The truth is people do not change their sexual orientation. Jackie has not. God does not condemn anyone to hell for being gay, or even for having a gay relationship. Jackie believes that could happen. People can make choices as to how they will respond to being gay. They may choose, as Jackie did, to live a celibate life. But let’s not call that change. I call that personal choice. God will not abandon us no matter what is chosen. Neither will He abandon any of us for our actions.

I hope that at some point, Jackie will find the true freedom within  God’s intense love for her and that she will find freedom from shame and fear that God will snuff her out if she doesn’t act right.


The Rainbow and the LGBT Community

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Double-rainbowYears ago when I was a leader within the ExGay community  I was offended when I saw that the gay community had taken the rainbow as their symbol for pride. I believed they were mocking God by taking the promise from Genesis 9:13 to represent the LGBT community. I remember being at a Focus on the Family Love Won Out event and an exhibitor hung rainbow flags and wind socks on their booth. We went to the event coordinator and asked them to have them removed. We believed they would offend our audience. I believed the sign of the rainbow for the LGBT community to be arrogant.

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

I was arrogant, and selfish in my desire to possess the rainbow for only those I believed deserved it. I wanted to take it away from the LGBT community as though I didn’t want them to have any of the hope that I thought was only mine, only for those who’s lives met my standards under the assumption that they were exactly like God’s.

Recently I saw a FaceBook post that said:

“Rainbows are an illusion . . .refracted light to make us think something is there that is not . . . is that why it was chosen to be the symbol of homosexuality?”

I found my offense today to be a different sort. The notion that homosexuality is an illusion diminishes my life’s experience, my intimate sexuality and an entire community. It intimates that we are liars and that our experiences are void, null, and of no truth. These kinds of assumptions are seen all around us as many people would want to erase the LGBT community  and call us an illusion.

Frankly I have another question. I wonder if the LGBT community isn’t as encouraged, or even more encouraged about God’s promises? Throughout our recent history LGBT people have been mocked, shamed, abused, even murdered just because we do exist. I think there is a tremendous desire amongst LGBT people to know God’s love and to better grasp the way the Jesus has shown us He can relate to our experiences with discrimination and the ways we have been abused.

Why would the rainbow symbol be something that those within the LGBT community cannot use as our own symbol of hope? Why can’t we hold on to the promises of God so deeply that we’ve made the rainbow a symbolic covering over our entire community? Why would anyone want to rob us of the same promises that are available for everyone? When we see the rainbow in the clouds, it may be a refractory illusion, but in our hearts it’s a reality of God’s tremendous love for us and his promises of a redeemed life now, and in the future.

For me, it is not an illusion.  I believe that those who have known discrimination and abuse have learned to grasp on to the grace of God as much or more than others. I believe that the rainbow for the LGBT community is rather, a reality of our trust in God’s tremendous gift of forgiveness and redemption.

Rainbow Unity LogoFor this reason, I hold on the rainbow not as thought its not, but because it is the tangible sign for me that God’s love is here, available, and I receive it every day. Can we all unify underneath the rainbow knowing that God’s love is for everyone? Isn’t it really a wonderful thing to see the rainbow hover over those God loves? Why would anyone want to take that away?