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Was Love In Action Double Minded?

Monday, February 18th, 2019


double


Since the film “Boy Erased” has been released I have had many conversations with people who were involved with Love In Action, the ExGay ministry that is the focus of the film. I’ve read quite a few comments that have questioned whether or not the film was an accurate portrayal of the ministry that I led for over 20 years. There are those who are critics, saying that the film maligned the ministry and others who felt the film wasn’t strong enough against the organization.


The film shows a strong, loud leader and many forms of abuse of clients. It’s easy to be angry about the negative portrayal of Love In Action based on the overt extremes of the film. But honestly, this was not Love In Action’s personality, or reality.


I can say, though, that the harm done through Love In action is far more difficult to pin down because it’s much more covert. Love In Action portrayed outcomes and theories that were filled with mixed messages.


Why is there such a disparity? Why are there such a variety of reactions? I’d say because at the core, Love In Action sent mixed messages through its public image, the teaching materials and lectures, and the literature we produced.


I read a comment from someone who has a close loved one who went through the men’s residential program. She had attended some weekend conferences in support of her friend. She said, “Love In Action never portrayed that they were intending on changing someone’s sexual orientation but rather, they offered tools for people who were making the decision to not act upon their homosexual desires.”


Throughout the years I read headlines in newspapers, magazines, and video media saying “Love In Action, Praying away the Gay!” Churches supported Love In Action having the expectation that men and women were finding “freedom from homosexuality.” Financial supporters often asked us what our success rate was. Program clients came to the program with mixed expectations, hopes and dreams that their struggle with homosexuality would be gone through their application of the materials and principles they’d find in their program.


JohnSmidPensiveB&W#1I’ve taken a look at the teachings and messages that may have been conveyed in conferences and lectures. My findings reveal that honestly, Love In Action did convey a double message with little clarity for what the outcomes really were to be.


First of all, it was common to see in our materials the statement, “Finding Freedom From Homosexuality through Jesus Christ.” The word, freedom, itself is nebulous. What does freedom mean? What do people hear when they see it? What did we mean when we made it a mantra? There is room for a wide reaction, everything from total deliverance from homosexual desires to a freedom to make choices on how someone responds to their desires.


Frank Worthen, the ministry’s founder began the ministry with a recorded testimony titled “The Brother Frank Testimony, Let Jesus break the chains of homosexuality.” This would convey that there could be a dramatic change from compulsive homosexuality to something different. But what would that look like? What would ones’ life be like if Jesus broke the chains of homosexuality?


Some of our lecture topics were; The Essence of Change: Obedience; Tools for Overcoming Homosexuality; and Tracking the Change Process. These topics can definitely convey that people will find significant changes in their homosexual orientation.


We had a class topic of “Masculinity and Femininity” where we’d flesh out the differences in traditional roles, manifestations and stereotypes. I remember teaching that there was a spectrum that people would see and experience. I tried hard to negate the potential of shame from a man being more feminine or a woman being more masculine along those lines. And yet, there were clients that would come away with the understanding that we taught people to live within a physical stereotype! Maybe this is because our rules didn’t allow women to wear plaid shirts, or men to wear pink pants! Once again we conveyed a double mind, and a mixed message about these stereotypes.


Many others have said, “I never heard anyone say at Love In Action that our sexual orientation would change. As a matter of fact, I often heard that we would experience homosexual temptations for the rest of our lives.” I remember saying many times that I still had homosexual attractions. I shared my own personal story of how my sexual orientation had not changed. It was my desire to be as authentic as I could be. But I also said that someone could experience an attraction to someone of the opposite sex and that a fulfilling heterosexual marriage was possible. This could easily say that someone could in fact experience a change in his or her sexual orientation. Even though in my own marriage I had no heterosexual attraction for my wife at all!


In the 1990’s, there was an increased emphasis in the network of ExGay ministries on how the child development process impacted sexual development and potentially caused homosexuality. Frank Worthen often taught on how a man’s overt curiosity of his own gender during adolescence could create a same sex attraction. There were leaders within the Exodus ministry network that believed if it was caused by a broken development that God could heal that brokenness and initiate the development process to completion where a heterosexual desire would be the result. If wounds or pain caused it or a disjointed family relationship then the belief was that healing could bring a complete orientation change through prayer, counsel, and obedience to God’s will.


I taught child development theories in almost every program and conference. I believed in those theories. I believed that homosexuality was often caused by a broken development cycle. In this teaching it could easily be accepted that parents could in fact cause their kids to end up being gay if they didn’t raise them in a healthy and balanced family life. And yet, when addressing parents, I’d say emphatically, “Don’t pride yourself too much, you do not have enough power to create a gay child. It’s not your fault that your child is gay.” Talk about mixed messages! This is clearly a double mind. What in fact did I really believe? It’s no surprise that many parents were grief stricken, and wrapped up in shame.


Some ExGay ministries focused much of their energy on “Inner Healing Prayer.” This was a practice based on the belief that God could do a great work inside a person’s soul that would free them from the bondages of homosexuality. Sometimes it included a thorough evaluation of a person’s genogram, a study of their family history. Breaking family curses or patterns of behavior was believed to bring freedom from the negative patterns in a person’s life today. Again, it was believed that through inner healing prayer, God could do the deeper work of changing a person’s sexual orientation.


Most ExGay ministries, Love In Action included, believed that if it was caused by sin, brokenness, or painful experiences then God could heal those experiences and forgiveness would follow. This would then open up the door for a natural growth progression bringing a person to a new healthier sexuality. And yet, throughout the decades of experience with gay men and women, I’ve never heard of one who made that transition from gay to straight! If our theories were correct, I’d think we see not just one, but many who found this kind of transformation. “You can change!!!” but none we know of ever have.


Throughout my experience with Love In Action I avoided the questions on success. I’d say things like, “Well, when people leave our program they are most often closer to God than when they came. I’d say that’s success!” I knew that we had not seen any change in anyone’s sexual orientation. I knew that our success did not lie in eradicating homosexuality from the lives of our program clients. But in my denial, it was very hard for me to truly admit that, or even think it. I continued to hold out hope that we’d see the miracle! We couldn’t lose that hope. Along with our board and staff, we’d most often attribute a lack of personal success in a client’s life to a lack of application of the tools, or a lack of obedience to God. We certainly didn’t accept the limitations of our programs. We did not take responsibility for our double-mindedness or our mixed messages. We did not do a thorough evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. We did not consider that a VERY high number of men and women ended up right back where they started before the program and often times even more wounded.


We made the assumption that personal bitterness and rebellion created a negative reaction to the program in those who spoke negatively about their experience. And yet, we also taught Family Systems theories in our programs and conferences. I remember very often saying, “Listen to the Scape Goat in the family system. They are most often the ones that point out the underlying truth and they draw attention to the Pink Elephant in the middle of the living room.” And yet, we didn’t listen to the program critics for a valid message about the lack of effectiveness of the program’s outcome.


It’s often heard that God cannot love LGBT people and that they may end up in hell if they don’t repent. I’ve personally never believed that anyone would go to hell for his or her actions and during my time at Love In Action, I’d often share my thoughts on that topic. But, there are doctrines and religious denominations that preach that someone could go to hell for being gay. There are many LiA clients who came into the program motivated by their fear of hell if they didn’t change. It was not rare that parents believed their kids would go to hell if they didn’t fully repent of their homosexuality. The disparity that lay within these conflictive doctrines was hard to navigate and no matter what we said in our program lectures about this, there were always some who would be more impacted by their church pastor’s opinion, or their parents fears. It’s a fairly common conservative Christian doctrine that people lose God’s favor if they live an active homosexual life. This is something that we taught.


It was my belief during those years that homosexuality had the power to cause spiritual or even physical death! We truly thought we were fighting for the lives of those who came to us. We took this very seriously and these fears impacted the things we taught. They affected our ability to rationally think through what people heard from our messages.


Personally, I was afraid to hear the truth about the outcomes of our program. I invested most of my adult life into the program. I heard many good things from some participants and put my focus on them. Yes, there were things that people learned that really helped them to discover a healthier life. Personal honestly about their behaviors was very helpful for them. Family Systems theories taught at Family Weekend conferences helped many to find reconciliation and forgiveness for each other. Yes, parents discovered ways for them to love their children who were gay. In the midst of the double messages, there were nuggets of truth and help.


There are men and women who chose to marry the opposite sex. Many of them have children today and say they are living a fulfilled life! I admit that there is also an element of bi-sexuality that can be true for some. This would allow for some to experience satisfying opposite sex marriage. But from my experience this is not a manifestation of change from gay to straight, but rather evidence of a sexual continuum in humanity. I also know those who married with the hope that God would bring about the healing they desired, only to discover that to never occur ending up in a tremendously painful reality to navigate. Many of those who chose to marry the opposite sex ended up in terribly personal conflicts and the marriages ended up on divorce. Frankly, only a very few have appeared to be successful.


Was Love In Action double minded? I’d have to say absolutely, yes. Our double mindedness caused many personal conflicts and a lot of painful outcomes. I’m not sure what would have happened if we’d been able to be completely honest and present a consistent message. No doubt, the program would have been smaller, and we’d not have been nearly as successful in our fund raising efforts! But maybe less harm wound have been done.


 

Parents, you are NOT the cause of your children’s homosexuality!!!!!

Thursday, January 19th, 2017


JohnSmidPensiveB&W#1I just saw a post that there is an upcoming one day conference in Arkansas stating its for people struggling with same sex attractions and their parents. They say they will answer questions for pastors, leaders, and parents. The brochure states these questions for parents:


What could we have done differently?

What did we do wrong?

How did this happen and why didn’t I see it sooner?


For over two decades I taught that homosexuality was developed based on life experience and poor parental relationships. Several years ago I discovered I was wrong, dead wrong. I evaluated my experience and was shocked, and ashamed that what I had believed, and taught for over 20 years was deceptive and caused tremendous harm in the lives of LBGT people as well as their families. This teaching added to the shame parents already felt about having gay kids and very often created an even wider chasm between them and their children.


Several years ago a former client of Love In Action told me that after his mother died his dad gave him a letter she’d written to him before her death. In it she said, “I’m so sorry I was such a bad mother.” The depth of his pain was great and he realized she was referring to what she’d believed about him being gay and the role she thought she’d played in causing it. Story after story of broken family relationships have come from this false teaching. I’m not sure I know of any positive effects from parents believing their parental relationships with their kids caused them to be gay. Time and time again, I’ve heard LGBT people trying to tell their parents they didn’t cause this and in far too many cases the parents have believed their pastor’s sermons and other Christian literature over the heart of their child.


I’d like to quote from one of my friends’ story:


“When I came out to my parents in 2003 as someone who “struggled with same sex attractions” as I began participating in an intensive weekly support / recovery program, I told my parents not to blame themselves; however, as I went through that program and as I read a ton of books afterwards, I found myself desiring a closer relationship with my father (a good thing) and found myself distancing myself from my mother (a bad thing) because I subconsciously believed that my relationships with my parents had some sort of impact on  me having same sex attractions. So I was doing whatever I thought necessary in order to “meet those unmet emotional needs that caused me to be attracted to my own gender.”


As I began accepting the fact that I am gay in 2012, and after reading “The Velvet Rage”, by Alan Downs, I began to see that I had the type of relationship with my parents that I did growing up *because* I AM gay. They didn’t know about my growing same gender attractions, but they were relating to me the best way they knew how as the parents of a gay son. The ex-gay world taught me the opposite; that I was “attracted to men” because of the type of relationship I had with my parents. Coming to this new realization was life-changing and life-giving to me.”


Thankfully, his story has a good ending as far as his relationships with his parents goes. But not all end up well, and certainly not without the pain they all endured during the time they believed homosexuality was developed from bad family relationships.


Questions like the ones promoted by this upcoming conference do nothing but add to the misbeliefs. Regardless of how this conference handles those questions, bringing them up smack in the face of every parent who hasn’t gotten free from the shame and guilt.


I’m FURIOUS that this harmful deception continues today in 2017!!!!


Exodus International, a very large coalition of ExGay ministries, shut down several years ago. As they evaluated the success and failures of the 40 year run of the ministry they realized that no one had changed their sexual orientation and that many, if not most, were struggling with their faith, their sexuality, and their family relationships. The leaders, including myself,  now spend a tremendous amount of time apologizing and making amends for our part in promoting the lie of child development theories.


Rob and Linda Robertson, parents of a gay son, created a documentary, Just Because He Breathes, about how ExGay theories and child development causation of homosexuality led to the untimely death of their son. He had believed he had shamed his parents and the division in their relationships led him to self medicate through chemical addictions and he passed away from the effects.  Rob and Linda went through a hellish evaluation of their family relationships and have now come to realize their son was gay, period. Their story is a glaring example of the extremely harmful results of this shame-based teaching.


A couple of years before their son passed away they attended an Exodus conference where there was a strong emphasis on youth. While the young kids were meeting with the leaders I met with the parents in a space just outside the door to the auditorium where their kids were hearing lectures. When I met them again recently, my heart dropped realizing that I was in part responsible for their false beliefs about the development of their son’s homosexuality. This stuff is extremely dangerous!


I’ve known parents who have separated from their LBGT kids as a result of religious based teaching that they needed to see the harm of homosexuality and practice tough love and stringent boundaries with their kids. Thousands of LGBT youth have become homeless from the division with their parents, arguing, fighting, and alienation. LGBT youth shelters have risen up all over the country in an attempt to meet the needs of the homeless teens who are gay.


I’ve personally attended over 35 conferences produced by Focus on the Family called Love Won Out. These conferences promoted the deception that people can see change in their sexual orientation, taught child development theories on the causation of homosexuality and scared people into believing that there is a homosexual agenda that is attempting to breed into our school system. Each conference had an attendance of over 800 – 1000 people primarily comprised of parents. The oceans of tears from the audience did not appear to come from hope, rather it was a manifestation of the grief producing teaching that came from the facilitators of this horrific display of false doctrines and theories.  For several years I helped facilitate the Q & A after the parents sessions. In my position I held to their general presuppositions, but in my heart I wanted more to show the parents how to love their kids unconditionally. After a season, I was no longer asked to help. I was considered to edgy and far too loose on my standards for their comfort. Something inside me was deeply challenged but at the time I didn’t know what it was.


As the leader of Love In Action for twenty two years as well as my service on the board of directors for Exodus International for eleven of those years, I’ve seen thousands who have begged God, pleaded, wept and searched their hearts deeply while looking for change in their sexual orientation. I’ve experience parents who have cried until there are no tears left in the hope they’d see the miracle of change in their kids’ lives. After I resigned from Love In Action in 2008 I began my own search for truth. I finally looked back with honesty and realized I had not seen anyone’s sexual orientation change and got in touch with the wreckage that had occurred in many men and women’s lives.


Over the years I was asked many times about the success of our programs. I knew I could never talk about sexual orientation change so I just kept my responses on God. “Oh, people here leave with a better relationship with God, and that is success in my opinion. That’s what is most important.” I always had that conflict in my heart. Most people came with a desire for change and parents support their loved ones’ decisions because they too hoped for change. That was not the reality of the outcome of our ministry work.


But honestly, the only real healing I’ve seen take place has occurred when LGBT people find grace and peace in accepting themselves as they are and for parents who have come to realize they did NOT cause their kids to be gay. The real peace comes when they finally accepted their kids while no longer expecting them to seek change. I’ve now seen tremendous healing when families come back together with more honest expectations and real unconditional love for one another!


I’m speaking out once again! Far too many still believe these things. Families must be reunited in love, acceptance, and support for one another.


THIS MUST STOP!!!!! The lies must no longer be acceptable to people of faith!


Parents, you are NOT the cause of your children’s homosexuality!!!!!


 

Gender and Sexual Diversity In Creation

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016


diversity quoteWe love red, or blue. We love a good steak, or hate brussels sprouts. Some like it hot, others cold. Some are tall, others short. Blonde hair, or black? Why would we ever believe that our sexuality or our gender is more black and white than anything else? We are far too complex for such things to be so clear-cut. We have to come to the place where we see things as they are, not in the manner we are comfortable with. Difference is truth.


Some men are very attracted to those who are female. Within that attraction there are “leg men” or men who love breasts more than anything else. Some men are attracted to Asian women, others to those with darker skin. Some women are drawn to the soul of a man more than their physical appearance while other women find facial hair, or muscular bodies really turn them on.


Why do we think a man couldn’t be drawn to another man, or a woman romantically attracted to another woman as a part of nature’s design?


man and womanWe have the reality of a person coming out of the womb with their body not so clearly designed as to represent a male, or a female, known to us as “intersexed.” So, if the body can be diverse in it’s genital formation, why do we not believe that the brain, or chemistry could also be found on a continuum within gender formation?


With culture there have been lines drawn to make us believe that there is a sexual, or a gender norm; male, female, heterosexual, homosexual. As a culture we’ve tried really hard to put all people into those boxes and anyone that seemed to not fit was deemed abnormal, or flawed. Some have even called homosexuals, or transgendered people a “freak of nature.”


What if we were to accept the continuum of gender, and sexuality as just that a normal part of life? What if we accepted that people might have fluid sexuality? If we look at the bare facts, this is true. People do not fit into nicely formed black and white boxes., never have and never will.


two asian menWhen we treat people who are sexually diverse as though they are a freak of nature, we get people who are damaged in the depths of their soul.


Let’s use our intelligence to think, to observe, but most of all to love others as we respond to the diversity of nature’s design. We do it with flowers, with animals, with the universe. Why can’t we do the same thing with our fellow humankind?


Uniquely You Word

 

How did you reconcile this with your faith?

Friday, April 25th, 2014


JohnSmidPensiveB&W#1I have often questioned people who have embraced their homosexuality and their Christian faith. “In light of the traditional view of God’s opposition to homosexual relationships, how have you come to reconcile this part of your life?” I really want to know what it is that has become the major factor in ones ability to find peace with God knowing they are going against the flow of years of Christian tradition. What were the factors that have played a role in helping find peace and joy living an open Gay life?


Matthew Vines has recently published his new book, God and the Gay Christian which has become very controversial. It is claimed to be one of the most impacting books of the year! Matthew has gone over the top to work to embrace his faith and reconcile his homosexuality.


As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to someday share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships.


Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. – Amazon Description


Dr. Michael Brown wrote an article based on four rhetorical questions he poses to professing gay Christians. I find these questions to be helpful in my own answers to those questions.


Today, however, more and more men and women who identify as LGBT are professing to be devoted Christians, believing that the church has wrongly interpreted the Scriptures through the centuries and claiming that committed, monogamous same-sex relationships can be blessed by God. – Dr. Michael Brown


Needless to say, I’ve written an entire book (Ex’d Out, How I Fired the Shame Committee) that chronicles my own personal journey in making this transition myself. But I’m still discovering other factors and other ways of communicating my answers. I’d like to take a stab at answering his questions.


Question 1: “Are you 100% sure that your interpretation of Scripture regarding homosexuality is correct?”


Throughout my vocation in ministry with LBGT people spanning over two decades, as well as my personal walk of faith for thirty years, there have been many unanswered questions about what the bible says and doesn’t say about homosexuality. As I continue to study, review, and listen, those questions continue. There are perspectives from many angles that continue to be revealed on this matter. The dialogue is certainly heating up in this day and age of revelation and from the information superhighway.


There are people who say they have absolute certainty about what the bible says and yet I question their honesty. The words written do speak of certain same sex behaviors that are incongruent with love and commitment in significant relationship. There are clearly prohibitions of idolatrous practices between two people of the same gender. Some of the words Paul uses regarding same sex behavior have been tremendously controversial as well as the understanding of the Hebrew or Greek languages from thousands of years ago seems to be studied and questioned regularly. Truthfully, no one can say they have it figured out 100%.


No, I cannot say I am 100% certain about what the bible says, or doesn’t say about homosexuality, or a full understanding of the interpretation of the verses commonly attached to same sex behavior. But I can say I have learned more in the recent years than I have known previously and what I have discovered has impacted my life deeply.


Question 2: “Do your beliefs start with certainty about the authority of Scripture, or do they start with certainty about your ’sexual orientation’?”


My beliefs and life practice begin with what I have known about the bible. I believe that the Bible has been given to us as a significant reference point regarding my faith, and belief in God as my Creator and Savior. I agree that the Bible is useful for correction, for guidance and as God’s love story for His people. I do not minimize the significance of how the bible plays a role in the formation of my own faith and Christian practice.


I must say I am very certain about my sexual orientation having lived with it for my entire life. There has never been a question in my mind as to where my romantic, and sexual attractions are. And to add to that, I don’t think God is the least bit surprised at my being gay and believe He has been actively leading my life throughout the years to discover more of myself and how I might make decisions about the results of that pursuit.


It sounds as though Dr. Brown is trying to separate the two points as though they can be mutually exclusive. My experience with homosexuality has always been subject to my faith and my relationship with God.


Question 3 “What do you say to those people who are genuinely ex-gay or to those who are still same-sex attracted but have chosen to separate themselves to the Lord unless he changes them?”


I had a public presence that communicated every day that I was ExGay for 25 years. Most who knew me would have never questioned me on my story of God’s intervention in my life. I held my cards close to my chest hiding them from virtually everyone. I severely minimized this reality in the way I spoke about my attractions, desires, and deep needs for same gender love and affection. I can’t say I lied, but I can say I was not authentic out of the fear that I would lose far too much if that kind of honesty came forth.


For those who say they are ExGay, I have no right to question their sincerity or their life experience. Who am I to judge, or to interpret their sexuality or to asses their desires? I know men who are married to women that prior to their wedding, have had a life experience with homosexuality that was real for them. Some of these men appear to be genuinely content with their marriages and their life in general. I also appeared to be genuinely content in my life as a Christian gay man who was married to a woman. I was certainly not going to in any way communicate anything to the contrary during those years. It was far too fearful for me to be that honest with myself, much less with others. But, honestly, I know other men who outwardly live what would be considered to be an ExGay life and yet they are acting on their same sex desires outside of their marriages. Yes, I do question the ExGay story.


However, while sharing a public testimony of change, deep inside I knew that nothing had changed and I did everything I could to suppress the deeper inner desires and anxiety that I lived with every day. So, honestly, I am hesitant to believe all I hear. But this doesn’t mean I won’t accept someone’s word that they consider themselves ExGay and live in peace with that. Some have been quite pointed with me that they believe God wants them to live a life without same sex romance or sexual expression and in that conviction they find joy in believing they are obedient to God in their sexuality.


I know men who are celibate who say they have joy and satisfaction in living a celibate life that they believe is congruent with their faith. What I question is what would they do if they discovered that it was acceptable to open themselves up to a monogamous same gender loving relationship? If their faith would allow them to have that, what would they do then? Would they admit that their heart’s desire had always been to find that part of their soul fulfilled? Sadly, for many, the longing that exists to connect to another soul in a deeply intimate way is staved off through one night stands and through the internet in unfulfilling ways. I’d like to hear a little more honesty from people regarding the real truth about their desires. I do at times believe that some people sugar coat their stories almost as though they are claiming something in faith that they do not experience in the hope it may come true some day. This is exactly what I did. I wasn’t truly honest during those years and gave the same messages of happiness and joy about being obedient to God as I believed I was called to be.


Question 4: “If you were convinced that God opposed all forms of homosexual practice, would you follow him anyway?”


When I first began my walk of a personal faith in God over thirty years ago, I separated myself from all of my gay friends. I became celibate. I spent $40,000 of my own personal money and twenty two years of my life to find healing, change, and the tools to live an obedient life because I believed God was opposed to any sexual expression with another man. I was taught to believe in the miracles of God to heal, to deliver, and to transform. It was my hope that I would find that miracle in my sexuality and I was going to serve God regardless of whether I got my miracle or not. I got married believing God would honor my decision and that He would heal my sexuality to the point where I would find satisfaction and joy within what I believed to be His will for my sexual and relational needs.


I think I proved my willingness to follow God deeply according to the convictions that I believed were from Him. I was convinced God was opposed to any form of seeking to fulfill my same sex desires. I lived within those convictions to a fault until I found changes within my personal faith and my understanding of the bible.


The changes in my convictions that have occurred didn’t begin with me pursuing a same sex relationship and then attempting to justify it. These changes began with changes in my view of scripture, church practice and in my own personal relationship with God. Over a period of eight years I prayed, studied, and began to embrace a renewal in my understanding of God’s grace and love for me as well as an overall view of the bible that is now filtered through the love that I know is God’s heart for me and for His creation.


After I embraced this refreshed relationship with God I began to see things very differently than I had for the previous 25 years. I began to see that the prohibition of fulfilling the deep inner desires for connection, love, intimate and fulfilling sexuality had come from what I believe to be a faulty interpretation of the bible as well as what I believe now to be fear based teaching on redemption and God’s heart for His people on this matter.


So, I was no longer convinced that God is opposed to same sex monogamous relationships. Once I began to see God as far more loving and personal than I had ever believed, I began to open up my heart to a more honest and authentic life. The suppression of the deep desires surfaced and I came to believe that God truly was open to me seeking Him for the desires of my heart to embrace my natural and very intimate gay self.


Along  this journey I’ve sought God with all of my heart. I have questioned, I have released and subjected my decisions to Him regularly. Each step of the way, the doors have opened without my need to pry them, or force any decisions I’ve made to embrace my homosexual reality.


For Dr. Brown to infer that there are not Gay Christians who savor their relationship with God, or subject their lives and decisions to Him is to deny their words and minimize their testimonies.


I would not want to deny the stories I hear from others who consider themselves ExGay, nor those who feel convicted to oppose same sex relationships within the Christian faith. We must have a willingness to trust these differences to the grace of God and continue to love one another throughout this journey called life.


In my opinion the main objective for relationships with those who make it their life goal to pursue God and follow Him is to be as supportive of one another as we can of that journey. I find that far too often in our differences on this matter we have become enemies that have no outcome but that of deep discouragement and separation that in my opinion isn’t of God. I do not believe this is an issue to divide over. I believe it is very important and so much so that it can be a life and death issue. But I don’t believe it is beneficial to reject one another over it.


Honestly, it does seem that in these days of discovery and revelation, there are people who are Christian leaders who seem to want to make this issue a line in the sand within our communities. Their words, questions, and poignant statements are at times divisive and counter productive.


I believe it would be far more beneficial to listen to one another than to throw the daggers of criticism at one another. Thankfully, I have friends on all sides of this issue. There are those whom I used to serve with in the ExGay movement that I consider to be gracious loving people with whom I cherish and enjoy wonderful relationship. Some people who have walked with me for many years continue to show their love and support even though they disagree with my life choices and my biblical understanding. Sadly, there are also those whom I’ve loved sincerely that have severed relationship with me over this matter. I feel grieved about the loss of our connection and wish it could be different. But even in that, I understand this can be a very emotional and challenging matter for many people.


We can ask these questions and truly desire to hear the answers in a healthy and intimate dialogue, or we can ask with an agenda to conform, or to change the other’s opinion through the questioning venue. I think we can discern the differences in the motives for the questions and recoil from answering them when the motive is to teach, or preach to the one we are questioning. I know I can tell the difference. Which one do you think is the loving way? Jesus asked lots of questions.