End of the Ex-Gay Movement?
Now, maybe we can start to have real discussions about being Gay, faith, church, Jesus and marriage.
The only two alternatives for Gays are NOT be atheist or be celibate.
Last week, John Smid, the former director of Love in Action, the country’s oldest and largest ex-gay ministry, acknowledged on his blog that, contrary to the claims of the movement he represented for decades, gay people cannot become straight. “I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual,” he wrote. He himself certainly has not. “I would consider myself homosexual and yet in a marriage with a woman,” he explained. He loves his wife and has no plans to leave her, but wrote, “this doesn’t change the fact that I am who I am and she is who she is.”
Smid, who resigned from Love in Action in 2008, was just the latest ex-gay luminary to leave the movement, either voluntarily or in a cloud of scandal. His break with ex-gay orthodoxy is a sign that, even in the evangelical world, the notion that sexual orientation can be altered is increasingly crumbling in the face of reality. Evangelicals used to insist that “change is possible,” says Warren Throckmorton, a Grove City College psychology professor once associated with the ex-gay movement. “The new paradigm, I believe, is no, it doesn’t look like that works, and so you go with it, you accept it, and you try to make the best life you can in congruence with the rest of your beliefs,” he says.
Though he didn’t realize it at the time, Smid’s journey away from the ex-gay movement began in 2005. That’s when 16-year-old Zach Stark posted on MySpace that his parents were forcing him into Love In Action’s boot camp-style residential rehab program in Memphis, setting off a nationwide uproar. The program cut people off from their old lives—the rulebook forbid “reading/watching/listening to secular media of any kind,” and even keeping a private journal was verboten. Time spent in the bathroom was monitored to prevent masturbation. Hoping to reach Stark in his isolation, protesters stood outside throughout much of the teenager’s eight-week stay.
One of them, Morgan Jon Fox, eventually made a documentary about the confrontation, This Is What Love in Action Looks Like. Smid agreed to let Fox interview him, and their meeting had a deep, lasting impact.
“When Morgan and I met for the very first time right after the protest, what I saw in Morgan was a man of such character,” Smid told me. “I saw someone who was humble, who was open to being honest, someone that I really felt drawn to. It just opened me up to realize I had not been willing to admit that there were gay people like Morgan.”
- Unfortunately this kind of change of heart hasn't stopped the exgay movement in the past. Didn't the original founders of the movement fall in love and run off together?
- It is happening to too many of these efforts now. Gays are keeping their faith and their relationships and are no longer pretending that praying the gay away works.
There is no indication in the bible that heterosexuality, in and of itself is holy. In fact, most of heterosexuality is seen as sinful and punishable by loss of soul, or life or both. Marriage cleans it up..... and marriage for LIFE, only. Redemption through marriage or celibacy. Those are the choices for heterosexuals, according to the bible.
Marriage can offer the faithful gay couple the same redemption. It is time to discuss this.
- What discussions can we have? There's a loud cohort of DLers who insist that all religion is the enemy and must be wiped out. There are others of us who recognize it's more complex and that not all religious organizations are anti-gay, in fact many are not and some are even specifically gay.
- Oh well then r4.
- [quote]“I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual,” he wrote.
- The only choice for a same-sex oriented Christian who believes the Bible is the inerrant Word of God is to be celibate. You would have to devalue or disbelieve the Bible to live otherwise as a professing believer and follower of Jesus Christ.
- In other news, god is still imaginary.
Honeybunch at r7? Anyone who believes the bible is really the inerrant word of god would believe that owning and beating slaves is fine, selling your daughter into slavery is perfectly okay, witches should be put to death (and that there's such a thing as witches and unicorns), and that a raped virgin should marry her rapist.
EVERY "believer" picks and chooses, most of all those who say they believe the bible is the inerrant word of god and must be followed to the letter,
Here's the newsflash repeated from above. god is imaginary. The bible is a collection of books written by various people over hundreds of years. "god" mysteriously shares their values. nowadays god mysteriously shares the values of his followers today. this stuff is so retarded i can't understand how functioning adults can even entertain the ideas, but whatever.
- And no, op. This is not the "end of the ex-gay movement."
In order to effect a change, fundamentalists would need to reevaluate a previously held belief under the light of new evidence.
- God hates shrimps.
- r7, the Bible is not a stagnant inflexible book of rules. It reveals itself in the personal and in the generational, according to the spiritual evolution of the individual and the community. As, the individual and the society expands in faith and understanding, the Bible reveals another Truth.
Christ closed the door on divorce when Moses opened it, wide. Moses accommodated the times, the needs of the 'tribe' where higher in those days than the needs of the family. Same with Law being replaced with Grace. The human heart was not prepared for Grace so the revelation of Grace had to be preceded by Law.
Grace breathes, and expands. It embraces the faithful heart, the search for holiness, either in a journey of solitary contemplation or within a marriage of equals. The Law has been fulfilled; it was Christ who fulfilled it, perfectly. We have been redeemed from the cold inflexible cage of law only; but only after we as individuals accept Christ as that fulfillment. Otherwise, we are stuck in law.
But for those who can withstand the vulnerability and sacrifice of mercy, Grace is available. Grace can expand its Love to include what the human heart Loves (not necessarily desires) which opens up Grace to the faithful homosexual. Christ does not restrict choice, Christ opened choice up wide.
However, most folks don't really want choice. They say they do; tell themselves they want it. However, they pursue anything but choice; the compulsion of impulse, the impotence of addiction, the choicelessness of law, habits and the familiar.
This is why faith is ripe with doubt. Faith pushes past all the comfortable pretenses. Only the atheist who has abandoned choice, is without doubt.
Again, it is time for a real discussion of Homosexuality, faith, Christ and marriage. The atheist can not lead this discussion nor can the law based ideologue. They certainly have a right to join in, but those who are pursuing Grace must now lead the way.
- "Ex-gay ministries" will continue as long as there's $$$ in it.
Looking at YOU, Lady Bachmann
- r8, you're not a believer, so your opinions are inapposite and irrelevant to the many millions of same-sex oriented Christians who are believers. The opinions of gay/bisexual Christians are relevant to the topic at hand, not yours.
- Of course, r13.
Just as the true opinion of an adult who doesn't believe in Santa Claus isn't relevant to a discussion among children talking about what they want Him to bring them for Christmas.
Sorry to intrude on the group delusion. Carry on.
- [R11] Your post resonates for me. Can you recommend any good books or websites to learn more? Thank you.
- r13, you are talking to a person trapped in law, the same as a fundamentalist. They just believe in a different set of laws.
Grace is a concept that is light years away from anything either of these two opposing yet same groups understand or are willing to acknowledge.
Time to move the discussion forward.
- So, r11. Are you saying the choice is celibacy?
- No r17. That is not what is being said. What is being said is that Grace can be expanded to include the homosexual into full receipt of redemption through marriage within the homosexual relationship. But marriage, as defined by Christ, is not a cake walk and certainly is not for the weak of heart.
- R8's opinions are relevant to me. I wish r13 were more helpful.
- Marriage as defined by Christ is to remain faithful and kind to your spouse, is it not?
I have been in that kind of relationship for decades. It does not take Christ's Grace to accomplish.
- Um... what's wrong with being atheist, OP?
- R6? No you haven't.
- "[R13], you are talking to a person trapped in law"
r16, If I am trapped in law (which I am not) at least my "laws" are based on reason and evidence, and not on the dictates of some imaginary deity.
It's good for you (and quite a relief for others) that your imaginary deity doesn't hate the gay, but at the end of the day, it's all still imaginary.
- R16? You're wrong. But you're no more likely to admit it than a fundamentalist, are you? You pretend you're different, yet...
- And yes, r20, it will come as a shock to most believers, but it is possible to be a faithful spouse, kind to others, etc WITHOUT believing in invisible, imaginary sky-friends.
- r15, start with conversion books.... Merton's or CS Lewis. Start with their conversion story, only. It is important to see the beginning of a journey from different places. St. Augustine is not recommended just yet. Maybe later.
Stay with the contemplatives; Germans are good, fourth thru 13th century.
Read the Gospels and STAY AWAY from Paul and Revelations. Read the Gospel John, in all the versions.... John is pure poet and expresses Jesus and God the father in the ways of a poet.
Try and get through the Book of the Unknowing... you won't succeed but try. It will work on your soul and rid it of the garbage you have been fed but you will not realize it. Get through as much as you can. Put it down, rest, then try again.
Spend TIME with God and the places of God. Not.on.sunday. That's for the posers. Go alone! Visit a church during the day when no one is there but a few.
Find out where God speaks to you. Art, music, books, prayer, meditation. Find the voice YOU can hear. The only way to do that is to explore.
- Every Christian must die to self, deny their self in order to live for the glory of Christ. Every Christian has something they must deny to follow Christ. Jesus said that if we love Him, we obey Him, keep His commandments. For the Christian same-sex oriented person, nothing is more important than Christ, not sexual orientation, race, career, money, or selfish pursuits. Thankfully, through faith in Jesus Christ, we overcome our sinful desires and have full forgiveness of every sin we have or could commit.
- As I said at R4...
There are interesting forecast-oriented conversations to have about the future (or lack thereof) of the ex-gay movement, but on DL it always (and quickly) descends into this business of atheists taunting "sky-fairy believers". Never mind that for many people who believe in God, God is not a mega-He up there in the sky.
- I should add that some Christians (such as R27) are just as bad as the atheists in here. R27, you do not speak for the UCC or other more liberal, real-world branches of your professed faith.
- Being gay is not a sin, give up the idiotic comments.
- No doubt, r28, Christianity will change to accommodate gay believers, just as it changed to accommodate the abolitionist movement... in SPITE of a bible which quite clearly approves of--and even gives guidelines for--owning slaves. The new testament even gives guidelines for the capture and return of fugitive slaves.
And whether you imagine god as a great HE, a great SHE, or some spiritual force, it's all still imaginary.
- But for everyone who believes in god... he is imaginary, a figment of your imagination, a mental crutch at best, a delusional break from reality at worst.
Belief in god is absolutely no different than belief in Santa Clause.
The more you learn about religions (all of them) the more you recognize how much of Christianity is completely made up... ditto every other religion.
Man has always created gods in his own image.
- Amen, r32.
- Reasonable religion will prevail.
- "...marriage, as defined by Christ, is not a cake walk and certainly is not for the weak of heart."
r18, please explain what you mean. Fidelity and love and kindness?
You do not have to believe in imaginary forces to believe that fidelity, love, and kindness are important in marriage.
Did you know that fundamentalist christians have a higher divorce rate than non-religious people? It's not hard to understand why. A more mature outlook results in better relationships. Believing in magical sky-fairies is no help there.
- True, I don't speak for the UCC or the liberal denominations. But, UCC and the lib denominations are a very tiny sliver of Christianity, both historically and now. Moreover, UCC and the lib denoms contradict both the 1st century apostolic tradition and biblical canon on a whole host of issues and continue to suffer massive declines in membership and influence in the Christian world. The point is not what do denominations say, but what does God say in His Word, the Bible.
- r37, god in the bible says to burn witches, that rape victims should marry their rapists, runaway slaves should be returned to their masters, women should be silent.
In the bible, imaginary god wants things that complied with the morality of the people at the time it was written. Odd that.
And before you shriek the typical line about old vs new testament: several of the bs proscriptions above are from the NT. It's still bullshit, my friend.
- I know that, r36. As I said in my post at r20.
I am simply asking why the religious poster thinks that being married is 'no cakewalk' and 'not for the weak of heart.'
I want details.
- Jesus said: "“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”-Matthew 19:4-6
- Oh r35, you atheists are soooo mushy and romantic.
Christ is not interested in kindness as much as he was demanding holiness. That's where the social new age non-believer thinks faith is the same as being sweet. It is not.
On a higher level, kindness can not defeat evil. When faced with pure evil, kindness fails. Your neighbor becomes a monster in the grasps of evil because kindness has no real spiritual backbone. In good times, kindness is easy. When tested, kindness crumbles.
The Jews survived and were able to become whole again in the face of evil, unlike let's say the American Indian, or to some extent the American slave, because the Jew had faith based in the beginnings of grace. The American Indian has tradition which crumbled and left them naked and defeated when confronted by evil; and the American slave was given only the law with very little teaching about grace. The law required unquestioning obedience and forgiveness which no doubt was great for the masters and self destructive for the ex slave.
Marriage is not about kindness, but about a true ultimate pursuit of holiness. Kindness is a by product of course.... but is not the objective.
- Not specific enough, r41.
What is so hard about being faithful, and good, and kind within a marriage?
Or is it too hard for you to speak clearly?
- I've been on DL for quite some time, and I've never read a bigger pile of steaming horseshit than what is contained in this thread.
Carry on, Christian queens. Whatever it takes to get you through the night. The magic sky fairy is watching over you, though.
- Christ was talking about divorce there, r40. I've noticed that fundie Christians--who divorce at a much higher rate than the non-religious--don't have the same strong proscriptions against divorce which they have against the gays, whom christ never mentioned.
You do not need to believe in imaginary stone age deities to have a good marriage. "Holiness" is bullshit. This is the same line of thinking that leads Catholic bishops to cover up sexual abuse by priests in order to protect the "holiness" of the church.
When looking for the ingredients of a successful marriage, do not look to the group with the highest divorce rate. Natch.
- r40, male and female can also be states of mind as well as gender. To become one flesh is a spiritual decision and moment to moment choice in grace; not a law that must be obeyed outside of mercy.
Christ followed that passage with one about children and the innocence of the child's love of grace. That passage about marriage is more about the spiritual nature of commitment and sacrifice to the one loved vs a definition of law.
Fundamentalist marriages don't work because they are mired in law, not grace.
Homosexual relationships can also receive the grace of 'one flesh'. But that commitment is not easy, nor is it a simpleton's teenage definition of a syrupy kindness. Marriage is as demanding on the soul as celibacy and in many instances as lonely.
- I did give examples.
- r45, are you a priest?
- I'd be willing to bet that new agey marriages based on imaginary deities ALSO don't work out so well either, r45.
and even if they do: at the end of the day: god is still imaginary,
[quote]Marriage is as demanding on the soul as celibacy and in many instances as lonely.
How sad for you. My relationship has challenges, but it is a joy and solace, a refuge and a delight.... and there's not an imaginary sky-friend in sight. It has outlasted and will continue to outlast the marriages of those who believe there's an imaginary third force at play in their relationships. And even if it doesn't, even if my relationship collapsed on day one and a fundie's lasted for life, god is still imaginary,
- "Christ is not interested in kindness as much as he was demanding holiness."
Great point that applies to everything a Christian should be, not just about marriage. So many people confuse the truth that God is good with their expectation that God should be "nice." God demands that those who love Him and trust in Jesus live lives totally for Him and totally distinct from non-Christians. So many people who claim to be Christians live just like the non-Christian world or even worse, which undermines the notion that they truly love and believe in Christ. Jesus said that those who love and know Him will obey Him, follow Him, deny themselves, and even be persecuted for His name. Christians demonstrate our love for Jesus by denying ourselves. As Paul says, "We are not our own, we were bought with a price," the blood of Christ Jesus. We live for Him only.
- Sounds like a sad and lonely existence, r49.
- r48, I have no doubt that you experience joy and delight in your marriage. And, no where does Christ or God demand that you acknowledge Grace in order to be a recipient of it. The 'Good Samaritan' is as fine example of we are as we function not as we call ourselves as any.
If your marriage functions within grace then so be it. But you do know that just because you do not acknowledge the gift of grace does not disprove the existence of Grace or God or Christ? Right? It just makes you are lucky, like a lottery winner. It does not make you holy.
You and your mate receive the glory of the sun because the sun shines on us all, whether we believe in its maker or not. However, there are those who are not 'lucky' and benefactors of dumb luck. This is why Christ and 'the magnitudes of all heaven' rejoice in the tears of the broken hearted who still love grace, 'for they shall see the face of God'.
Your 'luck' will run out, that is the nature of luck. That could be perfectly fine with you. Again, so be it.
But those who do not base their life and choices on luck but are given less fortunate lives and still struggle joyously throw a pursuit of holiness in marriage are given an infinite gift that does not 'run out'.
- Religion brings out the mental illness in people doesn't it?
- eh, some say being in love is a form of mental illness too. But what a way to go.
- The sun is real. god is imaginary.
if someone is in a good relationship, it is the result of good fortune, hard work, a mature outlook and an understanding of how to make human relationships work. Imaginary god has nothing to do with it.
[quote]But you do know that just because you do not acknowledge the gift of grace does not disprove the existence of Grace or God or Christ? Right?
This makes no sense and has a thoroughly stupid--and even nasty, misanthropic--core.
My good relationship also does not disprove the existence of santa, the Easter Bunny, Zeus, or Allah, and I'd be every bit as silly to imagine that they played a part in creating it or perpetuating it and/or that somehow my relationship would be "holy" or "better" if I believed in them.
Sorry, but no relationship is "better" or "holier" than mine simply because someone believes an imaginary deity approves of theirs. This is the nasty, hateful, fundamentalist argument in a nutshell. You've simply shifted it 180 degrees. It remains bullshit because it's based on imaginary deities.
- You said it, r52. People use it as an excuse to believe the craziest shit... and they feel fine with it because they have no trouble finding others with the same delusions. That is religion in a nutshell.
- If you are not interested in expanding Grace to include homosexual marriage r54, then fine. Some of us are. Let us carry on that dialogue. You can stay home.
But it is you who wishes to limit the choices of the homosexual. Not me.
Heterosexuals are able to marry legally and spiritually and celebrate in both forums as well. I believe God includes homosexuals into the full fold of redemption and all that offers. Again, if you don't then fine. Why are you determined to limit Gays to only your choices?
- I do not "wish to limit the choices of the homosexual." Ew. What a gross phrase.
It is religious people who wish to limit the choices of gay people, r56, and imagine that every choice must fit into the proscriptions and dictates of an imaginary deity. You pat yourself on the back for imagining a deity that does not hate the gay, but I hardly think that's a praiseworthy accomplishment, to replace one imaginary deity and his dictates with another. Your santa is nicer than theirs. Bully for you.
People are free, no matter what their sexual identity, to choose to believe in silly imaginary deities, I suppose. Gay people should be free to believe in the grace of Santa and Zeus and Thor or whatever. And I'm free to challenge them on it. Deal.
- r57, challenge away.
Just don't get IN the way.
- So, r56, are you straight?
You refuse to answer the question of whether you are a priest. I find that revealing....
- [quote]challenge away. Just don't get IN the way.
I don't think you can distinguish the two. There's the problem.
But thank you for the invitation to challenge away. I accept, though no invitation was necessary. I tend to challenge false beliefs whether I'm invited to or not.
- I am not a priest and I am gay.
- Jesus Christ was on this earth for 33 years and never once condemned gay people. It SHOULD be as simple as that.
- Sheeee-it. A gay priest found DL.
Go back to your monk's cell, Brother Man.
- here's what chaps my hide about this kind of commentary.
the "grace" poster in this thread is perfectly entitled to his/her religious views.
but those views, in this country, were intended to remain private and personal.
NOT legislated into state and federal law.
wtf happened to sep. of church & state!?
- How is this the stake in the heart of the ex-gay movement? The guy left 3 years ago. The ex-gay movement is still around. I don't really have an issue with it, some people MIGHT be helped by it but I suspect that those people that become real ex-gays were not truly "born gay". Born gays will always be gay. Experimenters who "love the life" & "the lifestyle", the fun, the drugs, the endless sex, etc who are not TRULY gay can become ex-gay. It's not that hard to figure out.
- r66, there's no such thing as a real ex-gay.
Why would an "experimenter" need therapy? They can just stop experimenting.
- They just go back into the closet, R66.
- I eat shit.
- "Jesus Christ was on this earth for 33 years and never once condemned gay people. It SHOULD be as simple as that.:
Christianity was never based upon Jesus, it was based upon Paul. Jesus was a faithful, practicing Jew who believed himself to be the Jewish Messiah. Jesus said that Peter would be the foundation of his church (meaning the Jewish faithful that acknowledged him as the Messiah). Peter and Paul didn't agree on much. Peter and James wanted Jesus' followers to practice Jewish religious customs and traditions, which included circumcision. They did not preach to gentiles. Paul broke with them, and he told Roman converts that they did not have to be circumcised or even practice the Jewish faith. That's not at all what Jesus intended.
The Roman Catholic church was based upon Paul. Its precepts were completely contrary to the beliefs of those who were trying to establish Jesus as the Jewish messiah. And it should absolutely be pointed out that Jesus would have completely rejected claims that he was divine. That claim was based upon misreadings of things Jesus said, by the gentiles who were following Paul.
In essence, if you say you are a christian, you are in no way following Jesus. You're following Paul.
- Oh and I should add...there are questions about Paul's sexuality. The christian church was probably based on a self-loathing closet case. Paul wrestled with his desires of the flesh A LOT, and nothing signifies that his desires were ever directed at women.
The christian church was founded on a complete misreading of Jesus. It's basically a sham.
- The Catholic Church is run by self-loathing queens, so I guess it was 'ever-thus'...
- Actually, OP, the fact that a gay man in a straight marriage who still says he is homosexual does not mean the end of the ex-gay movement.
Its like saying that sober people in recovery are no longer alcoholics.
- I hope these developments don't mess up my lets pretend we're gay night. Guys who are only pretending are willing to do absolutely anything and everthing.
- It's actually better, r25.
- Another "Ex-Gay" backslides, ends up outed for using Grindr:
A self-proclaimed "ex-gay" blogger who wrote extensively for the Christian Post about "coming out of the homosexual lifestyle" was recently discovered seeking the companionship of other men on the popular gay geosocial networking app Grindr.
Rest of story at link: