Christian Post reports on changing focus

This morning, the Christian Post’s Lillian Kwon writes about the spate of recent articles on changes in sexual identity ministries and therapy. Note that the article frames the issues in terms of change (life?, sexual orientation?) but gets around to including most of the recent news reports involving Exodus and the “ex-gay controversy.”

Of late, the Christian Post has taken a lead among Christian news sources in reporting about sexual identity.

60 thoughts on “Christian Post reports on changing focus”

  1. I gave up and deconverted about a year and a half ago, but not after a 35 year fight as a believer.

    I was never ex-gay. So if there is anyone who wonders why this movement inspires such passion in me, read Paul’s opening paragraph.

    I’m not a super-religious guy. I’m not very holy and I don’t always live the way I think I should. I’m not one of those “good morning, praise God, isn’t this a great day the lord has made” kinda guys. My prayer is private, my devotions are quiet and I don’t wear my faith on my sleeve.

    But it brings me to tears to see Christianity – and the ex-gay ministry in particular – drive people from God. It is this whole either-or dichotomy that is set up: this insistance that you cannot be gay and be a Christian. It permiates the language of the ex-gay movement. It is seeded in the media by ex-gay leaders.

    And it leads to good decent people who want a relationship with God giving up, rejecting God, turning away, all because they feel that they have to. NO.. it’s because they are TOLD they have to – to please God they have to be other than the way he made them.

    And I hate it. And it’s wrong.

  2. I gave up and deconverted about a year and a half ago, but not after a 35 year fight as a believer.

    Warren quotes the “through a glass darkly” scripture, which I held as a favorite before my swan song. The rest of the scripture, I think, being equally important to include…”now, these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

    Paul juxtaposes “faith, hope and love” ( Love being Jesus’ favorite command?) with what has today become two major fundamental Christian divisions. Those who (instead?) follow “knowledge” (strict bible literalists?), and those who are more esoteric and ‘follow’ “The Spirit” (represented by “prohpesy”). By the scripture, neither of these are complete or absolute “we know in part and we prophesy in part,” so the directive is to let faith, hope, and love dominate? Which begs the question, what is it to love. Yes, of course I’ve read the whole chapter, but love cannot be a particular standard carved in stone any more than any other “law” of God. How much more must love be “written on the fleshy tables of the heart?” Many believers claim to actually be able to follow God, an actual being. They speak of “relationship” with God/Jesus. Indeed, that would seem pretty important in order to know what “love” is at any given point. Is there really such a thing as a standard loving response in ‘true’ Christiandom?

    As regards ssa, why don’t all true believers get together, like the apostles did when they were determining who would replace Judas, and just let God decide about ssa by “drawing lots?”

  3. Yup, Mary. I agree. Usually “I believe” folllowed by “and YOU should believe” ends in “or I’ll make you wish you did…”

  4. Michael,

    Very true. Stick to statments of “I believe.” Did you notice the period? And try to avoid statments that start “I believe you should believe…”

  5. I agree with Warren that “there should be an effort to figure what the relevant teachings are and to live by them”. But that’s my point. This effort may lead two equally devout, born-again believers to very DIFFERENT conclusions about the very same passage of Scripture. Or you could say, “Whenever two or more are gathered together in my name, there is bound to be some doctrinal disagreement in the midst of them.” That has always been true of Christianity.

    That’s why I object so strongly when someone categorically declares: “God says” so and so — as though their effort, and ONLY their effort, had resulted in THE correct answer. That seems to be the dangerous mindset of extremism.

    Since we are human and capable of error, don’t we all have to admit that we MAY be wrong? Wouldn’t it be better to say “I BELIEVE God says” so and so — since each person (each with an equally sincere desire to follow the will of God) may arrive at a different conclusion?

    It seems to me, that since we do indeed “see through a glass darkly” (and are therefore limited by our own experiences and prejudices) that we should extend to each other just a little bit of grace — and try to be just a little bit more humble. What’s wrong with saying, “I believe”?

  6. Warren –

    From a practical perspective I’d have to say that the only two groups of Christianity that have a solid meter stick for measure relevant teachings are the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

    As for Protestantism, it seems like you can pretty much just pick a church that fits your needs instead of having it be the other way around. There are some 20,000 different Protestant denominations out there, right – each having different takes on Scripture and teaching!

    I’m not trying to say one is better than the other, but those first two have clearly defined was of measuring importance and relevancy.

  7. Yes, make wisdom and understanding your companions. Oh boy – though I have heard some strange things promoted under the “guidance” of the Holy Spirit. Eeeeek!

  8. Ughh… I left out the guidance of the Holy Spirit

    I would put it in there between 4 and 5

  9. Here’s my two cents:

    Though this will not be the dominant belief at this site, I have a heirarchy of what I believe about the “rules”. Basically, it works like this – if there is a disagreement between rules, the one that wins in the one that is higher on the following list:

    1. The two commandments of Christ

    2. The ten commandments of God

    3. The teachings of Jesus

    4. The theme and message of the gospel

    5. The teachings of those apostles that knew Jesus when he walked the earth

    6. The teachings of Paul and the other early church fathers

    7. The collective wisdom of the old testament writers and the lessons in the stories

    8. The Law of Moses

    and somewhere after scribbles on the subway walls and the mumbling of the homeless:

    286. People rebuking me on websites.

    Personally, I have too much trouble with the first two to really get all worked up about number 8.

  10. Well, you know, I guess I want to avoid conflicts with others knowing they will see things differently. I just had a long conversation with someone about how she is to honor her mother and her response was that she didn’t have to because her mother was not a believer and/or not living in the word. WOW! I did not know there were conditions on the ten commandments. Where did she get that idea? It doesn’t say you have to love your parents or like your parents or agree with your parents or approve of your parents. It just says honor.

    So while yes, I do try to figure it out and live by the word, I’m not going to get into a long debate about how others misinterpret the bible. I can see just as easily how I discount some passages because I see them as culturally significant and try my best to adhere to the ten commandments, love thy neighbor, and without love I have nothing concepts. I also bring to my interpretation my own relationship with God and how he wants ME to live (not focusing on how others are to live). Because in the end it is between me and God. I have no doubt I am overlooking his ways in many ways – don’t we all??

  11. I am not sure there is agreement that we should pick and choose. Practically, it happens, but I would say there should be an effort to figure what the relevant teachings and live by them. We see through a glass darkly so I know we will disagree about what the teachings are.

  12. So, since we seem to agree that everyone does at least SOME picking and choosing, how can any ONE person assert that their personal process of “selective scriptural application” is the true and ONLY way? Isn’t that a bit grandiose?

    Seems like believers, following the guiding principle of the Goldern Rule, might have to give each other a lttle leeway when it comes to matters of morality and conscience. But I DO have to agree about the ritual bathing thing. I find that a few drops of chamomile or lavender in the water can really help if you have throuble sleeping.

  13. Thank you for saying that Mary – Yes, we all pick and choose which scriptures we are going to listen to, how we are going to interpret them and which ones we will ignore.

    Thanks Mike for bringing up the Old Testament. I get the same sort of responses depending on who I ask.


    P.S.- SOME ritual bathing IS good

  14. Mary, I like you a lot. I didn’t feel picked on. I really appreciate your honesty when you said: ” I pick, I choose. Just like everyone else.” At least you admit it. That’s refreshing!

    Usually, folks have some elaborate and convoluted system for adhering to some rules while conveniently ignoring others. I call it “selective literalism”. Obey what you like, impose the rest on somebody else.

  15. Very well said Eddy.

    Michael, Honestly, I don’t care which rules people pick and choose to follow. You have yours, I have mine, our frineds have theirs (which always makes for great dinner conversation). I wasn’t picking on you in any way – just saying that everyone has their own interpretation.

    As for myself, I would not stone my child, I do clean the house every spring as suggested, some ritual bathing is cool ( symbolic gestures) etc… I pick, I choose. Just like everyone else.

  16. To me and many others, the “Ex” in “Ex-Gay” only meant where we came from. Despite varying theologies and approaches, the one thing we had in common was where we’d been. In much the same way that I’m an ex-Pennsylvanian, I’m an ex-gay.

    Texas took my Pennsylvania accent away but it seems to come back pretty quick when I’m with my family. My first ten years away, I used to crave a list of foods that I only associated with home; on my last visit, I don’t recall having ANY of them. Time, experience, replacement, distance, exposure all factor into my ex-Pennsylvanian experience. They also factor into the personal journey of any ex-gay. All ‘ex’ but in various stages of ‘ex-ness’.

  17. Mary: I don’t really want to fight, but I would like to know which Old Testament rules we are still required to obey — and which are no longer applicable. Every answer I have ever gotten to that question is incredibly complicated and varies from person to person and church to church.

    How would your average new believer decide? Is there some way to determine which are which — some system that is relatively easy to understand and remember? For example, do we still have to stone our children to death if they disobey?

  18. I think the case for Christ was to provide salvation, not to do away with the old testament.

    However, interpretation has been a long ongoing argument amongst theologians and lay people since the beginning. Why can’t people just agree to disagree? Or I suppose go on fighting.

  19. Furthermore, Jesus tells us that he will send the Holy Spirit to teach us and to guide us … I am convicted of many sins in my life.

    My love is not a sin.

    That being said, this is not solely (or even primarily) a theological discussion. With regards to therapy, is it possible to “do no harm” while agreeing (if only tacitly) that an inextricable part of a person’s humanity to love, to nurture, and to be in partnership (all good things) is somehow inherently and completely sick and sinful?

    Are we sure that isn’t a harmful belief to harbor?

  20. Michael, if we see Christianity and our relationship with God like some list of rules, does and don’ts, then it can be confusing when something isn’t on the list. But, then again, if God wanted a relationship with us based solely on rules and compliance, there would have been no need for Christ – a rules based religion already was there.

    I believe that the good news of the “Good News” is that God seeks a relationship of the heart not of the list of rules. But, of course, that’s just my belief and I’m not going to push it on others here.

  21. Does the bible not allow lying?? Didn’t some of the early Isreali armies lie and decieve to win battles and wars??

  22. By the way, I don’t mean any disrespect to those who believe that all homosexual behavior is sin. That is their right. They believe the Bible is very clear on the issue of homosexuality. I do not. There are a LOT of ambiguities. Are blood transfusions “sin”? Do you have to be baptized to be saved? Is it ever OK to lie? (Many Christian families, like Corris Ten Boom’s, lied to the Nazis in order to protect their Jewish neighbors.)

    When the BIble is NOT completely clear on an issue, how do we decide? For example: How does God feel about methadone maintenance programs? Heart transplants? Genetically altered plants or animals? If a baby is born with make AND female genitalia, what is the “right” thing for the parents to do?

    The most puzzling to me personally is how some Christians can be so absolutely CERTAIN that the sixith chapter of First Corinthians specically prohibits “homosexuality (ALL homosexuality) — but no one can tell me what “malakoi” is in the same chapter and verse — and why God would impose the same punishment for “malakoi” (exclusion from God’s Kingdom) as He does for “arsenokotai” — whatever Paul meant by that. How can we be sure?

  23. Back to a comment Eddy made that “temptation is not sin unless you coddle and nurse it into desire.” In my own experience, full-blown desire can be there without ANY “coddling or nursing”on my part. It just IS. So if I am “tempted” but don’t “desire it”, I’m OK with God?

    Is this how someoneone becomes an “ex-gay”? (Sorry. Strike that. I meant “former homosexual””) — by just being “tempted” — but not “desiring?” When does one become the other? What is the difference between “temptation” and “desire”? Would that the same as the difference bewteen “gay” and “homosexual”, or between “ex” and “former”? I’m confused. Is this just more “Christian-ese”?

  24. Mary, I agree that we see things differently. I tend towards exact definitions and objective realities. Sometimes you prefer definitions that are self-determined and realities that are more observable in the intention than in actuality.

    We do seem to have difficulty at times articulating our various positions to each other due to this difference in the way we understand the world around us.

  25. Let me state that latter point differently. Obviously I can believe with all my heart that I am a lighthouse -I can practice being a lighthouse, I can act and sound like a lighthouse – does that make me a lighthouse???? I don’t think so

  26. Mary –

    Actually going to a bar and drinking every day doesn’t necessarily make you an alcoholic. In fact, there strong evidence for a genetic component to alcoholism. And as a side note: alcoholics who never touch a drink again, who claim they have overcome alcoholism, would never call themselves EX-ALCOHOLICS. They realize they will always be alcoholics, they just live differently – Although I hate the alcoholics comparison, because alcoholism is a disease and homosexuality is not.

    I can stand on my roof all day and pretend I’m a lighthouse, but that will never make me a lighthouse.


  27. Timothy,

    I don’t think the many people are pretending.

    And you have taken one point out

    of a whole contextual statement.

    I think we wear our capes differently. It’s not a costume for decoration but a

    real person enjoining into a real life.

    I’ll leave it at that. We could go round and round and will most likely always

    see this from different perspectives.

  28. I enjoyed Lillian’s article, but I’ve never seen her write about Ex-Ex Gay people. She’s written so much on this movement, I thought she might show more balance by covering them in one of her Ex-Gay articles.

  29. And even with Warren’s guidelines, attractions to the same-sex persist, as Chambers acknowledges. That is still very much a part of who that person is (which is why Alan wants to move away from the term “ex-gay”)

    My heart breaks for someone who has been led to believe that they must silence the beautiful part of their being that wants to share a life commitment, that wants to raise a family, that wants to contribute to society…

    As long as they continue to have those desires (and EXODUS says they probably will), they will continue to be guilty because they will have never FULLY found an “appropriate” expression of those yearnings.

    How can a therapist “do no harm” when she or he supports the notion that the patient is — and will always be — incomplete?

  30. If I stop dating women, stopped thinking about women in a sexual way, started dating men, starting having romantic feelings for a man, married him, had children etc… then I am a heterosexual women by anyone’s standards.

    I think you just made my point. Remove the bold sections and you have a ridiculous statemnt. But in case you missed my point, I’ll reiterate:

    We can all do the WHAT (bed an opposite-sex person) and say that defines the WHO (heterosexual), but that cannot sustain on its own.

    Those who choose to pretend as though feelings are inconsequential are those who set theirselves up for a life of confusion and difficulty. Otherwise Warren would have no need for his guidelines.

  31. A person may be able to put on a cape everyday and claim to be Emperor ( and we all know that is an not true) but if I am a medical student and put on a white coat everyday and go to the hospital and treat others, eventually I will become a doctor.

    And I will get the experience required for my M.D.

    If I go to a bar everyday, drink until I get drunk I will become an alcoholic. I will have the experience of being an alcoholic.

    If I stop dating women, stopped thinking about women in a sexual way, started dating men, starting having romantic feelings for a man, married him, had children etc… then I am a heterosexual women by anyone’s standards. I am having the experience of being heterosexual as so am. – does not mean that I could not someday have thoughts about women – but doesn’t really quite equate to wearing a cape -though. The Cape wearer does not really have the practical experience as Emperor and so his/her claim does not make sense. Now, if they made decisions that an Emperor would make – well then- …..

  32. I personally feel that is an unuseful standard. WHAT you do is WHO you are. That is the only rational and fair standard to judge someone by. If I was what I felt or thought about I’d be the Emperor of the Universe.

    Your emotions and feelings don’t have an I.Q. Their job is to offer useful information to your intellect, not determine your behavior or define your life.

    Not so quick. I can wear a purple cape and make proclamations but those actions don’t make me the Emperor of the Universe either.

    Since this is in the context of discussing orientation, it sounds to me as though you are claiming that what one does is who they are, ie if one behaves heterosexually, then one is heterosexual. We all know that isn’t the case.

    We can all do the WHAT (bed an opposite-sex person) and say that defines the WHO (heterosexual), but that cannot sustain on its own.

    Those who choose to pretend as though feelings are inconsequential are those who set theirselves up for a life of confusion and difficulty. Obviously there is more than one response to one’s feelings, but to suggest that they are not powerful motivators is to ignore a century or more of mental heath discovery.

  33. “30% success rate of ANY therapy is outstanding.”

    Wonderful, but back to my question – where did that figure come from and why are we discussing it as though it was accurate? It took years for Spitzer to find 200 people to tell him they changed over the phone and actually convince him of it – and most of them were directly referred by ex-gay organizations or indeed worked for them. If ever there was a padded group, that was it.

    I heard Alan offhandedly say 30% recently, but even he will tell you he has nothing to back it up. A few years back they were claiming 70%. This is one of the few places I expect the facts to matter, so lets make sure we don’t start discussing 30% as though it were factual.

    I tend to agree with Spitzer, those who actually change are very rare.

  34. 30% success rate of ANY therapy is outstanding. It’s not that high for recovering drug addicts or alcoholics. It’s not that high for other mental disorders such as depression etc… And 30% are great odds when you consider the lifelong pain of not approaching your conflict.

  35. Brian

    Knowing that lustful thoughts in my heart are the same as adultery, I feel shame if I look upon the spouse of another.

    I personally feel that is an unuseful standard. WHAT you do is WHO you are. That is the only rational and fair standard to judge someone by. If I was what I felt or thought about I’d be the Emperor of the Universe. 😎

    Your emotions and feelings don’t have an I.Q. Their job is to offer useful information to your intellect, not determine your behavior or define your life.

  36. The VAST majority of people who enter drug treatment programs return to a life of drugs and alchohol.

    Therapy never produces results anywhere close to 100%.

    If Throckmorton gets the job done more than 10% of the time he is doing outstanding.

  37. Back to the top for a sec: “For the most part, former homosexuals have conquered their same-sex desires…”

    Lots of interesting stuff in that little sentence: “For the MOST part…” Does this mean that MOST “former homosexuals” have “conquered” — or only that some have conquered the gay attractiions “for the MOST part”?

    The current President of EXODUS recently told the OC Register that only about 30% of EXODUS clients are able to (1) set and keep positive life goals, (2) restore their marriages, (3 )”live heterosexually” (not “become” heterosexual) or (4) “remain celibate”. How is 30% “most”?

    What about that word, “conquered” — as though being attracted to and/or falling in love with somone of the same sex is some sort of horrible handicap to be overcome? And, finally, while we are at it. what EXACTLY is a “former homosexual” anyway? Would that be anything like an “ex-gay”? (Trust me, you don’t want to get me started on THAT..)

  38. Brian,

    It sounds like you are saying that temptation and sin are the same thing. I firmly believe that temptation is not sin until or unless we coddle it and nurse it into desire.

    So, noticing your neighbor has a good-looking wife is not sin. Imagining her naked would be. Seeing her in a bikini–not a sin. Reconstructing that image later for self-gratification would be.

    And, rather than focus on any shame or guilt, if you’ve still got a heart turned towards God, I’d focus on the marvelous amounts of God’s grace you get to experience! Grace to show you your sin…grace to resist and overcome…and grace to forgive if you fall.

    You close with a self-quote: ‘feelings in the heart are judged the same as actions’. IF that were true, your conclusion would logically follow. But, I think you’ve spiked up the definition of ‘feelings’ so that it equals ‘desire’. Desire IS a feeling; it’s a strong feeling of want…but many feelings have no real desire in them at all. (I like chocolate ice cream. Feeling. But I was at the place where I normally buy a cone and came away with an orange freezy. I thought about the fact that I like chocolate and that it was available but I decided I didn’t want any. I even saw other people with chocolate cones but paid scant attention. I didn’t stop liking chocolate; believe me there are times when I do DESIRE it…but, most of the time, I’m not thinking about it…and I don’t have to have a piece everytime I see it…I don’t keep secret stashes in my desk drawer.) Feeling and desire are NOT synonymous.

  39. As for shame:

    Knowing that Christ taught that to say a bad word against your brother is to murder, I feel shame when I think mean things about my family or friends.

    Knowing that lustful thoughts in my heart are the same as adultery, I feel shame if I look upon the spouse of another.

    I am encouraged when I recognize the error my ways and repent before acting on them–further compounding the problem–but I know the sin has already been committed just by thinking it.

    How can I judge sexual orientation by a different standard?

    To say that acting on “same-sex attractions” is sinful must mean that having them is also. I would have to conclude, based on Jesus’s teachings regarding the intention of the heart, that to want to marry a man would be sinful if I believe that actually marrying him would be as well. I should feel shame. I may deny it, I may suppress it, but it would be there.

    How do I say that “feelings in the heart are judged the same as actions” but then say “there is no problem with having same-sex attractions, only acting on them”?

  40. Segue warning.

    I hear some black preachers claim that racial discrimination is not comparable to sexual orientation discrimination. Sometimes ex-gay leaders join them in making these claims in support of inequality.

    So sometimes it is helpful to turn to those who have personal experiences to see their perspectives. On the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, this is what Mildred Loving had to say:

    …not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others.

    Those who disagree can argue that Mildred Loving is wrong, but they certainly can’t argue that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

  41. Timothy,

    Thank you for your concern. While I am certainly not an expert on Dr. Throckmorton’s beliefs I have been attempting to learn more about them since I found this blog. I do not mean to criticize them (and apologize if I have been condescending) but rather to flesh them out — for my own better understanding, to stimulate thought and introspection for those who might be reading this blog in silence, and to stimulate discussion between readers here.

    With that in mind, I would like to ask you:

    If a black man came to you who was in love with a white woman, who was in turn love with him, because his Christian beliefs taught him that interracial marriage was sinful, would you categorically suggest helping him to end his relationship with her without any further discussion of such beliefs?

  42. David said that “Making love out of wedlock is considered sinful…even though love is involved.” OK, then let us wed. Question: Were mixed race straight couples “sinning” when they lived in monogamous, committed relationships because could not legally marry?

  43. Brian,

    I think perhaps it would be useful to know more about Dr. Throckmorton’s positions before criticizing them.

    Warren and I certainly disagree over what is the healthiest or even the spiritually soundest response to the direction of one’s sexual attractions. But I don’t think he’s an advocate for shame.

    It is not inconsistent to believe that one feel no shame for experiencing same-sex attractions while also deciding that one’s values – based on historical interpretations of Scripture – require one to never act on those attractions. And for those who believe “this is what the Bible says” and who don’t find the affirmative studies on culture, context, content, and audience to be compelling, it is not necessarily external pressures that are driving these beliefs.

    I think those who think that God’s plan precludes same-sex relationships are wrong. But I certainly don’t think that they are all callous or that seeking to live consistent with one’s faith is inherently problematic.

  44. David, You are absolutely right. I was referencing a particular sentiment “putting the same-sex attraction into the same category as other sins.” The love and attraction a man feels for his girlfriend, fiancee, or wife is not sinful. There are many ways to corrupt sexuality (as you mentioned with someone other than your spouse), but one would not condemn all heterosexuality on the corruptions in certain instances. Likewise, one can abuse themselves, their bodies, and others in gay relationships just as in straight ones.

    Warren, I appreciate your careful attention to a patient’s health! I am still concerned that counseling a person on how to suppress their natural and healthy desires for love, affection, companionship, and family is inherently problematic. To allow someone to continue feeling shame for the beautiful diversity that God has blessed them with … it is neither mentally healthy nor morally correct.

    Could a comprehensive concern for the patient include counseling on why they feel the need to suppress this part of themselves–family pressure, church pressure, personal anxiety, bad prior relationships, perceived risks, etc–and to create for them a safe space to explore their own personal faith?

  45. Timothy Kincaid wrote:


    “…Paul talked about being more than conquerers…”


    Paul also wrote that “…it’s better to be married than to burn….” A rousing endorsement of marriage, eh? Regardless, even Paul seemed to realize that the sex drive is something to be reckoned with. If you’re gay, either way, you burn.

  46. David,

    If we are talking about reparative therapy, I think Brian’s comments are justifiable. Although the S&S study has significant flaws, I think it is adequate to indicate that at least a significant number of people who go through reorientation efforts find the process harmful.

    And the simple fact that 70% drop out of such programs is adequate to substantiate that “the vast majority” eventually see it as ineffective. I would say that even many who stay within the fold probably would agree that while they do feel benefitted, the efforts at reparing their “broken” sexuality were not effective.

  47. Brian:

    This assertion requires examination and substantiation:

    “knowing that the vast majority of patients eventually (whether in weeks, months, years, or decades) see as harmful and ineffective.”

    i hear it a lot, but no citations? I can only think of one study that asserts harm due to “reparative” therapies (there is no consistent treatment assessed).

    Regarding sinfulness. Heterosexual people making love out of wedlock is considered sinful…even though love is involved.

  48. Brian — What course of therapy? If I were doing reparative therapy, I would have to agree with you. One-third success rate is not something I would brag about. But what I am doing is not reparative therapy so I have no problem working for alignment with his values. We are just getting a research program underway to test sexual identity therapy so there is no way to say it is harmful. In fact, our guidelines specifically require therapists to monitor for adverse mental health reactions and respond to any manifestations of depression, suicidality or anxiety as primary issues. Repeat — how to change is not the focus; the focus is on living out the clients values.

  49. Yet you allow him to continue on in a course of therapy knowing that the vast majority of patients eventually (whether in weeks, months, years, or decades) see as harmful and ineffective. And even at best will leave him never fully at a place of wholeness, as even Chambers admits.

    I think that if an individual wants to and can move away from homosexual feelings and/or actions, that is completely his or her prerogative and she or he should be supported 100%.

    I do think that any conversation about how to change must also be ACCOMPANIED with a conversation about “why change is thought to be preferential.”

    That’s the only point I continue to make.

  50. Brian — I think the point you consistently miss is that persons such as this have already made the decision that the Bible teaches them that to act on homosexual desire would be a sin. I did not do that for him. If I told him he was wrong and acting homosexually is no sin (impose another religious perspective on him), he would very likely never come back or I could easily throw him into a deeper conflict.

  51. The argument of religious interpretation on homosexuality right/wrong sin/not sin will go on and on. That some see it as not of God’s plan is how they see it. That the article approaches how to put relgious views/interpretation/ perspective in line with views on self/sexuality/ behavior without too much “agenda” is a welcome relief.

  52. “‘He’s helped me to put the same-sex attraction in the same category as any other sin,’ he said, according to the Tribune.”

    It seems to me that when other sins include murder (ending the life of a child of God), not taking care of the poor (neglect of God’s children), adultery (breaking a vow, being dishonest, and disrupting a relationship), pedophilia (abuse), rape (a violent crime), polluting (not heeding God’s call to be stewards of His creation), stealing (from others and hurting the system), etc, etc…

    … calling the desire to love another human a sin would be to put in it a category of sin all to its own.

  53. For the most part, former homosexuals have conquered their same-sex desires but admit they are not completely rid of the homosexual attraction even when happily married and with kids, like Chambers.

    Well, no. For the most part, “former homosexuals” eventually come to terms with their orientation and leave the ex-gay movement. Some small percentage (30% maybe?) continue on.

    And isn’t there a paradox between “conquered their same-sex desires” and “not completely rid of homosexual attraction”? I know that in Christianese this makes sense but when Paul talked about being more than conquerers he was using secular language…. I wish today’s church would do the same.

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