What is change? Exodus and the Our America segment

I still haven’t seen the whole thing, but I will later.

By request of a commenter at the Exodus blog, I want to link Alan Chamber’s response to the segment.

During the segment I linked to yesterday, Alan acknowledged that he continues to experience same-sex attractions. At one time, this would have seemed like a betrayal of the “change is possible” mantra. However, Alan defines change as an ideological experience, first and foremost.

Diminishing or elimination of same-sex attraction can occur to varying degrees, but Exodus does not believe that an absence of same-sex attractions is necessary in order to live a life in harmony with biblical principles. Like I said during the interview, God wants our hearts more than he wants anything else.  When He has our heart then and only then can He begin the transformation process.

Change is possible.  For Christians change is ultimately about embracing a new identity. This new identity is rooted in what God says is His best plan for individuals, humanity and sexuality.  This involves a personal decision to reject behaviors and an identity that conflicts with biblical truth about life and relationships.

There may be a few people, mainly women, who have experienced an elimination of same-sex attraction, but I have only met a handful who claim it. I have met more who once claimed it and but then later experience SSA again.

Alan’s statement, to be consistent, needs to be understood not as a statement of science but one of faith and belief in the primacy of self-definition. Gay, to many evangelicals, means approval of homosexual behavior. And since they do not believe that is right, they change everything they can to achieve congruence with their beliefs. However, they have not changed their automatic attractions in ways that would meet categorical definitions of change.

And of course, for purposes of identity, this is just the way it is for some. According to the 2009 Task Force report, this is a defensible objective. Task Force chair Judith Glassgold told the Wall Street Journal:

“We’re not trying to encourage people to become ‘ex-gay,'” said Judith Glassgold, who chaired the APA’s task force on the issue. “But we have to acknowledge that, for some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else.”

Exodus has of late come much closer to clarity about what changes when they say change is possible. With the OWN segment, they have come another step closer.

993 thoughts on “What is change? Exodus and the Our America segment”

  1. Teresa: Actually, I had seen your response on the other thread, but mainly I wanted to share with you the cat picture that I subsequently made in PhotoShop to visually represent the “mutant perception” of homosexuals! (I did spend some time fiddling around with it, and as they say, a picture can be worth a thousand words.)

  2. It seems Exodus is trying to move to the Catholic position of ‘chastity’ for homosexuals. Courage is the Catholic ministry for homosexuals.

    However, side-by-side with promoting ‘chastity’ is the constant ‘change’ speak. Courage annual conferences are replete with therapists, social workers, counselors all beating the drum about ‘how this happened’ and how to ‘change’ it. It’s a bit mind-boggling to be sure. You’re never quite good enough is the not so subtle message. If only, if only ….

  3. AJ,

    I am still unsure how to define heterosexual and homosexual to any degree of certainty for everyone. Having said that, what degree of change or modification, from how you feel now, would you find acceptable to live the quality of life you want to?

  4. Why do I not accept being gay? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit in my life or maybe its my upbringing in the rural South in a Southern Baptist family. My faith is very important to me, and I do wish that I could have a family. But as I’ve begun to accept that my attractions probably won’t ever change, that has brought some peace and freedom. I’m on here seriously searching for answers because I don’t think I’m getting them in real life.

    Maybe Warren’s and Mark Yarhouse’s Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) is what you are seeking. Don’t know. Ask Warren. Regarding spiritual issues, you might try giving those 10 points of George Barna’s a look. Maybe something there will click. Beyond that, it is a matter for you and God to sort out through much prayer and meditation. Is the Spirit giving you no peace about where you are in life? Is there something you are supposed to be in obedience about that you are not? Only you can know that.

  5. I take the view that the term ‘sodomite’ is nowadays one that is often misused by anti-gay propagandists. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is very clearly not referring to consensual sexual relations.

    As for the ‘interpretations’ of Lev. 18 : 22: Jews of the Second Temple period probably interpreted it rather differently from many Christians (and others, of course, including many liberal Jews) today. This is not something which should surprise, or worry, us unduly.

  6. One more point: ‘finding something abhorrent’ is no substitute for logical analysis, especially in a jurisprudential context.

    True, but I suspect the Jewish scholars would’ve protested that their abhorrence was a product and result of the logical analysis — thus, it did not prejudice the analysis, because it came after it, and not before it. That is, they thought it was logical that male/male anal penetration was dissimilar from male/female anal penetration; that the former was wrong in a way that the latter was not wrong; ergo, they were “logically compelled” to abhor the male/male kind but not the male/female kind.

    Hint: The objection to male/male anal was probably NOT based on perceptions that it was in some way unhygienic — else male/female anal would logically also have been prohibited — but on perceptions that the male “bottom” was willingly turned into a pseudo-woman by the male “top,” which isn’t an issue with male/female anal where the female is the one being penetrated. (Also, as I’ve written, they may have suspected homosexuality in general of being a “Gentile vice” to be shunned by Jews, but that doesn’t explain why they thought that male/male anal was sui generis, in a category of specific awfulness all by itself — worse than all other homosexual acts, and also worse than heterosexual anal.)

    I’m not sure whether the ancient Jews ever took up the hypothetical possibility of “pegging”, where a woman uses a dildo on a man — but if they had considered it, I can only assume they would’ve condemned the practice. Again, primarily on the grounds that it symbolically inverts “divinely ordained” gender roles, and possibly also because they might’ve considered it a “pagan goyim thing”, but not primarily because Buttholes Are Dirty.

  7. One more point: ‘finding something abhorrent’ is no substitute for logical analysis, especially in a jurisprudential context.

  8. As for the ‘selective’ prohibition on anal intercourse: well, that’s something that we can usefully dispense with, on the grounds that a ‘gender-neutral’ approach makes more sense.

    Well, I generally agree that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and that the potential health risks of anal sex are going to apply whether it’s a man or a woman being penetrated.

    But on the other hand, when considering questions like “How did Jews of the Second Temple period interpret Leviticus 18:22?”, we can’t just impose our modern preference for gender parity. I mean, if they found male/male anal sex abhorrent, then arguably they should’ve reacted the same way to male/female anal sex, but the reality is that there was apparently a double standard.

  9. Ah, but, Eddy, more often than not, wedding rings scream hetero … at least, in my world. And, for the most part, gays with children are a really, really, really small percentage of our population. If being gay is at the max 5% of a population, some percentage of that is closeted, chaste, etc.; those with children are a teeny-tiny, wee, little portion of the population. Did I mention tiny?

    Geez, where do you guys live? Where I live, things are still pretty str8.

    Eddy, have you been “smoking the drapes”, or what? If your world is normative, no wonder str8 folks are scared, and me too!! 🙂

  10. I get what you’re saying, Richard. And from my perspective as a “Deist”, I don’t see either the Jewish Tanakh or the Christian New Testament as “reliably inspired,” and I’m not loyal to either the Jewish or Christian interpretations.

    However, I think it’s important for Christians who are debating “what does Scripture say about homosexuality” to research the Jewish interpretations — because even though the Jewish interpretations may also disapprove of homosexuality, they don’t necessarily “disapprove in the same way” that Christianity does. (For the same reason, I recommend the documentary Trembling Before G-d to conservative Christians — because although Orthodox Judaism strongly disapproves of homosexuality, and that disapproval is the main theme of the movie, the perspective is a bit different from what Christians are used to.)

    And when conservative Christians accuse gay-affirming modrin lib’ruls of playing word games and twisting “the plain and obvious meaning” of Scripture, I think it makes a fairly powerful rebuttal that Jewish scholars from two millennia ago — i.e., Jews roughly contemporaneous with Jesus and St. Paul — were even then arguing over the correct interpretation of Leviticus 18:22 and of the Sodom story in Genesis 19.

  11. I guess we live in different worlds. I’ve been at my job for close to six months and no one has yet asked about my wife, kids, significant other or anything close.

    I sing karaoke at different bars (predominantly straight but I’ve heard one is lesbian) every week and ONLY ONCE in the past two years has someone been intrigued by my sexuality. (It turns out she wanted to ‘take me home’.)

    I shop at Home Depot and Lowe’s…at Ollie’s Discounts and garage sales by the dozens. I go to restaurants. Sorry, but it just NEVER comes up.

    LOL. Maybe I’m such a troll that no one even wants to think of me sexually…..or perhaps Mary’s examples are from environments where a focus on sexuality is a natural theme.

    Mary,

    the example I used in my larger comment involved an exchange with a mall security guard…by extension, you could even include transactions the next day at the auto parts store. It was a weekend…two full days. I had breakfast out, I shopped, I hiked, I napped, I stopped in at the neighborhood bar, I went out for karaoke but had my car trouble. That was Saturday.

    Sunday I slept in, fiddled with my car, called my brother, we went to the auto store for parts, finished fixing the car, I drove around, hiked a little, shopped for groceries, stopped for an ice cream cone, went to the convenience store…and still, NOT ONE PERSON expressed any interest whatsoever in my sexuality (or, when he was with me, of my brother.)

    I submit that those are fairly normal weekend experiences. Where is it that you go where your sexuality is such a focus?

  12. Teresa–

    First, I want to say that I love the way you preseent yourself. You come across as very straightforward and agenda-free. I like that.

    Because of that, things you say make me think…and mull…sometimes for hours. in one comment you lamented about the fact that straights can wear and celebrate their sexuality while those who are gay-identified cannot. The picture you painted made it seem like heteros were always brandishing their heterosexuality while gays could not at all. That one was a ‘muller’.

    Actually, I know lots of single straights that do not go around brandishing their heterosexuality. Many go so far not to brandish that others even question their sexuality. (Presuming that a straight would gladly proclaim it and that a gay would present defenses.) Ahh… but I speak of people who aren’t a part of this blog obsession. Just people living their lives. Naturally we presume they are hetero because the odds go that way..but the truth is that we don’t know…they’re just living. And what they are brandishing isn’t sexuality but the fact that they are alive…living and breathing. We need to be careful about what, from our own experience, we project onto them.

    You spoke of wives and husbands, families with children. Yes, they can’t help, , most of the time, declaring and, i guess, brandishing their heterosexuality…I mean they’ve got kids…where did they come from??? BUT, I had experience this weekend where I had car trouble. One of my brothers and his oldest son came to bail me out. There they were out in the real world–out exposed to the random people who might bear witness to their heterosexuality–but the wives and kids weren’t in high profile. Did the security guard from the parking lot where my car died get a loud and clear message that those two were happy heteros and that I was, to some degree, gay identified? I submit that not only did he not give thought to my sexuality…but that he didn’t give thought to theirs either. At that point, another of our identities took precedence…”customers’…and it completely foreshadowed all other considerations. The larger implication is this: If the conversation or interchange demands sexual preference identification, then we’ve got the situations that you’ve described…but, in actuality, our sexuality doesn’t play into most of life’s transactions.

  13. Ann.

    If you reread Jayhuck’s statement, he actually did say it in the kindest way possible. Since Michael does bring his attempt at heterosexuality and the repercussions from moving away from that into the conversation…I’m willing to give some latitude. Nothing in this statement disparages Annie (Michael’s ex). However, I don’t think some aspects of this conversation can’t proceed unless and until we allow the voices of those ‘who tried it and didn’t succeed’ to be heard.

    BTW: I think that Michael would agree that the fact that he was in more ‘in love’ with Gary than his own wife…that that had nothing to do with his wife. It wasn’t her loveability that was in question but his ability to love someone fully of the opposite gender.

  14. i understand your point. My own perspective: as a Christian, I believe that the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled (by the Sacrifice of Christ) and we have moved on …

    (Given that, in Christian dogma, God’s nature is that revealed in Christ, the fulfilment of Law cannot be pegged to a particular year, e.g. A.D. 34, but in a sense ‘transcends’ human time.)

  15. Dave,

    Aren’t all these beliefs, especially the religious ones, just that – personal beliefs? None of use have to align ourselves with what/how others believe if we don’t believe the same thing. Just because Exodus says it doesn’t mean I have to take it on as my personal belief.

  16. (I guess they’re not interested in sharing Christ’s love to those with wanted same-sex attractions, but I digress…)

    They are merely speaking to their mission and audience, Jon. Why would those with wanted SSAs seek out Exodus?

    So they sell many materials about changing from gay to straight, but don’t sell the basic building-block of Christianity (AKA the Bible), which would actually promote Christ’s message of love.

    Not sure why you would expect them to sell Bibles when those are readily available everywhere. Don’t read into that any more than you should read into their mission statement that they don’t love gays who like being gay. Nonsense.

  17. in actuality, our sexuality doesn’t play into most of life’s transactions

    I see things differently. Sexuality plays a huge part in our lives – daily. It’s part of our social structure. Are you married, single, divorced, how many children, starts pretty much any realtionship – unless you’re children – and then gender and sexuality are still playing a part.

  18. They are merely speaking to their mission and audience, Jon. Why would those with wanted SSAs seek out Exodus?

    Because they want to learn about and experience Christ’s love. Why wouldn’t they turn to Exodus if its mission is about learning about Christ’s love and not about becoming straight?

    Regarding the books, maybe I’m reading too much into it. I just can’t figure out from Exodus’ communications if they’re a missionary program or a gay-to-straight program. Afterall, I’ve never heard of anyone going to Exodus or its Love Won Out workshops because they wanted to learn more about Jesus, but I have heard about people seeking them out because they want to become straight. Meanwhile, Exodus says that they’re not about orientation change, but that’s referenced in pretty much every interview with their reps. So which is it?

  19. AJ, no.

    Throbert, but we know there are plenty of people who are unhappy with their SSA. Probably the vast majority at some point. Whether due to societal intolerance, intuition, desire to have a family, etc.

  20. But if thy son were happy about being gay, then the mental health profession would only be turning its back on thee

    If “ego-dystonic homosexuality by proxy” is not already a phrase, it probably should be!

  21. Yes, although it’s a hypothetical, I do believe I could be happy for her. But I would not be happy if my son were gay. And I would be furious if the mental health profession turned its back on us.

    Um, if thy son shared thy unhappiness with his being gay, then thou could indeed argue that the mental health profession was turning its back on both of you.

    But if thy son were happy about being gay, then the mental health profession would only be turning its back on thee, preston, and not on him.

  22. Teresa, sexual attractions are, indeed, physical. But, with same-sex-attracted women, it is more than a desire or need for sexual coupling that drives them to seek each other out. Frankly, I’d say the same for many gay men. When we use the term SSA, we are meant to infer the whole, complex package, that is emotions and everything else that drives relationships. My past attractions were not all the same. Some were more physical in nature, to be sure. There are other kinds of intimacy. We are a complicated lot as humans. That’s why we can’t oversimplify homosexuality or reduce people to lab rats.

  23. OK, fair enough. It just seems like there is a lot of language used by the anti-exers to try to mis-lead the public into thinking homosexuality is innate and change is not possible and should not be attempted.

  24. That includes ‘change’ for people who were supposedly happily married, who in later life opt for gay relationships

    Yep. Why do people suppose that if someone moves into a gay relationship later in life then that person was always gay and just latent? Maybe change really does occur?

  25. Preston, “not uncomplicated” was the term actually used by Jones and Yarhouse to describe the heterosexual functioning achieved by the small number (11 out of 98 in their book) whose orientation they counted as having changed – although one of those later had the grace to write to them and admit that he had lied, telling them what he had thought they wanted to hear.

    As for “recurring and persistent”, of what is that a distortion? If you’re prepared to classify incomplete change (e.g. of the kind described by Alan Chambers and many other ex-gay leaders) as being nonetheless change, then you must include those who have recurring and persistent homosexual feelings.

  26. And who ever said that?

    That was a modest joke, hopefully indicated by the exclamation point. Designed to poke fun at the inane “controversy” about change only meaning complete change.

    Yes, although it’s a hypothetical, I do believe I could be happy for her. But I would not be happy if my son were gay. And I would be furious if the mental health profession turned its back on us.

    And please, no need to include “not uncomplicated” and “persistent and recurring” in your definitions. Those are unacceptable distortions.

  27. Similarly, you and I both know perfectly well how most people – and particularly homosexual people ignorant of the history of the ex-gay movement and hoping to find a way of becoming heterosexual – would interpret an advert offering “Freedom from homosexuality” and stating “The bottom line is: you don’t have to be gay!”. It really isn’t straightforward of you to pretend that you don’t.

    Not being a parent, I can try to imagine parents, who are horrified, shamed, fearful, full of guilt at discovering they have a child who is gay, who’d latch onto something like this as a lifeline. What would that parent think when reading something like this: “you don’t have to be gay!”?

    For those of you that know about the ex-gay world: how often is it that gay people find their way into an ex-gay group because of parental pressure?

  28. But if you have one thought about homosexuality you’re not heterosexual!

    And who ever said that? That’s an Aunt Sally if ever there was one.

  29. My shrink says that most people wonder at one time or another about sex with the same gender and that it is not unusual.

    For clarification purposes only: I’m not talking about wondering … my question was do str8 people have sexual attractions toward people of the same gender? Not wondering … sexual attractions?

  30. Generally speaking, though, I think that most DON’T experience sexual attractions towards others of their own gender. (In that word ‘sexual’ I consider an attraction where they desire to have a physical coupling of some sort.)

    Thanks, Eddy, for your response, and your precision in the fact of noting sexual attraction as a desire for physical coupling. My opinion is the same as yours, for what that’s worth.

  31. Teresa–

    I think that one’s difficult to answer.

    Some men envy the looks, physiques, physical endowments of other men…and envy is an attraction of sorts. Because it’s physical (and even sometimes involves the ‘endowment’), some presume that attraction to be sexual.

    Some men crave certain sexual sensations (I think particularly of those who enjoy receiving oral sex). If they have a hetero partner who isn’t particularly into that, they may feel drawn to (i.e. ‘attracted’) to men who are into that.

    Generally speaking, though, I think that most DON’T experience sexual attractions towards others of their own gender. (In that word ‘sexual’ I consider an attraction where they desire to have a physical coupling of some sort.)

  32. I’d just like to ask you one thing, Preston. In the case of gay men who have been through an ex-gay or reparative therapy program, and have managed to achieve change to the extent of “satisfactory if not uncomplicated heterosexual functioning” but still have recurring and persistent homosexual feelings, would you recommend them to enter heterosexual relationships? If so, would you be happy for them to do so with your daughters, sisters or nieces?

  33. Regarding temperature, I was wrong. There is a minimum temperature but no maximum.

  34. But if you have one thought about homosexuality you’re not heterosexual!

    LOL!!!! And if you are homosexual and think about straight sex – you’re still homosexual. Perfect set up for being gay – most of the time!

  35. Teresa,

    My shrink says that most people wonder at one time or another about sex with the same gender and that it is not unusual.

  36. I’m with Mary. The pro-gay folks continue to distort the meaning of change so I refuse to take their word for it on this issue. I would like to see some evidence. The current Exodus web site language is quite reasonable. For example: http://exodusinternational.org/2009/12/whats-your-success-rate-in-changing-gays-into-straights/ and http://exodusinternational.org/about-us/policy-statements/ and http://exodusinternational.org/2009/12/sexual-orientation-and-change/ (have you even visited the site?)

    And quite honestly, I am much more interested in where we are at today and going in the future. Maybe the problem is that you guys are making 10 and 20 year old arguments?

  37. Which by the way does not mean they are gay and it doesn’t mean they are bisexual. But with all the talk, people do wonder – What would that be like?

  38. Yep. Why do people suppose that if someone moves into a gay relationship later in life then that person was always gay and just latent? Maybe change really does occur?

    Bolding mine.

    Which prompted my question: do str8 people have sexual attractions toward persons of the same sex?

  39. Eddy# ~ Mar 12, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Well, for a long time, Exodus and other so-called ex-gay organizations gave the impression that this was indeed the case. It was implied even if it wasn’t said so outright.

    Preston,

    This generalized statement of Jayhuck’s stands as untrue. I was invited to teach at several of Exodus’ annual conferences. My topics included, “Reckoning with the Roots”, “Lessons for the Battlefield”, “The Reality of Temptation”, “Progressive Reality”…these allowed for the possible development of heterosexual attractions but maintained that it would be unlikely for homosexual attractions or temptations to disappear completely. And this was ‘back in the day’–long before Alan Chambers got involved. (In fact, on several occasions, I warned that “if you ever reach the point in your Christian walk when you believe that you are totally beyond having homosexual temptations, take heed!”)

    I believe you’re correct when you say:I subscribe that the only reason change would be defined as 100% is to be able to say that change is not possible. (My only reservation is that I rarely say ‘the only reason…it’s certainly #1 but I imagine there could be others.)

    Gee Eddie .. perhaps you missed this post by Dr. Throckmorton…. (bold emphasis is mine)

    Warren# ~ Mar 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    As far as I can tell, I was one of the earlier proponents of the view that change did not need to be complete to be change. I argued this in the late 90s when the all or nothing debates were taking place. I was resisted then by social conservatives because less than complete change did not suit their political need. The need was to demonstrate that people did not need to have same-sex attraction (i.e., be gay) thus the trait was not immutable. SSA was curable and the person would go from gay to straight. This transformation was important and in fact in I Do Exist, all people I interviewed felt it was important to make it clear on camera that they were completely heterosexual. At the time, saying that change was less than complete was viewed as an attack on hope and an attack on the belief that homosexuality was a changeable condition.

    I recall being in an Exodus media training when John Smid said that he was in the minority because he did not experience change and thought it was a problem to promise or imply it. While the response was cordial (he was on the board at the time) but not supportive. It has not been that long ago, but it seems like a long time ago to hear people say here that it is obvious that less than complete change is no problem.

    My view is that less than complete change can be very helpful to someone who seeks congruence with their beliefs. I have never doubted this and this view is foundational for my view of sexual identity work. However, when one looks at sexual attraction and arousal scientifically, it is perfectly natural to quantify and describe with precision what is occuring. Through that lens, it seems clear to me that complete change is rare, and that change of attraction is contextually driven for women, and less so for men. …..

    The many people I have talked to who described their experience in exgay ministries such as Exodus are pretty clear that the original idea of change was complete change. Even their current website says thing like “you don’t have to be gay” So I am hardly seeing clarity here on the word “change”. If Alan would say on his website what he said in the video on the Oprah channel it would make things much clearer. The burden for clarity rests with Exodus .. not with us and not with the people looking for help who migh visit his website.

    Dave

    P.S, I was finally able to view the video on Oprah’s website .. While exodus may not be describing change as absolute change .. the women they interviewed who has her own exgay ministry certainly was.

  40. Preston,

    Regarding “orientation”, perhaps my view is similar to Mary’s: humans (and most or all animals) are heterosexually oriented.

    Implying what? That all humans are heterosexually orientated? If so, that is just as much contradicted by human experience as a statement like “Humans (implying all humans) are right-handed.” Human experience cannot always be allowed to have the last word, of course – the discoveries that the earth is a sphere and that the earth goes round the sun certainly seem like a contradiction of human experience – but you have revealed no such discovery, just a dogmatic opinion.

    Any departure from that is not a different orientation but simply an urge, temptation, behavior, desire, feeling, etc.

    Well, you can say that if you wish, but all that you are doing is arbitrarily applying the word “orientation” to sexual feelings and behaviour that you approve of and refusing to apply the same word to sexual feelings and behaviour that you disapprove of. You are not thereby telling us any fact which you or anyone else has ascertained; you are simply framing your disapproval in such a way as to make it sound like an expression of objective reality – which it isn’t.

    We can all use language in this way – like Mr Thwackum in The History of Tom Jones, who refused to use the word “religion” of anything but the Christian religion, by which he meant only the Protestant religion, by which he meant only the Church of England.

  41. No, I didn’t miss Warren’s comments. He discussed a debate that took place in the 1990’s. The ‘100% change’ standard put forth by the anti-exes preceded that by a decade or two. Preston’s comment and Jayhuck’s rebuttal went to where and why that 100% standard originated. Jayhuck offered his opinion as a correction to Preston and I supplied Preston with some facts that refute that opinion.

    Jayhuck’s position may support why the anti-exes refuse to budge from the 100% change standard (as a response to the over-statements of the late 1980’s, early 1990’s) but it failed as an explanation of where it originated.

  42. Eddy,

    I’m honestly just happy with the fact that Exodus is becoming more honest about what change means. Warren’s comments go to the heart of the fact that the people proposing change, for a long time, did not seem do anything to correct the idea that change was not 100%, and as he said:

    I was resisted then by social conservatives because less than complete change did not suit their political need.

    He mentions problems with this again when “I Do Exist” came out in 2004 –

    This transformation was important and in fact in I Do Exist, all people I interviewed felt it was important to make it clear on camera that they were completely heterosexual. At the time, saying that change was less than complete was viewed as an attack on hope and an attack on the belief that homosexuality was a changeable condition.

    Am I wrong in stating that the evidence we have, to date, regarding change, shows that most change is far less than 100%. We seem to be talking as if change somehow butts up against this 100% mark but I don’t think this is the case. Of course, then we probably need to come back to what “change” really means. For some, celibacy is “change”, correct?

  43. Well, for a long time, Exodus and other so-called ex-gay organizations gave the impression that this was indeed the case. It was implied even if it wasn’t said so outright.

    Preston,

    This generalized statement of Jayhuck’s stands as untrue. I was invited to teach at several of Exodus’ annual conferences. My topics included, “Reckoning with the Roots”, “Lessons for the Battlefield”, “The Reality of Temptation”, “Progressive Reality”…these allowed for the possible development of heterosexual attractions but maintained that it would be unlikely for homosexual attractions or temptations to disappear completely. And this was ‘back in the day’–long before Alan Chambers got involved. (In fact, on several occasions, I warned that “if you ever reach the point in your Christian walk when you believe that you are totally beyond having homosexual temptations, take heed!”)

    I believe you’re correct when you say:I subscribe that the only reason change would be defined as 100% is to be able to say that change is not possible. (My only reservation is that I rarely say ‘the only reason…it’s certainly #1 but I imagine there could be others.)

  44. Infants and toddlers don’t seem to have a sexual orientation. And yet we do know that they are capable of orgasms.

    Mary,

    As I posted on the thread, BYU, Utah professors rebut LDS gay change group , early March 11th, there is more than compelling evidence that toddlers are actively shaping a sexual identity and that it starts in infancy. Galenson’s and Roiphe’s longitudinal study of babies attending their research nursery traces “the development of the sense of sexual identity from its vague beginnings during the earliest weeks and months to a definite conscious awareness of specific gender and genital erotic feelings and fantasies by the end of the second year.” I urge anyone who really is interested in debating the origins of sexual identity to look at their 1981 book entitled,Infantile Origins of Sexual Identity. It is one of the most compelling pieces of research I’ve ever read.

  45. As for all this talk about discouraging hope, I have to say that I don’t agree that discouraging hope is necessarily a negative thing to do. On the contrary, it may be a very positive and helpful thing, if the hope is not only an unrealistic one but is also causing a person to miss out on the here and now by putting his or her life on hold for the sake of some future development which, in all likelihood, will never come to fruition. À la recherche du temps perdu may have made a good title for one of Proust’s novels, but wasted time cannot be recovered; it has gone for ever.

  46. Dissappointing statement Mary .. with it you invalidate the life and experience of others while at the same time you desire others to validate your life experience.

    Dave,

    I saw this as Mary having a personal opinion, like all of us have. She did not invalidate others, rather, she said what she believed – we all have this right as has been evidenced on the myriad of opinions and beliefs expressed on this blog.

  47. Mary,

    Their so called “orientation” did not come from out of the blue. They did not magically appear as grown men, fully formed, and have desires.

    Maybe so, but that is nothing at all to the point. The examples that I gave are hypothetical in that I wasn’t referring to particular individuals, but they are certainly not imaginary in the sense of being merely fanciful; on the contrary, I’m sure that they describe the situation of a great many religious celibates. These men have a sexual orientation, heterosexual or homosexual as the case may be, irrespective of where anyone thinks it may have come from.

    Similarly, I knew that my orientation was homosexual long before I did anything about it, and indeed before I had ever heard the word “orientation” used in this sense. I even remember some years back a guy considerably older than me, who had grown up in a small, remote village in Ireland, telling me that he knew that he was sexually attracted to other guys years before he realised that anyone else was also, and that he had never heard the word “homosexuality”, or even realised that there was officially “supposed” to be such a thing, until he went to Dublin at the age of 30.

    If for some reason you don’t like the word “orientation” and prefer to substitute some other word, that’s up to you, but playing games with words won’t alter reality, even if it allows you to jam the air-waves against it.

  48. Dave,

    PS – Sorry, I forgot to add something very important. As well as impose and/or limit, no one has the right to guarantee (another axiom) any particular outcome for another either. Especially something as important as their emotional well being.

  49. AJ,

    No one has the right to put any limitation on another’s hope to live the life they want to and value – no one. American Idol is a singing contest – my life isn’t.

  50. At the beginning of the Exodus conference shown on the OWN program, Alan Chambers said he prayed and prayed that God would “fix” him. He says that didn’t happen. Even though he “prayed and prayed”. He tells attendees to expect a lifetime of denial and struggle. I give him some credit for being more honest about this than many past ex-gay leaders have been.

    By “fix”, he seemed to mean “make me heterosexual like other straight and take away my homosexual feelings”. That clearly didn’t happen. He warns attendees not to expect it. Instead he calls a change of heart, for obedience and service to God, not to be “fixed” — that is, to become “holy”, not heterosexual. That kind of change, not reorientation.

    In the film, he says he is “just like other married men” in that he is tempted to be unfaithful or impure. Perhaps this is true, to a point. But the fact is straight men (like my older brother) don’t battle a homosexual orientation or even homosexual temptations. Alan does. He has said that he gets up every morning and prays that God will help him to deny “that which comes naturally for him”.

    So God didn’t “fix” him, but he changed him. Alan says he is no longer addicted to anonymous sexual encounters as he was before he experienced his change. He says the temptations come less frequently and with less intensity. I have no reason to doubt him. He seems to genuinely love his wife and kids. Nothing wrong with that. I know many married homosexual men who do.

    Perhaps he has resolved what used to drive him to act out in such a compulsive and unsatisfying way. He says he no longer needs that and does not have a desire to go back to it. That is a change from his previous experience. He can say no when he feels “tempted”. God gives him the power to resist. More power to him if that is his choice.

    But many were told, as I was, that when we didn’t get “fixed’, it was out fault. The female “ex-gay” on the program says as much. People can become straight if they want it badly enough and have enough faith. That is the message I object to most strongly. If you don’t become straight, there is something wrong with you and with your faith. Maybe you’re not really saved. Just what a young gay Christian does not need to hear.

  51. I think it is to Exodus’ advantage to keep such terms very ambiguous. That way, anything is “possible” and and beyond scientific verification.

    The Exodus position, as I understand it, is to keep hope in the equation. Christians accept (or they should) that “with God, all things are possible.” Spiritual transformations are outside the realm of science. God is not limited. Our human ability to observe and measure and understand some things is limited. Some researchers have observed the effects of prayer, but they cannot observe how prayer works. I am willing to accept homosexuality as a mystery we will never fully understand.

  52. I really think that it’s up to those who do use the word “identity” in this context to tell us precisely what they mean by it.

    William: I agree — you are pointing out the need to be clear about about what one means by words such as “change” and “identity”. I think it is to Exodus’ advantage to keep such terms very ambiguous. That way, anything is “possible” and and beyond scientific verification.

    The question “Can gays change?” depends entirely on what you mean by “gay” and what you mean by “change”.

    How you frame the question, and what you mean by the words you use determines the answer. Without first coming to agreement on these words, we might as well ask, “Can flubberwonks wusticulate”? Depending on the definition — maybe yes, maybe no.

  53. preston# ~ Mar 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    [it’s] not a flaw that needs mending

    By the way, YOU labeling it a flaw is a technique to try to make your opponent’s position less tenable. So we’ll just refer to it as a set of feelings/urges/etc that some people would prefer not to have (for religious and non-religious reasons). And take the “flaw” angle out of the equation.

    Quite the contrary .. it was the exgay groups that labeled it as flawed and needing to be fixed. That’s what hurt many folks who tried the change route and did not expereince success (however the group was defining success at that time .. which.. per Dr Throckmorton’s earlier post .. was at one time defined as being straight). They were told they weren’t honest enough .. didn’t pray hard enough .. weren’t faithful enough and so forth.

    Dave

  54. By comparison if you look at Alcoholics Anonymous you will find that they ally with no political party or position or group or controversy so as not to distract from their primary purpose of helping people who are alcoholics.

    The original mission and intent of Exodus was strictly supportive and pastoral for those who were having conflict between their sexuality and spirituality. It was, and should have remained, strongly non-political.

  55. What is the battle and what would winning look like?

    That question was going to the comparison between change for men and women. How does change work more for one than the other? Has God played some kind of cruel joke on humanity? Or are women simply (simply – Ha!) wired in such a way as to moderate sexual attractions where men cannot? If it is so hopeless for men, unless they are bisexual, what does this mean for Exodus?

  56. Has God played some kind of cruel joke on humanity?

    No, because it’s not broken. It would be a cruel joke not to provide some sort of reorientation for both genders if it was “broken”. That’s the fundamental disagreement here. I don’t believe it is broken. That’s why God doesn’t “fix” it.

  57. You can be a sex addict, but possessing same sex attractions does not equal addiction. It just equals “attracted to the same sex.”

    You can have a healthy sex life if you are gay or straight. Christians treat being gay like a sex addiction though because sexual attractions to the same sex won’t go away and there are little if any attractions to the opposite sex. So they assume they must be “addicted to sex with the same sex,” rather than simply having a sex drive that points to the same sex rather than the opposite sex.

  58. William,

    How would you distinguish sexual orientation from sexuality identity or is there even a distinction?

    Well, Ann, I don’t know that I can answer that question, because I have never myself used the word “identity” in this context, and it’s very unclear to me what those who do use the word mean by it. I have read people saying that they have “rejected a gay (or homosexual) identity”. What does that mean exactly? That they are homosexual but pretend to themselves and to others that they’re not? That they have stopped going to gay venues? That they are still attracted to others of the same sex but have merely decided to stop calling themselves gay? They never tell us. Or if they mean that they have stopped having gay sex, why don’t they just say so? Some say that they refuse to identify themselves by their sexual attractions, which I take to mean, if it means anything at all, that they refuse to define themselves by their sexual attractions. But what is remarkable about that? Very few people, whatever their sexual attractions, do this anyway, any more than they define themselves by the make of car that they own, their taste in music or their favourite colour; in fact I can’t offhand think of anyone who does.

    I really think that it’s up to those who do use the word “identity” in this context to tell us precisely what they mean by it. Oh, get an answer if you can.

  59. It’s late here (for me anyway) and I’m heading for bed. I did want to cite though that a wedding ring doesn’t scream ‘hetero’…neither do kids or grandkids. I know that ‘s where our brain wants to go but my best friend is a man married to a man and they both wear wedding rings. Regular blogger, Michael Bussee, mentions his daughter from time to time and, if memory serves, he now has twin grandchildren. We may have a preoccupation with sexuality but not everything we presume to be brandishing heterosexuality actually is. True, these tokens do brandish ‘sexuality’–and I don’t think we can escape that for adults–but I’m not so sure that they brandish the direction of our sexuality as much as we think.

  60. I am a committed Christian who wants to follow Biblical teachings […] I think I’m going to have to accept reality, that I will most likely always be same-sex attracted and try to figure out how to live a life within my beliefs. That probably means celibacy.

    AJ, there are some people who argue that the Biblical verses condemning homosexual behavior are NOT “blanket” prohibitions on any and all homosexual activity under any circumstances, but rather should be interpreted as prohibiting certain specific types of homosexual behavior, possibly including:

    * same-sex pederasty

    * rape of male war prisoners

    * being a male prostitute, or paying for the services of one

    * transgendered homosexuality

    * male/male anal penetration (even if consensual)

    * all-male pagan temple orgies in honor of some fertility god(dess)

    So my question for you is: have you considered the possibility that there’s such a thing in God’s eyes as “morally wholesome homosexual activity”, but that the Bible doesn’t mention it because back then, the social evil of men futtbucking boy-whores in honor of Ishtar was such a pressing issue?

  61. Throbbert mis-represented AJ’s situation and my thoughts on it. Please disregard his entire Mar 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm post is it has no relevant content.

    Thanks for the free advertising, supergenius!

    To repeat, folks, the post from me that preston doesn’t want you to pay any attention to is the one at Mar 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm. Again, that’s Mar 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm — don’t fail to miss it!

  62. Ah, the great arsenokoitai debate! Many scholars think S. Paul made up that word. I reckon that ‘pimp’ or ‘pervert’ is probably as good a translation as any; the NJB says ‘sodomite’* (a word, when properly understood, implies sexual violence and/or coercion).

    Of course, Throbert is as able as anyone else to consider these (important) linguistic questions.

  63. how do you know that ANY are?

    We may not know now. But it would be beyond irresponsible to conclude that none are.

    Think for a moment how outlandish it is to have ostensibly no interest in the matter and yet discourage and belittle people from trying to treat an unwanted condition. Can you think of any other comparable situation? Are we really to believe that it is out of concern for some stranger’s well-being or loss of time? Further, why couldn’t one be concerned about the well-being and loss of time for someone coming out? A potential lifetime of persecution and lack of reproduction? That’s better than spending some time in counseling? Wow.

  64. Hmm… correction … should have said in the last paragraph:

    And if I am reading what he says about God not sharing His throne correctly then that means that he believes that people who believe differently will go to hell.

  65. Throbbert mis-represented AJ’s situation and my thoughts on it. Please disregard his entire Mar 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm post is it has no relevant content.

  66. You do not need to follow William’s advice.

    I rather think that AJ knows that already, Preston.

    By the way, I find it rather puzzling, to say the least, that you, as an avowed atheist, should defend the claims of Exodus and other ex-gay ministries. Are you so anxious to play games with gay people’s lives that it doesn’t bother you to endorse organizations which not only make extremely dubious claims, but explicitly base those claims on the power of a being in whose very existence you disbelieve?

  67. AJ has expressed how he has impoverished himself through the whole therapy process. I have also spent myself broke doing the same.

    Why is it that credentialed Christian therapists don’t do ‘pro bono’ work? I understand “the laborer is worthy of his hire” … but, few of us have insurance that covers therapy; and, that will only get worse in the future.

    We can talk ourselves blue-in-the-face about ‘change’ therapy; but, if few of us can afford it, what then?

    This is no small issue. Years of therapy is a luxury of the rich, plain and simple … or a good health insurance plan, if the therapist accepts it.

    So, what about this?

  68. I would suggest that ‘therapies’ with rigid ‘success criteria’ are generally damaging. It is IMHO never a good idea to say ‘as a result of this therapy you should end up like this …’.

    Good psychotherapy is about helping someone develop in a way that is best for him/her. Each client is an individual; each ‘therapeutic outcome’ will, in some way, be a function of a client’s individuality and circumstances. In a ‘Christian context’, good pastoral care must place the person who is receiving that care before any ‘fixed ideology’.

    So what then is ‘change’? Well, I suppose it can be many things: a change in how someone responds to others; a growth in self-confidence and personal and/or social responsibility; a greater ability to love and be loved; a change in behaviour that benefits the client and those whose lives the client touches; above all, a greater humanity and understanding of true wellbeing. None of these things is necessarily predicated on a change in sexual orientation.

  69. Shouldn’t you be thrilled that people can overcome an unwanted condition? No, you’re the opposite. You dislike that they even try and refuse to accept that they can be successful. What an ugly place to be.

  70. I have people close to me struggling with their situations and am appalled at the lack of heterosexual-affirming support.

    Well, this is fair enough, and I’m glad the mystery is over. I had been speculating whether Preston was himself ex-gay, or if he was a heterosexual who had seen a loved one die from AIDS that was acquired via gay sex, or if he was just an incredibly crotchety and conservative homosexual who’s generally appalled at all the pampered whiners in the American “gay community” (in other words, like me, but even more so!). But I certainly didn’t believe that his interest was purely academic.

  71. we know there are plenty of people who are unhappy with their SSA.

    But the number has decreased, is decreasing, and will continue to decrease at an ever-accelerating rate.

    Probably the vast majority at some point.

    That’s true, I agree. Most people come to conscious awareness of their sexuality in their teens, when the desire to be just like everyone else and the dread of being different, especially from one’s contemporaries, are at their height. It’s not easy to cope with the discovery that such an important aspect of your personality as your sexuality isn’t the same as that of the majority. Fortunately – in civilized countries, at any rate – the journey to healthy self-acceptance is growing ever shorter and easier, and although there are still too many busybodies who want to obstruct it, they are a declining breed.

  72. Overall, I thought Lisa Ling did a fair job, but there were a few points about the program that confused me:

    On the Lisa Ling program, Alan Chambers ended by saying that he was confident that gays who were in Christ, even those like me who are living an openly gay life, would end up in Heaven because there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ”.

    I was very pleased to hear him say this, since I have always believed that we are saved by grace, not by our sexual orientation or by our beliefs about homosexuality. But doesn’t this contradict Paul, who supposedly taught that “homosexuals” would not inherit the Kingdom of God? Is Alan contradicting Scripture, or did he leave off something like “They’ll get to heaven as long as they repent before they die”?

    Another question: Alan told Lisa Ling that intimacy with his wife “was not weird” that that it felt “natural” for him — giving the impression that there was no trouble. This seems to contradict other statements Alan has made, in his book and on TV, that married, heterosexual intimacy was actually quite difficult for him and that it was months before they were able to consummate the marriage.

    Final question: Alan seemed to say pretty clearly that Exodus is not about “fixing people” or making them straight — even though some may desperately hope and pray for this, like he did. But still, their advertizing continues to give the impression to many (intentionally or not) that becoming non-homosexual is what they are offering. Did anyone else find his statements contradictory?

  73. Interestingly, a group of Jewish rabbis have bypassed the whole change question, and are marrying gay men and lesbian women to each other. That’s another take on the friendship theme. These couples desire a family but are honoring their faith by keeping it within a traditional framework. It may or may not work over the long haul.

  74. For some of us, the complex of biology and trauma, can be irreversible in this life. ‘Change’ for us means opting for a life of chastity, which can be quite rewarding in a life of service to others.

    For those of us in this particular spot, we need to be more vocal about our position, as is Eve Tushnet. Without disparaging either end of this polarized issue … gays opting to pursue ‘change’, as to be able to marry, etc. vis-a-vis gays opting for monogamous relationships … we need to make known this life-choice, and pursue support from the churches.

    I just want to be sure what “this life-choice” is. Is that a monogamous, non-sexual relationship? I know some folks are pushing this option for gays whose faith will not permit them to pursue a sexual relationship with the same sex. If it is not a romantic or emotionally intimate relationship, then I’d refer to it as a friendship. We all need those. “Friends with benefits” can mean more than sex, IMHO. It’s still putting your hand too close to the candy jar.

  75. I have people close to me struggling with their situations and am appalled at the lack of heterosexual-affirming support.

    My opinons on the cause and mutability of SSA are based on common sense, deference to evolutionary theory, observation and scientific evidence.

  76. Also, do your friends not involve any emotional involvement from you?

    Sure they do, Teresa, but not in the same way a romantic, committed relationship does. People don’t use the word monogamous unless they are referring to commitment of a singular nature — a one-and-only kind of friendship. That kind of emotional intimacy is reserved for my husband only. Were I single, I would hope to say I had a variety of meaningful friendships, but I wouldn’t be planning to pick out curtains with any of those friends.

    The cookie jar analogy was directed at the danger in believing you could properly distance yourself from the forbidden, in thought as well as physically, were you to enter into a monogamous, i.e., committed “friendship” that is not marriage but mimics the emotional intimacy of it.

  77. Teresa, sexual attractions are, indeed, physical. But, with same-sex-attracted women, it is more than a desire or need for sexual coupling that drives them to seek each other out. Frankly, I’d say the same for many gay men. When we use the term SSA, we are meant to infer the whole, complex package, that is emotions and everything else that drives relationships. My past attractions were not all the same. Some were more physical in nature, to be sure. There are other kinds of intimacy. We are a complicated lot as humans. That’s why we can’t oversimplify homosexuality or reduce people to lab rats.

    Actually, Debbie, I’ve given a lot of thought to SSA women … principally, because I am one. In my particular case, it’s really about the emotional … it’s all about the emotional.

    For some of us, the complex of biology and trauma, can be irreversible in this life. ‘Change’ for us means opting for a life of chastity, which can be quite rewarding in a life of service to others.

    For those of us in this particular spot, we need to be more vocal about our position, as is Eve Tushnet. Without disparaging either end of this polarized issue … gays opting to pursue ‘change’, as to be able to marry, etc. vis-a-vis gays opting for monogamous relationships … we need to make known this life-choice, and pursue support from the churches.

  78. I hope I don’t get into trouble with this Comment.

    For some months now; principally, after having read some Posts by Eve Tushnet, I’ve come to agree with Eve that our culture has by-and-large ruined ‘friendship’.

    Andrew Marin’s Blog, Love Is An Orientation is starting a series on ‘friendship’, which may well be worth the time to investigate.

    It seems our culture promotes only ‘family’ and marriage …

    Chaste friendships, deeply committed friendships, don’t receive the social approbation they should … just my opinion.

    Link: http://www.loveisanorientation.com/

  79. It’s not easy to cope with the discovery that such an important aspect of your personality as your sexuality isn’t the same as that of the majority.

    Or isn’t the way it is supposed to be.

    Supposed by whom or by what?

    From a religious and evolutionary perspective, at least.

    It depends on what one’s religious perspective is. There are various ones. As for an evolutionary perspective, as the biologist John Maynard Smith observed, homosexuality “is certainly not something that would be predicted from Darwinian theory”. But we still don’t know all that there is to know about evolution, and the history of science is full of unexpected discoveries. The present state of our knowledge certainly does not preclude the possibility that homosexuality serves some as yet unknown purpose in the evolutionary process. Indeed, the persistence and resilience of the phenomenon suggests that this may well be so. But in any case, as Smith went on to say:

    If some people have despised gays because gayness does not contribute to biological fitness, they have been wrong to do so. It would be as sensible to persecute mathematicians because an ability to solve differential equations does not contribute to fitness. A scientific theory – Darwinism or any other – has nothing to say about the value of a human being.

    It is simply a fact that humans are heterosexual creatures…

    The vast majority are, yes. It is an equally observable fact that a minority are not.

    …and that heterosexuality is required for survival.

    Yes, of course. That is obviously why the vast majority are heterosexual. That everyone needs therefore to be heterosexual does not logically follow and is an assumption that the facts do not require us to make. The fact that homosexuality is to be found even in densely populated countries demonstrates the contrary. Heterosexuality keeps the heterosexual population replenished. It also keeps the homosexual population replenished.

  80. Preston,

    If you’re not ex-gay, what is your reason for being on here and being so opinionated? What experience do you have with this topic? You’ve probably answered that somewhere before, but I didn’t see it.

  81. isn’t the same as that of the majority

    Or isn’t the way it is supposed to be. From a religious and evolutionary perspective, at least.

    The idea that the only, or even primary, reason one would not want to be gay is societal intolerance is complete and utter baloney. It is simply a fact that humans are heterosexual creatures and that heterosexuality is required for survival. I don’t think there’s really any room for debate on that.

  82. Teresa – Why do you think you would get into trouble?

    Warren, I thought promoting someone else’s blog might not be appropriate. Although, shortly after I commented, I noticed you referenced Andrew Marin. I jumped to an incorrect assumption.

    Thank you for the opportunity you give all of us, Warren, on this Blog … to Comment on an issue that is anything but tame.

  83. It’s still putting your hand too close to the candy jar.

    Debbie, what do you mean by this statement?

    Also, do your friends not involve any emotional involvement from you?

    I just want to be sure what “this life-choice” is. Is that a monogamous, non-sexual relationship?

    Yes, it is.

  84. Preston: So update me. Tell me where I am outdated. I am always open to learning new things. I still would like a response to the question I posed.

  85. For all those clinging to Exodus positions from 10 or 20 years ago, should we be doing the same about Warren’s distinctly different previous positions. No, of course not.

  86. Michael, your views are extremely tired. I think it’s time for an update.

  87. Debbie Thurman# ~ Mar 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Warren said:

    Exodus is of little use to social conservatives now because of the admission that the change that is possible is primarily ideological.

    I’m not sure I agree with that statement. I find Exodus relevant and useful and I am a social conservative.

    I thin what Warren was referring to was the obvious use of ‘gays can change’ to support an anti gay rights political agenda. I appreciate him pointing this out as there have been many political ads that starred people who testified to change that have been used to advance a political agenda. Several years ago on Alan Chamber’s blog .. he sort of claimed that Exodus was getting out of politics (see here). This is however not the case as can be evidenced by political statements still on his organization’s website (see here).

    I don’t want to go off topic but when an organization whose alleged purpose is to help people with same sex atractions uses itself as a political tool (or weapon) it raises significant questions. By comparison if you look at Alcoholics Anonymous you will find that they ally with no political party or position or group or controversy so as not to distract from their primary purpose of helping people who are alcoholics (see page 2 of this document)

    Dave

  88. Debbie: I know you are convinced, due to your personal religious beliefs

    My sense is that Debbie is also compelled by common sense and reason.

    It’s very short-sighted to cite religion as the only reason for seeing heterosexuality as normal.

  89. @ Warren,

    Thanks for checking in a chronological way with a religious viewpoint and in the context of values that honor the needs of those who don’t share our faith.

    That seems like your big work.

    Change has been oversold; the reparative model invites this.

    I wonder if anyone can check in on what has been oversold on the otherside, and who has the louder megaphone?

  90. There seem to be two camps for Christians on this issue: Those who believe it must be broken and could and should be fixable and those who believe “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” I am the latter type. Proudly gay and Christian.

    If identifying, behaving or living as “gay” offends your religious beliefs, don’t do it. I feel the same way about Christians who choose not to dance, or drink or recieve blood transfusions.

    Let them (and us) live according to the conscience before God. Let those Christians (and others) who don’t feel broken live their lives in the same way. Don’t use your beliefs to deny them equal rights or equal dignity. That’s not “Christian”.

    In mhy mind, I beleive the question should not be “Can Gays Change”, but “What can they change?” and “Is it really necessary to try to change one’s orientation in order to please God or live and happy and full life?”

    For me the answers are: “Gays, like straights, can change many things. They can change their beliefs, their self-concept, their behavior, their attitudes, their religious beliefs, their “identity”, their “lifestyles”, their political leanings, etc., etc. etc.” And “No, God loves me just the way I am. Being gay is part of how He designed me — not a flaw that needs mending.

  91. Michael,

    Do you know of any man who still says they have made a complete change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation, without any residual thoughts or desires or rememberences? I just don’t think we can ever completely detach from who we once were in a way that we no longer feel its’ existence in one way or the other. I think if there is no residual, regardless of what the profound experience was, there is something shallow about the person. I mean this in an emotional way, not having anything to do with the complexities of orientation that have to do with medical, scientific, or psychological findings or opinions.

  92. I don’t see an admission of change as primarily ideological. The passage that Warren included at the top does not support that.

    For example, “Exodus does not believe that an absence of same-sex attractions is necessary” just means that 100% change is unnecessary (“absence” means 0%). And then it goes further on to state that change necessary to support a different identity is what they are after.

    So I’d reject both clauses in this statement: “Exodus is of little use to social conservatives now because of the admission that the change that is possible is primarily ideological.’

  93. (I had originally tried to post my previous comment with some linked URLs, but the spam-filter didn’t like it. However, you can easily find sample photos from the book by Googling for “John Ibson” and “Picturing Men”.)

  94. Mary, why’d you choose therapy, if just listening without judgment, without looking for reasons could have provided you with the same benefit?

    Therapy is not just listening. But just listening does help.

  95. We did much than hand-holding in my group, Teresa. We listened carefully and nonjudgmentally to each other, studied Scripture, read and discussed books. We walked alongside each other and held each other up in prayer. And the results showed how meaningful this was.

    I, too, chose therapy, and was blessed to have someone who knew the issues inside out to help me. There was no other route open to me in a ministry setting at the time. I likely would have pursued one otherwise.

  96. By the way, I find it rather puzzling, to say the least, that you, as an avowed atheist, should defend the claims of Exodus and other ex-gay ministries.

    Here’s what I found puzzling: preston has largely based his arguments on an instinctive drive for heterosexual reproduction — i.e., that people with homosexual feelings “deserve a chance” to become heterosexual so that they can marry and be parents.

    AJ made crystal clear that he didn’t consider “becoming heterosexual” to be a realistic option for him — that he faced a binary choice between homosexual monogamy with the right man OR committing to celibacy.

    William advised AJ that celibacy can be very lonely and that AJ should take a chance on homosexual monogamy if the right man comes along.

    At this point, preston steps in and says that AJ doesn’t have to listen to William.

    It would appear, then, that Mr. Evolution’s Procreational Imperative believes that (non-reproductive) celibacy is for some reason preferable to (non-reproductive) homosexual coupling. Or at least, he was peculiarly concerned that AJ should not rule out celibacy.

    Are you so anxious to play games with gay people’s lives make human reality fit preston’s personal worldview that it doesn’t bother you to endorse organizations which not only make extremely dubious claims, but explicitly base those claims on the power of a being in whose very existence you disbelieve?

    Fixed that for ya.

  97. Well … Alan Chambers has made some efforts to clarify what he meant in the special … see below…

    Dear Friends,

    In the last few years Exodus has seen many Christians and churches soften their truth-only response to the issue of homosexuality and instead have embraced Christ’s example of communicating with absolute truth AND grace. What God is He is fully. He isn’t 50/50 on anything. He was, is and forever will be complete in everything that He is. Completely good. Completely just. Completely truth. Completely grace. For a large segment of Christ’s Bride to become more like Him is a wonderful thing.

    Unfortunately we are now seeing a pendulum shift in which some Christians have moved beyond the truth-only stance to embrace a grace-only view. This shift is affecting how homosexuality is being viewed and is just as damaging as a truth-only response.

    First, there are many Christians who now believe that chastity is the only answer for those with same-sex attractions. They believe that people are either gay or straight and that their identities, in that regard, are fixed. If someone is gay then the only option, according to these Christians, is celibacy. Everything else that comes with gay life, however, is acceptable. So, as long as someone remains sex-free they are able to hang out in gay bars and identify fully as gay.

    Here is the problem with that line of thinking. We are so behavior-driven as Christians that we believe as long as we keep our pants zipped and legs crossed that we are doing well. Sexual sin is not the beginning of a problem; it is the result of one. While some do fall into sexual sin because of a momentary temptation, the majority of individuals stay in sexual sin because it seems to satisfy a deep core, God-given need for intimacy and relationship. However, sex was never meant to be a substitute for relational intimacy with God, others, or even our spouse. Sex is a beautiful, natural and godly expression that flows out of healthy intimacy, within the confines of heterosexual marriage. As our creator, God defines the parameters for sexual expression and intimacy.

    Celibacy is the godly option for all single men and women. In fact, the Bible mentions that those who are unmarried are able to be more focused and single-minded in their love and devotion to God. Personally, I have heard some of the most amazing stories of God’s faithfulness from single friends who have chosen to surrender their sexuality to Him.

    Today many Christians with SSA are choosing celibacy, but they are also choosing to keep the gay identity/label. This falls short of God’s best because identity matters. How we view and refer to ourselves is very important. Twenty years ago when I began my journey to holiness I could have simply chosen to work on my sexual urges and opted out of working on my identity struggles and the deeper issues that fueled my desire for sex. I could have chosen to call myself a celibate gay man and just left it at that. Where would that have taken me? Not very far. When it comes to the extreme changes that have occurred in my heart, mind and life it was the identity changes that fueled the transformation. I chose, in those early days, to focus most on figuring out who I was in Christ and that ultimately led to a change in how I behaved. Simply discontinuing or curbing how I expressed my same-sex attractions wasn’t enough or most important.

    A second outcome of the grace-only approach is that it gives license to sin. This is taking over many churches and denominations. Allowing clergy to be ordained while living in sin, heterosexually or homosexually, makes the Church irrelevant. The basis of a Christian life is that it is set apart. It is different from the world. Redeemed. Living in sin is the opposite of living redeemed. Anyone can be redeemed, but the result of redemption is a turning from what we once were through the power of repentance. In order to accommodate sin one has to ignore biblical truth or revise it to fit their life choices. Church is no longer church then, just a club for people to gather based on their common interests. In my opinion the problem with being a gay Christian is that gay comes first and takes center stage. God won’t share His throne with anyone or anything.

    A final concern of a grace-only approach is when one believes the truth of scripture but decides to say nothing for fear of losing people or being labeled homophobic. Entire churches and groups are “distancing” themselves from Exodus and any concrete position on sexual sin for fear that they will be targeted. I understand; it hurts to be misunderstood, judged and threatened. It’s tough to stand for something when our culture is all about standing for nothing. But, when you are a part of the Church you are called to stand for Christ and that usually means not everyone will like you.

    We are living in trying times. Our understanding of who God is and who He created us to be, especially in light of the fallenness of humanity, is vital. Search the scriptures and you will find that God has a plan for us that was born out of the fullness of who He is and who He intends for us to be for eternity. I love that.

    All for the Kingdom,

    The above is from this link.

    So now we are back to identifying as gay being sinful and same sex attractions being sinful. And if I am reading what he says about God not sharing his throne .. then people who decide differently than Alan has are going to hell.

    Oh well,

    Dave

  98. It is difficult to develop qualified and effective therapists for unwanted SSA when the APA has been passively hostile to this for 30 years and places like NARTH have been aggressively political in their focus.

    Undoubtedly.

    When the political war ends, all training institutions will have access to good science that is culturally and religiously sound.

    Will it end? I am not confident that it will, and certainly not any time soon.

    You are right, David, to point out the benefits of qualified therapy vs. only faith-based support. Both therapy and ministry have their share of quacks, however. I don’t think you are implying that all ministry approaches are quackery. Often, people are employing both.

    I have asked Exodus in the past to try to find a way of evaluating their affiliated ministries. Don’t know if that will happen.

  99. So, as long as someone remains sex-free they are able to hang out in gay bars and identify fully as gay.

    What?

    In my opinion only, how one identifies areas of oneself, is really immaterial. Do I say same-sex attracted instead of gay. This is straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

    If I identify myself as an alcoholic that is a purpose-driven description. The same holds true for people that in time-and-place say they are cancer-survivors, etc.

    How many here know of Christians who have chosen chastity who hang out at gay bars? Seriously, is this a current phenomenon?

    I think Exodus is seriously threatened as an organization, because the ‘change’ therapy was less than desired. People can opt for a celibate life without Exodus, and without hanging out at gay bars … and, Exodus becomes a blip in history.

    I think this gets back to a central, core issue with many Protestants. They have a real problem with people saying they’re homosexual … period. I think, my opinion only, that for them, just being homosexual means you’re going to hell. That’s the truth of all this. Their current sidebar belief that the opposite of homosexuality is holiness, simply means don’t tell us who you are.

  100. It is difficult to develop qualified and effective therapists for unwanted SSA when the APA has been passively hostile to this for 30 years and places like NARTH have been aggressively political in their focus.

    Availability of treatment is tied to these two factors…

    When the political war ends, all training institutions will have access to good science that is culturally and religiously sound.

    Low cost treatment will become more available as trainee clinicians are better versed in helping this very small population of clients.

  101. Some actually do work on a sliding scale.

    Sliding scale still means big money.

  102. Teresa asks

    We can talk ourselves blue-in-the-face about ‘change’ therapy; but, if few of us can afford it, what then?

    This is no small issue. Years of therapy is a luxury of the rich, plain and simple … or a good health insurance plan, if the therapist accepts it.

    So, what about this?

    This is why this topic is not just academic. People alter their lives to try to change their sexuality and for most of them, the change doesn’t come. But by then they are out lots of money. PhDs charge around 150/hour and over several years, which is what it is supposed to take, that adds up.

    Some therapists, like Richard Cohen, have asked their clients to raise money for them. Some might reduce fees but it is still a lengthy and expensive process. And for what? If the goal is change and that is what people expect, the end result can be very demoralizing.

    If ministry is geared to congruence with chosen beliefs, then the objectives are much clearer and can be supported via ministry based groups which are generally free. When I am asked for referrals this is what I generally recommend to someone who is sure of what value position he/she holds.

  103. @ Warren,

    Psychotherapy affords many benefits for those with unwanted SSA, including change along a continuum, depending on the quality of the therapist and the effort of the patient and the facts of the case.

    It is wrong to simplify the costs and benefits of therapy the way you do.

    Many who seek help from religious groups get poor information and simplistic coercive interventions.

    Men I have known and some I have treated have all remarked that psychotherapy for their SSA gave them many benefits which allowed them to live with more integrity and honesty.

    Psychotherapy, regardless of the Presenting Symptoms, tends to have a generally positive effect on a person’s overall functioning…this, I believe, is referred to as the “non specific benefits of psychotherapy.”

    Richard Cohen’s treatments are not part of this discussion of psychotherapy…it is slander to the profession to include him in it.

  104. This is no small issue. Years of therapy is a luxury of the rich, plain and simple … or a good health insurance plan, if the therapist accepts it.

    So, what about this?

    It is no small issue, and I dealt with it while I was facilitating my women’s group. Some needed and desired therapy, but couldn’t afford it. There aren’t enough qualified therapists, in my view, who understand the issues. But there are some good ones out there, and many who may not think they can handle these issues can provide a lot of help nonetheless.

    In the ministry setting, we can provide discipleship for free. And that is a powerful support.

  105. There aren’t enough qualified therapists, in my view, who understand the issues. But there are some good ones out there, and many who may not think they can handle these issues can provide a lot of help nonetheless

    Just listening, without judgement, without looking for reasons etc… is very helpful.

  106. In the ministry setting, we can provide discipleship for free.

    Debbie, Discipleship is not therapy, is it?

    Mary, why’d you choose therapy, if just listening without judgment, without looking for reasons could have provided you with the same benefit?

    Holding one’s hand is not therapy.

  107. And if I am reading what he says about God not sharing his throne .. then people who decide differently than Alan has are going to hell.

    Well, if you want to go back to other things Alan has said, and the Lisa Ling program, I believe it has been asserted that Christians who have truly accepted Christ as their savior but wrestle with the sinfulness of homosexuality and fall are still saved. They are backslidden, but not condemned in the doctrinal view of many. The Bible does say homosexual sinners will not “inherit the kingdom,” so I suppose it’s open for interpretation. But considering none of us is able to escape temptation or sin on an ongoing basis, there is hope.

  108. Why is it that credentialed Christian therapists don’t do ‘pro bono’ work?

    Some actually do work on a sliding scale. However, the cost of malpractice to avoid such false clients is a huge cost and risk.

  109. I also believe that there are certain God-created emotional “laws” in effect in this life. The psyche is vulnerable and subject to those laws. So that is also part of the equation.

  110. Debbie, I never said that “gay is good and god intended.” I’m just stating the fact that I haven’t met anyone yet (man) whose attractions really changed. I don’t know what to do with that observation, but it’s not something that I can ignore. I do know women who say they’ve changed, and it seems to me that they really have.

  111. My opinons on the cause and mutability of SSA are based on common sense, deference to evolutionary theory, observation and scientific evidence.

    Here’s the thing, though, Preston. People who are well-grounded in evolutionary theory understand that evolution is not normative.

    For example, despite the fact that humans are rather poorly adapted for swimming (compared to dolphins) or for brachiating (compared to gibbons), people encourage their children to learn how to swim in our clumsy human way, and Marine drill instructors encourage recruits to swing hand-over-hand from ropes and monkey bars in order to build up their feeble human arms. And no one says “that’s not the way it’s supposed to be, from an evolutionary perspective!”

    Of course, God purportedly tracks the death of every sparrow, and may well be bothered by individuals like me engaging in homosexual activity (though I find it exceedingly improbable that He would be bothered by it if monotheism is true, along with monotheist assumptions about God’s omnipotence, etc.).

    But evolution doesn’t give a flying f*ck if entire species die out — let alone whether individual members of a highly successful species are failing to reproduce their genes.

  112. I’m still waiting to see if these strugglers that Preston is close to believe what he does.

  113. I … am appalled at the lack of heterosexual-affirming support.

    Meaning what exactly, Preston? I see and hear heterosexuality being affirmed all around me everywhere I go. Do you mean that affirming heterosexuality even more – if that were possible – will turn gay people straight? Will it hell as like.

    Or do you mean a lack of people nagging, harassing and bullying gays into trying to change their orientation? There are still too many of them, but their number has admittedly decreased considerably, and they are increasingly being regarded as eccentrics whom there is no reason to take seriously. Damn good job, too.

    My opinons on the cause and mutability of SSA are based on common sense, deference to evolutionary theory, observation and scientific evidence.

    As I have previously pointed out, common sense is sometimes contradicted by reality. But in any case common sense tells us nothing about the cause and mutability of “SSA” – unless you are simply using “common sense” as a synonym for “what I would prefer the facts to be” – nor does evolutionary theory. Observation and scientific evidence have not yet revealed the cause (or causes) of either homosexuality or heterosexuality, although they suggest that any degree of mutability is very small.

  114. I have people close to me struggling with their situations…

    I’m still waiting to see if these strugglers that Preston is close to believe what he does.

    AJ, no not really. They’ve all been fed the same nonsense you people regurgitate here.

    In other words, they’re not struggling. You just think that they ought to be. Why?

  115. To believe that God created the male half of the human species to be absolutely excluded from the possibility of transformation/change, should he experience homosexual attractions, is hubris. Would God create an infirmity — for that it is what it is for many — that He could not heal?

    Beliefs are a powerful thing. If people truly believe they cannot change, they will not. And the conventional wisdom, backed today by science, the postmodern god, has them convincingly entrapped, IMHO.

    It is only in creating a new moral high ground that says gay is good and God-intended that anyone can handle what is otherwise irrational. Perhaps God did have a purpose for homosexuality — not one that we can imagine easily. I know He had a purpose for the depression I suffered. It was the only way I could be shown the blackness of my heart and the need to rely on Him rather than myself. I have often wondered if something similar isn’t going on with homosexuality.

    There are certain temperaments that lend themselves more easily to the sin of pride. Gifted people may tend to place too much confidence in their own abilities and forget that God gave them their gifts. For those people, a thorn in the flesh may be the only way to draw them to Him. They cannot make it on their own.

    Food for thought. Possibilities.

  116. This friendship topic that has popped up here needs further discussion and clarification. I think Teresa knows that I agree with her that meaningful same-sex friendships are a wonderful thing. The questions seems to lie in defining the line of intimacy that one should not cross.

    I have no fear of appropriate closeness in friendship. I have been blessed with friends I could open my heart to and know they would keep my confidences. Years ago while I was still in the healing process from my same-sex attractions and marital crisis, God brought a delightful friend into my life. Our daughters attended school together. We were co-room mothers, in fact. I considered her an answer to prayer since I was longing for a close and proper friendship. Not once did I have any physical or emotional attraction to her. Yet she became an unexpected part of my healing process.

    I experience varying degrees of intimacy with the significant women in my life — my mother, my daughters, my sisters-in-law and other friends. I am not aware of being “completed” or being a single entity with them. That’s how my same-sex affairs felt, however. I needed those women like I needed the next breath of air. And that was most unhealthy. I don’t even have that level of desperate need with my husband, the one I am “one flesh” with. I am comfortable with him. Yes, when we are apart, we both feel unbalanced until we are together again. But we can breathe and live apart because our love has the right foundation. We are a cord of three strands and not just two. God is at the center.

    Were I to become attached too intimately with any other person, male or female, in this life, it would drive a wedge between my husband and me. He and I know we cannot meet all of each others’ needs, hence the need for other friendships and interests. But the deepest human needs we do meet for one another.

    By the way, I consider spiritual intimacy between a husband and wife — praying together, for instance — to exceed physical intimacy in significance. To be joined in spirit is sublime and gives us a unique strength. The physical union is icing on that cake.

    Were I single, I would desire to marry any man I became emotionally and spiritually intimate with. A woman? That could only go so far before crossing the barrier into homosexuality or same-sex impropriety. If I felt myself going there, I would have to pull back.

    No, I don’t see “ghosts and goblins” on the friendship horizon, Teresa. I see godly signposts put there for my protection.

  117. William, I strongly disagree with you and it doesn’t look like we are finding any common ground so probably not worthwhile continuing to beat a dead horse. I believe many people are being hurt and not getting the help they want and need because of inane views like yours. You are simply wrong.

  118. AJ, no not really. They’ve all been fed the same nonsense you people regurgitate here. Very sad.

    Throbert, that’s a breathtaking lack of understanding of evolution. The swimming and monkey bar references make zero sense. We don’t look to evolution to figure out what is normal or not normal. We look to it to determine what is genetic or not. The only thing I get from evolution is that homosexuality is not genetic. Clearly. Evolution may not care if a species dies out but it sure as heck cares if a mutation precludes reproduction.

    Lynn David, no reason to conclude that pre-2009 content varied substantially from what is there now. If you care to provide any evidence, happy to review. Why would Exodus point to Throckmorton material that does not support their objectives? That would be stupid. I agree more with the old Warren, you may not. I don’t think his new thinking is necessarily correct.

    Michael, it just seems like you spend a lot of energy dissecting Exodus’ every gasp. Why don’t you just accept that Expdus is trying to help people with unwanted SSA and move on? Most religions have ridiculously imprecise language so it’s asinine to relentlessly split hairs.

  119. committed “friendship” that is not marriage but mimics the emotional intimacy of it.

    I think our age has desperate need of friendship. Friendship, today, in many ways, is like fast-food.

    Time was in the Middle Ages, that both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church had commitment ceremonies for friends. The Orthodox still do.

    We’re so uptight about sex and sexuality, we can’t wrap our heads around living a shared life. We see ghosts and goblins everywhere.

    but I wouldn’t be planning to pick out curtains with any of those friends.

    Why not?

  120. Preston, who is not getting the help they want and need? I’ve been dealing with my struggles for five years now. I’ve been able to spend thousands of dollars on counseling. I’ve been a part of numerous groups. I’ve gone to Love Won Out. I’ve gone to several Exodus Conferences. I don’t identify as gay. Nobody has kept me from getting any type or amount of help that I want or need.

    But, in these several years, I’ve found that men’s attractions don’t really change. (not so sure about women). I haven’t met one yet, and I’ve met hundreds struggling with SSA. THAT’s common sense for me because that’s what I’ve seen, committed Christians who want to change their attractions but don’t. And I wish that Exodus had told me that truth five years ago. I resent having had to figure that out myself.

    Since you’ve never struggled with this, it is easy for you to twist your logic to believe whatever suits your worldview. Maybe you should ask questions and listen. Why are some people gay? I don’t know. Why are some people predisposed to cancer? don’t know that either.

  121. David questions whether evangelicals over-promise healing. Can God over-promise? As long as one makes it clear they are relying on Scripture and God’s promises, I don’t see this as an issue. It is hope in an unchangeable God we must not forget. With God nothing is iimpossible does not read with God every healing is guaranteed.

  122. Teresa,

    You sound protective of AA. And however you want to define an alcoholic is fine with me. To me a drunk is a drunk is a drunk.

  123. Preston,

    Because celibacy is not the only goal.

    For many who seek change, Celibacy actually is the goal.

  124. The many people I have talked to who described their experience in exgay ministries such as Exodus are pretty clear that the original idea of change was complete change. Even their current website says thing like “you don’t have to be gay”

    NB that their website is part of their highly visible public face, and likely one of the primary sources that the general public (and politicians) would rely on for information about Exodus.

    So even they’re being more nuanced with their clients that “not everyone experiences total change,” if they’re continuing to imply a promise of total change on their website and in ad campaigns, without a clear “results may not be typical” disclaimer, that’s still to their discredit.

    And the converse is true — it’s also to their discredit if they use nuanced language in their publicly visible campaigns, but “local franchises” of Exodus are still promoting a Total Change message to clients.

    Transparency and reputability require consistency among all ministries operating under the Exodus umbrella, and also consistency between the public and internal messages.

  125. Preston,

    Why would anyone define change only as 100% change? That makes no sense. Does an ex-smoker want a hit of nicotine? Does an ex-alcoholic have the urge for a drink? Would a married man like to seduce Scarlett Johanson? I subscribe that the only reason change would be defined as 100% is to be able to say that change is not possible.

    Why would anyone do this? Well, for a long time, Exodus and other so-called ex-gay organizations gave the impression that this was indeed the case. It was implied even if it wasn’t said so outright.

    I am happy with the fact that, as Warren said, Exodus is moving closer to being honest about what change really means.

  126. I’m ok with “orientation” as long as it doesn’t connote immutability.

  127. If for some reason you don’t like the word “orientation” and prefer to substitute some other word, that’s up to you, but playing games with words won’t alter reality, even if it allows you to jam the air-waves against it

    There is no word to substitute. I’m not playing games or semantics. Infants and toddlers don’t seem to have a sexual orientation. And yet we do know that they are capable of orgams etc (albeit , I don’t like the way that information was gathered)

  128. Preston,

    I’m ok with “orientation” as long as it doesn’t connote immutability.

    That depends on what you mean by “immutability”.

  129. Preston,

    I disagree. I understand the APA has stated this but I think they arrived there in a contrived manner. Realistically, we must consider this unsettled science. That it is observed in other animals does not necessarily mean it is a normal variant (it could be not normal in other animals. Obviously.).

    You cannot equate alcoholism with homosexuality, and what in the world do you mean by the fact that the APA arrived at their decision on homosexuality in a contrived manner. Despite the fact that it took them almost a year to remove it from the DSM in earnest, findings from some studies years prior to the decision were leading psychologists to understand that it is not a disease.

  130. Infantile Origins of Sexual Identity. It is one of the most compelling pieces of research I’ve ever read

    Thank you . I will read it.

  131. Debbie,

    It is not invalid on all levels. Both alcohol and sex can be used for ameliorating pain. And both can be addictive crutches. To compel someone to adopt “alcoholic” as an identity may be on par with compelling someone to adopt “gay” as an identity. Either can be damaging to the soul. Either leads the person down the “Same as Folk” path that C.S. Lewis wrote about. And that path ends in rejecting grace.

    Sex can be addictive for heterosexuals and homosexuals but doesn’t have to be for either. That is why comparing alcoholism to homosexuality is unhelpful and honestly offensive. Homosexuality is not a disease and I know of no study suggesting that homosexuals use sex to “ameliorate pain” anymore than heterosexuals do.

  132. To compel someone to adopt “alcoholic” as an identity may be on par with compelling someone to adopt “gay” as an identity. Either can be damaging to the soul. Either leads the person down the “Same as Folk” path that C.S. Lewis wrote about. And that path ends in rejecting grace.

    @ Debbie, et. al., I’m not sure anyone here has been to A.A. Meetings, and what it means to accept one’s alcoholism. Heavens, the whole 12-Step Program, copied now by at least 80 other problems, is nothing if not grace-filled.

    To admit one is an alcoholic is the first Step in Recovery. To quote the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous): ” … alcohol is a subtle foe. We are never cured of our alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. …” Page 85

    I have no idea what Debbie and Mary are talking about in regards to alcoholism.

    @Mary, I’ve never met one person who is an alcoholic, who can be a moderate drinker. Just because I haven’t met one, doesn’t mean some don’t exist. But, I’ll take the results of decades of people working with alcoholics, alcoholics themselves, before I believe otherwise.

    More from the Big Book: “The idea that somehow, someway he can control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.” Page 30.

    To equate homosexuality with alcoholism is much like the apples and oranges comparison.

  133. Mary, I’ve never met one person who is an alcoholic, who can be a moderate drinker

    It sounds to me as though you are well versed and acculturated in the Big Book and AA 12 steps and principles. And you probably, as it is suggested, don’t socialize with people who drink very much socially or excessively.

    I found that there are others who have made friends with a community of friends who are not followers of AA. I’ve met many relapsers (which is very sad) and many moderate drinkers who used to be drunks.

    I guess it just depends on the people you are willing to look at.

  134. and many moderate drinkers who used to be drunks.

    Drunks don’t automatically equate to alcoholics … two very different things. Heavy drinkers don’t necessarily equate to alcoholics. At some point a line is crossed, where ingesting alcohol sets up the compulsion.

    Also, I do socialize with people who drink socially. It’s just I don’t know an alcoholic who has learned to drink moderately; that’s kind of like a heroin addict who can shoot up moderately. Just my opinion, though.

  135. Michael,

    It was, and should have remained, strongly non-political.

    I sooooo agree. They should have stayed out of it.

  136. I’ve taken the following from Andrew Marin’s Blog Love Is An Orientation.

    Relevant Magazine’s current issue features a Ron Sider essay “A Letter to This Generation”. What I think is important about this article is, perhaps, how the Evangelical Church is moving away from its “you have to be straight to get to heaven” rhetoric. On Page 55, here are several paragraphs worth noting:

    “God knows the older generation of Christians have dealt with this issue almost as badly as possible. Many of us were homophobic. We tolerated gay bashers. We were largely silent when bigots in the society battered or even killed gay people. … At times, we even had the gall to blame gay people for the collapse of marriage in our society, ignoring the obvious fact that 95 percent of the people in this society are heterosexual. The primary reason the collapse of marriage is the fact that the vast heterosexual majority (including Christians) have not kept their marriage vows.”

    “Young evangelicals could embrace the Church’s historic teaching without repeated my generation’s mistakes. Andrew Marin (author of Love Is An Orientation) is just one example of how you rightly have gay friends and seek to deeply understand them. You can oppose gay bashing, insist on proper civil rights for gay Americans and help the Church take the lead in ministering to people with AIDS. You can and should insist homosexual sin is no worse than other sins, like adultery, or racism or covetousness. You can and should insist that it is safe and acceptable for Christians to publicly acknowledge a gay orientation (orientation and practice are quite different issues) and seek the support of their Christian community for living celibate lives (such persons should be eligible for any office in the church). In short, young Christians could develop a radically different (and far more Christian!) approach to homosexual persons without abandoning the historic Christian position.”

    These may seem like small steps to some, but they really are giant steps in the discussion on this issue.

    For those interested, the full article (as well as the rest of the Magazine) can be found here: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/digital-issue-50

  137. I might add though, whatever works for someone who has a problem with alcohol is perfectly fine. A.A. never implies it has the only solution to a drinking problem.

  138. They actually seem remarkably similar. I’ve know several ex-alcoholics who are moderate or non-drinkers. You don’t know any?

    I never stated that alcoholism couldn’t be brought under control. Where did I state that? Alcoholics bring their alcoholism under control by abstinence, or what you choose to call non-drinkers.

  139. They actually seem remarkably similar. I’ve know several ex-alcoholics who are moderate or non-drinkers. You don’t know any? That seems absurd to me to assert that alcoholism cannot be brought under control. Do you all believe that people have little or no control over themselves? Is that a Christian thing?

  140. “You don’t have to be gay” is a very reasonable goal. It simply means that you can get to a place where you can live a satisfying, non-gay life.

    That would be clearer and less likely to lead to confusion and disappointment. Why not just say, you can be happily celibate? Drop the buzz words, the hype and the “Christianese” and just state it clearly, in language that is readily understood by the hearer. “Ex-gay, former gay, etc.” only obscure the issue.

    I can’t even think of a condition where the only definition of change would be 100% A to 100% B whether it’s alcoholism, cancer, marital problems, etc

    Homosexuality is not a “condition” or “disorder” like those things. It’s like heterosexuality, a normal variation of human sexuality.Those things are disorders and need treatment. Homosexuality does not, unless you having a lot of trouble accepting it or are living a lifestyle that is unsatisfying and/or self destructive. The fact is, you can be live a happy, productive, well adjusted gay life.

    Humans (and most or all animals) are heterosexually oriented.

    This is simply not true. Homosexuality occurs naturally in humans and in many animal species. It’s not broken, disordered, sinful or a “condition” anymore than left-handedness is.

  141. Why not just say, you can be happily celibate?

    Because celibacy is not the only goal.

    It’s like heterosexuality, a normal variation of human sexuality

    I disagree. I understand the APA has stated this but I think they arrived there in a contrived manner. Realistically, we must consider this unsettled science. That it is observed in other animals does not necessarily mean it is a normal variant (it could be not normal in other animals. Obviously.).

    they have not changed their automatic attractions in ways that would meet categorical definitions of change.

    True, but only because of the word “categorical”. Take that out and this is not accurate.

    Which is the whole point. You guys have created an impractical, unnecessary and uncommon definition of change that fits your view.

  142. And I’m not the one “skewing the representations”. That’s what the vague and misleading language does. Change advocates insist on using language in a way that leads to confusion, misinformation and disappointment. I know this is true. I deal with the Exodus cast-offs and drop-outs every day who feel that they were deliberately duped.

  143. Michael, you’re still skewing the representations because you seem to think it’s an all or nothing proposition and that Exodus an other ex-gay efforts implied guaranteed, complete change. That’s just way too presumptuous. “You don’t have to be gay” is a very reasonable goal. It simply means that you can get to a place where you can live a satisfying, non-gay life.

    I really think you need to adjust your definition of change before we go much further. Yours is not a useful definition, is not one shared by many and leads to distorted representations. I realize your definition helps to back up your position but it’s disingenuous. I can’t even think of a condition where the only definition of change would be 100% A to 100% B whether it’s alcoholism, cancer, marital problems, etc.

    Regarding “orientation”, perhaps my view is similar to Mary’s: humans (and most or all animals) are heterosexually oriented. Any departure from that is not a different orientation but simply an urge, temptation, behavior, desire, feeling, etc. And of course, something that could be addressed if so desired (no guarantees!). How much this connotes (or connotates!) a flaw is debatable. It doesn’t have to.

  144. Michael,

    It really is difficult to come up with an analogy that captures the issues of being gay in a straight world. I think one of the reasons for this is that it’s so foundational to the human identity. After a baby realizes it is human like its parents, the very next label is male or female, like dad or like mom. There is nothing else that basic to our identity formation. Being alcoholic or having cancer is not developmentally foundational.

    I think a better, albeit imperfect analogy is obesity. Obesity can be a lifelong problem or a temporary condition. Both environmental and genetic factors can be involved. It exists in a continuum. In some cultures obesity is an admirable quality or even taken for granted (unlike cancer or alcoholism), but this variation is not without real economic costs associated with increased morbidity and mortality.

  145. Ann# ~ Mar 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    but real people who are often engulfed in shame over their feelings need real answers and realistic expectations

    Dave,

    I believe this as well. A couple of days ago you posed some questions on this blog that were centered around what we would tell people who were exploring the possibility of change. I think Teresa and I were the only ones who answered but am not sure right now. If the same questions were posed to you, how would you answer them?

    I don’t think my answer (which would be dependent on where the person was at and what they were seeking) can totally be described here. A little background here..

    I am a (straight) pastor who works with/ associates with people who that have a very wide spectrum of beliefs around this issue. I spend most of my time in this area with gay affirming people either in person or on various online networks. I also spend time with folks who identify as gay but are celibate (have chosen to abstain from sexual activity with people of the same sex). Now most of these folks are either Christians or are slowly finding their way back to Christianity through their associations with others or through the particular social network they are on. Others may not be Christian but enjoy dialoging with others on these sites. So most of these folks already identify as gay or lesbian and so forth. However .. some have chosen to identify differently. For example, I know some folks who have chosen celibacy who chose not to identify as gay or may choose to identify as SSA or some other way. I could go into the various reasons why they do so but that would take a while. (Note: I also spend time in more traditional roles as a leader in various bible studies / groups of (to my knowledge) straight folks)

    As a pastor I try to meet people where they are at in their journey whether in Christ or not in Christ.. whether affirming or not. I started out exploring this area years ago by checking out exgay ministries .. but over time found them to be insufficient and problematic in many areas. So I moved on from there ..

    Now .. several years later .. I am considering how I would come alongside folks who might wish to take routes I am less familiar with so I am now widening my understanding. So far I am finding much of the same rhetoric I saw before from exgay ministries. However, I have found that SITF seems to mostly match what I am looking for. It seems (to me) to be a more honest approach and a more straight forward method.. re: a lay all your cards on the table approach and let people find their way rather than trying to imprint a narrative / journey on them… It is a search for congruence with one’s faith convictions .. not change focused. I have noticed that much of this is a bit philosophical with how a person sees themselves. Some quick examples. .. Does a person who is bipolar see themselves as someone broken who needs fixed or do they celebrate who they are in Christ? Does a person with ADHD see this as an enemy to their true selves or do they see this as a part of them that they embrace? Does the person on the asperger /autism spectrum see themselves as distorted by sin nature or do they fully accept and embrace this part of themselves? Does the super intelligent person see this as a deficit or asset in relating with others and as a result do they like or dislike this part of themselves? These are probably not the best example I could throw out in short order but they all relate with how a person with a particular attribute sees themselves and that attribute.

    I am still looking at this and am dialoging with you and other folks to get a better idea how you internalize your thinking here. I got a bit weary of the back and forth arguing on the other thread so I decided I would ask a question to draw some answers out of your personal experiences. I was pleasantly surprised to hear your answers were rather close to what I would tell people. Like what you said .. I would not guarantee a person anything but would help them as they explored this themselves. My focus would be whole hearted commitment to Christ and His leading .. not any particular personal philosophical outcome. And of course I would make them very aware of the controversies, multiple agendas, and potential pitfalls in this area. Since I am a pastor I would also assure them of God’s love and leading in their lives now .. and not dependent on how they resolve their issues with their feelings. I would also seek to alleviate any shame issues they might have on this .. My denomination does not consider thoughts and feelings to be sinful in and of themselves but rather views them as amoral (neither good nor evil). So I would assure them of this as well. They would at some point be made aware of my personal moral view but disagreement in this area would not prevent me from working with them (at least as far as I was concerned). My main motivation in this area is to provide a place of safety where people can work out their feelings and convictions without being condemned while they do so. (If you want to know my convictions just click on my name to visit my website)

    The above paragraph is my best answer at the moment and is subject to change as the Spirit leads.

    Dave

  146. Dave,

    One more important question – would you tell them they had to become a Christian in order to have any kind of success?

  147. Back to Warren’s post:

    Alan’s statement, to be consistent, needs to be understood not as a statement of science but one of faith and belief in the primacy of self-definition. …. However, they have not changed their automatic attractions in ways that would meet categorical definitions of change.

    I agree with what Warren has said here. And with this:

    Exodus has of late come much closer to clarity about what changes when they say change is possible. With the OWN segment, they have come another step closer.

    They’re talking about their concept of “holiness” — an approach that Warren has described elsewhere as “reframing and resisting” not “reorientation”.

  148. Ann,

    I don’t know that I can answer every single one of your questions. Pastoral counseling is different then proffesional counseling. We mostly direct people in their journey with Christ. I could certainly be a good listener and help them explore some of their feelings .. often times people just need to be heard. If they are not a Christian I would need to discern why God is sending them to me .. re: is there something God wants to do in their life beyond this one question? But whether Christian or non-Christian . .. I might choose to refer them to professional counsel. Now if it was in this particular area of attractions .. there is one counselor I know that might be familiar with the SITF framework. ..otherwise I might contact Dr.Thockmorton and see if he knew of a qualified counselor. Refering someone does not mean that I am disconnected from them. I could still be there if needed for spiritual advice / friendship.

    I would not put a claim up there that they needed to be a Christian to be successful (whatever ‘successful’ means) .. While that might be a way to trick them into the kingdom .. I don’t thing it would be very honest and could lead to later dissillusionment. If they were more focused on celibacy as a goal then there is an online group (Christian) that I could refer them to .. In that honest setting of commonality (at least in terms of self control and the desire to abstain).. they might, on their own, choose to come to faith in Christ and seek strength and purpose from Him without any misleading guarantees..

    Dave

  149. John Smid, an Exodus leader for many years, says he has never met a “gay to straight” “ex-gay male. Neither has Alan Chambers. Neither have I, even though I have been searching for one for over 30 years.

    Ok, and what does this mean or validate for John and Alan and you? What do you want everyone else to do with this information?

  150. Dave,

    Very cool – thanks. What would you tell someone who had different religious beliefs than Christianity or who had no religious beliefs at all? What if they said they had ongoing and unwanted same gender attractions and wanted to know if those feelings could be explored and understood? What if they told you they did not value these unwanted same gender attractions and wanted to respond to them with self control?

    Would you tell them there was no hope? Would you tell them they had to accept themselves as gay? Would you tell them to get over it? Would you tell them they are going to be hurt trying to explore rather than just except? Would you tell them they were anti-gay because they didn’t want to accept a gay identity? I think I already know from your previous posts that you wouldn’t guarantee them any success (which is very wise and ethical) but am also interested in how you would prepare them for this journey of exploration they wish to have.

  151. Fair enough. As long as they can still tell people they will help them change and that they can and should be hopeful.

  152. Exodus’ language leaves absolutely no room for gay people to embrace their natural attractions as straight people do. It’s a double standard.

    I don’t think it is Exodus’ responsibility to leave room or give gay people permission to embrace their natural attractions as straight people do. I don’t know much about Exodus, however, I don’t think they are about either gay or straight. They have a specific purpose and it has nothing to do with gay people who are living in congruence with their values and embracing their natural attractions and being happy and content with that.

  153. As for all this talk about discouraging hope, I have to say that I don’t agree that discouraging hope is necessarily a negative thing to do. On the contrary, it may be a very positive and helpful thing, if the hope is not only an unrealistic one but is also causing a person to miss out on the here and now by putting his or her life on hold for the sake of some future development which, in all likelihood, will never come to fruition. À la recherche du temps perdu may have made a good title for one of Proust’s novels, but wasted time cannot be recovered; it has gone for ever.

    William,

    Yes, well put – and more importantly, each individual deserves to make this choice and not someone else for them. What you determine is best for your life and how you want to live it could be completely different from mine. The good news is that we all have this choice.

  154. Michael,

    Don’t you think that Evangelical Christianity generally over-promises on behavior change and healing?

    From allergies, to sexual compulsions, to anger management and so on?

    That has certainly been my experience.

  155. Dave,

    While you have answered most of the questions, I am hoping others will respond as well.

  156. David: Yes.

    Preston, my whole point in pressing this issue has been to try to prompt “change” ministries to be clearer about what they mean. I think they’re getting closer to it. Fewer people will feel misled or disillusioned. That’s a good thing.

  157. What do you want everyone else to do with this information?

    Ann, I want people to stop spreading mis-information. I don’t want people to make the mistake, as many do, that Exodus is about changing sexual orientation. Listen to “ex-gay survivors”. That false expectation led many to disillusionment, guilt, a sense of personal failure and sadly, loss of faith in God.

    Finally, Exodus is now being increasingly clear that they’re not making gay men straight. I applaud them for this. But it has taken them years to get this far. Now, a growing number of Exodus leaders and members, past and present, are saying the same thing. Don’t expect sexual reorientation.

    They seem to have learned by direct experience. On the TV program, Alan urged attendees not to expect it. That’s another step in the right direction. In the past, they have left it very ambious by using terms like “ex-gay”, “former gay” and “post gay” — all of which give the wrong impression (deliberately or not) that gay men can and do become heterosexual through this process. They don’t.

    For me, it goes back to informed consent and truth in advertizing. Phrases like “you don’t have to be gay” and “freedom from homosexuality” are similarly misleading. I consider it false witness and therefore, sin.

  158. Why would anyone define change only as 100% change? That makes no sense. Does an ex-smoker want a hit of nicotine? Does an ex-alcoholic have the urge for a drink? Would a married man like to seduce Scarlett Johanson? I subscribe that the only reason change would be defined as 100% is to be able to say that change is not possible.

  159. Missed one question. Those who thought it was OK to have a same-sex sexual relationship weeded themselves out. They refused to stay and move forward. I didn’t

    kick them out.

  160. Ken,

    The only thing I would really want to achieve in therapy is to become straight if that’s possible. I think I’m fairly well-adjusted otherwise. Is that what you’re asking? If not, feel free to ask other questions, and I’m happy to answer them as honestly as i can.

  161. Speaking for myself, I pursued therapy because I was desperate for help and answers from someone who had been there and who I could trust. I had no other options available except pastoral counseling. My pastor didn’t really know what to do with me except love me, hold me accountable at my request, and not condemn me. My shrink said it was not his area of expertise.

    As a layperson, I could be that “been there” source for others in my group. I worked hard at earning their trust, and I succeeded with those who stuck it out.

    Does the word condemn work better for you in this instance than judge, Teresa? I get that a common perception of evangelicals is we are judgmental. Certainly some are, but we don’t have that market corned ,as you can see from these discussions. When I say I was nonjudgmental, I mean I believe it is God’s role to judge or condemn. Although the women in my group knew I viewed homosexual behavior as sinful — and so did most of them — they also knew I accepted them unconditionally. The pot can’t call the kettle black. I asked them to come to Christ just as they were. I hoped they wouldn’t stay that way, but I never imposed change on them.

  162. But the gist of my post was this: ancient Jewish scholars whose arguments are collected in the Talmud apparently saw at least two different categories of male homosexuality — homosexual acts that were abominations punishable by death, and homosexuals acts that weren’t.

    So if they recognized more than one category of male homosexual(ity), it’s at least possible that Paul did too.

  163. Bye everyone. Warren has shut me down. Good discussion while it lasted. I have only confirmed to myself that my position is not acceptable, even in a supposed enlightened venue.

  164. Rebecca, you wrote:

    Jayhuck,

    A.J. wouldn’t give a straight (npi) answer as to why he was in change therapy. I mean why does he want to change? If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay? I think Debbie sensed a set up despite AJ’s plea of being serious.

    Rebecca, I thought it was obvious from my posts that I was in therapy because I didn’t want to be gay. I never said I was happy (all the time anyway) and I posted earlier that I worry about leading a lonely life. But the issues that I listed in the post were the issues that I was told at a Love Won Out conference were the key to me becoming straight. I finally realized that those aren’t issues for me (at least not anymore) but my attractions hadn’t changed. So when I keep reading about therapy in this thread, I’m thinking, “ok, what am i supposed to go get therapy for exactly?” I can just go say that I want to get rid of SSA, but what root issue is there to deal with that is going to fix this?

    I’m frustrated with the tortured language that I keep running into in these programs that I’m either in or have been in. I’m just trying to cut through the “crap” and get to the truth.

    Why do I not accept being gay? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit in my life or maybe its my upbringing in the rural South in a Southern Baptist family. My faith is very important to me, and I do wish that I could have a family. But as I’ve begun to accept that my attractions probably won’t ever change, that has brought some peace and freedom. I’m on here seriously searching for answers because I don’t think I’m getting them in real life.

    And Rebecca, how am I “setting Debbie up?” Do you think that I do have these issues and that’s why I have SSA?

  165. Debbie, I’m still on my high horse (as David Blakeslee) aptly terms it. Tell me frankly, Debbie, if your lay role ‘changed’ these women? Are you qualified as a therapist? Why did they choose you? Why did they trust you? What qualifications do/did you have? BTW, you don’t have to answer any of these questions. This is not an exercise in the 3rd degree.

    If being non-judgmental is all that is necessary for ‘change’, why do we have therapists?

  166. We listened carefully and nonjudgmentally to each other …

    First, of all, it’s very odd to keep holding out therapy as a fix-it-all for people unable to afford this option. It appears anyone on this blog that has experienced ‘change’ (whatever that means for the person) has used therapy. No? Not just being listened to by other people. If being listened to was the answer, why Debbie and Mary did you have to pursue therapy?

    And, it seems that idea of being ‘non-judgmental’ certainly isn’t what I see on this blog from most people. Debbie, if someone in your group thought same-sex behavior was OK, or having a committed chaster partnership, what happened? Non-judgmental is the exact opposite of being an Evangelical, from my perspective.

  167. And when conservatives argue that homosexual coupling isn’t as important to society as procreative heterosexual coupling, the “Gay Pride” culture conditions a homosexual individual to hear it as “thou art less important than any heterosexual,” and to react with resentment.

    Actually, I don’t think it’s the “Gay Pride” culture that conditions a homosexual to hear “thou art less important than any heterosexual”.

    Many conservatives, imo, argue that homosexuality, all by itself, is more than just “less important”, but sinful, deviant, perverted, etc. It’s a societal instinct to recoil with horror at homosexuality … coupled or not.

    Without descending into self-pity, there certainly seems to be a caste system surrounding sexuality … with homosexuals most often considered “the untouchables”. However, that’s just my opinion.

    Throbert, you do give some interesting analogies … and the cat pic helped visualize your previous metaphor.

  168. AJ# ~ Mar 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Of the therapists/counselors you saw, what did they tell you about your chances of becoming straight?

    Did any of them mention the possibility of being in a happy gay relationship?

  169. If being listened to was the answer, why Debbie and Mary did you have to pursue therapy?

    Just being listened to is not the answer.

    However, most people are not equipped spiritually, educationally, nor with the season of years and years of experience with the issues that can be present with a person with unwanted SSA. It is a delicate balance and road of therapy. That is why a layperson who can listen can be very beneficial but for the core needs to be discovered, worked on, etc…etc…. I think a professional counselor is the way to go. And choose one who will allow you to follow your religious path and not just be there to affirm the gay path because that is the easier and least risky road to take.

    I have seen and heard of horrible misteps made by “well meaning” christians. I never suggest a person take on that role unless they are trained – with years of experience and I don’t mean 5 or 7. I mean 10, 12, 15 years of experience in counseling. By then the counselor has met many things in the counseling room that will help them with you. They have built up a larger and more experienced network of counselors with which they can source and refer and confer with thus have a broader base of knowledge, and they are more confident people in their chosen field.

    The last thing anyone should do is take this issue to a new ( just starting out in the last 6 or 7 years ) counselor. They are not prepared for the hard work and don’t have the emotional maturity it takes to help this particular client grow. And a person’s life is not a game or a place for others to work out their career kinks.

  170. Tell me frankly, Debbie, if your lay role ‘changed’ these women? Are you qualified as a therapist? Why did they choose you? Why did they trust you? What qualifications do/did you have?

    I have never passed myself off as a therapist. To the extent any of these women changed, it was due to God. I was only a facilitator. They chose a group, not me or my “skills.” Again, I had been a lot farther down the road they were on. We had peaks and valleys in the group, but overall, we all deemed it a good thing.

    As to my maturity as a Christian, that was our licensed pastoral counselor’s place to judge. He didn’t let everyone who wanted to be a facilitator in, and he fired a few. We went through extensive training and regular supervision.

    If being non-judgmental is all that is necessary for ‘change’, why do we have therapists?

    I don’t recall anyone saying that is all that’s required. There’s a lot more to it than that.

    As to the question about ministry group facilitators being akin to AA sponsors, I suppose there is some comparison. “The God of our understanding” is the one and only God, of course. We don’t support anonymity. And everyone participates.

  171. Sorry A.J., I apparently misunderstood you. It is sometimes hard to understand the picture of a person in these very long threads. I skimmed through and did not apparently capture the whole picture you had posted.

    So do you have much experience in emotional relationships with men? If so, how did they go? What made them good? What made them not so good?

  172. Maybe, I have an answer to all my questions above. Would what you did, Debbie, be similar to being an A.A. Sponsor with Sponsees?

    We’re not therapists, but we help others work the 12-Step Program; and, in the process, Sponsors end up being trusted, perhaps good friends, and a guide in many of life’s problems.

    Is this what you were, sort of?

  173. I recall being in an Exodus media training when John Smid said that he was in the minority because he did not experience change and thought it was a problem to promise or imply it. While the response was cordial (he was on the board at the time) but not supportive.

    Warren: I had a very different experience with John Smid last Summer. He did not describe himself as being “in the minority because he had not changed”. In fact, John Smid told me that in all his years with Exodus (many more than I had) he never met a homosexual man who had become heterosexual through Exodus: “Not one.”

    Yes, He acknowledged that some married homosexual men had developed some “spouso-sexual” feelings for their wives, but that they were still predominately homosexual in orientation and that for those who did develop such feelings, many (like Joe Dallas) were bisexual in attraction and behavior before they got married.

    Very few of the “ex-gay” married men he had met had become “spouso-sexual”. Instead, that most of these men had changed lifestyle and behavior, but not their basic sexual orientation. This was also my experience with Exodus and in the 30 years since I left. I get letters every day from married “ex-gay” and gay men who are experiencing great difficulty in their marriages due to a lack of “spouso-sexual” feelings.

    He also told me that many married homosexual men in Exodus never developed such feelings for their wives, but that they had decided to stay married for the companionship and affection that their marriages provided — even though sexual intimacy was not part of it.

    However, when one looks at sexual attraction and arousal scientifically, it is perfectly natural to quantify and describe with precision what is occuring. Through that lens, it seems clear to me that complete change is rare, and that change of attraction is contextually driven for women, and less so for men.

    I agree with this statement — and with this one:

    Exodus is of little use to social conservatives now because of the admission that the change that is possible is primarily ideological. The internal diminishment of SSA that may happen for some people is not enough to convince a court of categorical change, even though it is enough to help a person live congruent with chosen values.

  174. As far as I can tell, I was one of the earlier proponents of the view that change did not need to be complete to be change. I argued this in the late 90s when the all or nothing debates were taking place. I was resisted then by social conservatives because less than complete change did not suit their political need. The need was to demonstrate that people did not need to have same-sex attraction (i.e., be gay) thus the trait was not immutable. SSA was curable and the person would go from gay to straight. This transformation was important and in fact in I Do Exist, all people I interviewed felt it was important to make it clear on camera that they were completely heterosexual. At the time, saying that change was less than complete was viewed as an attack on hope and an attack on the belief that homosexuality was a changeable condition.

    I recall being in an Exodus media training when John Smid said that he was in the minority because he did not experience change and thought it was a problem to promise or imply it. While the response was cordial (he was on the board at the time) but not supportive. It has not been that long ago, but it seems like a long time ago to hear people say here that it is obvious that less than complete change is no problem.

    My view is that less than complete change can be very helpful to someone who seeks congruence with their beliefs. I have never doubted this and this view is foundational for my view of sexual identity work. However, when one looks at sexual attraction and arousal scientifically, it is perfectly natural to quantify and describe with precision what is occuring. Through that lens, it seems clear to me that complete change is rare, and that change of attraction is contextually driven for women, and less so for men.

    Questions of civil rights will hinge more on the scientific lens than the religious/identity lens. Even if change were easier, could the state require someone to attempt it? Is there a compelling state interest in discriminating against people who do not redefine themselves according to a religious viewpoint? For those who pursue life, liberty and happiness without that religious viewpoint, can the state compell them to attempt a change process which nearly requires a change of worldview to achieve? I don’t think that is fair, nor do I think the courts see it that way.

    Exodus is of little use to social conservatives now because of the admission that the change that is possible is primarily ideological. The internal diminishment of SSA that may happen for some people is not enough to convince a court of categorical change, even though it is enough to help a person live congruent with chosen values.

  175. Exodus is of little use to social conservatives now because of the admission that the change that is possible is primarily ideological.

    I’m not sure I agree with that statement. I find Exodus relevant and useful and I am a social conservative.

    So, should we be just be referring women to Exodus and their affiliated ministries nowadays? Is the battle unwinnable for men? Did God give women an imperviousness to sin that He did not also give men? If Christians abdicate on change, what will this mean for women? Does anybody who is not a woman care?

  176. My identity is my conviction about who I am. Transformed Christians establish an identity based on Biblical revelation. Most “successful” ex-gays have exchanged identity convictions for a stronger one, filled with hope.

    But what about sexual attraction?

    Prepubescent children are naturally attracted to one another of the same sex; for a while the opposite sex is “yucky.” This is part of the identity-establishment process. Older children entering puberty experience sexual desires; social environmental experiences including peers and especially significant persons (usually older) will help establish, or help extinguish, a moral compass regarding attractive tendencies toward others. Options are open; a person can move toward anywhere on the sexuality continuum.

    What establishes a specific desire? Psychologically, our responses are set by the intensity of emotion concurrent with a particular experience. Homosexual intimacy, or even porn-induced fantasy, with accompanying emotional response sets a strong neural pathway of association with our normal and natural sexual urges, and it’s hard to extinguish that association once established.

    I would like to see further research distinguishing between identity convictions vs attractions, and how these are established and how they interact.

  177. Dave…. The above .. read by a typical reader who is experiencing same sex attraction .. re: ..’ freedom from homosexuality’ .. ‘no longer being gay’ .. would be interpreted as 100% change.

    Perhaps. However, I don’t find the statement to be incorrect either. It states the feelings/behavior of those who have come to leave a gay identity behind in a religious setting. In that respect it is a fair statement. Should Exodus go on to not give their definition of ‘change’ in succeeding pages or in their meetings with an adherant to one of their member ministries then you might have a fair criticism.

  178. P.S. If my understanding is correct, then I completely agree with you.

  179. Preston you have raised this point before .. only to sound like a continual broken record… the problem is .. some groups defined change as exactly that … even Exodus still implies this kind of chnage on their pages. See below from this link…

    You have come to the right place! For over thirty years, Exodus International has offered hope and help to people seeking freedom from homosexuality. We believe and we have seen in thousands of lives that this freedom is possible through the power of God working in our hearts and minds.

    The bottom line – you don’t have to be gay!

    The above .. read by a typical reader who is experiencing same sex attraction .. re: ..’ freedom from homosexuality’ .. ‘no longer being gay’ .. would be interpreted as 100% change. You yourself in an erlier post said: “you don’t have to be gay” so .. you are part of the problem .. not some gay agenda out there.

    Get off you agenda kick and actually listen to what people are telling you. This whole area is a mess due to things being misrepresented and at times falsely claimed. Groups like Exodus made those claims… The above article by Dr Throckmorton shows at least a partial move toward more honesty on Alan’s part. However .. it appears their website needs to catch up to these statements by Alan.

    Dave

  180. Dave, totally disagree. I think few people would interpret that to mean 100% change. For example, does AA suggest that you will never have the urge to drink again? Of course not. It promotes that you can bring it under control. You don’t have to be an alcoholic. I can’t even believe I have to explain that.

    Pretty much everyone is a broken record here, dave, so no reason to single me out.

  181. What was the point of your statement mary? Are you saying AA does claim to cure alcoholism? That AA is some how deceptive in about what it does (and doesn’t) do

    No Ken. I am saying that AA supports an ideology that once an alcoholic – always an alcoholic. Some people really don’t crave alcohol anymore and some go on and learn to drink moderately.

  182. I was troubled to see Lisa Ling cooing giddily on the call-in show about she was so pleasantly surprised by Alan Chambers remarks in the show about meeting gays in heaven. Lisa kept repeating this as proof that Exodus is a loving and caring organization that fully embraces the glbt community.

    I fully suspected that Ling was totally misrepresenting and spinning Chambers’ comments. Indeed she was. Alan was referring to meeting ‘gays’ in heaven who had totally rejected their former lifestyle (ie the thief who repents next to Christ on the cross and then ascends to heaven). In this same vein, Chambers posted on his blog today: “Remember, the opposite of homosexuality … is holiness.” He does not mince words and is crystal clear to characterize unrepentant and sexually active gays as the epitome of evil and Lucifer’s realm.

  183. What? I can’t have moods?

    Sure you can have moods. We all have moods. On this touchy issue, I am trying to maintain a non-moody tone for myself because it is an important topic to discuss.

    I was unaware that Exodus did not mention SIT. I wonder what is their reason for not mentioning it.

  184. Throbert is throwing out third-person counsel about theology without having a personal faith in Christ. That alone makes it suspect, but additionally, pro-gay theology has been effectively rebutted by those who have the credentials to do it. The biblical proscriptions against homosexuality are not murky.

    It’s not my place to counsel you, AJ. But you have a growing body of company if your journey is one of deepening your faith while maintaining celibacy.

  185. preston# ~ Mar 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    “William, once again, I think each and every one of your 9 points is inaccurate.”

    And what is it you are basing your opinion on (anything other than NARTH’s claims)?

    “The fact is, which you absolutely cannot dispute, is that people change to their satisfaction. I will repeat, people do change. There is no possible way you can argue around that.”

    Change WHAT exactly? What is it that changes for these people, Preston?

  186. This kind of thing has been going on probably for longer than even I realize. I had a couple of gay friends who married lesbian women for tax purposes only. They lead their own separate and romantic lives with same-sex partners.

    This purports to be different, Jayhuck. They are striving for at least Platonic friendship in a “normal” family setting. To be involved in any same-sex hanky-panky would be a set-back for them.

  187. AJ,

    All right, you’ve been taken in by misleading promises and you’ve wasted a lot of time and a lot of money. Probably few of us can say that we haven’t done that at some time or other. You’ve realised that the “ex-gay” process doesn’t work. But there are just a couple of items to put in the credit column: you’ve been able to realise that you’re not alone and to acknowledge your sexuality instead of keeping it locked up.

    For heaven’s sake, don’t now let yourself be persuaded that you’re morally obliged, whether you like it or not, to commit yourself to a life of perpetual celibacy. You have no such obligation. You say that you could have a relationship with a man if you met the right person. If you do meet the right person, don’t just turn and walk away; go for it. A celibate lifestyle, undertaken not because one prefers it but as a moral imposition, is not only lonely and sad; it can also lead to profound depression, and no-one benefits. I do hope that you find a really nice guy to love and share your life with.

  188. Preston,

    So you admit that there may be no programs that work to change basic orientation? or at least there is no proof that any work?

    I certainly have more of an interest in the outcome of “change” efforts than you. Ok, put yourself in my shoes. I am a commited Christian who wants to follow Biblical teachings. I live in a major metropolitan area, and I have tried EVERYTHING here. I’ve even been an assistan leader in groups. I have also flown to other cities to try weekend programs. I have spent thousands of dollars. Not only have I not changed attractions, I haven’t met anyone who really has. So what’s your answer for me, a real person? Should I move to another city to try another program? If you’ll tell me which one works, I’ll pack up. Otherwise, I think I’m going to have to accept reality, that I will most likely always be same-sex attracted and try to figure out how to live a life within my beliefs. That probably means celibacy. I know some mixed-orientation marriages that seem to work, but I believe that “water seeks its own level” and a woman who would knowingly marry a same-sex attracted man has to have some serious issues.

  189. I am definitely to sorry to here that you are not able to reach your aspirations. Do you feel like it has been a waste? Have you met any good people? Has anyone that you met reported any progress? Do you feel harmed? Do you feel that the chance to have a same sex relationship exceeds the chance of never having an opposite sex relationship? Do you feel that a possible celibate life would leave a gaping hole?

  190. He has some good ideas – but I would not say that they are all in agreement with everyone who is touched by this subject.

    I don’t think Warren ever claimed to be the be-all and end-all on unwanted same-sex attraction.

    Also, no one out there is the be-all and end-all on unwanted same-sex attraction; including those of us who are affected. Homosexuality is a complex condition, as Debbie aptly pointed out many Comments ago.

    Anyone who is affected by unwanted same-sex attraction can find non-gay affirming help in a 5-minute Google. It’s not something hidden under a rock. People in this day and age are very adept at the internet; and, can easily find the answers they’re looking for, if they’re so inclined.

    People find what they want to find, and do what they need to do.

  191. I simply asked you what I consider to be a valid question. Sorry you have a problem with it.

  192. Mary….. Just because Box Turtle writes something does not mean that everyone needs to agree with the entirety of it’s message.

    Yeah… and your point is? There are facts and there are opinions and certainly BTB has had a good record of dealing with the facts, irrespective of their opinion.

    Also, Why the sarcasm …

    What? I can’t have moods?

    I kind of agree with Preston – I don’t think Dr. Throck is the end all and be all of answers to the issue of homosexuality and unwanted same sex attraction. He has some good ideas – but I would not say that they are all in agreement with everyone who is touched by this subject.

    Nor do I; but there is a point to be made about representing a person’s current conclusions on a matter. For instance, Exodus says nothing in that post about his sexual identity therapy framework. I find that even more odd.

  193. Preston,

    …as more people come to understand that change is possible…

    More people haven’t come to understand that change is possible. More people have come to understand that change, even if not impossible, is extremely unlikely.

    And calls into question if gays really do have to live a gay lifestyle.

    We all know that gays don’t have to live a gay lifestyle. Straights don’t have to live a straight lifestyle either. Both can live a celibate lifestyle if that is what they choose to do. Neither are morally obliged to. If they do, it doesn’t mean that their orientation has changed.

    Gays can also try to live a straight lifestyle (and equally straights can try to live a gay lifestyle, although I don’t know any who have). There is no good reason why they should, and I would certainly advise against it. As a matter of fact, a mate of mine was telling me only a few weeks ago about how, before he accepted his natural sexuality and came out, he tried to do precisely that. He described the whole scenario as “just a nightmare”. I’m really happy for him that he escaped from the nightmare.

  194. I see you don’t really know or do not care to know

    Just because Box Turtle writes something does not mean that everyone needs to agree with the entirety of it’s message. Also, Why the sarcasm – I kind of agree with Preston – I don’t think Dr. Throck is the end all and be all of answers to the issue of homosexuality and unwanted same sex attraction. He has some good ideas – but I would not say that they are all in agreement with everyone who is touched by this subject.

  195. Michael Bussee# ~ Mar 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

    From a recent article, Exodus on “change”:

    “In no way shape or form is our message about trying to cure or do we try to promote that type of methodology or message,” Jeff Buchanan, Exodus International’s Senior Director of Church Equipping & Student Ministries, told The Christian Post…

    Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness. We promote the belief that one can live a life that is congruent with their faith. That is our mission – period. ”

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fexodusinternational.org%2F2011%2F03%2Fexodus-responds-to-app-controversy-the-christian-post%2F&h=8b14f

    Many folks I know take offense at the part I put in bold above… re: Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness.

    Iit appears to say that homosexuals cannot be holy. especially when coupled with the other things that Exodus says such as the need to repent of same sex attractions.

    Speaking from a Christian (Wesleyean) standpoint … You can be holy and gay .. You can be holy and straight. Holiness comes from the blood of Christ. God declares us holy as we consecrate our lives to Him. We may disagree with what God wants a person to do with their attractions. But that is a different issue than dedicating one’s life to Christ. Thus holiness is a matter of the heart .. it is not the opposite of gay or straight.

    Dave

  196. I believe Warren has suggested earlier that conservative funding for research into change has been hard to come by. And I surely don’t see evangelicals as a funding source. Their desire is much more for evangelism and compassionate assistance around the world. I would not support using people’s hard-earned money for research with any political aim. That’s not good stewardship.

    1) I don’t want the controversy

    2) I enjoy a private life

    I suspect many people are just like myself. It is a very personal journey and the onslaught from the gay community to anything personal or revealing about my very inner world is not worth opening up to public debate, attack or criticism.

    I’m sure that describes the way many of us feel, Mary. I did a lot of soul-searching and praying before adding this area to my ministry outreach. It hasn’t been easy. But I don’t regret doing it.

  197. That is most interesting observation, and a gracious one, as well, Throbert. Clearly, this topic is deep and requires a lot of fore- and afterthought.

  198. Wow, this has turned into quite an amicable discussion. Who would have thought it.

    @Ann …

    Yes, and when one can realize and be aware that homosexuality is not something of their own creation, they can be liberated from “trying” to “change” it. I think that is a very good place to start and see how our lives unfold from there.

    Perhaps, it’s a spiritual principle, that at the point of acceptance, lie new and wonderful opportunities ahead … “accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.”

    @Debbie …

    Perhaps all those who are called higher (even if they don’t hear the call) have a bête noire that must be subdued first.

    Much food for thought in this sentence.

    @Throbert …

    As I explained to a heterosexual Christian friend on another forum, the “mutant color vision” metaphor is intended to reframe the “homosexuality can be a blessing” position in a purely secular way that will make sense to non-religious people who aren’t used to language about “blessings.”

    I did appreciate your metaphor; and, thought it helped put a positive aspect to an issue usually seen by many people as only deviant or perverse.

  199. One other point I made in that incredibly long BYU thread that I think gay-affirming churches (in particular) need to grapple with:

    Some people have also argued that when Thog the caveman had to go on a long hunt for mammoth, he was better off leaving his cave-wife Reena under the watchful eye of Quooquee, the gay caveman, than trusting one of his horny heterosexual brothers to look after her.

    And when Thog’s wife Reena the cave-mommy had to go on a long march in search of edible roots and berries, and needed a cave-nanny to watch her kids, she was better off hiring Dorgo, the lesbian cavewoman who won’t respond to Thog’s flirtations, than some heterosexual chick who might get knocked up by Thog and then demand child support.

    Note that this (secular) line of argument finds positive social value in homosexuality insofar as the “homosexual caste” is contributing in an indirect way towards the success of heterosexual pair-bonding and parenting, whether as “harem guards” or “nannies.”

    However, the “Equality”-centric language of “Gay Pride” may make it difficult for homosexuals to accept the possibility that God has cast them in “supporting actor” roles within a society that is ordered around heterosexuality.

    And when conservatives argue that homosexual coupling isn’t as important to society as procreative heterosexual coupling, the “Gay Pride” culture conditions a homosexual individual to hear it as “thou art less important than any heterosexual,” and to react with resentment.

    I’m not sure if Eddy is reading this thread, but on some other thread — I forget which one — he had made a point to me about the failures of “the gay church,” by which I assume he meant homo-centric denominations like MCC. And if any “gay church” is encouraging its members to be resentful of “heterosexual privilege” and whatnot, then the church is failing.

    It seems to me that gay people of any faith can only experience real spiritual growth after they fully come to terms with the fact that heterosexuality is the flour and the yeast that make the bread rise, and homosexuality is, at most, the salt and the seasonings that can make the loaf much tastier, but aren’t essential for baking the bread. To put it another way, the = used by HRC is a false idol, in many ways, and would be better replaced by ?, if you ask me!

    (Of course, as a non-religious person, I don’t mean “false idol” in the sense of “something that leads away from God”, let alone “something that makes God wrathful”, but rather as “something that leads down unproductive paths.”)

  200. Rebecca,

    A.J. wouldn’t give a straight (npi) answer as to why he was in change therapy. I mean why does he want to change? If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay? I think Debbie sensed a set up despite AJ’s plea of being serious.

    I have heard AJ’s story from many many ex-ex-gay people . I don’t know AJ’s reasons for therapy, but he sounded sincere to me in his writing, and his story is echoed by others who have gone through this process, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it is true. I’ll let AJ elaborate if he is able.

  201. AJ,

    Have you been here?

    Gay Christian Network

    I’ve found this site immensely helpful in many ways, and you’ll find gay Christians of all stripes there; those who believe in celibacy, those who believe in monogamy, those who are waiting for same sex marriage to become legalized in their state, and those who have tried change therapy.

  202. As I explained to a heterosexual Christian friend on another forum, the “mutant color vision” metaphor is intended to reframe the “homosexuality can be a blessing” position in a purely secular way that will make sense to non-religious people who aren’t used to language about “blessings.”

  203. Jayhuck,

    A.J. wouldn’t give a straight (npi) answer as to why he was in change therapy. I mean why does he want to change? If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay? I think Debbie sensed a set up despite AJ’s plea of being serious.

  204. “We” can complain all day about a ‘gay-agenda’ … what is ‘our-agenda’? What do “we” do to ‘change’?

    I am supposing you are referring to individual change or transformation, which is why I linked to the Barna article. But you may also be referring to corporate change, as in what should churches be doing to address the issues for their people or facilitate a more loving atmosphere for gays and lesbians. Maybe you need to elaborate a bit, Teresa.

  205. AJ,

    You’ve told us that you have already blued a considerable amount of time and money on counselling and programs to change your sexual attractions, all of which have proven totally ineffective, and that this is at least partly the reason why you are now deeply in debt. And yet it sounds as though you’d still seriously contemplate spending further money which you can’t afford on some other program if someone tells you that it works. Just ask yourself this: Is anyone running or recommending any ex-gay program going to tell you that it doesn’t work?

    It’s funny, but I can still remember a saying quoted at me when I was about 13 by one of my teachers, now some years dead, who in turn remembered seeing it on a wayside pulpit in the north of England when he himself was only a lad:

    A fool is he who buys the same experience twice.

  206. Mary, I can understand that. However, shouldn’t your closest friends know? You mentioned it might go a long way towards opening the eyes of people around you.

    Your journey is yours alone. Your choice is yours alone. I respect your choice.

    However, for myself, I can’t go around blaming a “gay community” or a “gay agenda” for what’s happening, or choose to live in a closet. (And, I’m not suggesting you do, Mary). I’m a homosexual woman who has chosen to live a chaste life … a life worth living, a life of worth.. People need to know that we are here, and that there are alternatives, and there is ‘change’, which does not necessarily mean in orientation.

    I no longer have family members or friends I need to emotionally protect. Those that are still alive need to know who I am, not just who they ‘think’ I am.

    I suspect there is quite an age difference between you and I, Mary. Life for me, at this point, doesn’t hold me in fear, as it once did. I can certainly empathize with your reluctance to share this.

  207. To put it another way, the = used by HRC is a false idol, in many ways, and would be better replaced by ?, if you ask me!

    Darn it, this showed up as a “wavy equal sign” or “doubled tilde” (~) in preview, not a question mark!

    (In math, the ~ signifies only a rough approximation, but the doubled version of it signifies a much closer approximation — and the meaning “homosexual couplehood can closely approximate heterosexual couplehood, but isn’t equal or identical to it” is what I was going for.)

  208. Throbert,

    It seems to me that gay people of any faith can only experience real spiritual growth after they fully come to terms with the fact that heterosexuality is the flour and the yeast that make the bread rise, and homosexuality is, at most, the salt and the seasonings that can make the loaf much tastier, but aren’t essential for baking the bread. To put it another way, the = used by HRC is a false idol, in many ways, and would be better replaced by ?, if you ask me!

    This is an interesting and not completely unwelcome analogy, but I’m not sure I completely understand what you are trying to say. HRC uses the = symbol in terms of equality under the law. Equality under the law isn’t suggesting that groups of people or even individuals are the same or contribute in the same way to society. I don’t believe it has much to do with things spiritual.

  209. Debbie,

    As I said, I am no therapist, AJ. If you really wanted to try therapy, you would have to be able to articulate whatever you may be unhappy about. What might you want to change or what outcome would you be seeking? If a therapist asked, “So, why are you here?”, what would your answer be? If you can’t think of why you should be there, then maybe you don’t need to be — unless your friends or family are doing an intervention on you because they can see some self-destructive trait you can’t.

    I could be wrong but it sounds like AJ “really” did try “therapy”

  210. My guess is that the Mormon religion does subsidize ex gay ministries. My neighbor is an LDS elder of some sort and he told me that Dr. Dean Byrd came and did a training seminar for the LDS leaders in this area to help members who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction.

    In terms of the churches subsidizing psychotherapy, some do, and many don’t…. Their expertise, they rightly believe, is in ministering, not evaluating nor delivering nor managing psychotherapeutic efforts. I would guess most don’t want to be in the business of providing people with therapy usually and you would have a hard time getting the general membership to put any funds or effort into understanding the plight of homosexuality. Generally, the rank and file religious people think their religion is the complete answer to most problems and that’s where their advocacy ends. To them, it is not about pain, but about zipping up your pants. Believe me, I’ve tried talking to them.

  211. Debbie,

    The transformation journey has ten stops en route to wholeness and freedom. Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three (awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem). Among those who become “born again Christians,” most never move past stop five (i.e., having invited Christ to be their savior and then engaging in a lot of religious activity). In other words, a majority of the American public never reaches the second half of the stops on the journey to wholeness. Barna also determined that most church programs are designed to help people get to stop five of the journey but not to move farther down the road to Christ-likeness.

    The single most challenging stop is what Barna identified as “stop 7, which is that of brokenness.” The researcher indicated that in order to move closer to completion of the journey, a person must be broken of three things: sin, self, and society. He noted that America’s culture serves as a strong barrier to people being willing to completely abandon themselves and the world in favor of listening to, obeying and enjoying God.

    Really? LOL

  212. T,

    I am in my late 40’s. And I just do not want the controversy. Some of my friends know – some don’t. It just depends on their ability (in my eyes) to see beyond social influences.

  213. T,

    You’re right about a lot of things. I guess I live in fear. In my younger days I was fearless – and paid dearly for that.

  214. William,

    The ex-gay movement is the only one of which I am aware that enters the political arena, not just to defend its right to exist and to carry on its activities – which is no doubt fair enough – but to call for or support discrimination against those who don’t accept its claims, and who in any case are happy as they are and don’t wish to avail themselves of its services. And none of the others, no matter how much they understandably dislike criticism and rejection of their claims, keep whining and complaining, like P-FOX for example, that those who disbelieve or deride those claims are thereby discriminating against them.

    I couldn’t agree more

  215. Preston,

    The political interest on the heterosexual-affirming side is considerably less than that on the pro-gay side. No comparison.

    That borders on saying the political interest on the anti – african american affirming side is considerably less…. This country and the way in which it views and thinks about various issues has grown.

  216. Preston,

    What is it exactly that you are trying to do? I’m not convinced in the least you are making any sort of difference, but I wonder what it is you hope to do on this lone blog.

  217. I guess what I’m really getting at in asking these questions, is that it’s not ‘those people’ that are the problem.

    It’s not about “we’re in, they’re out”, “we’re right, they’re wrong”, “we’re good, they’re bad”. It’s about what “we” do that matters … the “we” is our Churches, and each of us as individuals, united in Spirit.

    “We” can complain all day about a ‘gay-agenda’ … what is ‘our-agenda’? What do “we” do to ‘change’?

  218. @ Throbert :

    I had not seen your latest comment when I wrote mine above. Interesting. Nevertheless, as a Christian, I do believe that, whatever the specifics of the Mosaic Law may have meant, we have now moved beyond it. I would also point out that S. Paul never suggested putting arsenokoitai to death or even in prison.

    We do not know exactly what S. Paul was thinking when he wrote what he wrote, of course; we also do know that anal intercourse is not something that is restricted to only same-sex couples.

  219. it doesn’t bother you to endorse organizations which not only make extremely dubious claims, but explicitly base those claims on the power of a being in whose very existence you disbelieve

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve read. So if religious people help the needy or want world peace I have to disagree because we arrived there via different means? That is so patently ludicrous. You have really gone off the deep end. Your view is so cloudy that I don’t think you can make any reasonable arguments. I don’t even know why I read your idiotic posts. Sorry, I’ve tried to keep it respectable here and avoid personal attacks but these posts are just way beyond outlandish.

  220. 35 million dollars

    If they found that kind of money, why not find some for research, fund some studies from scientists or groups that support a Christian view … invest some in a fund for scholarships for therapy?

    Let’s not keep looking at this as only a one-shot idea. The Catholic Church and the Mormon Church are immensely wealthy. The Evangelicals have 300,00 Churches across America (Chuck Baldwin). Somehow, an Evangelical Fund could be set up to assist in an area that is deemed so important.

    I asked both questions before, and I’ll ask them again; because if we don’t face this squarely, and accept that our Christian Churches are in great measure complicit for the idea that it’s a pro-gay world: where is the money for un-biased research and studies … these Churches have members that are University Profs, researches, therapists … ? Also, where is the money for a therapy fund to help homosexual persons?

    If these Churches can find the money, when they want to, for whatever policy, political cause, etc.; why not for homosexuality and homosexuals?

  221. homosexual acts that were abominations punishable by death, and homosexuals acts that weren’t.

    On reading this, it’s a bit ambiguous — I should’ve written “homosexual acts that were abominations punishable by death, and homosexuals acts that were simply abominations, but were not punishable by death.”

    In other words, the Talmud is clear that all homosexual acts are sins and thus “abominations”, but that most homosexual acts are not sins of such gravity that the death penalty was warranted. And to be more specific, the Talmudic distinction was that male/male anal buggery was the sin described in Leviticus 20:13, for which both men were to be put to death; but that non-anal male homosexuality, and lesbianism generally, were sinful but did not meet the death-penalty threshold in and of themselves.

    Again, I don’t know that Paul had any such distinction in mind when he coined arsenokoitai, but given his cultural background, we can’t rule out that he saw homosexuality as a sin of varying degrees.

  222. By the way, some people might wonder: if the Talmudic authorities believed that Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 were narrow in scope and only prohibited male/male anal intercourse, what was their basis for saying that all other homosexual acts were also sinful?

    The answer is that they regarded homosexual acts in general as being un-Jewish habits of the pagan goyim — relying on such verses as Deuteronomy 23:17 (“No son or daughter of Israel shall become a temple prostitute.”), among others.

    Secondarily, there may have been a serious concern that male homosexual acts such as mutual masturbation would be a temptation that “might lead to” a violation of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 — but this fear obviously didn’t apply to lesbian acts, and it wasn’t the primary reason for the sweeping prohibition on Jewish homosexuality. Instead, the rationale for the general ban (i.e. even when male/male buggery wasn’t involved) was that God expected His Chosen People to shun Gentile customs.

    And again, I make no assertions as to whether any of this significantly affected Paul’s thinking, but it’s important to remember that it would’ve been part of his cultural background as a man raised in Pharisaic Judaism.

  223. @ Throbert : I agree with your point re. Lev. 18 : 22 – a verse which probably refers to ritual prostitution in pagan tamples. (Let is not forget the probable provenance and purpose of the Book of Leviticus: this book was probably compiled during the Exile in Babylon, and was intended to keep the Jewish people from’ going native’ in the dominant culture. In any case, the Mosaic Law has, according to Christian thought, now been fulfilled and thus can be properly understood as a ‘stepping stone’ to ‘where we are now’ – this is the central theme of Matthew’s Gospel: that Jesus is the Fulfilment of the Law, the ‘New [and improved] Moses’.)

  224. any help at all in your previous therapy, or was it a total waste? If it was a waste, why would you pursue more of it? It sounds as if you are saying it did not help, but you are hoping there would be some other approach that would. That may or may not be realistic.

    Sounds like an incredibly religious person trying to convince them self they don’t have to be gay.

  225. T,

    I don’t know what is the problem. I know as an exgay I don’t go around advertising it or even mentioning it to some of my closest friends. Which could go a long ways towards opening the eyes of people to a problem that exists for many people and an answer that some thought was impossible. I’ve been asked to make public statments and I refuse. And I won’t become part of research if my anonymity (sp?) is not protected.

    1) I don’t want the controversy

    2) I enjoy a private life

    I suspect many people are just like myself. It is a very personal journey and the onslaught from the gay community to anything personal or revealing about my very inner world is not worth opening up to public debate, attack or criticism.

  226. As long as I’m hanging around and waiting for my corned beef to boil, I might as well add, in response to Richard:

    Ah, the great arsenokoitai debate! Many scholars think S. Paul made up that word.

    (Putting on my amateur linguist hat.)

    There’s no evidence for any Greek-speaking Jews, Christians, or pagans using arsenokoitai before Paul did, so you’re right that he probably coined it, though he didn’t make it up out of whole cloth.

    Etymologically, the word arsenokoitai VERY CLEARLY means either “males in bed with men” or “males who lie down with men” (depending on whether you see the -koit- part as deriving from a Greek noun or a Greek verb).

    It’s a Greek calque (by way of the Septuagint translation) of the Hebrew expression zachar tishkav, “lie down with a male”, which of course appears in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

    But note, however, that the Hebrew phrase mishkevei ishah, “(as) one beds with a woman”, which in the Greek Septuagint became koiten gynaikos, was not incorporated into Paul’s new word. That is, arsenokoitai does NOT mean “males who lie down with men as with women,” but only “males who lie down with men.”

    Thus, if the Hebrew phrase “with a female” is understood as a restricting qualifier that narrows the meaning of “a man lying with a man” — and by narrowing, therefore excludes certain cases of men lying with men — then Paul’s coinage fails to reflect this narrower sense.

    And as I’ve already noted above, some Jewish Talmudic authorities did conclude that “as with a woman” was indeed a restricting qualifier — it narrowed the scope of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 from “a man doing unspecified sexual things with another man” to “a man going into another man’s anus in imitation of vaginal intercourse.”

    (You will rarely hear this from Christian sources, of course — the anti-gay Christians are loathe to suggest that male homosexuality might not be such a serious sin if anal sex is avoided, while the pro-gay Christians are loathe to go against a prevailing gay male subculture that invests massive energy in promoting and normalizing anal sex. But spend some time talking with Orthodox Jews, both anti-gay and pro-gay, and you can learn a thing or two!)

  227. Oh, and come to think of it, the Jewish prohibition on “spilling semen in vain” would have also been a reason to disapprove of male homosexuality even when it didn’t involve the death-worthy offense of buggery.

    But all this is just to underscore the point that debates over the proper interpretation of verses like Lev. 18:22 are not something that modern pro-gay liberal theologians pulled out of their wazoos; Jews were arguing about these things before Jesus was even born.

  228. I would also point out that S. Paul never suggested putting arsenokoitai to death or even in prison.

    True, but he clearly saw it as a sin causing “spiritual death” — whatever arsenokoitai meant to him, he said that they would not inherit the kingdom of eternal life. (Which is broadly consistent with how Orthodox Judaism has seen it since — well, at least since the fall of the Second Temple, which made it impossible to apply the death penalty because the sanhedrin no longer existed.)

    we also do know that anal intercourse is not something that is restricted to only same-sex couples

    FWIW, Jewish law doesn’t prohibit a man from anally penetrating a woman, particularly in the context of a valid marriage, though my understanding is that it’s “frowned upon.” But the absolute prohibition of anal intercourse only applies to male/male contexts.

  229. Jews were arguing about these things before Jesus was even born.

    That’s right. Sounds like they weren’t any closer to an answer than are we. So each person must study and make a decision for themselves as to what is meant by the scriptures. How do I construct God’s meaning and intent in my life? Not how do I construct God’s meaning and intent in your life.

  230. Teresa, help could come in many forms: professional therapy, from within, religious groups, nonreligious groups, friends, family members, nonprofessional counseling, etc.

  231. Clearly the pro-gay side has had much more persuasion in the past 30 years. They have convinced a large segment of the public of the untruth that change is not possible.

    Preston, it’s not clear exactly whom you mean by “the pro-gay side”, but if you mean the gay community at large, then you’re wrong. Most of the gay community are far too busy getting on with their lives to care, one way or the other. If you were to take an opinion poll on the question in gay bars and clubs, the overwhelming response would be one of scepticism, but laid-back, apathetic scepticism. Very few would bother even to cross the street to convince anyone else that change isn’t possible.

    The people who have done most to persuade a large segment of the public that change is either not possible or highly unlikely are those who have themselves wasted years of their lives trying to change, those who have seen others harmed and driven to despair by such efforts, and those who have run programs to help others to change and have realised that, by and large, it just doesn’t happen.

  232. I don’t think it is unreasonable for Exodus to weigh in on politics since politics is discouraging its mission. Alcoholism is quite different in that there is consensus that it is OK to try to lessen it.

    I wonder if anyone can check in on what has been oversold on the otherside, and who has the louder megaphone?

    Clearly the pro-gay side has had much more persuasion in the past 30 years. They have convinced a large segment of the public of the untruth that change is not possible. That’s a pretty loud megaphone.

    [it’s] not a flaw that needs mending

    Fine. But it should still be OK to want to change and to seek the support to do so.

  233. Ann: I don’t mind the caps. Actually, it helps me a bit, since I have serious visual problems and the larger type is easier to read — but I do appreciate where you are coming from. It can come across as anger rather than empasis. That’s why I try to use italics. 🙂

  234. Preston,

    I have read all your comments with great interest – I think you make a lot of sense in many way, even if there are somethings I am still thinking about. No matter how frustrating the exchanges can get, please do not use caps, especially when using “you” – it comes across as anger and people will pay attention to that instead of the important things you are saying.

  235. I accept that you disagree with my language, I understand your position and I will stand by my comments.

  236. Has God played some kind of cruel joke on humanity?

    No, because it’s not broken.

    That does not address the male-female difference question. Some believe they are broken, just as you believe you are not. And that’s what we’ll always have — two camps of belief with little to prove which is right.

  237. [it’s] not a flaw that needs mending

    By the way, YOU labeling it a flaw is a technique to try to make your opponent’s position less tenable. So we’ll just refer to it as a set of feelings/urges/etc that some people would prefer not to have (for religious and non-religious reasons). And take the “flaw” angle out of the equation.

  238. But many were told, as I was, that when we didn’t get “fixed’, it was out fault. The female “ex-gay” on the program says as much. People can become straight if they want it badly enough and have enough faith. That is the message I object to most strongly.

    Michael,

    I object to that strongly as well. I have known people who espouse that about health issues, infertility issues, psychological issues, etc. You can get well, or get pregnant, or not be depressed if you pray harder, have enough faith, ignore how you feel, etc. Faith is essential to most, however, it does not determine our spontanious responses to attraction or anything else, it can only help us determine how we want to respond to it.

  239. William – I don’t really beilieve in orientation. And if a man goes from heterosexual to homosexual (as many have) then I guess he is now heterosexual. In all honesty, I don’t believe in orientation.

  240. preston# ~ Mar 10, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I don’t think it is unreasonable for Exodus to weigh in on politics since politics is discouraging its mission. Alcoholism is quite different in that there is consensus that it is OK to try to lessen it.

    Exodus is an international organization funded by churches and individuals. Politics is not stopping its mission. Why is it that you want to play victim here? No one is stopping them from doing what they want.

    As for alcoholism .. there is not a consensus .. plenty of bars are out there making money on selling people alcohol. Additionally .. prohibition didn’t work.

    What you are missing in the analogy is that people that are “struggling” with something do not typically go on a vendetta against fellow “strugglers”. AA will never team up with MADD. And heroin addicts aren’t going to work for there to be stiffer penalties for repeat drug offenders. If either of these things happened alcoholics would be quite hesitant to join AA since it woud seem hostile to them and their problems. Likewise addicts would be unlikely to join a group that wanted to lock them up.

    Beyond all of this .. anytime a group starts putting out a political position they run the risk of alienating those who might believe differently thus interfering with their primary mission (unless, of course, their primary mission is politics).

    Dave

  241. “Didn’t Want It Enough”

    Is a conclusion that is found in the church on a variety of issues dealing with holiness, spiritual gifting, wealth accumulation and so on.

    To simplify and personalize this by focusing it solely on homosexuality doesn’t really get at the core problem.

    Generally, there is a mechanistic and simplistic Pharisaical belief system in the church which is activated strongly with any behavior proscribed by scripture.

  242. Debbie:

    I have never said that change was “impossible”. Just that orientation change is not being reported by those men (and their leaders) who hope and pray that it will happen. Instead, they choose a life of celibacy or some level of “spousosexual feelings” — and/or fighting temptation in mixed orientation marriages. God bless them if that change is enough.

    But the men I talk to wanted to be straight — and believed that was what was being offered by Exodus. I am glad that Alan made in clear on the TV program that this is not what Exodus attendees ought to hope for.

    You are right. God is not limited. Science cannot measure everything. Anything is possible. But it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Perhaps it’s not broken. Maybe that’s why God doesn’t fix it.

    What seems more possible is a change in attitude — that more and more people will stop thinking that such a change is necessary to live a happy life or to please God — or escape Hell. Maybe God loves and accepts them as gay. I firmly believe He does.

    I still believe that it is to Exodus’ benefit to keep definitions ambigous — if you have to do that to keep hope alive. On the flip side of that “hope” are the countless number of true believers who hoped it would happen. And those who were shunned or rejected by church or family when it didn’t happen.

    They were made to feel that they “didn’t want it enough”, “didn’t have faith enough”, “didn’t love God enough” to make it happen. I have seen what happens to them. Much pain could have been prevented if Exodus would have been clearer about it’s terms up front.

  243. but I always thought that referred to changing one’s behavior …rather than a magical transformation of one’s sexual orientation

    We are of a different belief – you and I. I see nothing magical about it.

  244. I know about Paul’s “promise” in his letter that people are “a new creation in christ” and “such were some of you;” etc… but I always thought that referred to changing one’s behavior to be more godly rather than a magical transformation of one’s sexual orientation. I mean, I think even some ex-gay ministries will concede that being attracted to the same sex is not in and of itself a sin.

  245. Mary–

    I think you may have missed what Emily said…she doesn’t see it as a magical transformation either.

    Emily–

    I think you’ve hit it ‘square on’. There had been a debate long ago in the ministries about the confusion of a ‘positional’ theological statement (“Yes, I’m a new creation in Christ.”) and a ‘process statement’. (“I’m being made new daily by the renewing of my mind.”)

    BTW: I think MOST of the ex-gay ministries will concede that being attracted to the same sex is not sin. However, MOST will also say that identifying as ‘gay’ or as ‘having a homosexual orientation’ IS, at the least, questionable. Since they view the behavior as a sin, they have a problem with labelling themselves by the behavior. It gets muddled there. True, a Christian can declare “I’m a sinner saved by grace” but, in experience, few put a particular sin’s name in the place of ‘sinner’ in a public declaration.

  246. I however, interpret it to say that there is a promise.

    Well, I don’t.

    But perhaps no more problematic, theologically, than a God who finds homosexuality so abhorrent or so disruptive to His Plan that it must be a sin under any and all circumstances.

    Perhaps, but I see no adequate reason to believe that either.

  247. Certainly a God who either does or can over-promise would be a highly problematic concept from a theological point of view

    But perhaps no more problematic, theologically, than a God who finds homosexuality so abhorrent or so disruptive to His Plan that it must be a sin under any and all circumstances.

  248. But perhaps no more problematic, theologically, than a God who finds homosexuality so abhorrent or so disruptive to His Plan that it must be a sin under any and all circumstances

    Not really.

  249. Mary–

    I think you may have missed what Emily said…she doesn’t see it as a magical transformation either

    Eddy, I think you have misunderstood me.

  250. Am I wrong in stating that the evidence we have, to date, regarding change, shows that most change is far less than 100%.

    Yes, you are wrong. Take out “far” and you’re OK.

    We seem to be talking as if change somehow butts up against this 100% mark

    If by “we” you mean the anti-exers, then, yes.

    Someone asked for the definition of “immutable”: Not subject or susceptible to change.

    Seems like we still vary on the definition of change. Would everyone agree that these are all examples of change: temperature goes from 50 degrees to 51 degrees, from 50 degrees to 0 degrees, from 0 degrees to -20 degrees, etc.? Temperature is interesting, because, like a lot of things, the concept of 100% or complete change does not even exist. It’s just an infinite continuum in both directions.

    How about: 1 million cancer cells to 900,000? 1 million to 500,000? 1 million 100,000. 1 million to 0? Is the last one the only example of change? Does it matter if say, 900,000 cells is fairly debilitating, 500,000 requires annual doctor visits and 100,000 requires visits every 5 years? (these are all hypothetical)

    I don’t think most people would conclude that “you don’t have to be gay” implies complete change. Nor “freedom from homosexuality” (even “free speech” in American has non-trivial limitations). And I have not seen any evidence of promises or even suggestions that participants will “never have a homosexual thought or urge”.

  251. I’m just stating the fact that I haven’t met anyone yet (man) whose attractions really changed. I don’t know what to do with that observation, but it’s not something that I can ignore.

    I suppose that’s what this discussion is really about, AJ — to figure out what to do with that observation. It has to mean something. What many are saying is it means we are not to seek change, that it is not possible. But that, to me, is the tail wagging the dog. We observe something we don’t fully understand, yet make a law out of it. Flat earth theories (yet the Bible speaks of the earth as an orb).

  252. Revisiting this discussion because some interesting, pertinent information has come to light. George Barna has come out with a new book based on a years-long research project about transformation. Here’s a link to a summation of it.

    Of particular note are these points:

    Looking at transformation as the process that enables us to gradually die to sin, self, and society in order to fully and profoundly love God and people, Barna explained that Jesus Himself defined the destination of the journey when He taught His followers that the most important exhortations from God were to love God and people with all of their heart, mind, strength, and soul (Mark 12:30-31). Paul, one of the classic examples of a transformed person, underscored the necessity of this quest when he said that the only thing that matters is being transformed by God into a new creation (Galatians 6:15). Transformation, then, is the effort to become holy by fully submitting to God and consistently pursuing His will – being set apart by the blood of Christ to experience a unique freedom and a new identity through the power of that blood and the enduring guidance of the Holy Spirit. …

    The transformation journey has ten stops en route to wholeness and freedom. Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three (awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem). Among those who become “born again Christians,” most never move past stop five (i.e., having invited Christ to be their savior and then engaging in a lot of religious activity). In other words, a majority of the American public never reaches the second half of the stops on the journey to wholeness. Barna also determined that most church programs are designed to help people get to stop five of the journey but not to move farther down the road to Christ-likeness.

    The single most challenging stop is what Barna identified as “stop 7, which is that of brokenness.” The researcher indicated that in order to move closer to completion of the journey, a person must be broken of three things: sin, self, and society. He noted that America’s culture serves as a strong barrier to people being willing to completely abandon themselves and the world in favor of listening to, obeying and enjoying God.

    Having worked in recovery ministry, I have been able to observe the stops that people tend to make along the journey to wholeness up close.

    FWIW.

  253. “Love one another,” “Love your neighbor,” “Love your enemies,” etc. are all Biblical exhortations to love others, opposite or same-sex individuals. St. Paul in 1Corinthians 13 describes this type of love, which is “agape” in Greek. It is NOT “eros!”

    The Bible is explicit in reserving “eros” –sexual love, only for married opposite-sex couples: “Husbands, love your wives…” and it clearly prohibits same-sex eros-love, or any same-sex intimate intercourse. It’s the behavior, not the “feelings” or “attractions” that are condemned. “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved.” -John 3:17 Jesus, who said he came not to replace the Law (Torah -God’s natural laws built into the universe) but to fulfill it, is the One whom to follow is to live as sinless a life as we possibly can, and seek forgiveness and new life-direction when we fail.

  254. The problem with the word orientation is that it has been defined by the gay agenda to connotate [sic – connote?] innateness and immutability.

    No, it hasn’t. The word simply refers to whether the people to whom one is sexually attracted are of the other sex, the same sex or both. It implies nothing at all about whether sexual orientation is innate and/or immutable, which is an entirely separate question. If someone wishes to use some other word instead of the word “orientation”, they are free to do so, but the point at issue is not thereby clarified in any way. On the contrary, in my experience those who do this are generally doing it in an attempt to obfuscate the issue.

  255. Dave, that is ridiculous that homosexualitynand gay are “orientation language”. How about lifestyle behavior, identity, urge, etc?

    The problem with the word orientation is that it has been defined by the gay agenda to connotate innateness and immutability. So to have a productive discussion, you either need to moderate the definition or not use it since it wouldnt apply under that definition. Anithr one of the tactics on display.

  256. My main point in all of this is that he needs to clarify what he means on his website in plain view .. so that people do not have to guess, assume, or be misled.

    In all honesty, it is hard to put into words that some adversarial person isn’t going to attack.

  257. Communication is everything … let me reword the statements I quoted from the Ecodus website…

    First .. the original ..

    You have come to the right place! For over thirty years, Exodus International has offered hope and help to people seeking freedom from homosexuality. We believe and we have seen in thousands of lives that this freedom is possible through the power of God working in our hearts and minds.

    The bottom line – you don’t have to be gay!

    And now .. substituting ‘heterosexuality’ for the word ‘homosexuality’ and straight for the word ‘gay’..

    You have come to the right place! For over thirty years, Exodus International has offered hope and help to people seeking freedom from heterosexuality. We believe and we have seen in thousands of lives that this freedom is possible through the power of God working in our hearts and minds.

    The bottom line – you don’t have to be straight!

    I think it is rather obvious that the statement is problematic as this substitution demonstrates.

    Note to Mary .. I believe you are correct in what you said here…

    I’m not sure that many members of Exodus believe that gay is a sexual orientation rather than a circumstance of environmental and biological events – and that it is not what they believe God intended for men and women.

    In light of this.. if they are going to use orientation language ..(re: the words homosexuality .. and gay ) on their public website then obviously they are going to be interpreted within the present cultures framework. As a ministry, the burden falls on them to say what they mean in a way that others can understand. It does not fall on us to try to guess our way through what they mean.

    As an example .. when I come to Dr Throckmorton’s website it becomes evident rather quickly especially if I explore his posts and links to reparative therapy and /or SITF that this issue is rather nuanced and complex. I don’t see an admittance of complexity on the Exodus website.

    Additionally .. I don’t think Alan is saying something very new here on this program .. I can recall reading (I believe on Boxturtle Bulletin ) that in private .. Alan will admit to still having same sex feelings. Now admittedly .. on htis program he is more public about it… but not everyone can see this program.

    My main point in all of this is that he needs to clarify what he means on his website in plain view .. so that people do not have to guess, assume, or be misled. I think in counseling this is called informed consent. Then people can decide whether they want this path or not (without all the confusion over the meanings of words).

    Dave

  258. Nothing fake about it.

    Mary, are you seriously saying that you would regard the scenario which I outlined above of a heterosexual who has adopted a homosexual lifestyle – if I may be excused for using that word – as a genuine change from heterosexuality to homosexuality?

  259. I don’t think Mary or I were talking about flaunting or parading sexuality

    Teresa — I apologize if it sounded like I was putting words in your mouth or Mary’s or anyone else’s here. When I used quote marks around “publicly flaunting”, I did not not mean that the quote was attributed to anyone on this forum, or any specific person off this forum.

  260. I would take issue with Chambers’s idea of what constitutes ‘biblical truths’. He is, despite his ‘brave admission’, still making assumptions about what the ‘biblical truths’ might be.

    There is much careful biblical scholarship that leads one to the conclusion that loving same-sex relationships are not per se ‘unchristian’. Biblical – and, more importantly, CHRISTIAN – ethics are essentially about how people treat each other. It is noteworthy that the small number of (apparent) ‘negative’ biblical references to ‘homosexuality’ are set in a context of behaviours that are irresponsible, abusive, exploitative or uncaring. For instance, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about (attempted) rape; the Levitical references are made against a backdrop of ritual prostitution in pagan temples (Leviticus was almost certainly compiled during the Exile in Babylon); all of the Pauline references refer to modes of behaviour that might promote jealousy, hatred, etc..

    Loving same-sex relationships are not, in the view of many Christians – myself included, condemned anywhere in the Bible. In fact, there may even be examples of such relationships mentioned in the O.T. (possibly David-Jonathan, quite likely Ruth-Naomi, almost certainly Daniel-Ashpenaz). Christian pastors should not get all fussed about trying to ‘change orientation’; instead they should seek to help those in their flocks to behave with integrity, and relate to others in a caring, respectful manner.

    One last point: if God really doesn’t ‘approve’ of ‘same-sex attraction’, then it does seem very odd that around 4% of the adult population of the planet (i.e. around 100 million people) experience it so unequivocally. One might suppose that – if it mattered so much to him – God would have put a little more effort into preventing such being the case! NO – God is really not too bothered about such attraction, IMHO; rather, he cares deeply about how people treat one another – and we should do the same.

  261. preston# ~ Mar 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Dave, totally disagree. I think few people would interpret that to mean 100% change.

    To Preston and others …

    There is nothing to disagree about .. You are looking at these statements as people who are (perhaps) familiar with all the rhetoric that surrounds this word “change” .. But for the person desperately looking for answers… whose religious beliefs and perhaps fellow Christians are all pushing for change .. these statements that I quoted earlier from his website are not honest nor clear.

    When those statements are combined with past rhetoric such as what is found in Alan Chamber’s book .. God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door .. pages 217-218 .. ..( see below) .. what some of you seem to think is clear is actually very unclear.

    “So, yes, repentance for the homosexual person and anyone else for that matter is repenting of who they are: behaviors, identity and all. This is why I believe it is important to clarify that just living a celibate gay life is just as sinful as living a sexually promiscuous one. The sin is in identifying with anything that is contrary to Christ, which homosexuality clearly is.”

    Management of feelings (re: a life of celibacy) is clearly NOT sufficient per his book .. instead repentance for having feelings is what he is requiring. Keep in mind that this is but one example.

    For many Christians .. when they realize they have same sex feelings.. they are often driven by shame and fear to do anything they can to eradicate those feelings. They are afraid to share their feelings with others .. they are afraid to seek advice from fellow Christians .. and if they did seek that advice they would most likely get some very clueless or wrong answers. In the face of this, what they need is honesty and an assurance of God’s love and grace .. not confusing talk about change that feeds into (or even takes advantage of) that shame and fear. Maybe some of you can decipher or deduce what Alan’s website means out of your current knowledge or experience but these folks can’t. They don’t have your knowledge and experience.

    Alan may be moving to a different place of understanding here .. (only God knows for sure)) but his website and books are not clear and in fact tell a clearly different story .. You can argue about this as long as you want .. but real people who are often engulfed in shame over their feelings need real answers and realistic expectations .. not (what is to them) confusing rhetoric that doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means.

    Only time will tell if his website and books catch up to what he said on this program or not.

    Dave

  262. I subscribe that the only reason change would be defined as 100% is to be able to say that change is not possible

    Me too. We always remember and that cannot be separated from our lives.

  263. Debbie Thurman# ~ Mar 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    ……

    OK, let me clarify. I do not support the “should and ought to” school for change. I can’t impose my worldview or my experience on anyone. Of course I don’t believe celibacy for someone who continues to have same-sex attractions is falling short, and I have said so a number of times.

    Thanks,

    Dave

  264. Debbie,

    I find it interesting — don’t you? — that highly educated scholars have sought to disprove God and Christianity, only to end up believing in the end. Rational thought didn’t take them where they expected. The sun shines, the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, as you have observed, Jayhuck.

    I find it even more interesting that scholars who begin as believers end up as non-believers.

  265. Preston,

    Do you have respect for gay people who do not want to change? Would you respect this choice?

  266. I find it even more interesting that scholars who begin as believers end up as non-believers.

    Yeah, cuts both ways. I find that sad. Losing one’s faith may be a temporary or permanent thing.

  267. Debbie Thurman# ~ Mar 15, 2011 at 10:48 am

    To believe that God created the male half of the human species to be absolutely excluded from the possibility of transformation/change, should he experience homosexual attractions, is hubris. Would God create an infirmity — for that it is what it is for many — that He could not heal?

    Beliefs are a powerful thing. If people truly believe they cannot change, they will not. And the conventional wisdom, backed today by science, the postmodern god, has them convincingly entrapped, IMHO.

    It is only in creating a new moral high ground that says gay is good and God-intended that anyone can handle what is otherwise irrational. Perhaps God did have a purpose for homosexuality — not one that we can imagine easily. I know He had a purpose for the depression I suffered. It was the only way I could be shown the blackness of my heart and the need to rely on Him rather than myself. I have often wondered if something similar isn’t going on with homosexuality.

    There are certain temperaments that lend themselves more easily to the sin of pride. Gifted people may tend to place too much confidence in their own abilities and forget that God gave them their gifts. For those people, a thorn in the flesh may be the only way to draw them to Him. They cannot make it on their own.

    Food for thought. Possibilities

    Debbie,

    You continue to supply a should and an ought to the idea of change. I know may folks who identify as gay and are celibate. Does this fit your morality or do you think they are falling short of what they should do?? .. and if you believe this is falling short then why do you think so?

    Just wanting to hear a clarification of your views.

    Thanks,

    Dave

  268. New moral highgrounds are created all the time.

    Yes, incorrectly.

    I find it interesting — don’t you? — that highly educated scholars have sought to disprove God and Christianity, only to end up believing in the end. Rational thought didn’t take them where they expected. The sun shines, the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, as you have observed, Jayhuck.

  269. William, once again, I think each and every one of your 9 points is inaccurate. The closest to accurate is #1 which is the most irresponsible and tragic. The fact is, which you absolutely cannot dispute, is that people change to their satisfaction. I will repeat, people do change. There is no possible way you can argue around that.

    I ask you, why are you so intent on discouraging change efforts? Why won’t you respect the decisions of others? Why don’t you think people should have access to the type of help they want?

    Here’s the answer: because it compromises your cause. You actually couldn’t care less about the people involved. This is patently obvious. You should be ashamed of yourselves for the disastrous results you have achieved in discouraging people from heterosexual-affirming treatment.

  270. Throbert,

    I understand what you mean by flaunting. If the tables were turned and gays were the majority of the population, then heteros would see them as falunting their sexuality everywhere. It’s just part of the make up of society – it’s not like were giving a T& A show (although I do think society is out of control with is sexually explicit advertsing and such) but that the signals for mating or bonding are being sent out all over the place even in the most subtle ways.

  271. Jon Trouten# ~ Mar 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

    “Certainly Maggie, Brian, and the folks at NOM are doing their best and spending millions nationwide to make sure that you won’t see gays marrying, or parenting, or being widowed, or divorcing, or any of that stuff and also to undo my marriage and others like it”

    yes, and they are spending it on a losing battle. At best they are forestalling the inevitable. The real tragedy is all the children who could have been helped with that money (for whom these folks claim they are doing it). and the money gay rights groups have spent countering them.

  272. I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things. I don’t live in a gay world, per se. The world I see, work in, associate with, hang out with are str8, with a small subset being gay.

    I’ll repeat what I said before, if Eddy’s world, Jayhuck’s world, Throbert’s world is the new normative; then NOM, Maggie Gallagher and I have all been abducted by aliens, and we have to find out what planet we’re living on!

    Certainly Maggie, Brian, and the folks at NOM are doing their best and spending millions nationwide to make sure that you won’t see gays marrying, or parenting, or being widowed, or divorcing, or any of that stuff and also to undo my marriage and others like it; regardless which world you’re steeped in. That’s terribly tragic, IMHO.

  273. LOL. Yes, Throbert, it’s possible that my workplace is all abuzz with whether I’m straight or gay…and not having a clear answer, they go back to their desks and mull over the possibilities.

    Sorry, I shouldn’t be so facetious. There ARE places where I suspect the scenario you describe is going on–two local ‘neighborhood’ bars that thrive on gossip. But even there, it’s a small percentage doing the gossipping and speculating. The rest seem to identify me as “karaoke man” or “the music guy” or the answer man on a current events questions.

  274. Throbert,

    I understand what you mean by flaunting. If the tables were turned and gays were the majority of the population, then heteros would see them as falunting their sexuality everywhere. It’s just part of the make up of society – it’s not like were giving a T& A show (although I do think society is out of control with is sexually explicit advertsing and such) but that the signals for mating or bonding are being sent out all over the place even in the most subtle ways.

  275. Jon Trouten# ~ Mar 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

    “Certainly Maggie, Brian, and the folks at NOM are doing their best and spending millions nationwide to make sure that you won’t see gays marrying, or parenting, or being widowed, or divorcing, or any of that stuff and also to undo my marriage and others like it”

    yes, and they are spending it on a losing battle. At best they are forestalling the inevitable. The real tragedy is all the children who could have been helped with that money (for whom these folks claim they are doing it). and the money gay rights groups have spent countering them.

  276. Jon Trouten# ~ Mar 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

    “Certainly Maggie, Brian, and the folks at NOM are doing their best and spending millions nationwide to make sure that you won’t see gays marrying, or parenting, or being widowed, or divorcing, or any of that stuff and also to undo my marriage and others like it”

    yes, and they are spending it on a losing battle. At best they are forestalling the inevitable. The real tragedy is all the children who could have been helped with that money (for whom these folks claim they are doing it). and the money gay rights groups have spent countering them.

  277. I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things. I don’t live in a gay world, per se. The world I see, work in, associate with, hang out with are str8, with a small subset being gay.

    I’ll repeat what I said before, if Eddy’s world, Jayhuck’s world, Throbert’s world is the new normative; then NOM, Maggie Gallagher and I have all been abducted by aliens, and we have to find out what planet we’re living on!

    Certainly Maggie, Brian, and the folks at NOM are doing their best and spending millions nationwide to make sure that you won’t see gays marrying, or parenting, or being widowed, or divorcing, or any of that stuff and also to undo my marriage and others like it; regardless which world you’re steeped in. That’s terribly tragic, IMHO.

  278. I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things. I don’t live in a gay world, per se. The world I see, work in, associate with, hang out with are str8, with a small subset being gay.

    I’ll repeat what I said before, if Eddy’s world, Jayhuck’s world, Throbert’s world is the new normative; then NOM, Maggie Gallagher and I have all been abducted by aliens, and we have to find out what planet we’re living on!

    Certainly Maggie, Brian, and the folks at NOM are doing their best and spending millions nationwide to make sure that you won’t see gays marrying, or parenting, or being widowed, or divorcing, or any of that stuff and also to undo my marriage and others like it; regardless which world you’re steeped in. That’s terribly tragic, IMHO.

  279. LOL. Yes, Throbert, it’s possible that my workplace is all abuzz with whether I’m straight or gay…and not having a clear answer, they go back to their desks and mull over the possibilities.

    Sorry, I shouldn’t be so facetious. There ARE places where I suspect the scenario you describe is going on–two local ‘neighborhood’ bars that thrive on gossip. But even there, it’s a small percentage doing the gossipping and speculating. The rest seem to identify me as “karaoke man” or “the music guy” or the answer man on a current events questions.

  280. LOL. Yes, Throbert, it’s possible that my workplace is all abuzz with whether I’m straight or gay…and not having a clear answer, they go back to their desks and mull over the possibilities.

    Sorry, I shouldn’t be so facetious. There ARE places where I suspect the scenario you describe is going on–two local ‘neighborhood’ bars that thrive on gossip. But even there, it’s a small percentage doing the gossipping and speculating. The rest seem to identify me as “karaoke man” or “the music guy” or the answer man on a current events questions.

  281. It’s still a str8 world;

    Generally this is true, mostly because heterosexuals make up a much larger part of the population.

    I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things.

    That is true, but things are changing.

  282. I don’t think Mary or I were talking about flaunting or parading sexuality

    Teresa — I apologize if it sounded like I was putting words in your mouth or Mary’s or anyone else’s here. When I used quote marks around “publicly flaunting”, I did not not mean that the quote was attributed to anyone on this forum, or any specific person off this forum.

  283. I’ve been at my job for close to six months and no one has yet asked about my wife, kids, significant other or anything close.

    Eddy — could it be that they strongly suspect you don’t have a wife and aren’t looking for a woman, but out of politeness, they’re waiting for you to broach the subject?

    In other words, maybe they’ve kinda sussed out that you’re not straight, but they’re not sure whether you’re:

    (A) one of those “shy and discreet” gay men who will happily and immediately give an honest answer to “Do you date other guys?” but are bashful about volunteering the information; OR if you’re

    (B) a closet case who would lie and get offended and generally feel threatened if asked “Do you date men?”

    I would also suggest that letting people know that whatever you are, you’re not (B) — i.e., that you’re not violently allergic to questions or speculation about your orientation, even if you prefer not to talk about it much — might greatly relieve them.

  284. Throbert,

    I don’t think Mary or I were talking about flaunting or parading sexuality. We were talking about hetero-normative behavior, for our day and age … not when you were a young man, Throbert (just kidding).

    Perhaps, this is beating a dead horse, because our world’s seem to be rather far apart. I’ll admit I may live in a shoebox; but, I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things. I don’t live in a gay world, per se. The world I see, work in, associate with, hang out with are str8, with a small subset being gay.

    I’ll repeat what I said before, if Eddy’s world, Jayhuck’s world, Throbert’s world is the new normative; then NOM, Maggie Gallagher and I have all been abducted by aliens, and we have to find out what planet we’re living on!

    Now, guys, don’t go all victim on me; and, start boo-hooing about how everybody’s picking on you, OK? It’s still a str8 world; so, the next guy you see wearing a wedding ring is NOT GAY!

  285. (I had originally tried to post my previous comment with some linked URLs, but the spam-filter didn’t like it. However, you can easily find sample photos from the book by Googling for “John Ibson” and “Picturing Men”.)

  286. Teresa,

    If being gay is at the max 5% of a population,

    I don’t mean to get into a debate on the percentage of gay people in America, but I think as of right now, the jury is still out on exactly how many. From the evidence, Wikipedia suggests it is anywhere from 3-7%. I’m guessing that number is only showing the ones who are relatively upfront about their sexuality, depending on how the numbers were obtained 🙂

  287. Eddy and Mary, right now I’m looking online at a JPEG scan of a formal studio-portrait photo of two male friends from around 1915. One man is sitting on the other’s lap in a pose that looks “gayer than gay” by today’s standards, and if you saw two adult men sitting like on a subway, pretty much 100% of modern Americans would take for granted that the two men were a gay couple, and a lot of people would accuse them of “publicly flaunting” their homosexuality.

    Today, the only way that two hetero guys could get away with a pose like that would be by yukking it up with clownish mugging to remind the viewers that they’re not “that way.” (Which is why I tend to see a “blackface minstrel-show” aspect in gay male campiness and drag-queen shows.)

    Yet there are so many similar photos from that era and earlier that one can assume few if any of the men who had their portraits taken while hugging or holding hands were sexually involved with each other.

    If anything, you can argue that actual “MSMs” from that age would have avoided drawing unnecessary attention to themselves by casually holding hands in a portrait — thus, ironically, hand-holding was possibly something that only straight men dared do! (Similarly, a few gay historians have read Abraham Lincoln’s letters about “passionately kissing” his friend Joshua Speed and inferred a homosexual relationship, but many other historians have countered that Lincoln would never have dared write down a phrase like “I kissed him passionately” if the two men’s friendship had in fact been secretly sexual.)

    John Ibson’s sociological book Picturing Men includes many examples of such vintage photos (though it’s not a coffee-table “picture book”, but rather is mostly essays illustrated with photos from different eras). Although Ibson is himself gay, his argument is (as I said above) that most of these old photos are not records of “stealth” homosexual relationships, but mostly record heterosexual male friendships in a time when the rules of Body Language and Personal Space Boundaries were different from today. As Ibson wrote about the photo described above, the two men were “clearly so comfortable with each other that they felt no need to clown around, to reassure themselves and anyone who would see their photograph that nothing culturally scorned was being displayed.”

    Anyway, I just wanted to throw this in as “mulling” material, as long as we’re talking about what constitutes flaunting or parading sexuality.

  288. Gay and lesbian parents are increasing, both in numbers and in visibility. Personally, I know many, many more gay and lesbians with kids than I do chaste gays and lesbians. But maybe that’s just my odd corner of Iowa.

  289. Ah, but, Eddy, more often than not, wedding rings scream hetero … at least, in my world. And, for the most part, gays with children are a really, really, really small percentage of our population. If being gay is at the max 5% of a population, some percentage of that is closeted, chaste, etc.; those with children are a teeny-tiny, wee, little portion of the population. Did I mention tiny?

    Geez, where do you guys live? Where I live, things are still pretty str8.

    Eddy, have you been “smoking the drapes”, or what? If your world is normative, no wonder str8 folks are scared, and me too!! 🙂

  290. BTW: Didn’t mean to step on any toes. Normally, Jayhuck would be the one to step in and say “gays wear wedding rings too” and “gays have children and grandchildren too”. 🙂

  291. It’s late here (for me anyway) and I’m heading for bed. I did want to cite though that a wedding ring doesn’t scream ‘hetero’…neither do kids or grandkids. I know that ‘s where our brain wants to go but my best friend is a man married to a man and they both wear wedding rings. Regular blogger, Michael Bussee, mentions his daughter from time to time and, if memory serves, he now has twin grandchildren. We may have a preoccupation with sexuality but not everything we presume to be brandishing heterosexuality actually is. True, these tokens do brandish ‘sexuality’–and I don’t think we can escape that for adults–but I’m not so sure that they brandish the direction of our sexuality as much as we think.

  292. I’m not saying people are coming up to me and expressing an interest. It simply is something that comes up in interaction with people.

    @Mary and Eddy,

    First, Eddy, thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it. 🙂

    After thinking about both your responses to my initial Comment, I think I have to agree with Mary. Certainly, people aren’t coming up to me and asking if I’m str8 or gay … agreed; and, certainly not in minimal personal contact, e.g., a cashier in a check-out lane. But, with equal certainty I can tell you within minutes of meeting someone I work with, a doctor I visit, a next-door neighbor in my apartment complex whether they’re str8 (or, at least, attempting to be so, whatever that means). I can, also, say with much less certitude, if my gaydar is fine-tuned, who may be gay.

    If I take any interest at all in a personal contact, I’m told pretty readily about a husband, wife, kids, etc. I see pictures of children and a woman in my doctor’s office. I see a wedding ring on his finger. I hear a neighbor tell me about the loss of her husband. A co-worker complaining about his wife re-arranging the furniture every time she cleans. Another co-worker going through a divorce, and all the problems attendant with that. A person sitting next to me on a plane for a long-distance flight sharing about seeing their grandchildren. Casual gossip in the cubes at work about so-and-so, and their latest escapade. And, on and on, and on.

    I contend that because heterosexuality is normative, the life that goes with it is casual conversation. It’s their life and they share it, as they should. It’s around you everywhere.

    Sexuality, as Mary says, is deeply part of who we are. You don’t lose your sexuality because you’re shopping at Lowe’s or Home Depot, or you’re fixing your car, or going hiking. Sexuality is a deep part of how you relate to yourself, other people. It’s part of what people you like, what occupation you chose, what hobbies you enjoy, what movies interest you. Sexuality is not some piece of clothing you can discard at will. It penetrates every fiber of your being; whether we choose to see that or not.

    I hate to get all preachy on you folks; but, here’s the description of Sexuality from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.

  293. NOT ONE PERSON expressed any interest whatsoever in my sexuality

    I’m not saying people are coming up to me and expressing an interest. It simply is something that comes up in interaction with people. Who you are, who you’re married to or not married to, who you are seeing, kids…. etc…

    Maybe the lives of women are different. Maybe men are attracted to me and wondering what my status is, maybe women want to know if I can be trusted …. honestly I don’t know. But this sort of little conversation comes up often enough.

  294. I guess we live in different worlds. I’ve been at my job for close to six months and no one has yet asked about my wife, kids, significant other or anything close.

    I sing karaoke at different bars (predominantly straight but I’ve heard one is lesbian) every week and ONLY ONCE in the past two years has someone been intrigued by my sexuality. (It turns out she wanted to ‘take me home’.)

    I shop at Home Depot and Lowe’s…at Ollie’s Discounts and garage sales by the dozens. I go to restaurants. Sorry, but it just NEVER comes up.

    LOL. Maybe I’m such a troll that no one even wants to think of me sexually…..or perhaps Mary’s examples are from environments where a focus on sexuality is a natural theme.

    Mary,

    the example I used in my larger comment involved an exchange with a mall security guard…by extension, you could even include transactions the next day at the auto parts store. It was a weekend…two full days. I had breakfast out, I shopped, I hiked, I napped, I stopped in at the neighborhood bar, I went out for karaoke but had my car trouble. That was Saturday.

    Sunday I slept in, fiddled with my car, called my brother, we went to the auto store for parts, finished fixing the car, I drove around, hiked a little, shopped for groceries, stopped for an ice cream cone, went to the convenience store…and still, NOT ONE PERSON expressed any interest whatsoever in my sexuality (or, when he was with me, of my brother.)

    I submit that those are fairly normal weekend experiences. Where is it that you go where your sexuality is such a focus?

  295. It’s still a str8 world;

    Generally this is true, mostly because heterosexuals make up a much larger part of the population.

    I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things.

    That is true, but things are changing.

  296. It’s still a str8 world;

    Generally this is true, mostly because heterosexuals make up a much larger part of the population.

    I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things.

    That is true, but things are changing.

  297. I don’t think Mary or I were talking about flaunting or parading sexuality

    Teresa — I apologize if it sounded like I was putting words in your mouth or Mary’s or anyone else’s here. When I used quote marks around “publicly flaunting”, I did not not mean that the quote was attributed to anyone on this forum, or any specific person off this forum.

  298. I mean, no one is really going out and parading their lives with big signs. But the nuances are inescapable. You meet someone new, you ask them questions and find much about them in those few simple statements.

    Ie: I am single, never married, no kids – makes a person go “Hmmm?”

  299. I’ve been at my job for close to six months and no one has yet asked about my wife, kids, significant other or anything close.

    Eddy — could it be that they strongly suspect you don’t have a wife and aren’t looking for a woman, but out of politeness, they’re waiting for you to broach the subject?

    In other words, maybe they’ve kinda sussed out that you’re not straight, but they’re not sure whether you’re:

    (A) one of those “shy and discreet” gay men who will happily and immediately give an honest answer to “Do you date other guys?” but are bashful about volunteering the information; OR if you’re

    (B) a closet case who would lie and get offended and generally feel threatened if asked “Do you date men?”

    I would also suggest that letting people know that whatever you are, you’re not (B) — i.e., that you’re not violently allergic to questions or speculation about your orientation, even if you prefer not to talk about it much — might greatly relieve them.

  300. I’ve been at my job for close to six months and no one has yet asked about my wife, kids, significant other or anything close.

    Eddy — could it be that they strongly suspect you don’t have a wife and aren’t looking for a woman, but out of politeness, they’re waiting for you to broach the subject?

    In other words, maybe they’ve kinda sussed out that you’re not straight, but they’re not sure whether you’re:

    (A) one of those “shy and discreet” gay men who will happily and immediately give an honest answer to “Do you date other guys?” but are bashful about volunteering the information; OR if you’re

    (B) a closet case who would lie and get offended and generally feel threatened if asked “Do you date men?”

    I would also suggest that letting people know that whatever you are, you’re not (B) — i.e., that you’re not violently allergic to questions or speculation about your orientation, even if you prefer not to talk about it much — might greatly relieve them.

  301. in actuality, our sexuality doesn’t play into most of life’s transactions

    I see things differently. Sexuality plays a huge part in our lives – daily. It’s part of our social structure. Are you married, single, divorced, how many children, starts pretty much any realtionship – unless you’re children – and then gender and sexuality are still playing a part.

  302. Throbert,

    I don’t think Mary or I were talking about flaunting or parading sexuality. We were talking about hetero-normative behavior, for our day and age … not when you were a young man, Throbert (just kidding).

    Perhaps, this is beating a dead horse, because our world’s seem to be rather far apart. I’ll admit I may live in a shoebox; but, I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things. I don’t live in a gay world, per se. The world I see, work in, associate with, hang out with are str8, with a small subset being gay.

    I’ll repeat what I said before, if Eddy’s world, Jayhuck’s world, Throbert’s world is the new normative; then NOM, Maggie Gallagher and I have all been abducted by aliens, and we have to find out what planet we’re living on!

    Now, guys, don’t go all victim on me; and, start boo-hooing about how everybody’s picking on you, OK? It’s still a str8 world; so, the next guy you see wearing a wedding ring is NOT GAY!

  303. Throbert,

    I don’t think Mary or I were talking about flaunting or parading sexuality. We were talking about hetero-normative behavior, for our day and age … not when you were a young man, Throbert (just kidding).

    Perhaps, this is beating a dead horse, because our world’s seem to be rather far apart. I’ll admit I may live in a shoebox; but, I still contend that marriage, kids, rings, weddings, anniversaries, divorces, widowhood, etc., are still mainly hetero things. I don’t live in a gay world, per se. The world I see, work in, associate with, hang out with are str8, with a small subset being gay.

    I’ll repeat what I said before, if Eddy’s world, Jayhuck’s world, Throbert’s world is the new normative; then NOM, Maggie Gallagher and I have all been abducted by aliens, and we have to find out what planet we’re living on!

    Now, guys, don’t go all victim on me; and, start boo-hooing about how everybody’s picking on you, OK? It’s still a str8 world; so, the next guy you see wearing a wedding ring is NOT GAY!

  304. Teresa–

    First, I want to say that I love the way you preseent yourself. You come across as very straightforward and agenda-free. I like that.

    Because of that, things you say make me think…and mull…sometimes for hours. in one comment you lamented about the fact that straights can wear and celebrate their sexuality while those who are gay-identified cannot. The picture you painted made it seem like heteros were always brandishing their heterosexuality while gays could not at all. That one was a ‘muller’.

    Actually, I know lots of single straights that do not go around brandishing their heterosexuality. Many go so far not to brandish that others even question their sexuality. (Presuming that a straight would gladly proclaim it and that a gay would present defenses.) Ahh… but I speak of people who aren’t a part of this blog obsession. Just people living their lives. Naturally we presume they are hetero because the odds go that way..but the truth is that we don’t know…they’re just living. And what they are brandishing isn’t sexuality but the fact that they are alive…living and breathing. We need to be careful about what, from our own experience, we project onto them.

    You spoke of wives and husbands, families with children. Yes, they can’t help, , most of the time, declaring and, i guess, brandishing their heterosexuality…I mean they’ve got kids…where did they come from??? BUT, I had experience this weekend where I had car trouble. One of my brothers and his oldest son came to bail me out. There they were out in the real world–out exposed to the random people who might bear witness to their heterosexuality–but the wives and kids weren’t in high profile. Did the security guard from the parking lot where my car died get a loud and clear message that those two were happy heteros and that I was, to some degree, gay identified? I submit that not only did he not give thought to my sexuality…but that he didn’t give thought to theirs either. At that point, another of our identities took precedence…”customers’…and it completely foreshadowed all other considerations. The larger implication is this: If the conversation or interchange demands sexual preference identification, then we’ve got the situations that you’ve described…but, in actuality, our sexuality doesn’t play into most of life’s transactions.

  305. Teresa,

    If being gay is at the max 5% of a population,

    I don’t mean to get into a debate on the percentage of gay people in America, but I think as of right now, the jury is still out on exactly how many. From the evidence, Wikipedia suggests it is anywhere from 3-7%. I’m guessing that number is only showing the ones who are relatively upfront about their sexuality, depending on how the numbers were obtained 🙂

  306. Ann.

    If you reread Jayhuck’s statement, he actually did say it in the kindest way possible. Since Michael does bring his attempt at heterosexuality and the repercussions from moving away from that into the conversation…I’m willing to give some latitude. Nothing in this statement disparages Annie (Michael’s ex). However, I don’t think some aspects of this conversation can’t proceed unless and until we allow the voices of those ‘who tried it and didn’t succeed’ to be heard.

    BTW: I think that Michael would agree that the fact that he was in more ‘in love’ with Gary than his own wife…that that had nothing to do with his wife. It wasn’t her loveability that was in question but his ability to love someone fully of the opposite gender.

  307. Eddy and Mary, right now I’m looking online at a JPEG scan of a formal studio-portrait photo of two male friends from around 1915. One man is sitting on the other’s lap in a pose that looks “gayer than gay” by today’s standards, and if you saw two adult men sitting like on a subway, pretty much 100% of modern Americans would take for granted that the two men were a gay couple, and a lot of people would accuse them of “publicly flaunting” their homosexuality.

    Today, the only way that two hetero guys could get away with a pose like that would be by yukking it up with clownish mugging to remind the viewers that they’re not “that way.” (Which is why I tend to see a “blackface minstrel-show” aspect in gay male campiness and drag-queen shows.)

    Yet there are so many similar photos from that era and earlier that one can assume few if any of the men who had their portraits taken while hugging or holding hands were sexually involved with each other.

    If anything, you can argue that actual “MSMs” from that age would have avoided drawing unnecessary attention to themselves by casually holding hands in a portrait — thus, ironically, hand-holding was possibly something that only straight men dared do! (Similarly, a few gay historians have read Abraham Lincoln’s letters about “passionately kissing” his friend Joshua Speed and inferred a homosexual relationship, but many other historians have countered that Lincoln would never have dared write down a phrase like “I kissed him passionately” if the two men’s friendship had in fact been secretly sexual.)

    John Ibson’s sociological book Picturing Men includes many examples of such vintage photos (though it’s not a coffee-table “picture book”, but rather is mostly essays illustrated with photos from different eras). Although Ibson is himself gay, his argument is (as I said above) that most of these old photos are not records of “stealth” homosexual relationships, but mostly record heterosexual male friendships in a time when the rules of Body Language and Personal Space Boundaries were different from today. As Ibson wrote about the photo described above, the two men were “clearly so comfortable with each other that they felt no need to clown around, to reassure themselves and anyone who would see their photograph that nothing culturally scorned was being displayed.”

    Anyway, I just wanted to throw this in as “mulling” material, as long as we’re talking about what constitutes flaunting or parading sexuality.

  308. Gay and lesbian parents are increasing, both in numbers and in visibility. Personally, I know many, many more gay and lesbians with kids than I do chaste gays and lesbians. But maybe that’s just my odd corner of Iowa.

  309. BTW: Didn’t mean to step on any toes. Normally, Jayhuck would be the one to step in and say “gays wear wedding rings too” and “gays have children and grandchildren too”. 🙂

  310. I’m not saying people are coming up to me and expressing an interest. It simply is something that comes up in interaction with people.

    @Mary and Eddy,

    First, Eddy, thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it. 🙂

    After thinking about both your responses to my initial Comment, I think I have to agree with Mary. Certainly, people aren’t coming up to me and asking if I’m str8 or gay … agreed; and, certainly not in minimal personal contact, e.g., a cashier in a check-out lane. But, with equal certainty I can tell you within minutes of meeting someone I work with, a doctor I visit, a next-door neighbor in my apartment complex whether they’re str8 (or, at least, attempting to be so, whatever that means). I can, also, say with much less certitude, if my gaydar is fine-tuned, who may be gay.

    If I take any interest at all in a personal contact, I’m told pretty readily about a husband, wife, kids, etc. I see pictures of children and a woman in my doctor’s office. I see a wedding ring on his finger. I hear a neighbor tell me about the loss of her husband. A co-worker complaining about his wife re-arranging the furniture every time she cleans. Another co-worker going through a divorce, and all the problems attendant with that. A person sitting next to me on a plane for a long-distance flight sharing about seeing their grandchildren. Casual gossip in the cubes at work about so-and-so, and their latest escapade. And, on and on, and on.

    I contend that because heterosexuality is normative, the life that goes with it is casual conversation. It’s their life and they share it, as they should. It’s around you everywhere.

    Sexuality, as Mary says, is deeply part of who we are. You don’t lose your sexuality because you’re shopping at Lowe’s or Home Depot, or you’re fixing your car, or going hiking. Sexuality is a deep part of how you relate to yourself, other people. It’s part of what people you like, what occupation you chose, what hobbies you enjoy, what movies interest you. Sexuality is not some piece of clothing you can discard at will. It penetrates every fiber of your being; whether we choose to see that or not.

    I hate to get all preachy on you folks; but, here’s the description of Sexuality from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.

  311. NOT ONE PERSON expressed any interest whatsoever in my sexuality

    I’m not saying people are coming up to me and expressing an interest. It simply is something that comes up in interaction with people. Who you are, who you’re married to or not married to, who you are seeing, kids…. etc…

    Maybe the lives of women are different. Maybe men are attracted to me and wondering what my status is, maybe women want to know if I can be trusted …. honestly I don’t know. But this sort of little conversation comes up often enough.

  312. I mean, no one is really going out and parading their lives with big signs. But the nuances are inescapable. You meet someone new, you ask them questions and find much about them in those few simple statements.

    Ie: I am single, never married, no kids – makes a person go “Hmmm?”

  313. He was not in love with his wife in the way one would hope he would be in love with her. He was in love with someone else.

    Jayhuck,

    This seems like very personal information – Michael has a family and they should be protected, not talked about on a blog.

  314. Does ‘homosexuality’ have a more basic definition i.e. ‘sexually attracted to one’s own gender’? Does ‘gay’ pack the extra baggage of identity and acceptance of one’s homosexual leanings as intrinsic parts of the self? In conversation or in reading, does the casual reader note the distinctions? Or do they hear the words as completely interchangeable?

    I suspect the average person uses the two words interchangeably, Eddy. I think folks like us here (across the spectrum of homosexual experience) get more exercised about the distinctions that we feel exist.

    Like you, I long for the Church to be more precise, to have a greater understanding and even a reason to care about the issues and how they impact Christians and Christendom. Sometimes it feels like I am banging my head against a wall. Can’t get God to tell me to quit, though. 🙂

  315. Yes, Jayhuck, You may feel compelled to say that. However, since I was portraying the emotional and dramatic gulf that may have impacted their conversation, I stuck with that. I thought my post was long enough as it was but I appreciate your constant reminders of the other things I ought to say to be complete to your understanding.

  316. He was not in love with his wife in the way one would hope he would be in love with her. He was in love with someone else.

    Jayhuck,

    This seems like very personal information – Michael has a family and they should be protected, not talked about on a blog.

  317. Does ‘homosexuality’ have a more basic definition i.e. ‘sexually attracted to one’s own gender’? Does ‘gay’ pack the extra baggage of identity and acceptance of one’s homosexual leanings as intrinsic parts of the self? In conversation or in reading, does the casual reader note the distinctions? Or do they hear the words as completely interchangeable?

    I suspect the average person uses the two words interchangeably, Eddy. I think folks like us here (across the spectrum of homosexual experience) get more exercised about the distinctions that we feel exist.

    Like you, I long for the Church to be more precise, to have a greater understanding and even a reason to care about the issues and how they impact Christians and Christendom. Sometimes it feels like I am banging my head against a wall. Can’t get God to tell me to quit, though. 🙂

  318. Yes, Jayhuck, You may feel compelled to say that. However, since I was portraying the emotional and dramatic gulf that may have impacted their conversation, I stuck with that. I thought my post was long enough as it was but I appreciate your constant reminders of the other things I ought to say to be complete to your understanding.

  319. Eddy,

    You were a leader who was leaving. You were leaving not just because you identified as gay but because you were in love with a fellow minister. Both you and Gary were leaving wife and family.

    Lets make it clear that it was more than just what you describe above. My understanding is that he was leaving because he acknowledged for the first time that he was living a lie. He was not in love with his wife in the way one would hope he would be in love with her. He was in love with someone else.

  320. Eddy,

    You were a leader who was leaving. You were leaving not just because you identified as gay but because you were in love with a fellow minister. Both you and Gary were leaving wife and family.

    Lets make it clear that it was more than just what you describe above. My understanding is that he was leaving because he acknowledged for the first time that he was living a lie. He was not in love with his wife in the way one would hope he would be in love with her. He was in love with someone else.

  321. Teresa — thanks for the correction on the difference between “celibacy” and “sexual abstinence”. So I should’ve said something like “Dignity advocates a dissident view of ‘homosexual chastity’ that potentially includes monogamy as an alternative to abstinence.”

    (I had actually wavered over whether to use “dissident” or “heretical” to describe “Dignity” — since both terms are potentially value-laden but put rather different spins on the subject! But then I decided I wasn’t sure whether Dignity’s very un-orthodox positions actually meet the technical conditions for “heresy” or not.)

  322. Teresa-

    You asked a very good question.

    If these groups really mean ‘homosexual behavior’, then why don’t they say that?

    When I was involved with Exodus this was an objection I raised numerous times. It seems that the more Exodus became involved with those speaking from secular or psychological frameworks, the more they adopted that language. Some missed that, by using the word ‘homosexuality’ or the term ‘homosexual orientation’ in place of ‘homosexual behavior’, it was skewing the rest of what they were saying. Those from the church who were even less familiar with the concepts…well, I’m not sure if they understand the difference even now.

    I desperately want the church to speak more precisely. And I long for that to happen on the other side too. William’s recent comment used ‘to be homosexual’ in the first sentence and ‘to be gay’ in the second…was that intentional? Does ‘homosexuality’ have a more basic definition i.e. ‘sexually attracted to one’s own gender’? Does ‘gay’ pack the extra baggage of identity and acceptance of one’s homosexual leanings as intrinsic parts of the self? In conversation or in reading, does the casual reader note the distinctions? Or do they hear the words as completely interchangeable?

    Jayhuck touched on but did not explain ‘identity’. I don’t know that I could explain it fully either. However, my concern has always been that people (from both sides) wrongly label some things as part of ‘the gay picture’. Michael and Debbie joked about Judy and Barbra but, although we knowingly laugh that that doesn’t make you gay, we also seem to realize that it isn’t as simple as all that.

    One theory, there’s nothing gay about appreciating beautiful voices. For a man to appreciate either or both says nothing. But what if the attraction to those ladies is mostly based on their ‘carrying a torch for my man’ lyrics–or their ‘divaness? I can hear the guy at the next desk say he loves Barbra and I get no sense that it’s a part of a gay identity; I hear it from another guy and it sounds like a ‘badge of gayness’.

    Michael,

    As though labels or words save us! As though our self-concept saves us! But this is exactly what Frank Worthen, the “grandfather of the ex-gay movement” told me in no uncertain terms when I left Exodus. I was no longer saved. Even “identifying” as “gay” meant Hell hereafter.

    I’m slightly puzzled at how you were able to reduce Frank Worthen’s words to you when you left Exodus to the conclusion “even ‘identifying’ as ‘gay’ meant Hell hereafter’. It would seem that if any conversation were likely to be ‘charged’ with the possibilities for overstatements and misinterpretations, it would be this one. You were a leader who was leaving. You were leaving not just because you identified as gay but because you were in love with a fellow minister. Both you and Gary were leaving wife and family. AND you were leaving with the attitude that you were completely in the right to pursue your new path and that he was in the wrong. Your retellings of the conversation with Frank always major on how harsh and unyielding he was. Although I haven’t heard his retelling nearly as often, he seemed particularly frustrated that you seemed to be fishing for some sort of ‘blessing’ (not quite right for a word choice)…some sort of assurance from him that maybe, just maybe, you were doing the right thing. In response to that fishing, he spoke more rigidly.

    Don’t get me wrong. Frank has spoken out more than most about the wrongness of a Christian who believes that homosexual behavior is sin…of that person identifying themself by that sin but I believe he doesn’t say that it merits “Hell”. (He’s published an auto-biography, BTW, called “Destiny Bridge” that is newly released. It doesn’t appear that this is a ‘major effort’…book was done by a small Canadian publishing house.)

    Anyway, for clarification purposes, you allege that several Exodus leaders feel that to identify as gay is unholy. Perhaps it’s only by extension (and by the connection to your conversation with Frank) that it seems you’re also saying that they pronounce such identification as ‘hell-worthy’. Can you clarify who said what and how extreme? The conversation with Frank took place over 30 years ago.

  323. Throbert, ‘chastity’ for single Catholics means no-sex, period: homosexual or heterosexual, as you noted … but, was not considered being celibate. Historically, celibacy has been used in a context of religious vows: priests and nuns … giving up a natural good for a superior supernatural good. Courage defines itself as a ‘chastity’ ministry; not, a ‘celibacy’ ministry. Words and definitions again become murky without proper background.

    Dignity’s definition of ‘chastity’ has never been recognized by the Catholic Church. ‘Chastity’ for married couples means sexual fidelity and that includes not being lustful toward one’s mate, looking at porn, looking lustfully at others, etc.

  324. By the way, in talking about the different philosophies of “Courage” and “Dignity” for homosexual Catholics, I mean strictly the official on-paper policies of each group.

    Human nature being what it is, I recognize the possibility that Dignity may talk a good game about “monogamous coupling” while some of its members end up being quite promiscuous — and for that matter, Courage may insist on total celibacy while some of its members actually pursue either monogamy or promiscuity.

    But in both cases, you can take it to the bank that the sex lives of the members are sometimes busier than the group’s charter officially endorses! (Humans enjoy sexual contact, and that’s that.)

  325. It seems Exodus is trying to move to the Catholic position of ‘chastity’ for homosexuals. Courage is the Catholic ministry for homosexuals.

    To be more specific, Courage (which is the officially-authorized RCC ministry for homosexuals) advocates “chastity” for homosexuals in the form of celibacy. However, the Catholic group Dignity (which is considered a dissident group by the Church and has no formal status) also advocates “chastity” for homosexuals, but says that coupled monogamy can be a valid form of “chastity” for homosexuals, just as it is for married heterosexuals.

    In other words, the term chastity has the meaning of “morally ordered sexuality”, and is not necessarily the same as celibacy, which implies “total abstinence from sex.”

    Marital heterosexual monogamy has historically been considered a way to live “chastely”, and today some people argue that the definition of “Christian chastity” should be expanded to include monogamous homosexual couples who are sexually active (i.e., non-celibate) but only with each other. But others argue that for homosexuals, “chastity” means celibacy, and only celibacy.

  326. Seriously, Debbie, what the heck do you mean by “all the trappings”?

    OK, shoot me. Poor choice of words. I only meant all that goes with being gay as a way of living and not just the moniker. People can fill in their own blanks. How’s that?

  327. To me, to be homosexual simply means that the people to whom you are sexually attracted are of the same sex as yourself. To be gay means that you have accepted this fact about yourself and are content with it. Being gay isn’t an identity that you have adopted. It means that you have accepted a particular aspect of your personality, viz. your homosexuality, as a perfectly valid and legitimate part of your identity.

    As the psychologist George Weinberg put it:

    “To be gay is to view one’s sexuality as the healthy heterosexual views his. … Being gay means having freed oneself of misgivings over being homosexual.”

  328. I’m safe then. 🙂

    Seriously, Debbie, what the heck do you mean by “all the trappings”?

  329. Once again, we are back to language. “Can Gays Change?” depends entirely on what you mean by “gay” and what you mean by “change”. Without first defining those terms and coming to some agreement about them, the answer is completely meaningless.

    No, Michael. It’s not that hopeless. Take heart. This is a very long discussion, and I think we’ve done better than that.

  330. Once again, we are back to language. “Can Gays Change?” depends entirely on what you mean by “gay” and what you mean by “change”. Without first defining those terms and coming to some agreement about them, the answer is completely meaningless.

    .

  331. Teresa,

    There’s nothing wrong with using the term homosexual. I have a friend who calls himself gay, although he believes that God does not want him to act on these feelings. He thinks terms like ex-gay are too misleading and he doesn’t like the groups with which the term is associated 🙂

  332. Debbie,

    Quite right, Jayhuck. But you did use the phrase gay identity. I presume you believe there is such a thing. SSA isn’t an identity. That’s what I was referring to.

    I understand what some people mean when they say “gay identity”. It seems odd to me, but I do know what the term means for some people.

  333. as well as accepting all the trappings of being gay

    You mean like having a collection of Barbra Streisand records?

  334. So, there’s no more confusion, I’ve been given to using the word homosexual. It’s sounds rather clinical; but, it means what it says and it says what it means.

  335. Quite right, Jayhuck. But you did use the phrase gay identity. I presume you believe there is such a thing. SSA isn’t an identity. That’s what I was referring to.

  336. Teresa — thanks for the correction on the difference between “celibacy” and “sexual abstinence”. So I should’ve said something like “Dignity advocates a dissident view of ‘homosexual chastity’ that potentially includes monogamy as an alternative to abstinence.”

    (I had actually wavered over whether to use “dissident” or “heretical” to describe “Dignity” — since both terms are potentially value-laden but put rather different spins on the subject! But then I decided I wasn’t sure whether Dignity’s very un-orthodox positions actually meet the technical conditions for “heresy” or not.)

  337. Debbie,

    It’s likely just a question of semantics, but gay to me says much more than same-sex-attracted. It encompasses the identity element, maybe even the philosophy and politics.

    It most definitely is a question of semantics. The word gay normally has two definitions: 1) It merely means homosexual or primarily same-sex attraction, 2) It can also mean living as an openly gay person, being romantically and sexually involved with a person of the same sex

    People can and do go further with these definitions talking about the “trappings” of the gay identity, but there are so many gay people who believe so many different things, its almost as difficult to discuss a “gay philosophy” as it is a straight one.

  338. Teresa-

    You asked a very good question.

    If these groups really mean ‘homosexual behavior’, then why don’t they say that?

    When I was involved with Exodus this was an objection I raised numerous times. It seems that the more Exodus became involved with those speaking from secular or psychological frameworks, the more they adopted that language. Some missed that, by using the word ‘homosexuality’ or the term ‘homosexual orientation’ in place of ‘homosexual behavior’, it was skewing the rest of what they were saying. Those from the church who were even less familiar with the concepts…well, I’m not sure if they understand the difference even now.

    I desperately want the church to speak more precisely. And I long for that to happen on the other side too. William’s recent comment used ‘to be homosexual’ in the first sentence and ‘to be gay’ in the second…was that intentional? Does ‘homosexuality’ have a more basic definition i.e. ‘sexually attracted to one’s own gender’? Does ‘gay’ pack the extra baggage of identity and acceptance of one’s homosexual leanings as intrinsic parts of the self? In conversation or in reading, does the casual reader note the distinctions? Or do they hear the words as completely interchangeable?

    Jayhuck touched on but did not explain ‘identity’. I don’t know that I could explain it fully either. However, my concern has always been that people (from both sides) wrongly label some things as part of ‘the gay picture’. Michael and Debbie joked about Judy and Barbra but, although we knowingly laugh that that doesn’t make you gay, we also seem to realize that it isn’t as simple as all that.

    One theory, there’s nothing gay about appreciating beautiful voices. For a man to appreciate either or both says nothing. But what if the attraction to those ladies is mostly based on their ‘carrying a torch for my man’ lyrics–or their ‘divaness? I can hear the guy at the next desk say he loves Barbra and I get no sense that it’s a part of a gay identity; I hear it from another guy and it sounds like a ‘badge of gayness’.

    Michael,

    As though labels or words save us! As though our self-concept saves us! But this is exactly what Frank Worthen, the “grandfather of the ex-gay movement” told me in no uncertain terms when I left Exodus. I was no longer saved. Even “identifying” as “gay” meant Hell hereafter.

    I’m slightly puzzled at how you were able to reduce Frank Worthen’s words to you when you left Exodus to the conclusion “even ‘identifying’ as ‘gay’ meant Hell hereafter’. It would seem that if any conversation were likely to be ‘charged’ with the possibilities for overstatements and misinterpretations, it would be this one. You were a leader who was leaving. You were leaving not just because you identified as gay but because you were in love with a fellow minister. Both you and Gary were leaving wife and family. AND you were leaving with the attitude that you were completely in the right to pursue your new path and that he was in the wrong. Your retellings of the conversation with Frank always major on how harsh and unyielding he was. Although I haven’t heard his retelling nearly as often, he seemed particularly frustrated that you seemed to be fishing for some sort of ‘blessing’ (not quite right for a word choice)…some sort of assurance from him that maybe, just maybe, you were doing the right thing. In response to that fishing, he spoke more rigidly.

    Don’t get me wrong. Frank has spoken out more than most about the wrongness of a Christian who believes that homosexual behavior is sin…of that person identifying themself by that sin but I believe he doesn’t say that it merits “Hell”. (He’s published an auto-biography, BTW, called “Destiny Bridge” that is newly released. It doesn’t appear that this is a ‘major effort’…book was done by a small Canadian publishing house.)

    Anyway, for clarification purposes, you allege that several Exodus leaders feel that to identify as gay is unholy. Perhaps it’s only by extension (and by the connection to your conversation with Frank) that it seems you’re also saying that they pronounce such identification as ‘hell-worthy’. Can you clarify who said what and how extreme? The conversation with Frank took place over 30 years ago.

  339. Thank you for the explanation, Debbie. I appreciate it.

    When I spoke to a priest about being same-sex attracted recently, he stared at me in wonderment; then asked, what’s that? I’ve had the same reaction on several occasions.

  340. Teresa, you misread what I said, or it wasn’t clear enough. I should have said, rather than “expressing” it, “to live a homosexual life,” i.e., having gay relationships, including sexual intimacy, as well as accepting all the trappings of being gay. I wasn’t referring just to the desire to call yourself gay, although I do wonder at that. It’s likely just a question of semantics, but gay to me says much more than same-sex-attracted. It encompasses the identity element, maybe even the philosophy and politics. I know that’s not what you are about.

  341. To hold onto being gay and expressing that, to me, is to hold onto the right to self.

    Debbie, I disagree with this statement. If I say I’m gay, as a shorthand way of saying I’m homosexual is not to imply what you’ve just stated. You hold onto the fact you’re married, etc. Why? Why mention it at all? Is that meaning you’re holding onto the “right to self”. I don’t take it that way, for you.

    Implicit in your disagreement with someone acknowledging they are gay, homosexual, SSA, whatever the current lingo, appears to me, only my opinion, you don’t really accept that people who are homosexual, without indulging in homosexual behavior, have a right to state who they are. You want it covered over with a statement: “I’m a child of God”. You want us closeted, in fact.

    I’m a white woman. I may not be able to hide that fact as readily as my homosexuality; but, I sure don’t deny it or cover it over with: “I’m a child of God”.

    Sexuality is more than just some little temptation to anger, lust, over-eating, etc. It runs through our very being. it’s how we relate, how we think, the vocations we choose, the hobbies we’re interested in, etc. Your heterosexuality runs through your very personhood. That’s what’s at issue here. And, the least thing it’s about is sexual behavior.

    Heterosexuals don’t have to run around saying they’re str8; because, that’s assumed. But, their very lives show all of us what they are … and, they sure don’t run around saying “they’re children of God”. They say they’re husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, etc. As they should.

    Why don’t we, homosexuals, deserve the same courtesy? Why do we have to closet ourselves behind the term: “child of God”?

  342. Homosexuals can’t be holy if they say they’re homosexual.

    Some Exodus leaders have said this very thing. We are saved — or not saved — on the basis of what we call ourselves, not by grace alone. Even a celibate gay Christian who “identifies” as such will not get into heaven, according to at least one Exodus founder. The “gay Christian” is doomed by his own words.

    As though labels or words save us! As though our self-concept saves us! But this is exactly what Frank Worthen, the “grandfather of the ex-gay movement” told me in no uncertain terms when I left Exodus. I was no longer saved. Even “identifying” as “gay” meant Hell hereafter.

  343. Like him, I believe a person can be Christian and same-sex attracted. I am not comfortable with excusing pursuing that life actively alongside a personal relationship with Christ. I believe that Christ wants our heart first, as Alan said. And if we truly give it to him, he can transform us in ways we can’t imagine. He can choose to take us to a place where those attractions diminish, possibly disappear … or not. We are still to trust him and put him first in our lives, giving up our right to ourselves. To hold onto being gay and expressing that, to me, is to hold onto the right to self. I know you will disagree. As we’ve said before, God is going to sort this all out one day. Peace.

    That is, of course, assuming you believe the conservative interpretation and understanding of the Bible, or even that you are a Christian at all. There is a great deal that I think all Christians can agree on here: To put Christ first, to trust in him, etc… but the line that divides most Christians on this issue is in believing that homosexual actions are in and of themselves sinful. God, assuming he actually exists, may or may not sort this out one day. Pax 🙂

  344. If these groups really mean ‘homosexual behavior’, then why don’t they say that?

    Why is it, it seems to me, that these groups are continually messing around with words and their definitions. If they truly mean homosexuality, as a noun, is not acceptable, and destines one to hell just by being homosexual … then state it, up-front, blunt, and candid. When called on such things, they seem to dance around the issue, dodging and ducking. Oh, we really didn’t say that, we really didn’t mean that … but their actions reveal their true intentions.

    I thought Christians were to say “Yes when they meant Yes”, and “No when they meant No”.

  345. Throbert, ‘chastity’ for single Catholics means no-sex, period: homosexual or heterosexual, as you noted … but, was not considered being celibate. Historically, celibacy has been used in a context of religious vows: priests and nuns … giving up a natural good for a superior supernatural good. Courage defines itself as a ‘chastity’ ministry; not, a ‘celibacy’ ministry. Words and definitions again become murky without proper background.

    Dignity’s definition of ‘chastity’ has never been recognized by the Catholic Church. ‘Chastity’ for married couples means sexual fidelity and that includes not being lustful toward one’s mate, looking at porn, looking lustfully at others, etc.

  346. What surprised me — and also seemed to surprise Lisa Ling — was that Alan Chambers seemed to agree with you. At the end of the OWN piece, he states that that he expects to see openly gay Christians in heaven since there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

    I guess you are directing that at me, Michael. It’s one thing to say Alan may agree with me about that definition, but it’s another to say that I may agree totally with all of what he said at the end of the program. I just watched it again. And what you had to say as well. He does seem to be saying that if a gay person’s heart belongs to God, even if he/she is “actively” homosexual, he expects to meet that person in heaven. He’s been asked to clarify that, and if he has, I’ve missed it.

    To interpret what Alan said there as a covering for gay Christians to say the Bible is less clear than it is about the sinfulness of homosexuality would be out of character for him. So I tend to think he may have misspoken slightly.

    Like him, I believe a person can be Christian and same-sex attracted. I am not comfortable with excusing pursuing that life actively alongside a personal relationship with Christ. I believe that Christ wants our heart first, as Alan said. And if we truly give it to him, he can transform us in ways we can’t imagine. He can choose to take us to a place where those attractions diminish, possibly disappear … or not. We are still to trust him and put him first in our lives, giving up our right to ourselves. To hold onto being gay and expressing that, to me, is to hold onto the right to self. I know you will disagree. As we’ve said before, God is going to sort this all out one day. Peace.

  347. By the way, in talking about the different philosophies of “Courage” and “Dignity” for homosexual Catholics, I mean strictly the official on-paper policies of each group.

    Human nature being what it is, I recognize the possibility that Dignity may talk a good game about “monogamous coupling” while some of its members end up being quite promiscuous — and for that matter, Courage may insist on total celibacy while some of its members actually pursue either monogamy or promiscuity.

    But in both cases, you can take it to the bank that the sex lives of the members are sometimes busier than the group’s charter officially endorses! (Humans enjoy sexual contact, and that’s that.)

  348. It seems Exodus is trying to move to the Catholic position of ‘chastity’ for homosexuals. Courage is the Catholic ministry for homosexuals.

    To be more specific, Courage (which is the officially-authorized RCC ministry for homosexuals) advocates “chastity” for homosexuals in the form of celibacy. However, the Catholic group Dignity (which is considered a dissident group by the Church and has no formal status) also advocates “chastity” for homosexuals, but says that coupled monogamy can be a valid form of “chastity” for homosexuals, just as it is for married heterosexuals.

    In other words, the term chastity has the meaning of “morally ordered sexuality”, and is not necessarily the same as celibacy, which implies “total abstinence from sex.”

    Marital heterosexual monogamy has historically been considered a way to live “chastely”, and today some people argue that the definition of “Christian chastity” should be expanded to include monogamous homosexual couples who are sexually active (i.e., non-celibate) but only with each other. But others argue that for homosexuals, “chastity” means celibacy, and only celibacy.

  349. Teresa,

    P.S. – In any event, the way I am interpreting it, I do not agree with the statement either.

  350. This is a dangerous statement, in my opinion, because it’s replete with the notions that somehow homosexuality is not ‘holy’. Homosexuals can’t be holy if they say they’re homosexual.

    Teresa,

    I could be wrong, however, I think when the term homosexuality is used, it is meant as a verb, not the same as homosexual, which is meant as a noun. I “think” this is what Exodus means in that statement.

  351. Seriously, Debbie, what the heck do you mean by “all the trappings”?

    OK, shoot me. Poor choice of words. I only meant all that goes with being gay as a way of living and not just the moniker. People can fill in their own blanks. How’s that?

  352. “Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness.

    This is a dangerous statement, in my opinion, because it’s replete with the notions that somehow homosexuality is not ‘holy’. Homosexuals can’t be holy if they say they’re homosexual.

    Embedded in this newer language is still the old perception that homosexuality, in and of itself, is perverted, deviant, ‘not worthy of heaven’, etc. At least, that’s how I perceive the statement.

    The Christian churches have ever been at the rear of social justice items. The biggest proponents for some years on slavery were the Christian churches. It took the Unitarians/Universalists to shake things up. They fought, with some success, to prohibit inter-racial marriages. Homosexuality is just the latest in this string of ‘Christ-like’ behavior by these churches.

  353. I wondered how he squares this belief with Exodus’ teaching that homosexuality is “evil” and that the New Testament declares those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

    Michael,

    That is an interesting question – do you think his personal beliefs can be separate from those of the Exodus community? In either case, they are their beliefs and you do not have to take them on as your own, neither does anyone else. My personal belief is that God’s view of life is eternal and, in the fullness of time, we will have the answers we seek and we will then know the truth.

  354. I think Exodus is attempting to re-invent itself and is trying to change directions in what it does. That isn’t a quick and easy process, so there is bound to be some confusion during that transition time.

    Ken, I think Warren would agree with this observation.

  355. What surprised me — and also seemed to surprise Lisa Ling — was that Alan Chambers seemed to agree with you. At the end of the OWN piece, he states that that he expects to see openly gay Christians in heaven since there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

    She told me she really expected Alan to say that gays must “repent” or try to “change” to get there. I wondered how he squares this belief with Exodus’ teaching that homosexuality is “evil” and that the New Testament declares those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

  356. I have to say that I don’t care for that definition of holiness that Exodus has come up with, either. They don’t need an opposite-of-homosexuality definition.

  357. Speaking from a Christian (Wesleyean) standpoint … You can be holy and gay .. You can be holy and straight. Holiness comes from the blood of Christ. God declares us holy as we consecrate our lives to Him. We may disagree with what God wants a person to do with their attractions. But that is a different issue than dedicating one’s life to Christ. Thus holiness is a matter of the heart .. it is not the opposite of gay or straight.

    I agree.

  358. Jon, Exodus is a ministry outreach organization. They serve the needs of those who are struggling with their homosexuality, as well as their families. They also have a church outreach program that helps pastors and lay workers who want to understand how to help their members who need help.

  359. To me, to be homosexual simply means that the people to whom you are sexually attracted are of the same sex as yourself. To be gay means that you have accepted this fact about yourself and are content with it. Being gay isn’t an identity that you have adopted. It means that you have accepted a particular aspect of your personality, viz. your homosexuality, as a perfectly valid and legitimate part of your identity.

    As the psychologist George Weinberg put it:

    “To be gay is to view one’s sexuality as the healthy heterosexual views his. … Being gay means having freed oneself of misgivings over being homosexual.”

  360. Dave,

    Aren’t all these beliefs, especially the religious ones, just that – personal beliefs? None of use have to align ourselves with what/how others believe if we don’t believe the same thing. Just because Exodus says it doesn’t mean I have to take it on as my personal belief.

  361. Jon Trouten# ~ Mar 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    “Meanwhile, Exodus says that they’re not about orientation change, but that’s referenced in pretty much every interview with their reps. So which is it?”

    I think Exodus is attempting to re-invent itself and is trying to change directions in what it does. That isn’t a quick and easy process, so there is bound to be some confusion during that transition time.

  362. I’m safe then. 🙂

    Seriously, Debbie, what the heck do you mean by “all the trappings”?

  363. Once again, we are back to language. “Can Gays Change?” depends entirely on what you mean by “gay” and what you mean by “change”. Without first defining those terms and coming to some agreement about them, the answer is completely meaningless.

    No, Michael. It’s not that hopeless. Take heart. This is a very long discussion, and I think we’ve done better than that.

  364. Once again, we are back to language. “Can Gays Change?” depends entirely on what you mean by “gay” and what you mean by “change”. Without first defining those terms and coming to some agreement about them, the answer is completely meaningless.

    .

  365. Michael Bussee# ~ Mar 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

    From a recent article, Exodus on “change”:

    “In no way shape or form is our message about trying to cure or do we try to promote that type of methodology or message,” Jeff Buchanan, Exodus International’s Senior Director of Church Equipping & Student Ministries, told The Christian Post…

    Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness. We promote the belief that one can live a life that is congruent with their faith. That is our mission – period. ”

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fexodusinternational.org%2F2011%2F03%2Fexodus-responds-to-app-controversy-the-christian-post%2F&h=8b14f

    Many folks I know take offense at the part I put in bold above… re: Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness.

    Iit appears to say that homosexuals cannot be holy. especially when coupled with the other things that Exodus says such as the need to repent of same sex attractions.

    Speaking from a Christian (Wesleyean) standpoint … You can be holy and gay .. You can be holy and straight. Holiness comes from the blood of Christ. God declares us holy as we consecrate our lives to Him. We may disagree with what God wants a person to do with their attractions. But that is a different issue than dedicating one’s life to Christ. Thus holiness is a matter of the heart .. it is not the opposite of gay or straight.

    Dave

  366. They are merely speaking to their mission and audience, Jon. Why would those with wanted SSAs seek out Exodus?

    Because they want to learn about and experience Christ’s love. Why wouldn’t they turn to Exodus if its mission is about learning about Christ’s love and not about becoming straight?

    Regarding the books, maybe I’m reading too much into it. I just can’t figure out from Exodus’ communications if they’re a missionary program or a gay-to-straight program. Afterall, I’ve never heard of anyone going to Exodus or its Love Won Out workshops because they wanted to learn more about Jesus, but I have heard about people seeking them out because they want to become straight. Meanwhile, Exodus says that they’re not about orientation change, but that’s referenced in pretty much every interview with their reps. So which is it?

  367. Teresa,

    There’s nothing wrong with using the term homosexual. I have a friend who calls himself gay, although he believes that God does not want him to act on these feelings. He thinks terms like ex-gay are too misleading and he doesn’t like the groups with which the term is associated 🙂

  368. Debbie,

    Quite right, Jayhuck. But you did use the phrase gay identity. I presume you believe there is such a thing. SSA isn’t an identity. That’s what I was referring to.

    I understand what some people mean when they say “gay identity”. It seems odd to me, but I do know what the term means for some people.

  369. as well as accepting all the trappings of being gay

    You mean like having a collection of Barbra Streisand records?

  370. So, there’s no more confusion, I’ve been given to using the word homosexual. It’s sounds rather clinical; but, it means what it says and it says what it means.

  371. Quite right, Jayhuck. But you did use the phrase gay identity. I presume you believe there is such a thing. SSA isn’t an identity. That’s what I was referring to.

  372. Debbie,

    It’s likely just a question of semantics, but gay to me says much more than same-sex-attracted. It encompasses the identity element, maybe even the philosophy and politics.

    It most definitely is a question of semantics. The word gay normally has two definitions: 1) It merely means homosexual or primarily same-sex attraction, 2) It can also mean living as an openly gay person, being romantically and sexually involved with a person of the same sex

    People can and do go further with these definitions talking about the “trappings” of the gay identity, but there are so many gay people who believe so many different things, its almost as difficult to discuss a “gay philosophy” as it is a straight one.

  373. Thank you for the explanation, Debbie. I appreciate it.

    When I spoke to a priest about being same-sex attracted recently, he stared at me in wonderment; then asked, what’s that? I’ve had the same reaction on several occasions.

  374. (I guess they’re not interested in sharing Christ’s love to those with wanted same-sex attractions, but I digress…)

    They are merely speaking to their mission and audience, Jon. Why would those with wanted SSAs seek out Exodus?

    So they sell many materials about changing from gay to straight, but don’t sell the basic building-block of Christianity (AKA the Bible), which would actually promote Christ’s message of love.

    Not sure why you would expect them to sell Bibles when those are readily available everywhere. Don’t read into that any more than you should read into their mission statement that they don’t love gays who like being gay. Nonsense.

  375. Teresa, you misread what I said, or it wasn’t clear enough. I should have said, rather than “expressing” it, “to live a homosexual life,” i.e., having gay relationships, including sexual intimacy, as well as accepting all the trappings of being gay. I wasn’t referring just to the desire to call yourself gay, although I do wonder at that. It’s likely just a question of semantics, but gay to me says much more than same-sex-attracted. It encompasses the identity element, maybe even the philosophy and politics. I know that’s not what you are about.

  376. Exodus said that their mission is about sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ to those with unwanted same-sex attractions, according to that linked article. (I guess they’re not interested in sharing Christ’s love to those with wanted same-sex attractions, but I digress…)

    If you look at Exodus’ book and media catalog on their website, they have many, many books devoted to the topic of changing from gay to straight. What’s humorous (to me, at least) is that if you click on their “Bible” heading, there’s nothing available. So they sell many materials about changing from gay to straight, but don’t sell the basic building-block of Christianity (AKA the Bible), which would actually promote Christ’s message of love.

  377. To hold onto being gay and expressing that, to me, is to hold onto the right to self.

    Debbie, I disagree with this statement. If I say I’m gay, as a shorthand way of saying I’m homosexual is not to imply what you’ve just stated. You hold onto the fact you’re married, etc. Why? Why mention it at all? Is that meaning you’re holding onto the “right to self”. I don’t take it that way, for you.

    Implicit in your disagreement with someone acknowledging they are gay, homosexual, SSA, whatever the current lingo, appears to me, only my opinion, you don’t really accept that people who are homosexual, without indulging in homosexual behavior, have a right to state who they are. You want it covered over with a statement: “I’m a child of God”. You want us closeted, in fact.

    I’m a white woman. I may not be able to hide that fact as readily as my homosexuality; but, I sure don’t deny it or cover it over with: “I’m a child of God”.

    Sexuality is more than just some little temptation to anger, lust, over-eating, etc. It runs through our very being. it’s how we relate, how we think, the vocations we choose, the hobbies we’re interested in, etc. Your heterosexuality runs through your very personhood. That’s what’s at issue here. And, the least thing it’s about is sexual behavior.

    Heterosexuals don’t have to run around saying they’re str8; because, that’s assumed. But, their very lives show all of us what they are … and, they sure don’t run around saying “they’re children of God”. They say they’re husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, etc. As they should.

    Why don’t we, homosexuals, deserve the same courtesy? Why do we have to closet ourselves behind the term: “child of God”?

  378. Homosexuals can’t be holy if they say they’re homosexual.

    Some Exodus leaders have said this very thing. We are saved — or not saved — on the basis of what we call ourselves, not by grace alone. Even a celibate gay Christian who “identifies” as such will not get into heaven, according to at least one Exodus founder. The “gay Christian” is doomed by his own words.

    As though labels or words save us! As though our self-concept saves us! But this is exactly what Frank Worthen, the “grandfather of the ex-gay movement” told me in no uncertain terms when I left Exodus. I was no longer saved. Even “identifying” as “gay” meant Hell hereafter.

  379. Like him, I believe a person can be Christian and same-sex attracted. I am not comfortable with excusing pursuing that life actively alongside a personal relationship with Christ. I believe that Christ wants our heart first, as Alan said. And if we truly give it to him, he can transform us in ways we can’t imagine. He can choose to take us to a place where those attractions diminish, possibly disappear … or not. We are still to trust him and put him first in our lives, giving up our right to ourselves. To hold onto being gay and expressing that, to me, is to hold onto the right to self. I know you will disagree. As we’ve said before, God is going to sort this all out one day. Peace.

    That is, of course, assuming you believe the conservative interpretation and understanding of the Bible, or even that you are a Christian at all. There is a great deal that I think all Christians can agree on here: To put Christ first, to trust in him, etc… but the line that divides most Christians on this issue is in believing that homosexual actions are in and of themselves sinful. God, assuming he actually exists, may or may not sort this out one day. Pax 🙂

  380. It seems Exodus is trying to move to the Catholic position of ‘chastity’ for homosexuals. Courage is the Catholic ministry for homosexuals.

    However, side-by-side with promoting ‘chastity’ is the constant ‘change’ speak. Courage annual conferences are replete with therapists, social workers, counselors all beating the drum about ‘how this happened’ and how to ‘change’ it. It’s a bit mind-boggling to be sure. You’re never quite good enough is the not so subtle message. If only, if only ….

  381. If these groups really mean ‘homosexual behavior’, then why don’t they say that?

    Why is it, it seems to me, that these groups are continually messing around with words and their definitions. If they truly mean homosexuality, as a noun, is not acceptable, and destines one to hell just by being homosexual … then state it, up-front, blunt, and candid. When called on such things, they seem to dance around the issue, dodging and ducking. Oh, we really didn’t say that, we really didn’t mean that … but their actions reveal their true intentions.

    I thought Christians were to say “Yes when they meant Yes”, and “No when they meant No”.

  382. What surprised me — and also seemed to surprise Lisa Ling — was that Alan Chambers seemed to agree with you. At the end of the OWN piece, he states that that he expects to see openly gay Christians in heaven since there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

    I guess you are directing that at me, Michael. It’s one thing to say Alan may agree with me about that definition, but it’s another to say that I may agree totally with all of what he said at the end of the program. I just watched it again. And what you had to say as well. He does seem to be saying that if a gay person’s heart belongs to God, even if he/she is “actively” homosexual, he expects to meet that person in heaven. He’s been asked to clarify that, and if he has, I’ve missed it.

    To interpret what Alan said there as a covering for gay Christians to say the Bible is less clear than it is about the sinfulness of homosexuality would be out of character for him. So I tend to think he may have misspoken slightly.

    Like him, I believe a person can be Christian and same-sex attracted. I am not comfortable with excusing pursuing that life actively alongside a personal relationship with Christ. I believe that Christ wants our heart first, as Alan said. And if we truly give it to him, he can transform us in ways we can’t imagine. He can choose to take us to a place where those attractions diminish, possibly disappear … or not. We are still to trust him and put him first in our lives, giving up our right to ourselves. To hold onto being gay and expressing that, to me, is to hold onto the right to self. I know you will disagree. As we’ve said before, God is going to sort this all out one day. Peace.

  383. From a recent article, Exodus on “change”:

    “In no way shape or form is our message about trying to cure or do we try to promote that type of methodology or message,” Jeff Buchanan, Exodus International’s Senior Director of Church Equipping & Student Ministries, told The Christian Post…

    “Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness. We promote the belief that one can live a life that is congruent with their faith. That is our mission – period. ”

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fexodusinternational.org%2F2011%2F03%2Fexodus-responds-to-app-controversy-the-christian-post%2F&h=8b14f

  384. Teresa,

    P.S. – In any event, the way I am interpreting it, I do not agree with the statement either.

  385. This is a dangerous statement, in my opinion, because it’s replete with the notions that somehow homosexuality is not ‘holy’. Homosexuals can’t be holy if they say they’re homosexual.

    Teresa,

    I could be wrong, however, I think when the term homosexuality is used, it is meant as a verb, not the same as homosexual, which is meant as a noun. I “think” this is what Exodus means in that statement.

  386. “Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness.

    This is a dangerous statement, in my opinion, because it’s replete with the notions that somehow homosexuality is not ‘holy’. Homosexuals can’t be holy if they say they’re homosexual.

    Embedded in this newer language is still the old perception that homosexuality, in and of itself, is perverted, deviant, ‘not worthy of heaven’, etc. At least, that’s how I perceive the statement.

    The Christian churches have ever been at the rear of social justice items. The biggest proponents for some years on slavery were the Christian churches. It took the Unitarians/Universalists to shake things up. They fought, with some success, to prohibit inter-racial marriages. Homosexuality is just the latest in this string of ‘Christ-like’ behavior by these churches.

  387. I wondered how he squares this belief with Exodus’ teaching that homosexuality is “evil” and that the New Testament declares those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

    Michael,

    That is an interesting question – do you think his personal beliefs can be separate from those of the Exodus community? In either case, they are their beliefs and you do not have to take them on as your own, neither does anyone else. My personal belief is that God’s view of life is eternal and, in the fullness of time, we will have the answers we seek and we will then know the truth.

  388. I think Exodus is attempting to re-invent itself and is trying to change directions in what it does. That isn’t a quick and easy process, so there is bound to be some confusion during that transition time.

    Ken, I think Warren would agree with this observation.

  389. What surprised me — and also seemed to surprise Lisa Ling — was that Alan Chambers seemed to agree with you. At the end of the OWN piece, he states that that he expects to see openly gay Christians in heaven since there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

    She told me she really expected Alan to say that gays must “repent” or try to “change” to get there. I wondered how he squares this belief with Exodus’ teaching that homosexuality is “evil” and that the New Testament declares those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

  390. I have to say that I don’t care for that definition of holiness that Exodus has come up with, either. They don’t need an opposite-of-homosexuality definition.

  391. Speaking from a Christian (Wesleyean) standpoint … You can be holy and gay .. You can be holy and straight. Holiness comes from the blood of Christ. God declares us holy as we consecrate our lives to Him. We may disagree with what God wants a person to do with their attractions. But that is a different issue than dedicating one’s life to Christ. Thus holiness is a matter of the heart .. it is not the opposite of gay or straight.

    I agree.

  392. Jon, Exodus is a ministry outreach organization. They serve the needs of those who are struggling with their homosexuality, as well as their families. They also have a church outreach program that helps pastors and lay workers who want to understand how to help their members who need help.

  393. Jon Trouten# ~ Mar 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    “Meanwhile, Exodus says that they’re not about orientation change, but that’s referenced in pretty much every interview with their reps. So which is it?”

    I think Exodus is attempting to re-invent itself and is trying to change directions in what it does. That isn’t a quick and easy process, so there is bound to be some confusion during that transition time.

  394. Exodus said that their mission is about sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ to those with unwanted same-sex attractions, according to that linked article. (I guess they’re not interested in sharing Christ’s love to those with wanted same-sex attractions, but I digress…)

    If you look at Exodus’ book and media catalog on their website, they have many, many books devoted to the topic of changing from gay to straight. What’s humorous (to me, at least) is that if you click on their “Bible” heading, there’s nothing available. So they sell many materials about changing from gay to straight, but don’t sell the basic building-block of Christianity (AKA the Bible), which would actually promote Christ’s message of love.

  395. From a recent article, Exodus on “change”:

    “In no way shape or form is our message about trying to cure or do we try to promote that type of methodology or message,” Jeff Buchanan, Exodus International’s Senior Director of Church Equipping & Student Ministries, told The Christian Post…

    “Exodus believes the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It is holiness. We promote the belief that one can live a life that is congruent with their faith. That is our mission – period. “

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fexodusinternational.org%2F2011%2F03%2Fexodus-responds-to-app-controversy-the-christian-post%2F&h=8b14f

  396. I get what you’re saying, Richard. And from my perspective as a “Deist”, I don’t see either the Jewish Tanakh or the Christian New Testament as “reliably inspired,” and I’m not loyal to either the Jewish or Christian interpretations.

    However, I think it’s important for Christians who are debating “what does Scripture say about homosexuality” to research the Jewish interpretations — because even though the Jewish interpretations may also disapprove of homosexuality, they don’t necessarily “disapprove in the same way” that Christianity does. (For the same reason, I recommend the documentary Trembling Before G-d to conservative Christians — because although Orthodox Judaism strongly disapproves of homosexuality, and that disapproval is the main theme of the movie, the perspective is a bit different from what Christians are used to.)

    And when conservative Christians accuse gay-affirming modrin lib’ruls of playing word games and twisting “the plain and obvious meaning” of Scripture, I think it makes a fairly powerful rebuttal that Jewish scholars from two millennia ago — i.e., Jews roughly contemporaneous with Jesus and St. Paul — were even then arguing over the correct interpretation of Leviticus 18:22 and of the Sodom story in Genesis 19.

  397. i understand your point. My own perspective: as a Christian, I believe that the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled (by the Sacrifice of Christ) and we have moved on …

    (Given that, in Christian dogma, God’s nature is that revealed in Christ, the fulfilment of Law cannot be pegged to a particular year, e.g. A.D. 34, but in a sense ‘transcends’ human time.)

  398. One more point: ‘finding something abhorrent’ is no substitute for logical analysis, especially in a jurisprudential context.

    True, but I suspect the Jewish scholars would’ve protested that their abhorrence was a product and result of the logical analysis — thus, it did not prejudice the analysis, because it came after it, and not before it. That is, they thought it was logical that male/male anal penetration was dissimilar from male/female anal penetration; that the former was wrong in a way that the latter was not wrong; ergo, they were “logically compelled” to abhor the male/male kind but not the male/female kind.

    Hint: The objection to male/male anal was probably NOT based on perceptions that it was in some way unhygienic — else male/female anal would logically also have been prohibited — but on perceptions that the male “bottom” was willingly turned into a pseudo-woman by the male “top,” which isn’t an issue with male/female anal where the female is the one being penetrated. (Also, as I’ve written, they may have suspected homosexuality in general of being a “Gentile vice” to be shunned by Jews, but that doesn’t explain why they thought that male/male anal was sui generis, in a category of specific awfulness all by itself — worse than all other homosexual acts, and also worse than heterosexual anal.)

    I’m not sure whether the ancient Jews ever took up the hypothetical possibility of “pegging”, where a woman uses a dildo on a man — but if they had considered it, I can only assume they would’ve condemned the practice. Again, primarily on the grounds that it symbolically inverts “divinely ordained” gender roles, and possibly also because they might’ve considered it a “pagan goyim thing”, but not primarily because Buttholes Are Dirty.

  399. One more point: ‘finding something abhorrent’ is no substitute for logical analysis, especially in a jurisprudential context.

  400. I take the view that the term ‘sodomite’ is nowadays one that is often misused by anti-gay propagandists. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is very clearly not referring to consensual sexual relations.

    As for the ‘interpretations’ of Lev. 18 : 22: Jews of the Second Temple period probably interpreted it rather differently from many Christians (and others, of course, including many liberal Jews) today. This is not something which should surprise, or worry, us unduly.

  401. “sodomite” was elsewhere used to translate kadesh in passages such as Deut. 23:17 and 1 Kings 15:12 — although “(male) temple prostitute” is what that Hebrew word’s etymology actually implies

    By the way, the tri-consonant root K-D-Sh has the general meaning of “sanctify” — thus we also get such (potentially confusable!) Hebrew words as kaddish, the prayer of mourning, and kiddush, a prayer before the Sabbath dinner.

    (I’ve never been to a Christian “gay church”, but some years ago I attended a gay synogogue for a few months out of curiosity. It was a good crash course in basic liturgical Hebrew!)

  402. As for the ‘selective’ prohibition on anal intercourse: well, that’s something that we can usefully dispense with, on the grounds that a ‘gender-neutral’ approach makes more sense.

    Well, I generally agree that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and that the potential health risks of anal sex are going to apply whether it’s a man or a woman being penetrated.

    But on the other hand, when considering questions like “How did Jews of the Second Temple period interpret Leviticus 18:22?”, we can’t just impose our modern preference for gender parity. I mean, if they found male/male anal sex abhorrent, then arguably they should’ve reacted the same way to male/female anal sex, but the reality is that there was apparently a double standard.

  403. As I mentioned earlier, the latest ‘catholic’ translation of the Bible (the NJB) uses the term ‘sodomite’ in I Cor. 6 : 9. This term implies exploitation, violence and/or coercion – which is clear when one reads the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (and associated comments in Ezekiel).

    I’m not sure if I’d exactly call that a huge improvement for clarity, since “sodomite” has historically been used as a synonym for “(consensual) male homosexual” and/or “(consensual) heterosexual buggerer” without the slightest implications of coercion or violence.

    And in some English versions of the Bible (notably the KJV and translations that hewed close to it), “sodomite” was elsewhere used to translate kadesh in passages such as Deut. 23:17 and 1 Kings 15:12 — although “(male) temple prostitute” is what that Hebrew word’s etymology actually implies, and is the translation used by the NJB in those verses.

    Anyway, if the point was to emphasize sexual violence and coercion while still acknowledging the etymology of arsenokoitai, why not a plain and unambiguous phrase like “men who sexually abuse males” or “homosexual rapists”? (But NB that a gender-neutral term like “rapists” wouldn’t suffice, because “male-on-male” is built into arsenokoitai‘s etymology.)

    If anything, using “sodomite” with its vast historic baggage and ambiguity to render arsenokoitai in such a modern translation as the NJB (1980s?) seems to me like a dubious 11th-hour compromise between those who wanted to leave some breathing room for consensual homosexuality, and those who very much wanted to avoid any implication that consensual homosexuality wasn’t forbidden.

  404. @ Throbert :

    (Just to respond specifically to your points about arsenokoitai – which were as erudite and well-researched as always.)

    We of course don’t know what was in Saint Paul’s mind when he coined that term. However, I strongly suspect that it is most unlikely that he was thinking of the kind of people we know who are in committed, mutually-caring and mutually-respectful same-sex partnerships.

    As I mentioned earlier, the latest ‘catholic’ translation of the Bible (the NJB) uses the term ‘sodomite’ in I Cor. 6 : 9. This term implies exploitation, violence and/or coercion – which is clear when one reads the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (and associated comments in Ezekiel).

  405. @ Throbert :

    Many things can cause ‘spiritual death’.

    As for the ‘selective’ prohibition on anal intercourse: well, that’s something that we can usefully dispense with, on the grounds that a ‘gender-neutral’ approach makes more sense. Of course, when it comes to the legal ‘status’ of any sexual act, whether informed consent was forthcoming are key considerations. As far as the moral ‘status’ of any sexual act is concerned, motive is also crucial.

  406. “sodomite” was elsewhere used to translate kadesh in passages such as Deut. 23:17 and 1 Kings 15:12 — although “(male) temple prostitute” is what that Hebrew word’s etymology actually implies

    By the way, the tri-consonant root K-D-Sh has the general meaning of “sanctify” — thus we also get such (potentially confusable!) Hebrew words as kaddish, the prayer of mourning, and kiddush, a prayer before the Sabbath dinner.

    (I’ve never been to a Christian “gay church”, but some years ago I attended a gay synogogue for a few months out of curiosity. It was a good crash course in basic liturgical Hebrew!)

  407. AJ,

    I am still unsure how to define heterosexual and homosexual to any degree of certainty for everyone. Having said that, what degree of change or modification, from how you feel now, would you find acceptable to live the quality of life you want to?

  408. As I mentioned earlier, the latest ‘catholic’ translation of the Bible (the NJB) uses the term ‘sodomite’ in I Cor. 6 : 9. This term implies exploitation, violence and/or coercion – which is clear when one reads the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (and associated comments in Ezekiel).

    I’m not sure if I’d exactly call that a huge improvement for clarity, since “sodomite” has historically been used as a synonym for “(consensual) male homosexual” and/or “(consensual) heterosexual buggerer” without the slightest implications of coercion or violence.

    And in some English versions of the Bible (notably the KJV and translations that hewed close to it), “sodomite” was elsewhere used to translate kadesh in passages such as Deut. 23:17 and 1 Kings 15:12 — although “(male) temple prostitute” is what that Hebrew word’s etymology actually implies, and is the translation used by the NJB in those verses.

    Anyway, if the point was to emphasize sexual violence and coercion while still acknowledging the etymology of arsenokoitai, why not a plain and unambiguous phrase like “men who sexually abuse males” or “homosexual rapists”? (But NB that a gender-neutral term like “rapists” wouldn’t suffice, because “male-on-male” is built into arsenokoitai‘s etymology.)

    If anything, using “sodomite” with its vast historic baggage and ambiguity to render arsenokoitai in such a modern translation as the NJB (1980s?) seems to me like a dubious 11th-hour compromise between those who wanted to leave some breathing room for consensual homosexuality, and those who very much wanted to avoid any implication that consensual homosexuality wasn’t forbidden.

  409. @ Throbert :

    (Just to respond specifically to your points about arsenokoitai – which were as erudite and well-researched as always.)

    We of course don’t know what was in Saint Paul’s mind when he coined that term. However, I strongly suspect that it is most unlikely that he was thinking of the kind of people we know who are in committed, mutually-caring and mutually-respectful same-sex partnerships.

    As I mentioned earlier, the latest ‘catholic’ translation of the Bible (the NJB) uses the term ‘sodomite’ in I Cor. 6 : 9. This term implies exploitation, violence and/or coercion – which is clear when one reads the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (and associated comments in Ezekiel).

  410. @ Throbert :

    Many things can cause ‘spiritual death’.

    As for the ‘selective’ prohibition on anal intercourse: well, that’s something that we can usefully dispense with, on the grounds that a ‘gender-neutral’ approach makes more sense. Of course, when it comes to the legal ‘status’ of any sexual act, whether informed consent was forthcoming are key considerations. As far as the moral ‘status’ of any sexual act is concerned, motive is also crucial.

  411. AJ# ~ Mar 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Of the therapists/counselors you saw, what did they tell you about your chances of becoming straight?

    Did any of them mention the possibility of being in a happy gay relationship?

  412. Why do I not accept being gay? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit in my life or maybe its my upbringing in the rural South in a Southern Baptist family. My faith is very important to me, and I do wish that I could have a family. But as I’ve begun to accept that my attractions probably won’t ever change, that has brought some peace and freedom. I’m on here seriously searching for answers because I don’t think I’m getting them in real life.

    Maybe Warren’s and Mark Yarhouse’s Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) is what you are seeking. Don’t know. Ask Warren. Regarding spiritual issues, you might try giving those 10 points of George Barna’s a look. Maybe something there will click. Beyond that, it is a matter for you and God to sort out through much prayer and meditation. Is the Spirit giving you no peace about where you are in life? Is there something you are supposed to be in obedience about that you are not? Only you can know that.

  413. Sorry A.J., I apparently misunderstood you. It is sometimes hard to understand the picture of a person in these very long threads. I skimmed through and did not apparently capture the whole picture you had posted.

    So do you have much experience in emotional relationships with men? If so, how did they go? What made them good? What made them not so good?

  414. Bye everyone. Warren has shut me down. Good discussion while it lasted. I have only confirmed to myself that my position is not acceptable, even in a supposed enlightened venue.

  415. Ken,

    AJ, is it correct to assume you don’t have a problem with others who are gay, it is just that you have issues with it for yourself?

    No I don’t have any problem at all with others who are gay. I live intown, so I have a good number of gay neighbors that I like a lot. It’s pretty much just an issue with myself.

    does the idea of having a long-term monogamous relationship (marriage?) with a man bother you?

    Good question. I’m not sure of the answer to be honest. I’ve had several very strong crushes on men over the years that I thought I would give anything to turn into a relationship. Most were straight guys though. I’ve figured out over the last year or so that I’m probably a commitmentphobe. I’m probably only interested in guys that I can’t have a relationship with. I guess that would be because of my deeply conflicted feelings over the whole thing.

  416. Arragh!! timing in posting is everything.

    AJ, is it correct to assume you don’t have a problem with others who are gay, it is just that you have issues with it for yourself?

    does the idea of having a long-term monogamous relationship (marriage?) with a man bother you?

  417. Ken,

    The only thing I would really want to achieve in therapy is to become straight if that’s possible. I think I’m fairly well-adjusted otherwise. Is that what you’re asking? If not, feel free to ask other questions, and I’m happy to answer them as honestly as i can.

  418. AJ# ~ Mar 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    “Debbie, I’ve done therapy for 2 to 3 years for the SSA. That’s what I would be trying to work on. I don’t go anymore because I can’t afford but I honestly don’t know what kind of therapy is going to help!”

    AJ, would you be willing to discuss what it is you are hoping to achieve with therapy and why?

  419. Rebecca, you wrote:

    Jayhuck,

    A.J. wouldn’t give a straight (npi) answer as to why he was in change therapy. I mean why does he want to change? If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay? I think Debbie sensed a set up despite AJ’s plea of being serious.

    Rebecca, I thought it was obvious from my posts that I was in therapy because I didn’t want to be gay. I never said I was happy (all the time anyway) and I posted earlier that I worry about leading a lonely life. But the issues that I listed in the post were the issues that I was told at a Love Won Out conference were the key to me becoming straight. I finally realized that those aren’t issues for me (at least not anymore) but my attractions hadn’t changed. So when I keep reading about therapy in this thread, I’m thinking, “ok, what am i supposed to go get therapy for exactly?” I can just go say that I want to get rid of SSA, but what root issue is there to deal with that is going to fix this?

    I’m frustrated with the tortured language that I keep running into in these programs that I’m either in or have been in. I’m just trying to cut through the “crap” and get to the truth.

    Why do I not accept being gay? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit in my life or maybe its my upbringing in the rural South in a Southern Baptist family. My faith is very important to me, and I do wish that I could have a family. But as I’ve begun to accept that my attractions probably won’t ever change, that has brought some peace and freedom. I’m on here seriously searching for answers because I don’t think I’m getting them in real life.

    And Rebecca, how am I “setting Debbie up?” Do you think that I do have these issues and that’s why I have SSA?

  420. Ken,

    AJ, is it correct to assume you don’t have a problem with others who are gay, it is just that you have issues with it for yourself?

    No I don’t have any problem at all with others who are gay. I live intown, so I have a good number of gay neighbors that I like a lot. It’s pretty much just an issue with myself.

    does the idea of having a long-term monogamous relationship (marriage?) with a man bother you?

    Good question. I’m not sure of the answer to be honest. I’ve had several very strong crushes on men over the years that I thought I would give anything to turn into a relationship. Most were straight guys though. I’ve figured out over the last year or so that I’m probably a commitmentphobe. I’m probably only interested in guys that I can’t have a relationship with. I guess that would be because of my deeply conflicted feelings over the whole thing.

  421. Arragh!! timing in posting is everything.

    AJ, is it correct to assume you don’t have a problem with others who are gay, it is just that you have issues with it for yourself?

    does the idea of having a long-term monogamous relationship (marriage?) with a man bother you?

  422. AJ# ~ Mar 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    “Debbie, I’ve done therapy for 2 to 3 years for the SSA. That’s what I would be trying to work on. I don’t go anymore because I can’t afford but I honestly don’t know what kind of therapy is going to help!”

    AJ, would you be willing to discuss what it is you are hoping to achieve with therapy and why?

  423. And when conservatives argue that homosexual coupling isn’t as important to society as procreative heterosexual coupling, the “Gay Pride” culture conditions a homosexual individual to hear it as “thou art less important than any heterosexual,” and to react with resentment.

    Actually, I don’t think it’s the “Gay Pride” culture that conditions a homosexual to hear “thou art less important than any heterosexual”.

    Many conservatives, imo, argue that homosexuality, all by itself, is more than just “less important”, but sinful, deviant, perverted, etc. It’s a societal instinct to recoil with horror at homosexuality … coupled or not.

    Without descending into self-pity, there certainly seems to be a caste system surrounding sexuality … with homosexuals most often considered “the untouchables”. However, that’s just my opinion.

    Throbert, you do give some interesting analogies … and the cat pic helped visualize your previous metaphor.

  424. Throbert,

    It seems to me that gay people of any faith can only experience real spiritual growth after they fully come to terms with the fact that heterosexuality is the flour and the yeast that make the bread rise, and homosexuality is, at most, the salt and the seasonings that can make the loaf much tastier, but aren’t essential for baking the bread. To put it another way, the = used by HRC is a false idol, in many ways, and would be better replaced by ?, if you ask me!

    This is an interesting and not completely unwelcome analogy, but I’m not sure I completely understand what you are trying to say. HRC uses the = symbol in terms of equality under the law. Equality under the law isn’t suggesting that groups of people or even individuals are the same or contribute in the same way to society. I don’t believe it has much to do with things spiritual.

  425. That is most interesting observation, and a gracious one, as well, Throbert. Clearly, this topic is deep and requires a lot of fore- and afterthought.

  426. Teresa,

    However, for myself, I can’t go around blaming a “gay community” or a “gay agenda” for what’s happening, or choose to live in a closet. (And, I’m not suggesting you do, Mary). I’m a homosexual woman who has chosen to live a chaste life … a life worth living, a life of worth.. People need to know that we are here, and that there are alternatives, and there is ‘change’, which does not necessarily mean in orientation.

    I appreciate this comment and couldn’t agree more.

  427. To put it another way, the = used by HRC is a false idol, in many ways, and would be better replaced by ?, if you ask me!

    Darn it, this showed up as a “wavy equal sign” or “doubled tilde” (~) in preview, not a question mark!

    (In math, the ~ signifies only a rough approximation, but the doubled version of it signifies a much closer approximation — and the meaning “homosexual couplehood can closely approximate heterosexual couplehood, but isn’t equal or identical to it” is what I was going for.)

  428. One other point I made in that incredibly long BYU thread that I think gay-affirming churches (in particular) need to grapple with:

    Some people have also argued that when Thog the caveman had to go on a long hunt for mammoth, he was better off leaving his cave-wife Reena under the watchful eye of Quooquee, the gay caveman, than trusting one of his horny heterosexual brothers to look after her.

    And when Thog’s wife Reena the cave-mommy had to go on a long march in search of edible roots and berries, and needed a cave-nanny to watch her kids, she was better off hiring Dorgo, the lesbian cavewoman who won’t respond to Thog’s flirtations, than some heterosexual chick who might get knocked up by Thog and then demand child support.

    Note that this (secular) line of argument finds positive social value in homosexuality insofar as the “homosexual caste” is contributing in an indirect way towards the success of heterosexual pair-bonding and parenting, whether as “harem guards” or “nannies.”

    However, the “Equality”-centric language of “Gay Pride” may make it difficult for homosexuals to accept the possibility that God has cast them in “supporting actor” roles within a society that is ordered around heterosexuality.

    And when conservatives argue that homosexual coupling isn’t as important to society as procreative heterosexual coupling, the “Gay Pride” culture conditions a homosexual individual to hear it as “thou art less important than any heterosexual,” and to react with resentment.

    I’m not sure if Eddy is reading this thread, but on some other thread — I forget which one — he had made a point to me about the failures of “the gay church,” by which I assume he meant homo-centric denominations like MCC. And if any “gay church” is encouraging its members to be resentful of “heterosexual privilege” and whatnot, then the church is failing.

    It seems to me that gay people of any faith can only experience real spiritual growth after they fully come to terms with the fact that heterosexuality is the flour and the yeast that make the bread rise, and homosexuality is, at most, the salt and the seasonings that can make the loaf much tastier, but aren’t essential for baking the bread. To put it another way, the = used by HRC is a false idol, in many ways, and would be better replaced by ?, if you ask me!

    (Of course, as a non-religious person, I don’t mean “false idol” in the sense of “something that leads away from God”, let alone “something that makes God wrathful”, but rather as “something that leads down unproductive paths.”)

  429. Teresa: Actually, I had seen your response on the other thread, but mainly I wanted to share with you the cat picture that I subsequently made in PhotoShop to visually represent the “mutant perception” of homosexuals! (I did spend some time fiddling around with it, and as they say, a picture can be worth a thousand words.)

  430. Wow, this has turned into quite an amicable discussion. Who would have thought it.

    @Ann …

    Yes, and when one can realize and be aware that homosexuality is not something of their own creation, they can be liberated from “trying” to “change” it. I think that is a very good place to start and see how our lives unfold from there.

    Perhaps, it’s a spiritual principle, that at the point of acceptance, lie new and wonderful opportunities ahead … “accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.”

    @Debbie …

    Perhaps all those who are called higher (even if they don’t hear the call) have a bête noire that must be subdued first.

    Much food for thought in this sentence.

    @Throbert …

    As I explained to a heterosexual Christian friend on another forum, the “mutant color vision” metaphor is intended to reframe the “homosexuality can be a blessing” position in a purely secular way that will make sense to non-religious people who aren’t used to language about “blessings.”

    I did appreciate your metaphor; and, thought it helped put a positive aspect to an issue usually seen by many people as only deviant or perverse.

  431. As I explained to a heterosexual Christian friend on another forum, the “mutant color vision” metaphor is intended to reframe the “homosexuality can be a blessing” position in a purely secular way that will make sense to non-religious people who aren’t used to language about “blessings.”

  432. What seems first an injustice; paradoxically, turns into a wonderful gift.

    I view both the major infirmities (for lack of a better word) of my life as a gift in this way. Maybe I should call them thorns in the flesh. One could argue, of course, that only one person in history, Paul, really had a thorn as he was given a heavenly vision of unspeakable glory that could have destroyed him through pride. Perhaps all those who are called higher (even if they don’t hear the call) have a bête noire that must be subdued first.

  433. Yes, and when one can realize and be aware that homosexuality is not something of their own creation, they can be liberated from “trying” to “change” it.

    Ann and Teresa, I’m not sure if you saw my “mutant color vision” analogy in one of the other threads (about the personal costs/benefits of having homosexual feelings and lacking heterosexual feelings) , but here it is again — now with cute kittycat pictures!

    (NB: The linked blog page is totally Safe For Work, but not every page at that blog is guaranteed to be 100% SFW, although the blog is generally designed to be that way.)

  434. Yes, indeed, imo, I am, first by necessity, and then by desire, drawn to Our Lord. What seems first an injustice; paradoxically, turns into a wonderful gift.

    Teresa,

    I am deeply touched by this comment and it is one I will certanly remember. Thank you.

  435. Perhaps, the biggest ‘change’ for many homosexuals is that their homosexuality is no longer “unwanted”.

    Teresa,

    Yes, and when one can realize and be aware that homosexuality is not something of their own creation, they can be liberated from “trying” to “change” it. I think that is a very good place to start and see how our lives unfold from there.

  436. I honestly feel SSA is a conduit to a deeper reliance on and relationship with Christ.

    Debbie, you said it far better than I; and, was something I wanted to add in my prior Comment, but couldn’t find as succinct a way as you did.

    Yes, indeed, imo, I am, first by necessity, and then by desire, drawn to Our Lord. What seems first an injustice; paradoxically, turns into a wonderful gift.

    I’m done with my preaching for today. 🙂

  437. He permitted this orientation for me for reasons known only to Him. He has invited me to a life of chastity, at least in my interpretation of what He wants from me.

    I do believe that. You are not feeling compelled to turn it into an identity, as you know your identity is in Christ, but you are open to God’s mystery here. I honestly feel SSA is a conduit to a deeper reliance on and relationship with Christ.

    I’m very grateful to be who I am, where I am … at least, for today. This has been the biggest ‘change’ for me.

    🙂

  438. Perhaps, the biggest ‘change’ for many homosexuals is that their homosexuality is no longer “unwanted”. I know this sounds a lot like heresy to some folks; but, same-sex attraction can really be seen as a positive, if we could take our heads of out the sand, and stop terrorizing ourselves over how awful it is.

    If I believe God is Who He IS, and that “nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s World by mistake” … I can learn to be accepting of myself, and know that God loves me just the way I am … here and now. He permitted this orientation for me for reasons known only to Him. He has invited be to a life of chastity, at least in my interpretation of what He wants from me.

    I’m very grateful to be who I am, where I am … at least, for today. This has been the biggest ‘change’ for me.

  439. Teresa,

    However, for myself, I can’t go around blaming a “gay community” or a “gay agenda” for what’s happening, or choose to live in a closet. (And, I’m not suggesting you do, Mary). I’m a homosexual woman who has chosen to live a chaste life … a life worth living, a life of worth.. People need to know that we are here, and that there are alternatives, and there is ‘change’, which does not necessarily mean in orientation.

    I appreciate this comment and couldn’t agree more.

  440. such essentially irrelevant questions as “What would make my parents happy?” and “What would make my pastor happy?” and “What would please my peer group at my current church?”

    By the way, just to be clear: If “what would please my Christian peers at church?” is irrelevant in the therapeutic context, then so are such questions as “What do my non-Christian gay friends think is right?” and “What does secular culture think is normal?” and “What does mainstream science think about the etiology of homosexuality?”, etc. In other words, it’s not only the “traditionalist” POVs that should be placed way on the back burner so that they don’t become distractions.

    For someone trying to reconcile his/her homosexuality with his/her religious values, THE pertinent issue is “What does God want for me?”, and all the other questions should be set aside.

  441. Regarding therapy for unwanted same gender attractions – if the words “try” and “change” were eliminated by both the client and the therapist from the equasion, I think the quality of time spent in sessions and in-between sessions, would be more beneficial. Accepting that you don’t have to try to do or be what you’re not ready for is self empowering and allows for many other areas of growth that you are ready for. Sometimes we have serendipitous experiences in therapy – we go in for one thing and, suprisingly, discover many other things about ourselves that put a whole new perspective on how we think and/or how we live. For religious counseling and/or therapy, one just might discover that if they remove the perception that God is disappointed or will punish them, or they are going to hell, or blame them for their spontaneous thoughts or feelings (that none of us have any control over), etc. – they could start from a firmer foundation of truth and build from that instead of fear and self loathing. They could also come to understand if they are not ready to take a different path now, that God allows u-turns if they want that in their future. That is also empowering and allows for any change of heart or mind to come from the individual in their own way and at the right time.

  442. As long as I’m listing “irrelevant questions”, another one might be: “What did St. Paul of Tarsus want AJ to do?”

    Because a “plain, straightforward reading” of 1 Cor. 7:8-9* is that Paul’s personal hope and vision for the new church was that it would develop as an ascetic, celibate sect that maintained its numbers chiefly by conversion of adults rather than by having children — not unlike the Essene Jews of his day, or the Shakers of 18th and 19th century America.

    (Needless to say, Western history would’ve turned out very differently if most Christians had read these verses in a “plain” way and followed Paul’s preference for celibacy, but of course most Christians did not, and do not.)

    *”It is good for widows and the unmarried to remain unmarried, as I am, but if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

  443. AJ,

    Have you been here?

    Gay Christian Network

    I’ve found this site immensely helpful in many ways, and you’ll find gay Christians of all stripes there; those who believe in celibacy, those who believe in monogamy, those who are waiting for same sex marriage to become legalized in their state, and those who have tried change therapy.

  444. If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay?

    I’m not a therapist and don’t know what questions AJ brought up when he was previously in therapy. But some possible questions that occur to me are:

    (1) Did AJ’s therapists encourage him to divorce the central question “What does God want for me?” from such essentially irrelevant questions as “What would make my parents happy?” and “What would make my pastor happy?” and “What would please my peer group at my current church?” and “What outcome would my therapist most like to see?” and “What does God want for most people?”

    It appears to me that part of the rationale for Throckmorton’s “client-centered therapy” is the recognition that a client needs “permission” to IGNORE the questions about what parents, peers, pastors, and therapists want, in order to avoid conflating all of this with the pertinent question of “What does God want for AJ?”

    (2) Was the therapist aware of the possibility that “ego-dystonic homosexuality” may not be a synonym for “ego-dystonic gayness”? In other words, did the therapist raise the question: “AJ, is it possible that you’re not conflicted with your own homosexuality per se, but are dissatisfied with the values of contemporary gay culture in North America?”

    (3) Did the therapy acknowledge the existence of the (official) Catholic “Courage” model (which validates homosexual celibacy in contrast to active homosexuality), and the (unofficial) Catholic “Dignity” model (which validates homosexual monogamy in contrast to homosexual promiscuity), in order to contrast both of these approaches with the “becoming heterosexual” model? Of course, AJ’s answer to this might be that he IS familiar with these other approaches but doesn’t find either celibacy or homo-monogamy to be in concord with his values as a Christian — but it’s nonetheless important for the therapist to ascertain that AJ is not unaware of “multiple Christian approaches” to homosexuality.

  445. The single most challenging stop is what Barna identified as “stop 7, which is that of brokenness.”

    This guy sounds like the Tony Robbins (Life Coach) of “born again”, “evangelical” Christians.

  446. Rebecca,

    A.J. wouldn’t give a straight (npi) answer as to why he was in change therapy. I mean why does he want to change? If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay? I think Debbie sensed a set up despite AJ’s plea of being serious.

    I have heard AJ’s story from many many ex-ex-gay people . I don’t know AJ’s reasons for therapy, but he sounded sincere to me in his writing, and his story is echoed by others who have gone through this process, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it is true. I’ll let AJ elaborate if he is able.

  447. AJ,

    You’ve told us that you have already blued a considerable amount of time and money on counselling and programs to change your sexual attractions, all of which have proven totally ineffective, and that this is at least partly the reason why you are now deeply in debt. And yet it sounds as though you’d still seriously contemplate spending further money which you can’t afford on some other program if someone tells you that it works. Just ask yourself this: Is anyone running or recommending any ex-gay program going to tell you that it doesn’t work?

    It’s funny, but I can still remember a saying quoted at me when I was about 13 by one of my teachers, now some years dead, who in turn remembered seeing it on a wayside pulpit in the north of England when he himself was only a lad:

    A fool is he who buys the same experience twice.

  448. What seems first an injustice; paradoxically, turns into a wonderful gift.

    I view both the major infirmities (for lack of a better word) of my life as a gift in this way. Maybe I should call them thorns in the flesh. One could argue, of course, that only one person in history, Paul, really had a thorn as he was given a heavenly vision of unspeakable glory that could have destroyed him through pride. Perhaps all those who are called higher (even if they don’t hear the call) have a bête noire that must be subdued first.

  449. Yes, and when one can realize and be aware that homosexuality is not something of their own creation, they can be liberated from “trying” to “change” it.

    Ann and Teresa, I’m not sure if you saw my “mutant color vision” analogy in one of the other threads (about the personal costs/benefits of having homosexual feelings and lacking heterosexual feelings) , but here it is again — now with cute kittycat pictures!

    (NB: The linked blog page is totally Safe For Work, but not every page at that blog is guaranteed to be 100% SFW, although the blog is generally designed to be that way.)

  450. Yes, indeed, imo, I am, first by necessity, and then by desire, drawn to Our Lord. What seems first an injustice; paradoxically, turns into a wonderful gift.

    Teresa,

    I am deeply touched by this comment and it is one I will certanly remember. Thank you.

  451. Perhaps, the biggest ‘change’ for many homosexuals is that their homosexuality is no longer “unwanted”.

    Teresa,

    Yes, and when one can realize and be aware that homosexuality is not something of their own creation, they can be liberated from “trying” to “change” it. I think that is a very good place to start and see how our lives unfold from there.

  452. I honestly feel SSA is a conduit to a deeper reliance on and relationship with Christ.

    Debbie, you said it far better than I; and, was something I wanted to add in my prior Comment, but couldn’t find as succinct a way as you did.

    Yes, indeed, imo, I am, first by necessity, and then by desire, drawn to Our Lord. What seems first an injustice; paradoxically, turns into a wonderful gift.

    I’m done with my preaching for today. 🙂

  453. He permitted this orientation for me for reasons known only to Him. He has invited me to a life of chastity, at least in my interpretation of what He wants from me.

    I do believe that. You are not feeling compelled to turn it into an identity, as you know your identity is in Christ, but you are open to God’s mystery here. I honestly feel SSA is a conduit to a deeper reliance on and relationship with Christ.

    I’m very grateful to be who I am, where I am … at least, for today. This has been the biggest ‘change’ for me.

    🙂

  454. “We” can complain all day about a ‘gay-agenda’ … what is ‘our-agenda’? What do “we” do to ‘change’?

    I am supposing you are referring to individual change or transformation, which is why I linked to the Barna article. But you may also be referring to corporate change, as in what should churches be doing to address the issues for their people or facilitate a more loving atmosphere for gays and lesbians. Maybe you need to elaborate a bit, Teresa.

  455. I believe Warren has suggested earlier that conservative funding for research into change has been hard to come by. And I surely don’t see evangelicals as a funding source. Their desire is much more for evangelism and compassionate assistance around the world. I would not support using people’s hard-earned money for research with any political aim. That’s not good stewardship.

    1) I don’t want the controversy

    2) I enjoy a private life

    I suspect many people are just like myself. It is a very personal journey and the onslaught from the gay community to anything personal or revealing about my very inner world is not worth opening up to public debate, attack or criticism.

    I’m sure that describes the way many of us feel, Mary. I did a lot of soul-searching and praying before adding this area to my ministry outreach. It hasn’t been easy. But I don’t regret doing it.

  456. Perhaps, the biggest ‘change’ for many homosexuals is that their homosexuality is no longer “unwanted”. I know this sounds a lot like heresy to some folks; but, same-sex attraction can really be seen as a positive, if we could take our heads of out the sand, and stop terrorizing ourselves over how awful it is.

    If I believe God is Who He IS, and that “nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s World by mistake” … I can learn to be accepting of myself, and know that God loves me just the way I am … here and now. He permitted this orientation for me for reasons known only to Him. He has invited be to a life of chastity, at least in my interpretation of what He wants from me.

    I’m very grateful to be who I am, where I am … at least, for today. This has been the biggest ‘change’ for me.

  457. T,

    You’re right about a lot of things. I guess I live in fear. In my younger days I was fearless – and paid dearly for that.

  458. such essentially irrelevant questions as “What would make my parents happy?” and “What would make my pastor happy?” and “What would please my peer group at my current church?”

    By the way, just to be clear: If “what would please my Christian peers at church?” is irrelevant in the therapeutic context, then so are such questions as “What do my non-Christian gay friends think is right?” and “What does secular culture think is normal?” and “What does mainstream science think about the etiology of homosexuality?”, etc. In other words, it’s not only the “traditionalist” POVs that should be placed way on the back burner so that they don’t become distractions.

    For someone trying to reconcile his/her homosexuality with his/her religious values, THE pertinent issue is “What does God want for me?”, and all the other questions should be set aside.

  459. Regarding therapy for unwanted same gender attractions – if the words “try” and “change” were eliminated by both the client and the therapist from the equasion, I think the quality of time spent in sessions and in-between sessions, would be more beneficial. Accepting that you don’t have to try to do or be what you’re not ready for is self empowering and allows for many other areas of growth that you are ready for. Sometimes we have serendipitous experiences in therapy – we go in for one thing and, suprisingly, discover many other things about ourselves that put a whole new perspective on how we think and/or how we live. For religious counseling and/or therapy, one just might discover that if they remove the perception that God is disappointed or will punish them, or they are going to hell, or blame them for their spontaneous thoughts or feelings (that none of us have any control over), etc. – they could start from a firmer foundation of truth and build from that instead of fear and self loathing. They could also come to understand if they are not ready to take a different path now, that God allows u-turns if they want that in their future. That is also empowering and allows for any change of heart or mind to come from the individual in their own way and at the right time.

  460. T,

    I am in my late 40’s. And I just do not want the controversy. Some of my friends know – some don’t. It just depends on their ability (in my eyes) to see beyond social influences.

  461. As long as I’m listing “irrelevant questions”, another one might be: “What did St. Paul of Tarsus want AJ to do?”

    Because a “plain, straightforward reading” of 1 Cor. 7:8-9* is that Paul’s personal hope and vision for the new church was that it would develop as an ascetic, celibate sect that maintained its numbers chiefly by conversion of adults rather than by having children — not unlike the Essene Jews of his day, or the Shakers of 18th and 19th century America.

    (Needless to say, Western history would’ve turned out very differently if most Christians had read these verses in a “plain” way and followed Paul’s preference for celibacy, but of course most Christians did not, and do not.)

    *”It is good for widows and the unmarried to remain unmarried, as I am, but if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

  462. If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay?

    I’m not a therapist and don’t know what questions AJ brought up when he was previously in therapy. But some possible questions that occur to me are:

    (1) Did AJ’s therapists encourage him to divorce the central question “What does God want for me?” from such essentially irrelevant questions as “What would make my parents happy?” and “What would make my pastor happy?” and “What would please my peer group at my current church?” and “What outcome would my therapist most like to see?” and “What does God want for most people?”

    It appears to me that part of the rationale for Throckmorton’s “client-centered therapy” is the recognition that a client needs “permission” to IGNORE the questions about what parents, peers, pastors, and therapists want, in order to avoid conflating all of this with the pertinent question of “What does God want for AJ?”

    (2) Was the therapist aware of the possibility that “ego-dystonic homosexuality” may not be a synonym for “ego-dystonic gayness”? In other words, did the therapist raise the question: “AJ, is it possible that you’re not conflicted with your own homosexuality per se, but are dissatisfied with the values of contemporary gay culture in North America?”

    (3) Did the therapy acknowledge the existence of the (official) Catholic “Courage” model (which validates homosexual celibacy in contrast to active homosexuality), and the (unofficial) Catholic “Dignity” model (which validates homosexual monogamy in contrast to homosexual promiscuity), in order to contrast both of these approaches with the “becoming heterosexual” model? Of course, AJ’s answer to this might be that he IS familiar with these other approaches but doesn’t find either celibacy or homo-monogamy to be in concord with his values as a Christian — but it’s nonetheless important for the therapist to ascertain that AJ is not unaware of “multiple Christian approaches” to homosexuality.

  463. The single most challenging stop is what Barna identified as “stop 7, which is that of brokenness.”

    This guy sounds like the Tony Robbins (Life Coach) of “born again”, “evangelical” Christians.

  464. My guess is that the Mormon religion does subsidize ex gay ministries. My neighbor is an LDS elder of some sort and he told me that Dr. Dean Byrd came and did a training seminar for the LDS leaders in this area to help members who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction.

    In terms of the churches subsidizing psychotherapy, some do, and many don’t…. Their expertise, they rightly believe, is in ministering, not evaluating nor delivering nor managing psychotherapeutic efforts. I would guess most don’t want to be in the business of providing people with therapy usually and you would have a hard time getting the general membership to put any funds or effort into understanding the plight of homosexuality. Generally, the rank and file religious people think their religion is the complete answer to most problems and that’s where their advocacy ends. To them, it is not about pain, but about zipping up your pants. Believe me, I’ve tried talking to them.

  465. Jayhuck,

    A.J. wouldn’t give a straight (npi) answer as to why he was in change therapy. I mean why does he want to change? If he is happy, what are his issues with being gay? I think Debbie sensed a set up despite AJ’s plea of being serious.

  466. Debbie,

    The transformation journey has ten stops en route to wholeness and freedom. Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three (awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem). Among those who become “born again Christians,” most never move past stop five (i.e., having invited Christ to be their savior and then engaging in a lot of religious activity). In other words, a majority of the American public never reaches the second half of the stops on the journey to wholeness. Barna also determined that most church programs are designed to help people get to stop five of the journey but not to move farther down the road to Christ-likeness.

    The single most challenging stop is what Barna identified as “stop 7, which is that of brokenness.” The researcher indicated that in order to move closer to completion of the journey, a person must be broken of three things: sin, self, and society. He noted that America’s culture serves as a strong barrier to people being willing to completely abandon themselves and the world in favor of listening to, obeying and enjoying God.

    Really? LOL

  467. Debbie,

    As I said, I am no therapist, AJ. If you really wanted to try therapy, you would have to be able to articulate whatever you may be unhappy about. What might you want to change or what outcome would you be seeking? If a therapist asked, “So, why are you here?”, what would your answer be? If you can’t think of why you should be there, then maybe you don’t need to be — unless your friends or family are doing an intervention on you because they can see some self-destructive trait you can’t.

    I could be wrong but it sounds like AJ “really” did try “therapy”

  468. William,

    The ex-gay movement is the only one of which I am aware that enters the political arena, not just to defend its right to exist and to carry on its activities – which is no doubt fair enough – but to call for or support discrimination against those who don’t accept its claims, and who in any case are happy as they are and don’t wish to avail themselves of its services. And none of the others, no matter how much they understandably dislike criticism and rejection of their claims, keep whining and complaining, like P-FOX for example, that those who disbelieve or deride those claims are thereby discriminating against them.

    I couldn’t agree more

  469. Preston,

    The political interest on the heterosexual-affirming side is considerably less than that on the pro-gay side. No comparison.

    That borders on saying the political interest on the anti – african american affirming side is considerably less…. This country and the way in which it views and thinks about various issues has grown.

  470. Preston,

    What is it exactly that you are trying to do? I’m not convinced in the least you are making any sort of difference, but I wonder what it is you hope to do on this lone blog.

  471. any help at all in your previous therapy, or was it a total waste? If it was a waste, why would you pursue more of it? It sounds as if you are saying it did not help, but you are hoping there would be some other approach that would. That may or may not be realistic.

    Sounds like an incredibly religious person trying to convince them self they don’t have to be gay.

  472. Mary, I can understand that. However, shouldn’t your closest friends know? You mentioned it might go a long way towards opening the eyes of people around you.

    Your journey is yours alone. Your choice is yours alone. I respect your choice.

    However, for myself, I can’t go around blaming a “gay community” or a “gay agenda” for what’s happening, or choose to live in a closet. (And, I’m not suggesting you do, Mary). I’m a homosexual woman who has chosen to live a chaste life … a life worth living, a life of worth.. People need to know that we are here, and that there are alternatives, and there is ‘change’, which does not necessarily mean in orientation.

    I no longer have family members or friends I need to emotionally protect. Those that are still alive need to know who I am, not just who they ‘think’ I am.

    I suspect there is quite an age difference between you and I, Mary. Life for me, at this point, doesn’t hold me in fear, as it once did. I can certainly empathize with your reluctance to share this.

  473. T,

    I don’t know what is the problem. I know as an exgay I don’t go around advertising it or even mentioning it to some of my closest friends. Which could go a long ways towards opening the eyes of people to a problem that exists for many people and an answer that some thought was impossible. I’ve been asked to make public statments and I refuse. And I won’t become part of research if my anonymity (sp?) is not protected.

    1) I don’t want the controversy

    2) I enjoy a private life

    I suspect many people are just like myself. It is a very personal journey and the onslaught from the gay community to anything personal or revealing about my very inner world is not worth opening up to public debate, attack or criticism.

  474. I guess what I’m really getting at in asking these questions, is that it’s not ‘those people’ that are the problem.

    It’s not about “we’re in, they’re out”, “we’re right, they’re wrong”, “we’re good, they’re bad”. It’s about what “we” do that matters … the “we” is our Churches, and each of us as individuals, united in Spirit.

    “We” can complain all day about a ‘gay-agenda’ … what is ‘our-agenda’? What do “we” do to ‘change’?

  475. Mary,

    Why doesnt’ NARTH submit a research proposal to the Mormon Church, Catholic Church, an Evangelical Group (I’m not sure the Evangelicals are that closely knit) to seek funding? Why not the Exodus Governing Body?

    These groups are solely about homosexuality. They must have some credentialed individuals, and certainly a pool of data, to begin study on some aspect of homosexuality.

    NARTH is supposed to have ‘research’ as one of its goals. Why don’t they seek funding?

  476. Teresa,

    I agree with you. Perhaps many believe that change is impossoble or that only kooks attempt it or that it is not a big problem for anyone.

  477. 35 million dollars

    If they found that kind of money, why not find some for research, fund some studies from scientists or groups that support a Christian view … invest some in a fund for scholarships for therapy?

    Let’s not keep looking at this as only a one-shot idea. The Catholic Church and the Mormon Church are immensely wealthy. The Evangelicals have 300,00 Churches across America (Chuck Baldwin). Somehow, an Evangelical Fund could be set up to assist in an area that is deemed so important.

    I asked both questions before, and I’ll ask them again; because if we don’t face this squarely, and accept that our Christian Churches are in great measure complicit for the idea that it’s a pro-gay world: where is the money for un-biased research and studies … these Churches have members that are University Profs, researches, therapists … ? Also, where is the money for a therapy fund to help homosexual persons?

    If these Churches can find the money, when they want to, for whatever policy, political cause, etc.; why not for homosexuality and homosexuals?

  478. 35 million dollars

    Ain’t that much money. And though I am pro gay marriages, those who were against Prop 8 spent more I’ll bet.

  479. AJ, do you believe you received any help at all in your previous therapy, or was it a total waste? If it was a waste, why would you pursue more of it? It sounds as if you are saying it did not help, but you are hoping there would be some other approach that would. That may or may not be realistic.

  480. Dave, I think you are probably right that the political interest seems to be at least comparable. My sense continues to be that the pro-gay groups continue to have a stronger interest, though.

  481. Debbie, I’ve done therapy for 2 to 3 years for the SSA. That’s what I would be trying to work on. I don’t go anymore because I can’t afford but I honestly don’t know what kind of therapy is going to help!

  482. Mary,

    Why doesnt’ NARTH submit a research proposal to the Mormon Church, Catholic Church, an Evangelical Group (I’m not sure the Evangelicals are that closely knit) to seek funding? Why not the Exodus Governing Body?

    These groups are solely about homosexuality. They must have some credentialed individuals, and certainly a pool of data, to begin study on some aspect of homosexuality.

    NARTH is supposed to have ‘research’ as one of its goals. Why don’t they seek funding?

  483. Teresa,

    I agree with you. Perhaps many believe that change is impossoble or that only kooks attempt it or that it is not a big problem for anyone.

  484. …and why Exodus politically uses orientation change to dismiss the need for laws to protect foks who are gay…

    The world is full of what might be called, for want of a better term, fringe movements, which some people – including some quite intelligent people – believe in, others regard as questionable, and yet others dismiss as outright trash: homoeopathy, acupuncture, astrology, Spiritualism, Christian Science, the Bates System (“better sight without glasses”), to name just a few.

    The ex-gay movement is the only one of which I am aware that enters the political arena, not just to defend its right to exist and to carry on its activities – which is no doubt fair enough – but to call for or support discrimination against those who don’t accept its claims, and who in any case are happy as they are and don’t wish to avail themselves of its services. And none of the others, no matter how much they understandably dislike criticism and rejection of their claims, keep whining and complaining, like P-FOX for example, that those who disbelieve or deride those claims are thereby discriminating against them.

  485. As I said, I am no therapist, AJ. If you really wanted to try therapy, you would have to be able to articulate whatever you may be unhappy about. What might you want to change or what outcome would you be seeking? If a therapist asked, “So, why are you here?”, what would your answer be? If you can’t think of why you should be there, then maybe you don’t need to be — unless your friends or family are doing an intervention on you because they can see some self-destructive trait you can’t.

  486. I’m curious, with all of the talk about therapy, what kind of therapy do you think works? I have a good relationship with my parents (both of them) and don’t have any real problems relating to men or women. I don’t feel uncomfortable around men at all, have several close male friends, and a best friend (all of whom are straight). I don’t have any anger /issues towards women. I also have close female friends. I’m not sure what type of therapy would even approach my SSA issues. What would I go work on? I’m serious about this question. Debbie, you’ve been around a lot of this. Where’s the issue I need to tackle? Honestly, I would appreciate any thought and feedback.

  487. preston# ~ Mar 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this

    The political interest on the heterosexual-affirming side is considerably less than that on the pro-gay side. No comparison.

    Yea right .. must be why the church (or certain church groups) spent over 35 million dollars in 2008 to support Prop 8 in California. … and why Exodus politically uses orientation change to dismiss the need for laws to protect foks who are gay .. laws such as ENDA and Hate Crime laws .. and of course htere is all of the church’s efforts to enact DOMA. Thats the short list … there is plenty of comparison .. and we haven’t even discussed the whole business in Uganda.

    To miss the church’s heavy political involvement in this is to bury one’s head in the sand.

    Dave

  488. 35 million dollars

    Ain’t that much money. And though I am pro gay marriages, those who were against Prop 8 spent more I’ll bet.

  489. AJ, do you believe you received any help at all in your previous therapy, or was it a total waste? If it was a waste, why would you pursue more of it? It sounds as if you are saying it did not help, but you are hoping there would be some other approach that would. That may or may not be realistic.

  490. Dave, I think you are probably right that the political interest seems to be at least comparable. My sense continues to be that the pro-gay groups continue to have a stronger interest, though.

  491. the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this

    The political interest on the heterosexual-affirming side is considerably less than that on the pro-gay side. No comparison.

  492. Debbie, I’ve done therapy for 2 to 3 years for the SSA. That’s what I would be trying to work on. I don’t go anymore because I can’t afford but I honestly don’t know what kind of therapy is going to help!

  493. …and why Exodus politically uses orientation change to dismiss the need for laws to protect foks who are gay…

    The world is full of what might be called, for want of a better term, fringe movements, which some people – including some quite intelligent people – believe in, others regard as questionable, and yet others dismiss as outright trash: homoeopathy, acupuncture, astrology, Spiritualism, Christian Science, the Bates System (“better sight without glasses”), to name just a few.

    The ex-gay movement is the only one of which I am aware that enters the political arena, not just to defend its right to exist and to carry on its activities – which is no doubt fair enough – but to call for or support discrimination against those who don’t accept its claims, and who in any case are happy as they are and don’t wish to avail themselves of its services. And none of the others, no matter how much they understandably dislike criticism and rejection of their claims, keep whining and complaining, like P-FOX for example, that those who disbelieve or deride those claims are thereby discriminating against them.

  494. As I said, I am no therapist, AJ. If you really wanted to try therapy, you would have to be able to articulate whatever you may be unhappy about. What might you want to change or what outcome would you be seeking? If a therapist asked, “So, why are you here?”, what would your answer be? If you can’t think of why you should be there, then maybe you don’t need to be — unless your friends or family are doing an intervention on you because they can see some self-destructive trait you can’t.

  495. I’m curious, with all of the talk about therapy, what kind of therapy do you think works? I have a good relationship with my parents (both of them) and don’t have any real problems relating to men or women. I don’t feel uncomfortable around men at all, have several close male friends, and a best friend (all of whom are straight). I don’t have any anger /issues towards women. I also have close female friends. I’m not sure what type of therapy would even approach my SSA issues. What would I go work on? I’m serious about this question. Debbie, you’ve been around a lot of this. Where’s the issue I need to tackle? Honestly, I would appreciate any thought and feedback.

  496. @Debbie, thanks for the link and quoted section in your last Comment.

    Here’s a quote by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman that seems to support George Barna’s findings:

    Blessed Newman offers another explanation for our inconstancy. Seeing plainly into the tangle of the human heart, he warned:

    “The aim of most men esteemed conscientious and religious, or who are what is called honorable, upright men, is, to all appearance, not how to please God, but how to please themselves without displeasing Him.”

    Newman thought that the faithful who seriously strive for holiness are generally very few in number in the history of the Church.

    Even good people— Newman said, the “conscientious and religious”—will exchange self-confidence for Christ confidence when it comes to the right order of living, by attempting to provide for their own happiness apart from the generosity of God.

    To this grave mistake, Christ says, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Lk 12:32) And He reminds us two verses later, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Lk 12:34)

  497. Teresa,

    I am so sad to say that many therapist just are not trained in this. For the most part the environment has kept and pressurred legitimate counselors away from this hot issue for fear of lawsuits and loss of other business. Most people do not believe that therapy can help a person with unwanted SSA. The population size of this group is small, progress is limited with each client, and it is very hard work for the therapist. When a therapist can help so many other kinds of people with other non-political issues and still make a living – why not pursue those options instead of clients with unwanted SSA.

    Offering pro-bono work to the church is not just a weekend gig on a Saturday afternoon. The commitment may be too much.

  498. preston# ~ Mar 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this

    The political interest on the heterosexual-affirming side is considerably less than that on the pro-gay side. No comparison.

    Yea right .. must be why the church (or certain church groups) spent over 35 million dollars in 2008 to support Prop 8 in California. … and why Exodus politically uses orientation change to dismiss the need for laws to protect foks who are gay .. laws such as ENDA and Hate Crime laws .. and of course htere is all of the church’s efforts to enact DOMA. Thats the short list … there is plenty of comparison .. and we haven’t even discussed the whole business in Uganda.

    To miss the church’s heavy political involvement in this is to bury one’s head in the sand.

    Dave

  499. Revisiting this discussion because some interesting, pertinent information has come to light. George Barna has come out with a new book based on a years-long research project about transformation. Here’s a link to a summation of it.

    Of particular note are these points:

    Looking at transformation as the process that enables us to gradually die to sin, self, and society in order to fully and profoundly love God and people, Barna explained that Jesus Himself defined the destination of the journey when He taught His followers that the most important exhortations from God were to love God and people with all of their heart, mind, strength, and soul (Mark 12:30-31). Paul, one of the classic examples of a transformed person, underscored the necessity of this quest when he said that the only thing that matters is being transformed by God into a new creation (Galatians 6:15). Transformation, then, is the effort to become holy by fully submitting to God and consistently pursuing His will – being set apart by the blood of Christ to experience a unique freedom and a new identity through the power of that blood and the enduring guidance of the Holy Spirit. …

    The transformation journey has ten stops en route to wholeness and freedom. Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three (awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem). Among those who become “born again Christians,” most never move past stop five (i.e., having invited Christ to be their savior and then engaging in a lot of religious activity). In other words, a majority of the American public never reaches the second half of the stops on the journey to wholeness. Barna also determined that most church programs are designed to help people get to stop five of the journey but not to move farther down the road to Christ-likeness.

    The single most challenging stop is what Barna identified as “stop 7, which is that of brokenness.” The researcher indicated that in order to move closer to completion of the journey, a person must be broken of three things: sin, self, and society. He noted that America’s culture serves as a strong barrier to people being willing to completely abandon themselves and the world in favor of listening to, obeying and enjoying God.

    Having worked in recovery ministry, I have been able to observe the stops that people tend to make along the journey to wholeness up close.

    FWIW.

  500. Why don’t the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this, provide financial support for professional therapy to those in need

    It’s hard to find good help. As I mentioned earlier – I don’t give out the name of my therapist. But it is a worthy question – and I’m going to see what our church provides.

  501. the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this

    The political interest on the heterosexual-affirming side is considerably less than that on the pro-gay side. No comparison.

  502. @Debbie, thanks for the link and quoted section in your last Comment.

    Here’s a quote by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman that seems to support George Barna’s findings:

    Blessed Newman offers another explanation for our inconstancy. Seeing plainly into the tangle of the human heart, he warned:

    “The aim of most men esteemed conscientious and religious, or who are what is called honorable, upright men, is, to all appearance, not how to please God, but how to please themselves without displeasing Him.”

    Newman thought that the faithful who seriously strive for holiness are generally very few in number in the history of the Church.

    Even good people— Newman said, the “conscientious and religious”—will exchange self-confidence for Christ confidence when it comes to the right order of living, by attempting to provide for their own happiness apart from the generosity of God.

    To this grave mistake, Christ says, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Lk 12:32) And He reminds us two verses later, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Lk 12:34)

  503. Teresa,

    I am so sad to say that many therapist just are not trained in this. For the most part the environment has kept and pressurred legitimate counselors away from this hot issue for fear of lawsuits and loss of other business. Most people do not believe that therapy can help a person with unwanted SSA. The population size of this group is small, progress is limited with each client, and it is very hard work for the therapist. When a therapist can help so many other kinds of people with other non-political issues and still make a living – why not pursue those options instead of clients with unwanted SSA.

    Offering pro-bono work to the church is not just a weekend gig on a Saturday afternoon. The commitment may be too much.

  504. Why don’t the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this, provide financial support for professional therapy to those in need

    It’s hard to find good help. As I mentioned earlier – I don’t give out the name of my therapist. But it is a worthy question – and I’m going to see what our church provides.

  505. This is the dumbest thing I’ve read. So if religious people help the needy or want world peace I have to disagree because we arrived there via different means? That is so patently ludicrous.

    Not really a very good analogy, Preston; in fact a very poor one indeed. Atheists may perfectly reasonably join with religious people in helping the needy or in campaigning for world peace, because both have a common objective, irrespective of how they arrive at the belief that the objective is worthwhile. You agree with the objective of the ex-gay ministries, viz. to change people’s sexuality from homosexual to heterosexual, and you can quite reasonably argue that, if you believe (which I don’t) that the objective is a good one, it really doesn’t matter how that belief is arrived at. The difficulty, however, is that ex-gay ministries claim that the means to achieve this objective is the power of a supernatural being whom you believe to be imaginary.

    Surely you can see this? It’s as if an orthodox physician were to commend the activities of homoeopaths on the ground that both have a common worthwhile objective, viz. to cure illness, although the means which the latter are using, viz. homoeopathic remedies, depends on a theory which he/she regards as scientific nonsense.

  506. This is the dumbest thing I’ve read. So if religious people help the needy or want world peace I have to disagree because we arrived there via different means? That is so patently ludicrous.

    Not really a very good analogy, Preston; in fact a very poor one indeed. Atheists may perfectly reasonably join with religious people in helping the needy or in campaigning for world peace, because both have a common objective, irrespective of how they arrive at the belief that the objective is worthwhile. You agree with the objective of the ex-gay ministries, viz. to change people’s sexuality from homosexual to heterosexual, and you can quite reasonably argue that, if you believe (which I don’t) that the objective is a good one, it really doesn’t matter how that belief is arrived at. The difficulty, however, is that ex-gay ministries claim that the means to achieve this objective is the power of a supernatural being whom you believe to be imaginary.

    Surely you can see this? It’s as if an orthodox physician were to commend the activities of homoeopaths on the ground that both have a common worthwhile objective, viz. to cure illness, although the means which the latter are using, viz. homoeopathic remedies, depends on a theory which he/she regards as scientific nonsense.

  507. Just being listened to is not the answer.

    However, most people are not equipped spiritually, educationally, nor with the season of years and years of experience with the issues that can be present with a person with unwanted SSA. It is a delicate balance and road of therapy. That is why a layperson who can listen can be very beneficial but for the core needs to be discovered, worked on, etc…etc…. I think a professional counselor is the way to go.

    My point exactly, Mary … Just being listened to is not the answer.

    Back to the fact that if one doesn’t have the money for professional therapy, the likelihood is what for individuals with unwanted homosexuality?

    I have seen and heard of horrible missteps made by “well meaning” christians.

    Not a pretty picture at all of what could happen to a homosexual with “well meaning” Christians, or atheists, or whomever.

    If we concur that professional therapy is beneficial for a homosexual in a variety of ways, I repeat my prior question: why do therapists not do ‘pro bono’ sessions? Why don’t the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this, provide financial support for professional therapy to those in need?

  508. Jews were arguing about these things before Jesus was even born.

    That’s right. Sounds like they weren’t any closer to an answer than are we. So each person must study and make a decision for themselves as to what is meant by the scriptures. How do I construct God’s meaning and intent in my life? Not how do I construct God’s meaning and intent in your life.

  509. I would also point out that S. Paul never suggested putting arsenokoitai to death or even in prison.

    True, but he clearly saw it as a sin causing “spiritual death” — whatever arsenokoitai meant to him, he said that they would not inherit the kingdom of eternal life. (Which is broadly consistent with how Orthodox Judaism has seen it since — well, at least since the fall of the Second Temple, which made it impossible to apply the death penalty because the sanhedrin no longer existed.)

    we also do know that anal intercourse is not something that is restricted to only same-sex couples

    FWIW, Jewish law doesn’t prohibit a man from anally penetrating a woman, particularly in the context of a valid marriage, though my understanding is that it’s “frowned upon.” But the absolute prohibition of anal intercourse only applies to male/male contexts.

  510. @ Throbert :

    I had not seen your latest comment when I wrote mine above. Interesting. Nevertheless, as a Christian, I do believe that, whatever the specifics of the Mosaic Law may have meant, we have now moved beyond it. I would also point out that S. Paul never suggested putting arsenokoitai to death or even in prison.

    We do not know exactly what S. Paul was thinking when he wrote what he wrote, of course; we also do know that anal intercourse is not something that is restricted to only same-sex couples.

  511. @ Throbert : I agree with your point re. Lev. 18 : 22 – a verse which probably refers to ritual prostitution in pagan tamples. (Let is not forget the probable provenance and purpose of the Book of Leviticus: this book was probably compiled during the Exile in Babylon, and was intended to keep the Jewish people from’ going native’ in the dominant culture. In any case, the Mosaic Law has, according to Christian thought, now been fulfilled and thus can be properly understood as a ‘stepping stone’ to ‘where we are now’ – this is the central theme of Matthew’s Gospel: that Jesus is the Fulfilment of the Law, the ‘New [and improved] Moses’.)

  512. As long as I’m hanging around and waiting for my corned beef to boil, I might as well add, in response to Richard:

    Ah, the great arsenokoitai debate! Many scholars think S. Paul made up that word.

    (Putting on my amateur linguist hat.)

    There’s no evidence for any Greek-speaking Jews, Christians, or pagans using arsenokoitai before Paul did, so you’re right that he probably coined it, though he didn’t make it up out of whole cloth.

    Etymologically, the word arsenokoitai VERY CLEARLY means either “males in bed with men” or “males who lie down with men” (depending on whether you see the -koit- part as deriving from a Greek noun or a Greek verb).

    It’s a Greek calque (by way of the Septuagint translation) of the Hebrew expression zachar tishkav, “lie down with a male”, which of course appears in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

    But note, however, that the Hebrew phrase mishkevei ishah, “(as) one beds with a woman”, which in the Greek Septuagint became koiten gynaikos, was not incorporated into Paul’s new word. That is, arsenokoitai does NOT mean “males who lie down with men as with women,” but only “males who lie down with men.”

    Thus, if the Hebrew phrase “with a female” is understood as a restricting qualifier that narrows the meaning of “a man lying with a man” — and by narrowing, therefore excludes certain cases of men lying with men — then Paul’s coinage fails to reflect this narrower sense.

    And as I’ve already noted above, some Jewish Talmudic authorities did conclude that “as with a woman” was indeed a restricting qualifier — it narrowed the scope of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 from “a man doing unspecified sexual things with another man” to “a man going into another man’s anus in imitation of vaginal intercourse.”

    (You will rarely hear this from Christian sources, of course — the anti-gay Christians are loathe to suggest that male homosexuality might not be such a serious sin if anal sex is avoided, while the pro-gay Christians are loathe to go against a prevailing gay male subculture that invests massive energy in promoting and normalizing anal sex. But spend some time talking with Orthodox Jews, both anti-gay and pro-gay, and you can learn a thing or two!)

  513. Oh, and come to think of it, the Jewish prohibition on “spilling semen in vain” would have also been a reason to disapprove of male homosexuality even when it didn’t involve the death-worthy offense of buggery.

    But all this is just to underscore the point that debates over the proper interpretation of verses like Lev. 18:22 are not something that modern pro-gay liberal theologians pulled out of their wazoos; Jews were arguing about these things before Jesus was even born.

  514. Teresa, help could come in many forms: professional therapy, from within, religious groups, nonreligious groups, friends, family members, nonprofessional counseling, etc.

  515. it doesn’t bother you to endorse organizations which not only make extremely dubious claims, but explicitly base those claims on the power of a being in whose very existence you disbelieve

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve read. So if religious people help the needy or want world peace I have to disagree because we arrived there via different means? That is so patently ludicrous. You have really gone off the deep end. Your view is so cloudy that I don’t think you can make any reasonable arguments. I don’t even know why I read your idiotic posts. Sorry, I’ve tried to keep it respectable here and avoid personal attacks but these posts are just way beyond outlandish.

  516. By the way, some people might wonder: if the Talmudic authorities believed that Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 were narrow in scope and only prohibited male/male anal intercourse, what was their basis for saying that all other homosexual acts were also sinful?

    The answer is that they regarded homosexual acts in general as being un-Jewish habits of the pagan goyim — relying on such verses as Deuteronomy 23:17 (“No son or daughter of Israel shall become a temple prostitute.”), among others.

    Secondarily, there may have been a serious concern that male homosexual acts such as mutual masturbation would be a temptation that “might lead to” a violation of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 — but this fear obviously didn’t apply to lesbian acts, and it wasn’t the primary reason for the sweeping prohibition on Jewish homosexuality. Instead, the rationale for the general ban (i.e. even when male/male buggery wasn’t involved) was that God expected His Chosen People to shun Gentile customs.

    And again, I make no assertions as to whether any of this significantly affected Paul’s thinking, but it’s important to remember that it would’ve been part of his cultural background as a man raised in Pharisaic Judaism.

  517. homosexual acts that were abominations punishable by death, and homosexuals acts that weren’t.

    On reading this, it’s a bit ambiguous — I should’ve written “homosexual acts that were abominations punishable by death, and homosexuals acts that were simply abominations, but were not punishable by death.”

    In other words, the Talmud is clear that all homosexual acts are sins and thus “abominations”, but that most homosexual acts are not sins of such gravity that the death penalty was warranted. And to be more specific, the Talmudic distinction was that male/male anal buggery was the sin described in Leviticus 20:13, for which both men were to be put to death; but that non-anal male homosexuality, and lesbianism generally, were sinful but did not meet the death-penalty threshold in and of themselves.

    Again, I don’t know that Paul had any such distinction in mind when he coined arsenokoitai, but given his cultural background, we can’t rule out that he saw homosexuality as a sin of varying degrees.

  518. Just being listened to is not the answer.

    However, most people are not equipped spiritually, educationally, nor with the season of years and years of experience with the issues that can be present with a person with unwanted SSA. It is a delicate balance and road of therapy. That is why a layperson who can listen can be very beneficial but for the core needs to be discovered, worked on, etc…etc…. I think a professional counselor is the way to go.

    My point exactly, Mary … Just being listened to is not the answer.

    Back to the fact that if one doesn’t have the money for professional therapy, the likelihood is what for individuals with unwanted homosexuality?

    I have seen and heard of horrible missteps made by “well meaning” christians.

    Not a pretty picture at all of what could happen to a homosexual with “well meaning” Christians, or atheists, or whomever.

    If we concur that professional therapy is beneficial for a homosexual in a variety of ways, I repeat my prior question: why do therapists not do ‘pro bono’ sessions? Why don’t the churches that seem to have a vested political interest in this, provide financial support for professional therapy to those in need?