November 6th, 2009
This weekend Focus on the Family will host their final Love Won Out ex-gay dog and pony show before washing their hands of the movement and turning it over to Exodus International. And, knowing that there will be the usual protest, Exodus Youth Director Randy Thomas is calling for prayer.
I (Randy) won’t personally be at this particular event but having been to about 20 of them, every single one had some sort of protest and every single time the LWO team responds lovingly. Would you add praying for Wayne and his friends to your prayers for the conference? We’d greatly appreciate it.
I’ve been around long enough to know exactly what sort of prayers that will elicit. They will either be of the “smite the heathen” variety, or, more likely, of the sanctimonious “convict the heathen” stripe:
Jesus, show Wayne your love. Convict him of his sin. Deliver him from the bonds of darkness and the confusion of homosexuality that Satan has wrapped him in. He’s so devoted to his sinful cause; oh how he could be a warrior for You. Jesus, tug at his heart. Bring him into a relationship with You and show him that he’s wrong and we’re right!!
Well, that last part is never really prayed out loud, but it is the unsaid message behind the rest of the prayer. Praying for someone else’s conviction just makes you feel so good. Not only does it confirm your own certainties, but you get to be all “loving” while you are being self-affirming.
And as an extra-special bonus, you get to tell others, “Oh, that poor young man. It’s so sad. I prayed for him today.”
Which got me thinking.
At times I find myself telling anti-gay activists that I will pray for them. And I’m sure that they assume that if I really do pray for them that my prayers are a mirror image of those above.
But I don’t pray for God to smite them or for God to change their minds. In fact, some time ago I worked out a very different prayer, one that works for me.
It goes something like this:
God, please bless Anti-gay Activist Joe.
Give Joe happiness. Bring him peace and prosperity. Take away any hurt or unhappiness or dissatisfaction with his life. In fact, fill Joe with so much joy that he has no room left over for hatred and anger and bitterness towards my community.
Fill his days with interesting things. Bring delight into his family and merriment into his friends. Make his day meaningful and fulfilling. Fill his life with so much interest and purpose that he has no time left over to spend trying to make the lives of those in my community unpleasant.
And finally, God, bring Joe close to you. Give him a complete understanding of who you are. Startle and shock him with the degree to which you love him. Fill him completely with your love, so full that he only can spill love over to all who come in contact with him. And let him know that whether I’m right, or he’s right, or neither of us is right, it just doesn’t matter. Because it all comes down to love.
Now I know that many of our readers don’t believe in any deities or value any prayers. Many, many, many times that has been made abundantly clear. And some of you are always on the lookout for an opportunity to mock the faith of others. I’m really hoping that you’ll give this one a pass and decide that this thread really isn’t for you, so much.
But for those readers who do believe in God and prayer, I offer you my prayer for consideration. It may not work for you. But if it does, please consider praying for the organizers and participants at this weekend’s Love Won Out Conference. I think they could use some joy, love, peace, and satisfaction.