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Why many ex-gays go to ex-gay ministries

Timothy Kincaid

August 2nd, 2010

It can be hard to understand the reasons why someone would go into the ex-gay movement. Those who are less familiar with the phenomenon tend to think that it is a matter of guilt or shame that drives gullible people to try and change their orientation. Others think that it is oppressive parents and family, a culture that is homophobic or a church that puts pressure on an impressionable youth.

And, yes those are reasons. There are otherwise happy people who are so subjected to pressure or guilt that they believe that they must go through ex-gay ministry or they will lose their families and friends and burn in Hell forever.

But it isn’t just that simple. There are others who go looking for help from an ex-gay ministry in desperation because their life is in chaos and they don’t know what else to do. Their own personal circumstances are so out of control that they need help.

It is only natural to look for a cause for our unhappiness. It’s my job or my girlfriend or my financial situation and if only it would change then I could really be happy. For some gay people they look at their chaos and think “if only I weren’t gay!”

This week I heard from one such person. I won’t use his name – though he’s given me permission – because I see his story as an illustration of so many ex-gay stories that seem to have this theme.

My friend has been in and out of ex-gay ministry for quite a few years, never finding either within the ex-gay community or within the gay community exactly what he needed. Here are his past few years in his own words.

I am sure by now you heard that about two years ago I went back into the ex-gay lifestyle and closed myself off from the “gay world” I had pretty much gotten ride of all my gay friends and turned my back on people that loved me. In the last year I have come out again. For the final time and took some time off to do some reflecting as to what God wants to see me doing.

Here is a synopsis of what happened.

… for many years I was a sex addict till this day I am a recovering sex addict. By the grace of God I am sober. The sex addiction kept me in chains and I wasn’t able to experience true freedom until I dealt with that subject. I thought that being gay I had to sleep with as many men as possible, but that wasn’t the case. I thought it was what all gay men wanted and that’s not how I wanted to live. So I kept going back and forth from being ex-gay to gay. I would get tired of being gay because of the addiction and I would then run to the church. When I couldn’t stand trying to be straight I would give up get depressed and end up in the hospital for suicidal thoughts and depression.

I entered rehab this past year and it was the best thing for me. I was able to really face the addiction and can happily say that I have been sober for over 90 days. When I refer to being sober for me it is not having anonymous sex. Sex sobriety is such a fine line and everyone must define their own bottom line behavior. Mine is no sex out of a committed loving relationship.

I’m writing this because I am hoping that someone can benefit from my story. That someone can be saved from the heartache and pain that I went through. I am currently writing a book as well. It is my autobiography hopefully to be completed by the end of the year. I am hoping you can share this with your readers to give hope to others that being gay is ok. That being Christian is ok too. Its how we live our lives that makes a difference.

My friend is finding help. For perhaps the first time he’s looking at his life and seeing the problem and not the symptoms. And for that I am very happy.

But I can see why it has taken him so long.

One of the memes of ex-gay ministry is that the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ is destructive, demeaning, and damaging. My friend’s story of sexual addiction did not seem peculiar or out of the norm, it was just what it’s like ‘in the gay life.’ At his ex-gay ministry, he was bound to hear confirmation of this idea.

But we should not assume that his ministry was lying to him or trying to deceive him; local groups do believe what they say. These scary stories about the homosexual lifestyle full of misery and despair are not created for the consumption of gullible youth – these scary stories are the real lives of real people who really experienced life that way.

And it makes sense. If you are living a life full of contentment and meaning and you have someone to love and who cares for you, you aren’t as likely to go looking for a way to become heterosexual. If you aren’t miserable, then you aren’t looking for something on which to blame your misery. So naturally, “life of desperation” is the norm as experienced for many ex-gays.

But we as a community play our part in the confusion. Far too often we act as though getting the next hot guy is what it means to be gay (women do this less) and confirm these ideas.

Yes, I know that there are plenty of couples, but they are home barbecuing and walking the dog. And there are bowling leagues and ski clubs and church groups and social networks. But if it’s Saturday night and you’re single and may do what many gay and straight singles do, go out looking for love. Or, you go online where there is no pretense of even socializing; no one is on Manhunt looking to meet up for coffee and talk about the news of the day.

And yes I know that heterosexuals do it too. Go to any bar in any town where young people congregate and you’ll see plenty of indiscriminate straight sexual behavior. Or watch a reality TV show. We have no monopoly on “having to sleep with as many people as possible” in order to feel good about one’s self.

I don’t know the solution. But I hope we as a community of individuals can mature to where we provide more messages of substance and meaning – find a way to more frequently remind ourselves and the more vulnerable members of our community (including those still in ex-gay ministries) that sex really isn’t what defines us.

Being gay is not where you put your penis, it’s where you put your heart.

Comments

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David Roberts
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I agree entirely that this describes well one of the common paths for those who seek out ex-gay ministries. There are others, but they all seem to follow the same general theme of “my life is a mess and it’s because of the gay.” And there is a disgusting gangrenous factor in our own ranks that seeks to blame those caught in this cycle for the problem. Compassion runs low during war and we have allowed this to be framed as such. If it must be fought as a war (and I do not concede this), at least let’s not shoot our wounded.

On a more direct note, I would like to seriously ask that the subject of your post break part of this cycle by not returning to any limelight. The demands and scrutiny of the masses are not at all conducive to recovery. Go live your life with a local support system and shun the stage. This stuff doesn’t get fixed in a year or two, and you will have more challenges in the future. Concentrate on yourself now, and good luck.

Not Telling
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I hate to say it, but I grew up in the Church, I went off to bible college, since then I got a theology degree, I came out in college, I cause quite a stir at my college. But unfortunately after I came out, in my early to mid twenties, there wasn’t anyone to love me. I spent all this time figuring out that it was OK to be gay, and when it came time to find someone, there wasn’t anyone.

I fell in love with a friend who couldn’t love me back. One night after an especially hurtful encounter, I found a random person to have sex with. He was significantly older than me, but he told me he found me attractive and he wanted to have sex with me. I bussed down town and met him at his apartment. I had my first kiss and lost my virginity all in one night, months before I was still planning on waiting until marriage.

I’ve only vaguely recounted the story to a few friends. I’ve confided in very few, a few loose details of the fact that I spent the next three years frequently finding at least one sexual partner a month, mostly one night stands. I can’t even remember all the people I’ve slept with. I’ve never even been drunk, but I’ve done lots of things that I’m terrified of anyone else ever finding out about.

I bought into the lie that I wasn’t attractive, that there was something about me that made me unloveable, that the best I could hopeful was sex with someone who wouldn’t really love me, or at best would smile at me afterward.

On the outside I was involved with Church still, and I did some other charity work, I tried to be a positive influence in the local gay community. But in the end it just ended up being that it was so hard to meet anyone who was nice to me even if they didn’t want to sleep with me. I spent nearly three years going to the bar almost ever week end in the hopes of finding meaningful friendship with people, now a year after stopping I don’t talk to anyone from there, because no one actually truly cared about me.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with is how I can know that God still loves gay people just as much as straight people, yet it seems when you put a large group of gays together, it’s so hard to not have it turn into just a cruising fest.

Now, four years after coming out, I’ve finally met someone who’s incredible. Since meeting him a few months ago, I haven’t had sex with anyone, including him. We’re taking it slowly, and I’m finally realizing that perhaps someone else can see me as something more than just a really good friend.

After everything though, I’m terrified of him ever asking me my full sexual history, because while I never picked up any diseases, I think I lost a great deal of my integrity.

Patrick
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“Being gay is not where you put your penis, it’s where you put your heart.”

Sorry for stating the obvious but a lesbian doesn’t have a penis. Yet females enter ex-gay ministries as well (they’re not called ex-lesbian ministries). While the term ‘gay’ often refers to men, it also often is used for both men and women.

I raise this issue because anti-gay groups regularly play fast and loose with terminology. They’ll talk about rampant AIDS in homosexual groups (ignoring lesbians), rampant homosexual promiscuity (but solely reference data on males), etc. We should not engage in the same sloppiness with terms they do.

ZRAinSWVA
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I grew up believing I was going to hell, and that there was nothing I could do about it. Or so I had been told by my church and respected pastor, and so I heard from my parents when they were talking about homosexuals they knew.

When one is going to hell, what matters what one does in this life? And so my life became self destructive. On the surface I was still the well behaved child that every parent envied; on the inside, though, and what I did when no one was looking, was a different story.

It took me years before I came to terms with my sexuality, and part of that involved removing myself from ‘the church’. Frankly, I’m surprised I survived, and I’m so very sorry that my screwed-up mind almost screwed-up my very wonderful relationship. And, while I am sad that I lost my joy in my spirituality, I still, to this day, cannot enter a church without becoming emotional…

Emily K
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Patrick, thanks for addressing a *HUGE* problem i have with ex-gay and anti-gay groups. Once again lesbians become invisible.

Uki
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Well, the lifestyle to have sex with a lot of man is not something you could take out of a gay community that easily.

Fidelity has always been a feminine trait. Society teaches that a guy’s manhood is defined by the many sex and women he could get. And for gay men, though they are not having sex with women, it doesn’t mean that those gender enforcement disappears, it only translated into a gay context (More men to get).

So many gay men are just similar with many straight guys, they are always looking for that thing that defines their ‘masculinity’. The difference, is that society teaches men how to behave when confronted with women, but does not teach them when confronted with the same sex.

I think the same thing happens with many lesbians as well. However, lesbians comes with the rise of feminist activism from decades ago, so they are much more ready to tackle these kinds of gender stereotypes.

Gay activists should tackle some subjects OTHER than just civil rights and human rights of LGBT, but also gender roles, because that’s basically the root of the problem. And defining gender subjects are not just beneficial to the gay community, but to the rest of the world as well, straight, gay, lesbians, bi, or transgenders.

And about the subject of ex-gay, in Indonesia, many gay men nicknamed their homosexuality as ‘sakit’, which means ‘ill’. And they do believe that they are sick. But instead of going to find a ‘cure’, they rather hide it. Because in here, confirming that you are not heterosexual could lead you to death or marginalization.

Not to mention, that the only place where gay people could hangout are places such as dance clubs, red light districts, and dating websites such as manhunt.com. (All of them are basically westernized venues)

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Patrick,

You are quite right that this posting was directed mostly towards men. That wasn’t entirely accidental. I know it’s a bit of a stereotype, but I don’t think that gay women are as inclined as gay men to make the mistake of thinking that orientation is only about sex, as I indicated in the commentary.

Emily,

Sorry if I made you feel excluded.

Christine
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Dear “Not Telling”:

You wrote near the end, “After everything though, I’m terrified of him ever asking me my full sexual history, because while I never picked up any diseases, I think I lost a great deal of my integrity.”

I’m so happy you’ve found someone special. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll make sure you are tested and clear before you enter into a sexual relationship with this special person.

It made me sad to read your statement about losing your integrity.

You can learn to respect yourself again. You’ve come a long way, and learned much in a culture that has tried hard to teach you not only to hate yourself and that has tried to keep us from creating loving relationships.

You’re on a good path now. Know that you are worthy of love, capable of giving and receiving love, and that you have the power to live a life of integrity and self-respect.

Please don’t beat yourself up anymore.

Love yourself. Love others. Let them love you. Live with integrity. Hold your head up high. You are alive. You have so much good you can do from now on.

Best wishes.

Michael Bussee
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Very insightful article, Timothy. I think you really captured some of deeper reasons why people are drawn to these programs. “Ex-gays” tell us they feel “broken”. They’re not making it up. They are broken. How can we help them feel whole?

If they leave their “ex-gay” programs, will they be met with compassion or condemnation — not just from their churches but from some in their own community as well? Will we say in effect, “Well, stupid, you should have known better”?

What can we give them to be proud of? Do we really care — and are we really prepared to offer them something truly “healing” — something that groups like Exodus can’t offer? Is the “gay community” just a nice idea in theory, but hard to find in practice?

Michael
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I think we can’t overstate the fact that for many gay men and women living in communities hostile to homosexuality, being gay IS only about having furtive, anonymous sex.

When a community (religious, geographic, demographic, or otherwise) stigmatizes homosexual behavior, the behavior doesn’t go away – it just goes underground.

Gay people try and conform to the norms, appearing straight (maybe even marrying) and the one need they can’t satisfy through this deception – intimacy with someone of the same sex – is met underground/in dark clubs/online.

Since there’s no opportunity for community-sanctioned gay couplings (or even socializing) the gay experience in such hostile settings is in fact limited to quick, guilt-ridden sexual encounters.
No wonder people feel like being gay is toxic to the self and the community. In these cases, it is!

But if you have models for healthy, open gay relationships in your life – and the opportunity to partake in such experiences – being gay no longer seems limited to some soul-destroying, anonymous or secret release of urges. It looks normal.

In some twisted way these ex-gay ministries are right; for the people who come to them for services, their experience of being gay has been unhealthy and challenging. But that’s not because being gay is all about wild orgies and criminal activity and living a lie; it’s because unloving and hostile environments limit the gay experience to something unsatisfying.

It sometimes saddens me to see the “gay flight to the cities” – moving away from small towns to bigger, more open places – because I actually love small towns and I don’t want to polarize the landscape.

But how can you not encourage gay people who live in closed communities to move somewhere where they can have a full range of existence?

Debbie Thurman
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I don’t know the answer to your question, Michael, but I do know that sexual brokenness is a singularly miserable place to be in. I’ve experienced both the gay and straight varieties, and one is as destructive as the other.

Until (straight) Christians are courageous enough to own their/our considerable part in sexual addictions and destructive behaviors, we cannot have a meaningful role in bringing healing to anyone’s pain, regardless of ideology or “lifestyle.” There is no validity in being a “sounding brass” or a “clanging cymbal.”

I’ve had to sit looking some pretty broken men and women in the eye as I walked out their pain and suffering with them. It took me all of about a minute to realize I had no right to be in the trenches with them until I had acknowledged the blackness of my own heart.

Dave
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,
I love your aphorism, “Being gay is not where you put your penis, it’s where you put your heart.” It is priceless!

Emily K
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, I know YOU don’t believe lesbians are non-existent. I didn’t feel left out. I just thought Patrick made a great point about the male-centric attitude of anti-gays. It’s always about the Almighty Phallus™.

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Emily,

It is amazing how much time and energy in the world is dedicated to whether one has a particular tube of flesh and what one does with it. In most anti-gay talking points, your lack of a tube of flesh means that you don’t matter or even exist.

Michael Bussee
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie: You and I agree that many gays and straights alike are “broken”. But I also know that you and I have at least one major disagreement on this matter.

I believe that there is a way to be fully self-accepting as gay — whereas are you believe (based on your understanding of the Bible) that homosexuality is — in and of itself– a “broken” state and that one cannot be both gay and whole.

I believe that that message (one I used to believe myself and have since completely rejected) has done more to contribute to the “broken-ness” of LGBT people than any other message. It’s self-fulfilling propechy at its worst. If you keep telling people that there is gayness is broken and needs fixing, people tend to believe and act as though its true.

“The diagnosis of homosexuality as a “disorder” is a contributing factor to the pathology of those homosexuals who do become mentally ill…. Nothing is more likely to make you sick than being constantly told that you are sick.: ~ Ronald Gold

Debbie Thurman
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Michael, I suspect lots of Christians who struggle with whether or not to accept a gay identity have a built-in mechanism that makes then ill at ease with being gay. We can debate whether or not this comes from the God who created them or guilt-mongering from other people. Surely the latter does not help. But the former likewise cannot be discounted.

We are all broken in some way.
All sinners are sick. Homosexuality is no more a disorder than gluttony or materialism or selfishness, tendencies we all have. Where you and I have the most difficulty in agreeing, I think, is along the line of believing that private behavior is only of concern to the one doing it. Yet entire industries have arisen around lusts of every kind, and they do much harm.

With me, the chief thing to consider is where my first thoughts run to — God or to myself and my own gratification. If I do place God and my desire to know Him first, then I cannot be a slave to my passions. I can let Him sort out where the brokenness is and trust Him to order my God-given desires.

My having worked with folks seeking to overcome their same-sex attractions does not mean I believe in dictating that they must be “fixed.” They are, rather, to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ. He does what no man or woman can do. I can only love them where they are. He can see them where they will be.

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Oh Debbie,

Go read this commentary and see if it clarifies for you exactly why your “oh but I’m a sinner too” shtick is not appealing.

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2010/04/02/21575

here is the key point:

But what these Christians fail to see is that we do not see our sexual orientation in terms of behavior. We are not gay because we do gay things. We are gay because we are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex.

The sins that this tolerant Christian sees God forgive in his life are based on his own behaviors; his failings are his own actions. But the sins that he sees God forgive in our lives are not behavioral, but inherent; our failings are intrinsic and will be present no matter what we do.

And when gay folk reject this overture, as we do, they indignantly reply, “Well! I called myself a sinner, too! What more to you want?”

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I was going to let it go at that. But I want to address one of your comments:

Homosexuality is no more a disorder than gluttony or materialism or selfishness, tendencies we all have.

Well, no. While all people (well, most people) do or can have tendencies toward of gluttony or materialism or selfishness, only a small percentage of people (lets say 4%) have “tendencies” towards homosexuality.

The “people with tendencies towards homosexuality” (PWT) differ from those who do not have “tendencies” in two ways: 1) PWT are emotionally, romantically, spiritually, and sexually attracted to persons of the same sex, and 2) PWT are NOT emotionally, romantically, spiritually, and sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex.

So no, it’s not quite the same thing as gluttony.

And I categorically reject the idea that having tendencies is, in and of itself, brokenness. You may believe that it is, but that is immaterial to whether it is inherently a brokenness.

Because while brokenness always leads to chaos and dismay, “tendencies towards homosexuality” does not always lead to such places.

Joe
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Seems to me that a major point has been missed: this loser is miserable because he lives his life in superstition. He ascribed his deliverance from sex from a god. A god had nothing to do with it. Further, identifying with a christian community is going to f*ck you up. The idea that sex is only fulfilling when it is with someone you love is stupid. I’ve had thousands of successful hook ups. Many of these memories will stick with me until my death.

My point here is that having sex can be a lot of fun, it can be emotionally gratifying, it can be a way to deeply connect with someone. It doesn’t have to be about love. It can be an expression of love, but sex is multifaceted.

I suggest your friend find a good secular psychologist, dump his idiot religion, and quit confiding to moralizing friends who write sh!t like, “Being gay is not where you put your penis, it’s where you put your heart.”

Being gay offers many, many choices on how to express your humanity. We can express our intimacy physically because we don’t have to worry about pregnancy. I suggest we gays embrace the wide variety of experiences that our unique situation allows and not try to imitate straight culture.

I wish I could be more sympathetic to this loser. However, all current studies show that gay men have creative and intellectual capabilities that are rare. Our minds have an inherent ability to figure sh!t out. When I see an adult ex-gay over thirty who still feels guilt, I don’t feel sympathy, I feel contempt.

Ray
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Wow! These heart-felt confessions are powerful! “NotTelling” and ZRAinSWVA, thanks for sharing your experiences. I needed a good cry today. I’m pretty sick of the state of all the anti-gay stuff going on out there in the world but nothing hurts me so deep as remembering how I lost my siblings when I come out. It cuts and cuts and cuts, even after 40 years.

Debbie Thurman
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“But what these Christians fail to see is that we do not see our sexual orientation in terms of behavior. We are not gay because we do gay things. We are gay because we are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex.”

That was supposed to be a revelation? Tell me something I don’t know.

As for my discussion of what isn’t disordered, that’s all it was. Appetites are appetites, gay or straight.

“Having tendencies” is being human, not broken. You and I agree on that, Timothy. How about viewing “brokenness” in terms of a disconnect with God, something only you and He would really know? Does that work for you?

truthteller
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

@ Debbie,
“Christians who struggle with whether or not to accept a gay identity”

Being gay is not an identity, it is who you are. The only choice is to embrace yourself or let others tell you how sick and broken you are, and how much you need to depend on them to cure you. Only they know what is good for you.

“We are all broken in some way. All sinners are sick.”

If you’re basing this on scripture, then this invalidates the whole, we are created in his image and likeness thing. Unless of course God too is broken, a sinner and sick in some way.

I find it utterly stupid that a God of love, compassion and wisdom would be punishing millions of people because a woman they never knew ate an apple thousands of years ago. That sounds like a petty, petty deity. Who would follow such “god”?

“Homosexuality is no more a disorder than gluttony or materialism or selfishness, tendencies we all have.”

Homosexuality is not a disorder, period, and it does not belong lumped with those vices, besides, In the old testament God constantly promises his people abundance of material riches, food, land etc. Yep, he fed their gluttony, materialistic and selfish needs with rewards.

“With me, the chief thing to consider is where my first thoughts run to — God or to myself and my own gratification. If I do place God and my desire to know Him first, then I cannot be a slave to my passions. I can let Him sort out where the brokenness is and trust Him to order my God-given desires.”

I find this to be the saddest statement you’ve made. If God wanted you to be a puppet you would have been born with strings.

Solomon had 700 wives and 3,000 whores. Do you not think that was for his pleasure? I bet he had some great orgies…You are coping out of life and hiding behind a book. But you don’t want to be alone so you find other victims.

“My having worked with folks seeking to overcome their same-sex attractions does not mean I believe in dictating that they must be “fixed.” They are, rather, to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ. He does what no man or woman can do. I can only love them where they are. He can see them where they will be.”

And this is the most infuriating thing you wrote. It is the ex-gay movement and those who misuse religion who are destroying, disorienting and ultimately inflicting heartbreak on GLBT people.

Funny how you claim Jesus Christ will change them to heterosexuals, when Jesus Christ never said there was anything wrong with gay people. If that was such a big deal to him, you would think he would at least have said something.

It is people like you who are telling GLBT people they are defective, sick, broken and that if they want to have god’s approval they must reject themselves and destroy the beautiful and whole person they already are. You are teaching them self-hatred. That is what you are doing to them with your “love.”

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

It isn’t that you don’t know it, it’s that you refuse to acknowledge it.

We can play with language and exchange words all day long. We can talk orientation or identity or SSA or tendencies or appetites, but it call comes down to this one uncomfortable truth: there are people who experience the world with attractions to the same sex and not to the opposite sex.

The language I use is that they have a homosexual orientation. You can use whatever language you like. But they remain people who “are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex.”

And until we can talk about these people in the same way, meaningful conversation is going to elude us.

Ben in Oakland
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

The real probems, Debbie, in your way of seeing things are two-fold.

1) Your base– and I mean that in all senses of the word– assumption that people are broken to begin with. I understand that it is a Christian precept, but as with many other things, Christianity has failed to provide any actual proof for the statement, other than Christianity’s assertion that it is true.

I realize that without that assumption, Christianity has no product to sell, and its fiercest proponents would have to go out and get other jobs. And like so many social constructs, it is perceived as real, and is therefore real in its consequences. But that doesn’t make it true.

If you are going to make such a blanket statement of reality, then I think it is incumbent on you to provide some proof about it. I’m not convinced. I know there are a lot of major sh!theads in the world. There are a lot of truly stupid people who wouldn’t know reality if it bit them on the ass. There are a lot of frightened and ignorant people, They are not bad, though they might be frightened or cajoled or fooled into doing bad things.

And there are a lot of good people– the majority, i think– who lead good, responsible lives and try not to hurt other people. They are not perfect, but they certainly try to be good.

That’s not brokenness– that is the state of being a human being. Your bible, beginning to end, and without exception, is full of people who are human– even the holy ones.

2) Your basic assumptions about what homosexuality is and what it means are based upon another assumption: that you and people who think and believe like you understand something you have read in a book, as badly translated, copied, and redacted as it has been for 3000 years, to be about a subject you think is homosexuality, at least as it may have been understood by people 2000 years and 8000 miles away from our present place and time– something that is so poorly defined that it is not even described as an act, and so poorly delineated that it fails to tell us exactly what that act might be. And it seems only to matter if men do it to men. Women are not even important enough to mention except in passing.

As i’ve often said, it this were so goddammed important to the creator of the universe, as a percentage of his followers believe it must be because it is so important to them, you think he would have managed to be at least a bit more precise. “Penis into vagina. That’s it. and you shouldn’t enjoy it too much.”

That is clarity. Not this “sleep the sleep of a woman” BS.

But upon this very shaky foundation you build the edifice of your belief: that gay people are broken by definition.

It’s just like gluttony. It’s just like materialism. But this also points out your bias.It is just like anything that is entirely trivial and meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

And here is the grand irony. you are both 100% right and 100% wrong. As timothy has pointed out, it is absolutley NOTHING like gluttony or any other imagined sin. I resent your trivializing my life, and the lives of all gay people, with that comparison. This idea– that this is a trivial thing– has allowed the heterosexual majority to rain ruin and destruction on the lives of gay people for centuries.

Homosexuality actually is exactly as meaningless and trivial as heterosexuality. nothing more and nothing less. It is the (yet another) assumption that they are somehow acutally different, apart from object, is what allows you to assert that heterosexuality is superior, what God wants.

It is neither normal, superior, nor different. and based on every bit of biblical scholarship on the subject I’ve seen, it’s highly debatable it is what god wants.

It’s just common.

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

How about viewing “brokenness” in terms of a disconnect with God, something only you and He would really know? Does that work for you?

Sure. But that has absolutely zero to do with one’s sexual orientation or whether one is internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex.

ZRAinSWVA
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, to echo what Timothy and Ben in Oakland and other have said, our sexuality is part of what and who we are. It is immutable. I could not change my sexual identity as a child, and it nearly ruined me when I tried. I desperately wanted to be like those other kids; I emulated them: dated women, read the right books, tried really, really hard to be ‘normal’ but is just wasn’t possible. They had it so easy: they wouldn’t disappoint their parents; be a target of society and religion; they would follow the expected path and it would just all be so easy.

I am not a sinner and I am not going to hell because I am gay. If that is what your religious beliefs are based on, then I want no part of it. I am not ‘broken’, now that I’ve finally come to terms with who and what I am. Even though my self-awareness was hard, cost me many friends, and caused a huge rift with my parents.

The bottom line moment for me, really, was that I was sick of lying. See, I do think lying is wrong–though I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘sin’–and I was doing my soul and pysche and relationships with others and myself irreparable harm each time I lied.

The lying had to stop, and I will never again lie to myself or others about who or what I am. And for you to approach homosexuals as if we are ‘broken’ is insulting and misguided.

Ben in Oakland
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“I am not a sinner and I am not going to hell because I am gay. If that is what your religious beliefs are based on, then I want no part of it”

That says it exactly. The belief that we are all broken is, in fact, what is broken.

Mihangel apYrs
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Heteronormalisation says that we have to be sexually faithful, monogamous, and frankly repressed.

Being a gay man means that the straight rules don’t apply: if one wants to be sexually faithful, fine, but that isn’t the only way. Emotional fidelity in that one commits to a person (or persons) while enjoyng transient sexual encounters is equally valid: remember sexual fidelity has a lot to do with the patriarchal need to know that children are one’s blood, and a mother’s need to have a committed provider.

Once we start recognising that relationships between people are THEIR affair, maybe people won’t feel guilty about how they lie their lives, merely how their behaviour impacts on others

Regan DuCasse
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

May I?
As someone ever heterosexual, I find that ex gays are confusing many things and spend or are taught to, an inordinate amount of time blaming things that don’t and won’t affect everyone the same way.

STEREOTYPES regarding gender and sexual orientation drives much of what the ex gay movement does to define homosexuality AND heterosexuality.

Depending on whatever unrealistic expectations one has on their idea of a successful romantic life: heterosexuals are given much idealization of what their lives are supposed to be like.
And that life is dangled before gay people as if that’s an end unto itself.
As if being heterosexual absolves or immunizes one from the same exact issues.
Hetero men have certain expectations of themselves and the women they want to be with.
Most women don’t live up to them, in their minds. Especially since popular media distorts women so badly.

Well, gay people are distorted too, in the minds of heteros and are distorted in the minds of gay people as well.

Being oneself and finding acceptance as such, is elusive to both orientations for different reasons.
But the results are the same: people chasing and image, rather than the substance of who they are.

Overcompensating and overindulging in sex, is true especially for those with very low self esteem.
Whatever their orientation.
However, since gay people are a minority, the pool of suitable mates is much smaller.
The ex gay movement places itself at the center of being the answer for low self esteem, while eagerly supporting AND exploiting societal distrust and ignorance of gay people.
I’ve been an online argument with a woman who supports PFOX. I let Tim be privy to it.

This woman has been very well educated in stereotypes. She has no interest in the real gay person because her agenda from the outset is that homosexuality must be changed.
So her approach wouldn’t be with the idea to learn more or that there is something she DOESN’T know, she’s absolutely certain she already knows all she has to.
But I recognize is all as stereotypes.

When you’re taught all there is, and have little or no opportunity to know otherwise if you’re gay, you end up like this friend of Tim’s.
If you’re not gay and AVOID any opportunity to know gay people differently, you expect nothing else of gay people and don’t want them to be anything other than stereotypes.

I asked this woman if she could understand the price gay people have to pay for all this.
Bottom line, she doesn’t care. And she doesn’t have to.
So, it’s up to gay people to ALWAYS be authentic and be themselves and not give into the stereotypes expected of them.

On some levels I can relate to how that is. There are stereotypes of black women I fight every day. Some people resent that I don’t validate those stereotypes.
And I see that’s true of the anti gay as well.
When they DON’T see stereotypical gay people, they think it’s a phony, contrived image.
Funny that.
Because affecting being a heterosexual is a more accurate description of what ex gays are doing.

Mihangel apYrs
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie honey:

come back when you can prove god exists, AND when you can prove which one he is. Until then it’s just so much smoke

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Mihangel,

Debbie is welcome to comment here any time she likes, with or without proof of God.

Debbie Thurman
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, you said brokenness as a disconnect from God “has absolutely zero to do with one’s sexual orientation or whether one is internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex.”

How can you be so sure about that?

And why do you insist that I refuse to acknowledge there are people who “are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex”?

By the way, what do you do with the people who are drawn both ways, most of whom are women? And why do you suppose that is? Are they just as invisible as those women Ben claims the Bible mentions “in passing”?

And Ben, it’s not “the book.” It’s the One behind the book. The One who is knowable, without translation problems.

Regan, you bring up stereotyping, which is interesting, give that Timothy is doing just that with his post. He cannot know how it feels to be a transformed woman (or man) who once struggled with homosexuality any more than I can know how it feels to be a gay man. But because he was raised in the Church, he believes he has the whole picture.

Truthteller says, “Funny how you claim Jesus Christ will change them to heterosexuals, when Jesus Christ never said there was anything wrong with gay people.” Since you’re so truthful, perhaps you can point out just where I have said this.

You all really might want to open your ears and try listening one day.

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

I say that you refuse to acknowledge it because… well, you never do.

I acknowledge that there are people (men and women) who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of both sexes.

What do I do with them? It’s simply fact. I acknowledge and accept them.

So let’s try an experiment. Let me ask a few questions and see if we can reach some agreement. I only ask that you use language that is not ChurchSpeak, because that will lead the other readers to misunderstand you.

Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex?

Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will not ever become internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances?

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Timothy, you said brokenness as a disconnect from God “has absolutely zero to do with one’s sexual orientation or whether one is internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex.”

How can you be so sure about that?

It’s pretty simple. I know God to be just and good. And I know that sexual orientation is the natural result of God’s creative process. It is a contradiction in terms for a good God to condemn that which He created for being how He created them.

Regan, you bring up stereotyping, which is interesting, give that Timothy is doing just that with his post. He cannot know how it feels to be a transformed woman (or man) who once struggled with homosexuality any more than I can know how it feels to be a gay man. But because he was raised in the Church, he believes he has the whole picture.

That’s a pretty serious accusation. Can you please point out for us all exactly where it was that I suggested that I had the whole picture? Or where I implied that I know what it feels like to be “a transformed woman”?

Burr
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Michael, I suspect lots of Christians who struggle with whether or not to accept a gay identity have a built-in mechanism that makes then ill at ease with being gay. We can debate whether or not this comes from the God who created them or guilt-mongering from other people. Surely the latter does not help. But the former likewise cannot be discounted.

Sure it can.. I’ve never experienced this “built-in mechanism that makes then ill at ease with being gay” because I was not exposed to the guilt-mongering either. It’s most assuredly the ONLY factor in all of this. It may only seem built-in to you because that’s all you’ve known your entire life and it’s so embedded into our culture. But I am perfectly immune to it.

Ben in Oakland
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“And Ben, it’s not “the book.” It’s the One behind the book. The One who is knowable, without translation problems.”

If by the One, you mean Jesus, I would point out that he said NOT ONE WORD on this subject. So, we’re back where we started.

I see this book. Not God.

I have opened my ears and i have listened. I don’t hear God talking. I just hear YOU talking.

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Well, Ben, actually Jesus might have spoken about gay people in Matthew 3. Some scholars argue that the definitions of “eunuch” within ancient cultures were not limited to the castrati but also included those who were not attracted to the same sex. Norwegian theologian, Ragnhild Schanke has perhaps don’t the most work in that area.

Whatever the facts, it is clear that eunuchs were part of what would be considered “queer” as in having non-conventional sexuality.

If this is true, then not only did Jesus discuss the subject but did so inclusively, perhaps saying that homosexuals are born that way.

It is also important to recognize that eunuchs were excluded from temple worship at the time of Jesus, but the very first Christian convert was a African eunuch… kind of an interesting fact considering the attitudes of some Christians.

truthteller
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, you specifically said it here:

“My having worked with folks seeking to overcome their same-sex attractions does not mean I believe in dictating that they must be “fixed.” They are, rather, to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ. He does what no man or woman can do.”

But your whole post has the underlying message that gay is evil, disordered, broken and in a word, deviant.

We are not going to play semantic games here. You need to own up to your post.

Ben in Oakland
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I was aware of those translational possibilities, but I decided to ignore the vagueness of that passage for the same reasons I question the vagueness of the passages people cite that they claim are anti-gay.

BrianQTD
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“And Ben, it’s not “the book.” It’s the One behind the book. The One who is knowable, without translation problems.”

A lazy appeal to GAWD? Que sorpresa! No, the correctness of theology is determined by the merits of the arguments not by your (subjective) claims to “know” the One. It’s worthless posturing and bluster.

Many gay-affirming people and gay people in relationships also claim to “know” God personally. Are they wrong? If, according to you, they can be wrong in all THEIR sincerity, so can YOU.

The arrogance of evangelical Christians knows no bounds.

Emily K
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

..and to compound what Timothy said about Eunuchs, Isaiah said to the eunuch, “do not think you are a dry tree.” That is, one who is not naturally capable of bearing children through their partnership with a lover alone should not think of themselves as being less than human or as unworthy as any other person before God.

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Ben,

So we’re back to the rather interesting perspective that perhaps the value of the Bible and its stories might not be found in literalist interpretations in ANY direction but rather in what the overall message seems to be.

And if we look at that passage – well the whole NT in general – the message seems to be “you were once rejected and judged by your sins but now you are accepted without having to meet the standards that other people put on you.” And for the next 2,000 years Christians have been working hard to put an asterisk on that message to say “except for the folk we don’t much like who do those things we disapprove of.”

Emily K
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, let’s make the wording more simple to understand.

A healthy straight person will seek fulfilling romantic relationships with the opposite sex, and then perhaps marry them, and raise a family. Maybe they would torment their neighbor as a kid because they secretly had a crush on them. As they get older they embrace these feelings and, at first awkwardly, begin courting. They go on dates, have romances, and yes, urges, and they will act on these urges in a healthy way with their loved one, who loves them back.

Now replace “opposite sex” with “same sex” and “straight” with “gay” in that paragraph, and that’s what a gay person is.

Easy.

Ben in Oakland
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I think that pretty much says it all, Timothy.

truthteller
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

This is an interesting article that researched the centurian and his ( pais) servant in a gay relationship and how Jesus healed the servant.

http://www.gaychristian101.com/Gay-Centurion.html

Debbie Thurman
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“I have opened my ears and i have listened. I don’t hear God talking. I just hear YOU talking.”

You said it, Ben.

Nope, Truthteller, try again. I did not “say it.”

I believe affirming homosexuality is rebellious, not necessarily deviant.

“And I know that sexual orientation is the natural result of God’s creative process.” How do you know that, Timothy?

“Can you please point out for us all exactly where it was that I suggested that I had the whole picture? Or where I implied that I know what it feels like to be “a transformed woman”?”

I said you do not know how it feels to be a transformed (i.e., no longer gay) woman or man.

You said in your post, Timothy, “I don’t know the solution.” But in your comments you said:

“I know God to be just and good. And I know that sexual orientation is the natural result of God’s creative process. It is a contradiction in terms for a good God to condemn that which He created for being how He created them.”

Prior to that one, you said to me:

“I acknowledge that there are people (men and women) who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of both sexes.

What do I do with them? It’s simply fact. I acknowledge and accept them.”

You asked me to acknowledge them, but you implied that to acknowledge also means to accept. That’s what you and all sensible people do, correct? You imply a superior knowledge.

You also said:

“So let’s try an experiment. Let me ask a few questions and see if we can reach some agreement. I only ask that you use language that is not ChurchSpeak, because that will lead the other readers to misunderstand you.

Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex?”

Yes and no. I do not accept them as inherently and unalterably this way.

“Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will not ever become internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances?”

I agree that many will stay as they are, happy or not. Why must they change to heterosexual? Are they allowed to assume another identity in Christ, but refuse to act on their impulses or perhaps give God a chance to negate those impulses? Of course, you haven’t asked me why I believe as I do.

Timothy Kincaid
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Sorry, Debbie, but you are playing games. You are taking quotes out of order to try and suggest all sorts of things. You are reading in all sorts of additional assumptions and arguing against what hasn’t been said.

We don’t play that way at BTB.

So… let’s start over and try again. This time without the funny stuff.

Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex? I’m not asking in this question about immutability, just whether such people exist.

Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will not ever become internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances? Here’s the immutability question. Please note that I’m not asking about happy or unhappy or identities in Christ or negation of impulse or anything else, just what the words say. We can get to that, but lets agree on some terms first without playing avoidance games. And, incidentally “many” is a different answer than “most”.

truthteller
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

rebellious:
Of, relating to, or characteristic of a rebel or rebellion: rebellious behavior.
Resisting treatment or control; unruly. See Synonyms at insubordinate.

pervert:
a person whose behavior deviates from what is acceptable especially in sexual behavior

you are either intellectually dishonest or too invested in being right and will defend your position with distortions and games because you see it as a threat to who you are– rather who you want to become.

The possibility that you are wrong would destroy that illusion and so you distort what others say and become defensive. Frankly, I find that completely unchristian and unworthy of engaging in conversation with.

truthteller
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

My previous response was to Debbie, regarding this:

“Nope, Truthteller, try again. I did not “say it.”

I believe affirming homosexuality is rebellious, not necessarily deviant.”

Ben in Oakland
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

As long as we’re agreed that it’s you talking, I’m fine.

But if it is just you talking, and if your talk contradicts everything i have learned in my 60 years, and if your talk takes advantage of people who have been cowed into hating themselves as they are and so seek the hep of the very people who have taught them to hate themselves….

then why should I listen to you?

Bernie
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, Guys,

Take a break a second.

Debbie, Simply put, Some of us, myself and Timothy included simply believe(have faith), that God Almighty created us this way. That is our faith in God, and our personal relationship with Christ.

Now, we can spend all night bantering the hermeneutics of the Bible, and get philosophically polemic with each other until we’re blue in the face. It’s not going to change who we are and how God chose to make us.

And, I for one, do not presume to know the mind of God.

I have made my peace with myself, and came to embrace myself with love. All the while I still have the peace of Christ in my heart. What HIS purpose is for me, and HIM alone.

God Bless, and Peace

Aaron
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

@ Debbie:

The fact is going to remain, dear Debbie, that many of us spent years in ex-gay therapy, untold amounts of money and far more nights of tears before God and we didn’t change. Further, the testimony of every ex-gay who claims to have changed their orientation that I’ve ever met has been riddled with holes (i.e. they were bisexual to begin with or they talk of not experiencing the “glamour” or “excitement” of gay sex when they sleep with their wives, lol). For myself, God outright stopped talking to me for the two years I was in therapy. His presence became tangible again when I accepted myself.

Your theology is good and dandy right up until it doesn’t work.

Greg
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie’s cute. Completely wrong, but cute.

If someone wants to say that compulsive promiscuity is a disorder, then that could be debated. However, I have known as many straight people, especially in college, who were compulsively promiscuous.

I would suggest to Debbie and others who want to “fix” gay people is to stand with us in getting our relationships the same legal standing as straight people enjoy. After all, we commit to one another, we raise children, we care for our spouse’s families, we take care of each other when sick, and cheer each other up when unhappy.

Timothy’s aphorism is pretty spot on for the male part–to make it applicable to every gender, maybe, “Love isn’t about how one has sex, it’s about how one gives one’s heart.” (I’m completely open to getting that refined.)

John in the Bay Area
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Have you heard from Lisa Miller lately?

Emily K
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Good one, John in the Bay Area. It’s relevant. :]

BCCanuck
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Joe wrote:

“I’ve had thousands of successful hook ups … Our minds have an inherent ability to figure sh!t out. When I see an adult ex-gay over thirty who still feels guilt, I don’t feel sympathy, I feel contempt.”

Thousands of hook-ups and an inherent ability to figure sh!t out. Yet contempt still trumps compassion. Okee-dokee.

Regan DuCasse
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, understand this.

I don’t think you can appreciate what being heterosexual is at ALL. Transformed?
Who. Cares?
What’s with the HARD SELL?

Heterosexuality in the way an ex gay feels compelled to have it, reduces it to something superficial and without the substance required that REALLY makes our orientation what it is.
So you’re ‘transformed’? Into WHAT exactly? You’re putting on airs, as if affecting heterosexuality is something important, so therefore makes YOU important.
Seriously?
Heterosexuals are a large majority of the human population, therefore COMMON.
No big event there, see?

Although one’s sexual orientation is an inherent part of what who one is, it doesn’t DISTINGUISH anyone where greatness and importance is concerned.

You putting what you are now in the forefront of what you are looks like a used car salesman selling an old heap and trying to say it’s shiny and new.

Your goal, the dominant culture’s expectations of what gay people are supposed to be is old news, girl. Ex gays are not curing cancer, or even AIDS.
So you’re no big deal, nothing to see here.
And are giving validation to people who want to see gay people disappeared.

You’re one less lesbian in the world.
Considering the gravity of the larger issue, no loss, but no gain REAL gain to what matters.
If it’s about YOUR happiness, and the freedom to make the decision as you see fit.
Cool.
Why you think it should be without judgment isn’t very mature. Call it a reflection of what you tend to inflict.
Why should anyone be impressed with what you think of homosexuality OR heterosexuality?

Ben in Atlanta
August 2nd, 2010 | LINK

As part of a non-dualistic spiritual community the idea of a disconnect doesn’t really make any sense to me. That which is not broken does not need or require repair.

From the Upanishads:

This is perfect. That is perfect. Perfect comes from perfect. Take perfect from perfect, the remainder is perfect.

Debbie Thurman
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“If someone wants to say that compulsive promiscuity is a disorder, then that could be debated. However, I have known as many straight people, especially in college, who were compulsively promiscuous.”

I believe that’s along the lines of my original point, before this turned downhill into a “why do you believe gays are not gay and why do you want to fix them” straw man discussion.

You all are fixated on orientation change, as if you had change envy, when it’s a heart transformation I am talking about (2 Cor. 5:17-21).

“The possibility that you are wrong would destroy that illusion and so you distort what others say and become defensive.”

I see a lot of distortion and defensiveness here, but it is not coming from me, Truthteller. Nice try.

No, Timothy, no games. Yours is a poor try. The rules apply to you, too. I’ve made myself clear enough.

Why don’t you let Joe have the last word, since he’s the figure-outer of s__t?

Happy life to you.

MIhangel apYrs
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy
sorry if I offended yoi.

I will depart BTB and never return

William
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie: This thread is entitled “Why many ex-gays go to ex-gay ministries”.

I’ve just read 2 Cor. 5:17-21, which you have cited. Very nice, but I fail to see its relevance to the title of this thread, unless you are implying that, for gay people, belonging to a “new creation” and “being reconciled to God” means – or at least includes – becoming in some sense or other “ex-gay”. To which I can only reply that I see no reason to make such a supposition.

Emily K
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

If a “heart transformation” is all Debbie is talking about and not an “orientation change,” then ex-gay ministries are NOT “ex-gay” at all, and she admitted this outright.

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

MIhangel,

YOu didn’t offend me and you have no need to depart. I was just reminding you that while you are welcome here, so is Debbie. And unlike many anti-gay sites we have no belief requirements to participate or be heard.

Debbie Thurman
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“If a “heart transformation” is all Debbie is talking about and not an “orientation change,” then ex-gay ministries are NOT “ex-gay” at all, and she admitted this outright.”

Woot, Emily! Finally somebody gets it. I can’t speak for all such ministries, only the one I have been a part of, of course.

William, the ministry of reconciliation is entirely relevant to this discussion.

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

No I don’t think you have been clear. Most of our readers don’t use ChurchSpeak so we try to stick to clear secular English, as much as possible.

Terms like “fix your eyes on Christ” have absolutely no meaning outside of a church context (and very little within one). They are slogans with about as much practical purpose to this discussion as “keep on truckin.”

Should I assume that my experiment failed? That we simply cannot find a commonly shared factual understanding?

See, Debbie, you sort of embody the problem with Christian evangelism into the gay world. You don’t want to set the factual parameters, you have shifting meanings, and you talk around things instead of about them. Rather than discuss the VERY REAL situation that same-sex attracted people have when they seek ex-gay ministries, you want to talk about the possibilities of God. Fabulous for Sunday School, useless for this conversation.

And that makes it hard for gay people to trust you. You aren’t speaking language they understand.

Ben in Oakland
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

I think I understand the language very clearly.

“I believe there is something wrong with you– and with everybody, but especially you. There’s something wrong with you. I don’t like it, and i believe I can twist the so-called word of god into supporting my campaign against what i don’t like. You gotta change.?

William
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“William, the ministry of reconciliation is entirely relevant to this discussion.”

In what way?

Mihangel apYrs
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

OK Timothy (caught me at a bitch of a moment their!)

I’m afraid that now I do become a bit impatient with people who have such certainty (including fundie atheists)

I realise that absence of proof isn’t proof of absence, but when people presume to use a belief to mould my life opportunities I get a bit tired. For 46 years I’ve known I’ve been in a minority, I have been fighting to push back for the last thirty!

Priya Lynn
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie said “We can debate whether or not this [built in mechanism that makes people ill-at-ease with being gay] comes from the God who created them or guilt-mongering from other people. Surely the latter does not help. But the former likewise cannot be discounted.

The former can be completely discounted as there is no evidence whatsoever to support the existence of any god and time and time again we’ve found natural causes to that which we’ve previously assumed must be caused by a god. There is also no “built in mechanism” that makes people feel ill at ease with being gay. In societies that have never oppressed gays gay people feel completely at ease with themselves, this ill-at-ease feeling is entirely the result of anti-gay teaching from people like you.

Debbie said “How about viewing “brokenness” in terms of a disconnect with God, something only you and He would really know?”.

You are no more connected to a god than I am and I’m an atheist. The most secular of countries have the highest rates of societal health – brokeness is correlated with belief in god.

Debbie said “Homosexuality is no more a disorder than gluttony or materialism or selfishness, tendencies we all have.”.

It amazes me how often religionists repeat this idiotic insult. You pretend you’re being gracious by saying “I’m as bad as you” when in fact there is nothing bad about gayness and it is profoundly insulting to equate your wrongdoings with gays’ harmless and fullfilling love.

Debbie said “Where you and I have the most difficulty in agreeing, I think, is along the line of believing that private behavior is only of concern to the one doing it. Yet entire industries have arisen around lusts of every kind, and they do much harm.”.

You imply that gayness is wrong because industries have arisen around same sex lust yet the same industries have arisen around opposite sex lust and you have no problem with heterosexality – quite hypocritical of you and once again incredibly ignorant and insulting of you to trivialize gayness as being all about lust.

Debbie said “And Ben, it’s not “the book.” It’s the One behind the book. The One who is knowable, without translation problems.”.

If that was true then everyone who “knows” god would have the same understanding of him – they don’t. Inevitably the god people “know” exactly equates to what they want to believe god is like.

Debbie said “Nope, Truthteller, try again. I did not “say it.””.

Not in those exact words but certainly when you say

My having worked with folks seeking to overcome their same-sex attractions does not mean I believe in dictating that they must be “fixed.” They are, rather, to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ. He does what no man or woman can do. I can only love them where they are. He can see them where they will be.

you are basically saying Jesus will changes gays to heterosexuals and your denying that is just grotesquely dishonest. Its just this sort of implying something and then claiming you said no such thing that makes people unwilling (and rightly so) to trust any anti-gay religionist to be telling the truth.

Mud
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

I’m in the same boat. I’m LDS and come from a very devout LDS family. I have been wracked with guilt and pain for so long. I tried Evergreen (Mormon ex-gay therapy) and underwent reparative therapy. four years of reparative therapy. I ended up in a psych ward after slitting my wrists. I don’t recommend it. The pain is unbelievable. I have prayed, fasted, attended church diligently, paid my tithing, read scriptures, only listened to uplifting music, attended Evergreen meetings regularly. Nothing helped. Nothing changed. It was all so futile. Now I just cry. I cry all the time. I’m so confused and hurt.

My reparative therapist even told me that there may be “too much damage” to fix and I would have to live with it.

Here I am alone. Hated by my faith. Hated by the gay community. I’m a man without a country.

I keep thinking about suicide more and more. I serve no purpose. I just keeping asking myself, why? why? If it’s so evil and such an abomination then why does it exist? Why can’t I get rid of the feelings and the pain? Why can’t I change? Why was I born if this is so wrong? Why? I just keeps fluttering around in my head like a wounded bird.

I don’t know how I’m going to keep hanging on. I don’t know why I care to hang on.

This is how I live. This is what ex-gay ministries has done for me.

Debbie Thurman
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, I submit that gay people here or anywhere else are smart enough to understand such references as “fix your eyes on Christ,” which simply means to keep him at the center of your life. Little kids get what it means to “have Jesus in their hearts.” You all claim such intellect, yet you want me to talk down to you. Uh-uh.

Sounds like you see Church as a collection of back-slapping Christians who entertain no possibility of welcoming seeking nonbelievers or struggling believers into our midst. Pity, that.

Likewise, neither is a phrase like the ministry of reconciliation a mystery. The passage I cited clearly speaks of being reconciled to Christ, out of which flows reconciliation with one another.

You want us to see if we have any common ground. Reconciliation presupposes it. We have common worth in Christ Jesus.

Another churchy word that is relevant to this conversation is sanctification, which simply means Christ in me. It is a gradual arc of growth toward having the mind of Christ and understanding what it means to be a fellow heir with him.

You might want to start a glossary for future reference.

Other Fred in the UK
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

@Debbie Thurman

And Ben, it’s not “the book.” It’s the One behind the book. The One who is knowable, without translation problems.

Why then do different Christian churches show such a variety of religious beliefs, on such a variety of subjects from homosexuality to the transubstantiation of wine. Has every church but one (perhaps yours) failed to properly know God?

Priya Lynn
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Enough with the gobbledygook Debbie. You use these ambiguous phrases to imply one thing and then later you claimed you meant something entirely different. You use this churchy talk to disguise your intentions and fool people into believing your on their side when you stand against them and their happiness. I for one have no common ground with you whatsoever if you think we have “common worth in Christ Jesus” whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Regan DuCasse
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

I’m still thinking of what pain and loss Janet Jenkins must be going through by having her child taken away from her.

Just another tactic to get at the heart and soul and break a gay person, is to take away their family, their children.

What you’ve said in support of Lisa Miller taking their child away from Ms. Jenkins, Debbie.
Negates anything you have to say about living in Christ, blah blah blah.
It’s actions that matter.
And support of another indignity and cruelty on a gay parent is one of those actions.
That’s why, you saying anything about living in Christ, coming from you…looks like horsesh!t.
Christ in some hands is beautiful.
In yours, ugly as can be.

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Yes, our readers are “smart enough” to understand German, Swahili, or COBOL as well. But not all of them speak these languages so we will be sticking with English for now.

You assume “fix your eyes on Christ” is easy to understand because it mean “keep him at the center of your life.” But that second slogan has no meaning outside of ChurchSpeak either.

Little kids understand Tagalag… if they are immersed in Tagalag. Our readers were not all immersed in ChurchSpeak.

This really isn’t a matter of debate. At Box Turtle Bulletin we discuss in English and if you wish to communicate, that’s what you have to do.

So if you really do want to communicate, I’m ready. If you can speak the same language as the rest of us then you can join the conversation.

But if you want to talk about “common worth in Jesus Christ” and sanctification then this is not the site for it. You can feel sanctimonious (another good churchy word) and decide that you are too good to wallow in real conversation if you like. But that’s pretty much all it’s going to get you.

William
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

You’ve got a good point there, Priya. Perhaps the following comment of the Rev. James Henry Wiggins on Mary Baker Eddy is applicable here too:

“She does not care to have her paragraphs clear, and delights in so expressing herself that her words may have various readings and meanings. That is one of the tricks of the trade.”

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Believe it or not, folks, I do know what Debbie is saying. I speak ChurchSpeak. But I also know that in this instance it is being used as a tool to avoid conversation, not advance it.

William
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“We can debate whether or not this [built in mechanism that makes people ill-at-ease with being gay] comes from the God who created them…”

I see no reason against believing that this is so – except that there is absolutely no good reason FOR believing it.

Richard Rush
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Well said, Priya Lynn (both comments).

————

Debbie said,

“Little kids get what it means to “have Jesus in their hearts.”

Only if they have been brainwashed.

Debbie Thurman
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“This really isn’t a matter of debate. At Box Turtle Bulletin we discuss in English and if you wish to communicate, that’s what you have to do.

So if you really do want to communicate, I’m ready. If you can speak the same language as the rest of us then you can join the conversation.”

That’s a cop-out … or a kick-out, Timothy.

You have erected a double standard. You want me to accept you and your definitions of who you are or believe yourselves to be and be conversant in gayspeak. But it’s not reciprocal.

So be it.

Uki
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Hmph…I was trying to make a comment about similar ex-gays therapies in Indonesia….but this conversations have become too christian for me to understand -_- and definitely not something that I could comprehend……

TJMcFisty
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“Stewardess, I speak jive.”

Gay forum, Debbie. Figure it out.

Emily K
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“Gayspeak??” oh LORDY! What the hell is “gayspeak?” seriously, i can’t even come up with a stereotype to mock such a term.

BrianQTD
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Priya said:
Debbie said “And Ben, it’s not “the book.” It’s the One behind the book. The One who is knowable, without translation problems.”.

If that was true then everyone who “knows” god would have the same understanding of him – they don’t. Inevitably the god people “know” exactly equates to what they want to believe god is like.

Priya, I barked up that tree earlier. There are many gay Christians who claim to know God and have an authentic experience with God. Thurman obviously doesn’t think their experience makes them right, so we are not inclined to take her appeals to “knowing” God seriously, either. Again, worthless bluster and self-aggrandizement.

Thurman won’t deal with that because her only argument against homosexuality is that her “spidey-sense” tells her it is wrong (she won’t engage interpretation/translation issues at all, as we have all seen). Pathetic and contemptuous, not to mention intellectually slothful. We have a word for that kind of “spidey-sense”: it’s called homophobia.

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

No, Debbie

We don’t speak gayspeak or ChurchSpeak here. Just English. So are you ready to communicate?

Can your ideas hold up to being presented in clear wording without the protection of the vagueness inherent in religious slogans?

If so, then let’s go back to my clearly worded questions. If not, then what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?

Ben in Oakland
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

As I said, if it’s not the actual Word-O’-God that matters, and it’s just DT talking, and since she is so clearly in the thrall of an anti-gay agenda, why would anyone take her seriously?

Except, of course, for the people who have been so carefully taught to hate themselves.

Debbie Thurman
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“Can your ideas hold up to being presented in clear wording without the protection of the vagueness inherent in religious slogans?”

There is nothing vague about the Gospel. If you want to get it, you will.

“If so, then let’s go back to my clearly worded questions. If not, then what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?”

The record here can speak for itself. I have answered your loaded questions adequately, Timothy.

Perhaps I think it might be important to help you all see (if such is possible) that, while you want to be accepted as just like every else, you actually are setting yourselves up as a separate class of selfish, whiny, malcontents. When it suits you, you are erudite and coy. When it does not, you feign innocence and ignorance. You are not helping your cause with this charade.

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Okay, Debbie, I give up all efforts to communicate with you today. You have zero interest in communicating and I have far too much to do, so I’ll let the other selfish, whiny, malcontents talk with you.

William
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, Timothy’s second question was:

“Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will not ever become internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances?”

You replied:

“I agree that many will stay as they are, happy or not. Why must they change to heterosexual?”

You then tried to fudge your answer by adding:

“Are they allowed to assume another identity in Christ, but refuse to act on their impulses or perhaps give God a chance to negate those impulses?”

So let me ask you this:

Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will remain inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex, and will not ever become internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances, no matter what identity they assume in Christ – whatever that means – and that those impulses, whether or not they act on them and no matter what chance they obediently give to God, are highly unlikely ever to be negated?

ZRAinSWVA
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie Thurman wrote, “There is nothing vague about the Gospel. If you want to get it, you will.”

Really? Really?!

Welcome to my little corner of SW Virginia where we have a complexion of folks who think they really and truly know the Gospel and you don’t know diddly.

Primitive Baptists

Snake Handlers

Pentecostal Holiness

There are, in fact, 37 churches in a five mile radius of my home, with two new ones under construction. Either there’s a lot of sinners in SW VA, or else there’s a lot of conflicting opinions ’bout that there Gospel that you claim is so easily understood and interpreted.

Frankly, this selfish, whiny, malcontent doesn’t think you speak for God nor that you can read her mind. Nor do I think you can judge me who was, according to that there Gospel, made in her image.

Darren
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,

This is an interesting article and interesting comments. It definitely applies to me. Until three years ago, I was totally closeted and completely out of control with anonymous hookups. Not able to take the inner turmoil any longer (I definitely felt broken), I went to an Exodus recommended counselor. I did that for a couple of years, went to group sessions, etc. Result? I’m still attracted to men. I don’t go to the groups or the counseling anymore, although they actually did a great deal to help me get over (some of) my shame. I think that there may be some people who experience some type of change in orientation, but I think most (and maybe all) don’t. I know most of your readers don’t understand this, but this creates an incredible problem for me. Although, I have seen the ugly side of some people who call themselves Christians, I have also seen the value and the love in true Christianity (even the conservative kind). I am a committed Christian, and I just haven’t been able to accept that God is ok with it for me. On the other hand, all of the double-speak and “change is possible” messages are really starting to tick me off. God is honored by truth, and he doesn’t need us to manipulate that truth to help others win the culture war. Debbie won’t answer your questions directly, because it will expose that double-speak.

I know this is rambling, and I know that some of your readers will most likely skewer me, but I feel like I am a good representation of your article above. I felt like I should comment and maybe even answer questions if it would help people understand. Maybe I’m the missing link between Debbie and some of your readers.

Emily K
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Perhaps I think it might be important to help you all see (if such is possible) that, while you want to be accepted as just like every else, you actually are setting yourselves up as a separate class of selfish, whiny, malcontents.[bold added]

aaaah, THERE’S that Christian love I’ve come to know! I much prefer this refreshing honesty than all the “love the sinner hate the sin” in the world.

We’re not simply seeking equality, we want “special rights” and a “special class” for ourselves, a class Debbie only sees as “selfish, whiny,” and “malcontented.” It’s our own fault we’re so miserable, if we weren’t so different, maybe people wouldn’t treat us so differently.

That’s why we “need” people like Debbie to “save” us from parenting children (by urging others, on a large scale, in saccharine and oh-so-concerned language, to take them away from us).

Honey, just save your breath and go grab a cosmo with Lisa Miller somewhere.

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Darren,

I don’t go to the groups or the counseling anymore, although they actually did a great deal to help me get over (some of) my shame.

Thanks for saying that, Darren. That’s one of the ironic things about ex-gay ministries: sometimes they actually help people come to terms with their orientation and expose troubled folk to others who also experience same-sex attraction.

I don’t think many do change orientation, exactly – or not men, anyway – though a few do find a way through Exodus to achieve a satisfactory relationship with a spouse such that they are able to live a contented, though complicated, heterosexual life. To get a sense of what I mean, look at the results of the Jones & Yarhouse study.

I feel for you and your conflict about God. I’m not going to tell you what you have to believe other than this: God loves you the way he created you and he wants you to have a meaningful and happy life. What gives you meaning is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself.

I’m going to VERY HIGHLY recommend that you check out the Gay Christian Network at http://www.gaychristian.net/ to see if you can find community there. Their beliefs encompass the range from celibacy to committed partnership.

Debbie Thurman
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

“Debbie won’t answer your questions directly, because it will expose that double-speak.”

Are you the Darren I’ve chatted with before? If so, you are in a position to know I don’t do double-speak, and also to know that to say change is never possible is to make an unprovable blanket statement.

Timothy wants me to agree with him that most gay people cannot go straight. The problem is he is only allowing for an all-or-nothing proposition: gay or straight. He is not presenting the possibility that a person may retain some attractions to the same sex, yet not retain a gay identity or a desire to act on those attractions. That, in fact, a person may choose to focus on his identity in Christ and see where that takes him, with no pressure to change what he would call his (or her) orientation. That a person can actually subjugate his sexuality to a higher power.

Does anyone agree with me that a person should have that option? If not, why not? Because all the crabs should stay in the bucket?

No, William, I don’t agree with your statement. And I don’t believe that gays folks should be pushed or cajoled or persuaded or guilted into becoming heterosexual. I believe in the freedom to choose. I don’t know of any way to quantify who chooses what, do you?

Timothy Kincaid
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

I’m willing to go there with you Debbie, if you are willing to get there without jumping. You want to talk about what you do with “it” without ever talking about what “it” is. Like Darren, I find that to be doublespeak.

So just let me know if you are willing to go back to the beginning and answer the questions we need to answer in order to get a basis for our discussion. You’ll note that I did not put them in terms of gay or straight.

If we can actually get past that point then we can talk about options and crabs and buckets.

Darren
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, I’ve never posted on this board even though I’ve read it for months. So, no, we’ve never chatted. I hope you don’t feel that I attacked you. I don’t know where you live, but for all I know, I might know you, and we may be friends. I do understand where you are coming from.

BUT…

I didn’t say that change is never possible. I said that most (and MAYBE all) don’t really change their attractions. I will change that assertion to men. I have actually met some women who I believe have experienced a great deal of change. On the flip side, I don’t think that I have ever met a man who has experienced a great deal of change. Even the group leaders. And I’ve met a LOT of people in this movement over the last three years. Not that there aren’t some men, somewhere who have experienced a radical change. I just haven’t met them.

Also… I am a conservative Christian, but the ex-gay movement most definitely does engage in double-speak. Based on the groups that I’ve been a part of, most men don’t have that much change in attraction. Change in behavior? Sure. I’ve seen a lot of people at least partially, if not completely, conquer sexual addiction. I also have male friends who still experience same sex attraction, but seem to have a happy marriage to a woman, although they still struggle with emotional repercussions. Are they really happy? Don’t know. Why not just say “Most, or at least many men who experience same sex attraction will always experience it, no matter what they do. They can, however, choose to follow their beliefs and not participate in same sex activity.” The “Change is Possible!” message does not convey that complete truth, and deep down inside you know that. The simple “Change” message is strictly meant to help in the fight against gay marriage, etc. If we told the truth, would it hurt the fight in the culture war? Probably, but as I said above, I think God is honored only by truth. He doesn’t need us to try to outsmart and manipulate the world.

A fully and totally honest message would allow people to make informed choices for themselves. For the Christian, the truth creates possible challenges, for the non-Christian, not so much. A non-Christian really wouldn’t have much incentive to even try to change, and the law should not discriminate against them. I don’t believe Christians should divorce under most circumstances, but I don’t think the divorce law should be changed to follow Biblical standards. Christians should just follow their beliefs. (Why don’t our conservative leaders want to change heterosexual divorce laws? Is there some hypocrisy there?)

Timothy, thanks for the website recommendation. I appreciate the balanced way you approach these issues.

John in the Bay Area
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Debbie knows that there is no convincing evidence that people can change from gay to straight. It just hasn’t been demonstrated and exgays are making no effort to do so, because they know that they will never be able to come up with any proof that stands up to scrutiny.

Exgay newspeak is essentially a language of dishonesty used to give the impression that people can change their sexual orientation despite the complete absence of peer reviewed, reproducible studies to support those claims.

Gay people might be successful in abstinence or may even be able to function to some degree in a heterosexual marriage, but none of that is going to make them any less gay or more heterosexual than they started.

Michael Bussee
August 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, you asked:

“Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex? I’m not asking in this question about immutability, just whether such people exist.”

Try as you might, you will never get an “ex-gay” to give you a straight answer to that question. If they answered with an honest and non-evasive “yes” their ex-gay house of cards would tumble. They will not acknowledge the reality of sexual orientation — just “attractions”, “behavior” and “identity”.

It is interesting that Exodus will sometimes “slip” and use the phrase “sexual orientation”, but they don’t mean it in the sense that practically everyone on the planet does. They will not. They cannot. Along with their insistence that only their understanding of the Bible is correct, their denial of sexual orientation is the bedrock of the ex-gay paradigm.

In their old materials, they USED to define “homosexuality” as the “ongoing, adult, erotic and emotional ATTRACTION to the same sex.” What was very weird is that in the same publication they defined “heterosexuality” as the “ability to related to the opposite sex with INTEREST, not fear or disgust.”

I called Bob Davies, then President of Exodus, to point out the fact that their definition of heterosexuality said NOTHING of “erotic and emotional attraction” to the opposite sex. He thanked me for bringing this to his attention and admitted it was puzzling and inconsistent. Exodus’s solution? They removed ALL definitions from their next newsletter — without ANY explanation.

Exodus has its OWN “special language” for these things. They will not and cannot used plain English. Alan Chambers calls it “Christianese”. I call it “Exodus Newspeak”. Whatever you call it, it’s dishonest and deliberately misleading. Whether they refer to themselves as “ex”, “former” or “post” gay — they are all still synonyms for “homosexual”.

“Ex-gay does not mean former homosexual. Rather it is a CONVENIENCE for a Christian WITH homosexual tendencies who would rather not HAVE those tendencies. It just rolls of the tongue a little easier.” — Joe Dallas, Exodus, 1991

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

I have no problem with people plugging into GayChristian.net because you do get a range of perspectives there, as Timothy said.

“It”: sexual orientation? Is that the word or are you thinking of another? I am not vexed by it. It’s a compass point. Is that what you want to talk about? It’s just semantics. Words. It’s ideas I am concerned with.

Can you answer something for me, Timothy? Going back to your assertion that Christians don’t hang out here and considering the whole reason for your post we are discussing — that so many are drawn to and then wounded by Christian ex-gay ministries — I am baffled. Why don’t those people frequent this blog? Is this not THE premiere place for them to be? Even more interesting is the fact that this has been rated a highly trafficked blog in a “Christian” category. Remember that little statistic that was bragged about at Throckmorton’s blog last year? How did that come about? I’m curious.

Uki
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

This is getting stupid. This is not a discussion. More like a two way monologue.

Greg
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

*Yawn*

Oh, hey, there Debbie. You’re still here?

Oh, the thing about gay Christians. I used to be Christian. Missouri Synod Lutheran, in fact. I still get along very well with God, Jesus, the whole crew. However, the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church has decided that I can’t be a good member. Got that bit of news at my grandfather’s funeral luncheon when the pastor told me if he found out I took communion at a LCMS church, he’d move to excommunicate me.

It’s interesting, but the experience broadened my life and philosophy, and not in the sense that I need to hate a core part of how God made me.

I’ll still think it’s really cute how you’re here to save us.

But, honey, you might want to dial it back a touch. You’re starting to sound screechy.

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Michael, you reiterated:

“Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex? I’m not asking in this question about immutability, just whether such people exist.”

Then you threw in:

Try as you might, you will never get an “ex-gay” to give you a straight answer to that question. If they answered with an honest and non-evasive “yes” their ex-gay house of cards would tumble. They will not acknowledge the reality of sexual orientation — just “attractions”, “behavior” and “identity”.

If you will take nothing but a yeas or no, then my answer has to be no. What disqualifies it from being yes is the word “inherently.” I don’t buy that. There are reasons why people believe they are inherently gay, but to counterbalance the charge some of you have leveled in this discussion that there is no proof that changed people are changed (I, in fact, pointed out that change can’t be quantified), I have to point out there is likewise no proof that gay is inherent or part of God’s creative intent — but there is a caveat.

Can we suppose for a moment that what is perceived as a homosexual orientation is no more or less a handicap that others allowed under God’s heaven? A handicap is not a sentence to be acquiesced to, unless one chooses to view it as such.

To go Churchspeak on you for a moment (but I’ll explain it), this world is fallen, i.e., we are subject to a nature tainted by original sin and all that death entails, including infirmities of all sorts. As such, we stand separated from God, but justified on the basis of Christ’s atoning death. He put us right with God again, but we have to individually accept that gift that is held out to us. We are not all sprinkled with Christian pixie dust. That’s the Gospel in a nutshell.

I believe God provides an extra measure of grace (unmerited favor) to those who come into this world bearing handicaps as outward reminders that we live in a fallen world. I believe He means for them to be special examples of what He can do for others to encourage us all and remind He is a sovereign God.

Ben in Oakland
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Darren– no one wants to skewer you here. But I would like you to consider this: the issue is NOT your sexual orientation.

The issue is self-hatred. You got some help from the ex-gay industry on that issue, for which you should thank them. but that’s where it should end.

The whole ex-gay position is based on lies, engenders lies, and teaches people to lie. You know this. If god is honored by truth, why are you bellying up to the bar owned by the Father of Lies?

Deal iwth your self hatred, and your sexual issues will take care of themselves.

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

“You know this. If god is honored by truth, why are you bellying up to the bar owned by the Father of Lies?”

Wow. You apparently have no idea what you’ve said here, Ben. A profound statement.

Ben in Oakland
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Sorry, Debbie. I know exactly what I was saying. As for the father of Lies– and the mother– I wrote this above:

I think I understand the language very clearly.

“I believe there is something wrong with you– and with everybody, but especially you. There’s something wrong with you. I don’t like it, and i believe I can twist the so-called word of god into supporting my campaign against what i don’t like. You gotta change.”

The first big lie is that we are all broken. the seocnd big lie is that gay people are especially broken. the third big lie is that godhas anything at all to do with this.

Priya Lynn
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie said “You have erected a double standard. You want me to accept you and your definitions of who you are or believe yourselves to be and be conversant in gayspeak. But it’s not reciprocal.”

No one has asked you to accept our definitions of who we are, you were simply asked if you acknowledge them and you replied with vague double-speak because you don’t want to be pinned down to statements you may later find useful to deny. To suggest there is a “gayspeak” equivalent to your churchspeak is absurd. There is no such thing as “gayspeak” everything the LGBTs have said here is readily understood by the general public unlike your doubletalk.

Debbie said “There is nothing vague about the Gospel. If you want to get it, you will.”

Once again you demonstrate your profound dishonesty. Anyone who’s ever read or debated the bible knows there’s a great deal of vagueness and ambiguity in the bible. Timothy also believes he gets it – what evidence do you have that shows him wrong and you right?

Debbie said “The record here can speak for itself. I have answered your loaded questions adequately, Timothy.”.

The record shows you’ve evaded the questions with ambiguous platitudes designed to make your version of christianity sound attractive and inoffensive despite the highly offensive oppression it inspires you to.

Debbie said “Perhaps I think it might be important to help you all see (if such is possible) that, while you want to be accepted as just like every else, you actually are setting yourselves up as a separate class of selfish, whiny, malcontents.”.

So now wanting the same rights heterosexual christians have is to be selfish, whiny and malcontented – your bigotry knows no bounds. We didn’t make ourselves a seperate class, bigots like you did by singling us out for oppression and second class citizen-ship.

Debbie said “to say change is never possible is to make an unprovable blanket statement.”.

Unlike as is the case with your side our side rarely makes such absolute statements because we base our beliefs on science. To say change is possible is to make an unprovable blanket statement. Of course that won’t stop you from repeatedly doing so without explanation to encourage lawmakers to believe gays can turn straight and deny them equal rights. Then when you’re not in the public eye and someone calls you on this lie it’ll be nudge, nudge, wink, wink “Oh, we weren’t talking about changing orientation, we were talking about keeping your eye on Jesus, changing your heart” and all that kind of churchy-talk.

Debbie said “Timothy wants me to agree with him that most gay people cannot go straight. The problem is he is only allowing for an all-or-nothing proposition: gay or straight. He is not presenting the possibility that a person may retain some attractions to the same sex, yet not retain a gay identity or a desire to act on those attractions. That, in fact, a person may choose to focus on his identity in Christ and see where that takes him, with no pressure to change what he would call his (or her) orientation. That a person can actually subjugate his sexuality to a higher power.

Does anyone agree with me that a person should have that option? If not, why not?”.

Yes, they should have that option, but they should never be taught that if they fail to do so they will be tortured eternally or taught that its bad to be gay. If you and yours never did that there would be no one who want’s your “option”.

Debbie said ““It”: sexual orientation? Is that the word or are you thinking of another? I am not vexed by it. It’s a compass point.”.

There you go again with that ambiguous churchy-talk – you’re really just a BS’er Debbie.

Debbie said “I have to point out there is likewise no proof that gay is inherent or part of God’s creative intent — but there is a caveat.

Can we suppose for a moment that what is perceived as a homosexual orientation is no more or less a handicap that others allowed under God’s heaven?”.

No, we can’t suppose that. Decades of research have demonstrated that gayness is not an impediment to mental or physical health or happiness. Gays are negatively impacted not by their gayness but by the social discrmination and hate of people like you.

Debbie said “I believe God provides an extra measure of grace (unmerited favor) to those who come into this world bearing handicaps as outward reminders that we live in a fallen world.”.

Riiiight. Because its so gracious to teach people they’re bad and will be eternally tortured when in fact they are harming no one.

Priya Lynn
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Here’s an example of why Debbie uses vague doubletalk to avoid being pinned down to concrete statments she may later find useful to deny:

Timothy asked “Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex?”

Debbie implied she agreed there are such people by saying “And why do you insist that I refuse to acknowledge there are people who “are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex”?”

Several comments later she contradicted herself and said “If you will take nothing but a yeas or no, then my answer has to be no. What disqualifies it from being yes is the word “inherently.” I don’t buy that.”.

She puts on a facade of being agreeable and non-confrontational at first because she wants to gain the trust and confidence of her victim and then only later will she bring out the unpleasant side of her beliefs to encourage her victim to live a life of needless denial and loneliness. Here she got pressed on it enough that she accidentally revealed her dishonesty the double-speak was intended to hide.

Debbie also said “I have to point out there is likewise no proof that gay is inherent or part of God’s creative intent”.

Well, there is no god so obviously nothing is part of an imaginary beings “creative intent”. The fact that gays exist in countries with maximum oppression against them, including torture and death is proof that gayness is inherent. Further all manner of studies have shown a link between gayness and biology. Any one of these studies alone isn’t conclusive that gayness is biological, but taken as a whole the provide such a convincing case that gayness must be inherent that it is foolish to argue the opposite.

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn, that load of B.S. you’re carrying must be getting pretty heavy by now. So many words, so much nothingness. So very sad.

I’m sorry confrontation makes you uncomfortable. Life is full of it. No free ride.

Please be advised that the Gospel (the “good news” of Christ’s redemption) is not used interchangeably with the entire narrative of the Bible. It’s only a part of it.

May the God you deny have mercy on you.

Timothy Kincaid
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Can you answer something for me, Timothy? Going back to your assertion that Christians don’t hang out here…

I’ll just stop you right there. Didn’t say it, didn’t insinuate it, didn’t imply it, didn’t suggest it. We have many Christian readers.

If you will take nothing but a yeas or no, then my answer has to be no. What disqualifies it from being yes is the word “inherently.”

Finally, finally, we get an answer. And that answer explains all the evasiveness, games playing, doublespeak and general lack of clarity. You simply didn’t want to answer the question.

But I’m taking encouragement that you finally are being a bit clearer and hope it will continue.

OK, so that isn’t our starting point.

I’m going to ignore all of your ChurchSpeak and try to find where the starting point is. Let’s continue our little experiment. I removed the word intrinsically, so let’s see if you can now say “yes” or if you will find something else to object to:

Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex?

Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will not ever become internally drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances?

Ben in Oakland
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

“I have to point out there is likewise no proof that gay is inherent or part of God’s creative intent”.

And there is no proof that it is not.

Certainly not the bible– YOU can believe it is clear, but it is not, any more than the “story” of sodom is a clear condemnation of homosexual behaviour. The world in the first century was even more ignorant, pound for pound, than we are now, though were doing our damndedest in this ocuntry to reverse that trend. I’m certainly interested in learning what they had to say about all kinds of things, but I hardly think their worldview and culture are worth emulating wholesale.

Thus we are left without any authority, apart from your belief that YOU know the answer. (At least, an authority that someone who was not cowed and degraded by religion based shame would accept.) As someone pointed out, it is just your spidey-sense tingling, and we already know you were bitten by that spider.

Debbie, what you will not see is simple: The very existence of committed Christians, gay and otherwise, belies the truth value of your belief system. Basically, it’s coming up for a vote.

The belief that gay people are broken, absent all evidence that this is certainly NOT the case, is all that is broken here. You claim to be a committed Christian in (sole) posession of the truth, but you persist in judging the sins of others, all the while pretending that you are not, which you accomplish by trivializing gay people, their lives, and their struggles.

And of course, let us not forget how much you may be playing out your own drama through the lives of other.

You and your kind– god, i just LOOOOVE saying that– talk so much of morality, all the while ignoring the gross immorality of what has been done in your name, and in the name of your god and your church, to gay people for nearly two millenia.

Every marriage failed and family broken up because someone tried desperately to be straight when it was never going to happen, either without Jesus or with him, on your doorstep.

Every kid that abandoned the church, or jesus, or his family because he felt violated by all three– right in your sanctimonious lap.

Every kid that has committed suicide just because you and your kind have YOUR issues to work out– Lonnie Latham and Ted Haggard and george rekers are truly easy targets– well, I sure hope karma is the bitch she’s supposed to be.

Every child that has grown up thinking that she is not entitled to a full life, and so has gone the self-destructive route whereon the ex-gay industry hovers like spiritual vampires, feeding on misery instead of mere blood– well, that misery is a direct result of the misguided thinking that informs your life.

Every kid kicked out of his home by his oh-so-non-judging christian parents– may he show up not on yours.

Every person that has been murdered because he was thought to be gay by someone with fear and hatred in his heart–hey, you are just but the latest kinder, gentler,evolution of that mindset.

Debbie, i have to say this: you can believe whatever you want to believe about god, jesus, religion, and gay people: believe it or not, I really have no problem with that.

But please stop pretending that this is merely about saving souls, and that you and your kind have no moral culpability and responsibility for the damage you have done to gay people for 2000 years…

…all based upon your beliefs of what god wants…

and with about as much evidence as was required when you were CERTAIN of the evils of witchcraft or Judaism.

End of rant.

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

“Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex?

Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will not ever become internally drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances?”

Yes, they probably won’t, because the enemy of their souls has a pretty firm grasp on them. Some of them will move away from homosexuality to embrace a deeper spiritual life, but will not be opposite-sex attracted. And what does this prove? That homosexuality is a pretty strong cultural vise and is hard to escape from. That it may not be a fully “repairable” thing, like blindness or deafness or absence of a limb or lameness. To you, it “proves” that it ought not be something one should escape from.

Your answer to my question, Timothy, is inadequate. If you have many Christian readers, why can’t they understand what you call Churchspeak? Is it Evangelicalspeak you are sensitive to?

“’I have to point out there is likewise no proof that gay is inherent or part of God’s creative intent’.

And there is no proof that it is not.”

That’s called an impasse, Ben. No points won or lost.

You don’t know me well, do you? You don’t know how much I have lamented the Church’s mistakes and mistreatment of gay people. You want to guilt me by association into submission.

Priya Lynn
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie the only BS is coming from you. You’re the one feigning innocence by asking “why do you insist that I refuse to acknowledge there are people who “are internally, inherently drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex”?” and then when pushed acknowledging that you lied and you don’t believe what you lead us to believe you did.

Confrontation doesn’t make me uncomfortable but it obviously makes you uncomfortable or you wouldn’t be using ambiguous churchy-talk to pretend what you’re offering is all sugar and spice when in reality its all oppression and discrmination.

And finally, your imaginary god doesn’t scare me, but it obviously scares you. I pity you living your life in fear of a god with arbitrary, ambiguous and unjust rules.

Priya Lynn
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

And Debbie, speaking of being uncomfortable with confrontation, its you who avoided responding to all the flaws I found in your logic. You ignore the substance of my posts because you know you can’t defend the positions you’ve taken. I on the other hand addressed answered your questions and addressed your points in detail. It is you who fears what I have to say, not the other way around.

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Priya Lynn, I ignore “the substance of your posts” because, well, there is no substance in them, dear.

I think this has gone on long enough. Nothing remains to be accomplished Indeed, little, if anything has been. Oh, I answered Timothy’s burning question.

At least you all ought to be better hitters now, considering the batting practice you’ve had.

TJMcFisty
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Yes, they probably won’t, because the enemy of their souls has a pretty firm grasp on them. Some of them will move away from homosexuality to embrace a deeper spiritual life, but will not be opposite-sex attracted. And what does this prove? That homosexuality is a pretty strong cultural vise and is hard to escape from. That it may not be a fully “repairable” thing, like blindness or deafness or absence of a limb or lameness. To you, it “proves” that it ought not be something one should escape from.

Is blindness is a cultural vise, too? Wow. I can’t wait to tell the dude down the hall with the service dog that runs him into the corner of the elevator. “Don’t worry. It’s the enemy of your soul that has you blind. And, psst, by the way you need a better dog. He’s got it out for you.”

I also have to ask who the enemy of our souls is. I mean, I think I know WHO you’ll say it is, but I think I’m just gonna have to have you type it out.

Emily K
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

I think I can sum up Debbie’s points so far.

1. Homosexuality is not “inherent.”
2. People cannot be homosexual and have a “deep spiritual life.”
3. People who are homosexual but do not try to go ex-gay/celibate do so because homosexuality is a strong cultural vise that is difficult to escape from – that is, the only reason people keep being gay is because secular culture encourages it somehow.
4. Homosexuals *stay* gay (or *choose* to stay gay) because the “enemy of their souls” has a firm grip on them.

I too am curious, who is “the enemy” that has such a grip on us?

Emily K
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

I forgot one:

5. Homosexuals who are “internally drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex” will probably not be able to change their attractions because they didn’t try hard enough. That is, if they prayed harder, or had a “deeper spiritual life,” then they wouldn’t be as gay. “the enemy of their souls” would lose grip.

Again, who is this “enemy?”

Timothy Kincaid
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

I think this has gone on long enough. Nothing remains to be accomplished Indeed, little, if anything has been. Oh, I answered Timothy’s burning question.

Well, I’m not sure whether you did or not. There was some talk about enemies of souls and so forth, but I’ve learned that things which look like your answers aren’t always answers. So rushing on to talk about other things is usually a sign to me that we haven’t answered the questions.

So, in the desire to have full clarity, let’s try this again. Perhaps a simple yes or simple no would help us move on to what you want to talk about. And just to make sure that we aren’t confused about spiritual life or cultural vices or anything else, I’ve boldened one word so as to be certain that we are in agreement.

Debbie, do you acknowledge that there are people who are internally drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the same sex and only to persons of the same sex?

Do you agree that the vast majority of such persons will not ever become internally drawn in matters of romantic, emotional, sexual and spiritual attraction to persons of the opposite sex, under any circumstances?

Darren
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

So I haven’t been trying hard enough? That’s my problem? I’m not part of “gay culture” in any way, so what cultural vise is keeping me from moving to opposite sex attraction? Are you saying this same-sex attraction that I’ve never wanted is my fault?

Timothy Kincaid
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Your answer to my question, Timothy, is inadequate. If you have many Christian readers, why can’t they understand what you call Churchspeak? Is it Evangelicalspeak you are sensitive to?

I’m having a hard time understanding your point.

We have a wide variety of readers who will not understand you if you use language that is jargonistic or which has specific meaning that is shared only by those who share your faith.

Be it ChurchSpeak or EvangelicalSpeak, it isn’t appropriate at this site as it leads to confusion and we try very hard to provide clarity. We shoot for honesty in our communication and anything which lends itself to distortion and doublemeaning or special insider code only works against greater understanding of factual truth.

William
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

“Some of them will move away from homosexuality to embrace a deeper spiritual life, but will not be opposite-sex attracted.”

There you go again, Debbie, with your cloudy answers. What exactly does “move away from homosexuality” mean? Does it mean “become asexual”?

And is moving away from homosexuality a necessary condition for embracing a deeper spiritual life? If so, why?

If not, what would you say to someone who tells you that he/she has embraced a deeper spiritual life but has not moved away from homosexuality and sees no need to do so?

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

“Are you saying this same-sex attraction that I’ve never wanted is my fault?”

No more your fault than it was mine. But why haven’t you wanted it? Are you implying there is a standard you feel you fall short of? That it might be a God thing? But Timothy One Note (who can’t stop asking the same question over and over ad nauseum) has said we are not free to speak of such things here. The people who frequent this blog, even those he calls Christians, somehow are unable to grasp those ethereal concepts, says he.

You may have to take it up with Timothy.

Trying harder, Emily? No, I think it’s more a matter of letting go.

Darren
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Ok, I really didn’t want to get into an argument. Here is my problem again. Your statement, “Some of them will move away from homosexuality to embrace a deeper spiritual life, but will not be opposite-sex attracted.” I feel this sums up many (if not most) Exodus success stories. That’s the story the church should be told. I resent the message that is conveyed that “anyone can be straight if they really want to be straight.” I’m sure you will disagree, but that is the message sent to the larger church with the “Change is Possible!” campaign. And I don’t think that is an accident.

Timothy Kincaid
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

But Timothy One Note (who can’t stop asking the same question over and over ad nauseum) has said we are not free to speak of such things here. The people who frequent this blog, even those he calls Christians, somehow are unable to grasp those ethereal concepts, says he.

No. You make speak of such things to those who are inclined to debate you. But you are not free to do so with language that is not comprehensible to others.

So I’ll assume that you simply refuse to answer the questions. Am I right?

I’ll just assume that you have no desire whatsoever to have a commonly shared starting point. Personally I think you are terrified of what that would mean.

Darren
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Also, for those of us who fit the description “Some of them will move away from homosexuality to embrace a deeper spiritual life, but will not be opposite-sex attracted.” Is this because we haven’t been spiritual enough or done the right things, or is this just our assigned lot in life that we can’t change? Let me be more specific, in your opinion, are there some of us who do everything we can and should, and this is still our fate?

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

“Let me be more specific, in your opinion, are there some of us who do everything we can and should, and this is still our fate?”

I have only walked in my own shoes, Darren. There are things I cannot know. You are asking me to play God. I can’t. I realize you said “in your opinion,” but I am loath to form an opinion on something so complex.

Because you use the word fate, I presume you still don’t want to embrace it.

Timothy, would you call yourself a brother in Christ? You know what that means. That would be a starting point. If not, how about the fact that we have both known what it feels like to have same-sex attractions?

I still find it more than a little odd that you would concoct an entire post on ex-gays and ex-gay ministries, yet try to squelch discussion on “churchy” things. Just what is a ministry to you if not a churchy thing? Why address something in a framework most of your readers will not get?

I answered your question, pal. More than it deserved.

Darren
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Ok Debbie. Since you admit that there are things that you cannot know, let’s agree that we should never tell the church at large that everyone who wants to be free from same sex attraction can necessarily achieve that, no matter how hard they try or how close they are to God. Not only should we not say that, we should not imply it or say anything that would make people draw that conclusion. And if we are going to say “Change is possible!” we’re also going to put a big ole asterisk that explains clearly what is meant by that slogan. Can we agree on that? That has been my point the entire time.

And yes, I never said that I have chosen to embrace my homosexual attractions. I’ve just grown incredibly annoyed with “leaders” who distort the truth for political reasons.

Debbie Thurman
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

“Ok Debbie. Since you admit that there are things that you cannot know, let’s agree that we should never tell the church at large that everyone who wants to be free from same sex attraction can necessarily achieve that, no matter how hard they try or how close they are to God. … Can we agree on that? That has been my point the entire time.”

I have never parroted that change mantra, Darren. It’s wrong. So yep, we agree. I consider homosexuality one of God’s greatest mysteries. I think it’s largely unknowable.

Darren
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Ok, well good. We’re on the same page with that then.

Timothy Kincaid
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Again with the games. It always is games with you, Debbie, isn’t it?

When you are ready to define the terms let me know, otherwise I’ll not be reacting to your games.

John in the Bay Area
August 4th, 2010 | LINK

So Debbie Thurman,

How is Lisa Miller doing with her ex-gay quest? Perhaps you can pass along an address where well wishers can send her a card…or a few police officers with handcuffs.

Debbie Thurman
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

No, Timothy, a game would be having a blog that gets itself (somehow) rated as a highly trafficked blog in a Christian category, passes itself off as one dealing with Christian topics now and then (your ex-gay ministry one its latest exhibit), but then has the likes of you telling folks they can’t go Christian in their comments. Awaiting your explanation.

You’ve blown it, but you will tie yourself in knots before admitting it.

Jim Burroway
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

No, Timothy, a game would be having a blog that gets itself (somehow) rated as a highly trafficked blog in a Christian category, passes itself off as one dealing with Christian topics now and then (your ex-gay ministry one its latest exhibit), but then has the likes of you telling folks they can’t go Christian in their comments.

For the record, I wouldn’t know how to get this blog rated as highly trafficked in a Christian category if I tried. If that happened, it would be because readers have found it appropriate. Perhaps the disagreement is over the particular brand of the more than 20,000 versions of Christianity that Christians can’t seem to agree on. Neither Timothy nor I have ever told anyone that they can’t go Christian, and I would insist that you provide evidence otherwise. If all you can find is an example that says that what we espouse happens to not line up with your particular brand of Christianity, then I rest my case.

Debbie Thurman
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

“Neither Timothy nor I have ever told anyone that they can’t go Christian, and I would insist that you provide evidence otherwise. If all you can find is an example that says that what we espouse happens to not line up with your particular brand of Christianity, then I rest my case.”

Then you are resting it prematurely, Jim. What I see in the comment record from Timothy here is this, in reverse order:

“No. You make speak of such things to those who are inclined to debate you. But you are not free to do so with language that is not comprehensible to others.”

“We have a wide variety of readers who will not understand you if you use language that is jargonistic or which has specific meaning that is shared only by those who share your faith.

Be it ChurchSpeak or EvangelicalSpeak, it isn’t appropriate at this site as it leads to confusion and we try very hard to provide clarity. We shoot for honesty in our communication and anything which lends itself to distortion and doublemeaning or special insider code only works against greater understanding of factual truth.”

“I’ll just stop you right there. Didn’t say it, didn’t insinuate it, didn’t imply it, didn’t suggest it. We have many Christian readers.”

“So if you really do want to communicate, I’m ready. If you can speak the same language as the rest of us then you can join the conversation.”

“No I don’t think you have been clear. Most of our readers don’t use ChurchSpeak so we try to stick to clear secular English, as much as possible.”

So, Timothy says on the one hand that BTB has many Christian readers, but on the other, that I must only speak “secular” English (whatever that is) in referring to the Christian topic he has written about. Perhaps you could show me where I have not communicated clearly. Timothy referenced one phrase I used (“fix your eyes on Jesus”) as being unclear even to Christians. One phrase out of many, and even that point is debatable.

My faith is the Christian faith. To babble on about how many versions of it may exist is a cop-out. One Christ, one faith.

Priya Lynn
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie said “Priya Lynn, I ignore “the substance of your posts” because, well, there is no substance in them, dear.”.

LOL, such a comment is the last refuge of someone who is incapable of refuting what’s been said. I get it, you’re angry that I caught you lying about whether or not you acknowledge that there are people who are exclusively inherently same sex attracted. You’re ashamed to acknowledge your lie so all you can do is pretend it didn’t happen.

Debbie said “homosexuality is a pretty strong cultural vise and is hard to escape from. That it may not be a fully “repairable” thing, like blindness or deafness or absence of a limb or lameness. To you, it “proves” that it ought not be something one should escape from.”.

No one said that because gayness is difficult to change that it proves no one should change. No one should change because gayness is a harmless, natural, healthy variant of human sexuality.

Debbie said “You don’t know me well, do you? You don’t know how much I have lamented the Church’s mistakes and mistreatment of gay people.”.

And yet here you are continuing the mistreatment of gay people. You’re full of it Debbie.

Debbie said “Timothy One Note (who can’t stop asking the same question over and over ad nauseum)”.

Because you refuse to answer it, instead responding with ambiguous doublespeak so you don’t get caught contradicting yourself when you lie about your beliefs to try and befriend your victims.

Debbie said “The people who frequent this blog, even those he calls Christians, somehow are unable to grasp those ethereal concepts, says he.”.

“Ethereal concepts” – now there’s a euphemism for lies. We’re not unable to grasp your “ethereal” concepts if you explain them in ordinary English. Your reluctance to do so is evidence that you don’t want to be understood, you want to confuse and manipulate people.

Debbie said “Timothy, would you call yourself a brother in Christ? You know what that means. That would be a starting point.”.

Oh, good, more incomprehensible churchy-speak. How about giving us your excuse for why you’re afraid to put your ideas in ordinary english?

Debbie said “I still find it more than a little odd that you would concoct an entire post on ex-gays and ex-gay ministries, yet try to squelch discussion on “churchy” things.”.

That’s another lie Debbie. At no time did Timothy try to squelch discussion on “churchy” things, he simply asked you to describe those churchy things in everyday english – you are free to speak all the churchy things you want if you do that.

Debbie said “I have never parroted that change mantra, Darren. It’s wrong.”.

You most certainly did:

“My having worked with folks seeking to overcome their same-sex attractions does not mean I believe in dictating that they must be “fixed.” They are, rather, to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ. He does what no man or woman can do. I can only love them where they are. He can see them where they will be.”

Once again this is another example of your dishonesty. You used ambiguous double speak to encourage people to believe Jesus can do what no man or woman can – change a person’s sexual orientation. Then later when forced to answer directly you admit that not everyone can change orientations despite your insinuating that in order to ingratiate yourself to your target victim. Another example of your dishonesty is that at one point you insisted by change you didn’t mean a change in orientation you meant a change in heart and yet you also said “I said you do not know how it feels to be a transformed (i.e., no longer gay) woman or man.”.

You continually try to have it both ways claiming you don’t mean change is a change in orientation so you don’t annoy us and yet you can’t help but slip up when you’re running your mouth and say change is a change in orientation.

Debbie said “Perhaps you could show me where I have not communicated clearly. Timothy”.

Eyes on christ, brothers in Christ, assume an identity in Christ, reconciled to Christ, be a fellow heir with Christ, sexual orientation is a compass point, the world is fallen, move away from homosexuality to embrace a spiritual life, standard you feel you fall short of, and so on.

Debbie said “My faith is the Christian faith. To babble on about how many versions of it may exist is a cop-out. One Christ, one faith.”.

That’s one of the biggest crocks you’ve tried to pass off here Debbie. Clearly your christianity is not the same as Timothy’s christianity and the 20,000 other variants christians stridently disagree on are absolute proof that there is no such thing as one christ, one faith.

Debbie Thurman
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

“Debbie said “I have never parroted that change mantra, Darren. It’s wrong.”.

You most certainly did:

“My having worked with folks seeking to overcome their same-sex attractions does not mean I believe in dictating that they must be “fixed.” They are, rather, to fix their eyes on Jesus Christ. He does what no man or woman can do. I can only love them where they are. He can see them where they will be.”

Say, what? This is saying I support the change mantra in what way? I said gays are not to be fixed (changed). Thanks for reminding me that I used the word “fix” as a mirror segue from “fixed” and not as churchy talk.

It really matters little how clearly one speaks if others cannot read, does it?

Priya Lynn
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Riiiight Debbie, you don’t support the change mantra but Jesus can change what no person can and “you do not know how it feels to be a transformed (i.e., no longer gay) woman or man.”.”.

I’ve repeatedly caught you contradicting your ambiguous double-talk. That’s the problem with people like you who play fast and loose with the facts – you can’t keep your lies straight.

Ben in Oakland
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

“That’s one of the biggest crocks you’ve tried to pass off here Debbie. Clearly your christianity is not the same as Timothy’s christianity and the 20,000 other variants christians stridently disagree on are absolute proof that there is no such thing as one christ, one faith.”

Next up, the baptists have decided to submit to the authority of Christ’s regent on earth, whom they formerly called The Red Whore of Babylon>”

And debbie– I do have a reply for you, but I have things to do.

Debbie Thurman
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

“No one said that because gayness is difficult to change that it proves no one should change.”

So you didn’t mean this, Priya Lynn? Is it OK for some to change (in some way), if they want to, or not?

You misquoted me. I said, “He does what no man or woman can do.” I did not say “he changes….” That means he works into a willing life what he desires. That can look a lot of ways. It doesn’t mean he will make every gay straight.

John in the Bay Area
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Despite this very long thread, there is still no evidence that any one can change their sexual orientation. Debbie Thurman knows this as well as any of us.

Priya Lynn
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

There’s nothing inconsistent about my statements Debbie. Its a fact that no one said because gayness is difficult to change that it proves no one should change. It is also a fact that no one should change because gayness is a harmless, natural, healthy variant of human sexuality. If people like you would stop discriminating against gays and teaching gay children that its bad to be gay and that they will be eternally tortured for being that way no one would express the desire to suppress their sexuality. Now ignore that because as you’ve said I have nothing of substance to say.

I also didn’t misquote you Debbie, that was a paraphrase (note the lack of quotation marks). The difference between “can change” and “he changes” is of no significance – you lied, at one point you encouraged readers to believe gays can change orientation, said you were no longer gay and when pressed you contradicted yourself and said the “change is possible” slogan is wrong. You say whatever is convenient at the time to justify oppressing gays even when it contradicts what you’ve previously said – a lie is okay if it advances your goal of depriving LGBTs of love, romance, companionship and intimacy.

Now don’t respond to this because as you said my posts are “so many words, so much nothingness” and devoid of substance. I’m quite content to pick apart your lies for the sake of other readers.

Timothy Kincaid
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

When you are ready to define the terms let me know.

Debbie Thurman
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

“The difference between “can change” and “he changes” is of no significance”

Good grief, Priya Lynn. That might be true if I had actually used the word change. I didn’t. Get some glasses. And learn to paraphrase correctly.

“Despite this very long thread, there is still no evidence that any one can change their sexual orientation. Debbie Thurman knows this as well as any of us.”

There is likewise no evidence (despite the plethora of long threads on all the blogs) that everyone is stuck in gay mode forever. So what’s your point, John? Back to old square one, aren’t we?

John in the Bay Area
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie Thurman,

Hmmm. All the exgay’s who have claimed to have changed their sexual orientation and later admit that it was never true. There is an enormous amount of evidence that people can’t change their sexual orientation. In fact, most of the best evidence has been provided by exgays and ex-exgays. By the way, how is Lisa Miller doing, and how is she supporting herself?

Désirée
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

“stuck in gay mode”? Contempt much? Being gay is not something anyone is “stuck with” any more than some one is “stuck” being left handed. Your choice of words here (finally using plain English) demonstrates perfectly your contempt and disgust with homosexuality.

There is no evidence that anyone is stuck with Christianity either. You can change and be fixed. There is hope for you.

See? I can do that too.

Ben in Oakland
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie, i do have a little bit of time to write now.

You wrote this in response to my little rant: “You don’t know how much I have lamented the Church’s mistakes and mistreatment of gay people. You want to guilt me by association into submission.

You’re right, I don’t know. But I’d be willing to bet which way you would vote if same sex marriage were on the ballot in your state. If I am wrong about that, I apologize.

But seriously, I never even thought that what I was writing was an attempt to guilt trip you into submission, though I do see your point. Frankly, i had already assumed that you feel no guilt or responsibility about what has been done to gay people for 2000 years under the benevolent auspices of Christianity.

If I am wrong about that, i apologize. But i don’t think I am wrong, if for no other reason, you just said it wasn’t going to happen.

I am sure that you do feel some guilt and responsibility, in a tsk-tsk sort of a way. After all, it’s not you who is leading religion based campaigns to make gay people criminals, to deny legal recognition to our families, to prevent us form serving our ocuntry unless we are willing to lie about it, and so on? you don’t have the baseball bat that killed Jose Suchinay (sp)in your basement. I know that.

The problem Debbie, is your whole belief system. Oh, i don’t mean the part about Jesus and love and not judging and going to church and all of that. Your religion is your business, and if it brings you happiness, more power to you. I sincerely believe that, and act in that way.

But your belief that gay is bad, and that gay is a sinful CHOICE to engage in sinful behaviour that can be undone with another choice, contributes mightily to the people that say that gay is bad, contrary to god’s will, needs to be punished, needs to be attacked, needs to be destroyed before it destroys us and our children.

I find it interesting that you say we are all sinful and broken and in need of redemption, at the same time as saying that gay people are in special need of redemption because they are gay. But you don’t say straight people are in special need of redemption because they are straight, but only because they are human.

You’re not willing to claim scriptural authority, as far as I can tell, just your own authority, based upon your spidey sense. And you also admit that you have issues with it, in a ted haggard sort of a way, not in the bible-is-clear-about-this sort of a way.

What if your take on sexuality is not true? What if God really doesn’t care what goes hwere on whom, but only that we use our sexuality responsibly and lovingly? That would seem to be a valuable message from god. Not the impossible: you must be straight even if omnipotence itself made you gay.

Your ideology is your premise, not what the bible says, and certainly not redemption. The Church used to burn witches and destroy Jews (and Cathars, among many others) with exactly the same appeal to Divine Will with which they now justify the treatment of gay people. We now know that bigotry against Jews is wrong, that it led to enormous consequences to them and the whole world, and that witches don’t exist. In other words, we learned something about the world, and advanced ourselves morally– well, some of us.

And yet, i have never heard one single explanation from a conservative anti-gay christian (or other) that explains why this insane prejudice against gay people, with its lethal consequences, is any different in any way from the problem of the witches or the problem of the Jews, and which also doesn’t ultimately boil down to oooh-gay-ickky.

If you just would leave it at “Gay is wrong for Debbie Thurman for whatever reasons she might have”, I would truly have no problem with it, other than to hope against hope that it works out well for you. But you don’t, because you really don’t have the humility you claim. you know what is right for other people as well, and you support the people who have no problem using the coercive power of the state to attack, demean, and disadvantage gay people.

It is just the consequence of your belief system. “What you are doing is wrong. I don’t like it. You must change.”

My corollary for the modern fundamentalist: “and if you don’t, have a nice time burning in hell forever. I tried to tell you.”

Debbie Thurman
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

“You’re not willing to claim scriptural authority,… Your ideology is your premise, not what the bible says, and certainly not redemption.”

Ben, there are two words I am known for (by those who know me) more than any other: redemption and reconciliation. Scriptural authority? I’m also known for quoting that, left and right. Here, it does not seem to be welcome. It would only invite more ridicule and confusion.

“And you also admit that you have issues with it, in a ted haggard sort of a way, not in the bible-is-clear-about-this sort of a way.”

Excuse me, when have I said that? You read a lot into things that are not there.

You are not hoping against hope for me. Thanks. “It is finished.”

Debbie Thurman
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

BTW, I am going out of town for a few days and will be off the net, so this is a good time to wind it down.

I am sure I have some misconceptions about some of you, as you do about me. Maybe that can still change. Thanks for sharing your mind and for allowing me to share mine.

Peace.

Timothy Kincaid
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

Have a nice trip. And if you ever decide that you actually want to communicate (rather than pontificate and play the martyr) I’ll be right here.

We can start by defining our terms in clear English.

Let me know if that ever appeals to you.

John in the Bay Area
August 5th, 2010 | LINK

Debbie,

On this trip out of town, are you planning to run into Lisa Miller?

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