Monday, July 25, 2005

Salon.com and Ex-Gays

Salon.com is currently doing a several part story on ex-gays. The most recent of the articles is here.

I found the article to be fairly well written and deservedly skeptical of the ex-gay movement. It seems that the author actually did take some time to speak with some of the bigger names in the movement to do some investigation of their claims of success, only to be turned away.

I've got to agree with the article's author on his skepticism. If there are hundreds of thousands of ex-gays in the world, surely someone in the ex-gay ministry or therapy could point him in the direction of just one or two ex-gays that have changed that are not being paid by an ex-gay group.

Randy Thomas was noticeably upset about the atricle series. I can understand that he was upset, especially if he feels mocked. For the record, I did not feel the mocking tone Randy speaks of. I realize this ministry is important to him. However, I think it is perfectly acceptable for a reporter to ask someone to back up his or her claims of success, change, etc. If someone told you that gays can change and do so all of the time, and then the first 6 people you met that had tried to change weren't able to, don't you think you would be at least a bit skeptical? And given that it appears that many of the ex-gay leaders the Salon folks spoke to basically stonewalled them from getting further proof, a skeptically-toned article is certainly valid.

My hope in all of this- that success is actually defined, measured, and accurately described in the ex-gay world. And then that gays are portrayed realistically--not demonized as some evil heathens (not all ex-gays participate in this, thankfully). People should at least know what they are getting into (or sending others into).

4 Comments:

At 26/7/05 9:30 AM, Anonymous Dustin said...

Hey man, first time reader and poster here.

I'm 25, and a Christian. Jesus Christ offers freedom from homosexuality...not Exodus, not a pastor and not a church.

So much emphasis--probably too much--is placed on whether or not an ex-gay "changes" his orientation. That is not the goal. For a Christian, a personal, radically transforming relationship with Jesus Christ and his Father, our Father, is the goal. This means that our first desire will be (and I say "will" be instead of "must" be; when you experience the incredible love of Jesus, you WILL be conformed to His image. It will just happen. You'll change noticeably. Your desires will line up with His). Out of this relationship grows a desire to follow His teachings and not sin against Him. You probably know all this already. Fine.

When Exodus says they offer freedom, what they mean is freedom from sin through Jesus Christ--from living the lifestyle, from engaging in homosexual sex, etc. All this talk about being "who you really are" has no bearing in the life of a Christian--we are actually called to deny ourselves and our desires and follow Christ. Which brings me to my next point:

I read somewhere else on your blog where you wrote about what the Christian community asks gays to give up.
Man, I really, really love getting blowjobs from a guy (might as well be honest, right?), but when I accepted Jesus' love for me, I died to that desire. The desire didn't die. Christ suffered on earth more than we can imagine. And Christians are called to suffer along with Him during our time on earth--our suffering is how God conforms us to the image of His son. Our suffering is the loss we endure because of what we've given up for the sake of our Savior.

 
At 26/7/05 9:52 AM, Anonymous dustin said...

Last comment, I promise.

I just read through my comment and I wanted to make sure you understand that I was not trying to come off like a fantastic follower of Christ. :-)

I still have struggles--I'm actually in a class/support group for a sexual addiction; pornography, masturbation, etc., are things that have had a huge hold on me for years. I certainly haven't arrived at the end of the journey, but I'm trying--and I think I'm getting there. But it's a long, long road.

Also, I understand that not every one wants to change. Certainly there are guys out there who are happy being gay and living such a lifestyle--that's fine. But I know there are guys whose sexual desires are in conflict with their Christian faith, and those are the ones that should be reached out to.

I'd love to talk with you more about this. I've read alot of blogs and for the most part your discussions are very fair.

Take it easy,

Dustin

 
At 26/7/05 9:54 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Hi Dustin,

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

As to your point about too much emphasis being placed on ex-gays changing, I agree. My point, though, is that Exodus and other ex-gay groups should be more open and honest about this. While Exodus does state in some of their literature that their goal is a closer relationship with God (not change), their implied message is change (their testimonies talk mostly about people that are no longer gay, not about gay folks that now abstain).

On your comment about what Christians are asking gays to give up, I wasn't referencing just the physical acts. In fact, I was more pointing that towards the love, romance, and companionship that is a pretty basic need for nearly all people.

If I were single, I would surely abstain. But, I would always have the hope to find someone, and the feelings that come with meeting new people and wondering if they were that special person. This is the sort of thing that gays are not able to feel or pursue according to many Christians. My main point is that if I went to a straight conservative and told him that he could never fall in love, never marry, never have a crush or pursue that special someone, etc., etc., he surely would not take to kindly to my requests, but they don't understand when I am just as turned off when they ask me to do this same thing.

Thanks again for commenting. Your points are certainly well-taken.

 
At 26/7/05 9:59 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Hi Again Dustin,

Don't worry, I think your intentions (as clarified by your second post) were made clear the first time. You didn't come off negatively at all.

 

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