People have the capacity to make decisions for their own life that are in their best interests, life-giving and fruitful. That would seem an obvious thing to say. However, ex-gay ministry, conversion therapy, and legalistic religion do not trust people to make up their own minds on what is healthy or not healthy for them to pursue unless it fits with their ex-gay/conversion views. Whether it is with the best but misguided (in my opinion) of intentions or outright “exhortation” and manipulation, these groups will always seek to “educate” or guide someone who is questioning their sexuality down their particular well-worn paths. I do believe we were created to journey with others, but I don’t believe that it is any of our jobs to guide someone else’s direction.
In my experience, the problem with the ex-gay destination is always blurry and only gets murkier as we tried to get to an unrealistic “biblical” life. Eventually, we find the ex-gay/conversion path isn’t changing anything or going from one place to another. It is simply an incredibly long roundabout full of irreparable potholes with a never-ending emphasis on “brokenness”; all the exits are walled-off or boarded up by stacks of man-made stigma and religiously imposed unnecessary burdens. Learning how to avoid potholes and ignore the “no exit” strategy is not changing our core relational sense of being, it’s culturally conditioned behavioral modification.
That’s why many of us who have come out of that world feel like we lost ourselves after getting “saved.” In the name of getting “sanctified” (growth and being “set apart” in Christ) we were actually being hidden away on a path paved with shame for who we truly are. We were not “in process” as we were taught. We were not growing in sunshine and light but isolated in a figurative closet of terminal uniqueness. Finding who we are created to be was defined for us, not what I now believe God naturally designed and celebrates.
We were diverted from our authentic journey to follow someone else’s steps leading to a destination that doesn’t exist.
It is my hope and prayer that instead of losing ourselves in the name of “discipleship” and “overcoming brokenness” that we embrace the reality at who we are as beautiful and something to be celebrated.
Yes, coming to Christ is transformative. He has wonderfully blessed and allowed me to celebrate all aspects of who He created me to be. I look forward to learning more! He destroyed the barriers to the exits from that world by allowing me to see through the blinders of a religiously and self-imposed ideal. We are created with the capacity to think for ourselves and through the issues. For those of us who are people of faith, we will always find Him in the “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
And for the first time in my life… SO cool with you if you agree or don’t agree. I know this post is reflective of my path/journey/opinions. I’ll do me, and you do you, we’re good. However, this is my blog, so the personal observations and opinions shall continue :)…
Truthfully, it doesn’t take long to learn a myriad of ideas. We have resources available from every possible angle. I personally believe we do not need a smiling well-intentioned in their own mind ex-gay minister manipulating, creating, or seeking to steward our questions and/or pain with an assumed power to do so. We do not need parachurch organizations taking money to fix a manufactured brokenness. We can trust in our ability to think for ourselves. For those of us who are people of faith, that includes the guidance of our Creator. Jesus doesn’t need donations or a 501(c)3 resource catalog or bylaws to be a Good Shepherd.
He is with, loves, affirms, and celebrates you.
Truly, if you want an opinion I would be glad to offer one (obviously), but I will not seek to impose it. Some will agree, and others will deny that their core sense of relational being is as an LGBT+ person… that’s their decision, and I will seek to love and understand as best I can.
What I won’t be silent about is the fact that an entire system has risen up from a stigmatized foundation that exploits LGBT+ lives; a system that must be dismantled or at least revealed so that it no longer has the power to convolute issues and breed destruction.
People should be allowed to determine their path from a position of informed freedom, not from a stigmatized environment enforced by culture conditioning rooted in shame and condemnation.
Wherever you are at on the journey, I respect you. Regardless of what you think about my path, choices, and beliefs … anyone who is struggling to live an honest life regarding their core relational sense of being… I have nothing but love and empathy for you as a person and friend.
You are worthy of being celebrated and loved. I hope you feel and experience that today.