“The tribe often thinks the visionary has turned his back on them. When, in fact, the visionary has simply turned his face to the future.” ― Ray A. Davis
“Going back” in ex-gay speak means returning to the gay “lifestyle.” During my years as an ex-gay leader, I rarely said “lifestyle” but “going back to being gay” was a stigmatizing description that the ex-gay world used to describe those judged as “worshipping the created instead of the Creator.” “Going back” is equated to not “holding firm to the faith” or “gave up their faith to live for sinful indulgences and feelings instead of God.”
I am glad not to be in that world any longer.
But, when I was in that world, I was judging those who “went back” from a point of view based on negative assumptions and fear. A fear that I was wrong, that I was missing something. It was easier to reduce their decisions to going backward, as a regression, instead of considering that maybe, just maybe, they had made a healthy decision in moving forward with their lives. It never crossed my mind that it wasn’t a “return to sin” but instead a genuine act of spiritual maturity to embrace and live out their core sense of relational being as a gay person.
Now that I have and am living out what it means to be a gay man of faith, to escape and live beyond ex-gay ideology, I realize that none of us “went back” to anything. We didn’t give in or shut off our spirit, brain, or heart. We set our face forward to engage life in the reality that we are gay. We are not hindered by an unattainable idealistic standard established by religious legalism and conservative cultural expectations. We live in Christ and embrace a complex and beautiful reality. We are God’s LGBT children who cannot be contained by this or that label. We choose to live in freedom, not shame. We live in affirmation and encouragement, not condemnation.
We celebrate who we are in God, and I believe He celebrates our freedom in Him with us.
Interestingly, as I have walked this out, many of the old assumptions picked up during my ex-gay years has proven false.
- I don’t have scriptural amnesia. I still receive life and light from the scriptures. The Bible means more to me now than ever before.
- The Holy Spirit still has this thing of interrupting me when He wants to.
- The gifts and fruit of the Spirit still manifest in my life.
- My 24 years of history as a Christian, hasn’t gone flying out the window. I know and rest in what the finished work of Christ means.
- I am not emotionally dependent on anyone, sexually addicted in any way, reverting to destructive false coping mechanisms. In other words, I am not “handed over to Satan” or an apostate reprobate.
- I don’t feel one ounce of guilt and love thinking about Mr. Future Thomas-Husband. I already know he is the best ever at everything! 😉 The love in my heart for him is pure; it comes from a healthy place.
- Also, instead of getting all licentious with some hedonistic display of sensuality at a massive drug infused sex party, I stayed home last Saturday night (like I do most Saturday nights) and got all weepy while watching Zootopia!
Now, it is true that I am voting for Hillary Clinton …which is still a little unnerving to think about sometimes.
Nope. I didn’t “go back” to anything. I embraced reality; set my face toward the future…
… and I smiled when I saw Him standing there waiting for me at the open door.
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