Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tools for the Ex-Gay Recovery Process

The special feature question of the month for May over at Beyond Ex-Gay is:

How has a book, movie or web site helped you in your ex-gay recovery process?

I can identify two things that helped me in my ex-gay recovery process. The first is a web site called GayChristian.Net that helped me to discover the spectrum of beliefs about faith and sexuality. The second is the blogosphere. Both helped me to experience my own journey.

One year after completing the six-month Living Waters program, I was no less same-sex attracted than I was before the program. In fact, I was even lonelier because we were encouraged not to keep in contact with other people in the program . . . .

As I continued to live out my faith despite the attractions that I had, I was a part of (leading) prayer groups from throughout the city where we would often pray against the “spirit of homosexuality” and against gay people. It was then that God began to prompt my heart, “Why are you praying against a people that you don’t even know? Why are you praying against them when you are one of them?

I realized that I shouldn’t pray for someone I can’t love and I can’t love someone I don’t know. Therefore, with God’s leading, I began to pursue people’s stories so that I could begin to understand them better. When I discovered GayChristian.Net (GCN), I found an online community of people with similar stories. They were all same-sex attracted (or identified with gender differently) and they all loved God (or had a background of religion or faith). I also discovered that they didn’t all believe the same things about faith and sexuality. Some held a perspective called Side A that suggested that a person could be both gay and Christian in the context of monogamy, commitment, and covenant. Some held a perspective called Side B that suggested that a person may acknowledge the reality of being gay (having the attractions) while also being Christian but that we ought to be celibate and shouldn’t act upon our same-sex attractions because it is still a sin. Consequently, Side X would be the perspective that one cannot be both gay and Christian because it is a sin in any form or expression and that we should and can be transformed to be straight (ex-gay).

In addition to GCN, I also discovered the wonders of the blogosphere. It was an intricate web of personal stories chronicled on a blog – a web journal that linked to other blogs. It was a great way to read about the journeys of so many people who were just like me. I even started my own blog to tell my story and to explore authenticity. I gained a sense of community through the blogosphere because commentary, feedback, and encouragement (or criticism) was freely given. It really is a great way to get to know people. Through our common stories and mutual links, I developed actual (albeit virtual) friendships.

Discovering the diversity of what people believed about homosexuality in the context of genuine faith helped me to realize that there is a difference between various truths and the interpretation of truth. My ex-gay recovery process took some time. I had been conditioned to believe that being straight was part of the holiness equation. It was okay to question that. At the end of the day, I realized that my faith was in tact. Perhaps, my sexuality could remain in tact as well.


elijahspeaks said...

"I realized that I shouldn’t pray for someone I can’t love and I can’t love someone I don’t know,"

somehow, i couldn't reconcile this with the rest of the sentences in your post. it just seemed out of place. would you kindly explain to me exactly what you were trying to convey with those words? thanks a bunch.

Anonymous said...

You never stop amazing me:)


Eric said...

Thanks for your comment Elijah! You wanted me to expound on what I meant when i said:

"I realized that I shouldn't pray for someone I can't love and I can't love someone I don't know..."

In my process, God convicted my heart about my motives in praying about or against the homosexuals in our city. He led me to realize that I wasn't praying in love but rather in hate.

This can be applied in general terms too. When I am called to pray for my enemies, am I asking God to destroy those wretched creatures or am I asking God to not only change their hearts but also to change mine?

Is the sin of my hate towards my enemies any better or worse than the sin I think my enemy is committing against me? So how could I think that God would acknowledge my prayers rooted with a hateful heart by answering them?

Therefore, I realized that I shouldn't pray for someone I can't love.

At the same time, I can't truly and sincerely love someone fully without taking the time to know him or her. God had convicted my heart pointing out the fact that I was praying against people that I don't even know, and further that I was praying against "them" when I was "one of them".

So that conviction led me to want to get to know these people (who were like me) that I judged. And so I sought out to hear people's stories and meet people who called themselves gay and christian. In addition to meeting people in my city, I also met people online via GayChristian.Net and also through other blogs.

Hearing their stories helped me realize that I really am like them. Sincerely Christian and also gay.

Hope that helps Elijah!