To Matt Moore, the Christian “ex-gay” blogger found on Grindr

matt-moore

This is Matt Moore. He’s a blogger for The Christian Post. (So am I! Except I never blog there. I probably should; they’ve been really nice to me.) Matt, who is gay, writes about how homosexuality is sinful, wrong, an abomination unto God, etc. His blog is called Standing on Truth. Typical of its posts are My Story: Homosexuality, Drunkenness, Grace and Redemption, Leaving Homosexuality: The Real Power Of My Testimony, and Why Does God Allow People To Be Gay If He Hates Homosexuality?. (Spoiler alert: because it makes them sinful enough to need Jesus.)

Last March The Christian Post ran a big feature on Matt, titled Testimony of Blogger Rescued From Gay Lifestyle Inspires Others.

“[My] blog is geared toward the struggle with homosexuality,” writes Matt, “but it applies to all sinful struggles. We all have sinful natures and struggles that we wish we didn’t have. But Christian, know that God is working everything—even your struggles—for your good and His glory. So keep fighting… soak yourself in the Word, pray without ceasing, and persevere.”

Maybe not optimum use there of the word “soak”—but you get the idea: gay, but … self-negating through God, basically. That’s Matt’s whole public thing.

It was, anyway, until yesterday, when on her blog the great Zinnia Jones shared that a reader of hers had found Matt’s profile on Grindr, the popular app that lets you “Find gay, bi, curious guys for free near you!” After he’d been … outed for being out, Matt wrote Zinnia to confess that yes, that was indeed his Grindr profile, the putting up of which, he wrote, was “a major disobedience on my part…disobedience to Christ. Disobedience to a loving and gracious God. ” He also vowed, “I won’t be on grindr again….ever.”

The poor guy. He’s just … well, really young, for one. He’s twenty-three. I’ve got a pair of Ugg slippers about that old. They’re disgusting; they look like they have mange. Matt, on the other hand, is not disgusting, and appears entirely mange-free. Which I believe comes in handy when you’re advertising on Grindr.

Anyway: Matt Moore! Here’s a letter I’m going to write you … well, right now:

Dear Matt,

Hi!

So please stop sweating being gay. You’re killing yourself with that. In and of itself being gay is not a moral issue. It’s not anti-God. It’s not anti-Scripture. Being gay is no more sinful than is being blue-eyed or left-handed.

You’re doing the crazy thing, friend: you’re splitting the hair between being gay and actually allowing yourself to be in a gay relationship. You’re saying that it’s okay to be gay; it’s just not okay to engage in gay love. But that’s like saying it’s okay to have lungs, but it’s not okay to breathe. One goes with the other. Separate the two and things get real ugly real fast.

I wrote a piece called Wings on a Pig about the now common, horrendously irrational and ultimately cruel notion that being gay is just—as you claim it to be—another sin that needs resisting. The main point I made there is this one:

Here is that Big Difference between homosexuality and all those other activities generally understood to be “sinful”: There is no sin I can commit that, by virtue of my having committed it, renders me incapable of loving or being loved. I can commit murder. I can steal. I can rob. I can rape. I can drink myself to death. I can do any terrible thing at all, and no one would ever claim that intrinsic to the condition that gave rise to my doing that terrible thing is that I am, by nature, unqualified for giving or receiving love.

No one tells the chronic drinker, glutton, adulterer, gambler, or any other kind of sinner that having committed their sin—that being the way they are—means they must stop experiencing love.

Yet living without love is exactly what anti-gay Christians insist upon for gay people.

When you tell a gay person to “resist” being gay, what you are really telling them—what you really mean—is for them to be celibate. It’s okay for them to be gay; they just can’t live out their gayness.

What you mean is that you want them to condemn themselves to a life absolutely devoid of the kind of the romantic, long-term, emotionally and physically intimate love that all people, Christians included, understand not only as their birthright, but as just about the greatest part of being human.

Be alone, you’re demanding. Live alone. Don’t hold anyone’s hand. Don’t snuggle on your couch with anyone. Don’t cuddle up with anyone at night before you fall asleep. Don’t have anyone at your table to chat with over coffee in the morning.

Don’t have or raise children.

Don’t get married. Live your whole life without knowing that joy, that sharing, that fulfillment.

Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.

The “sinful temptation” that Christians are forever urging LGBT people to resist is love.

Does that make sense, Matt? It’s perfectly okay that you’re gay. You get to be gay, and be married, and know a life with a loving partner, just like the life I cherish with my wife. I don’t get to enjoy more of life than you do simply because I was born straight. God did not create a special order of humans that he punishes for loving and being loved. He did not decree that some of us get to know love in both its spiritual and physical aspects, while others of us get only half of that. What God worth worshiping would be so cretinous? Have more faith in the God who made you and me, buddy. We all get to have, know, and experience love. Straight people, gay people, bi-people, transgender people … all of us. The eternal, inviolate, and sacrosanct birthright of every person ever born is to give and receive the love that God himself designed us to yearn for and experience.

God doesn’t want us to know him better through our sinning. He wants us to know him best through our love.

You don’t get to be the exception to the rule of needing and deserving full love, Matt. You couldn’t be that exception if you tried. You have tried at that, and failed. And you are destined to fail at that over and over again, until the day you realize that the only one endeavoring to prevent you from being all that God made you to be is you.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Barbara Rice

    I feel bad for this guy. I had he takes your counsel and stops fighting within himself about what he’s “supposed” to be, and embraces himself as he is.

  • Valerie

    Amen

  • Janet

    Awesome post, John. “You don’t get to be the exception to the rule of needing and deserving full love, Matt. You couldn’t be that exception if you tried. You have tried at that, and failed. And you are destined to fail at that over and over again, until the day you realize that the only one endeavoring to prevent you from being all that God made you to be is you.” That applies to all of us.

  • Miriam Widenham

    Amen, amen and amen! I feel horribly for this guy. He’s on a journey. I pray that he finds his way and that love finds him in the end.

  • Jill Joiner

    Very Well said.My hope is that being young he will realize how wrong he is and become more comfortable being Gay.

  • Jeff Scott

    Beautifully written John.

  • Scott Harris

    John, another outstanding, on the nose post. I hope that Matt can allow himself and others to experience the joy of Love. If God is Love and we were made in God’s image, then we were born to Love and be Loved in all of its incarnations.

  • Amy

    What a fabulous piece of writing, John. Thank you for sharing this with everyone, especially Matt. Here’s hoping that your words make a difference in his life and in the lives others.

  • Maria

    Beautifully written, John. So full of light! I hope your words will help Matt, and other’s like him, so desperately lost in the darkness that constitutes rejecting the love God has envisioned for all of us.

  • Jen Henley

    Absolutely wonderful, John.

  • Brian W

    Every fundy Christian needs to read John’s letter and then read it again and again and again until it sinks in….

    • Gordon

      You’re assuming they read.

      • Brian W

        G,

        That is true, might be too much to assume….

    • DR

      It’s not just “the fun dies” who need to read this. It is all of you – including you, Brian, unless things have changed or this is a different Brian W – who want to maintain the view that homosexuality in and of itself is a sin. There are a lot of people who want to claim that they still get to believe this, to believe that marriage in the eyes of God is between a man and a woman. that homosexuality is sinful – and not be considered a “fun die”. I think there are a lot of people who are trying to hide behind a lot of loving language in order to separate themselves from “the fun dies” when in fact, you all share the same theology and you’re all still guilty of creating an atmosphere where this young man can’t be in love, get married and build a life and raise kids with a same-sex partner and be a Christian at the same time.

      • DR

        I’m not sure why ‘fundie’ is spelled in such an odd way above, sorry!

        • Gordon

          I think it’s spelled just right! When one gets too fundamental, the fun dies.

          • mike moore

            amen brother.

          • Jill

            It certainly has a ring to it.

  • Jennifer

    Yay! I hope he reads your letter and responds.

  • Marlene Lund

    Wise words, John. I hurt so much for Matt. May he find God’s grace and love, and come to peace with how his Creator made him.

  • Gordon

    I read some of Matt’s posts and I was transported back in time. I began remembering the tortured, depressed and often drunk Gordon who hated himself because he couldn’t fight this demon inside. I so loved God and wanted to serve Him as a minister. But I had an enormous secret and there were no Christians I trusted to be willing to help me like you are with this young man, John. I hope he really, REALLY listens. From what he has written, I know he will…eventually. I just hope it is sooner rather than later. Before too much damage is done.

    Matt, just in case you ever read this I want you to know something. It’s important. The day you realize you were born gay and that your sexuality is not some sin to overcome will be the most powerful, liberating and amazingly spiritual day of your life. I hope it comes soon for you, my friend.

    • Lymis

      I agree. I was deeply closeted (or maybe just hoped I was) until I was in my early 30′s. And I was active in my church and my community, and I knew that if I ever faced my own truth, I’d be condemned for it.

      And it turned out I was right. A huge amount of what I thought was most important to me was ripped away from me when I came out – mostly by people who took great pride in the fact that they were doing it in the name of God.

      And then the amazing thing happened – I found myself, I found a new community, I eventually found the love of my life, and in the process didn’t lose God, though I did have to give up some of my beliefs about God.

      I wish him well. I hope he finds himself, and his love. And I hope he can find it in himself to stop hurting others in the process.

  • http://kathy@canyonwalkerconnections.com Kathy Baldock

    I wrote to him last night as well. I just want to talk with him. The kids had only been a Christian for two years when he started this public blogging. Waaaaaay too soon to be held up as “ex-gay idol”.

    Last year I wrote to him too — “SLOW down” I advised. “The fall WILL come.” And I got his arrogance back. I had to unsubscribe to his RSS feed; it was too painful to read. And the “go , Matt, go” comments were worse.

    He needs help now. He was set with a book deal, moved homes and changed jobs. And he has indeed fallen.

    Wish I could take the kid on a long hike in the woods and listen to him and share some wisdom with him.

    AND–HELLO JOHN, honey!!!

    • DR

      They don’t care about this poor boy. They care about creating an idol who can support their speaking points.

      This young man is a consequence of years of confusing theology that many of us still refuse to build any conviction around. What a tragedy.

  • Hannah Grace

    Truth Wins Out posted a horrible, shaming letter to this guy, heaping more guilt on top of what must already be a huge load.

    Thanks for your kind, much more merciful letter to him. Weirdly, I so needed to see someone be kind instead of sordid, harsh and hateful, and it meant a lot that you had that mercy today.

    Just wanted to say that. Can’t say enough what it meant to me.

    • Lymis

      I’m not going to take sides on this, Hannah, but along with every other consideration, let’s also remember that by being an outspoken “ex-gay” (I HATE that term) blogger and activist, Matt Moore not only suffers in his own life, but actively works to drag others into the same pit – many of whom end up killing themselves over it.

      I agree that John’s letter is personal, merciful, and kind. Please don’t attribute other people’s motives – most especially not someone like Wayne Besen, who works tirelessly for justice on this issue, as simple meanness or hatefulness.

      If Matt Moore is carrying a huge load of shame, let’s not forget that at least some of it should be shame for the pain he’s put others through.

    • mike moore

      I think this, like so many things, requires both ends of the spectrum.

      I also was happy to see John’s letter and its kindness.

      Still, it’s important to remember that Matt Moore is a public voice. His words are read by many and have the ability to deeply hurt others’ lives. He advocates a way of living by which he himself cannot live.

      Truth Wins Out must call out the hypocrisy of guys like Matt because of the damage done to our community. Thankfully, there are also guys like John who balance it out with love.

    • KB

      There’s a place for compassion, but there’s also a place for calling him out on his bs. He needs to hear both messages because he needs to know that what he’s doing in taking the professional ex-gay route destroys other people’s lives too.

      • Hannah Grace

        Maybe I shouldn’t take sides, but I feel like John’s message is also obviously calling him out. There are ways to call someone out for hurting people without tearing them down and shaming them, and sometimes those are the most constructive & fruitful ways.

        Truth Wins Out does a lot of good, but that doesn’t mean everything they do is perfect. It never stops confusing me that “but they do a lot of good!” is an argument meaning someone never screws up – people don’t come in ‘good’ and ‘evil’, you know. And the whole thing seemed so sordid and unwholesome, and tortured, and the guy has a bunch of internalized oppression which he’s perpetuating, which, yes, is harmful – perpetuating internalized oppression is always harmful – but the oppressor is where all of that is originating from, and someone has to be liberated before they can get free. Not just condemned even more.

        • Hannah Grace

          I just don’t think “calling someone out” and “loving people” are two different things, and it seems kind of unhealthy that they would be.

        • gregory

          I’ve givena lot of thought to my resolves with my own opinion on this. … My first reaction to Matt Moore, is indeed a sense of “calling out” strongly … for you see, as one who took a stand, some thirty years ago, with a fundamentalist Pentecostal life and family … there were such heartbreaking and difficult challenges or “prices” to pay to take a stand, in the interest of truth – not only for myself, but a sense of others suffering just as I. … and to see a gay person, who is yet unable to take that honest stand, … or floundering – while continuing the fallicy that a gay person can just “pray it away”, or that even if you can’t, then any manifestation on this very real part of you is expressed, then you have committed sin against GOD.. it just becomes an outrage! I reached a complete resolve about “coming out” as I set out in posts prior, after taking Matt M’s approach until I had NO question, when I “came out”, that I had done absolutely everything within my power to change, and I realized I was not going to change my natural, innate homosexual attraction … It then became EMPHATIC, to me …. that I could not espouse, or believe in a God who would create me as I am – and then shame me – or worse – damn me to eternal HELLFIRE, if I allow myself to be, to love, to grow with integrity, honesty and love. Unfortunately Matt’s public voice – just lends the fiercest, most cutting refuge the fundamentalists can leverage … to say … well, here’s a gay man that has overcome … so can YOU! and this is EXTREMELY, emotionally damaging and causes tremendous pain to gay youth across the world. I just trust Matt M is quick to grow into a place where he stops the self sabotage, and promoting it for others too – before he hurts too many. I have been round and round with one too many like Matt, as they stood and defied my insistence that my homosexuality was NOT something to be “delivered” from. My most ardent opponent some years back, is now with his life partner, pastoring a church to embrace the LGBTQ community! This last bastion of “gay conversion” camps of thought are quickly becoming archane … but never fast enough. For my activist soul cries out, not only in gentility, but with a ferocious passion – not to win some “argument” for ourselves alone, but to stamp out these absolute cruel and wrong assertions by some Christians in thier condemnation of gay people. It is not merely a philosophical discussion … it is years of emotional terrorism, loneliness, heartwrenching pain levied up toward gay youth, who for years have suffered much higher rates of suicide than heterosexual youth.

          Truth Wins Out has an amazing mission, and invaluable contribution to our world, now, in this time we face.

  • Donna Kinnaird

    Beautiful! Thank you.

  • http://tryingGodspatience janet Whitten

    There is nothing wrong with Matt. He is a sinner saved by Grace like I am. Matt has recieved the holy spirit which created a new heart within him. He is struggling with his sin like all christians do. But God is rich in mercy and overflowing in grace. His identity comes from Christ. Matt if you READ THIS DON’T EVER FORGET WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST. wE REPENT WHEN WE SIN. God forgives over and over. Matt is free to love others and christ can change his heart in alignment with his will. That is Gods delight! That is what he does when we accept him into out life we lose interest in our old lives and live for him. Faith and the Holy spirit is given by God when we realize our need for a savior but if we never think we need a savior then we will never know God. It is sad for those who live thinking they have all the answers.

    • Lymis

      And nothing you said has anything to do with Matt’s sexual orientation, which isn’t going to change. God doesn’t turn gay people straight. God can, and often does, help gay people come to love themselves as they are. Being gay is not a sin, and it’s nothing to have to “struggle” with.

    • Gordon

      Ummm, what “sin” are you referring to?

    • Christina Johnson

      Your god is a joke. I prayed to that “god” for years. The only thing in my life that changed is the fact that I started putting stock in logic and reason rather than bronze-age myths.

      • Lymis

        It’s not an either/or.

        Many of us found that the bronze-age parts of the myth didn’t work for us and found a different way to envision and interact with the Divine. I don’t relate to a grumpy grandfatherly figure on a throne in a cloud surrounded by harp muzak. But that doesn’t inherently require rejecting all conscious connection to the Divine.

        I’m a big fan of logic and reason. But where logic and reason hit the end of their sphere of influence, or when the reasonable and logical thing to conclude is “We don’t have sufficient data, knowledge, or wisdom to declare anything solid here,” then claiming that God doesn’t exist is not based on logic.

        However, I’m far, far more supportive of people who’ve given it all serious thought and concluded that they can’t believe than of people who don’t bother, or worse, know that they don’t believe and pretend to believe the unsupportable.

        • Lymis

          I’m not sure that last line was as clear as I’d like. In other words, given the choice between an honest atheist and a smug Pharisee, I’m with the atheist every time.

          • Jill

            Lymis, I’m fairly sure the smug Pharisee would feel the same about you.
            :)

          • mike moore

            naaaah, Pharisee would still have him stoned. (and not in the good way)

        • Christina Johnson

          Sorry. That was a bit scathing. I’ve been around the ring a few times with this faith issue. So, this isn’t me jumping to a conclusion that gods don’t exist, this is me saying that it took me years before I had the strength to walk away from the emotional and psychological abuse from others as well as myself as I came to the point where I could actually really truly engage in some meaningful self-care. Part of that involved putting away my guilt and shame over what an entity who may or may not exist thought of my personal life. Surely, that doesn’t leave me without a moral obligation to my family, friends, and community as a whole, but it allows me to take the reigns and speak my own mind freely instead of doing what Janet Whitten has done here… and even being able to admit that I just don’t know. So, I am as honest and forthright as I can be (within reason, provided proper social space to do so).

          • John Clemens

            Emotional and psychological abuse comes from organized religion and the “men” in the hierarchy. They’ve done a reasonable job of keeping people ignorant and childlike in their understanding for the sake of control. That’s not my God or version of Christianity either but I never was “certain” enough about science or religion as some profess to deny anything. I just had to step aside briefly while I was being educated in biology. Certainty comes from ignorance alone. I would wager that most atheists are really agnostic and the rest are fundies.

          • Gordon

            I so like the way your mind works, Christina. Thanks for sharing this!

          • Lymis

            Walking away from stuff like that is often the only answer, and even when it isn’t, it’s often the best answer. I salute you for doing that rather than suffering under a system that you couldn’t believe or follow. That takes courage.

            At the same time, consider that throwing it back too broadly – not just, “your view doesn’t work for me and I don’t choose to believe it” but “it’s a joke” and the implication that any belief in God is inherently a failure of logic and reason puts you into exactly the same sort of camp of people belittling others and wielding your beliefs as a weapon.

            My belief, from MY personal experience is that reason and logic are not incompatible with an experience of the Divine. I’ll happily agree with you that reason and logic are incompatible with the sort of knee-jerk unthinking simplistic views that people like Janet are so fond of spouting. But for me, reason and logic are what draw me to the understanding that bare mechanistic ideas with no room for something greater don’t match my reality either.

            Not everyone thinks like Janet.

          • DR

            It’s essential that people talk about the horrific abuse they often suffer from our Church candidly so we are reminded that we have a huge mess to clean up and people to protect. On behalf of Christians, I’m so sorry what we did to you. What those of us who were too passive and scared of being liked didn’t stop, what we allowed in our cowardice, our laziness and our self-absorption. We allowed cruelty to occur in the name of Jesus and we will never be able to take that back. But you haven’t promise I will spend the rest of my life’s king ends and cleaning out this vile shit in our faith community so you can live your life in peace. Its 100% our responsibility.

            I’m glad you’re here and I think it’s important that you be exactly who you are here and let us know what you need from us. If its screaming at us? Bring it. I can take it. :)

          • Jill

            DR, you’re always very cool like that. In a similar vein, I don’t really know what this Christian journey revisited is going to end up looking like for me– I want to connect myself to a church, be part of something I can hold onto, find out what people like you and others here have found so solidly affirming in Christ.

            I keep dancing closer and closer to something resembling a decision, and then so much yuck tumbles out of my memory. And I weep for a while, sleep in yet another Sunday, re-group, and try again.

            Now that this subject is opened here, what do Christians do with their understandable anger? How do you stay Christian? I’m genuinely not getting it and would like to.

          • Christina Johnson

            Why worry so much about the label of Christian? Why not do your best at being you?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            A lot of people find that believing in a higher power helps them be their best selves, Christina. Just because that hasn’t been your experience doesn’t invalidate that experience for other people.

          • Jill

            It’s a great question, and it is something I’ve asked myself often, so I think I get your meaning, Christina. Does being Christian have anything to do with being a good citizen, a healthy-minded person, have healthy relationships, etc.?

            To respond frankly to you, I don’t worry about the label. I care about it. I see that as two distinct emotions.

            And I’ve cared about the Christianity thing as of late because of the caring that Christian people have offered me. It has healed more inside me than I can say here. And that caring has come, in large part as I understand it, from their specific faith. I truly believe them.

            That’s not to ignore the love and care I continue to receive from my Wiccan, Buddhist, and atheist friends. They are equally wonderfully gorgeous. I am a lucky duck.

            Although I’m rambling on, I can briefly say that I’ve needed to heal the Big Anger (see above) that has the Christian logo stamped on it. The only way I can fully put that to rest is by healing the way I relate with Christianity, and I suppose how I relate to Christ also.

            Christina, I hope I’ve answered your question fully.

          • Matt

            I don’t know if this helps at all, Jill, but I deal with the Big Anger by a combination of feeling the anger I feel, and joking about it.

            I figure God is big enough for my tiny human anger, however vast it feels inside me. I feel content to give some things to God, and trust that They know things I don’t. Joking also helps enormously. When you hear hateful drivel over and over, it honestly becomes pretty laughable. It never changes, it’s almost comically hyperbolic. But there are also times to know when being angry won’t help anything–it’s why I never engage with trolls, here or anywhere else.

            You’re not alone in having non-Christian friends you care about. My two best male friends are not Christian; one is firmly agnostic and the other keeps his Native American beliefs. But they have always been excellent friends to me, supported me all the way. They are responsible, and care for those they love in inspiring ways.

            I think faith more of as an expression of the person’s self, rather than the other way around. What works for one will not work for another. It’s why I don’t believe in hell–God, the Divine, is far too big not to anticipate Their creations going in many, many different directions. Who would penalize someone for being themselves, besides fundamentalists?

          • Jill

            It does really help, Matt. Sometimes it’s about talking it through. I know this is a process for me. So many lies sold as a package deal, all at the expense of my sanity. My ability to trust is still fairly wobbly.

            Yet I continue to hold a purpose of forgiving what was for the sake being whole, or as whole as possible. I don’t quit. I don’t have to become Christian if that perspective is not a full expression of what I’m doing here on this planet, but I don’t want my reason why I’m not choosing Christianity because I’m still pissed at them, if that makes any sense.

            I really like Christ the person. I don’t like what so many have done to his legacy.

            Still a lot of tears–I haven’t gotten to the laughing stage yet. Hopefully in time. :)

      • Dan Sloan

        Ummmm… Christian doctrine and praxis came out of the Iron Age, not the Bronze Age. At least get your history correct.

        • Lymis

          Umm.. I think you’ll find “vengeful Sky Daddy who loves our tribe more than yours” alive and well in the Bronze Age, too.

        • Christina Johnson

          The original stories were exchanged in the time of the bronze age.

    • Gordon

      I just realized your post is probably something you copied from some fundie book. Or maybe you hear them so often in your place of worship you can just quote them without really thinking too much about how they fit the situation at hand or even fit together, period.

      I put them in bullet point format. They would make a great PowerPoint presentation at one of your retreats! (I took the liberty of correcting all of your spelling and grammatical errors. You’re welcome.)

      • He is a sinner saved by Grace like I am.

      • Matt has received the Holy Spirit, which created a new heart within him.

      • He is struggling with his sin like all Christians do.

      • God is rich in mercy and overflowing in grace.

      • His (Matt’s) identity comes from Christ.

      • WE REPENT WHEN WE SIN.

      • God forgives over and over. (Thank goodness He doesn’t get tired of it or we would all be royally screwed.)

      • Matt is free to love others and Christ can change his heart in alignment with his will. That is Gods delight! That is what He does when we accept Him into our lives. We lose interest in our old lives and live for Him.

      • Faith and the Holy Spirit is given by God when we realize our need for a savior, but if we never think we need a savior then we will never know God. (We could spend hours talking about this one, but regardless, it’s just about the most insipid and ignorant thing I’ve read. Today.)

      • It is sad for those who live thinking they have all the answers.

      Yeah. So sad.

      This canned bullshit is one of the many reasons my head starts to spin around and profanity spews out of my mouth when I encounter so-called Christians who talk like this. Grow up! Think for yourself! And, most importantly, speak for yourself. No normal person talks like that.

      • mike moore

        I think I saw that scene in The Exorcist … always wondered what set the demon off like that.

      • Lissy

        *snort* Thank you for the bullet points for those of us who are OCD!

    • John Clemens

      Janet, you are parroting the usual conservative Christian party line without giving much thought to what you say, and do not really care who you hurt in the process. You do not speak from your heart. That is clear to me from the fact that your initial assumptions about Matt’s sexual orientation and his pathological guilt are somehow justified by scripture. You are cruel and hypocritical. Next time you are in London, visit the Tate and study a painting called “The Scapegoat.” It should make you cry if you haven’t been hardened by your robust piety. God does not care a whit about how well you perform at following ‘the law.’ Christ himself reminded his fellow Jews that it is subject to misinterpretation and abuse. Most of the OT and NT is about human beings crying out for justice, compassion and mercy. That’s who God hears. The truth is in your heart, not a rulebook.

      • https://www.facebook.com/lynne.k.everest Lynne

        John, are you talking about the William Hunt painting “Scapegoat”? I could find no other when I googled that title, but I’m not sure Hunt’s is the one you are referencing. Do you have a link or could you describe it briefly?

  • Christina Johnson

    Damn I’m glad I’m an atheist, now. I don’t have to worry about what any god thinks of my behavior simply because no gods exist.

    That, and Christian theology is just plain nuts: God creates humans, commits genocide against them for not living up to his standards, tells “his people” to commit genocide in his name, and allows his people to follow laws that should be considered morally reprehensible to any people in any time or culture. And then, in an act of a peculiar form of incest, impregnates a virgin to give birth to himself and be his own son, dies for the human race for the forgiveness of their “sins”, and then spreads a message of fear that states that anyone who does not follow his jealous, genocidal maniac pappy will be damned to eternal flames…

    …but God is love.

    I understand that is not your brand of Christianity, Mr. Shore, but there are far too many who have the above stated beliefs. And no matter what I do, I am a hellbound sinner in any religion because I don’t see a reason to believe in any deity.

    • Courtney

      In case you are interested, Buddhism does not require belief in a deity.

      • Christina Johnson

        I’m a big fan of science. It works without belief in it.

    • Lymis

      ” And no matter what I do, I am a hellbound sinner in any religion because I don’t see a reason to believe in any deity.”

      There are large swathes of Christianity that would strongly disagree with that statement. Beginning, I think, with one particular carpenter from Nazareth.

      • John Clemens

        some of the best Christians I’ve ever known were atheists. (as the saying goes)

        • DR

          Amen!

  • Chris

    This, as always, is fantastic. But I’m curious, did you actually send this to him or just post it here?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • Lymis

    There’s another thread to this that may be worth pointing out. One common thing I’ve noticed in a lot of ex-gay stories is the idea, not only that homosexuality itself is sinful, or even splitting the hair and saying that homosexual acts are sinful independent of the question of whether the orientation is inherently sinful.

    There is this common conviction that homosexuality is automatically, irreconcilably and always only about things like promiscuity, drunkenness, licentiousness, casual and anonymous hookups, irresponsibility, disease, and early death.

    These people celebrate their redemption from “the gay lifestyle” and frantically try to toss out the baby with the bathwater, and blame being gay for the drinking, drugs, and promiscuity, rather than understanding that it’s the crippling shame, fear of being cut off from church and family, and the need to stay anonymous that creates these damaging expressions of what should be a natural and beautiful opportunity to love.

    The other thing that just continually blows my mind is the abject unwillingness of people to consider that a successful “ex-gay” may be a bisexual person choosing which part of their attraction to act on – being “delivered from homosexuality” isn’t a “cure.” It’s another part of who they were all along. And by denying that, these falls from grace are pretty much inevitable, not to mention how unspeakably damaging they are to people who aren’t bisexual, but actually gay, and frantically holding on for a cure that doesn’t, and can’t happen.

    • DrewTwoFish

      Lymis: fer Pete’s sake, stop being so consistently insightful and eloquent.

      • Lymis

        My bad.

    • Tim N

      That is my broader issue, in general, Lymis. The Religious Right would like nothing more than to paint all gay people as sexed-up loonies after their next fix.

      The problem they will eventually be caught by is that it is homophobia which creates these issues, if indeed they are disproportionate in the LGBT community. But even break that down, why are there so many “hookup” apps in the LGBT community? Part of it is the institutionalized homophobia in our culture that makes people like Matt settle for less than love, and part of it is that Men, left to their own devices would make less stable and healthy choices, as a whole, than women. I am not aware of a Lesbian version of Grindr. So this isn’t a gay issue, its a gender issue (and one that we need to address separately).

      My biggest concern is the inherent conflicts. One, Grindr and the like encourage distinctly unhealthy behavior. Two, that that behavior causes conflicts with the broader teachings of the Christian faith, which have sex problems but generally because we insist on taking sex seriously (which is a good thing) and not the other way around.

      Other than that, I could rant about gay culture and how we fluster the Religious Right, or about how much they need annoyed and how good for them it is. Both are true but both miss the bigger point, which is this guy needs to find a group of people that love him and don’t condition that love on behavior or decisions he makes. If he can find a group that will disagree with whatever, but will love him for him, whether that means visiting him in jail or walking him down the isle in lieu of family, that is what he needs.

      • Jill

        It will always be easier to marginalize, ignore, judge, compartmentalize and despise groups of people when you don’t know them as individuals and don’t want to get to know them. So let’s paint up a scary picture of depravity, call it “a gay lifestyle”, and then we’ve removed any need to have a conversation with a person who, among plenty of other personal descriptors, identifies as gay. See, easy. No fuss.

        I hope this never sounds dismissive, but I seriously cannot wait until the day when the words gay, lesbian, trans, bi, etc. are as culturally provocative as the word straight, or right-handed, or anglo, or protestant.

        • mike moore

          speaking as a right-handed WASP, I concur. (Now what to do with the left hand? Maybe I’ll post it on Grndr …)

          • Jill

            Yet ever the provocative, right-handed WASP. ;)

    • John Clemens

      Great comments in this thread. I don’t know where Matt is from but it sounds like he’s from a textbook deep south state. I am writing from South Carolina where my partner and I retired to take care of family. I belong to an Episcopal Church in Augusta. The nearest United Church of Christ is in Columbia. The Episcopal churches here (most of them) are decades behind the rest of the country. They accept us but have great difficulty talking about it. The diocese of SC is seceding from the national church over the gay thing. They actually call the rest of us “loyalists!” Matt needs to know what his options are. When I was his age, I left family, friends and the church for California. It was thrive or die. Matt is clearly dying.

    • Ben

      I really appreciate your insight on this.

      “rather than understanding that it’s the crippling shame, fear of being cut off from church and family, and the need to stay anonymous that creates these damaging expressions of what should be a natural and beautiful opportunity to love.”

  • Courtney

    I sure hope he sees this and becomes a lurker on the site until he is confidant enough to live life to its fullest.

  • Scott Miller

    Beautifully said.

  • Jeff Blackshear

    “You don’t get to be the exception to the rule of needing and deserving full love, Matt.”

    That’s MY job, and I don’t put up with interlopers!

    Dagnabit, where’s my spitoon?

  • Michael Jon Watt

    I need to go delete my Grindr profile…

    • Elizabeth

      Hahahahahah!!!!

  • Jill Mays

    Wonderful letter.

  • Kathy Shattuck

    Great letter John! I hope Matt will accept love into his life.

  • Gina Cirelli

    Dear Matt, God doesn’t make mistakes. He did not make a mistake when He made you gay. Stop acting like He did.

  • Meg Alderton

    Fantastic!

  • Rufus Cannon

    Pathetic self loathing hypocrite who’s wasting his life

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      *yikes!*

      • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

        “Yikes”, is right. Some compassion for a fellow human being struggling with a life- threatening problem would be more kind.

        What Matt hasn’t realized yet is that he only has two options open to him; he can either accept that he’s gay and embrace that truth as he builds a gay life for himself, or he can reject his gayness and live the sad, lonely life that John envisions for him. Being “ex-gay” isn’t on the table since Matt will continue to be gay no matter which choice he makes.

        Sorry Matt, I know that isn’t what you want to hear but repression isn’t working for you, is it? Why not consider the possibility that being gay is OK and that it may even be part of the divine plan for your life?

        I waited until I was 61 before I reached that conclusion, myself. My one regret now is that I didn’t come out when I was a 13 year old (not that that was really a possibility). I could have saved myself a lot of grief.

        I suggest that you, as a 23 year old, take that step now. There’s a beautiful world waiting for you, full of people willing to accept you as you are. Why deny yourself the chance for real happiness by trying to win the approval of people who will only accept you if you make your life a lie? That’s a big price to pay just to fit in.

    • mike moore

      Jeez Rufus, I thought I was the harsh one around here.

      Matt’s a kid. Yes, a dangerous kid … he may be pulling other guys into his darkness … but still give the kid a chance.

    • Lymis

      Yes, that’s harsh, and I have to wince at what seems to be behind it.

      I’ll agree that I can’t support the sort of lies and self-hate and hypocrisy that are the central aspects of the ex-gay movement’s public face.

      But let’s remember that this isn’t someone who was happily raised knowing that he was perfectly normal, beloved of God, and fully supported in being who he is, and loving whoever he loved, and helped to channel all that into healthy loving relationships.

      Yes, the situation involves pathos. Yes, I suspect Matt has a lot of self-loathing to deal with. Yes, being an ex-gay blogger who posts on Grindr while claiming to have been delivered from homosexuality is hypocrisy.

      But this isn’t something he did to himself and bears all the blame for. Too many of us spent too much of our lives in that state of self-loathing to make that kind of flat condemnation. What he’s doing is wrong, but I have to believe unless proven otherwise that he’s doing it because it’s the best option he believes he has. That’s not true – he has far better options that he can’t see.

      As much as I loathe what “love the sinner and hate the sin” has come to mean, this is a situation where we need to be willing to see the unstained and undamaged child of God that God sees in this situation, while seeing the situation and Matt’s choices about it as deeply unfortunate, misguided, and damaging, to himself and others.

      When someone’s drowning, you don’t throw him a rock. You throw him a rope. But he has to grab it himself. And we can’t pretend he’s not all wet.

      He’s an eternal child of God who appears to be temporarily engaging in pathetic hypocritical self-loathing and missing out on opportunities for love and joy in his live. But he himself is still beloved of the same God who loves us. And so are the people he’s hurting.

      • Trina

        Lymis, that was simply amazing and so graceful. I really appreciate your words myself. You’d be such a great dad to a kid like Matt. When I went last summer to saw Beasts of the Southern Wild there was a line in the movie that really touched me. In the scene, the “mother” of the community was caring for a sick child and because they had no money, etc…she relied completely on natural medicine. She had all of the other children around her teaching them to care for this little girl who had an incredibly high fever. You could see in her eyes that she was afraid, but also was working extremely hard to get this child well. One of the children asks her, “Why are you doing that?” And she replies, “Because we have to take care of those who are smaller and weaker than we are.” It was so incredibly touching that I cried. Because that is the truth, we have to care for those who are smaller and weaker than us, especially children.

  • http://krethtunez.biz Randy Creath

    Good work as always, John! Thanks for continuing to tell the truth and thus pulling the shroud from the lies some people prefer to the truth!!

  • John Clemens

    This is extremely important for young people. My greatest obstacle to coming out and fear at age 19 was a lifetime of loneliness. I joined the Navy to get away from family and Texas and oppressive conservative religion. I determined that death or life with a woman would be better than a lifetime of being alone and I didn’t think two men could love each other. Of course my world changed when I was 23 and still in the Navy. My partner and I have been together now for 38 years.

  • http://nathantaylor.net.au/ Rabid_womble

    Christianity has always struggled with human sexuality, for both genders and all orientations (exhibit A: the Catholic Church). What it gets right is love. That it elevates into an entirely different realm.

    You really nail the hypocrisy and emotional stupidity of the conservative Christian position on gays. Which is why I have read your blog for years.

    As I said in your book, conforming my life to the conservative Christian ideal cut me off from emotional connection with other people let alone experiencing any form of love. Christianity was an intellectual ideal rather than a felt experience. It was not until I came out that I could understand the emotional reality of love and the trial and joy involved in maintaining an adult relationship with someone as the years turn into decades.

    So, well done John and be kind to Matt. He must be in hell now.

  • charles

    really lovely post John…..

  • Christie Draper

    So very sad. My heart hurts for him….he is living in fear of a frightful and condemning God as taught to him. How sad that he’s never been truly introduced to the God that created him, rather than the God that people have created to suit their own bigotries.

    • http://tryingGodspatience janet Whitten

      HAVE U READ THE WORD? THATS hOW YOU GET TO KNOW G

      GOD!

      • Lymis

        Your caps lock is stuck, Janet.

        You do realize that God doesn’t live in a book, right? You get to know God by opening yourself to God and letting the Holy Spirit move you. That may include an interaction with Scripture, but that’s not the only – or even the best – way to know God.

      • Lissy

        Janet, you are very angry at something going on in your life or in yourself and are striking out at people at random that you don’t even know. This makes me sad for you and wonder what is exactly going on in your life.

        • Jill

          Very astute comment.

          • Lissy

            Thank you! I can *sometimes* be astute… Other times, not so much! ;)

        • DR

          Thank you for that reminder. Xoxo

          • Lissy

            You’re welcome. Sometimes I struggle to look deeper and I just get angry. When I do that, I just feel sad for angry people.

  • Caroline Lace-Tortellini Little

    This is actually very beautiful. I enjoyed reading it.

  • Linnea Lundeen

    Well said, John! Over the years, I have met many LGBT Christians who feel they must abandon either their sexual orientation or their faith. Embracing both traits simultaneously makes one stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.

  • Melissa Russell

    I love your response to Matt:

    The “sinful temptation” that Christians are forever urging LGBT people to resist is love.

    Being, of course, the one thing Jesus was most clear about wanting his followers to extend to others.

    • Elizabeth

      *thumbs up*

  • Ann Bergsagel McPherson

    Soooo agree!! AGREE!! Ah-Gr-Eeeee!! Being gay is no more a sin than being heterosexual! Period. Paul was discouraging any sexual relations at all…but if we had to succumb to the temptation to get married…but it was better if we didn’t. I think it’s hateful we don’t bless homosexual relations so that they can enjoy Gods blessings (and trials, lol) of marriage as well!

  • Terry Caswell Faulkner

    Beautiful response, John.

  • Dan(Chicago)

    I am torn between feeling sorry for this young man for the obvious torture he is submitting himself to and being angry with him. He did choose to go public, start a blog, and become a face of the ex-gay movement.

    But from my own experiences in the church world I am guessing that he had more than a little encouragement to put himself out there in a blog and make his fight public.

    Many conservative Christian churches want their ex-gay trophy at any cost — which is why they keep getting burned and pics of young men on Grinder go viral. That, and the attention and praise he gets for being a ‘soldier’ in this most important fight would be enough to entice most his age into doing something very unwise. He’s likely too inexperienced to recognize people are using him and lacking the education to know that good therapy is usually a private thing.

    • spinning2heads

      I agree, poor guy. I hope he escapes the church that is, for him, the closest thing to hell I can imagine.

      There is hope, in part because he is so young. He may still crawl out from under that fence and find true love.

      • Dan(Chicago)

        Yes, I hope he does, or at least finds a supportive group of people who will help him find himself.

    • Erin D.

      Wow, interesting idea. The church’s “ex-gay trophy.” Chilling!

  • Matt

    Beautiful letter, John. You know, I don’t think I see any more wonderful, affirming responses than here on your blog. Some of my more radical LGBT siblings have been scaring me lately.

    I wish I could meet this fellow Matt in person. I wish I could say to him: “No joke, this is killing you. I’m even younger than you; I am turning 21 in a few weeks. But already I recognize the strain of beating myself up for years, the years of refusing to accept myself. I know the fear, self-hatred, and extreme guilt you’re going through. I don’t care what you’ve said in service of the ex-gay movement. I wouldn’t wish this hell on my worst enemy. You can’t even know the safety and rest offered by being yourself. It’ll take faith. But you obviously have lots of that.”

    • Maria

      ” Some of my more radical LGBT siblings have been scaring me lately.”

      Gentleman Matt,

      Please be very careful. The poison espoused by radicals is just as harmful whether it comes from anti-lgbt radicals or from lgbt radicals.

      I have followed some of your posts here and I know you for the gentle-being that you are. Please know there are many radical lgbt (and yes, many T’s) who make it their living harming gentle-beings as yourself. Many also posses co-morbities which makes them into actual physical dangers. Please be careful when engaging with them. I know you are probably wise beyond your age, but you still seem so awfully young.

      Lots of love.

      Maria.

      • Gordon

        This is just about the sweetest and most kind thing I have read in a while. xoxo, Maria.

      • Trina

        Hi Maria–

        For the web-behind-the-ears, would you mind explaining some of those things to me? I am interested. What are just a few of the things that lgbt radicals are doing that are harming other lgbt? (if you have the time). I ask this because recently, I have come to terms with being Bi. I have noticed a lot of prejudice within this community towards individuals who are Bi. I dont understand it at all. And because I haven’t really “broken into” this community, it makes me very afraid to go there at all.

        How do these people make a living harming people like Matt? What are co-morbities that are physical dangers.

        Thanks so much.

        Matt– I wished I lived near you. We’d certainly be friends : )

        • Trina

          Sorry, I meant wet-behind-the-ears. I dont have any webs. Okay, maybe inside my head ; )

          • Maria

            LOL… that’s okay, I took it as a pun and found it funny!

        • Maria

          Trina,

          Well, it is rather complicated, but it basically stems from the fact that we are all individuals and as such we all manifest our L or G or B or T slightly (or very) differently from each other. Problem stems when radicals come over and essentially espouse a view that the ONLY way to be L or G or B or T is exactly the way they themselves are and exactly the way they experience it. Some of these radicals will take it as a personal insult if you do not adhere to their philosophies. Some will take to actively persecute you, throughout the internet and, more scarily, even in real life (if they have that kind of information on you), if you do not toe their mantra. So I guess what I am saying is to please be very careful when giving information about yourself (which is something you might impulsively feel like doing when you first find what you feel might be “like-minded” people you have been searching for your whole life).

          I must add that thankfully I have never personally experienced such attacks. I have seen it happen to others over and over, from the time of the news boards /bulletin boards (internet in the late 80s early 90s; alt.trans anyone?) throughout today’s blogs. I guess I have always been very, well, “cowardly” I guess would be the adjective, and seldom ever gave information about myself and would mostly “lurk” for prolonged period of times in such “support” sites/groups before I would even contribute to the site.

          And I guess I am not trying to talk you into a life of fear specially when being yourself has so many rewards and especially seeing that there are many, many wonderful people out there that will be supportive of you. Just look at the many wonderful people in this site (but also beware of the radicals that visit such places).

          Lots of love and prayers for you in your Journey.

          Maria.

          • Trina

            Maria– Thank you! That was very helpful and wise, indeed. I wouldn’t say that you are cowardly. Self-preservation and self-protection are very wise attributes of a normal, well-grounded person. It is good to know when people are safe, and when they are not. It is also good boundaries to allow others to earn your trust.

            Yes, please pray for me (if you believe in prayer) or send good thoughts my way. There are days where I am having a difficult time becuase (1) I do want to be loved and find someone with whom I can have a life with, and (2) I fear rejection from family/friends/others when they find out that I am “both ways” as people like to say. Ha! Remember that!? Both ways. Gosh, I can remember people saying that in high school. Anywho, I appreciate good advice. I am excited, but I am so scared and sometimes, I dont know what to do with the fear. I think it is from very real experiences that I see others have. When you’re black, and female, well, you already understand what it is like for people not to like you for a thing that you cannot control. It is sad that life is this way for some or many, but it is life. I am altogether happy and whole for the most part…but I do have my days where I am scared shitless, and often impatient with progress and positive happenings.

          • DR

            You’re such a sweetheart.

          • Trina

            DR– thank you. Your posts remind me often of a fierce momma bear protecting her cubs. Who would even dare approach her babies?!? She is to be regarded as beautiful yet your ass better know and have a healthy fear of her!

          • DR

            that’s me, my love! xoxo

          • Matt

            Ah, I didn’t think I would get such a response on the “radicals” I’ve encountered!

            Mainly, it’s among the T part of the community. Naturally because of my situation, I keep one ear open for developments there. What has been troubling me is “cis scum.” It’s circulating Tumblr, again only really among the more radical. It’s an expression of hatred for cisgender people. It’s aggressive and frightening. To me, it’s not better than “tr*anny,” an equally aggressive and frightening slur. They (the trans radicals) think that it’s justified because of the opression of transgender people.

            My parents, brother, in-laws, grandparents, many of my friends, my boss, my co-workers, are all cisgender. They are all wonderful people in their own way. I can’t imagine hating cis people as viciously as these trans radicals do, no matter the violence perpetrated by a small number of cis people. I worry that one day when transgender people have the public attention (as we may well someday), this is what they will focus on, and we will lose whatever ground we gain.

          • Lymis

            Just for clarification for those unfamiliar with the term, cisgender is what one is when one is not transgender.

            It’s a term that was created so that there was a neutral term for the rest of us, since most people tended to use “normal” – which is deeply offensive for obvious reasons.

          • anakin mcfly

            A part of me actually wants us to go back to neutralizing ‘normal’, which, after all, simply means ‘the norm’ – which cis people are. It’s sad that it’s become used as a way to belittle minorities, because it’s otherwise a very convenient, accessible word.

          • de la Nae

            Well cis people are common, certainly. I’m not so certain they’re much more normal than anything else, but definitely a lot more common.

          • Lymis

            Outside of statistics, “normal” most definitely does not simply mean “the norm” – it carries with it the implication that anything else is “abnormal.”

            Left-handed people are just as normal as right-handed people. They are simply less common. In that same sense, transgendered people are a normal variation of the range of human sexual and gender experience.

            I think the word you were looking for is “usual” rather than “normal.”

          • anakin mcfly

            Seconding this. I’m generally reluctant to speak up against the ‘cis scum’ thing, because the few instances I did I got thoroughly bashed. I understand also that it’s something that started among trans women, who experience a lot more hatred and danger from society than trans men like me do, and as such I don’t feel like I’m in a position to argue about it either way. But the hate and anger behind it still terrifies me, and I’m glad at least to know a few trans women who speak out against that kind of approach. I have a lot of cis people whom I care about dearly, upon whom I never want anyone to wish death on, even in their moments of imperfect humanity, even if the threat is a powerless one.

          • Lymis

            I have no personal conception of the sheer breadth of the hatred and evil that any obviously trans person faces every single day, which is also the sheer breadth of hatred and evil that non-obvious trans people have to be conscious could fall on them at any moment.

            Being gay and of the age I am gives me a taste of that and a view of it from a distance, so I feel I have some tiny ability, if not to actually empathize, to conceive of empathizing.

            The answer to this is that these hurting and hating trans people are entirely justified. If their only choice is directing that hate and hurt inward or directing it outward, it’s healthier to direct it outward. It IS insanely unfair that you not only have to adapt to a society where the majority is different, but that you are judged so harshly for being willing to do so.

            Their anger isn’t wrong. It’s just not useful. It doesn’t change things and only hurts them. But that doesn’t change the fact that both the fault and the blame lie with the rest of us, and we have a lot to answer for.

            The fact that things are unlikely to change unless trans people and your close allies stand up, speak your truth, fight your fights, and make sacrifices to make it happen should never be confused with the idea that you should ever have had to do so in the first place.

            You’re right that most cis people are not scum. But sadly, a lot of cis behave towards trans people as though they are.

            In another age, as an edge-of-the-closet gay man, I was deeply uncomfortable with the rage and hatred expressed by gay activists like ACT-UP, but while I still disagree with a lot of their actions, they had the effect of mobilizing the rest of us. Some because we agreed, some because we didn’t want them to be the only public face of being gay. Their actions forced a lot of the rest of us to have conversations we wouldn’t had otherwise, and by pushing the far edge of the face of being gay well into the shocking and transgressive, it stretched things so far out of their previous shape that there was suddenly room in the world for married-with-kids-white-picket-fence gay people.

            In a still earlier age, there were white Americans who actually had convinced themselves that black people preferred having their own swimming pools, theaters, restaurants, water fountains, and areas of the bus. The anger and public demonstrations should never have been needed, but they were, and there rapidly came a point where people couldn’t ignore the issues any more, and the unquestioning comfortable forms of bigotry largely died out. Now it’s not a question people can pretend to ignore.

            Trans people have the potential to be a truly prophetic force in the world. That anger and rage may be what it takes to unleash it.

          • Maria

            Lymis, I just would like to add to an otherwise very thoughtful letter, that many(most?) Ts are not looking for a place/time to unload/share their anger, but are rather looking for society to allow them a place/time to unload/share the love we all have in us. Not that this takes any validity away from your post’s premise.

          • Lymis

            I know that, Maria. This was in response to Matt’s concern about the segment of the T community that specifically IS angry and becoming more and more outspoken, possibly vicious, about it.

            I absolutely understand that not all trans people are looking to unload anger – though I’ll certainly say they’d have every justification if they were.

        • Matt

          And a personal response to you, Trina. I wish I could know you too!

          First of all, congratulations on coming out to yourself. I hope your personal revelation will bring you much more peace, joy, and happiness in your life.

          Bisexual people, in general, are viewed with distrust in the LGBT community, because some are in straight relationships, and some in gay relationships. This kind of ambiguity makes people uncomfortable. There is pressure on bisexual people to “prove their queerness.” In addition, society at large views bisexuals often as depraved, hypersexual people who spread STDs and HIV. This has unfortunately caught on somewhat in the LGBT community as well. Remember that LGBT people live in a wider world; we hold onto many of the same stereotypes and incorporate them into our conversations.

          As for the “physical dangers” Maria is speaking of, she may be partly talking about chasers. “Chasers,” are (usually cis) people who consider transgender people like me sexually desirable because of my transness, and no other reason. They consider “pushing the boundaries of gender” and our unusual bodies to be hot. Ironically, it is cisgender lesbians who most often chase transgender men like me. They are rarely violent, but hugely damaging to a transgender person’s self-esteem, especially if they are early in their transition and starved for reassurance that they are still desirable and worthy of love.

          • Lymis

            “This kind of ambiguity makes people uncomfortable.”

            I won’t deny that that’s a part of it, but I think it misses the bigger point. There’s a lot of bi-negativity for other reasons, too. None of them particularly justified, just different.

            One is that a lot of really, truly, seriously, mostly or entirely gay people often pass through a phase in their coming out process where they identify as bisexual, when they really aren’t. That creates some genuine skepticism in a lot of people – one doesn’t know whether one is dealing with an actual bisexual person or a gay person who hasn’t started telling the whole truth yet. This is, often, more true of men than women.

            Another is that, in some circles, being bisexual is seen as trendy and edgy and a relatively safe way of being transgressive, so a lot of straight people who want to be adventurous claim to be bisexual when they aren’t. So again, you don’t know if the person you are dealing with is engaging in a kind of role-playing hobby or if they really mean it. This is, often, more true of women than men.

            So, more than a little of the hostility aimed at bi people is collateral damage from frustration and confusion (and sometimes, heartache) resulting from the behavior of people who aren’t actually bisexual at all.

          • Trina

            Matt and Lymis,

            Thank you both for explaining. That really makes me feel very cautious. It is so hard to gain a persepctive of a “community” that is, in itself, very complex and varied. This was very helpful.

    • Lissy

      Denying who you are, no matter who you are, WILL eventually kill you! You are absolutely right!

  • dan

    Thanks John, what a great blog.

  • Chris

    Amazing piece! Thank you so much.

  • http://www.transparently.ca Lisa Salazar

    In the infamous words of Jimmy Swaggart when he was caught with prostitutes: “Oh, the Mendacity!”

    • DR

      Haha!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

    Saved this to my facebook page. Some of my past acquaintances from marriage, my sons’ teen friends now grown, my ex wife, my sons, even my grandaughters and many friends in other parts of the world will see it, perhaps even my evangelical type anti-gay siblings tho they would never admit it. We reach the world with the internet. It is our unbeatable weapon against ignorance in the various culture war battles. It holds the mirror to evil and thus, in some ways, divides us, but in a vastly larger way, unites us in Love.

    • Maria

      *like*

  • http://oygbo.posterous.com/ Oygbo

    I don’t know if this article has ever been mentioned here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/oct/11/two-spirit-people-north-america – it is soooo interesting that the indigenous Americans not only accepted gay people, but cherished them and looked up to them….. and still do!

    • Lymis

      Uh….some did, some didn’t. Some do, some don’t.

      Native American cultures were not all the same, over time or at any one time. As individual tribes, peoples, and cultures, there were some very real differences among them.

      And those differences weren’t always simply between accepting or not. In some cultures, people we would call gay were accepted, but only under extremely rigid gender roles. Some of the native cultures were as brutal as ours has been to what we’d think of as gay people, but quite accepting of what we think of as transgender people – it didn’t matter what was “in your pants” but you’d damn well fit in with the gender you expressed, in clothing, roles, and mannerisms.

      Others were more free. Others recognized gay people but declared them automatically to be a different class of people and clumped them all together, turning over children who showed signs of it to the adults who were living it.

      It’s important to shine this light – it proves the lie of “no civilization has ever accepted homosexuals” – but it’s also important not to overly glorify it.

      • http://oygbo.posterous.com/ Oygbo

        My intention wasn’t to ‘overly glorify’ the fact that homosexuality was known and accepted among Indians – just to present additional info/fact showing homosexuality as a natural variation of human sexual orientation. That’s all. :-)

        • Lymis

          And thank you for doing so!

  • navide

    John,

    I have just one Major disagreement with you.

    It’s “breathe” not “breath”. ;)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Duh. Fixed that typo. thanks.

      • navide

        :)

  • https://twitter.com/sillyboots Sillyboots

    This is perfectly said. If indeed “God is Love”, then surely, we are never more like God than when we love.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

      We will never change their minds and hearts speaking to them about love because they obviously don’t believe we are capable of genuine love; we can’t feel it because they believe is it mere lust, we can’t give it because we are not capable of it and we most certainly don’t deserve it because we are so….well, undeserving.

      It’s all bullpucky and I think, deep down, they know it.

      • Jill

        They have no ability to gauge genuine love when they don’t live by its code. It’s a concept, a vague notion, words on a page, lip service at best.

        From my fundy upbringing, I’d say they don’t see you as capable of real love because they have not a clue what real love looks like. Those who wrongly judge are so utterly out of touch with what love actually means, how it lives and breathes, how it changes your life.

  • http://tryingGodspatience janet Whitten

    John

    Even though you speak cruel things about me and persecute me. I consider it a privelege to suffer for Christ.

    • John Clemens

      I’m assuming you are referring to me since John Shore has clearly not persecuted you. It boggles my mind that Christians like you have no conscience about using the Bible to criticize, marginalize, beat up, and ostracize an innocent group of people all for who they LOVE(!) and then have the audacity to cry “persecution” themselves when someone pushes back. St. Paul had much to say about the “illusion of righteousness.” A lesson he had to personally learn about the meaning of sin. Many great theologians like Reinhold Neibuhr also have written volumes on the subject. Open your heart (if you have eyes to see and ears to hear) and your mind will follow. Right now you can’t recognize the stumbling blocks in front of you.

    • Lymis

      Wouldn’t it be even more of a privilege to, you know, listen to Christ and actually do what he said you should, like loving your neighbor, not persecuting people, and all that pesky “not throwing stones” stuff?

      You are wrong on this, Janet, and perpetuating lies and hatred, even smugly, doesn’t serve Jesus. Check out the parable of the sheep and goats if you want to know whether you will get more credit from Jesus for loving your neighbor or persecuting them in the name of the law.

    • Christina Johnson

      Janet: Just go blast “Leper Messiah” at 11. You’ll feel better. If your stereo doesn’t have “11″, just turn the volume all the way up.

    • John Clemens

      BTW Janet, I would suggest you look up the definition of “constructive criticism” and “persecution.” They are different. Unless you are a child.

    • DR

      Oh for goodness sake. Janet. Grow up please. You’re being treated like an adult so consider acting like one. You are being challenged and held accountsble for your belief that being gay is a sin, that belief drives gay kids to suicide and gay men and women away from Christ. You are responsible for that and people are telling you that directly. If you are going to play the victimized martyr, perhaps you shouldn’t engage in the conversation. You feeling good isn’t the priority, gay kids are dying. It’s not about you. Free speech is protected but you certainly aren’t protected from those of us who are going to tel you the impact you are having on the GLBT. Immunity as we as our Church. You don’t speak for Jesus and you most certainly don’t speak for me.

    • Trina

      Janet– For the sheer fact that you have typed out this message is plain evidence of your lack of persecution. Afterall, you still have your head! Persecution….naw. Look that up. Disagreement? Yes. Look that up too. It will help you in the future to escape your false and perceived martyrdom. And I’m not really sure how someone’s views on a blog causes you to “suffer for Christ”, but I have a distinct inkling that your suffering is taking place in a well climate-controlled home/office where food is plentiful, a nice bed to sleep in, INTERNET, a computer/laptop, and many MANY first world comforts. I’m not sure you understand suffering much.

      • Lissy

        THANK YOU! I am highly disgusted when fellow Christians in free countries call themselves “persecuted.” PLEASE learn what “persecution” means! Talk to some Christians who have be imprisoned because of their faith. You cannot talk to others because they, as Christians, have be PUT TO DEATH.

        Perhaps it would be helpful to you to look at why you feel the need to call yourself “persecuted.”

        • Lymis

          And the actual persecutions that (some) Christians are inflicting on others, like, (to pick an example completely at random,) LGBT people.

          • Lissy

            EXACTLY!

    • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

      Whoa, janet! You’re not suffering for Christ. You’re suffering for lack of a proper education. Take it up with your local school board.

      • Jill

        And I’ll take Al for the block.

        (Hollywood Squares reference… anyone? Is thing on?)

        • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

          Har!

  • http://tryingGodspatience janet Whitten

    Mr. John Shore,

    I am going to give you a big fat reason to call me a hypocrite and a sinner so here goes. You hide behind your pride and your supreme and cynical intellect. You do that so no one can get close to you. You know nothing of God because only God will come to those who are seeking him. You hate Christians unless they accept you as being gay. So go ahead and judge me one more time if that makes you happy but I think I have you pretty well figured out. Oh and be sure to correct my sentences and edit also.

    • Gordon

      Uh, John Shore isn’t gay, sweetie. And by the way, I am the one who corrected your spelling and grammar. Not John. I just can’t resist it when I’m dealing with intellectual pygmies.

      • mike moore

        John’s not gay and is married?!?!?!?

        All my schemes to fix him up with a big ole bear, down the drain.

        • Gordon

          I’m sure he would have coffee with him. John loves coffee. He’s a blogger. They all do.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yikes!

      Janet: I’m not gay; I don’t hate Christians; and I’ve never called you a hypocrite, a sinner, or anything else. As far as I know I’ve never communicated with you at all; I have no idea who you are and don’t recognize your name.

      I’ll leave your … mistake on here so you can see my response to it. But you need to now stop with this kind of angry spewing, okay? Or at least take it somewhere else. Thanks.

      • Michael C

        Hey John! At least she acknowledged your supreme intellect!

        =)

    • Lymis

      “You know nothing of God because only God will come to those who are seeking him.”

      “Marco!”

      “Polo!”

    • Trina

      I feel very near to John… He has recently shared the death of his father with me, and has allowed me to comment on his blog and offer him comfort. He has shared parts of his marriage and life with me, of which, I am grateful. He has taken on the cause of the poor in spirit, the marginalized, the disenfranchised. For that, I feel he is a near and dear brother. He has offered prayers for me and has encouraged me to pray for others during Thanksgiving. He has shown compassion to me, and to others whom he does not know personally. I’ve never met Mr. Shore in the flesh, but he certainly has allowed me to get close to him. In return, I have allowed myself to be open to him and all the others who has so gently and lovingly drawn near. Hmm…. Sounds a lot like Christ to me. You know, that drawing near to the brokenhearted, to those who are lowly in Spirit, to give them joy, peace and comfort. I’d say he knows a lot about God and has sought him earnestly. It shows in his actions.

      If he were gay, I’d love him all the same.

      • Maria

        *like*

      • Lissy

        AMEN!

      • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

        Second! Who’s in favor?! :D

  • ocryan

    You know, just once I would like to read about the scandal arising from a young man or woman of an ex-gay background going on a date, falling in love, getting married. You know, what most people would consider normal, unremarkable expressions of sexuality for anyone, regardless of their orientation.

    • Lymis

      What’s your point?

      If the “young man or woman of an ex-gay background” isn’t actually ex-anything, as is most often the case, and they marry someone of the opposite sex, what you have is a pair of people who are far more likely to be desperately unhappy than to be experiencing what marriage is supposed to be for. Often, neither partner has a fulfilling sex life, and often, one or the other (often the gay partner) has extramarital affairs to try to fulfill the needs they’re cutting off.

      If the “young man or woman of an ex-gay background” is actually bisexual, then assuming that they are capable of monogamy, they should be able to have a wonderful, loving life. But they don’t have to lie about being ex-gay to do it.

      Of course, it’s vaguely possible that you meant that the “young man or woman of an ex-gay background” would be supported in overcoming the unnecessary and crippling imposed shame, embraced their own sexuality for the gift of God that it is, found, dated, fell in love, and married someone of the same sex, well, as the laws change, that’s happening more and more.

      • ocryan

        Sorry for not being clear. I meant with a member of their own sex.

        I have no trouble believing you when you say “that’s happening more and more.” Because, see, that’s my own story. From (not so) ex-gay to finding love to forming a lifelong commitment with another man. My first same-sex date (not sex, just dinner and a movie), at the same age Matt Moore is now, was the first time I had felt “normal” since I became aware of having a sexual orientation. Because it _is_ normal for a young man in his early twenties to be going out on a date!

        But that’s not the story we usually see or hear about coming from these organizations. And it’s not a question of secular law, either. Their own beliefs hold them back from claiming that right even when it’s available to them. They’ve demonized love (reducing it to the physical act of sex), and as a result we see this furtive, shame-ridden acting out. I’m tired of feeling either pity or Schadenfreude toward these men (and they usually are men, have you noticed?). I would so much rather have a reason to rejoice with them!

        • Lymis

          There’s a reason for that – when someone recovers from the whole ex-gay thing (becoming ex-ex-gay?), the ex-gay groups completely deny they ever existed, while gay folks and our allies don’t see it as a scandal at all. Because it isn’t.

          But based on what I know, your story isn’t all that unusual. And it’s becoming more and more common every day.

          So congratulations on your happiness!

  • Christopher Watson

    Not to stir the pot, but is it not possible that he is not the one being deceived, but LGBT community is? My point being, we must all (hetero/homo-sexual, addict, drunk, pervert, sinner) come to terms with the fact that we war against the great deceiver. Only the word of God stands in the gap, and to it we must constantly return. Our cause is not to justify any lifestyle but that of serving Christ!

    • Lymis

      “is it not possible that he is not the one being deceived, but LGBT community is”

      Uh, no.

      Deceived into what? Feeling that love is of God, and that we, being children of God, can know God by loving?

      Deceived into believing that open, honest, committed connection with other human beings, and in particular with a loving life partner in whose life we intertwine is more a reflection of the love of God than bitter, lonely self-loathing shame and unnecessary celibacy?

      Deceived into believing that when we put our trust in God and in the Spirit and that Spirit raises us up, consoles us, and reassures us that we are beloved, just as we are, and that who we are is as God intended? That God looks on his creation and sees that it is good?

      You’re not one of those …. let’s go with “people”… who thinks that we’re not actually gay, we just think we are, and that one of the fundamental, central facets of our own internal experience is just some trick the Devil is playing, are you?

      I don’t have to justify a lifestyle. I have a life to live.

    • DR

      Given millions of gay men and women are in exclusively loving relationships with same sex partners raising beautifully adjusted children, no. They are not being deceived, particularly since many of them are devout Christians who are, as you said, completely devoted to serving Jesus.

      • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

        “The great deceiver” is a quaint term for the devil or, dare I say it, Satan. Methinks Christopher Watson is an old-fashioned, fire and brimstone, Bible Belter who’s come to warm our little piece of cyber-paradise with his fiery rhetoric.

        Welcome, Christopher.

    • de la Nae

      I fought with this idea for many years, Christopher, wrangling it around in my head, and my heart, crying out to God in the stillness of the darkness of the night for strength to serve Him, for wisdom to be what He wanted me to be.

      And He gave it to me, and after years of thinking I couldn’t possibly of understood Him properly, I finally listened. So I haltingly, slowly, and fearfully began my walk for both my life and His Word as a pansexual Trans* woman. It is not often easy, but the small, humbling ministry He has called me to has gifted to me a far greater understanding of love and grace than ever in my first twenty years.

      While I think that you are confused in some ways, I do not think that you are evil, Christopher. I have faith that you come here with these words with thoughts of healing and love. But hear me, brother, and hear our brethren whose hearts and souls cry out to us, their family in Christ, for bread, yet too often receive only stones: you are mistaken. Why you have fallen in this trap that we humans fall so readily, I cannot guess. I am certain that you have real reasons for having allowed this falsehood into your heart, but I tell you that, just as the woman who stays with the man who will one day finally kill her, because she has been convinced she is worth so little, so to has someone set a poison in your heart, one that we both know you are better than.

      For Jesus of Nazareth did not live, teach, heal, die, and live again for the sake of holding the Law as the highest authority. He is the fulfillment and the completion of the Law. He is the Greatest Commandment, to love God with all of yourself, and to love your neighbor as yourself, and to love yourself as your neighbor.

      There are those, I know, who would accuse me of self-serving motives, of falling into a similar trap of failing to see to the heart of God’s teachings. Perhaps they are right, in some ways. I am human, after all. But I cannot help but note that the words I have been given to preach seem to encourage greater peace, greater fellowship, greater harmony, greater love in the world, while the opposing stance on the matter only seems to lead to the edge of the knife, and the wailing of mothers over the corpses of their children.

      And the Lord said that there would in later days be others who came, claiming to have knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. And to tell them that were true from them that were but false teachers, He told those gathered to look to the fruits of their teachings.

      You can beat this, Christopher, you can rise above. God has faith in you, and through Him I do too.

      • Lymis

        Sure there are people who would accuse you of self-serving motives. But those who do miss the very important point that for each of us, our ministry starts with ourselves, and the only truths we can authentically speak are our own truths, and how God speaks to us in our hearts.

        It’s the difference between saying “This is how God wants you to live” and “I have met God. Let me tell you who I have found God to be in my life so you can seek God out and find out who God is in yours.”

        Of course your message would come as a powerful trans woman. Because that’s who you are, and sharing who you are is what God called you to be.

        That’s the real tragedy of what people like Matt Moore are doing – they are trying to share God from a place of fundamental inauthenticity. God doesn’t turn us into something we aren’t. God helps us flourish as the best possible version of who we are.

    • Gordon

      Nope. You can hunt far and wide and you will never find a more watchful, alert and vigilant bunch than me and my brothers and sisters in our sexual minority. We learn from a very early age how to detect bad guys. And bad gals. The Great Deceiver doesn’t stand a chance with this massive force of truth, let me tell you!

    • Lymis

      Another note, Christopher.

      Your post falls into the extremely common trap of lumping all gay people together, assuming we are all identical, that we are all having the same experiences, and that being gay is a thing we do – and that we’re all doing the same thing.

      We aren’t.

      Assuming for the point of discussion that there is a “Great Deceiver” who does this sort of thing, and is capable of coming between someone and God regardless of either the person’s intentions or Gods, for this idea to be valid, each and every LGBT person, and each and every straight person who loves us would have to be under the same deception.

      If you were to say that you felt that things like promiscuity, self-loathing, trying to avoid dealing with internal and external homophobia through self-destructive habits like drugs and alcohol, despair, anger, and the inability to love one’s self enough to find love with a loving partner are the work among LGBT people of some Great Deceiver, and that the judgmentalness, hard-heartedness, lack of compassion, and outright hatred expressed by many straight Christians is the work of said Deceiver, that might have more justification.

      But the path to overcoming those things and stepping into the Light is a path to more love and acceptance of LGBT people, not less.

      The way you help a left-handed person who feels shamed and judged for being different is helping them embrace their left-handedness, while helping others realize that there’s nothing wrong with being left handed. It doesn’t require claiming that left-handed people are perfect or incapable of left-handedly doing all the same unloving things that right-handed people do; far from it.

      But you don’t help left-handed people live in the light of God or fit into society by reinforcing the idea that they are wrong to be left-handed and need to work harder and harder to be right-handed, or at least to hide their left-handedness from “decent” people.

      And you don’t help LGBT be fully human and fully open to the love of God by claiming that our very existence is a lie of Satan. Honestly, how dare you?

      • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

        Wow. Great post, Lymis!

    • Sara

      Hi Christopher,

      I know you’ve gotten a lot of replies. Just thought I’d share something with you. Sure, heterosexual and homosexuals come to terms with the fact that we need God, and live in a world full of deception. I do sin, and need forgiveness. I’m so thankful for Jesus. But my orientation is not the cause of that sin.

      Of all the things I need to repent, being a lesbian has never been one.

      And as far as justifying an lifestyle other than serving Christ, I’m certainly not trying to do that either. I wish you could see my church, which is made up of mostly LGBT people. This is a group of people that is passionately in love with Jesus, shares the gospel, cares for the poor and the sick. There are lesbian couples caring for elderly parents, gay couples raising beautiful adopted children, people to serve their communities selflessly.

      I don’t know what a lesbian lifestyle looks like, but since I’ve come out (to myself and others) my lifestyle hasn’t changed very much, except that I now am more honest about who I am, and I sometimes have to have uncomfortable conversations with people who struggle with this part of me.

    • Bryan

      Amen, Chris! Every well said and the perfect point made. Does not the Scripture warn us not to lean on our own understanding but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God?

      It’s important to point out that contrary to the popular thinking, God gives us life but DOES NOT GIVE US OUR PERSONALITY OR PREDILICTIONS! The Great I Am does not make one gay, no more than He makes liers, takers of lives and all other sins. He DOES LOVE EVERYONE BUT HATES THE SIN IN THEIR LIVES.

  • Mike Little

    John, I’ve interacted some with Matt. Why does the church have to make things so difficult for people? My heart breaks when I read things like this. Matt has exchanged one prison — living a sex and drug crazed life (equating that with what being gay is) for another — the idea that God hates his gayness. How I wish people would listen to people like you and Justin Lee.

    • Lissy

      “Matt has exchanged one prison for another.” Amen. What is so sad is that Jesus came so that we could put aside the “rules” of religion (earning heaven), yet we all put ourselves so easily right back in there. Sometimes rules are more comfortable to some people. I know they are more comfortable to me, so it’s something I struggle to remember.

  • Daniel C

    John, thanks for so eloquently expressing what I myself was feeling. When I first heard of this “scandal” I waited to feel that familiar “Ha! You got what you deserved, you hypocrite!” feeling.

    And I waited. And waited.

    But it didn’t come. I *wanted* to feel that way, I’m ashamed to admit. As a gay man I am so tired of being beaten down by the the right wing’s misinterpreted musty tomes that any victory that results in taking them down a peg or two usually seems sweet.

    But not this.

    Seeing someone so young who has built an entire public persona based on self-denial and the rejection of love just made me feel sad. There will always be a part of me that’s angry for the way mainstream Christianity has demonized gay people (though you and your readers are a breath of fresh air carried on the winds of change, and I thank you all!) but I know that Matt Moore is in many ways as much a victim as anyone else, caught up in the unreasoning hysteria of unloving conservatism.

    I hope he takes your words to heart. He has so much potential for happiness it makes me…well, a little envious, to be honest. He deserves to live in a world where the first reaction to the thought of expressing love for another human being isn’t anxiety or fear. Heck, we *all* deserve that, every one of us. I hope he doesn’t trade that chance away; he won’t like the life he receives in the exchange.

  • Stephanie Scott-Huffman

    Great letter to Matt, I hope he hears you.

    I was Matt, once. Just the female version. I tried hard to be ex-gay. It was ugly and painful. It’s like you’re locking a part of who you are and the love you have to share in a closet.

    It doesn’t work.

    We are meant to love and be loved. God doesn’t care about gender, race, sexaulity or any of the other thousand things we get hung up on. God only cares that we love…..with all of our hearts and that is very difficult to do when part of your heart is locked up in the closet.

    A certain part of Christianity will preach for Gay folks to stay celibate because of fear. Fear that their kids might be gay and people will reject them, fear that of their friends rejecting them, fear that people won’t understand, etc, etc. Many people have spent years putting the fear in to people about homosexually because they don’t/didn’t understand it. Now we are spending years undoing that fear. Time and time again history proves that many people have done the same thing with people who don’t look, think like or live like “majority”. Check it out. Fear has a lot of history.

    Don’t buy in to the fear and don’t believe “majority” just because it’s a popular thing to do. Test and question everything.

    We have to live our lives out loud or a big part of us will never be able to truly live and bring the glory to God that God really deserves.

    After becoming gay (again) ;-), I somehow found the love of my life. We’ve been together for 6 years, married for 4 years. She is a pastor and we are church planters. We started a church that truly welcomes all people to come and just be, learn, grow, heal and serve.

    My cup is more full than it ever has been because I’m living in love, honor, respect and freedom. For God, my wife, my family and many others around me. I’m actually capable of feeding the poor, empowering the oppressed, bringing love and hope to the marginalized simply because I live in freedom and try hard to live in the love that Jesus taught us to live in.

    The real dreams I’m sure Matt has in his heart are possible, regardless of what they say. Chase after it Matt. Wrestle for the blessing and let nothing stop you.

    Best wishes.

    Thank you for your voice John. As always, you rock.

    • Trina

      Stephanie! This all is CRAZY good!! OMG! Your life is so beautiful! If your church were nearby, I”d go. You’re not in the DC metro are you? ; )

      • Stephanie Scott-Huffman

        Thanks Trina,

        I agree, my life is beautiful!

        Sorry our church isn’t in the D.C. area. It’s in a smaller Missouri

        city. You can come visit anytime you’d like. :-)

  • Robert

    John… your letter is a very good letter… but I don’t think it will help him much… he is getting some kind of secondary benefit by publishing his blog…

    I am going to tell you why I found your blog… why I became interested in the whole christian thing… and occassion rant and rave…

    A few years ago, my ex BF joined a church in LA… we had just broken up… and the only thing he told me about this church was that it was “embarrassed by its southern baptist roots”… I honestly didn’t really know what a southern baptist was at the time… and I was in a break up, La-La Land, thinking we would have a post-relationship relationship (called friendship). So when he told me he joined this church, I was concerned.

    I looked up this church on the internet… and heard a pod cast by his minster who wasn’t a minister, but was a cultural architect (can we say pretentious), which equated being gay to being a “pig that eats its young.”

    I grew up Catholic… and gay… and I also had a lot of physical trauma and neglect in my childhood. It took me a long time to throw off the religious teaching of my childhood, which basically said that I was a sinful nothing and was to blame for my suffering… (which echoed the teaching I also received from my parents). But I survived all of that and with alot of therapy and a lot of healing… I created what I believed was a good life… not in a quest to make money… not in a quest for fame or fortune… but doing what I thought was the right thing to do… working with homeless teens, working with families to prevent homelessness, working… to change the world. Actually, my freind Doug often equated my life choices as having been influenced my Jesus.

    When I heard “pig that eats its young.” It was as though a nuclear bomb went off in my brain…. I can not explain the level of pain that happened to me… I had never felt anything like it… The sense of utter betrayal by someone who I loved (and was still in love with)… The only equivalent I can think of is for a “Jew” to Hamas or for an African American to become a member of the “KKK”.

    So I outed him (he was rich and buying this church new buildings and lots of things. It was revolting).

    Years later, after all the sound and fury have disappated, I can honestly understand why my ex (who is now ex-gay and equating being gay to being a sex addict) and this Matt person are making their choices… they are in pain.

    But this does not excuse them from being responsible for the damage do… They are like drunks driving down the wrong side of the freeway… running people over…and then blaming those they run over…

    I have very little compassion for either of them… maybe they will grow up… but in truth… Narcissists rarely do.

    • Gordon

      I’m proud of you for outing this coward, Robert. And I’m glad the sound and fury have dissipated. Sometimes I get stuck in that muck and it never works out well for me. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • mike moore

      Thank you for your action. I know that outing is often attacked, yet time and again outing high-profile haters shows us that some of the people doing the most damage to our community are, in fact, self-loathing gays.

      • robert

        Thank You Mike and Gordon… In the end… I pity him… cause I know that in the dark of night… when his new christian “straight” paid for entourage are home snuggling with their loved one… he is alone facing his demons… and he has lots of demons… but it is his choice to be alone… and unloved. He is an adult and needs to deal with the consequences of his lies… I am just glad I never sent the email with the link to his gay bondage porn video to his new church friends… (he gave one hell of a performance).. and likely would have to have bought them a whole christian retreat center to have lived that one down…

  • Julian

    Thanks for posting this. I’m sure someone else has already said something to this effect in a comment, but unfortunately I don’t have time to read through them all before posting this, so I’ll just say it in my own way:

    It upsets me whenever I see people gloating about the public exposure of someone who is publicly anti-homosexual and privately gay. That’s not something to rejoice about; it’s something to mourn. That is a person who has been so cornered into self-loathing and self-negation that they have turned themselves inside out to hide who they really are, even from themselves. It’s not a joke, and it’s not a victory for Our Side. It’s a sad and a humbling experience for all of us, whether we’re closeted or out. I am someone who grew up in the sort of environment that forced me to hide myself from myself for my own protection, and I can attest that it’s a kind of living death. I will never, ever be glad when I see this sort of thing happen. It makes me so deeply sad, and all I can do is wish I had the ability to sit down with Matt over a cup of coffee and let him pour his heart out without fear of judgment. I’m not sure he’s ever had that opportunity, and I’m not sure he’d be able to take advantage of it if even he did; but it’s what he needs right now. Not mocking, not condemnation. He’s a hurting queer just like so many of us who grew up in the church, and I have nothing but compassion for him.

    • Gordon

      Thanks, Julian. Been there too.

    • Lymis

      I agree. I just wish that we could get closer to the place where “their side” sees this as something they have done to the poor closeted person and something to mourn as well.

      • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

        Well said, Julian. We’re not there yet but I think the day is in sight when being gay will just be another characteristic that some people have, like skin colour or red hair. No big deal and kind of interesting in its own way. Life favours diversity and being gay is just another colour in life’s rich pageantry.

  • Sarah

    I believe it is our job to love and tell people of God’s forgiveness in Christ, and if He works in them to change – great. There are people who have become ex-gay by God’s work in them… not them trying to change themselves. I know a few of them. It wasn’t by them beating themselves up or trying to make themselves change. We do that all by ourselves. We “try” to change what we know/think is sin apart from His first working in us. I truly believe that the sancifiction process is something that first starts with God’s working in us, and then us changing. If God doesn’t do the changing, we won’t change. And, it is not up to me to try and change myself.

    • Lymis

      Not sure of your point. I can honestly say I’ve never seen someone become ex-gay at all, though I’ve seen some bisexuals settle down with someone of the opposite sex.

      What I have repeatedly seen in my life is God working to help people accept themselves as they are and find a healthy and happy expression of their gay identity.

      I can’t tell from what you write whether you are saying that all gay people inherently sinful by virtue of being gay, and that God works in some of them to purify them of there homosexuality. If so, whoo-ee do you have it wrong.

  • gregory

    oh Matt… all my early life I struggled stubbornly on your side of the “aisle”. Throughout my teens, I sought God’s heart, I was terrified of the innate emotions and natural sensuality which, for me, was toward people of same sex – without exception. Knowing nothing of being gay, or a gay community… i dared not tell anyone. Alone with God, night after night weeping, travailing in deep spiritual prayer, for God to take away this feeling I so voraciously fought against. I never sought out pornography, or pursued anyone. I committed myself completely and constantly to the church. By sixteen years old, I had done serious fasting – up to seven days at a time, without food (only water) … as a sacrifice, or penance to carry my plea with total and complete humility to God. The truer and clearer I reached my spiritual self, the more I saw this was not something being healed. My homosexual tendencies never abated, never stopped. Finally, at about your age, one evening, shortly after moving away to the big city for college, alone in one of my first apartments … in exasperation, I cried out literally to God. Something happened, as real, and god-sent an epiphany as anything I had experienced. God revealed to me, as if personally visiting with me, alone in my room … that He created me, that he did not make mistakes.. that He did not condemn – for He created me as I am, a full and beautiful soul, with distinct purpose in this Universe. And that he could not love me any more than I was willing to love and accept myself. He could not relieve my burdens and guilt as long as I refused to release the negativity, and let it go. Truly, I felt as the bird, having lived its life in its comfort zone of safety, within its tidy cage… Yet tho the door stood open, and it longed so to be free, it flutters about in fear, while its heart and innermost longs for release, to spread its wings, to soar far free of its confinement. I wept. And wept. For the first time I stood, and looked myself in the mirror. I accepted myself as a full, and well, and loving, complete person… a child of God… Just as I am..homosexual and all. I alone was the only thing responsible for my nightmare of self condemnation and denial…and guilt. God was not pleased with me being anything less than true to my innermost self…. pure, humbled – yet proud… beautifully made.

    In fact, my embracing of myself, as a gay man ………… took far more courage, than to live a lie… and create a pretense of something I am NOT – a straight heterosexual man. I pray, and wish for you …to be truly free, in fullness and in love. If you are truly bisexual, or attracted to both, then choose your truth. It is not my truth, whether it is yours is your truth alone. But understand, my being gay is far more than me lusting to have sex with another of the same sex. It is just an innate, part of me, my sensibilities, my emotions, my spirit. In fact much of who I am, for which my conservative Christian friends adore … is born distinctly from my being gay. You must stop equating homosexuality, – with a dark, ugly sex act of lust and disobedience…. Certainly, if you are not homosexual, how can you propose to speak that truth? But please, for your own sake, lay down any burden of self guilt and anguish… and live free, in God’s eyes and spirit .. in love and light. Gregory

  • Bryan Matthews

    I am 39 yrs old and I’ve been gay since I was about 7 yrs old. I have always felt like a pariah in the gay or straight communities. I didn’t act like a girl and wasn’t interested in hanging out with girls all the time.

    I set at the “cool” table at school and I was popular! I wasn’t picked on nor was I asked about who I was attracted to, we just had fun! High-school was pretty great for me! I went around on the weekends to parties with the football players, rich kids, popular kids, cheerleaders, etc. So I was by no means an outcast!

    When I started going to bars things changed, quickly! Every person there was so fake and I didn’t like doing what they wanted to do (drink, dance, scream like girls, giggle) so most of my time was spent at tha bar, drinking. Finally, I started dating a cop and he and I stayed together for about 8mths until I ran into his “only boyfriend”. I’m not one of those fools who stays and cries, that kind of uselessness.

    All this time I just felt like something was incredibly wrong and I knew what I was doing was a sin. I would want sex until it happened and then I would feel dirty on the inside!

    6yrs ago I got saved and I thought I would be made straight, but as so often, it didn’t happen. I would pray and pray for God to change me, especially after beginning to study the Scripture and it made it clear that same-sex is a sin! Not that I didn’t know before somehow!

    People would tell me I was born that way and I needed to stop hating myself. The TRUTH is that we are all born sinners from the fall of Adam and Eve. When we are born the devil begins to influence our behavior and THAT IS HOW I WAS BORN GAY! God had nothing to do with it or if we are made gay by God then consider murderers, fornicators, thieves, liers, petifiles, rapest, etc. are they to be excused because they were like that from when they were kids? God forbid!

    I was living with a man that I considered my husband since we were together for 10 yrs and we both got saved at about the same time. At first he believed same-sex sex was wrong too but then after awhile he wanted to say we were born that way instead. We had stopped having sex for over 3 yrs but I considered us family. I was living close to God and while praying one night I told God that whatever it took I wanted to be closer to Him. Imagine my surprise when God asked me if I would love Him still if He made my partner leave! I thought about it for a few mins and said yes I would still love Him (GOD). It was not long after that that Brian met a guy and left.

    I will be truthful here and say that it was horrible! I started hooking up with every guy I could until God brought me back to my senses and I replanted of my transgressions and started for praying for God to change me again! Now God is truly amazing and spoke to me and said what He told Paul that His Grace is sufficient for me and that His strength is made perfect in weakness.

    This time I stopped praying for God to change me and that He instead help me be able to help others who were struggling with the same feelings. He did just that, doors were opened that wouldn’t and couldn’t unless God opened them.

    Finally, about 7mnts ago I woke up like any other except, when I saw a man that before would have pumped me full of lust to the point that he would have been on my mind all day, I felt NOTHING nor do I feel it for women. However, the love inside of me for all people grew and grew! My soul concern now is to help people see how much they need salvation. When I pray I feel so unworthy of His blessings but then to have had Him touch me and release me from that splintered, heavy, cumbersome cross truly I still stand in awe!!

    Hear me, PLEASE, homosexuality is not a gift from a Holy God it is a wicked trick of satan but The Lord has beaten satan and deliverance IS yours.

    No doubt many that read this will despise me and hate me and while if I could I would let you experience it for a day! Many of you may pen disturbing letters to me or hate me enough to want me dead but I do not fear what man can do to me! I ask that God open your eyes and plant a seed in your heart. This I say because I love all of you: if you continue to live a homosexual lifestyle, dress like women, talk like women, etc you are going to HELL! IT’S THAT SIMPLE! Hell was not made for humans it was made for the devil and his angels! No a loving God will not send anyone there, YOU WILL SEND YOURSELF!

    Remember God loves you but He hates the sin in your life and that can be removed if you humble your pride and repent for them and then study and live your life as close to the teachings of the Word,with all due haste, and give up that gay life, the lies, the fornication, the adulterey, the idolatry, etc.

    !!TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!! http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/why-does-it-take-us-so-long-to-get-it/#comment-74656

    • Gordon

      Bryan, I would be very surprised and disappointed if anyone here hated or despised you in reaction or response to your post. For my part, and you probably won’t appreciate this, I feel very sorry for you. You see, I’ve been where you were growing up. I’ve been where you were when you were coming of age and discovering your sexuality, and I have been where you are now. That’s why I know how wrong and actually dangerous your theology is. It’s not healthy for you, a 39 year old man, but it is really dangerous for young people.

      Reading what you wrote here makes me appreciate the patient loving people in my own life who helped me discover the truly loving God and the power and joy in the Universe, which we all are a part of. I am so grateful and blessed to be beyond and away from that dark, vengeful and, yes, hateful God you say you are following. It has been decades since I have used words and phrases like “devil and his angels” or “HELL!” of “fornication” or “adultery” or “idolatry”. Reading them and seeing how you use them here reminds me of how my religion manipulated the Bible to scare the crap out of me to keep in line with their bigoted narrow little path. Now I am FREE! Free at last! Thank God Almighty.

      There are many brilliant and articulate people in the John Shore community, including Rev. Shore himself, who understand Bible and religious theology so much better than me. I hope you’ll spend some time here, read some things and try to keep an open mind. We love you too, but we don’t need saving, man.

      • Jill

        All of this, Gordon. You are awesome.

      • Gordon

        Bryan needs saving. Not sure how to help that happen, but I wish I did.

      • Kaitlyn Murray

        Amen Gordon. AMEN! I truly feel sorry for Bryan. I can’t imagine living in such a closed off box, having people tell me that the love I crave, want, and NEED, is a sin. And even worse, to believe what they are saying! How can love ever be a sin?

    • Lissy

      Thank you for sharing your story, although I have a question for you, Bryan. You believe being a homosexual will send you to hell. Correct? Do you believe getting divorced would send you to hell? That LYING will send you to hell? Just a bit confused.

      • Bryan

        Yes to all of your questions. It is written that no sin will enter the kingdom of God.

        • de la Nae

          Why do you think that you are only sin?

          • Bryan

            I am not ONLY sinning since the Blood of Jesus washed me clean! I stumble sometimes but my God is full of mercy and is always ready to forgive my failings when I repent. Now the truth is that we are born under the yoke of sin. This is the reason Christ had to pay that terrible price on Calvary!

            Let me make something clear, I AM NOT UNHAPPY, BURDENED DOWN, LONELY (not in the sense y’all think) I am free beyond description! I wish that y’all could understand but I fear satan has you blind.

            I also want to say that, in spite of some of the rude comments directed to me, I understand the reasons why they were made and in fact they had to be said, but I love all people! I don’t hate the person. I hate the sin and yes even saddened by people blind to the truth.

            I would like to extend the hand of friendship and offer my mobile # (843)372-8229 for any one who would like to talk in more detail.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Bryan: Just a friendly tip, if I may. If you want to convince people of how joyous and spiritually evolved you are, try to avoid saying things such as, “I wish that y’all could understand but I fear satan has you blind.” That can only make people think you’re a shallow, angry, passive-aggressive braggart. I’m not saying you are that; I’m saying that the quickest way to fail to convince others of your spiritual togetherness is to dare to tell them about the state of their spiritual togetherness. Once you start telling others where they are, you show where you are.

          • Bryan Matthews

            Dear John,

            I’m laughing a little because this is the first “Dear John” letter I’ve written! ; ) I appreciate your candor. May I say, I’ve often saw how the written word can be misunderstood since it’s read from another’s viewpoint and therefore is infused with their own emotions at the time. It is something that can’t be avoided since there is no way the writer can embody feeling or emotion in the text. So I will try to explain my intentions and meanings about my response. Please bare with me.

            Before I was saved by the blood of Christ I was blinded by satan to my own sinfulness. My statement about “fearing that satan had y’all blind” was not meant as a stab, but as a truth, from my own observations and reading of the Scriptures. I’m not one of those people gifted with being able to quote chapter and verse. However, God does bring the appropriate Scripture to my mind and I hear, “One cannot serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other.” “A fountain cannot bring forth salty and fresh water.”

            My comment was not intended to be a deceleration of my superiority! I am Not perfect! I fail and come short often and must repent. I do love everyone and my only hope is that through some small thing that I may say others eyes will be opened as was mine.

            I want to assure everyone that read what I wrote and was angered that I love them and I would never wish them ill will! My prayer is that God will help me in the future to choose my words with more care and that He will use this man to bring Glory to God’s Holy Name. Let me be hated and despised but God praised, for I am nothing with out Him.

            Most Sincerly,

            Bryan (M)

          • Gordon

            John: He wants you to take your clothes off while you read his response. Please do so. Thanks.

  • Bill

    I have just at this site this morning, directed here by another website. That website is for males who have experienced CSA and ASA. I came to read the blog on “forgiveness”, which btw, was excellent. I also read Bryan’s post. It’s not something I haven’t heard before, and I am certain I will hear again. And it is sad indeed. Sad in that the someone is being asked to forgo all the wonder and beauty of a loving God, and to instead live in fear and remorse. How utterly life consuming.

    I also have read Gordon’s response. My views parallel his almost to a “tee”. Maybe it is life’s experiences, maybe it is the gift of a loving spirit, maybe it is the gift of the “Holy Spirit”, but whatever it is let it be known that there is so much more to the spiritual world than constant fear and the teachings of man. Life opens up holistically before us when we love others AND ourselves, when we reject the negativisms of man’s teachings in that segment A is worthy of heaven and blessings, segment B is almost there, while segment C needs to stand over to the side while it will be decided how you should meet your eternity. Let us realize that LOVE is for ALL .

    • Bryan

      Dear Bill,

      I read where you expressed remorse for me, but you labor under a misconseption! I am not unhappy. In fact I’m happier than I have ever been in my 40 years on this planet! You see when I close my eyes to sleep I feel no fear! My Wonderful God took away that lust for sex. Praise God I don’t feel sexual attraction to men or women and the release, lightness, joy, freedom, comfort and love that He gave me in itd stead is joy unspeakable. In His endless wisdom, my Lord increased my love for all people two-fold! I hope you can understand and want the same.

      All my love,

      Bryan (M)

  • Crissy

    I love the letter to Matt! Absolutely love it! I was just thinking last night about how every other sin is completely different from the “sin” of being homosexual. I just kept thinking…how can there possibly be a sin which stems from love? It just makes no sense.

  • charles

    great letter John! excellent stuff indeed.

  • Bryan Matthews

    I have know about Matt’s transgression for a long time. What surprises me is that there are still a couple of dogs out there fighting over the same old bone. I also read Matt’s blogs and lost no confidence in him after that came to light.
    Now being a Christian I understand that there was only ONE perfect person that walked the earth and His name is Jesus the Christ.
    The fact that this came out was no surprise to me since it is the embodiment of the true nature of most queens to work to the point of delirium until they find a bit of gossip to kick like a dead horse. The first few that found that tidbit of news, most likely screamed and jumped around to the point of exhaustion, thinking they had discovered the equivalent of an “All Gay Male Nude Dance-off”.
    So that everyone will have at least a basic knowledge of Christianity, you must understand that being a Christian DOES NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT make you perfect! Perfection is what we struggle towards by following the Gospel of Christ.
    Thankfully, God saw Matt through that trial and made him stronger, I think.
    Nevertheless, acting on gay feelings is SIN and will cause you to send yourself to HELL!

    • cajaquarius

      It made him a liar. He is not ex gay because there is no such thing – that was the victory. We proved him a liar.

      Also, hell doesn’t frighten me. I would choose it over bowing to evil. Does your God offer anything besides threats of violence as a reason to follow him?

      Sounds like an enemy to me.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

    This message approved by John Shore.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X