Exodus no longer affiliated with PFOX

According to Exodus President, Alan Chambers, you won’t be able to find this reference to PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays) on the Exodus website much longer.

PFOX

Within the last couple of weeks, PFOX gave up affiliation with Exodus. While Chambers declined to give reasons for the PFOX move, he indicated that Exodus would not seek any future relationship. He noted that PFOX is a public policy organization and their activities do not fit in with the mission and direction of Exodus. I have asked Regina Griggs, Executive Director at PFOX, for comment and will report the reason for their decision if disclosed.

PFOX seems to be alone among conservative groups in advocating for ex-gays using civil rights language. I recall thinking this was a strange framework for a group that really doesn’t believe homosexual orientation exists. In any event, PFOX and Exodus has not been a good fit on many levels so this separation is a good move.

  • Michael Bussee

    He noted that PFOX is a public policy organization and their activities do not fit in with the mission and direction of Exodus.

    And NARTH does fit??? Come on, EXODUS. Now, dump NARTH. You can do it. I know you can. Remain indendent, unaffiliated. Easier that way. Like the 10th tradition of AA. That’s the way we “founders” meant it to be.

  • Mary

    ????? And Exodus does not engage in ANY public policy organising to influence congress and legislators?

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  • Michael Bussee

    How to improve EXODUS:

    (1) Stick to ministry, (2) Stay completely out of politics, (3) Go back to your roots and remain a “loose-knit coalition” of other ministries, (4) Be very, very, very careful about affiliations (5) Unload NARTH (6) Stay as independent as possible, (7) Be very OPEN,completely clear about not making SSA’s straight.

    If EXODUS would make these changes, Michael would be a much happier camper.

  • Mary

    Wouldn’t we all.

  • Lynn David

    He noted that PFOX is a public policy organization and their activities do not fit in with the mission and direction of Exodus.

    Like Michael Bussee I considered Narth, but instead settled on Focus on the Family with which Exodus is involved in the “‘Love’ Won Out” doohickies. FotF certainly fits into the mold of a ‘public policy organization.’ It might call itself a ministry but what ministries also donate to political causes in the manner which they do?

  • Lynn David

    Or what is Freedom Foundation, in which Exodus is a member group, if not a public policy group? ?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    FOTF has organized itself into two entities, one for ministry and one for public policy. That still does not satisfy many people, but they are within their rights to do it that way.

    We all realize Exodus has been through lots of growing pains and has not yet, perhaps, completely settled into their best self. Alan Chambers is on the right track, I think. He has a good heart.

    PFOX, Peter LaBarbera’s Americans for Truth… and Linda Harvey’s Mission America, along with other politically driven organizations that focus on gay issues in their overall mix, ruffle feathers on both sides of the aisle. I suppose you could say it comes with the territory when anyone opens his or her mouth to address issues that clearly have sociopolitical ramifications, even if they also have a strong outreach bent. People want to pigeonhole even those who attempt to see both sides but clearly sympathize more with the ideologies of one of those sides. There are also those in the mushy middle who can’t seem to make up their minds.

    I have bones to pick, as many of you do, with virtually all the above. I try to see them for what they are and realize I can’t make them what they aren’t. I am better off focusing on my own mission and ministry and seeking to make it conform to what I believe God is calling me to do than trying to remake others in the mold I believe they ought to come from.

    I am cautious about “getting in bed” with overtly political organizations. I will talk with these folks and attempt to understand them. But I do not want to be beholden to any of them. Politics is a dirty game.

    I finally had a long talk one day several months ago with Regina Griggs. I needed to get a better idea of who she was and where she was coming from. Found out we had some things in common, and I heard a bit of her story. It humanized her for me. I understood her better after that. Same thing has happened here on Warren’s blog as I have “met” and talked with some of you. It helps to seek to understand your fellow man, whether or not you agree with him.

    Do we want to bridge that gap — to the extent it is bridgeable — or not? I guess it comes down to that.

    I will add that I watched the film “Amazing Grace” last night for the second time. Inspiring, as usual. William Wilberforce struggled with whether to follow religious pursuits or social reformation/political ones. He finally settled on doing both, and his efforts were rewarded mightily. Food for thought.

  • concerned

    Debbie,

    Thank you, It is much like the gap between religion and science. It is so encouraging for me to see some very prominent scientists beginning to speak up about their faith. These two ways of knowing are not looking for different answers to some very important question they are just coming at them in different directions.

    I do think this is the same for those of us dealing with SSA and I think it is time we tried a little harder to respect each others positions.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I’m really interested in this conversation because of recently joining the Exodus staff. So I promise to behave and be respectful as I join in. (I’m still learning.)

    I wanted to comment on just a couple things Michael Bussee wrote above. At this year’s Freedom Conference at Wheaton, plenary speakers (including Alan), those who gave testimonies, and workshop leaders that I observed, continually told attendees that Exodus-related ministries were not a “magic bullet,” that heterosexual orientation and/or marriage were not the “be all and end all,” and that living their sexual lives congruent with their faith could be very, very difficult. (If I had time, which I don’t, I’d review the tapes and post some quotes.)

    While Michael might be a “happier camper” with that message, many would choose to use it as a “Catch 22″ against us and taunt us that we haven’t “really” changed. (I’d prefer not to get into another “change” debate, as I think there are other threads that have been devoted to that.) Still, I’d rather we have integrity with the folk who seek our assistance, which I think we do, than worry about winning a “war of words” with the other side.

    Michael, one of your old co-hort founders, Ron Dennis, was there. (On my Board, he’s also going to go on the Exodus Board for at least a year.) It was so wonderful to see him get some of the recognition he deserves. He’s been faithful to his transformation for three decades, and it was neat to watch him bask in the affirmation he received. I also saw a pic of you, one that Ron took of the founding group. Really 70s hair and clothes, but you were a great looking guy.

  • Ann

    Really 70s hair and clothes, but you were a great looking guy.

    And he still is :-)

  • Ann

    Still, I’d rather we have integrity with the folk who seek our assistance, which I think we do, than worry about winning a “war of words” with the other side.

    Karen,

    This is a wonderful foundation to come from – I hope all who come to your ministry will be blessed by it. I do not hold quite the same perspective about Narth and Exodus as has been noted on this blog – both organizations have done and said things that have perplexed me, however, I do not believe in throwing out the baby with the bath water. I also think Exodus has made honorable attempts to changing those things that no longer, if ever, fit what their true message is.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Hey, Karen. Glad to see you are on board with Exodus.

  • http://trinidadsdagay.blogspot.com T.A.G?!

    Still, I’d rather we have integrity with the folk who seek our assistance, which I think we do, than worry about winning a “war of words” with the other side.

    ————————————————————————————–

    1. I thought integrity was integrity?

    Your integrity is not supposed to change depending on your vantage.

    2. Who is Exodus a “ministry” to?

    People who already agree with them? That’s the strangest thing I ever heard of (in Christendom).

    Maybe all Exodus needs to be is a support ministry for people who are seeking to be true to the Bible’s take on homosexuality?

    All ministries are supposed to be “change” ministries–i.e. bring about change.

    The nature of change will hinge largely on the person’s surrender to God and His will for their life. However, as a ministry Exodus has a responsibility to reach out and share the Gospel with people who do not have it. To that end it has to make sense to the people they’re trying to reach. It cannot very well say something it knows will be misinterpreted.

    So instead of “change” I think Exodus might promise a “better way to live” or a “new way to live” or “support in the Christian journey for gasy, lesbians etc.” for example. That is integrity to me.

  • Lynn David

    Debbie Thurman….. FOTF has organized itself into two entities, one for ministry and one for public policy. That still does not satisfy many people, but they are within their rights to do it that way.

    Yes, that is necessary for federal tax purposes, but it still is “them.” If they did not do that their tax status as a ministry (which is tenuous at best anyway) could not be upheld. I still haven’t figured out whether it was the ministry or the other limb which gave those hundreds of thousands for Prop H8.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi TAG,

    I’m not entirely sure what your first comment is about.. so maybe you could expand on it a bit. Of course, integrity is integrity, no matter what the vantage point. I was trying to say that when we at Exodus act with integrity, our opponents often try to twist it and use it against us. But I’d rather we experience their ridicule or hostility than deal falsely with the men and women we minister to and with.

    My local church has specialized ministries for women, men, youth, kids, elders, parents who need childcare for their kids, couples whose marriages are shaky, etc.. Other churches have specific ministries for alcoholics, or the overweight or the economically disadvantaged. Most of the folk who take advantage of those ministries “agree” with the Church. Ditto for Exodus related ministries. So I really don’t understand your second point.

    While there has been a long-standing discussion (sometimes battle) on this site and others about the nature and meaning of “change” in regards to homosexuality, that isn’t what Exodus offers or promises, at least as I’ve experienced it the last 6 years I’ve been involved. We offer support (as you suggested) for men and women who want freedom from same-sex attraction – who no longer want it to dominate their being, dictate their behavior, or determine their identity.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Ann,

    I agree with you that Exodus has made a lot of honorable change under Alan’s leadership, and along with Debbie, I think he has a good heart. (Actually, I know he has a good heart.) This new merger between Exodus and my ministry (Transforming Congregations) and the PCUSA ministry (OnebyOne, which is led by Kristin Johnson Tremba) is going to make for some other very profound changes as well. At least, I think that’s what we all hope for.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for the affirmation.

    Have we met in person? I think we’ve emailed in the past, but have we ever connected otherwise. Your picture looks really familiar.

  • http://www.psychologyandchristianity.wordpress.com Mark

    Hi Karen, I’m glad to see you are working with Exodus. I appreciate how you communicate what the ministry offers.

  • Evan

    Just a few thoughts on this theme, in a general sense. In 30-40 years I think this debate on gays, exgays will no longer exist. Maybe less than that. And it won’t be because of populational control. Priorities will be reshuffled.

    I’m not very familiar with the subject in detail and the politics of it, but sometimes you can benefit from the views of someone from the outside.

    On a related note and in reaction to something that Warren wrote in the post, somehow the culture allowed science to define individuals based on sexuality, to classify them. And, what is worst, it injected an idea that people really are unavoidably separated by sexuality. That sexual orientation (and other psychological givens) is some kind of a fate, and scientists are high priests working on connecting people with the truth in them. Now science is trying to sort it out, to act as the saviour. Unfortunately, it comes kind of late… Psychology is going so mainstream that soon will become discredited. It will probably have a similar fate as philosophy. It will become a sort of philosophy of the body. You know, the kind of which has a lot of deadened classifications and leads to mental processing that doesn’t have much to do with “experience.”

    PS – Yeah, I’m in the vision mood tonight. :-) Not much to do with these organisations, but a lot to do with what sets them into motion, I think.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Evan,

    You wrote … In 30-40 years I think this debate on gays, exgays will no longer exist. Maybe less than that. And it won’t be because of populational control. Priorities will be reshuffled.

    Could you say more about that, please? Especially what you mean about the priorities.

  • http://trinidadsdagay.blogspot.com T.A.G?!

    Hello Karen,

    The reason they ridicule is because they know that Exodus plays with words in order to attract people to its programs. How many people entering Exodus programs know that their same-sex attractions may or may not go away?

    How many know that the end result is often complex and highly individual?

    Exodus deliberately uses language that they know means something else entirely to what common usage is. How is this “integrity”?

    What gets people is the bait and switch. Many of these “ex-ex-gays” are talking from experience. How is it that so many people enter Exodus’s programs with the wrong expectations?

    Tell them the truth. Homosexuality exists for whatever reason and we are here to help you live a life of obedience in support.

    So basically what I was trying to say is that Exodus has no business playing “us vs them” with people outside of the church. That is your target population as a ministry. Many of the criticisms are valid and need to be addressed openly and proactively–instead of shunted away into a thicket of defensiveness.

  • Evan

    Karen,

    I think it’s already showing, through small changes in strategy in different organisations, like the ones discussed in this topic. Science puts indirect pressure on them by raising the standard on what is change and what is not, and ultimately puts pressure on people. And looking back to history, when people feel the heat of oppression, they rebel and break free. So when I say that ‘priorities will be reshuffled’ I’m thinking of people changing the subject from sex to something else, probably connected to whatever should replace science as the warrantor of truth, something in the vicinity of the formerly-known-as-spiritual.

  • Evan

    I hope I’m not being too cryptic here. :)

  • Evan

    “changing the subject from sex to smth else” = no longer identifying themselves based on sexual feelings

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com Jay

    After talking to several friends who have returned from the Exodus conference in Wheaton and reading various blogs of theirs, I do have to say that — intentionally or not — Exodus does still seem to inspire a strong sense that to be a full and complete Christian, one must be heterosexual, “masculine,” and married. True, none of these guys are saying that single, gay, celibate Christians aren’t saved, but at the same time, if their reports of various speakers and workshops are accurate, they do see them as “lesser” Christians or Christians who have “given up.”

    There still seems to be just as much promotion of reparative therapy/theory as always. I always wonder if I met Nicolosi and told him that I’m an athletic, masculine guy with good and longstanding relationships with my father, brother, and male peers, yet still gay, if he would just say I’m in denial. From reading friend’s blogs, they got that impression from him.

    And I, for one, don’t really appreciate that.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Jay,

    Did your friends go to the Exodus conference as real participants, wanting to sincerely enter in to the experience of the week? Or did they go as impartial observers (if there is such a thing)? Or did they go “undercover” with an agenda and a desire to “sniff” out something? (There were some peole there that fit that description.) Not trying to be snarky, but you often get back what you put in to something.

    And could you provide links to their blogs?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Nicolosi was one of the plenary presenters, and he may have done a workshop or two, but I don’t remember for sure. With a variety of workshops (25-30, I estimate) and 6-7 other plenary speakers, his message was harly the dominant one. There were several other folk there from the therapeutic community and they presented ideas other than reparative therapy.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Jay – From discussions I have had with Nicolosi, I would say your guess is warranted. Any case I have ever presented which does not match up with the reparative theory has been dismissed as something other than relevant. You would either be in denial or not really SSA.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    FWIW, there is an interesting article by Robert McGee (author of “The Search for Significance”) in the latest Christian Counseling Today magazine about counseling perspectives and the concept of biblical truth (I’ll see if a link exists at the AACC site).

    He has some highly relevant things to say about expectations and outcomes, based on the extent to which clients in a biblically based counseling setting actually understand and accept direction from a scriptural/doctrinal base. For those who have been too “culturized” (I made that up) in their faith, there is a disconnect, and the counselor may or may not know it. Of course, “culturized” is in the eyes of the beholder. I mean by that term those who feel they have permission to question the authority of Scripture or have not been exposed to the best teaching (i.e., truth is relative).

    Anyway, the discussion here about Exodus’ audiences and honing in on the right message for the right people, called that article to mind. It’s the same dilemma pastors have in balancing the meat and the milk of their messages for the more mature believers and the seekers or those with a lot of spiritual growing to do yet. We do need to realize that many gay Christians are sincerely seeking and we should not automatically view them as “out to lunch.”

    I’ve always believed the Holy Spirit capable of getting the right message to the right ears. A wise pastor taught me that, as well (after I spoke at his church one very hot evening after a long trip, with broken air conditioning and lots of “thousand-yard stares” from the wilting congregants I was addressing. Fun, not).

    I will be on the road working for the next few days, so won’t be able to participate as I might like to in this and other discussions here. Will check in as I can. Appreciate you all.

    Thanks again, Karen, for being here.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks for your post, Debbie. That’s why I’d like to know the motivation of Jay’s friends who attended, if he knows that or if it can be somewhat discerned from their blog posts. If folk went with an agenda – either of being helped or of looking for the questionable and harful – then I think they’re going to interpret their experience there through that lens. And yes, of course, I acknowledge that my take on the conference was also biased. (Plus I missed a couple of the morning plenaries and only sat in on 3-4 workshops because of other ministry responsibilities.)

    If any readers want to decide for themselves, any or all of the conference tapes of the plenary speakers, testimonies and workshops, including from the therapeutic community, are available for purchase – probably on the Exodus web site.

  • Michael Bussee

    @Karen:

    At this year’s Freedom Conference at Wheaton, plenary speakers… continually told attendees that Exodus-related ministries were not a “magic bullet,” that heterosexual orientation and/or marriage were not the “be all and end all,” and that living their sexual lives congruent with their faith could be very, very difficult.

    That’s moving in the right direction! But it needs to be even stronger – and not just said at EXDOUS conferences. It need to be posted BOLDLY on the EXODUS website. It is not enough to say that “heterosexual orientation and/or marriage are not the “be all and end all.” EXODUS needs to state it plainly:

    “EXODUS makes no claim that participation in its programs will result in a change from SSA or OSA — especially for males.”

    It also needs to state plainly:

    “EXODUS does not take official positions on any political matter or engage in any sort of political activity. EXODUS is not, and will not be, affiliated with any organization that does so. EXODUS is a ministry.”

    Finally, EXODUS needs to disengage from NARTH — due to NARTH’s sloppy “science” (ask Warren if you need esxamples) and also due to NARTH’s links to folks like Cameron (again ask Warren). EXODUS is known by the company it keeps.

    Karen, now that you are in leadership, will you push for these reforms? Or will it be more of the same? These are the same sorts of things Wendy Gritter was saying — and you guys pretty much ignored her.

  • Michael Bussee

    Here is how Warren summed up Wendy Gritter’s keynote suggestions for a “New Direction” for EXODUS:

    The general tone is that Exodus would be wise to avoid political entanglements that prevent optimal Christian ministry. Ministry should be the main (sole?) focus. In addition, she takes on the messaging of Exodus that change is possible and causation is not inherent. She believes those issues should be secondary to actual Christian formation and living. With reorientation as the focus, Christian ministry can take a backseat. In other words, Exodus should not be a “poster child for straightness” as the main message.

    This was about 18 months ago and I saw very little effort to put her suggestions into practice. Here’s the link on Throckmorton: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2008/02/05/new-direction-for-exodus/

    Whatever happened to Wendy Gritter anyway?

  • Ann

    “EXODUS makes no claim that participation in its programs will result in a change from SSA or OSA — especially for males.”

    Michael,

    Do you mean “to” rather than “or”? Also, back to perceptions about meanings – this can be different to each person. IMHO, Exodus should not even use the word “change” when referring to the ongoing separation from a prior identity or way of thinking or living. It is too loaded of a word. Their focus should be on a ministry that facilitates living a life congruent to one’s values and religious beliefs. Personal change of any kind will unfold from that perspective and not one that is forced or measured depending on someone else’s standard.

  • Michael Bussee

    @Ann. Yes, I meant to type:

    “EXODUS makes no claim that participation in its programs will result in a change from SSA to OSA — especially for males.”

    I don’t mind the word “change” since I believe that EXODUS does change some lives — maybe many lives — for the better, in the sense that they may help to “facilitate living a life congruent to one’s values and religious beliefs.”

    I have never had a problem with EXODUS doing that. My problem is with what Wendy Gritter called: “the perception that we have lied”…

  • Ann

    I have not heard too much mentioned on this blog about support for parents, siblings, and other family and friends who are suffering deeply because their loved one seems lost to them. Not all parents or family or friends have the knowledge or fortitude to understand this with a positive and supportive attitude. In this regard, PFOX and EXODUS and others offer at least a sympathetic ear and can bring some balance and perspective. If this information is imperfect at times, let’s remember that we all have biases and sites like ex-gay watch and PFOX will never agree because they come from different perspectives and needs. Neither should be discounted and both should strive to advocate the truth based on the truth, not their truth.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Ann – Exodus does provide support for families and parents. PFOX, as Alan says, is a political group.

    I used to be a part of the PFOX list serv, about the only thing they offer, and it was rarely about parental support and more about the awful gay agenda.

    I also once presented at their annual conference and was mortified to listen to Richard Cohen’s speech about parents failing their kids and that is why they are gay. I had to leave the room.

    Then a special discussion meeting was convened to talk to the presenters. My session was supposed to last 45-50 minutes; we went almost 2 hours. The pain of the parents was tangible; not so much from having gay children. But from the weight of the reparative drive theory on their backs.

    As long time readers will note, I have come nearly full circle on PFOX. I did interviews for them, organized an anti-PTA conference and other duties, because I thought the interest was in supporting people for a life they sought. I thought the change message was softening and that I was seeing some change in the tone. Not.

    I personally do not trust anything I read coming from PFOX. I check everything. Some things after checking may prove accurate but so much is not that I cannot recommend them to anyone.

  • Ann

    My problem is with what Wendy Gritter called: “the perception that we have lied”…

    Michael,

    I believe in time, hopefully sooner than later, EXODUS will have full integrity in their ministry. I was just thinking that the name “Exodus” implies a leaving or exiting a current situation, place, or circumstance. Perhaps if that were the focus rather than any “yet to be realized change INTO something or someone”, their message would be clear and truthful and not confusing.

  • Ann

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    I am not advocating or supporting PFOX – I used to check in on their blogs but haven’t in many years. The pain of the parents who posted there was heart wrenching and it had nothing to do with reparative drive, rather they felt no support and / or felt hopeless against those that advocated for homosexuality. I think we have all heard many times the transgressions of PFOX, their biases, etc., but how does continuing to do this advance anything? Until some credible ministry or organization is publically known as a place for parents and friends and family to turn to, then where do they go and what do they do? Can you tell me from a person who has been deeply hurt and their life devastated rather than an observer who has not been personally affected.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com Jay

    Ms. Booth, I think you misunderstood me. These friends are total, active participants. They aren’t criticizing Exodus at all — in fact, they believe what Exodus has to say 100%. I’m the one looking at their views and attitudes after the conference, and I’m the one seeing the discrimination against celibates or the expectation for heterosexual change. I can’t link to their blogs because much of this happened in private conversation, and they are MySpace or Facebook blogs — which means they are private.

    Either Exodus unwillingly inspires these attitudes in their conference participants — in which case, they need to work on being bolder and clearer, like Mr. Bussee said — or they’re still promoting the same old thing and only pretending that they aren’t.

  • Michael Bussee

    Can someone recall when Alan Chambers announced that EXODUS was getting out of poltics –because it confused the message? I can’t find the reference — it was here on Warren’s blog.

  • Michael Bussee

    Until some credible ministry or organization is publically known as a place for parents and friends and family to turn to, then where do they go and what do they do?

    Ann, do you mean a “credible ministry or publically known organization” that agrees there is something wrong with being gay and that it ought to be renounced or changed?

    Or are you referring to an outreach for parents who just want support in loving their SSA children? One that would remain neutral on the “sin” or “change” issues?

  • Michael Bussee

    I was just thinking that the name “Exodus” implies a leaving or exiting a current situation, place, or circumstance. Perhaps if that were the focus rather than any “yet to be realized change INTO something or someone”, their message would be clear and truthful and not confusing.

    Ann, very well said. Remember Alan Chambers saying something similar? That “ex-gay” ought to be “officially retired” because “it is more confusing than anything” and “doesn’t really reflect what the change process is all about”?

    EXODUS needs stop blaming “gay activists” and accept that the main source of this confusion has been EXODUS itself. Like it or not, EXODUS has given “the impression that they have lied.”

    How about, “We are sorry if we have given the false impression that EXODUS was about orientation change…Our bad…”

  • Mary

    Michael – it was early last year – I think that Chambers made the claim. Easeir to find on another site perhaps???

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren
  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Ann, I personally don’t think the Exodus message (however it gets out there – conference, web site, news releases, etc.) is untruthful, unclear or confusing, at least not deliberately. I think it’s complex. Not easily translatable to media sound bites, which unfortunately in this culture is often all anyone gets.

    Michael, I was going to just answer, “no,” as a new member of the Exodus leadership team I’m not going to advocate for the reforms you suggested, but I owe you a better answer than that.

    Regarding your first suggestion, I visited the Exodus web site again to make sure I’m not missing something. The welcome page for those seeking help (http://exodus.to/help/?option=com_content&task=view&id=327&Itemid=147) doesn’t even mention “change from SSA to OSA,” let alone promise it. Using mainly religious terms and images, it talks about leaving or finding freedom from homosexuality, journeying to wholeness and holiness, living as God intended, and pursuing God, holiness and healing. And right up front it acknowledges how difficult that spiritual journey is likely to be.

    So, I really don’t think your disclaimer would be appropriate there, and wouldn’t it take away any hope that the first time visitor might have had? The reality is that some people (some that I know personally and very well) HAVE changed, and not only behavior, but desire, emotions, and sexual responses. Why should we throw a wet blanket on that hope because some people have not experienced it?

    Exodus’ “Policy Statement” page (http://exodus.to/content/view/34/57/) uses slightly different language, and I’ll quote the relevant sections here in whole:

    Instead, Christ offers a healing alternative to those with homosexual tendencies. EXODUS upholds redemption for the homosexual person as the process whereby sin’s power is broken, and the individual is freed to know and experience true identity as discovered in Christ and His Church. That process entails the freedom to grow into heterosexuality.

    Exodus affirms reorientation of same sex attraction is possible. This is a process, which begins with motivation to, and self-determination to change based upon a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We facilitate resources for this process through our member ministries, other established networks and the Church. The key outcome of this is measured by a growing capacity to turn away from temptations, a reconciling of ones identity with Jesus Christ, being transformed into His image. This enables growth towards Godly heterosexuality. Exodus recognizes that a lifelong and healthy marriage as well as a Godly single life are good indicators of this transformation.

    Again, the language is of freedom and possibility. That implies no particular claim of results, so I don’t think you’re disclaimer is appropriate here, either, and for the same reasons. A disclaimer, if any, is I think most appropriate on the individual ministry level, and since Exodus now requires informed consent in our ministries’ intake procedures, I trust that is covered.

    Regarding your second suggestion, I respond this way. Ministry, at least as it is understood from a Wesleyan perspective, involves both the pastoral and the prophetic, not in the sense of predicting the future, but in calling God’s faithful to loving obedience and being a preserving and illuminating (salt and light) influence in the culture.

    How we do the latter is a question that I think is open to legitimate debate. Should the Church get involved in active political solutions – lobbying, funding legislative initiatives, etc. As individuals, absolutely. As ministry organizations, I’m not so sure. (Mainly because I think of situations like Debbie referenced above – Wilberforce’s direct political action to end slavery in England, for example.)

    But politics aside, I believe that individuals and organizations, Exodus included, are REQUIRED to attempt to impact culture and the political process by our example, personal testimony and teaching. That’s what I think Alan is now committed to and I applaud and support him in that.

    So you haven’t changed my mind about Exodus needing to take a radically different direction. Will there nonetheless continue to be change within the leadership and network? I trust there will be. In fact, I’m really looking forward to seeing where God takes us in the future.

  • Mary

    How about telling it like it is.

    Men with SSA are different than women with SSA.

    Change means something different for all individuals.

    Some change their sexuality (leave out the word orientation)

    Some do not change their sexuality.

    All find peace and comfort in supportive Christian atmosphere.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Jay,

    Thanks for clarifying your friends motives and involvement in the Exodus conference, and for acknowledging that the problems with the message was not theirs but yours. If their “take away” is anything at all like your interpretation, I would encourage you to encourage them to contact David Fountain with their concerns. I have always found David to have a listening ear in matters that involve the conference.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Karen wrote:

    That process entails the freedom to grow into heterosexuality….This enables growth towards Godly heterosexuality.

    Apparently the distinction between freedom and change is clear to you, but it is not to me.

    This, for many SSA Christians, is just not true. Jay’s complaint was that Exodus views heterosexuality as the end product of a sanctified Christian life. You seem to say that Exodus does not promote this on one hand and then you quote the statement about “freedom” and “growth” meaning change to heterosexuality.

    I cannot reconcile what seems to be your sense that Exodus does not promise change and the words you just wrote from their materials.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Whatever happened to Wendy Gritter anyway?

    Wendy and Exodus have parted ways.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com Jay

    Karen, I agree with Warren. The things you quoted are the exact things I have a problem with. Heterosexuality is upheld as “Godly,” which implies that if one doesn’t experience it, one isn’t “Godly.” I agree that heterosexuality is what God intended, but I also think the world is very fallen, and that people may be homosexually oriented for their entire lives. I don’t see this as something that speaks to their personal spiritual state, though, and I think Exodus implies that it does.

    The fact of the matter is, if a guy went to Exodus looking to change his orientation, then nothing in what you quoted would tell him that he should switch his goals. Nothing here says, “But if one doesn’t experience heterosexuality, one is still a saved and complete Christian.” Maybe you’re right and the guys I know who went to Exodus are looking to be straight — but nothing there told them that that was the wrong kind of goal. Sure, people said it was difficult, or that “the opposite of homosexuality is holiness,” but these are still guys who are fully expecting to become straight and married and they don’t see celibacy as a valid option. Exodus may not mean this, but they’re responsible for their lack of clarity.

  • Mary

    I know there is that underlying tone that if you are dating the opposite gender or married then some view that as being more succesful than those who do not. I met with the SSA ministry leader of a church recently and asked him about change (he is ever straight). I let him know – that not all people who embark upon the journey to leave homosexuality will develop hetersexual feelings. He was kind of shocked. I hoping that little by little we can change the expectations of the church on people who have SSA and believe that sexuality is for one married man and woman.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Karen,

    I visited the Exodus web site again to make sure I’m not missing something.

    Perhaps you missed the following:

    “a way out”

    “freedom from homosexuality”

    “freedom is possible”

    “The bottom line – you don’t have to be gay!”

    “wholeness”

    I think any reasonable person would find that this message is crafted to imply that one doesn’t have to be gay but can become straight.

    So, I really don’t think your disclaimer would be appropriate there, and wouldn’t it take away any hope that the first time visitor might have had?

    I think perhaps you should reconsider priorities. This comment suggests that first time visitors should experience “hope” rather than honesty. This priority is not very consistent with the truthful, up-front candidness which should be the hallmark of the followers of Christ.

    And this “hope” does not appear to be biblical type of hope. Scriptural hope comes to pass. It is the future evidence of present faith. We can look to others who have put their trust in Christ and see the results, consistent measurable results, which gives us hope when our faith waivers.

    But Exodus’ “hope” for heterosexuality is not based on the consistent measurable results of others. In fact, if one is to go by the experience of those who have gone through exodus, the overwhelming majority will never experience even “complicated” heterosexuality and none will find “freedom” from homosexual “temptations”.

    This “hope” is more akin to late-night commercials.

    Yes, you may earn $80,000 in your first month working only a few hours from home. But more likely it’s a “reinactment” and “real results may vary”.

    When Exodus stops acting like an infomercial and more like a Christian ministry in its message and its methods, then you won’t have to worry about those awful gay activists who delight in pointing out the falsities of your message.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, neither Exodus nor do I view heterosexuality as the end product of a sanctified Christian life. (Perhaps at one time, but not in the six years I have been involved.) Please look again at this policy statement I posted above. “Exodus recognizes that a lifelong and healthy marriage as well as a Godly single life are good indicators of this transformation.”

    The same message was spoken numerous times at the conference in many different ways. Anyone on this thread can confirm that by buying and listening to the tapes. If people are not hearing that message, then yes, we need to pay attention to that. But we aren’t deliberately trying to mislead people as some have implied.

    I know very well that not all SSA people have experienced a shift in their orientation – if by that you mean their desires, emotions and sexual response. That’s the reason I had Mark Yarhouse and Trista Carr speak to a group of Methodists at our General Conference last year – to address how the church can most effectively minister to those who haven’t experienced a shift in their orientation. Most folk at the luncheon didn’t “get it,” perhaps they can only think in black/white, either/or, before/after categories. Sometimes that seems to be the mindset here.

    So yes, I do hear a distinction between freedom and change. Freedom for me (and I think for Exodus) means that SSA no longer dominates a person’s being, no longer dictates his/her behavior and no longer defines his/her identity. Along with that comes the POSSIBILITY of growth into or toward heterosexuality. Again not a guarantee but a promise, and one I believe is attested to in Scripture.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Karen,

    May I draw your attention to this paragraph on the page entitled “Homosexuality & Change: Reparative Therapy” on Exodus’ website:

    Is there any scientific research on organizations like Exodus?

    In September of 2007, researchers Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse released the results of a three-year study indicating that sexual orientation change is possible for some individuals going through religiously mediated programs, such as Exodus, and does not cause psychological harm to the patient, on average. These conclusions directly contradict the claims of critics who state that change in sexual orientation is impossible and attempting to pursue this alternative is likely to cause depression, anxiety or self-destructive behavior. The study is the first longitudinal, peer-reviewed, scientific research of its kind on this topic to date. The major findings are reported in full in the book Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (InterVarsity Press).

    Well, goodness, that sounds promising.

    If, of course, one hunts down the study and finds that “sexual orientation change” was reported by 11 of the 98 participants (one of whom later recanted). And if one reads that the “heterosexuality” they report was complicated by wandering eyes and erotic dreams.

    Come on!

    OK, there are many many (many) ofher examples. All folks like Michael and myself want is honesty, full disclosure, and no games. If you really want to impact culture and the political process by our example, personal testimony and teaching, try showing that Christians can be truthful rather than that they can be heterosexual.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    There were also several books in the bookstore that addressed chastity in single life. So Jay, I don’t know how your friends missed what I saw and heard. But I will take your concerns to heart and think and pray about them.

    For the rest, I am hoping to have “date night” tonight with my husband Randy. County Fair, oh joy! I’ll try to get back and answer some other posts tomorrow, but it’s my day off so can’t guarantee anything.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Timothy, I’ve tried very hard to be respectful on this thread, and I’ve really enjoyed the give and take of discussion. But I’m not going to respond to you if you continue with the combative, snide attitude.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Again not a guarantee but a promise, and one I believe is attested to in Scripture.

    Am I the only one shaking his head?

  • Ann

    Ann, do you mean a “credible ministry or publically known organization” that agrees there is something wrong with being gay and that it ought to be renounced or changed?

    Or are you referring to an outreach for parents who just want support in loving their SSA children? One that would remain neutral on the “sin” or “change” issues?

    Michael,

    From what I have read and seen and heard, parents, friends, wives, husbands, siblings, and other family members are usually in a state of confusion and sadness when they are told by their loved ones that they are gay and have made the decision to either pursue a same gender relationship or are already involved in one.

    Where can they turn theraputically that is neutral and unbiased? It is this crucial initial period where decisions are made as to how they will respond to their loved one and how can they do this if they listen to “sides”? How can anyone get to the point of discerning the right response for them and their loved one with all the noise out there?

    I really don’t think the issue is sin or change or right or wrong – it is more an issue of “my loved one is saying he/she does not want this and yet asking me to accept that they are going pursue this because they do not have a choice – it begs the questions, how am I supposed to reconcile this? Why isn’t there a choice for him/her? Is there any other way to think about this? Who can I ask? Who will understand the confusion I feel and not try to talk me into their way of believing? Where can I go for the truth? While I applaud anyone who can segue into a position of encouragement for their loved one without any complexities, I cannot help but feel a heavy heart for the ones who cannot. Couple that with taunting comments and false allegations from those who see their confusion as an afront and well, you can imagine how the initial pain would be compounded.

    PFOX is not the answer as far as I am concerned, however, I can see where they can feel like a band-aide, rather than salt, on an open wound for some who are hurting.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen – Enjoy the County Fair, but when you come back, please look at this sentence again:

    Again not a guarantee but a promise, and one I believe is attested to in Scripture.

    Did you mean possibility instead of promise?

    Remember, I am a religious and social conservative. I am not trying to trip anybody up. However, I am very confused by the distinctions you are making.

    Here is one of the paragraphs that baffle me:

    Instead, Christ offers a healing alternative to those with homosexual tendencies. EXODUS upholds redemption for the homosexual person as the process whereby sin’s power is broken, and the individual is freed to know and experience true identity as discovered in Christ and His Church. That process entails the freedom to grow into heterosexuality.

    The last sentence about “freedom to grow into heterosexuality” comes at the end of what sounds to me like salvation by grace (redemption). I don’t know how else to read that but in conceptual order. First you are redeemed and then via redemption (“that process”), you are free to grow into heterosexuality.

    However, as you note, that process does not “entail the freedom to grow into heterosexuality” for some unclear number of people (if Jones and Yarhouse are to be believed, that would be most people).

    It seems to me that the only way this is not double-speak is if “heterosexuality” in the Exodus literature is redefined as “either attraction to the opposite sex and/or same-sex attraction while abstaining from same-sex sexual behavior.”

  • Mary

    And Timothy – there are people who do endure and change over time and we needed hope from others. We needed hope when the going got tough. And there is so much more to not being gay than the sexuality part. And it is very freeing to hear the words – You don’t have to be gay. So even if I did have SSA feelings , I don’t have to act on those or particpate in popluar culture and “accept” the same choices others have made over those feelings.

    You want EXODUS to change and be more honest – but it sounds like you want to re-write the whole script and take away the future for everyone who does change.

    People do suffer on both sides of this issue. Taking away hope and the even the smallest of changes people make about their sexuality,life etc… is just as incriminating of your intention to influence others and not very honest either.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Mary –

    People do suffer on both sides of this issue. Taking away hope and the even the smallest of changes people make about their sexuality,life etc… is just as incriminating of your intention to influence others and not very honest either.

    This makes no sense to me. Being honest about what has been reported is the basis for a reasonable hope.

  • Mary

    It is. And some people do change. I have. Why discount that.

    To insist that no one changes, that there is little hope is just as dsihonest.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    No one insisted no one changes that I can see.

  • Mike Airhart

    It was agreed by the ex-gay blog Disputed Mutability as well as Ex-Gay Watch in 2006 that Alan Chambers’ book “God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door” calls gay celibacy a sin.

    Alan Chambers said: “This is why I believe that it is so important to clarify that just living a celibate gay life is just as sinful as living a sexually promiscuous one. The sin is in identifying with anything that is contrary to Christ, which homosexuality clearly is.”

    A chapter by Mike Goeke cites, mischaracterizes, and rejects the official Roman Catholic catechism’s policy regarding gay celibacy — but Goeke falsely describes the Catechism as a mere “website” from an unnamed denomination.

    http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2006/10/new-book-by-exo/

    http://disputedmutability.wordpress.com/2006/10/05/exodus-takes-on-the-celibate-menace/

    This book by Exodus leaders does, quite plainly, reject honest sexual-orientation labeling as sinful even when the subject is celibate.

    If anyone disagrees, then I invite them to show where are the Exodus leaders who publicly extol — in interviews with FOTF and in press releases — the virtue and bliss of lifelong gay celibacy?

  • Mary

    timothy and Micahel do on a consistent basis. And the wording ought not be changed for that.

  • Eddy

    Lots went on here today, I think I’ll use this quote from Michael as a launching point.

    EXODUS needs stop blaming “gay activists” and accept that the main source of this confusion has been EXODUS itself. Like it or not, EXODUS has given “the impression that they have lied.”

    First, Michael, I don’t think you intended this slight shift in meaning. When Wendy made the statement containing the phrase ‘the impression that they have lied’, I believe she said they need to correct or address that impression. This is different from Exodus GIVING the impression. The impression is out there. Yes. But did Exodus give it? Or did people just take it?

    I knew a waitress once who was a bit of a knockout. She wasn’t very friendly to strangers though and people GOT the impression that she was vain and ‘too good for them’. In reality, she was painfully shy and lacked self-confidence. They GOT an impression based on her words or lack of them…but it was their bad not hers.

    That leads to this. I do not believe ‘that the main source of this confusion has been Exodus itself.’ Wasn’t it just days ago, in the famous kumbaya thread, that you finally heard me for the first time saying what teachings I wrote and what classes I taught at Exodus conferences. “The Reality of Temptation”, “Burning the Bridges”, “Wayward Emotions”, “Lessons for the Battlefield”., “Understanding Freedom from Life-Dominating Sin” (Oh, that’s the booklet where I attempted to define that concept of ‘freedom’…that concept THEY claim we gloss over…I think it was approximately 30 pages. Forgive me for glossing over the truth; I guess a word like ‘freedom’ should shoot for 120 pages.) But our critics would ignore that stuff and instead focus on a phrase or two that might be a tad hyperbolic. (Karen elaborated on all of this better than I could.)

    I find this incessant censorship to be extremely offensive. I imagine that we’ll have to rewrite many hymns and church song if ex-gays are to sing them. At my Bible school, we sang “I’m so glad…Jesus set me free”. And I never had time to sing the disclaimer that although He had broken the dominion of homosexuality over my life I wasn’t yet heterosexual and might never be. I do apologize for that.

    And when I’ve quoted “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”…once again, I failed to add the mandatory ex-gay disclaimer that ‘free’ does not mean heterosexual nor does it mean the absence of homosexual thoughts or desires (temptations).

    Please, give it a break. Now it sounds like we’re off on a word count. Karen distinctly remembers a number of instances where ‘change’ and ‘freedom’ were qualified but Jay’s perception is that it wasn’t enough. Just like people came away from early Exodus conferences claiming we promised ‘instant change’ and ‘total straightness’ in the face of the class, hand-outs and booklet titles that I cited earlier.

    Yes, some people in Exodus have overstated. But, some gay activists have made it their life’s work to pick apart, to twist, to add nuance to the words of Exodus…while skimming right past words that clearly state the process…the difficult journey…and the fact that we don’t have a clear picture of where the journey leads every individual. We simply know Who they’re travelling with.

    So will we just keep on playing the blame game…when it’s clearly a matter of opinion where the opinions are clearly influenced by bias?

    Where are those singing nuns?

    (Sorry for the ‘hit and run’…it’s my bi-weekly karaoke night. I may not check in again until tomorrow morning.)

  • Warren

    Eddy – I am not a gay activist. I do not read the material Karen posted as being clear at all.

    Jay is not a gay activist. It is not clear to him.

    Forget Michael and Timothy. People on your own evangelical team don’t get it, and I am increasingly ostracized because I don’t play along.

    You said:

    I find this incessant censorship to be extremely offensive. I imagine that we’ll have to rewrite many hymns and church song if ex-gays are to sing them. At my Bible school, we sang “I’m so glad…Jesus set me free”. And I never had time to sing the disclaimer that although He had broken the dominion of homosexuality over my life I wasn’t yet heterosexual and might never be. I do apologize for that.

    And when I’ve quoted “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”…once again, I failed to add the mandatory ex-gay disclaimer that ‘free’ does not mean heterosexual nor does it mean the absence of homosexual thoughts or desires (temptations).

    In the context of spiritual redemption, of course there is no need for qualification. We are free; we have been found after once being lost. Change from darkness to light is possible and promised in Christ. However, to put this redemptive message into a context of sexual orientation is to place it out of context and to dilute that redemptive message.

    Once, a questioner asked me during a talk if I was serious that becoming a Christian would not frequently lead via some predictable process to change in orientation for the committed Christian. I said I was serious and that this did no violence to the message of salvation. He (a Christian) asked me: “Well, what is the point of salvation, then?”

    He didn’t get it, either.

    I understand the impulse of Exodus policy framers to want to put things in redemptive terms, however, there is a problem in communication and perceptions of honesty. This is a recurring problem and one that I struggle with so I don’t think it can be pass off to gay activist carping.

    Free at last, free at last, Praise God almighty, free at last.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Ann

    Where can they turn theraputically that is neutral and unbiased? It is this crucial initial period where decisions are made as to how they will respond to their loved one and how can they do this if they listen to “sides”? How can anyone get to the point of discerning the right response for them and their loved one with all the noise out there?

    I really don’t think the issue is sin or change or right or wrong – it is more an issue of “my loved one is saying he/she does not want this and yet asking me to accept that they are going pursue this because they do not have a choice – it begs the questions, how am I supposed to reconcile this? Why isn’t there a choice for him/her? Is there any other way to think about this? Who can I ask? Who will understand the confusion I feel and not try to talk me into their way of believing? Where can I go for the truth?

    This is a very good question.

    I doubt that most are saying they don’t want this – or at least not most young people who are a bit more inclined to be acceptive of their own orientation. But either way there don’t appear to be reliable resources.

    PFLAG, in theory, is welcoming of those with traditional beliefs about homosexuality. But I very much doubt that this welcome is as wide as it once was or that they would be entirely neutral.

    Exodus is more focused on hope than information. They are more inclined to present information rooted in hope than in actual expectations.

    And Love Won Out is just going to blame the parent. Not a pleasant experience, I’m sure.

    Where do they go to find the facts, to find those who share their values, and those who aren’t trying to sell them on some theory?

    Where does the parent that disapproves of sexual expression of same-sex attraction but who doesn’t want less-than-acurate info turn?

    I don’t know.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    I don’t claim that no one “changes”. I do say that the evidence is pretty strong that very few men who go through Exodus and other religious groups lose their same-sex attractions. (Very very few).

    If people wish to change their lives, change their associates, change their behaviors, change their identity, and change their sprituality, then of course they can. And if these are their goals, then I am all in favor of offering hope for such changes.

    In fact, I’m quite certain that some – including some who comment here – have found a great deal of satisfaction in these changes.

    But my heart hurts for those men who are given hope for uncomplicated heterosexuality. That isn’t good. And to the extent that some people have been hurt by Exodus, I think it is in the false hope and false expectations they were promised (though, perhaps, not guaranteed).

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Oh boy. I absolutely do not have the time to participate right now in this discussion. It will have to wait, but I am trying to truly hear what is being said. Lots of stuff, and I’ve only seen a bit. I am “off the scope” for a while. Praying, for sure.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Mary:

    How about telling it like it is.

    Men with SSA are different than women with SSA.

    Change means something different for all individuals.

    Some change their sexuality (leave out the word orientation)

    Some do not change their sexuality.

    All find peace and comfort in supportive Christian atmosphere.

    I am all for it. I have no problems with any of the above, especially when people make the effort to explain what they mean.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy:

    The impression is out there. Yes. But did Exodus give it? Or did people just take it?

    I think it was probably some ofboth, but that EXODUS bears the greater responsibility.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy:

    That leads to this. I do not believe ‘that the main source of this confusion has been Exodus itself.’

    We will have to disagree on this. If they want to clear it up, they could post it on their website:

    “EXODUS makes no claims and does not intend to give the impression that participation in its programs will result in a change from SSA to OSA.”

    THat would be very easy to do. It only took me 30 seconds or so.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Warren:

    Change from darkness to light is possible and promised in Christ. However, to put this redemptive message into a context of sexual orientation is to place it out of context and to dilute that redemptive message.

    BRAVO!

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Not going to the fair, thank heavens.

    I’m not even going to try to interpret what Alan or Mike Goeke or others mean by what they have written or said. If they want to weigh in, they can. But in their defense, I’d share this quote from Mike Goeke, also from God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door:

    Some Christians believe that change is always evidenced by full deliverance from homosexuality, resulting in complete and and immediate eradication of strong homosexual desires and the establishing of heterosexual desires and feelings. THIS FORM OF HEALING AND CHANGE IS RARE. (Emphasis mine.) Most organizations that educate people on homosexuality are careful to state clearly how seldom this type of healing occurs and don’t encourage people to expect this sort of change in themselves or their loved ones.

    Warren, I’m still thinking about how to respond to you. It’s clear to me; I’ll try to do a better job of expressing myself, but again probably by tomorrow after I catch up on reading the thread.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy:

    I understand the impulse of Exodus policy framers to want to put things in redemptive terms, however, there is a problem in communication and perceptions of honesty.

    BRAVO again! Warren agrees. Wendy Gritter, EXODUS’s keynote speaker agrees. Even Alan Chambers seems to agree. Who caused the problem is kinda irrelevant now. You blame EXODUS’s critics. Maybe so, maybe not. But, it’s a problem EXODUS only can fix.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    I doubt there is anything uncomplicated about homosexuality OR heterosexuality. But I agree – it should not be promoted as all cherries and roses.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    If Mark Yarhouse is still reading the thread … I think I remember at your presentation in Fort Worth (or maybe Nashville) that you indicated some statistical figures for folk who self-reported having an SSA experience, who recognized a homosexual orientation, and who embraced/adopted a gay/lesbian identity. If I recall rightly, you said the numbers decreased for each of the three categories.

    Could you confirm that for me? And could you post your description of the “discovery” and “integration” models? Slightly off topic, but I’m having conversation with a genetic biologist in my husband’s congregation. She’s helping me understand the twin studies better and I’m trying to be very clear about what I believe and why in regards to homosexuality.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Michael Bussee

    A third BRAVO for this: This is a recurring problem and one that I struggle with so I don’t think it can be pass off to gay activist carping.

    And as Warren pointed out, he’s not a gay activist. He wants to like you guys.

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen:

    Could you please suggest that this be posted on the front page of the EXODUS websit?. Maybe I am kidding myself, but I think it would stop much of the wrangling.

    Some Christians believe that change is always evidenced by full deliverance from homosexuality, resulting in complete and and immediate eradication of strong homosexual desires and the establishing of heterosexual desires and feelings. THIS FORM OF HEALING AND CHANGE IS RARE.

    Most organizations that educate people on homosexuality are careful to state clearly how seldom this type of healing occurs and don’t encourage people to expect this sort of change in themselves or their loved ones.

    Well stated! May I quote you as an EXODUS leader? Why not put in on the EXODUS website — as part of the description of what EXODUS does and does not do? Why not that official? Then you could say, “You think we mislead the puiblic? Read our mission statement…” If I were still with EXODUS, I would be pushing for this just as hard as I do now.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK. Thought about it. Don’t want to spoil the “kum bay yah” spirit, so here it is:

    EXODUS has made a fairly good effort to clarify that they are not promising a change from gay to straight. For whatever reason, (perhaps due in part to unfair or uninformed critics) some confusion remains — but EXODUS has taken praiseworthy steps to clear up this confusion.

    I believe EXODUS could and should do more. Apparently, so did Wendy Gritter. And so does Warren.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    MIke G said via Karen

    Some Christians believe that change is always evidenced by full deliverance from homosexuality, resulting in complete and and immediate eradication of strong homosexual desires and the establishing of heterosexual desires and feelings. THIS FORM OF HEALING AND CHANGE IS RARE. (Emphasis mine.) Most organizations that educate people on homosexuality are careful to state clearly how seldom this type of healing occurs and don’t encourage people to expect this sort of change in themselves or their loved ones.

    If something like this were on the Exodus website, clarity would be served. However, even with this, it might be better to simply specify that change is a new way of thinking or living as opposed to getting involved in the orientationspeak. Because people will keep asking the orientationspeak questions, then Mike Gs words along side would clarify.

  • Michael Bussee

    Believe it or not, I don’t want to make EXODUS look bad. Why would I? I helped start it. Believe it or not, I have no complaint whatever about EXODUS’s desire to help people live a congrtuent life, in accordance with their beliefs. NONE.

    For what it’s worth, I count myself among the critics who may have been unfair or uninformed at times. For that, I apologize.

    From now on, when I hear that EXODUS alone is to blame for the mis-understanding, I will give that “mea culpa” — and say, “EXODUS has been making it pretty clear, especially recently, that they are not promising or encouraging people to expect a change from gay to straight.”

    I will also say, they should and could do more.

  • AM

    I’m reading this and getting a slightly different take on *why* Exodus does not leave out the change part…

    If they left it out, then who would go? Seriously, what kind of a following woud they attract if lifelong celibacy was the result. And with the number of gay Christians (or ssa, if you prefer) who have repeated slips, falls, long term gay relationships — even and especially those who consider it sin — I am not sure that lifelong celibacy is either tenable or real.

    Exodus is wanting to focus on younger folks — before they enter the “gay lifestyle”. Let’s take your twenty-something: fresh out of college, ready to start a lifetime career, profession, etc… The sex drive is at the peak, the desire for a lifetime companion is acutely real. Their straight friends are dating, mating, fornicating. (Yes, Christians and plenty of them: I read in a conservative religious source — Baptist, I believe — that only 27% of all Christians go to their marriage bed as virgins. 27%!!! And they know that God blesses *married* sex and still can’t wait.)

    Reparative therapy has been questioned on its efficacy at this point to really give people cause for doubt, unlike when I sat in HA meeting rooms in the late 80′s, taking Moberly’s book as the Holy Grail out of homosexuality.

    What will that 25 year old see as being worthwhile as offered via Exodus? Of course people are starting to have kids, lifelong emotional bonds are further formed. Gay people — gay Christians see this every day of their lives. And for those straight marriages that don’t work out (for whatever reason or lack of reasons — there is always serial monogamy – divorce and remarriage for as many times as it taks for them to get it right. All under the blessing and auspices of the Christian church.)

    So, I ask again: If Exodus is offering a celibacy support program of some kind, great! But why not include heterosexuals in the mix? And I am not just talking porn addicted folks who are put in a sexually broken category these days. Everyone – all singles are called and required to live in celibacy if one takes the conservative interpretation of Scripture.

    But, again, if one sees the orientation as brokenness, sinful in and of itself, a special group would be needed to counteract, fix, mend that tendency. It’s kind of an interesting, endless loop, depending on your starting point along the game board.

    Anyway, that is my observation: the change part serves a very needed, practical consideration as one addresses this topic in terms of lifetime reality.

  • Michael Bussee

    @AM:

    I’m reading this and getting a slightly different take on *why* Exodus does not leave out the change part…If they left it out, then who would go?

    Great question! Leave the impression, intentionally or not, that you will (or might) become straight, and you attract more people. Tell them clearly, up front, on the EXODUS website “how seldom this type of healing occurs” and that EXODUS does not “encourage people to expect this sort of change in themselves or their loved ones” and who would come?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Wow, almost time to turn in and what an amazing number and depth of posts.

    Warren – still thinking about a response.

    Michael B. – thanks so much for recognizing the changes Exodus has made and is making. I appreciate that very, very much. I am sincere when I say I have taken your concerns seriously. But I’m sure you’re aware that I simply don’t agree with you in many respects. I do care about language and message, but like Eddy, I find a lot of the “excessive censorship” and quibbling over the precise meaning of words if not offensive, then very tiring.

    And Timothy, Scriptural hope doesn’t “always come to pass,” at least not on this side of heaven. Christians hope in or for the resurrection from the dead, eternal life with Jesus, Jesus’ second coming, the redemption of our bodies when creation is perfectly and finally renewed, among other things that are, yes, promised in Scripture. But as Paul wrote in Romans 8:24, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.”

    Infomercial? I don’t think so.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Before I say goodnight, I am posting something totally off topic (maybe), and Warren I’d like to ask you to maybe start another thread about it because I’d like to hear people’s opinions.

    I’ve gotten hooked on the BBC miniseries Torchwood this week. I hadn’t seen it or Dr. Who before, but I’m intrigued by the main character Jack Harkness, who is purportedly bisexual and even more by his paramour, Ionto, who claims to be heterosexual but loves and is sexually attracted to Jack.

    One article I read about the show was titled something along the lines of “Is heteroflexibility the new gay?” I never heard the term heteroflexible before. The article and the show raise some interesting questions about orientation and identity.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Karen said to Timothy:

    And Timothy, Scriptural hope doesn’t “always come to pass,” at least not on this side of heaven. Christians hope in or for the resurrection from the dead, eternal life with Jesus, Jesus’ second coming, the redemption of our bodies when creation is perfectly and finally renewed, among other things that are, yes, promised in Scripture. But as Paul wrote in Romans 8:24, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.”

    I think this is an apples and oranges thing. All the events you mentioned Chrisitians accept on faith but are not maybes. Surely you would not equate sexual reorientation in this life with hope in the eventual fulfillment of the promise of the redemption of our bodies, right?

    I maintain that the problem with the Exodus material you quoted is both practical/empirical (the process they describe leading to heterosexuality as defined by anyone outside of Exodus happens infrequently) and theological (we are not promised perfection or completion in any arena). These are two issues I see. There are more. Another big one is the issue of the different kinds of homosexuality. Some are perhaps more amenable to the kind of change Exodus implies than others.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Karen:

    I do care about language and message, but like Eddy, I find a lot of the “excessive censorship” and quibbling over the precise meaning of words if not offensive, then very tiring.

    I am not trying to “censor” anyone. I have no desire to supress EXODUS’s message. I so wish you guys would quit framing it that way! Please stop assuming my intent. I have no desire to silence EXODUS. I fully support your right — no, more than that, your responsibility — to say what you believe.

    I agree that it can be tiring — I get tired of asking EXODUS to be clear — and EXODUS gets tired of me asking. I understand that. But it’s not meant to be offensive. (I know my tone has been offensive at times, but that is not my intent.)

    I am trying to get you guys to clarify – to make your “yes”, “yes” and your “no”, “no”. Does EXODUS promise or intend to imply that gays will become straight? The straight answer, the honest answer is ‘NO”.

    Quoting John Boswell:

    “Words are fundamental to Christianity. They are a basic means of expressing faith, and, as I pointed out, this is peculiarly characteristic of the Christian religion. You will now be able to see, if you think about it, that words can conceal as muich as they reveal. In the Christian moral tradition, great difficulty has been occasioned by inattention to words and their precise meanings.”

  • Michael Bussee

    Tell you what, Karen. If EXODUS will put something similar to your words on the front page of it’s website, I will stop my tiring and offensive quibbling over words. Wouldn’t that be nice? How about this?

    “EXODUS does not promise or intend to imply that paricipants will experience complete and/or immediate eradication of strong homosexual desires and the establishing of heterosexual desires and feelings. This form of healing and change is rare. EXODUS is careful to state clearly how seldom this type of healing occurs and does not encourage people to expect this sort of change in themselves or their loved ones.”

    If guys would do that, I promise I will lay off — and I promise I will correct anyone who asserts that EXODUS claims or intends to imply anything to the contrary. Why won’t EXODUS do that? What have you got to lose? If you won’t do it, can I at least quote you on what EXODUS does and does not promise or imply?

  • Michael Bussee

    I woke up with this morning with this on my mind. There are many “Ex-gay Survivors” who say they were hurt by the direct or implied promise that they would stop being SSA and become straight if they (1) had enough faith, (2) prayed enough, (3) tried hard enough, etc.

    They were bitterly disappointed. Some become very guilt-ridden and depressed, believing they had failed God. Some gave up their faith entirely.

    These people were not gay activists trying to make EXODUS look bad. They were sincere Christians, full of hope and faith, wanting to live a life pleasing to God. Did EXODUS do nothing wrong? Where did these people get that mistaken idea — if not from EXODUS?

  • Michael Bussee

    To Mary, who commented:

    And some people do change. I have. Why discount that. To insist that no one changes, that there is little hope is just as dishonest.

    I have not been dishonest about this. I have never,ever insisted that “no one changes”. I think that may be what you want to hear me saying, but I have never inisisted that no one changes anything.

    On the contrary, have said repeatedly that I believe that many people experience positive changes in their lives. What I have asserted is that male ex-gays are still SSA. And everyone here seems to agree with that — including Karen, Eddy and Warren.

    I believe that many find a more balanced, more satisfying and more meaningful life. I am not trying to discount those who have.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I can tell you from my own experience the hope for change came from within. I have not been involved with Exodus directly, nor have I received therapy from NARTH, but I am familiar with what they represent. Yes, they offered hope for me to change, but more importantly they provided an alternative to the flamboyant lifestyle that is so often represented of someone who is gay. I would say that that is not realistic or an honest protrayal of many who struggle with SSA either and perhaps someone should start attacking that also, because I can tell you that has done a tremendous amount of damage to me personally and to many young people who find themselves SSA, but just cannot relate to the flash and awe.

  • http://nojam75.blogspot.com Norm!

    Karen:

    …I’ve gotten hooked on the BBC miniseries Torchwood this week. I hadn’t seen it or Dr. Who before, but I’m intrigued by the main character Jack Harkness, who is purportedly bisexual and even more by his paramour, Ionto, who claims to be heterosexual but loves and is sexually attracted to Jack.

    One article I read about the show was titled something along the lines of “Is heteroflexibility the new gay?” I never heard the term heteroflexible before. The article and the show raise some interesting questions about orientation and identity.

    Hi Karen,

    I just worked my way through this lengthly thread. I basically concur with criticism of Exodus’ confusing and misleading messages. I didn’t think I had any useful comment to add, until you mentioned the terrific Torchwood: Children Of Men miniseries which I have also been watching this week.

    In the miniseries, the character Ionto admits to his sister that he is in a relationship with another man, Capt. Jack, but that Capt Jack is the only man he has been in love with (previously Ionto was in love with a dead woman he attempted to resurrect through alien robot technology — but that’s a another story).

    I think you may be referring to the AfterElton.com article, Is “Heteroflexible” the New Gay?. Other than in fictional storylines, I’m not sure if “heteroflexible” is a real trend — although I think there is a greater openness to sexuality being defined outside of strictly gay/straight/bi sexual orientations. Love is love regardless of gender.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael B.,

    I’m sorry if you thought I meant you about the “quibbling,” “excessive censorship” stuff. I didn’t. Though I disagree with you on many things, I have also found you to be mostly respectful in the conversation. Perhaps I should have “named names,” but didn’t think it was necessary.

  • Eddy

    I survived last night’s karaoke marathon. Stormy weather and summer vacations had the singers to a minimum. I lost count but my brother guesses that I sang about 14 times! A new personal record.

    I’m wondering if much of our wrangling doesn’t come down to the confusion created sometime in the last century when psychology officially recognized that entity known as ‘orientation’. They gave identity to a ‘leaning’…made it a label…a condition. What were once ‘ongoing homosexual temptations’–with the simple goal of overcoming them and living above them–now became a battle against your supposedly inborn orientation–and, framed in this new context, the goal got reinterpreted as ‘you will have a new orientation’.

    “Freedom” and “change” based on the simple notion of sin and temptation meant ‘overcoming’ and ‘living above’ those temptations…just as it means that when used in the context of any other sin. But, when spoken in the context of psychology’s concept of ‘orientation’, “freedom” and “change” seem to be saying something more.

    But, for the most part, Exodus is a collection of ministers not psychologists. Their primary message is that of the Gospel rather than presenting or embracing a psychological viewpoint. It ought to be clearly understood and appreciated that their words will most often be spoken in the context that is closest to their heart…sin, temptation, redemption and grace. While some focus on the ‘misleading claims’ they dismiss Exodus’ continuing history of presenting the reality that temptation will likely persist and that heterosexuality will likely not be the result for all.

    I find it ironic that when Exodus first began speaking the hopeful words of ‘freedom’ and ‘change’, it was largely in response to those who complained that our focus had been negative…looking at a sin, focussing on a sin, looking at the behavior that had bound us rather than at the freedom we were now experiencing. The critics cringe when we use that word ‘sin’ or the words ‘broken’ or ‘fallen’…they aren’t psychological terms at all; their meaning in a Biblical context is quite clear and not confusing at all…but those words are disallowed in PC speech because they conflict with psychology’s viewpoint. (How many times has our use of those words been challenged here on this site?)

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    @Michael B.

    You ask … “If you won’t do it, can I at least quote you on what EXODUS does and does not promise or imply?”

    You can quote anything I write or say as long as you acknowledge it’s my perosnal opinion and not official Exodus policy. For that, I’d suggest that you just quote from the statements themselves. My guess is they’re developed and adopted by the Board of Directors, though I don’t know that for sure.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    @Warren

    For the same reasons that I know you are not trying to entrap me with your questions and comments, I hope you know me well enough that I am not trying to evade an answer. But I am stymied as to how to satisfy your concerns.

    I think the OVERALL message of Exodus is this: there is the hope and promise of transformed sexuality in Scripture, 1 Corinthians 6, for one specific example. It means more than changed behavior, otherwise Paul would have written in verse 11, “that’s what some of you used to do.” He didn’t. He said “that’s what some of you were.” He was using, if not the language of orientation and identity as we understand it, the language of “being.” (Robert Gagnon has shown numerous examples of Greco-Roman philosophical and literary writings where a rudimentary understanding of orientation/identity is expressed. Would Paul have been aware of this? I think it’s likely.)

    So there is a generalized promise – yes, I mean the word promise, as in “a basis for expectation” – and hope of profound transformation of sexuality. As I’ve posted before, I’ve seen that profound change of both behavior and inner life in the men and women I know well.

    Why isn’t this realized in everyone’s life? Or even in more lives? I don’t know for sure; it’s a question of theodicy and of God’s sovereignty that have been debated for two millennia or more, and probably a topic more suited to another thread. But just as everyone who trusts in the promise and hope of the healing of physical ailments doesn’t always see the results they want, so it seems to be with those who embark on a journey of sexual transformation. (Or more accurately, at least for those that report about their journey.) The lack of observable “results” doens’t negate the hope and promise.

    Would “results” be more obvious if the Church as a whole (not the individuals involved) had more faith? I wonder about that. Because many, if not most, of the Christians I’ve encountered or ministered to in the local church are pretty much practical atheists. They don’t REALLY believe God can transform anything, let alone sexuality.

    Now, Exodus is trying to take this language of faith and present it in a way that will be understandable to believers, who come from a variety of faith backgrounds, and to translate it into language non-Christians (who are probably more familiar with cultural terms and concepts) can also understand. That is not an easy task, especially if you’re trying to express something so complex in a short policy statement or on a web page.

    But I have seen much improvement in the six years I’ve been a member ministry leader. Do we need to continue to improve? Of course. But should we capitulate to a group of critics who will never be happy unless the message of transformation is completely obliterated? (Not you, Michael B.) I think you know the answer to that.

    So I would ask you sincerely, Warren, if you have major issues with Exodus’ policy statements (or anything else on the website), then revise them so that they make more sense to you and post your revisions here so we can discuss them.

    But for me, here is the crux of the matter: In one of your posts above, you concluded, “Being honest about what has been reported is the basis for a reasonable hope.” Generally, I don’t think Christians are called to have a “reasonable” hope. (The hope of the resurrection, especially bodily resurrection, is completely “unreasonable” from a scientific standpoint, what Paul said would be “foolishness” to many people.)

    I’ve expressed my views on this blog before about my basic mistrust of the “truth” of psychological theories (which are not “hard” science) and of the various studies of sexuality, which are based on self-report. What I hear (accurately or not) in your statement is that they may be your primary authority, at least in matters under discussion. If I’m interpreting that correctly, then this is one place you and I part company.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Norm,

    Quick question first – did Jack’s attitudes about his 1960s dealings with the children bother you at all? In the commentary following, John Barrowman used the word “sins” to desribe Jack’s moral/ethical failures. But the character didn’t seem to show much in the way of remorse, just regret that he’d been betrayed by the aliens and disappointment that the practicalities of the “swap” didn’t work out as he’d hoped. Anyway, it’s one of the most engaging scifi series I’ve seen in a long time – with some of the same themes as Steven King’s “The Perfect Storm,” questions about sacrifice and honor.

    RE: the heteroflexibility topic. I think scifi is often on the cutting edge of cultural trends, and wonder if this might be a preview of where Western culture is headed in its discussion about sexual identity and orientation. I’m reminded of Ursula LeGuin’s book “Left Hand of Darkness,” where the humanoids had great flexibility in gender and sexual expression, going into “heat” appropriately depending on who they mated with. I was on the other side of this debate when I read it and it raised some interesting thoughts.

  • concerned

    Karen,

    Perhaps it would be recognized more often if those who are working to change did not have to be bombarded constantly by gay images on TV and movies glorifying the wonders of being gay and did not have to deal with the negativity of those who want to constantly convince the general public that no one can really change they just have to accept who they are. On the other hand there may be those who find the change occurs naturally once they stop the battle against themselves and just begin to surrender their own will over to the will of God for their lives. For some this may mean they still have some struggle with SSA, but it will no longer be their battle to be won.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    @concerned

    Thanks for the above comments. You write, “On the other hand there may be those who find the change occurs naturally once they stop the battle against themselves and just begin to surrender their own will over to the will of God for their lives.”

    This seems to be Mike Goeke’s testimony. He didn’t do an Exodus-type support group or seek therapy, as far as I know. Through Chuch support, prayer and discipleship he found his behaviors and feelings graduatly changing.

    This next is anecdotal and based on conversation with a half dozen men who told me they tried to change but didn’t. In all cases, they gave me a “laundry list” of stuff they did hoping God would take away their SSA and gift them with OSA. They prayed, they fasted, they studied Scripture, they served in various capacities in their local congregations.

    But I didn’t hear one of them ever acknowledge that he had surrendered or submitted his sexuality to Jesus and His work through the Holy Spirit, trusting God for whatever outcome He chose to give. The former approach is bargaining with God; it’s an expectation of blessing based on “works righteousness.” And it typically isn’t very successful.

  • Michael Bussee

    You can quote anything I write or say as long as you acknowledge it’s my perosnal opinion and not official Exodus policy. For that, I’d suggest that you just quote from the statements themselves. My guess is they’re developed and adopted by the Board of Directors, though I don’t know that for sure.

    Thanks Karen. I will not quote anything Eddy has said, except here on this blog, at his request. If I quote you, I will make it clear that it is your opinion. As for this: ” For that, I’d suggest that you just quote from the statements themselves”, — I am not sure what you mean. Can you direct me to the official statements so that I may use them?

    That is part of why I have been pressing you and Eddy — for something official — something clearly stated by EXODUS itself in its mission statement or something. I would much rather quote those statments if you could direct me to them.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy and Karen: I agree that the problem has been that EXODUS is using the language of faith while others use the language of science or “orientation”. We have often referred to it here (sometimes in jest) as “Christianese”.

    I know it’s annoying and tiring, (heck, even for me) but It does come down to “semantics” — and as Boswel pointed out “words and their precidse meanings” are extremely important — especially when we are trying to convey the truth of the Gospel:

    Semantics: The study of meaning in language: the study of how meaning in language is created by the use and interrelationships of words, phrases, and sentences.

    As a Christian myself, I understand Christianese. With other Christians, I speak it fluently — and there is little confusion. The truth is, I really do understand where you and Eddy are coming from and what “ex-gays” probably mean when they use that term. I know they are talking about changed hearts, minds and lives — and not necessarily a change in what the “world” calls “sexual orientation”.

    But we cannot ignore that many people have been hurt by the lack of clarity. Many (including me) were told that we didn’t pray enough, didn’t have enough faith, didn’t love God enough — or weren’t even really saved (sometimes by EXODUS leaders) — when the “change” did not happen.

    That’s why I think we need to be VERY careful to avoid confusing labels (as Alan Chambers wisely suggested) and just describe the “change” we are talking about.

    Read the testimonies of ex-ex-gays and ex-gay survivors and you get that deep sense of pain, rejection and failure. And ultimately, you are struck by the tragedy that they too often give up on God completey — convinced that He must not really love them after all.

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen: I really appreciate this:

    Now, Exodus is trying to take this language of faith and present it in a way that will be understandable to believers, who come from a variety of faith backgrounds, and to translate it into language non-Christians (who are probably more familiar with cultural terms and concepts) can also understand. That is not an easy task, especially if you’re trying to express something so complex in a short policy statement or on a web page.

    “Not an easy task” indeed! My partner, Scott (a devout Catholic) and I both love the Lord deeply — and we have often trouble speaking to each other about faith matters because he speaks “catholic-ese” and I speak “presbyterian-ese”! :)

  • http://nojam75.blogspot.com Norm!

    Hi Karen,

    . . . did Jack’s attitudes about his 1960s dealings with the children bother you at all? In the commentary following, John Barrowman used the word “sins” to desribe Jack’s moral/ethical failures. But the character didn’t seem to show much in the way of remorse, just regret that he’d been betrayed by the aliens and disappointment that the practicalities of the “swap” didn’t work out as he’d hoped. …

    Although I’m really not an expert on the series, it has been hinted that Capt. Jack was not always a good guy and only recently evolved into a high-minded, moral leader. Also, there is the aspect that because he is immortal, he may be more detached about others’ deaths because an innocent child’s death is basically only tragic in the timing of the inevitable demise that he will witness of all mortals he encounters.

    I was surprised how the ‘everyman’ character new to the team quickly rationalized and sympathized with Capt. Jack that sacrificing 12 children bought humanity another 44 years. Needless to say, the debate over which class of children were deemed expendable was shocking — especially in that the cold, logical arguments were nearly convincing.

    The themes reminded me of the recently concluded Battlestar Galactica series which also had the same hard moral dilemmas about humanity’s survival, faith, and terrorism in a scifi seting. BSG also nonchalantly mentioned gay relationships, had a seemingly heteroflexible character in a series of webisodes, and touched on themes of prohibiting abortion and encouraging pregnancy for humanity’s survival.

    It is interesting to ponder how Exodus, PFOX, ex-gay organizations and religion in general fit into the Torchwood and other scifi settings. Scifi shows seem to build on the hopeful trend that modern society is becoming far more progressive and accepting of non-heterosexual relationships (with little help from Exodus/ex-gay and social conservative groups, I must add). Would Capt. Jack, Ionto, or any other gay scifi character have reason to seek ex-gay counseling — especially without the threat and fear of religious fundamentalism? Would same-sex attractions be ‘unwanted’ if there was no societal expectation to conform to a particular sexual orientation?

  • Michael Bussee

    To Concerned:

    Yes, they offered hope for me to change, but more importantly they provided an alternative to the flamboyant lifestyle that is so often represented of someone who is gay.

    That’s a very important point. Sometimes, when people say they have “changed” or that they are now “ex-gay”, they are referring to how different they feel, how much more satisfying their life is now, how grateful they are to God — and not trying to convey that they are now heterosexual.

    They are ex-”GAY” — with all the flamboyance or excess that that “lifestyle” sometimes includes. When someone says, “I am ex-gay”, I guess we need to ask, what kind of “gay” do you mean?

    Many who came to EXODUS were living in dreadful, shameful closets. That is what “gay” meant to them. Or they were very sexually compulsive — or alcoholic — or drug abusing — or just damn lonely.

    There can be that sense of the worship of youth — of sex, hot bods, the next beer bust, the next “hook-up”. The gays bars around here often reflect that sense of a desperate quest for “more, bigger, different” — the ultimate orgasm — or the “guy who has had the most tricks wins”.

    Is that all there is? Sometimes, I look at what people call the “gay lifestyle” and even I want to be “ex-GAY”. :)

  • Eddy

    In response to Michael’s post to Karen and I:

    And we call it ‘psycho-babble’. They came up with a concept called ‘orientation’…all it really means is ‘a leaning’. They don’t know where that orientation comes from–inborn? genetic? learned? a combo?; they don’t know who truly has it and who might have stumbled into it somehow; they don’t begin to know how to separate a ‘true orientation’ from fetish attachments; they declare it to be fixed and unchangeable yet they can’t even determine who truly is or isn’t a part of the group.

    Re semantics…I couldn’t agree more…that’s been my point all along for months!

    how meaning in language is created by the use and interrelationships of words, phrases, and sentences.

    ‘Meaning in language’ is created how? ‘By the use and interrelationships of words, phrases, and sentences’. Sounds like ‘in CONTEXT’ to me. Exodus uses words like “change” or “freedom” and then through the interrelationships with the words, phrases and sentences that follow (or precede) we actually ‘get’ their meaning. We stop picking one word, one phrase or one sentence out of its interrelationship with the other words, phrases and sentences. Instead, we don’t criticize until we’ve examined the whole.

    By the way, one word of caution here. Frequently our discussion is about labels but this one is not. This one is simply about words. This isn’t the great debate about what is an ex-gay and does that label need to be dispensed with; this is about common words that have a clearer meaning in their Christian context (where we expect a process and an ongoing journey) than they do in a psychological context (where we like to box things up every so neatly and affix a pretty label).

    This shows evidence of being an exercise in cross-cultural communication. When someone speaks from a culture other than our own, what is our common response? Do we demand that they speak in our language and nuance or do we try to show appreciation of their culture by trying to understand them and their context? Wouldn’t we be more likely to get a better picture of who they are and what they mean by letting them ‘tell it like it is’ in their terms rather than risk losing the essence of their message as they settle for some word from our culture that ‘kind of’ captures their meaning. Throw two or three ‘settled for’ words into a conversation and the chances of a deviation in the message increases dramatically.

    And one important clarifier. I AM NOT a part of Exodus and have not been for several decades. I suppose individuals from Exodus might read my comments here but I speak purely from my own concerns. While much of my thinking is in accordance with Exodus; much of it is not…especially with regard to politics and organization affiliations. It has long been my belief that the central message of Exodus is difficult enough to communicate effectively without the added entrapments of being associated with a cause or organization whose message and focus differs even slightly.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Michael B.

    Here’s the link to the Exodus policy statements page – http://exodus.to/content/view/34/118/.

    The mission and doctrine page is here – http://exodus.to/content/view/33/117/

    And one of the welcomes page for strugglers is here – http://exodus.to/help/?option=com_content&task=view&id=327&Itemid=147

    I am sorry that you and others suffered pain and rejection when you didn’t experience the pain you hoped for. I’m assuming this happened to you early on in Exodus movement history, if not, please correct me.

    I can’t personally attest to what folk are told or taught in the local member ministries as I haven’t had that experience. I know Exodus leadership has made great strides in its attempts to standardize some of the ministry procedures and to exercise oversight of the programs. But then, that also moves away from that “loose affilation of ministries” that you talked about earlier. Again, it’s not an easy mission to hold that balance in tension.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    In my above post to Michael B., that should have read “I am sorry that you and others suffered pain and rejection when you didn’t experience the change you hoped for.”

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks Michael B. and Eddy for some very, very thoughtful posts.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am sorry that you and others suffered pain and rejection when you didn’t experience the change you hoped for. I’m assuming this happened to you early on in Exodus movement history, if not, please correct me.

    Karen: It happened early on and still happens — not to me so much now — but to others I have spoken to. The message they still seem to get is “not enough”. You did not believe enough, pray enough, try hard enough, love God enough. You are not enough. That’s why it would be good to see some sort of official disclaimer on the EXODUS home page.

    If someone had said, “That’s OK, you’re OK, no one expects you to be straight and you shouldn’t either…” much suffering might be lifted. Ex-gay Survivors are still wating for EXODUS to say, “You are still our brothers and sisters in the Lord. He still loves you and we still love you. We are truly sorry if we gave you the wrong impression about change”.

    I will read the references you cited carefully. I also hope that if you haven’t yet done so, that you will read the testimonies on “Beyond Ex-gay”: http://beyondexgay.com/

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Norm,

    Thanks for your take on Captain Jack. I picked up on some of that last night, but the hints were pretty subtle. I wasn’t only surprised by Rhys’s (Everyman) acceptance, particularly when he has a child on the way, I was … well appalled is too strong a word. But there didn’t seem to be an ethical person in the bunch, with the pragmatic, calculating Brits being the most chilling. The hardest part, however, is suspending disbelief long enough to imagine that an official anti-alien department originated under Queen Victoria.

    I haven’t watched the new BSG, but it sounds as if it’s come a ways since the classic Mormon-themed original series.

    The remaining scifi fan in me (not nearly what it was when I was a young adult) sometimes wonders some of the same things you wrote in your last paragraph. Societal expectations will no doubt change, but since Christianity (in theory) is called to be counter-cultural, those changes ultimately may serve to strengthen the Church. And Biblical faith itself (fundamentalism is such a loaded term) will be around for a long, long while, forever if you believe God’s Word. Obviously faith is declining in the West, possibly even dying. But it’s robust and growing in many other parts of the world.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK. I read them. I will give you credit that you don’t actually promise heterosexuality and that you admit that “healing” is a difficult “process”. I see the qualifiers, but these phrases could (and do) lead some folks to assume that heterosexuality is the end product of the “transformation”:

    That process entails the freedom to grow into heterosexuality.

    Exodus affirms reorientation of same sex attraction is possible.

    This enables growth towards Godly heterosexuality.

    As such, we believe it is a multi-causal, developmental disorder that can be overcome…

    Exodus is a worldwide network of former homosexuals and the largest evangelical organization dealing with homosexuality in the world today.

    The bottom line – you don’t have to be gay!

    I do see the qualifiers: “freedom to grow into…”, “is possible“, growth towards”. can be”, etc. But the words “former homosexual” and the phrase, “you don’t have to be gay” cause real confusion.

    It would help if the statements defined “former homosexual” and “gay”. It is not unreasonable that the reader might conclude that ex-gays are no longer SSA and that straightness was the result of the “process”.

    That’s why a disclaimer like: “EXODUS does not promise or intend to imply that SSA persons will or should expect to become heterosexual” would be helpful — even though I know you think that would throw a “wet blanket” on their hope.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    The message they still seem to get is “not enough”. You did not believe enough, pray enough, try hard enough, love God enough

    Did the folks you know get that message in response to not achieving heterosexuality or for returning to homosexual behavior/lifestyle?

    Ex-gay Survivors are still wating for EXODUS to say, “You are still our brothers and sisters in the Lord. He still loves you and we still love you. We are truly sorry if we gave you the wrong impression about change”.

    I know I might be reading into this but I’m equating an “ex-gay survivor” with an “ex-ex-gay”. If that’s the case, this quote is loaded. What the survivors then are really asking is that Exodus says that ‘gay is okay if you’ve tried to quit and it didn’t work out’. The ex-gay survivors are wanting absolution for their return to homosexuality… while at the same time, wanting to place any blame that does exist on Exodus for over-hyping change.

    Exodus may have wronged some folks by over-hyping change. Now that these ‘survivors’ know what Exodus really promises, are they willing to accept celibacy or does the fact that celibacy and a possible lifetime of struggle change their interpretation of the Bible?

    Many times on this site we’ve discussed the notion that none of is a judge. We always tend to think of judge in the negative sense. “Don’t judge me!” But it sounds like what the survivors are asking for is a judgement…a judgement in their favor…for Exodus to pronounce that their return to homosexuality is okay…for Exodus to say that ‘homosexual behavior is only a sin if you believe it’s a sin’. I can see individuals within Exodus conceding that “only God knows the heart” but I cannot envision them ever making the declaration that these survivors desire.

    Again, to be clear, this would be if, by ‘survivors’, you are referring to people who were once ‘ex-gay’ and have now returned to embrace homosexuality.

    I know that sounds harsh but we simply cannot continue to dance around this major theological difference. It exists. Exodus believes what it believes just as you believe what you believe. We can try to get along…try to communicate…try to work for the common good. But it’s foolishness to expect Exodus, a ministry that believes that homosexual behavior is deemed sinful and requires redemption and repentance, to make statements that would confuse that message. “Hey, lookee here, we believe in God and in Jesus Christ who wants to redeem you from your sins. That homosexual one will likely be a ‘tough nut to crack’…we can’t promise heterosexuality…we can’t even promise that it won’t be a struggle…heck, we can’t even say that we believe it’s really a sin because we’ve got these others who used to be part of us but now they’ve gone back and we’d like to say officially that we’ve got no problems with that and we don’t think God does either.”

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Eddy said:

    But it’s foolishness to expect Exodus, a ministry that believes that homosexual behavior is deemed sinful and requires redemption and repentance, to make statements that would confuse that message. “Hey, lookee here, we believe in God and in Jesus Christ who wants to redeem you from your sins. That homosexual one will likely be a ‘tough nut to crack’…we can’t promise heterosexuality…we can’t even promise that it won’t be a struggle…

    What would compromise traditional Christian theology to say this? I would change it a bit to say that all sins are tough nuts to crack but this seems to me to be pretty orthodox.

  • Michael Bussee

    Lots to respond to:

    I know I might be reading into this but I’m equating an “ex-gay survivor” with an “ex-ex-gay”. If that’s the case, this quote is loaded. What the survivors then are really asking is that Exodus says that ‘gay is okay if you’ve tried to quit and it didn’t work out’. The ex-gay survivors are wanting absolution for their return to homosexuality… while at the same time, wanting to place any blame that does exist on Exodus for over-hyping change.

    I don’t think that’s what all (or even most) “survivors” want. Most are just looking for healing — as you are — to find some sort of harmony between sexuality and spirituality.

    I don’t think they seeking “absolution” for returning to their “sin”. Some have come to an understanding that it may NOT always be sin. They need no “absolution” from it.

    I know it is hard for you to believe this, but some of us have really changed our minds about the “sinfullness” of homosexuality. We are not “seeking absolution” or making excuses for what we know is sin. We don’t believe it is.

    It’s not about “embracing” homosexuality. I don’t embrace it. I accept it as fact. I am SSA, not straight. I embrace something I love — like my Grandson.

    Heck, some days, being gay is a real pain in the ass. Would love to get rid of it and just be straight like most people! Wouldn’t that be wonderful? To just be OK with God, family and society?

    I don’t want EXODUS to say that “gay is OK”. If they think it’s sin (and I understand perfectly wekk why they do) then by all means walk away from it, don’t identify it, don’t call yourself gay and don’t do it. I have absolutuely NO problem with that.

    Are you honestly suggesting that all (or most) of the “confusion” about “ex-gays” and “change” was caused by gay activists, that it has been some sort of ploy to get EXODUS to change its mind on sin? Do you think EXODUS berars ANY responsibility for the confusion?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Michael,

    I woke up with this morning with this on my mind. There are many “Ex-gay Survivors” who say they were hurt by the direct or implied promise that they would stop being SSA and become straight if they (1) had enough faith, (2) prayed enough, (3) tried hard enough, etc.

    They were bitterly disappointed. Some become very guilt-ridden and depressed, believing they had failed God. Some gave up their faith entirely.

    That is one of my greatest criticisms of the ex-gay movement.

    Rather than take gay Christians and turn them into straight Christians, it far too often it takes gay Christians and turns them into gay unbelievers.

  • Michael Bussee

    Sorry. That should have read:

    If they think it’s sin (and I understand perfectly well why they do) then by all means walk away from it, don’t identify it, don’t call yourself gay and don’t do it. I have absolutuely NO problem with that.

    By the way, I am calm, happy. Not looking to pick a fight. Still love ya. Still feeing kum ba yah here. I will not revert to jerk mode. I promise.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK, I took a few deep breaths. Eddy, would it be fair to say that you believe most of the confusion is the fault of our “side”, not EXODUS?

    If you say “yes”, you don’t need to defend it or explain why. I will just note that — and not argue with you about it. I will know where you stand. I will let it drop. I will respect your opinion. I promise. Then the Nuns can serenade us again.

    I am sure, by now, that you know my opinion on the matter.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    I think the OVERALL message of Exodus is this: there is the hope and promise of transformed sexuality in Scripture, 1 Corinthians 6, for one specific example. It means more than changed behavior, otherwise Paul would have written in verse 11, “that’s what some of you used to do.” He didn’t. He said “that’s what some of you were.” He was using, if not the language of orientation and identity as we understand it, the language of “being.” (Robert Gagnon has shown numerous examples of Greco-Roman philosophical and literary writings where a rudimentary understanding of orientation/identity is expressed. Would Paul have been aware of this? I think it’s likely.)

    Therein lies a conundrum.

    Suppose that a Christian sect determines (just for sake of example) that the Second Coming of Christ is to occur no later than 1988 because it is within a “generation” of the restoration of Israel as a state.

    When 1988 comes and goes, we have to consider a couple options, either the Scripture was wrong, the sect was not fully correct in its understanding, or God, for some reason chose not to honor His words at that time.

    When presented with the fact that, as best I can tell, there are few if any instances of where gay men have exerienced “eradication of strong homosexual desires and the establishing of heterosexual desires and feelings”, then we have some possible options.

    Either Scripture is wrong, Exodus is not fully correct in its understanding, or God, for some reason is choosing not to honor His words at this time.

    I may be mistaken, but it sounds to me like Exodus is believing the latter: that God isn’t honoring his words… but may decide to do so sometime soon. So we should stand on the hope of that promise and maybe just maybe God will honor it. Some time. For some one.

    I don’t think that is the God I know.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Michael,

    You mentioned that many ex-ex-gays felt like they were blamed because they did not become heterosexuals.

    Could, perhaps, statements like this have been what they experienced:

    This next is anecdotal and based on conversation with a half dozen men who told me they tried to change but didn’t. In all cases, they gave me a “laundry list” of stuff they did hoping God would take away their SSA and gift them with OSA. They prayed, they fasted, they studied Scripture, they served in various capacities in their local congregations.

    But I didn’t hear one of them ever acknowledge that he had surrendered or submitted his sexuality to Jesus and His work through the Holy Spirit, trusting God for whatever outcome He chose to give. The former approach is bargaining with God; it’s an expectation of blessing based on “works righteousness.” And it typically isn’t very successful.

    It’s not because they didn’t pray enough. It’s because they didn’t “surrender” or “trust” enough.

  • Michael Bussee

    Timothy: Who said the above?

  • Michael Bussee

    I did all of those things, but I did not think that they would change me — or that God would be obligated to because I did them. I just believed, based on what I read and what I was told, that He would.

    It wasn’t “expectation of blessing based on “works righteousness.” — as if I were saying, “Look God, I have waited long enough! Cough up! I did all those things for you, now you owe it to me!”

    No. I have always believed (and still do) that justification, sancitifcation and glorification are God’s gifts to us — not the results of our “works”.

    I just believed he would create some heterosexual feelings in me because that is how He intended me to be — healthy, whole and straight.

    I guess I got it wrong. No one ever meant to imply that I would become straight or should try to become straight — or that I wasn’t believing, praying, submitting, surrendering or trusting or Loving God “enough” if I didn’t. My bad.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Michael,

    It was:

    Karen Booth ~ Jul 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm

  • Michael Bussee

    I missed that. Eddy once said something along the lines that he couldn’t get get a gay Christian to admit that things like bathroom sex, multiple partners, etc. were sin.

    I think I may have misunderstood him then — and am still not clear what he meant. I sure he has come across at least a couple of gay Christians who think they are.

    Maybe Karen didn’t really mean to say that she

    “didn’t hear one of them ever acknowledge that he had surrendered or submitted his sexuality to Jesus and His work through the Holy Spirit, trusting God for whatever outcome He chose to give.”

    Perhaps she was overstating things a bit. Or maybe I am misunderstadning her too.

    Do you put me in that group of folks who have never truly surrendered, submitted or trusted God , Karen?

  • Michael Bussee

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I am getting the impression, based on recent postings, that some ex-gays view gay Christians in the following ways:

    (1) We don’t really believe the Bible,

    (2) We really know in our hearts that gayness is sin, but choose to disobey, (we have hardened our hearts…)

    (3) We must feel convicted inside and are really looking to EXODUS for “absolution”,

    (4) We deliberately twist EXODUS’s message to make EXODUS look bad — even though we know better,

    (5) We believe that God owes us heterosexuality for all our hard work,

    (6) We don’t believe that God is powerful enough to change people, or that nobody ever changes anything.

    (7) We want to censor or silence EXODUS or take away their right to live as they choose,

    (8) We have never really trusted or surrendered to God — as they have,

    (9) We have no (or very low) moral standards and believe any sort of gay behavior is OK.

    (10) We know that EXODUS has never promised or implied that healthy, Godly, heterosexuality was a reasonable outcome of true faithfulness and commitment to God. We either misunderstood their very clear message — or we are pretending that we don’t.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Michael,

    When you start with the premise that homosexuality is sin, ever and always, then it is only logical that homosexuals are sinners.

    Once it is established that homosexuals are sinners, willful and deliberate, then it is easy to see that they are pawns in the hand of Satan.

    And knowing that homosexuals are pawns in the hand of Satan, devious and scheming, then it is only obvious that they do the will of the Father of Lies.

    Therefore it is a given, predetermined and understood, that anything we say is nothing more than lies and quibbling and scheming and distorting and completely disregardable. How could we know the truth when we are so obviously blinded to the TRUTH.

    I’ve often wondered how some of the blatant anti-gay websites can say things that are obviously and blatantly false. And when they are contacted, they just declare that they are true and you are wrong. And I think that it is because they have so convinced themselves that we are evil liars that anything we say, they’ll believe the opposite.

    I recently corresponded with a fellow prominent in a state-wide “pro-family” group. He stated (in handouts prepared for church bulletins) that if the Matthew Sheppard Hates Crimes Law had been in place, that Carrie Prejean could have been arrested for saying she supported opposite marriage (he actually implied that she would have been).

    After informing me that I was not a Christian, he adamantly stated that Yes! He believed she would be arrested! It was like visiting a Dali landscape.

    I finally had to point out that she made her comments in Nevada – which already has hate crimes laws. And he was very very reluctant to remove his statements.

    Because, of course, being an evil homosexual minion of Satan, a lying pawn in the Devil’s hand, a deviant pervert, why would he believe anything I had to say?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I’m not going to respond to that last post (the itemized one)…there’s already too much going on in this conversation without taking the risk of all those detours.

    I’m not trying to lay all the blame for the confusion on ‘gay activists’; I’m saying it’s very, very tiresome to hear the same challenges day after day…’you don’t define ‘change’…you don’t define ‘freedom’…when I know that I defined them…when I know that I did in fact elaborate…and I knew others in Exodus who did the same.

    I have a history of several years blogging here where I continually charged you with taking my words out of context…of picking out one word or one phrase from what I said and going off on that rather than trying to hear my words in context. It may not have been intentional but it did go on. And it’s not just been with you. That’s why I have the impression that much of the confusion is generated by our opponents. Maybe like you, they were more in a debate mode…just going for points rather than discussion…but it is the way that most all ‘discussions’ involving Exodus and it’s critics went. Finger pointing, accusations of purposeful misleading, and statements taken out of context. (At one point, I had actually begun writing a book re: Tactics)

    Even now, in your response to me you quibble over the meaning of the word ‘embrace’. My usage was both acceptable and understandable yet you had to take exception to it. Who’s being confusing there…me or you? Do you attend Pride Celebrations? Are you proud of yourself of a gay man? What then do you mean when you take exception to ‘embracing homosexuality’? Very confusing, don’t you think?

    If I have a point more than any other, it is simply that we’ve got to get behind the blame and the word games. You demand exactness of speech from Exodus…you demand that they explain their words yet you can be a happy and proud gay man who takes exception to the notion that you’ve ‘embraced homosexuality once again’. Why shouldn’t you be held to the same sense of exactness…why shouldn’t you have to explain what the nuance is between being happy and proud but not ‘embracing’?

    In my day, I was one of Exodus’ main apologists. Gifted as a teacher, I listened to the challenges and questions of our critics and detractors and did my best to answer them. This was partly for the critics themselves but also for ‘the Exodus flock’ so that they wouldn’t be confused or misled by the criticisms. But here it is some 25 to 30 years later…you still make the claims that Exodus misleads, that it uses words like ‘change’ and ‘freedom’ without defining them but you admitted less than two weeks ago that you hadn’t read my writings…including a booklet entitled “Understanding Freedom From Life-Dominating Sin”. Duh! Can’t you see what’s wrong with that picture? Someone’s defining, Lord, kumbaya. But someone’s not reading, Lord, kumbaya. But they’re still blaming, Lord, kumbaya. Oh Lord, kumbaya!!!!

    I do believe we still have the kumbaya spirit. And I hope you’ve taken my comments in that context. You fail to see how you limit my freedom to converse with you by your nitpicking over words. I struggle with every damn sentence trying to communicate as honestly as I can only to have you say things like ‘embracing isn’t accurate’ without explaining yourself completely. You KNEW what I meant but had to take exception anyway. I find it tiresome and obstructive. But that’s me. It tires me; it obstructs my efforts to communicate. I’m guessing it wasn’t your intent to be tiresome or obstructive yet tired and obstructive happened. :-)

    Timothy–

    In the quote from Karen that you produced and snarkily responded to, you seem to have overlooked the phrase that I think was key to her statement.

    trusting God for whatever outcome He chose to give.

    It wasn’t about trusting enough; it was about the fact that so many made conclusions about God’s ultimate plan for them (it can’t be celibacy therefore it must be heterosexuality) that they limited God’s ‘whatever’ options. Many, myself included, just presumed heterosexual desire and marriage were in the cards for us. Many ran ahead of God in their attempt to ‘prove’ to themselves, their churches or their fellow ex-gays that they ‘had the goods’. And yes, many were led astray by well-meaning brethren who presumed that God’s only plan for them had to be heterosexual marriage. (Remember that Exodus is NOT a church. People within Exodus might attend occasional counseling sessions or group meetings but Exodus is NOT their church. Most had churches where they were also receiving advice and input…sometimes with the church not even being aware of their homosexual issues.)

    Yikes this was a long one…I came upstairs thinking of ‘hitting the sack’ early and just had to log on… will I ever learn?

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    Nah…sometimes we just think you’re childish.

    That last post to Michael was one of your most pathetic, IMHO. Oddly, it comes within days of my praising you for one that was extremely well written. Scary, too, I’ve never been in the habit of complimenting the minions of Satan.

    The tactic, and that’s what it is, of addressing a public aside to someone ‘on your side’ where you take a very broad swipe at ‘the other side’ –without targeting anyone specifically yet using words lifted from their comments– ‘quibbling’ comes to mind– it’s beneath you. And if it isn’t, please consider that it’s beneath this blogsite. And, if you were trying to take a jab at those of us who blog here but disagree with you, allow me to show you where your logic failed you:

    Therefore it is a given, predetermined and understood, that anything we say is nothing more than lies and quibbling and scheming and distorting and completely disregardable.

    Now, dear Timothy, if we really felt that way, can you explain why we’d spend hours conversing with you? Do you think you might be over-reacting (in a tacky manner) just a bit?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Timothy, if I have to explain to you the difference between a worldview based on two millenia of Scriptural understanding and Church tradition and the pronouncements of a cult with obviously false prophetic pretensions, then you and I really have nothing to say to each other.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy:

    You KNEW what I meant but had to take exception anyway. I find it tiresome and obstructive

    .

    No, actually, I didn’t know what you meant. You may not have meant it this way, but it often seems to me that some ex-gays like the phrase “those who embrace their homosexuality” as a sort of not-so-subtle put-down.

    “They are proud of their sin. They like it. They embrace it.”

    I took exception with you saying that I has “embraced” my homosexuality, because it is not true. I do not embrace it. I only acept that it is true. If that is all you meant by “embrace”, then I am sorry.

    Do you attend Pride Celebrations? Are you proud of yourself of a gay man?

    No. They bore me. And, no. I am proud Christian man who happens to be gay. I am not “proud” of being gay. But neither am I ashamed of it. It just is.

    .

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    And thank you, Timothy, for managing once again to turn things personal. Job well done.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    No Michael B, I don’t put you in that group of people who didn’t surrender. I don’t put Trista Carr or Sonia Balcer in that group, either. Both women have publicly acknowledged that they didn’t experience the change they sought, and I know both women were submitted in faith and trust to God.

    I was pointing out one pattern I have noticed, a pattern that is also common among all kinds of Chrstians I’ve met. I said it was anecdotal. I said it applied to a handful of me. I offered it as one possible explanation for why SOME people might not experience change.

    You probably wouldn’t have even asked the question of me if Timothy hadn’t tried to twist my words.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    That’s “handful of men.”

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    And Michael, no I didn’t hear one of the handful of men ever talk about submission and surrender.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK. Rather than assume that I know how Karen or Eddy feel about us “ex-ex-gays” and “ex-gay survivors”, would either of you clarify which of the ten assumptions I made (about how you feel about us) is off the mark? I am not trying to trap either of you. I really am curious how you see us…

    Do you think we don’t believe the Bible? Do you think that deep down we really know that we are in sin and are just trying to excuse it? Or that we are looking to EXODUS for “absolution”?

    Do you think that we think God isn’t almighty — and can’t change anyone He pleases? Do you think that we believe that nothing ever changes – or change of any sort is impossibe?

    Do you acutally think we are tryting to “silence” EXODUS — or trying to deny your rights to live as you please? Do you think we are solely to blame for the “confusion”?

    Do you really think we are trying to rob people of hope? Do you really think that we have not trusted or loved God enough? Do you think we are really Christians?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Since Warren doesn’t seem to be monitoring, I’m going to make the bold suggestion that Timothy get the heck off this thread. The conversation was going very well until he joined in. Not Kumbayah perhaps (and I hate that song, anyway), but deep, interesting, and in most aspects respectful.

    I recently left a Truth Wins Out thread because no one that blog even make a pretense of being civil. Hoped we could do better here.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    As I said previously, I’m not going to do your list. Please don’t take it personally. As I said over in the kumbaya thread, we are not yet ready here to discuss what the Bible does or doesn’t say. (And, more accurately, what we think it says or doesn’t say.) And our relationships here are still too fragile…we still misinterpret each other too easily…and I frankly don’t have the time or patience right now to dance on all the eggs that your questions lay out.

    Your questions, to be handled respectfully and being mindful of how easily my words are taken to mean something else, would take well over an hour to answer. I promise that I won’t avoid any of them if they come up in the context of a conversation but I think it’s a bit much to lay out 10 ‘heavies’ that summarize ‘the world as we know it’ and are only vaguely connected to the thread topic and expect to be answered.

    I should have been to bed 2 hours ago!!!! Saling in the morning! (Garage-saling, that is.)

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael B., I want to tell you something. Previously when I posted on this blog, I probably considered you an opponent, if not an enemy. I boxed you, disregarded you and demonized you, and for that I ask your and God’s forgiveness. But then I saw your picture from the 70s at Exodus and I talked about you with Ron Dennis. Through the grace of God you became a human being in my eyes, and yes, a Christian brother.

    That won’t ever change now, no matter what transpires here.

    I do want to respond to your request for answers to your questions, but I want to give them more thought than I’m able to tonight. Hopefully we can connect again tomorrow.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Norm, I re-watched last night’s episode of Torchwood, and I have a different take on Jack’s responses. He was remorseful and I missed it. Tonight was pretty darn awesome.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Karen:

    Michael B., I want to tell you something. Previously when I posted on this blog, I probably considered you an opponent, if not an enemy. I boxed you, disregarded you and demonized you, and for that I ask your and God’s forgiveness.

    You have it. I apologize that I have often done the same towards “you guys” :)

    But then I saw your picture from the 70s at Exodus and I talked about you with Ron Dennis. Through the grace of God you became a human being in my eyes, and yes, a Christian brother. That won’t ever change now, no matter what transpires here.

    That almost made me cry. Thanks. By His grace, I believe that we both will see Him face-to-face and that we will enter into the rest He has prepared for us. It means a lot to me that my trust in Jesus as Savior is recognized. Years ago, Frank Worthen told me flatly that I was never really saved and that I was going to Hell. He has never apologized. He won’t even talk to me.

    I do love Jesus and I want to live a life pleasing to him. I am a jerk here at times, snarky, obstinate and down-right rude — but I am really a decent, funny and charming guy once you meet me up close. Ask Ann. :) She even thinks I’m handsome… She makes me blush…

    I do want to respond to your request for answers to your questions, but I want to give them more thought than I’m able to tonight. Hopefully we can connect again tomorrow.

    Again, thanks. I know Eddy doesn’t trust me. I have given him reason not to. But I really am in the kum ba yah spirit. I am not trying to pick a fight and and I don’t want to presume that I know how you feel about those questions. They don’t need to be answered one-by-one. I just would like to know how “you” see “us”.

    I have a wild idea. I would love to be a guest speaker at an EXODUS function — answering questions about the formation or EXODUS and my journey since I left. Wouldn’t it be interesting? I promise I would be respectful and grateful to be your guest. I would behave myself and approach the event in the spirit of peace.

    I ahve often though that if our two “camps” could sit down together in the spirit of Christ that we would all come away with a deeper understanding and deeper respect for each other. Through the grace of God, we might become human beings in each others’ eyes, and yes, Christian brother and sisters. The world might see the Word of God (Jesus) and not just our quibbling over those darn words.

  • concerned

    Karen, Eddy, Michael,

    Have Courage to surrender this battle to the Lord and trust that the answer that comes forward will be far better than either side of the debate can ever offer.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned: Well said. (I don’t know if I have the courage to surrender it quite yet.) But I do believe that the “answer that comes forward will be far better than either side of the debate can ever offer.” Reminds me of “What we know now is only partial, then it will be complete — when we behold Him face to face…” 1Cor.13:12

    Eddy:

    Now, dear Timothy, if we really felt that way, can you explain why we’d spend hours conversing with you?

    I don’t know if you meant “dear Timothy” sincerely, but I sincerely thank you, Eddy, for your patience in “spending hours conversing with us”. I consider the hours I have spent conversing with you to be time well spent. I have learned much.

  • Lynn David

    To Michael Bussee…. from a purely Roman Catholic stance I can answer your numbered questions. And I’ll use their language.

    .

    1) Yes, you don’t believe the Bible as concerns homogenic sex.

    .

    2) Yes, you know in your heart that homogenic sex is wrong and a sin. That is specifically written in the Catholic catechism. All know god’s law or the natural (Aquinian/Aristotlian) law is written upon your soul (aka heart) and thus all active homosexuals know that they are sinning.

    .

    3) Most assuredly you feel guilty/convicted inside and are looking either to Exodus or a priest for guidance. That is what was specifically written in a pastoral letter to guide parish priests when speaking about and to homosexuals by Pope John Paul II (if my memory serves it was during his time); all homosexuals feel guilt

    .

    4) From a Roman Catholic viewpoint there is no other correct opinion other than the magesterium, so if you are trying to warp the Bible by warping Exodus then yes, you are deliberately twisting truth. Besides, you suffer from a disorder whose psychological causes are not quite yet known (unless you’re a member of the Catholic Medical Association who pretty much agree with Narth on causes).

    .

    5) No, god owes you nothing. You owe god at the very least your celibacy.

    .

    6) Obviously active homosexuals do not believe that god is powerful enough to change people, or that nobody ever changes anything. Or they would submit to god and not sin any more.

    .

    7) This would seem to apply to gay activism. The position of the Catholic Church is pretty clear on gay rights and gay activism, you don’t deserve anything more than what existed in, say, 1950 and gay activism is a movement grounded in evil.

    .

    8) Of course you haven’t trusted or surrendered to god if you continue to do evil by engaging in homogenic sex.

    .

    9) That is a given. Your morals are hovering above a bottomless pit (had that said to me once).

    .

    10) In terms of the Catholic Church that has been their teachings concerning homosexuality, there are no promises. However, the founder of Courage, the Catholic ministry to homosexuals, did in the year before he retired (and some others such as the Catholic Medical Association) claim that heterosexuality is attainable and some have been saying rather easily (I think they’ve been listening too much to Nicolosi).

    .

    But that’s the Roman Catholic line.

  • Lynn David

    Odd…. my number eight followed by a parenthesis turned into a smiley… didn’t mean it that way!

  • Lynn David

    Friday Five: Alan Chambers

    by Gary Schneeberger, CitizenLink editor

    Exodus International president’s new book offers brutal honesty and hard-earned insights that can help all Christians lead lives of holiness.

    Alan Chambers’ new book is titled Leaving Homosexuality – but it’s about a lot more than that. Yes, it is filled with revealing details of his story – now almost 20 years in the making – of struggling away from his unwanted same-sex attractions. And there’s no disputing that men and women who share those struggles will find great hope and healing in Chambers’ brutal and insightful honesty.

    But even those who have never had a single sexualized thought about someone of the same sex will find enormous takeaway in the slim volume’s 151 straightforward pages. More than anything, Chambers has written a sort of how-to manual for pursuing God’s holiness – regardless of the temptations you struggle with.

    “There is no such thing as a struggle-free life,” he writes. “To have the expectation of life free from conflict is unrealistic. What is realistic is to expect to find new ways to deal with those struggles.

    “For those of us who take this walk out of homosexuality, we see our same-sex attractions as the vehicle – the need in our lives – that brought us to faith in Christ. We need to go on from there and embrace a destiny that’s far beyond merely dealing with our sexual issues.”

    CitizenLink chatted with Chambers – a speaker at Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conferences – about his book and how he hopes it is, and isn’t, used.

    And specific to this discussion (which I imagine will be carried over to another posting by Warren…..

    2. Now, I’ve heard it, and you’ve heard it: Gay activists are going to read that and say, again, “Alan Chambers is living a lie. He’s suppressing who he really is.” You make a great point in the book that is very applicable to anyone who struggles with any temptation — and that is, self-denial isn’t a bad thing. How do you respond to those who say you’re just living a lie?

    For so long I’ve heard gay activists say to me, “You’re just in denial. You’re not grasping the reality of the situation. You’re just denying who you really are.” The truth is, I am in denial, but it is self-denial. I’m not in denial of who I used to be. I’m not in denial of the temptations that I could still experience. I am denying the power that sin has over me.

    Sin does not have any power that we don’t give it, and what I’ve found is that my freedom – and the freedom of others I’ve known who’ve left homosexuality — was centered around denying what might come naturally to us regardless of how it got there. And once you deny sin’s power, you can live a free life.

    The most authentic part of my life is first and foremost my relationship with Christ, but sitting here where I’m doing this interview in my back yard — with my kids and with my wife — this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness.

  • Michael Bussee

    Lynn David:

    “Alan Chambers is living a lie. He’s suppressing who he really is.”

    I don’t think so. I think he is trying to live in accordance with his beliefs, just as I am.

    For so long I’ve heard gay activists say to me, “You’re just in denial. You’re not grasping the reality of the situation. You’re just denying who you really are.”

    Is this a quote from Alan? If so, I don’t think he should listen to these “gay activists”, whoever they are. Who are they to say that he is denying who is really is? Perhaps this is how he was meant to be — and to live.

    The most authentic part of my life is first and foremost my relationship with Christ, but sitting here where I’m doing this interview in my back yard — with my kids and with my wife — this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness.

    Good for him! I, too, know the joy of being a father — and now a grandfather. “The most authentic part of my life is first and foremost my relationship with Christ.” That goes for me as well. It is good that he is living a congruent life, happy with who he is. I wish him and his family well.

  • Lynn David

    Michael… that in BOLD is the question put to him by Schneeburger (or whoever wrote the article for FotF’s CitizenLink. Everything in the block quote is from the article on CitizenLink.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    LynnDavid presented the Roman Catholic line; I left the Roman Catholic church when I was 17; please don’t assume that my answers are in total agreement with those.

    I trust you more since the kumbaya convergence. Trust (or the lack of it) was not my motivation for not answering the laundry list. Can you see that there’s still this issue with reading into what I say? Since kumbaya, where have I said that I don’t trust you? You might have enough personal info to say “I think Eddy doesn’t trust me” but you don’t have basis for “I know Eddy doesn’t trust me”…you might even say truthfully “I know Eddy didn’t trust me”. But, I’ve always heard that its simply best never to speak for another person’s feelings–especially when they are present and are able to speak for themselves.

    Beyond that, I believe you made an unfair comparison in your last comment.

    Alan said:

    but sitting here where I’m doing this interview in my back yard — with my kids and with my wife — this is who I am. This is who I want to be.

    You replied:

    Good for him! I, too, know the joy of being a father — and now a grandfather.

    From the tone of your comment, it comes across that you and Alan’s experiences are parallel. I don’t mean to minimize your experience but I also don’t want you to minimize Alan’s. Alan’s experience is not colored by divorce. There’s a wife there in the background with the kids…they are raising them together as a husband and wife.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Lynn David, thank you for sharing what you did about Catholic belief. Are there other Catholics on the thread who could respond?

    And may I ask you if you have any familiarty with John Paul’s “Theology of the Body” or of any of the commentary around it – Christopher West, for example?

    If so, what’s your opinion of it?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Long post, so be prepared …

    Hi Michael B.

    Thank you for extending forgiveness.

    Yes, I think I would like to meet you some day face to face. But I just can’t imagine an event such as you describe happening, at least not publicly.

    And I want to preface my answers to your questions with the following:

    First, I chose to answer your first set of bulleted questions. And before anyone quotes me about “letting my yes be yes and my no be no,” these are complex questions. They deserve a more than simplistic response.

    Second, I don’t have a generalized opinion of “gay Christians.” I have observations about some (I try to be careful about qualifiers) folk I have met or talked with, for example, the handful of guys I mentioned earlier. But I try to keep my opinions mainly about things – theological and Biblical understandings of sexuality, the role of activism in Church and culture, etc. Of course I’m aware that “opinions about things” impact how I view and treat persons, but I’m trying very hard not to lump folk into categories so I can disregard or dismiss their individuality. (As acknowledge above, I am not always successful at that.)

    Finally, I will not engage in an extended defense of my responses. I’ll willingly continue the discussion for further clarification and more mutual understanding, but I won’t address the “rightness” or “wrongness” of my beliefs.

    So, here goes …

    (1) We don’t really believe the Bible

    “No, I mostly don’t think that, but there’s a qualifier”

    I used to buy into gay-affirming theology. Now that I am on “the other side,” I think that (the buy-in and the theology itself) was in error. I think my revised understanding (call it “ex-gay” for lack of a better term) is consistent with what John Wesley called “the plain sense of Scripture,” with two thousand years of traditional Christian teaching, and with the doctrinal position of The United Methodist Church. So, I believe individuals can be correct about some portions of the Bible, and yet incorrect about other parts, in this case teaching about sexuality.

    (2) We really know in our hearts that gayness is sin, but choose to disobey, (we have hardened our hearts…)

    “Perhaps”

    I’ve never suggested this and don’t pretend to know how God is working in someone else’s heart. But my own personal experience leads me to think the answer COULD BE “yes.” I accepted Jesus as Savior (or at least thought I did) as a young adult in my 20s, but continued on in heterosexual sin for many years after that. In some respects I knew that I was being disobedient, but some of it I could also chalk off to the brainwashing of a 60s/70s culture. It wasn’t until my early 30s when I surrendered or submitted my life to Jesus as Lord that my sexuality – desires and behavior – began to change. Using the language of faith, it took many years of Christian growth before I was convicted by the Holy Spirit. Could that also be true for some gay Christians? Possibly.

    (3) We must feel convicted inside and are really looking to EXODUS for “absolution”

    “Not exactly”

    The “absolution” term was Eddy’s, so if he cares to address that he may. But it sometimes appears to me you (and here I mean you Michael B. individually) want us to do more than acknowledge ex-ex-gays exist or have suffered; you seem to want us to accept or approve or allow (I don’t know exactly what term to use) that returning to homosexual behavior is OK with us. We can’t and won’t do that.

    (4) We deliberately twist EXODUS’s message to make EXODUS look bad — even though we know better

    “Yes”

    Some people on this blog and others – Truth Wins Out and Ex-Gay Watch – misinterpret and misrepresent Exodus’s message, and they do that with individual’s words and character as well. Whether they do it deliberately is anybody’s guess.

    (5) We believe that God owes us heterosexuality for all our hard work

    “Perhaps, it may apply to some gay Christians”

    Some people that I have met may have tried to bargain with God through their Christian activities or works. For some, the hope was a life free of same-sex attractions.

    (6) We don’t believe that God is powerful enough to change people, or that nobody ever changes anything.

    “Possibly”

    In a previous comment I said I had seen this “practical atheism” or lack of faith in many of the people I have met. That includes my own self at one point in time, but I don’t apply it generally to gay Christians.

    (7) We want to censor or silence EXODUS or take away their right to live as they choose

    “Yes and no”

    See answer to #4 above.

    (8) We have never really trusted or surrendered to God — as they have

    “Possibly”

    I think I’ve been pretty clear about my experiences with the handful of guys I referred to. Also see question #2 regarding my own life experience.

    (9) We have no (or very low) moral standards and believe any sort of gay behavior is OK

    “No”

    Michael, I’m pretty offended by this question. I haven’t read anything on this thread to suggest anyone posting here thinks that. Is it a stereotypical perception out there in the evangelical Church? Yes, I’ve encountered it in my work. And I’ve done everything in my power to combat and contradict it.

    (10) We know that EXODUS has never promised or implied that healthy, Godly, heterosexuality was a reasonable outcome of true faithfulness and commitment to God. We either misunderstood their very clear message — or we are pretending that we don’t.

    “No”

    I don’t know what has been taught or implied in the past. But my initiation into Exodus leadership in 2003 as a member ministry Director included a panel discussion that summer at the Freedom Conference. (As an observer, not a participant.) The focus was on “change,” what it means and how it can be most effectively communicated. I was really intrigued and excited about that because when I first began to shift my worldview I had a really simplistic understanding of “before and after.”

    Over the last six years, I’ve watched how that has played out for Exodus staff, in the various networks, with our critics, and in the larger culture. And my take is that as we’ve tried to make the message more honest, to describe the complexities and challenges of the transformational journey, we’ve gotten more and more flak. Because we ARE listening. We are trying to respond appropriately. We are ALWAYS trying to say and do things better. I’m happy that we sometimes get credit for that – again, thank you Michael B. But I’m weary of the constant suspicion.

  • Eddy

    Thanks, Karen! So glad you’re here. I believe you answered the laundry list far better than I would have. LOL. My response would likely have gone on…and on…and on…and on. Just call me EB (Energizer Bunny).

    I don’t have anything to add re ‘absolution’…you captured exactly what I meant when I used the word and addressed it clearly.

    Michael,

    Re point # 9. I’m wondering if your question relates to that statement I made on another thread that you mentioned still puzzles you…that I said I couldn’t get anyone to admit publicly that these other behaviors were wrong.

    I was not making a moral judgement with that statement; I was trying to demonstrate how polarization was impacting our honest discussion…and has been for some time. Over the course of my time blogging here, I’ve brought up those gay people who are living broken lives. Once or twice I brought it up in the context of evangelism…are gay Christians reaching out to them? Other times I brought it up simply to counter the one-sided ‘we’re all just like you…happy, committed, regular folk’ picture. (From a ‘fair is fair’ premise, admittedly. Tired of always having to answer for those ‘other’ Christians who have behaved badly instead of being taken for my own words and statements, I wanted ‘the other side’ to acknowledge that there’s more to that picture than what we commonly discuss. The point of my statement that confused you was that everytime I brought the ‘less than holy’ gays into the discussion, my comments were simply ignored. We just wouldn’t talk about them. I knew they existed; I knew that you knew they existed…but, I think, in the spirit of debate, no one from ‘the other side’ would actually acknowledge that they did. Instead, I’d get attacked for trying to paint all gays as immoral and promiscuous.)

    For me, these people ought to represent our ‘common ground’. We may not be in agreement on the spiritual state of gay Christians who are in committed relationships but we ought to be in agreement about the spiritual state of gays who don’t know Christ or those who profess to know Him but lead lives of wanton debauchery. (commonly known as ‘tricking around’)

    My impression of some gay Christians is that they use the ‘gay card’ as license. “I’m gay…I’ve concluded that those passages don’t condemn homosexuality…therefore the Bible does not speak to my sex life and I can do whatever I please.” I don’t believe that you feel this way but I do believe that that notion does run its course among gays and gay Christians..and I’ve always thought that this blogspace might be a good place to address that.

    Just one comment about point 1. I agree with Karen on this one. My observation here is anecdotal: Over the years, I have known a number of people who returned to the gay life. Of those I’ve been close to, I’ve asked what supported their new interpretation of those passages that they once thought prohibited homosexual behavior. Not once did I get an answer that suggested more theological study. In every instance, they had stamped ‘our new psychological understanding’ over those verses and concluded that culturally they must not mean what we thought they did.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy:

    Can you see that there’s still this issue with reading into what I say? Since kumbaya, where have I said that I don’t trust you?

    You haven’t said it. It’s just that I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t trust me…:)

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy:

    Alan’s experience is not colored by divorce. There’s a wife there in the background with the kids…they are raising them together as a husband and wife.

    I know. Mine is. And that has been a great sadness for me, for my ex-wife and for my daughter. I admire that Alan has been able to hold his together.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Karen:

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses. I don’t agree with some of it, but I understand.

    But it sometimes appears to me you (and here I mean you Michael B. individually) want us to do more than acknowledge ex-ex-gays exist or have suffered; you seem to want us to accept or approve or allow (I don’t know exactly what term to use) that returning to homosexual behavior is OK with us. We can’t and won’t do that.

    No. I do not want that. I do want the recognition that ex-ex-gays exist and have suffered, but I totally respect your Scriptural view that gay sex is sin. I don’t agree with it, but I respect it.

    Thanks, aslo. Eddy for your response.

    My impression of some gay Christians is that they use the ‘gay card’ as license. “I’m gay…I’ve concluded that those passages don’t condemn homosexuality…therefore the Bible does not speak to my sex life and I can do whatever I please.” I don’t believe that you feel this way but I do believe that that notion does run its course among gays and gay Christians..and I’ve always thought that this blogspace might be a good place to address that.

    I have gotten that same impression. I think what may be happening is that we “gay Christians” are so used to hearing that we don’t love God , aren’t saved, etc. that we spend most of our time defending against that.

    Of course, there are gay Christians with that attitude. There are straight Christians who use the “once saved, always saved” idea to excuse whatever they do. This tendency to excuse sin knows no sexual orientation.

    Over the course of my time blogging here, I’ve brought up those gay people who are living broken lives. Once or twice I brought it up in the context of evangelism…are gay Christians reaching out to them?

    Yes, we are. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: When I said you don’t trust me, I only meant that I would not blame you if you didn’t. See, the Nuns are still singing…

  • Michael Bussee

    For me, these people ought to represent our ‘common ground’. We may not be in agreement on the spiritual state of gay Christians who are in committed relationships but we ought to be in agreement about the spiritual state of gays who don’t know Christ or those who profess to know Him but lead lives of wanton debauchery.

    Eddy, this is very good — and I agree. Some have argued that ex-gays and gay christians have NO common ground, but there is much that we share.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I know…I can hear them. I believe we’ve dialogued more openly and productively since the kumbaya than in the entire time preceding it. I thank you for that. We’ll continue to find that we do differ in some areas…sometimes in some very major areas…but we’ve made some major headway into finding common ground…not just with respect to ‘the big picture’ but with each other.

    First day since last Sunday without the threat of rain…I’m off to the pool.

  • Michael Bussee

    Watch out. Hotties there. Enjoy your swim.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am glad for the responses from Eddy and Karen. I was worried that everyone felt like Lynn David — that we are Godless, psychologically disordered sinners with no morals, and no faith in God or Scripture.

    By the way, I attend Mass almost daily and have deep admiration for the faith and devotion of the Catholic Christians I meet. I think I may become one. BTW, did you know that there are devout gay Catholics?

    Lynn David said that, in terms of rights, SSA people “don’t deserve anything more than what existed in, say, 1950.” Wow. That would mean that people should still be arrested for being gay, that homosexual publications could not be mailed out to people who wanted them and that gays could still be fired juist for being gay.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Could somebody point me to the Kumbayah thread? I really feel like I missed something important and precious.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    And in the spirit of Kumbayah, I’d like to rephrase my above dis-invitation to Timothy.

    Would you please refrain from posting if you won’t put a curb on your disruptive and divisive attitude and behavior?

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen: It was on another thread, the one about NARTH’s new Journal. Someone commented that we almost found some common ground — and then things got cantankerous again — mainly my fault, I fear..

    Someone said wistfully, “Gee, and I was about ready to sing kum ba yah…”

    About the same time, I realized how confrontive and adversarial I had become — I was reading Paul’s letters at the time about avoiding quarrels, harsh tlak, anger, disputes… I felt “convicted by the Holy Spirit” that I had been a jerk.

    Then, I found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdO3R5MlbxA&feature=related

    They made me smile.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com Jay

    http://growingintomanhood.blogspot.com/2009/07/exodus-reflections-ii.html

    Karen (and others), here is a link to a blog post from a man who seems pretty sure that Exodus’ goal is to change homosexuals into heterosexuals. This was one of the only public blogs I could find from my online contacts, but I can assure you that his attitudes are not a rarity among this year’s Exodus conference-goers.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    The comments which are sharp are probably not as helpful as others but if they stay it is because I allow them to stay. In order to share everybody needs to communicate with grace and ignore some things. Asking people not to post is my job.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen – it is a book – 944 comments.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2009/07/07/narths-new-journal-is-not-a-new-study/

    It got off track but was well worth it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Jay: Interesting post. Never liked the phrase “growing into manhood”. It seems to suggest that guys with SSA aren’t real “men”.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren; I agree. Sometimes, the “off track” stuff is where we mine the most gold.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Oh, and I think it rated R as well. Just sayin…

    Hey to Karen on this thread.

    In the same list in I cor 6 is the word – covetous. Is anyone ever an ex-coveter? I wonder if it is rare?

    I also wonder if the main point of I Cor 6 is that the Gospel is for everybody, even people who used to be known for the things in the list. Given the diversity of the list, I wonder if the point is bredth of grace and not on the potential for the eradication of those behaviors.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Ok, Warren, I won’t ask anybody not to post again.

    Not sure about your point in the above reference to 1 Corinthians 6.

    “Is anyone ever an ex-coveter?” Do they live in America? Just kidding, but my point is not whether Christians ever fully overcome any of those sins in Paul’s list (I think I mentioned in a post above something about “not on this side of heaven.”) But are they submitting to the Holy Spirit in their lives in a cooperative effort to address those sins and overcome them or, at the very least, not act on them as much?

    As I’ve grown in discipleship and sanctification, I certainly covet less than I did when I was 20. (Maybe just because I’ve now got too much stuff. Just kidding again.) I lie less. I’m not as focused on my own idolatrous way. I don’t screw around anymore and even my thought life is pretty much under control the last several years. I am aiming for what John Wesley emphasized – Christian perfection or holiness.

    It’s the “aiming for,” the intention that matters. Not the falls and failures, but the desire to lead that holy life.

    You haven’t yet answered my above post about our potential differences in where we put our authority. Are you going to respond? Not trying to trap you, just wanting to know if I’m reading you right.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen – In matters of redemption, the Scripture is the final authority. The Bible however does not speak much of a variety of topics. If I thought the Bible taught people were promised heterosexuality as the result of the sanctification journey then I would say so and that would be my teaching. My problem with some of the materials you quoted is that I don’t think they line up with Scripture and no surprise to me, that is not what we find in real life either.

    What Alan said in that Citizen piece is pretty good. I think the Exodus materials should be revised to make them consistent with what he said there.

    My point with bringing up coveting is that the urge to covet may persist past conversion. The urge to do a lot of bad things persists in all of us. So we agree in progressive sanctification. Where I think Exodus is confusing is the reference to reorientation as a spiritual goal. In discussing what a model Exodus client should be, I dont think reorientation language should be in there. If it is then you conflate reorientation of attraction with spiritual maturity. To me, it would be for some believers, like conflating good eyesight with spiritual maturity. The apostle Paul prayed for good eyesight but didn’t get it.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy: I know this is off track, but I really am curious. On multiple occasions, you have called attention to my adultery (which I agree is sin, and which I got the impression that you thought I was minimizing) and to my divorce (which was tragic and extremely painful for our family).

    What do you think I should have done? We really believed, in those early days, that God would create some heterosexuality in us — enough to make a marriage work. It didn’t happen for me.

    My wife cried herself to sleep on many occasions, feeling inadequate as a woman and worrying that her faith was “not enough”. I had to think about men to function — which felt like I was cheating — even though I was with her.

    No one seemed to know what to do. One counselor told me to “let Jesus come into your body and make love to her for you.” I tried that. It did not work. I believe we should not have been married in the first place. I believe that our marriage should have be annulled.

    Should I have stayed, no matter what? Even if that meant that both of us would have to accept that a healthy sex life would never be part of our marriage? Keep in mind that we both were very young and wanted so much for it to work.

    No one was telling us — as you and Karen have done — that a change to heterosexuality was very rare and that we should not expect it. Was she obligated to stay in a sexless marriage through no fault of her own?

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren: I completely agree with this —

    Where I think Exodus is confusing is the reference to reorientation as a spiritual goal. In discussing what a model Exodus client should be, I dont think reorientation language should be in there. If it is then you conflate reorientation of attraction with spiritual maturity.

    That is why I wish EXODUS’ website would state clearly that reorientation is very rare, if it happens at all, and that this type of healing should not be expected by clients or loved ones — as Karen has said — and as Alan Chambers has said, that “holiness, not heterosexuality” is its aim.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks for the link, Jay. But I’m not certain it affirms your arguments about Exodus’ messaging. The blogger seems to be ticked that at first Alan DIDN’T say Exodus’ goal was to change people from homosexual to heterosexual. (Which was my remembrance of the plenary session as well.) Only after he had experienced the whole conference did he come to a different understanding about the message – that heterosexual desires could be a by-product of seeking after holiness.

    I hope he’ll post more. The whole thing is very enlightening about the difficulty of the communication process. Just what we’ve been discussing.

  • Michael Bussee

    Only after he had experienced the whole conference did he come to a different understanding about the message – that heterosexual desires could be a by-product of seeking after holiness.

    Could be”, for some.

    Many years ago, Robbi Kenney, one of the EXODUS founders, issued the following directive to other remaining leaders in the movement:

    “Know what you are offering. … You are NOT offering heterosexuality… [but] the power to come into celibacy.” She even advised, “avoid calling them ex-gays.”

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, thanks for the response. I think we kind of are in agreement, but I’ll have to digest it some more. Can’t right now because we’re off to a picnic. So ‘bye for this evening.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Michael — The infrequency of reorientation is not exactly what bothers me. Hypothetically speaking, it could be quite common (I dont think it is, but go with me here), but it does not need to be as a response to sanctification.

    People of various faiths and no faith have reported reorientation. The linkage is what is troubling to me. Someone might find themselves shifting in their orientation but with no discernable change in spiritual focus or devotion. A woman like this talked to me earlier this year — she just found herself with changed desires – and then she started to reconnect with spirituality and not the kind we are talking about here.

    The linkage is what discourages good people who are following all the reorientation strategies (praying lots, reading their Bibles, getting more manly, analyzing the grey zone, beating pillows, etc.) and nothing happens. It also has the potential to puff up those who find it successful to some degree (I must be spiritually cool cause I like girls now!).

    I’ll bet if you think about it a bit, you could come up with other issues in life that you would not want to conflate with spiritual growth.

    Exodus could be very single minded. Help people live in accord with a non-gay-affirming Christian sexual ethic. Period. One need not seek change; finding it does not guarantee a Christian sexual ethic. One need only seek support in community. Make it about that.

  • Michael Bussee

    Exodus could be very single minded. Help people live in accord with a non-gay-affirming Christian sexual ethic. Period. One need not seek change; finding it does not guarantee a Christian sexual ethic. One need only seek support in community. Make it about that.

    Bingo.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think this article from Wikipedia sums things up pretty well — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex-gay

  • Michael Bussee

    Here is an example of what I think Warren is referring to when he says:

    I dont think reorientation language should be in there. If it is, then you conflate reorientation of attraction with spiritual maturity.

    From the EXODUS website: http://www.exodus.to/content/view/43/87/

    “What’s your “success rate” in changing gays into straights? What you are really asking is whether there is realistic hope for change for men and women who do not want their sexual orientation to be homosexual. And the answer to that is yes!

    The question about re-orientation is an emphatic “yes!”

    But then, no mention is made of sexual re-orientation — that is to say, from homosexual to heterosexual. Instead, the piece speaks of “…hundreds of former homosexuals who have found a large degree of change.”

    And what is that change? “(1) attaining abstinence from homosexual behaviors, (2) lessening of homosexual temptations, (3) strengthening their sense of masculine or feminine identity, (4) correcting distorted styles of relating with members of the same and opposite gender”. I added the numbers for easier reference. Lots of changes, but no mention of “reorientation” at all.

    They go on to say that “Some former homosexuals marry and some don’t, but marriage is not the measuring stick; spiritual growth and obedience are.

    So which is it? A realisic hope of change in orientation or “spiritual growth and obedience”?

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com Jay

    Here is my problem with that particular blogger — an others like him. The phrase “the opposite of homosexuality is holiness” is a key issue here. The blogger (pen named TC) said he talked to Randy Thomas and was told that heterosexuality was a by-product of holiness. He didn’t use the “could be” that you said. He said that it was.

    This creates an attitude that makes those of us who haven’t experienced heterosexual feelings — and have better things to do than to try to — feel like we’re seen as “less than holy.” It’s simple math, really. In Exodus’ view:

    The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality, but holiness.

    But heterosexuality equals holiness.

    Thus, the opposite of homosexuality is still heterosexuality. They’re just using a different word in order to try and pull the wool over our eyes. If the opposite of homosexuality is holiness, then am I, a celibate homosexual, unholy? Those are the kind of attitudes that Exodus promotes, whether they understand they do or not. They do, however, have a responsibility to rebuke and refute those among them who are misunderstanding their message. Silence, in this case, does seem to equal consent.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am encouraged. In all this wrangling over “words”, I think we are inching closer to a mutual understanding of the change EXODUS may seem to imply (re-orientation from homosexual to heterosexual) — and the change it can actually deliver (living a life congruent with one’s values.) If so, all of this would have been worth the effort.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    First, remember that my pool is peopled by family members and their partners; while a few of them may be ‘hotties’…just not going to go there!!! I prefer to watch the hawks circling over the woods, the clouds drifting across the sky and the finches visiting the bird feeder.

    Re the divorce thing: I was not close enough to you or your situation at the time to be able to offer any strong opinion. My bias is that I am very strongly against divorce except in the most extreme circumstances (spousal abuse and infidelity being principal ‘good causes’). For just about everything else, I would prefer that the couple spend at least a year actively working together on ‘what broke’ in the marriage…and with the assistance of an outside counselor or therapist.

    I have brought it up a number of times, but you might note, that it was generally when you made some glib statement suggesting that homosexuality was just like heterosexuality. (In the recent comment. “I’m a father too–and a grandpa…)

    But it’s not. One of the biggest distinctions between homosexuality and heterosexuality is that the mating of two homosexuals will not produce offspring. So, yes, you’re a father…and homosexual. In order for that to happen, a marriage was first formed and then dissolved. I suspect that would be the pattern for most homosexual men who are fathers. Artificial insemination seems to be the domain of the lesbians. Correct me if I’m wrong but I haven’t seen a preponderance of male gay couples becoming fathers as a result of insemination.

    My bias comes from something I learned in Bible school. Teacher asked the class one day “Have you ever seen a counterfeit dollar bill?” No one had. “Have you ever seen a counterfeit twenty?” Several had. “What color was that counterfeit twenty?” Of course, the answer was green. “What size was it?” Of course, the answer was “the size of a regular twenty”. Then the teacher made his twofold point: You only counterfeit something of value and the counterfeit always looks like the real thing.

    I still see myself as something of an apologist. When I hear statements like your ‘me too’ response to Alan’s disclosure, I feel compelled to point out the very large differences that you didn’t happen to mention. The anguish for both you and Annie over the divorce; the pain it surely caused your daughter; the difference between having an everyday dad and a visiting dad. I don’t have the answers and I don’t have the solution; I simply point out that it’s definitely not the same.

    I appreciate the quotes you brought in from the Exodus website.

    “What’s your “success rate” in changing gays into straights? What you are really asking is whether there is realistic hope for change for men and women who do not want their sexual orientation to be homosexual. And the answer to that is yes!

    And Michael’s response:

    The question about re-orientation is an emphatic “yes!”

    Actually, Michael, Exodus changed the question. They said in essence: You ask how we define the success rate of changing gays to straights. We don’t do that. When you ask us about our success rate, you’re really asking if there’s any real hope for change for people who don’t want to be homosexual…and we say there definitely is!!!…and this is what it is…it’s not changing gays to straights; it’s (all of those things you mentioned.)

    I agree with you that that first sentence is extremely awkward. It isn’t immediately clear that they were no longer talking about reorientation BUT–they did lead in by saying success wasn’t about changing gays to straights–and they did follow through be stating pretty specifically that heterosexuality was NOT the goal and citing the realities of the ex-gay experience. By the end of that blurb, they had presented a pretty fair version of Exodus definition of ‘change’.

  • Lynn David

    Karen Booth….. Lynn David, thank you for sharing what you did about Catholic belief. Are there other Catholics on the thread who could respond?

    You’re welcome but just so you don’t get the wrong impression, I am not Roman Catholic – anymore.

    I am glad for the responses from Eddy and Karen. I was worried that everyone felt like Lynn David — that we are Godless, psychologically disordered sinners with no morals, and no faith in God or Scripture.

    Michael, I am no longer Roman Catholic and no, I certainly don’t feel that way as I am gay. But that would be the Roman Catholic theological line on homosexuality.

    By the way, I attend Mass almost daily and have deep admiration for the faith and devotion of the Catholic Christians I meet. I think I may become one. BTW, did you know that there are devout gay Catholics?

    Yes, there are many a devout gay Catholic (if you can be devout and still be a habitual sinner if you are sexually active). I know a few who are most devout, that is they are celibate. I was for the longest time, but then my faith got ripped from me never to return (and not directly because I am gay, althoug I will admit that it might have been a contributing factor).

    .

    The Roman Catholic idea is that what comes with faith is submission to authority. That means submission to god and submission to his representatives on earth, the bishops (pope, cardinals, magesterium, etc) of the church. If you are gay, active sexually, and wish to join the Catholic Church, I’m not sure that they would let you in. If you were to marry a partner beforehand, I doubt that even a gay-affirming priest would consider you for conversion, because it would be too blatant an act that would come to the attention of his bishop. You might find a parish and priest who are gay affirming who would consider it after discussing conversion with you (the first step) and then admit you into the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program.

    Lynn David said that, in terms of rights, SSA people “don’t deserve anything more than what existed in, say, 1950.” Wow. That would mean that people should still be arrested for being gay, that homosexual publications could not be mailed out to people who wanted them and that gays could still be fired juist for being gay.

    I was a perhaps a bit too blatant in picking a date before my birth. On the other hand, I know there are many bishops who would consider that the laws against homosexual sex should never have been repealed.

    .

    The Catholic Church says “every sign of unjust discrimination in their (the homosexual’s) regard should be avoided” in the Catechism. Generally, bishops have spoken out against any law which would support our rights, even those concerning housing and jobs. They have the same fears of many evangelicals that such laws would mean that the church would not be able to fire an active gay person from there employ (or kick a guy out of the choir like they did after a New York couple married in Canada). I twice wrote my bishop concerning the amendment which was considered in Indiana against marriage for gays and lesbians because it would also outlaw civil unions which I would have thought might be an “unjust act of discrimination.” I never received a reply.

    .

    That concerning homosexuality in the Catechism is in Part 3 [Life in Christ]; Section 2 [The Ten Commandments]; Chapter 2 [You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself]; Article 6 [The Sixth Commandment]; SubSection I ["Male and Female He Created Them....."]; Numbers 2357-2359 [Chastity and homosexuality]. The church necessarily sees the active gay person as breaking the 6th commandment which encompasses adultery and forication, that is sexual contact outside of a consecrated marriage.

  • Lynn David

    @ Michael Bussee….

    Just a thought came to mind, were you to convert to Catholicism. I think you might have to get a Catholic annulment of your marriage (I know a previously divorced woman who wished to convert and marry a friend of mine back in the 70s had to have her marriage annulled by the Church). That would probably be easy considering you are gay, they would likely adjudge that you insufficiently mature for marriage.

    That is a common reason for annulling marriages in the Catholic Church. But it gets to at the least appear to be somewhat hypocritical when I know of one devout man (who is schooled in theology and about as conservative a Catholic I know) managed to have three such marriages annulled even when there are children involved.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Eddy: Did not mean to imply that the hottie would be a problem for ya. Just pulling your leg a bit.

    For just about everything else, I would prefer that the couple spend at least a year actively working together on ‘what broke’ in the marriage…and with the assistance of an outside counselor or therapist.

    So would I. And we gave it more, much more, than a year. What was “broke” was that I could not give her true, loving, sincere, passionate, heterosexual sex. I would very much have liked to have changed enough to keep our marriage together. It still hurts all of us to this day that I could not.

    I have brought it up a number of times, but you might note, that it was generally when you made some glib statement suggesting that homosexuality was just like heterosexuality. (In the recent comment. “I’m a father too–and a grandpa…)

    Cut me a little slack here, Eddy. It wasn’t “glib” at all. I was feeling kinda nostagic — envious even — of that happy family scene. I was picturing Alan with his kids and identifying strongly with the feelings I have of being a Dad and Grandfather. Ever been one? It’s a wonderful experience.

    I was not trying to “suggest that homosexuality was just like heterosexuality.” I don’t know if it is or not. I have never been heterosexual. I just believe that BOTH homosexuality and heterosexuality. in and of themselves, are morally neutral. It’s how we live them out that counts.

    So, yes, you’re a father…and homosexual. In order for that to happen, a marriage was first formed and then dissolved. I suspect that would be the pattern for most homosexual men who are fathers.

    Again, it was extremely painful — to all of us. How often can I say that? What do you want me to say, Eddy? I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused. Every day. Every day. Every day.

    I am not trying to be “glib”, make light ot it — or suggest that divorce is a great way to be one. All I am saying is that being a father is a tremendous blessing. Parenting is about loving a child — not how that child was made.

    Artificial insemination seems to be the domain of the lesbians. Correct me if I’m wrong but I haven’t seen a preponderance of male gay couples becoming fathers as a result of insemination.

    No. Some were previously married. Some had kids out of wedlock. Some adopted. Some are foster parents. Some become parents to kids no one else wants. What matters is that we love our kids.

    You only counterfeit something of value and the counterfeit always looks like the real thing.

    Are you suggesting that my parenting is somehow counterfeit? Not the “real thing” because I (as a gay man) did not remain in a heterosexual marriage? I know you don’t think that HOW I did it was legitimate — and I am not proud of that either — but my love as a father is the real deal.

    The anguish for both you and Annie over the divorce; the pain it surely caused your daughter; the difference between having an everyday dad and a visiting dad. I don’t have the answers and I don’t have the solution; I simply point out that it’s definitely not the same.

    I never said it was the “same”. I meant only that I could identify witht the warm feelings of being blessed to be a father, that’s all. Now, can we please stop implying that I am somehow “glib” about any of this? You have not lived my life. You have no idea how “un-glib” it has been.

  • Michael Bussee

    Also to Eddy:

    I agree with you that that first sentence is extremely awkward. It isn’t immediately clear that they were no longer talking about reorientation BUT–they did lead in by saying success wasn’t about changing gays to straights–and they did follow through be stating pretty specifically that heterosexuality was NOT the goal and citing the realities of the ex-gay experience. By the end of that blurb, they had presented a pretty fair version of Exodus definition of ‘change’.

    Yes, they did, but I still agree with Warren:

    Where I think Exodus is confusing is the reference to reorientation as a spiritual goal. In discussing what a model Exodus client should be, I dont think reorientation language should be in there. If it is then you conflate reorientation of attraction with spiritual maturity.

    Like Warren,

    I dont think reorientation language should be in there. If it is then you conflate reorientation of attraction with spiritual maturity.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Lynn David, on annulment:

    That would probably be easy considering you are gay, they would likely adjudge that you insufficiently mature for marriage.

    That’s what I think. I was gay and insufficiently mature. We should not have counseled to marry in the first place– on the hope that over time God would make me straight — or straight enough.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Warren: Since EXODUS seems to be really trying to make it clearer that by “change” they do not mean “to heterosexuality” but “towards holiness” — it strikes me that to continue to use phrases like “reorientation is possible” is a sort of “mixed metaphor”.

    By that, I am thinking of the definition of mixed metaphor as “an awkward combination of ideas: a combination of two or more things that together evoke a strange or incongruous image”. Would that be along the lines of what you were trying to say by “conflate”?

    It seems to cloud the message. As Eddy points out, “The first sentence is extremely awkward. It isn’t immediately clear that they were no longer talking about reorientation.”

    Wouldn’t it have been clearer to say,

    Yes! Re-orientation is possible! But we are not speaking here in psychological or secular terms of “reorientation” of sexual attractions from gay to straight (although that may sometimes happen), but of a profoundspiritual reorientation of the heart towards holiness”?

    This is why I keep hammering away at the use and meaning of words.

  • Eddy

    Michael:

    “What’s your “success rate” in changing gays into straights? What you are really asking is whether there is realistic hope for change for men and women who do not want their sexual orientation to be homosexual. And the answer to that is yes!

    The question about re-orientation is an emphatic “yes!”

    But then, no mention is made of sexual re-orientation — that is to say, from homosexual to heterosexual. Instead, the piece speaks of “…hundreds of former homosexuals who have found a large degree of change.”

    And what is that change? “(1) attaining abstinence from homosexual behaviors, (2) lessening of homosexual temptations, (3) strengthening their sense of masculine or feminine identity, (4) correcting distorted styles of relating with members of the same and opposite gender”. I added the numbers for easier reference. Lots of changes, but no mention of “reorientation” at all.

    They go on to say that “Some former homosexuals marry and some don’t, but marriage is not the measuring stick; spiritual growth and obedience are.

    See my italics. Exodus was speaking to those who were defining ‘success rate’ by reorientation. The questioners were focussed on orientation. Exodus said that there is ‘hope for change’ for those people…the people who did not want their sexual orientation to be homosexual…and then, by your own words (that I italicized) you admitted that Exodus didn’t speak a word towards reorientation.

    So you and Warren wish they wouldn’t have the reorientation language in there; you, yourself, say it wasn’t there (see those italics); I read the words too and I agree that they didn’t speak a word towards reorientation…So just what is your beef?

    You missed me on the counterfeit thing. I wasn’t calling your marriage counterfeit. I was alluding to the fact that my bias is that homosexuality is a counterfeit of the heterosexual model. (That shouldn’t come as any big surprise although I’m sure the word ‘counterfeit’ will raise a few hackles…kinda like ‘broken’ and ‘sin’.) I’m saying that proponents of homosexuality have been making the ‘see we’re just like the straights’ statements for a long, long time.

    Anyway, I was responding from my counterfeit bias; I was responding to the fact that I’ve heard the ‘we’re just like them’ stuff way too often. My apologies for assuming that’s what you were doing.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I was writing my post when yours that appears before it came in.

    You mentioned this to Warren:

    it strikes me that to continue to use phrases like “reorientation is possible” is a sort of “mixed metaphor”.

    I scrambled back to the reference you brought in from the Exodus website and can’t find the phrase ‘reorientation is possible’. Did I miss something? Did they use that phrase elsewhere?

  • Michael Bussee

    EXODUS is asked,

    is there a realistic hope for change for men and women who do not want their sexual orientation to be homosexual?

    And the answer to that is an emphatic “Yes!”

    The question was about changing sexual orentation. Then, nothing is said to back up that “yes!” Only descriptions of other changes. Very good changes, I guess. Life-changing, but not orientation changing.

    You and I have to discuss, at length, whether or not that’s confusing. That indicates that is confusing.

    You admit the first sentence is “extremely awkward” and the rest does not make it “immediately clear that they were no longer talking about reorientation”.

    Warren also thinks this sort of thing is confusing — and states “I dont think reorientation language should be in there. If it is then you conflate reorientation of attraction with spiritual maturity … it might not be clear to those “strugglers” who come to EXODUS hoping for heterosexuality.

    And I can tell you, it is NOT clear. “Ex-gay Surivors” talk of the pain and failure they felt when they could not “re-orient”. Is that because they didn’t want to understand — or because EXODUS did not make it “clear that they were no longer talking about reorientation”?

  • AM

    I’ve been a participant here long enough that I feel it’s time that I ask something: Why is there such a long standing (are we talking 30 years now or more?), and I don’t even know what to call it: animosity, rivalry or some other term signaling a very strained relationship between Eddy and Michael?

    My understanding is that Exodus had several founders, several who were there at the beginning. Surely there were as many choices made during these decades by those pioneers as there may have been number of pioneers themselves. This reminds me of a dog with a bone that just won’t go. Certainly this can’t be healthy. But beyond that, what purpose does it really serve?

    I’d like to relate a story from my own life: In 1997, I read a story about an ex-lesbian in the Focus on the Family magazine. Her name was Jami Breedlove. Jami was the first ex-gay I had contacted or communicated with since the late 80′s when I was in Homosexuals Anonymous meeting rooms. In 1997 I was very serious about the possibility of marriage to a specific person; it surely seemed that God was directing that way by so many circumstances. But I knew I wasn’t straight and needed or felt I needed to weed out the gayness.

    I really liked Jami; down to earth, friendly, very willing to share. And married. With two young children. Surely she knew *something* I didn’t know. Surely she was able to do something my HA friends were not either willing or capable of doing. I was on a new road. A road with a lot of promise.

    Anyway, that late spring in 1997, everything went dead at her ministry. Phone gone. Email gone. No letters getting through. I asked around to Exodus and other ex-gay groups and Focus. The response I got was as quiet as being at some funerals. Finally one of the Focus phone operators told me that a friend of his has heard that she had taken off with a client and moved to another part of the country. And yes, I was shocked. Married for several years with two small children and what? It didn’t matter anymore her change, her repentence, the people who looked to her for ministry? As the next couple of years went by, I found out that she was not an isolated case by any means.

    My point is this: Yes, I was shocked. Yes, I was tempted to try to track her down and talk with her, asking her how this could all be. But, even if I had been able to do that, would it have made me straight? Would it have made my struggle easier? The answer to those questions after now, 12 years is no. I did get myself out of sorts about her choices. I trusted her. I believed her. She had the heterosexual family to prove it.

    But, I do not think I am any better off today by the time I spent wondering, pondering, agonizing what went wrong and if she after having arrived at so much was willing to turn back, what kind of hope was there for me?

    I don’t even want to think of carrying this for the next day let alone the next 12 years. So, again, I ask respectfully, what is going on between you two and why. Why do you keep it going? What greater purpose does it serve. I do not negate any pain the two of you have, having had a sense of betrayal in my own life, but life goes on. Doesn’t it?

  • Michael Bussee

    AM: I know some will probably cringe for me saying this, but I keep doing it because truth matters. I do not think it is right or fair, to give the impression, intentionally or not, that gays will become straight through EXODUS.

    Yes, EXODUS has improved in this regard. They have taken steps to clarify what “change” means and they seem to recognize that they could do an even better job.

    As Warren suggested (and I am paraphrasing here), “Say what you actually do, give support to those who are seeking to live congruent, value-driven lives — but leave the orientation talk out of it! That talk just confuses the issue”.

    Say that you help SSA Christians live lives that are congruent with their faith — and that holiness, not heterosexuality is the goal. Say both of those things — offically — on your front page. If you are telling the whole truth, it will not throw a wet blanket on hope.

    Be very alert that you might be misleading accidentally — in your zeal to give hope — and that this mistaken impression may cause bitter disappointment and loss of faith for those who got the message wrong.

    Be very, very careful. Don’t risk sending mixed messages to the vulernable.

  • Eddy

    AM–

    The contention you see between Michael and I can be explained in a number of ways. We were both around in the early days of Exodus. Michael was there earlier than I; I stayed around longer than he did. So we both have insights into the early vision of Exodus.

    The contention between us has lessened considerably in just the past few weeks. (The now semi-famous kumbaya thread…Warren linked to it earlier today.) Because we represent two different views about Exodus, many times we forget to see each other as people…we miss what each other is actually saying…we sometimes dig at each other. We’re both trying to stick closer to the dialogue itself without getting personal but, as the saying goes, ‘old habits die hard’.

    A difference in dynamics was also in play. For myself, I felt that I had been trying to have productive conversation in search of a common ground while Michael was in ‘debate mode’. Instead of noting things I said that he agreed with, he’d instead come back with a word or phrase that he believed I had misspoken or that he took exception to. My response, of course, was to offer defense and rebuttal and often, I’m afraid, an attitude of impatience and exasperation. At times I assumed a ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’ stance, and would nitpick back in his direction.

    Beyond that, though, I feel that both Michael and I have been aware that we weren’t just engaged in a private dialogue. We believed that there were others out there following our dialogues–some looking for fodder to bash Exodus with, others looking for a more gracious understanding of Exodus. I believe we would both, many times, advance our points of view and attempt to show the errors in the pov of the other, for the sake of those invisible readers. The words may have appeared stark and brutal from the outside while Michael and I weren’t actually feeling any animosity towards each other.

    Think of it as a ‘presidential debate’ without end. You know deep down that they don’t hate each other…you know that when the campaign is over, they might actually chat and work together. (First President Bush and President Clinton come to mind.) Idealogically, Michael and I have some major differences…those differences are mainly centered around Exodus, it’s beliefs and how it presents them. So, when a topic falls into that category, you are bound to see some wrangling. But, when it’s most any other topic, you’ll sometimes find us in agreement. Even with some Exodus related topics, you’ll find us in agreement. We both feel Exodus should stay away from politics. (My political views re gay rights are likely very close to Michael’s except that I do not support gay marriage…I’m for rights and benefits; I’m anti-bullying and bashing but I don’t support gay marriage.) But, much like in a presidential debate, it’s our differences that are highlighted…that are drawn out by the topics (or the detours).

    We do have a long history of mutual distrust. Please don’t miss our major progress though. We have disagreed a few times in this current thread; we’ve also misread each other a few times but I believe our tone with each other has changed dramatically…I believe the productivity of our discussion has also changed dramatically.

    I can assure you that both of us will go to sleep tonight reflecting on your words and on the perception that we’ve left you with. Both of us have a committment to the truth…both of us love to communicate…I think both of us actually enjoy a bit of wrangling…AND we both love karaoke. I think I can promise for both of us that we will try even harder to show courtesy and respect in our dialogues.

  • Michael Bussee

    Because we represent two different views about Exodus, many times we forget to see each other as people…we miss what each other is actually saying…we sometimes dig at each other. We’re both trying to stick closer to the dialogue itself without getting personal but, as the saying goes, ‘old habits die hard’

    Yup. I admit it. They do die hard. What’s up with that? I have asked God three times to take away my contentiousness, but it remains, like a thorn in the flesh. And after all I have done for God… :)

    The cool thing, recently, is that I have come to see Eddy as a person. Yikes! I am even beginning to like him — and I look forward to our conversations. I see: “Eddy on Exodus no longer affiliated with PFOX” and my mind kicks into gear. I am getting old — and Eddy’s sharpness keeps me on my toes. Like doing the crossword, I guess. A very vexing and provocative crossword… :)

    The words may have appeared stark and brutal from the outside while Michael and I weren’t actually feeling any animosity towards each other.

    Yup. I used to feel animosity towards Eddy personally. Have to admit, I didn’t like him much — he seemed so stubborn and opionated — unlike me… Then, something happened. His self-disclosures fleshed him out. He seems real now — a person — not just a position to be argued with.

    We have disagreed a few times in this current thread; we’ve also misread each other a few times but I believe our tone with each other has changed dramatically…I believe the productivity of our discussion has also changed dramatically.

    Yup. That seems true. Gee, I can’t find anything that Eddy has said so far in the above post that I could disagree with. Damn. I hope the fun doesn’t go out of this… :) And finally, this bit of graciousness, like a cherry on the sundae:

    I can assure you that both of us will go to sleep tonight reflecting on your words and on the perception that we’ve left you with. Both of us have a committment to the truth…both of us love to communicate…I think both of us actually enjoy a bit of wrangling…AND we both love karaoke. I think I can promise for both of us that we will try even harder to show courtesy and respect in our dialogues.

    Yup. I promise. When all is said and done, this is what really matters:

    AND we both love karaoke.

    Goodnight everyone. Goodnight Eddy.

  • Michael Bussee

    The Nuns are on break. This isn’t exactly karaoke, but it’s close. I love the rhythm, the art and the truth in this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jjcxFGEysE

  • AM

    Thanks, guys! I’ve read through your responses carefully, or I think very carefully and yes, I get the point that you are on different political sides so to speak with Exodus.

    But, to tell you the truth, I was trying to dig a little deeper. Permit me another excursion if possible…

    Again, let me relate it back to my experience to shattered hope regarding change and specifically, ex-gay leadership. It goes without saying that if I didn’t have hope of change to use the lingo, Jami Breedlove’s return to a gay relationship (I hate the term “lifestyle” so I won’t use it here) would not have been so devastating. IOW if I was *merely* a supporter of her, ever straight, having my own life without the perceived need to seek out ex-gay ministries, yes, I’m sure I would have found it disappointing. But devastating? No. Nothing riding on the success of others.

    We’re talking 1997 here, before the Exodus ad campaign, before the scrutiny, before people coming forth and making whatever claims or lack of claims they would end up making. We’re talking before a lot of things which now occupy this blog and other blogs — it’s content focused on many issues regarding homosexuality.

    What I am saying is this, and I am not sure how delcately I put it that it will come out that way. I’m not asking about two political rivals — that’s a given today for just about anyone who wants to talk about this issue. People seem to take one side or the other. It was not that Jami Breedlove had a “Take Back the Rainbow Campaign” (yes, you read that right), it was that she was presenting herself as study in hope along with evidence (as I read *at the time*) of a changed life. Why would she even want to marry a man if her life had not changed in some way? As I type this, I realize much has shifted in my understanding of this concept of change: the longevity of it, etc… But that was my perspective, then.

    What I still don’t understand is why Michael’s decision to divorce, etc… seems to be brought up on such a regular basis when any of us here know good and well at this point in time, that there are so many ex-gays who chose the same route, are not maintaining their marriage vows, are showing up at gay bars — need I go on?

    IOW when a personal decision that someone else made seems to be a sore spot for another person, it seems an indicator to me that this is more than politics. Feeling that Jami Breedlove betrayed me *personally* was a feeling that I don’t want to ever have again. But my point is: *Did* she betray *me*? Because if she didn’t, and I have made life altering decisions and attitudes on that perceived betrayal, I ask, “How could it not affect me?”

    After 12 years, this is the first time in a long time I have brought up her particular story and how it related to me, how it affected me. But if I kept on mentioning her on this blog and mentioning her (and her choices), I think that says something else than disagreement about gay rights.

    I realize that both Michael and Eddy could say that I didn’t have front row seat at the founding of Exodus; I don’t understand the impact of it. True enough. But I do understand all too well the passage of time. Thirty something years ago, and it seems to be as though it happened yesterday? That’s what I don’t get. I wish that I could go back over these past 12 years, make different choices and come out *someplace* — right or wrong — rather than rehashing (at least in the beginning of that time) whether or not ex-gay ministries, leaders, God had failed me. I cannot even imagine being 65 years old and retelling the tale of Jami Breedlove and the choices she made.

    I’m not sure why the personal aspects of the choices that the Exodus founders made seem to not be allowed to rest unless I am really missing something so crucial here that I *must* know the choices Michael made which obviously were very public by the position he was in in order to understand this entire issue today.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Jay,

    You write, “The blogger (pen named TC) said he talked to Randy Thomas and was told that heterosexuality was a by-product of holiness. He didn’t use the “could be” that you said. He said that it was.

    Yes, Jay, I knew you were going to pick out that one line.

    It’s hearsay, or TC’s interpretation at best, of what Randy Thomas actually said to him. And TC pretty desperately WANTED to hear that message from somebody at Exodus because that would confirm his own experience of change. I still contend that the overall message at the conference was that heterosexuality COULD BE a byproduct of holiness.

    See my other post which follows addressed to Warren about the desirability of that byproduct or outcome.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren,

    I’ve prayerfully thought about your above post (Jul 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm) and here’s my take-away.

    I believe that Scripture says it is possible for a person to have his/her same-sex attractions, desires, and feelings transformed or changed. You do not believe Scripture teaches that.

    I believe that particular Scriptural teaching (and any Scriptural teaching, for that matter) has final authority, but that it is also supported by the testimonies of men and women that I know very well and of many others that I have read or heard. You believe your Scriptural teaching is confirmed (and I use that word deliberately instead of “supported”) by what you call “real life,” which I assume means the folk you have counseled, the studies you’ve researched, and possibly the testimonies of ex-gay survivors or ex-ex-gays you have heard.

    Is this a fairly accurate interpretation or am I off the mark?

    I ask you again not because I want to trick or trap you, but because in the two times I’ve heard you present publicly and in my observations of this blog, I can’t figure out whether or not you basically support the Exodus message and mission. I had thought in Nashville that you did, but now I’m not so sure.

    Perhaps it’s not as either/or as that, or maybe I’ve missed something. But my current perception is that any approach to SSA that does not line up with your sexual identity model is fair game for criticism. (See following post.)

    So please help me to understand.

    Because I would like to see you do something positive and constructive instead of continuing to foster the Exodus “blame game” that Eddy referred to earlier. Why don’t you consider doing what I suggested in a previous post? Post the Exodus policy statements that you have a problem with, either here or on another thread. Share your suggestions for how you would revise and reword them, and tell us why.

    I think it would make for some very fruitful discussion.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren writes:

    “Michael — The infrequency of reorientation is not exactly what bothers me. Hypothetically speaking, it could be quite common (I dont think it is, but go with me here), but it does not need to be as a response to sanctification.”

    I agree it doesn’t “need to be,” if that means that a chaste single life is also a valid and valued response to the sanctification process. And it is.

    But is heterosexuality a desired outcome? Yes, if you believe that was God’s original intent for humankind, that the sexual bond of male/female marriage was the first relationship God instituted in creation, that it most fully reflects the image of God (gives us the best experiential “taste” we have of the Trinity), that it mirrors God’s relationship with Israel and Jesus’ relationship with the Church. Then, yes, this is the most desirous, but not only, outcome of sanctification.

    Also, “Exodus could be very single minded. Help people live in accord with a non-gay-affirming Christian sexual ethic. Period. One need not seek change; finding it does not guarantee a Christian sexual ethic. One need only seek support in community. Make it about that.”

    Yes, as Michael said, “bingo.” But then it would be your sexual identity model and not Exodus.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I may have posted this before, but for what it’s worth, here are some of the definitions of “change” that the panel discussion I referred to came up with. My favorite is the first one, which was suggesed by Alan Medinger.

    “Healing from homosexuality is the process that occurs when an adult, whose primary or exclusive sexual and/or romantic attractions have been towards persons of the same sex, experiences a significant decrease in same-sex attractions and an increase in opposite-sex attractions to the extent that a heterosexual life that is emotionally, sexually and psychologically fulfilling is made possible. Accompanying these erotic and emotional changes is a change in self-perception in which the individual no longer identifies him or herself as homosexual.”

    “I think (the word change) doesn’t represent the majority of those who come to our ministries. Have they changed? Absolutely! They have learned to understand the roots of their same-sex issues, they have learned about healthy same-sex friendships, they have developed an intimacy with God that is awe-inspiring, yet many of those going through our ministries suffer with lagging same-sex attractions.”

    “Change is the ability to consistently make decisions/choices that do not reflect the history of previous decisions/choices. An individual knows he or she is different because they now see alternatives to specific situations where in the past there was only one choice–often a bad choice.”

    “Society wants a cosmetic fix, not a conversion. Society has defined ‘change’ simplistically. Exodus has put layer upon layer into the word ‘change’ and it no longer means to Exodus what society hears. What Exodus is calling change is much closer to what society would call ‘maturing’ or ‘growth.’”

    “We use the word process instead of change. We share that we don’t know how much of your struggle (with homosexuality, or any other struggle for that matter) God will leave with you so that you are always dependent upon Him. Similar to God saying to Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for when you are weak then I am strong.” Even though Paul wanted his thorn to go away much like those struggling with homosexuality, God didn’t see fit to do it.”

    Now if we could only capture all of that in a succint policy statement.

  • Lynn David

    Simple fix….. Exodus should take the word ‘change’ out of their vocabulary.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, I withdraw my request for you to post the Exodus policy statements with your suggested revisions.

    From your most recent posts, I perceive that you don’t so much want to help Exodus more clearly communicate its mission and message as you want to remake Exodus into your own image, or more accurately the image of your sexual identity therapy model.

    That isn’t likely to happen.

  • Eddy

    AM–

    Neither Michael nor I came upon this blogsite by accident, there was a desire here on the site–after all these years that have passed–for a better understanding of the roots and origins of Exodus. Prior to that time, I had never heard of this blogsite and, actually, had never blogged anywhere about anything. I believe Michael has also said that he had maintained a low-profile publicly.

    Anyway, much of the weight of Michael’s comments comes from his ‘position as a former founder/leader of Exodus’. The divorce comes up because it is a generic focal point of Michael’s initial separation from Exodus and it’s beliefs. A number of things happened in that separation but divorce was the public result; Michael’s ex-wife appeared at several Exodus conferences after the divorce.

    The reasons and motivations behind, not only leaving an organization one helped to form, but speaking out against them continually some thirty years later, are fair game for examination. Bringing up the divorce, the symbol of the ‘leaving’ would naturally come up intermittently in response to the ‘speaking out’. The divorce is also an evidence (without going into gritty details) that there were some who suffered for the decision to return to the lifestyle. In one sense, the divorce becomes symbolic of the pain and disillusionment caused to those who looked up to Michael in his co-founder/leader role.

    That’s all I’m going to say re the matter. It’s rather a sticky wicket. You see, your complaint is about bringing up the issue of divorce or of Michael’s divorce so often. I don’t know how to address that question without focussing once again on ‘the divorce’ and the circumstances that led up to it. The surrounding circumstances, I believe, are even more personal than the divorce itself. I can’t envision walking through that land mine without unintentionally hurting Michael.

    It appears that I misread Michael on this thread. Alan presented the image of his wife and kids playing in the background; Michael responded that he was a dad and a granddad. To Michael, he was thinking of those joyous fatherhood times; for me, there was the remembrance that that child was an infant when Michael’s marriage broke up. My mind went to the pain.

    I’ll make you a deal, though. If I bring up the issue of Michael’s divorce in a conversation in the future, you may step in and ask me why I brought it up and challenge my reasoning as you see fit.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen – Why withdraw a request for an opinion? That seemed abrupt.

    I do believe sexual identity ministry should place value on congruence over change. If Exodus moved even more in that direction (actually, I believe it has over the last 2-3 years), I would be glad.

    I am a little confused by the contrast you posed (clarifying Exodus mission versus remaking it in my image). That seems like it makes providing an opinion about an important topic something sinister or sneaky.

    Can you clarify this shift in your posts?

  • Michael Bussee

    To Michael, he was thinking of those joyous fatherhood times; for me, there was the remembrance that that child was an infant when Michael’s marriage broke up. My mind went to the pain.

    So did mine, Eddy. It always does.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Earlier in the thread, two people took a slight detour into the plot development of a sci-fi show. I’m thinking that that excuses this little detour.

    I don’t know if I recapped my latest karaoke outing. It’s been very weird. In Minneapolis, if need be, I could find a karaoke venue every day of the week. From Wednesday through Saturday, I could find at least two per night about 10 blocks from home. Karaoke Heaven! Then I moved back to PA. There is one show that runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday but it is a few towns away and runs very slowly (IMHO). There’s another, in the next town and just a few doors away from one of my brothers, that’s every other Thursday. It gets a good crowd but few singers. I can usually sing 8 to 10 times at one of those shows.

    This week, a combination of stormy weather and summer vacations resulted in even fewer singers. I sang 16 times!!!! A new personal record. (A blue-collar ‘straight bar’ sitting adjacent to a railroad track…almost a movie scene.) Anyway, having so many times ‘up to the plate’, I’ve been branching out from my mainstay songs. (My top five are: Town Without Pity, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Can’t Get Used to Losing You {andy williams}, You Are My Destiny, and Volare {one particular version that starts out slow before kicking in with the Volare})

    Anyway, I thought you might enjoy my selections from my recent outing:

    Everyday–Buddy Holly

    Teenager In Love–Dion

    Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah–Allan Sherman (by request)

    I’m Gonna Be Strong–Gene Pitney

    Taxi–Harry Chapin

    Rawhide–Frankie Laine (I think)

    Johnny B. Goode–Chuck Berry

    Bottle of Wine-Fireballs

    Coconut–Harry Nillson

    Gentle On My Mind–Glen Campbell

    Can’t Take My Eyes Off You–Frankie Valli

    Hey Bartender–Blues Brothers

    Spill the Wine–Eric Burdon and War

    Secret Agent Man–Johnny Rivers

    House of the Rising Son–Eric Burdon and Animals

    Town Without Pity–Gene Pitney

    I’ve got my own machine and a personal library of approx. 3,000 songs. I’ve been known to have several 2 to 3 hour sessions…just me and my machine…a week. It’s sometimes focussed (“I’d like to sing that next time out.”) but often not (“Gee, I wonder what’s on this disc that I haven’t tried.”)

    The amazing part of this is that I was once pulled from a class production in grade school…accused of being the one who was singing off key. I don’t fully comprehend pitch and key so it’s quite possible that it was me! Anyway, as a result, although I loved to sing, I wouldn’t do it in any public manner. The most you could get from me was to start a group singing of “Happy Birthday”.

    Naturally, this recent milestone made me reflective of how far I’ve come with the singing.

  • Eddy

    Not an intentional ‘miss’ there…your post hadn’t yet appeared when I was pulling together my karaoke reminiscence.

    I do know that you reflect on the pain…and will be more mindful of that in the future. I was simply illustrating that due to my bias (which I’ve admitted) I saw the pain only and didn’t consider the warm fuzzies of fatherhood that Alan’s words triggered in you. That was my bad. And I do apologize.

  • Michael Bussee

    I will not speak of my divorce again. It was, and still is, heartbreaking. I have apologized many times over to God, to my daughter, to my ex-wife — and even though it is really none of their business — to the general public — to any person who felt hurt by my leaving.

    It didn’t happen yesterday, it happened over 25 years ago. Sometimes it feels like yesterday. God has brought healing and comfort out of grief. My ex-wife has remarried and is happy. She is bravely battling cancer. I love her and pray for her. Please keep her in your prayers.

    My daughter is happily married — and gave birth to my first grandchild just over a year ago. He is a very happy, healthy boy — the joy of my “senior” years. I have moved on. I can’t say I am happy, but I am at peace.

    That is the end of it. Period. I will not defend it , but I will also not go over it again and again. It is simply too painful. Please respect my request to let it be between me, my family and my God. He has forgiven me. It is in His loving and merciful hands. Please, Eddy, let it be.

  • Michael Bussee

    I saw the pain only and didn’t consider the warm fuzzies of fatherhood that Alan’s words triggered in you. That was my bad. And I do apologize.

    Thanks, Eddy. You thought I was being glib, trying to say that he and I were the same. But that was not what I was saying or feeling at all. It wasn’t all warm fuzzies. The happy domestic scene he was describing was very bittersweet.

    That’s one of the problems with typing. You can’t see my face or hear my tone of voice. Actually, I was crying as I wrote. Alan’s description of his family triggered many, many feelings — joy, sadness, envy, regret, loss — and healing.

    Many of my gay friends say, “Gee, you’re lucky. You know what it’s like to be a father. I will never have that. You are so lucky.” And I am. But that joy is colored by a deep sense of failure and loss. I pray for any SSA man who decides to marry. I pray that he won’t cause the suffering I caused.

    That said, I know the joy Alan Chambers feels in being a Dad. And that’s all I meant when I said, “Me too”. In His loving kindness, Got has brought us through the pain. Life goes on. I am blessed that my daughter, though now a grown woman and a mother, forgives me, loves me — and still calls me “Daddy”.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    We may indeed be at that point.

    I weary of constantly explaining that Exodus has been defining change and freedom all along (as my illustrations re my class and teaching titles from 25 to 30 years ago demonstrate)…and that they are making even more progress in that area (as Karen’s notes re ‘change’ and ‘freedom’ suggest). It has been our wrangling over this that often leads to the personal anecdotes that often lead to the allusions to the time when you became disenfranchised with the notion of ‘change’, however it was then defined–or NOT defined.

    Since it appears we’ve possibly reached some resolution to the great ‘change and freedom confusing message blame game’, it is entirely possible that while the ‘D’ word might come up again, it would be in a more global sense rather than the personal. (Example: If someone said “Gay men raise families too”, an open discussion should be able to discuss the pros and cons of the various ways in which they acquired those families. In such an instance, I might cite ‘marriage and divorce’ but would avoid any personal reference. You, with your committment not to speak of yours again, would either speak generically as well or would remain silent in response to those comments. It might be tough for both of us but I do believe it’s doable.

    Just a heads up: Sometimes when I address a post to an individual, it automatically becomes very personal in tone. I sometimes switch to the third person–not addressing my post to an individual but rather starting out with something like “Michael said” or “Warren said”. (True confession: I sometimes do that when I’m exasperated with the person whose comments I’m addressing but not always.) Anyway, I may employ the third person method more often in an attempt to move away from the ‘too personal’ approach; please don’t assume that it means I’m exasperated…my words and tone should reveal whether that’s what’s going on.

  • Ann

    Michael,

    I am hoping you remember a personal conversation we had over a year ago about all this – you made me a promise and it is similar to what you wrote this morning at 9:58. I am again asking you to keep this promise for God, yourself, and your family.

    No one on this earth has made more mistakes than me – I have broken every one of the ten commandments (yes, that is what I said) and while I have felt the full consequences for those mistakes, I also have felt the blessings of my spiritual evolvement because of them. Thank you for having a conscious – many people do not – they try to justify or rationalize what they have done, often at the expense of others. You have never done this and it brings relief to my heart that there are people like you who not only apologize but name what they have done – it heals open wounds and allows life to go on.

    Eddy feels the pain of others and so do I. He is a very good man who often makes me sit up straight when I read what he writes. I respect and admire him so much. Please try to understand that he has seen and experienced injustice, coupled with a lack of conscience, and is not afraid to call out the injustice and bring awareness to it. For some being politically correct feels better – not for him. He is a hero in my eyes for being like this.

    I remember one time I asked you to not talk about Alan Chamber’s personal life because I thought it was unfair and hurtful to him and his family – I will always be grateful that you understood my concern and have since separated he and Exodus from he and his family life. I believe Eddy will do the same now that you have asked him. It is the right thing to do.

  • Eddy

    That’s one of the problems with typing. You can’t see my face or hear my tone of voice.

    Dead on, brother. I’m sure it goes without saying that that goes both ways.

    I think the times that both of us have read something into the other’s words are probably ‘without number’. We imagine a face…we imagine a tone…we imagine the emphasis to be on a particular word or phrase. Sometimes we’re right; sometimes we’re close; sometimes we miss it by a mile!

  • Ann

    Eddy and Michael,

    I have just been invited to spend the day with a very special friend :-) and will be leaving soon. I am sending you this video because I know you both like music – watch the little boy to the left – he is priceless.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwqWcn2gbTM&feature=related

  • Michael Bussee

    Off to be with family and friends. Maybe the beach? Ann, I do remember our conversation. I will try to stay on track with the promise I made about Alan and his family. I really do wish him well. Eddy, your suggestion to speak generically about the “d” word seems fine. I can do that. Thanks for understanding.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Simple fix….. Exodus should take the word ‘change’ out of their vocabulary.

    Sorry, Lynn. I disagree. Once we start going there — i.e., implying that change (a changed heart, a redeemed spirit, quite possibly leading to a substantially altered orientation) has no home at Exodus — it is but a short trip to affirmation of gay as a part of God’s plan. I cannot and will not sanction that as a person with dramatic and legitimate change in my life. I know I am not alone in my journey. And i simply do not have to “prove” it because God has no need of that. Man has created that scenario.

    I am for seeking in all honesty to define change as best as is humanly possible, and then to let it go, for heaven’s sake.

    This may sound a bit strong, but there is a time and place — a season — for everything. There is a time for the warm fuzzies of bridge-building and a time for the pointed truth. Christ-like love is the glue, but we don’t get to remove some of the parameters of that love because they make us feel uncomfortable.

    At some point, those of us who are truly engaged with our hearts, minds and souls in this life of helping, healing, bridging and exhorting have to look in the mirror and realize who and whose we are and where our line of demarcation is. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” nor I am ashamed to freely proclaim what change is in my life. God didn’t make me different from others in terms of what I can and can’t’ receive. Freedom is and always has been freely given, but not always freely received. Let us not forget the one and only Source.

    It’s Sunday and I cannot attend church. Forgive me for sermonizing. By now, you should be able to discern my heart fairly well. But only God really knows all of it, and that is OK with me.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Warren, I need to examine it and think it it more myself, but I think it possible that Karen has hit upon something that deserves more thought and a little soul-searching when she says she feels compelled to equate your suggestions for Exodus with your own sexual identity therapy mores.

  • Ann

    Michael,

    The promise was that you would no longer feel obligated to explain your divorce to anyone again unless you wanted to. It had nothing to do with Alan – it had to do with you and your well being and that of your family. Remember now?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    The Jami Breedlove story that AM shared here is a sobering call to accountability for all of us in ministry. Being well aware of my feet of clay and my past sins (though God has put them “as far as the east is from the west” and added a no-fishing sign, as Corrie Ten Boom used to say), I feel the grave weight of responsibility.

    If I do not constantly run to my Lord for strength and reaffirm His truth continually through the Word and remember His rod of correction or the “hot iron of affliction,” as Spurgeon said), then I leave myself open and vulnerable to a fall from grace. Since my past life was such a mess in this regard, it would be the height of insanity for me to do so, of course.

    How could I let down those who are counting on me? I cannot. I look in the hopeful eyes of those women I work with each week, and I find I have a love for them that is hard to explain. I see them more as God sees them, and I am broken all over again remembering his grace in my life. Thanks be to God for that realization! May I know it afresh every day. Amen.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I was for the longest time, but then my faith got ripped from me never to return (and not directly because I am gay, although I will admit that it might have been a contributing factor).

    Lynn, how did this come to be, i wonder? Satan and his agents in this world do have power, and that may include “ripping faith” (“… kill, steal and destroy”) from previous believers. But “never to return”? They don’t have that power unless you freely give it over. Why would you be that hopeless? I am deeply concerned and certainly humanly curious.

    People — imperfect Christians included — can wound us deeply. But I happen to believe that God never wastes such a wound.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I’ve often wondered how some of the blatant anti-gay websites can say things that are obviously and blatantly false. And when they are contacted, they just declare that they are true and you are wrong. And I think that it is because they have so convinced themselves that we are evil liars that anything we say, they’ll believe the opposite.

    Well, Timothy, I believe you may have forgotten about the two discussion threads I participated in at Ex-Gay Watch shortly after the launch of TheFormers.com (my “anti-gay” site, by your standard) last September. I seem to recall you being around for those. I had round after round sent downrange in my direction (forgive the shooting analogy — I’ve just been on a shooting range and loving it), telling me how wrong I was in making some claims, yada, yada. Did I give the pat “No, I am right and bug off” response? No, I actually made a few changes at the site in response. I thought some of what I heard had merit.

    But it’s OK. I am not offended. I think you really didi forget, or didn’t know. Can we please resist the temptation to typecast, however?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, you ask why I have withdrawn the request for your suggested revisions of the Exodus policy statements. Because I believe you would be driven by personal agenda, and it would therefore not be of much practical use in the effort to fine-tune Exodus’ messaging.

    It’s not only your dealings with Exodus, but it’s also your approach to other ministry or therapy options in the SSA arena. If it isn’t implied ridicule – the excorcism incident, for example – it’s constant criticism or professional disregard and disdain.

    Your sexual identity protocol is apparently a helpful tool for the folk you have worked with. And it will probably bring great benefit to a variety of professional therapeutic organizations if you can crack the nut of gay activism. But it is nonetheless just a tool, and to my mind far inferior to such faith-based tools as worship, Bible study and prayer.

    I entered this portion of the thread because I thought you were sincere about wanting to help Exodus better communicate its MESSAGE. Instead, you have made it very clear (Jul 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm) that your intent or desire is to change Exodus’ MISSION, that being to allign it more with your sexual identity model.

    By their very nature, professional therapeutic approaches, even those based in Christian faith, have to remain neutral about desired outcomes and accepting of sinful choices. That’s what it sometimes may take for a person to “live in congruence with his/her beliefs.” Pastoral counseling and faith-based programs have no such restrictions.

    If Exodus ever decides to “move more in your direction,” I will have to resign.

  • Mary

    @ Lynn David,

    I agree with Debbie. Taking change out of the equation is a very short trip to putting in all in God’s plan. Besides some people do change their sexuality – and significantly.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    The apostle Paul prayed for good eyesight but didn’t get it.

    Actually, we don’t know precisely what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, and I think God meant for it to remain that way — though that is my opinion and not deep theologlical statement. Some have speculated it was his poor eyesight, but nothing in Scripture makes that certain that I know of.

    But I do think Warren makes some good points in painting his picture of sin, so to speak. Ex-coveters or ex-anything pertaining to sinfulness? It’s a daily struggle in one way or another, for all of us. Lots of sins to cover. Karen also covered sanctification and the niggling behaviorial aspects of willful homosexuality in a thoughtful way, too.

    It all points to how important discipleship and fellowship with accountability are in the body of Christ (the Church).

    Shutting up now. I’ve said way too much in this marathon read of the blog. :)

  • http://www.psychologyandchristianity.wordpress.com Mark

    Karen,

    I saw your request, but it was apparently about 100+ comments ago, so I’m not sure if it’s still an interest to you. But in Fort Worth (or Nashville) I distinguished SSA, same-sex orientation, and gay identity, and noted the percentages that appear to pertain to SSA and same-sex orientation in national samples. More people report SSA than a homosexual orientation, and not everyone who experiences SSA or a homosexual orientation identifies themselves as gay. If you are interested in more details, I wrote about it in an article that appeared in Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling (in 2005, I believe).

    As for the “discovery” versus “integration” discussion, I was making a distinction between two types of metaphors. I think the “discovery” metaphor is more common in the gay community in which some of our research suggested that gay Christians reported that their SSA signaled who they “really are” – that their SSA was more central to their sense of themselves as a person. They talked about authenticity as an expression of themselves as gay. When it came to sexual identity development, they could talk about discovering their gay identity.

    In contrast, other Christian sexual minorities appeared to experience their SSA as a part of their experience but not a defining aspect of their identity (at least not in the same way). They might attribute their SSA to the Fall or offer some other account. In terms of sexual identity development, they seemed to be saying that they could either integrate their experience of SSA into a gay identity or not, which led me to think of “integration” as another metaphor or at least way of describing identity labeling.

  • AM

    Warren,

    From folowing the posts, I have gotten the impression that Exodus is trying to win you back. I wondered if this was my cynical mind but after reading today’s posts, I think not.

    You’ve been a great ally to the ex-gay, conservative movement, but you have one problem. You think for yourself. :-) I do, too, which got me into less than positive conversations with many of them: I asked too many questions, probed too much. Wasn’t welcome.

    I’ve noticed going back many years that once Exodus became public with its ad campaign, that one was either for them or against them. No middle ground. Now with people such as Wendy Gritter, Andrew Marin, and Warren (I believe), there has been a reevaluation taking place. Exodus is no longer the gold standard for Christians who are gay. Too much information has been disseminated; the obscurity ex-gay ministries operated in has now come to light whether for better or worse (for them).

  • Eddy

    AM–

    Could you please explain your impression–that you claim to have from following the posts– that Exodus is trying to win Warren back?

    I am not a part of Exodus and have no concerns whatsoever if Warren is ‘back’. Karen Booth’s comments to Warren, some of them a bit testy even, don’t seem to be part of a ploy to win him back?

    I’m not sure if Debbie Thurman is Exodus-connected but her comments didn’t seem to have a ‘win Warren back’ agenda either.

    It seems to me that you are reading more into these discussions than there is. I’ve also considered the possibility that you may actually be trying to ‘fan some flames’…your first query about the divorce issue seemed innocent enough; the second seemed to be an attempt to ‘stir something up’. But that’s me…I’m the suspicious type. You could relieve my suspicions by citing what it is you’re read that seems like a ploy to ‘win Warren back’.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Karen said:

    Warren, you ask why I have withdrawn the request for your suggested revisions of the Exodus policy statements. Because I believe you would be driven by personal agenda, and it would therefore not be of much practical use in the effort to fine-tune Exodus’ messaging.

    What would I stand to gain? I don’t know what you mean by personal agenda. I do have a point of view and we were discussing on my blog various aspects of ministry to SSA folks. I expressed my point of view. Again, what is my “personal agenda?”

    It’s not only your dealings with Exodus, but it’s also your approach to other ministry or therapy options in the SSA arena. If it isn’t implied ridicule – the excorcism incident, for example – it’s constant criticism or professional disregard and disdain.

    Ironic. This thread is about something that Exodus did that I really like. My views are not hidden behind an agenda. I diagree with reparative theories and think families can be really harmed by them. I know people who have been harmed. I see their perspective. The data do not line up. I have no reason to oppose these things other than I disagree with them.

    Your sexual identity protocol is apparently a helpful tool for the folk you have worked with. And it will probably bring great benefit to a variety of professional therapeutic organizations if you can crack the nut of gay activism. But it is nonetheless just a tool, and to my mind far inferior to such faith-based tools as worship, Bible study and prayer.

    SIT is a therapy perspective and has an application there. It is not a change paradigm. However, a potential ministry application would place congruence with faith above attempts to change as a valued end. Worship, Bible study and prayer are not means to an end (change) but part and parcel of congruence. They are ends, not means.

    In the recent article regarding Bryce Faulkner, Alan Chambers was quoted as followa – “Chambers, who is married with two children, says he continues to be “tempted” by homosexual urges, but said he’s decided that it wasn’t something that matched his faith.”

    That is congruence.

    I entered this portion of the thread because I thought you were sincere about wanting to help Exodus better communicate its MESSAGE. Instead, you have made it very clear (Jul 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm) that your intent or desire is to change Exodus’ MISSION, that being to allign it more with your sexual identity model.

    At times, Exodus leaders seem like they are messaging according to the congruence model (as with Alan’s description). Other times, as with the material you put up, the message seems like change is the result of sanctification. I was an will continue to advocate for my position.

    By their very nature, professional therapeutic approaches, even those based in Christian faith, have to remain neutral about desired outcomes and accepting of sinful choices. That’s what it sometimes may take for a person to “live in congruence with his/her beliefs.” Pastoral counseling and faith-based programs have no such restrictions.

    I agree with that.

    If Exodus ever decides to “move more in your direction,” I will have to resign.

    I still don’t think you know what my direction is.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Dr. Y, I found the article reference you cited in the JPCC journal (2005 Fall;59(3):201-11), but don’t know the best way to access it, being a nonprofessional (but with close ties to the AACC and Tim Clinton). Could I request some assistance from you in obtaining it? I’d very much like to see it. I could go through my academic library, but that might take a little while. Thanks for mentioning it.

    Eddy, I know some Exodus folks and talk to them, and my SSA group and our ministry (Freedom Ministries at Thomas Road Baptist Church) is an Exodus affiliate, FYI. I don’t see Warren as a “prize” to be won. He is his own person, and I think he is better off that way (and so are we). He tells it as he believes it to be. I tend to be cut off that cloth myself.

    I am guided by Holy Scripture, and will ever be seeking to conform myself and my own ministry to it. I am not guided by any political leanings and eschew them for the most part, as I have said before. FWIW.

    By the way, I noted some quotes from Alan Chambers’ latest book being tossed about in this thread. I just wanted to say again I like the book. I also think Yvette Schneider and Mike Goecke had some very good things to say in their respective chapters. Naturally, both those would be quite meaningful for me, but it was really Mike’s that nailed me as my story is the female counterpart to his. I finished reading that chapter as my plane was landing in Hartford the other day, and I was fighting back tears. He brought so much of it back to me.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Worship, Bible study and prayer are not means to an end (change) but part and parcel of congruence. They are ends, not means.

    Warren, this is one of those statements of yours I’d like to see explained a bit. I think I see what you are saying, but not sure it fully works as you have stated it here. Are they not also means, i.e., a process of getting somewhere? Sure have been for me.

    I do get the congruence thing, but if it works with Alan saying SSA doesn’t fit with his faith, how does it work when another gay-identified Christian says it does with his? Then, we are running into a scriptural nightmare. I am not saying this to insult someone like Michael (likable brute that he is)l, but to point out what must be pointed out. Who disciples the gay Christian, and according to what doctrines? Sorry. I can’t go there with you, if that’s where you are going.

    I do believe Exodus has struggled with congruence in their message. Different folks seem to be saying different things, and that falls into Alan’s lap as director. If I were his PR person, I’d point that out. Wanna hire me as a consultant, Alan. :)

  • AM

    Eddy,

    First of all, I have no desire to “fan some flames”. I have neither the desire, nor energy, nor heart to do so. I’ve got enough challenges in my own life, living as a single person — financially, socially, etc.. to be interested in causing a ruckus. Besides, there is already an ever burning firestorm here, that none from me is needed. :-0

    I’m not sure what kind of quotes you want me to pull up (as though I am in a court of law) regarding what I am perceiving. I think that the Exodus folk want and need an ally in Warren. Warren, from his experience as a counselor, is not willing to change his hard won impressions from treating ssa clients. Impasse. Karen and Debbie see change — as in the heterosexual variety — as an integral part of the message of Exodus. Not necessary for obedience and holiness, but not totally irrelevant, either. And then Scripture gets added as proof of their positions — everyone’s positions. I’m reading as best as I can what these folks are trying to say — which is what any human being can do.

    I wasn’t going to mention it, but since you bring it up: my impression, Eddy, is that your perceived failure of Michael’s has deeply affected your life, and you don’t want to let it go. As an outsider, I kept seeing it mentioned over and over and over again. It was pretty obvious that this was more than about a political dialogue. Personally, I think you feel that Michael betrayed you, personally and your hope for change. You mentioned in one post awhile back how “in awe” the leadership was over Michael’s marriage and assumed genuine change.

    That is why I brought up my experience with Jami Breedlove: the sinking feelings that I experienced, the betrayal, maybe even deceit as it was obvious that something was amiss in ex-gay goings on. I had used that illustration as a way to show that, 12 years later, I could ruminate over Jami’s choices to leave her husband, ministry etc…and hold her on some kind of a pedestal as I think you may do with Michael. It takes a conscious choice to move on.

    Michael Bussee is not the only one to return to a “gay life”. So many miinstries and leaders have gone defunct and yes, been covered up for. We can blame the Wayne Besen’s of the world, for example, that they are paparazzi, but if John Paulk chooses to enter a gay bar, he is making a free will choice. At a very inconvenient moment.

    And, Eddy, we know nothing of your life after you left Exodus — your personal relationships, etc… We don’t know what choices you have made in the past 30 years, even if they were private ones (i.e. no media cameras). And we don’t ask out of respect for your privacy. Why shouldn’t Michael have the same courtesy? Because it was “inconvenient” that he left at the time that he did, with media cameras aroll?

    As far as my impression that Exodus wants to keep Warren on an ally list, that is my gut feeling. I do not know if he is listed as an Exodus referral, if he is in danger of being removed as an Exodus referral, etc… Those things are not within my scope of knowledge.

    It seems to me that there is a very strong black and white line: you are either for Exodus and what it stands for in a non-negotiable way or you are not. Witness the ministries that have left: long standiing ones: Where Grace Abounds, New Directions for example. I don’t think we will ever know what discussions were had in these circumstances. And I think we are naiive if we think that many discussions did not take place.

    Maybe Warren would be the best person to answer what his role and involvement with Exodus has been and is. And if that has shifted.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    AM – I have no official role at Exodus. For a brief while I was involved in their counselor network but am not now. I have presented at their local and national conferences in the past.

    Debbie – Note this:

    Exodus could be very single minded. Help people live in accord with a non-gay-affirming Christian sexual ethic. Period. One need not seek change; finding it does not guarantee a Christian sexual ethic. One need only seek support in community. Make it about that.

    No nightmares.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Debbie – PS – Means and ends. I suppose spiritual activities are considered means if by that you think of them as means to relate to God but I do not think they should be viewed as a means (techniques) to sexual reorientation. Karen had picked those out as if in my view of ministry applications, those activities would not be involved.

  • http://www.psychologyandchristianity.wordpress.com Mark

    Debbie,

    I’m out of the office for a couple of weeks, so your academic library might be faster. If not, just send me an email with your mailing address at issi (at) regent (dot) edu, and I’ll try to get you a reprint when I return.

  • Eddy

    Thanks, AM.

    No, I’m not personally affected by Michael’s change. It seems perfectly logical to me, when someone has had such a dramatic turn from something they not only believed in but were a leader in, to explore how that turn came to be.

    I’m not picking on Michael…but he does get to bring his former partner (since deceased) into the conversation as an evidence of the ‘bliss’ and his progeny as an evidence of the fullness in his life…it simply strikes me as odd that there’s a ‘no fishing’ sign posted if we want to explore the parts that weren’t so blissful. If he didn’t bring them into the conversations, I’d likely not ask so many questions wanting to ‘flesh out’ the balance of the story.

    Reminiscent of Cheney’s lesbian daughter. He’d mention her from time to time in an effort to show that he was broader in scope than the media portrayals. The fact that he had a lesbian daughter was no public secret. Yet, when Al Gore mentioned her, there were cries of ‘outrage’ and ‘violating personal space’. So, for me, it’s either public or private. If it’s private, then the person who regards it as private shouldn’t be permitted to bring a one-sided portrayal into the public conversation.

    BTW, if you’ll review, you will note that I did not inquire or probe about the big “D”. I made an observation entirely in keeping with my manifest viewpoint: I believe homosexuality is ‘fallen’. In this case, despite whatever bliss may have resulted, there was also the divorce. I did not elaborate. i did not say that it wasn’t ‘washed and forgiven’. I simply cited it as a major difference between the two pictures. (For a gay man to also be a father, there will be hoops to jump through.)

    Alan’s experience is not colored by divorce. There’s a wife there in the background with the kids…they are raising them together as a husband and wife.

    See, no questions…no probing. Just an allusion to a public fact that fleshes out the comment.

    But I’m sure we’ll likely still disagree.

    Re the attempts to ‘win Warren back’…I’ll just have to let that comment pass. It looked like an ordinary conversation to me and I’m usually pretty sensitive to tugs and appeals. If anything, it looked like they were drawing a line in the sand and getting a bit confrontational NOT trying to curry favor.

    Again, we can disagree.

    Michael,

    Please understand how my brain works. I am not discussing the divorce; I am addressing the dynamics of that conversation. It’s difficult to do that without referring to which conversation it was. At this point, I am trying to let it drop and move on.

  • Michael Bussee

    It simply strikes me as odd that there’s a ‘no fishing’ sign posted if we want to explore the parts that weren’t so blissful. If he didn’t bring them into the conversations, I’d likely not ask so many questions wanting to ‘flesh out’ the balance of the story.

    The sign is down, Eddy. What would you like to know? Explore all you want.

  • Eddy

    Warren/Anyone–

    If Exodus allows that some might become heterosexual but is clear that that isn’t the goal of their counseling or group sessions, can we rightly term their therapies ‘reparative’? It seems that ‘change of orientation’ is central to the definitions of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapies.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Eddy said:

    If Exodus allows that some might become heterosexual but is clear that that isn’t the goal of their counseling or group sessions, can we rightly term their therapies ‘reparative’? It seems that ‘change of orientation’ is central to the definitions of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapies.

    Good Qs. The words reparative, reorientation and conversion are not often used precisely.

    Reparative refers to the approach of Joe Nicolosi and anyone who believes homosexuality derives from trauma of some kind whether it be from the same-sex parent or sexual abuse. Nicolosi says you dont get a homosexual if you dont traumatize the child. Reparative therapy believes you address the reparative drive which is the homosexual desire (trying to repair the defensive detachment).

    Reorientation means just about any approach to changing sexual orientation and as such means nothing very specific – thus Exodus might be said to promote reorientation.

    Conversion therapy is more of a negative term used by opponents of change efforts. Some neutral folks use it as well.

  • Eddy

    No, MIchael–

    Your response totally misses my point. I thought I was clear. It is only appropriate to either speak to those things or to ‘go fishing’ when they’ve been brought into the discussion by the one with the pond. You didn’t do that and I don’t plan to start a tradition of ‘fishing out of season’.

    As I said quite specifically in my aside to you, my comment was an explanation of the dynamics that lead to the discussion of a personal issue and was NOT directed at your personal issues. I also stated quite specifically that MY comment was a simple citing of the fact. Why both you and AM see that as a probing is beyond me. I asked nothing; I wasn’t fishing; I simply cited your divorce as something that differed from Alan’s situation.

  • Eddy

    Thanks Warren,

    Wikipedia doesn’t seem to grasp the distinctions…and I believe, that even many of us, think of reparative therapy (singular) as Nicolosi’s brand. It never really hit me until you used the phrase ‘reparative therapies’.

    My suspicion is that with the general dismissal of Exodus and ex-gays, clinicians and professionals might not bother to see the distinctions you listed or to use the words appropriately. I don’t know how to fix that BUT with our concern here about the use of words that can be misleading, it seems that the use of any of the three terms needs to be further defined when they are used.

    So, wait a minute, do they even have a name for therapies that offer ex-gay support without pushing heterosexuality as the goal? LOL. It would be real tacky if Exodus cleaned up their confusing language and misleading statements and then would continue to be labelled as having reorientation as their only goal.

  • Michael Bussee

    I’m not picking on Michael…but he does get to bring his former partner (since deceased) into the conversation as an evidence of the ‘bliss’ and his progeny as an evidence of the fullness in his life

    I have done no such thing. I have never brought Gary into the conversation as “evidence of my bliss”. I don’t think I ever described. or even implied, that my post-EXODUS life has been all “bliss”. I’d say, it’s been about 50/50.

    But I do”my progeny” into the discussion as “an evidence of the fullness in his life” because she is. :) You would too, I suspect, if you had a child you were very proud of. It’s just a father thing. And to make your life feel even fuller, you also tend to carry pictures of your Grandkids to show off to other grandparents. It’s what we do…

  • Michael Bussee

    I simply cited your divorce as something that differed from Alan’s situation.

    Well, of course it differs, Eddy. He’s a married father and I am a divorced father. Apart from the similarity that we both love our kids, I am sure there are many differences.

  • Michael Bussee

    Your comments suggest that I have been trying to paint a a real rosey picture of my life-since-EXODUS — using my deceased lover and my daughter to do it — and that I have been glossing over or have been less-than-forthcoming (putting up “no fishing” signs) about the painful parts. It is simply not true — and I resent the implication .

  • Lynn David

    Warren wrote…. I do believe sexual identity ministry should place value on congruence over change. If Exodus moved even more in that direction (actually, I believe it has over the last 2-3 years), I would be glad.

    It has? From its counsellors (EPCs) all that Exodus requires of the concerning homosexuality is that: “…applicants must demonstrate experience in the area of providing counseling for the issue of homosexuality.” Nothing concerning the mode of counselling concerning sexual orientation. Exodus seems is more worried that someone follow their religious doctrine.

    .

    So I decided to visit the websites of whatever counsellors I could find via the Exodus website in CA, IL, NY, and TX. I was surprised to find so few, and so I went looking in FL, MA, MI, and PA. And there were none in those states that dealt with adults (2 in FL that dealt with those under the age of 18). Well Ohio then, ah, one with a website. Of the one’s with websites I found that most were affiliated with Narth or had articles appended to their sites which spoke of the Nicolosian conjectures about homosexuality. Only with one did I find, “Holiness is the goal, not abstinence or heterosexuality.”

    .

    But then I’m an atheist, so what do I care about holiness were I interested in doing something about my orientation/attractions? But the point is [well, other than it seems there aren't enough Exodus affiliated counsellors to really worry about] that it doesn’t appear that the EPCs of Exodus are getting in line with the ministerial umbrella.

  • Michael Bussee

    I don’t know how to fix that BUT with our concern here about the use of words that can be misleading, it seems that the use of any of the three terms needs to be further defined when they are used

    Is there an echo in here or something? Isn’t that kinda what I have been saying? “Words can be misleading” and “need to be further defined when they are used…” Hmmm… I am sure I have heard that somewhere before. Wait. I think I said something lke that! :)

    Oh no!, not defining terms again. There goes kum ba yah down the crapper. Can’t we just agree to disagree on the terms we use — and stop demanding that others accept our definitions?

  • Lynn David

    Debbie Thurman…… Sorry, Lynn. I disagree. Once we start going there — i.e., implying that change (a changed heart, a redeemed spirit, quite possibly leading to a substantially altered orientation) has no home at Exodus — it is but a short trip to affirmation of gay as a part of God’s plan. I cannot and will not sanction that as a person with dramatic and legitimate change in my life. I know I am not alone in my journey. And i simply do not have to “prove” it because God has no need of that. Man has created that scenario.

    My point was simply about the word as used in the singular, such as: “you too can change!” My point is describe that change, exactly what it is. You can describe it in words much better than using the word change. And you even started to do so… “redeemed spirit.” Then there is the statements of Alan Chambers (paraphrasing): ‘working towards holiness.’

    It’s Sunday and I cannot attend church. Forgive me for sermonizing. By now, you should be able to discern my heart fairly well. But only God really knows all of it, and that is OK with me.

    It’s ok…. it all slides off my back anymore…..

    Debbie Thurman again…. Lynn, how did this come to be, i wonder? Satan and his agents in this world do have power, and that may include “ripping faith” (“… kill, steal and destroy”) from previous believers. But “never to return”? They don’t have that power unless you freely give it over. Why would you be that hopeless? I am deeply concerned and certainly humanly curious.

    Excuse me, but LMqAO!! Sorry about that laugh; but I don’t believe the superstitions, demons, or myths any more.

    .

    The ripping was actually a process of a month in which I came to terms with what I already had come to reason, that there exists no supernaturalities, no gods. I came to find that I was the same person with the same spirituality. That human spirituality is a purely natural aspect of the interplay of man’s self-awareness and his emotions. Others in the past have simply equated those experiences with the supernatural and thus gods and religions have evolved with man’s culture. No, nothing has been given power over me; more than likely something – the cultural idea/need of a god – has lost that power it previously held over me.

    .

    I, however, recognize that many need that solace, and for some it seems they would not be good people without it. For that reason I am glad that religion still plays a part in the lives of those who need it. BTW – I still have faith, that faith is in human beings, family, friends; that faith which is likely founded in the mother-child bond. But I no longer need faith in a god to tell me who those other humans are in whom I should put my trust or consider myself in nationalistic concert.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Lynn – I dont know much about the counselors although the guy who ran the counselors network before the current guy had endorsed out framework. Come to think of it, the current guy is a NARTH board member – very nice guy but I think he is a reparative therapist.

    I was mainly referring to the statements made by Alan to the effect that congruence with his faith is what he aimed for.

    Michael – Kumbayah may live on since I think we prob agree about the reparative therapy definitions.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen – Don’t leave me hanging…sincere questions – what is my agenda?

  • Michael Bussee

    Yes, t does live on, not so much because of that, but because I am satisifed (and sunburnt) after a relaxing day on the beach — watching the hawks circle on the updrafts off the ocean.

    Not in the mood to quibble. Think i will take a tepid bath in iced tea, put some aloe on the warm spots and say my prayers. Nite all.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    My words simply want the picture painted without bias; other bloggers, perhaps not you, have offered the defense (especially in support of gay marriage) but gays have kids too; gays and lesbians make excellent parents; anything straights can do gays can do too (well, almost). I try not to be a respecter of persons. When a comparison is made, count on me (if I’m reading at the time) to point out any dissimilarities that I see.

    Very good of you to note that there was an echo. Now, let’s see if we’ll attempt to hold the psychological and clinical community to the same standard of clarity and definition that we demand from Exodus. LOL. That was my point…and has been all along…we demand something from Exodus that we don’t demand from their opponents.

    I’m headed for bed…somewhere those nuns are still singing!

  • Ann

    Michael,

    Did you read the comment I wrote to you yesterday at 11:35? I just wanted to make sure it clarified my earlier comment from 10:40.

  • Michael Bussee

    That was my point…and has been all along…we demand something from Exodus that we don’t demand from their opponents.

    Well,we should.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael, Did you read the comment I wrote to you yesterday at 11:35? I just wanted to make sure it clarified my earlier comment from 10:40.

    Yes, Ann, I read both. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Eddy

    Thanks for you agreement, Michael.

    In terms of confusion, I first noted several weeks ago that people seemed to be using ‘reparative therapy’ (which I thought was the specific name to Nicolosi’s therapy) generically…applying it to all Exodus or ex-gay therapies. I wondered how many would presume that all of Exodus subscribed to Nicolosi’s model and how many would think that that was the only model being employed within Exodus. So I saw the potential for bigtime confusion right away.

    So many don’t grasp Exodus’ ‘looseknit coalition of affiliates’ and tend to see Exodus as one big, like-minded entity. They miss the fact that affiliates may have entirely different points of view re the individual focus of their ministry (evangelism, counseling, teaching, various combinations), their counseling methods and goals and the focus of their teachings. So, to bunch them all under the ill-fitting label ‘reparative therapy’ just seems like a step backward into the land of confusion. Many will presume that they are all ‘Nicolosian’.

    I don’t think the term ‘conversion therapy’ is even worth rescuing. That word ‘conversion’ seems to speak to a conversion of sexual identity/orientation but it’s also the same word that applies to a change of religion or the embracing of the born again experience. (One ‘converts’ to Catholicism. I got ‘converted.) Somehow it feels like it is trying to stick ‘born again change experience’ all into one box…yet apply the term only to homosexuality. (Wouldn’t a Christian AA or overeater’s program be ‘conversion therapy’ if ‘born again change experience’ were a complete definition?)

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren,

    Why would you assume I don’t understand your “direction?” I have heard you present 2 times, one quite extensively in Nashville. I’ve been following this blog for over 2 years. I’ve read your paper on SIT and many other things you’ve written and posted online. I’m guessing I have about as much knowledge as anyone else on this thread (apart from you of course) about your worldview.

    What I was surprised and disappointed about was the discovery that you want Exodus to be made over into your SIT model. Up to that point, I had not really heard you articulate that clearly. I thought you simply wanted Exodus to be more honest, precise and understandable in its message, which really is NOT congruent with yours.

    It was one of those “duh!” moments for me. And helped me understand better why you are persona non grata with some of the ex-gay/post-gay leaders I know.

    I’m puzzled as to why you won’t recognize your “agenda,” your desire and intent for that (Exodus’s makeover) to happen.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Mark,

    Thank you for the clarification. I talk about your metaphors and the statistical studies in my “starting ministry” workshop in the part about understanding and communicating with/about the culture. I wanted to make sure I understood them properly.

  • Evan

    @Michael Bussee and Eddy

    I think I was the one who broke the spirit of Kumbayah on the other thread. Sorry, it wasn’t my intention. I’d gotten a piece of information by science wire and just had to say it. But I see the spirit is rekindled…

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    AM,

    Eddy responded well to your statement about Exodus trying to “win Warren back,” and I’d just add again that you shouldn’t interpret my remarks to be representative or reflective of Exodus leadership.

    But I’ve seen no evidence that Exodus wants to “reclaim” him or his positions in any way. Some I’ve spoken to, like me, appreciate and respect much of the work he has done. But since his methods don’t allow for a morally conclusive outcome, I think they support and endorse other methods – mainly faith-based, but some therapeutic – that do. Even though its also recognized that some of them – reparative therapy theory, for example – have shortcomings and limitations.

    For other leaders, however, he is or is quickly becoming persona non grata. Not for the reasons you suggest, that he is a free thinker, but because he is perceived as quite the opposite – close-minded and even hostile to opposing views and differing ministry perspectives. He is also viewed by some as a “squelcher of hope,” to coin a phrase. Since this thread, I now better understand that some of those leaders have also probably better discerned his desire to do an Exodus “make-over.”

  • Ann

    Karen made an earlier comment that was important to some and not to others – it referred to surrendering. It stops all the “trying” that didn’t work and brings a sense of “acknowledging” that the issue we cannot control is bigger than our efforts and only surrendering the issue to God can put it in HIS hands and separate it from ourselves. I believe this is the foundation for all the 12 step programs, isn’t it? How can any meaningful change occur, regardless of what that means to each individual, until a separation occurs? Perhaps Michael can shed some light on how Exodus got it’s name but it seems to me it means an “exiting or leaving or separating” from a current place or situation or set of circumstances. It does not promise or even implicate anything other than that. It seems to me that if Exodus can focus as a ministry that supports individuals who have an ongoing desire to live their lives in congruence with their values and /or faith, without the expectation or promise of heterosexuality, then they are doing a great service with integrity to those that come to them.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Debbie, I agree that worship, Bible study and prayer are means, not ends. And the majority of people I know who have experienced transformation in their sexual lives do too. So, I’d like also to see Warren expand on this a bit.

    My take is that he has a very rationalistic faith. (That’s not a criticism, simply an observation.) My faith is more supernatural. It’s another place he and I part company.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    AM writes, “Karen and Debbie see change — as in the heterosexual variety — as an integral part of the message of Exodus. Not necessary for obedience and holiness, but not totally irrelevant, either.”

    Thanks so much. I agree with your interpretation, and your ability to state it with fewer words than I would have used is delightful.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Ann said:

    It seems to me that if Exodus can focus as a ministry that supports individuals who have an ongoing desire to live their lives in congruence with their values and /or faith, without the expectation or promise of heterosexuality, then they are doing a great service with integrity to those that come to them.

    With the understanding that “faith” means orthodox Christian faith, then I think that sums up a nice vision for ministry.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen – Are you confusing the SIT framework written with Mark Yarhouse as what I think Exodus ought to do in ministry?

  • Eddy

    Thanks, Evan.

    I don’t actually recall any specific comment ‘breaking’ the kumbaya so please don’t blame yourself.

    And, in all honesty, I don’t see the kumbaya as broken at all. I fully expected that it would be tested and I’m rather pleased with the way both Michael and I have responded to that testing. Do we miss each other’s meanings sometimes? Sure–we’ve had a long history of doing that. Do we occasionally get a touch too personal? Again…a long history. But, what I see that excites me is that our ‘little detours’ are now only for a comment or two rather than for fifty or a hundred. We do actually manage to hear each other and to communicate respectfully…and in a much shorter timeframe. And I believe that the respect we are beginning to demonstrate for each other, as people, is real.

    Even when having a normal discussion, there’s enough of the debater in both Michael and I, that there WILL BE occasional sparring. Hopefully, though, it will be the sparring over facts and ideas rather than motives and personal agendas.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I hadn’t seen Warren’s brief statement about “means and ends” before I posted the above.

    Warren, I’d still like you to expand on it a bit more. And on my comments about rationalistic and supernatural faith. I personally don’t agree that the spiritual activities mentioned are only a means to relate to God; they are also a means for God to supernaturally intervene in our lives, bringing healing, freedom and transformation through the work of His Holy Spirit. I’m not convinced that you believe the latter.

    I hope I have sufficiently answered how I and others might perceive you have an “agenda” regarding your SIT model. If not, let me know and I’ll try to clarify.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    If it appears that I am leaving anyone “hanging” this week, it will be do to this: I have visitors, including a 2 and 8 year old. (My husband and I live very quiet lives with our cats.) I’ll be on half-day vacation and will not have the freedom I did last week to read and post.

  • Eddy

    Karen–

    Am I correct in thinking that if we could somehow ‘bridge’ these two statements, we be getting somewhere?

    It seems to me that if Exodus can focus as a ministry that supports individuals who have an ongoing desire to live their lives in congruence with their values and /or faith, without the expectation or promise of heterosexuality, then they are doing a great service with integrity to those that come to them.

    change — as in the heterosexual variety — as an integral part of the message of Exodus. Not necessary for obedience and holiness, but not totally irrelevant, either.”

    I think what I’m hearing–what you are objecting to from Warren–is ‘without the expectation,,,of heterosexuality’. You are in agreement (I think) that Exodus should not promise heterosexuality but you don’t feel that Exodus has a responsibility to limit individual expectations. Heterosexuality may not be God’s intended goal for all but it certainly is for some. Therefore, Exodus should not set up heterosexuality as some sort of godly measure but neither should it be silent about the fact that God is capable of anything…including changing a sexual orientation.

    Am I close???

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Eddy,

    Your’re close but not exactly on the mark. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I want to try to recap and give a “systematic” answer to what I’ve been trying to communicate in this thread. I may not have that completed today – hubby on his way to the airport as we speak.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Just one more quick post to try to clarify. When I say that I perceive Warren wants to make Exodus over into his SIT model, I don’t mean literally, that he wants us to use his therapeutic methods. I mean I think he would like Exodus to adopt/embrace the underlying philosophy and approach.

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    I would just also like to add that it is not Exodus’ responsibility to say that heterosexual potential, in any form, is an impossiblilty either. It is not for any of us to say what God has planned for our lives after we separate from our prior way living and being – all we really have to know is that we have an ongoing desire to live in congruence with our faith and values that align themselves with God. To have a higher goal than that is really not trusting that God has a plan for us and it will be ongoing and unfolding in His perfect timing – IMHO

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen wrote:

    Warren, I’d still like you to expand on it a bit more. And on my comments about rationalistic and supernatural faith. I personally don’t agree that the spiritual activities mentioned are only a means to relate to God; they are also a means for God to supernaturally intervene in our lives, bringing healing, freedom and transformation through the work of His Holy Spirit. I’m not convinced that you believe the latter.

    I have been schooled in the Reformed tradition so perhaps my phrasing makes you think “frozen chosen” but in fact, I believe in a dynamic, personal relationship with God. I lead worship at my church, am an elder there and believe that God is at work in His people. I am not exactly sure what I have said that would make you think otherwise.

    I hope I have sufficiently answered how I and others might perceive you have an “agenda” regarding your SIT model. If not, let me know and I’ll try to clarify.

    This still confuses me. The SIT model is applicable to a professional therapy context. It recognizes the reality of a person’s inner world, both sexuality and religious commitment. Clients are not coerced with unproved theories (either environmental or biological). They set the value direction. A variety of outcomes are expected.

    In ministry, however, the value direction and beliefs of the ministry are determinative of potential options and outcomes. My “agenda” (I think people use that word when they think you have bad motives, hence the scare quotes) is to promote a ministry model which makes congruence with beliefs the central focus as opposed to categorical change in orientation (from gay to straight).

    The types of changes that do occur are valued changes and may derive from sanctification but this is the kind of thing that is much more personal and individual. If I talked about change in sexuality in a mission statement, I would make it more in line with changing to be in harmony with the teaching of the Bible and not in terms of orientation. That leaves it open for the great diversity of outcomes seen among Exodus participants.

    I am aware as I am writing this that, to an outsider, this must seem like splitting hairs.

    However, I want to see if we can get clear that what I am advocating for ministry is not what I advocate for professional therapy.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Debbie – Note this:

    Exodus could be very single minded. Help people live in accord with a non-gay-affirming Christian sexual ethic. Period. One need not seek change; finding it does not guarantee a Christian sexual ethic. One need only seek support in community. Make it about that.

    No nightmares.

    Duly noted, Warren. One “need” not seek change, and some will not. That’s fine. Seek holiness, as Alan says, and not heterosexuality as a goal. See what the Almighty is interested in doing in a given life. Does He want some to keep some SSA as a thorn? Does He want to glorify Himself and give hope through changed lives that include reorientation to hetrosexuality? We don’t get to make that call. His will be done, not ours.

    You are not saying, of course, that one “ought” not seek change (reorientation). Otherwise we would be disenfranchising those who clearly desire to go that route, whether or not they ever et there. They have the rest of their lives for the journey, so who knows? Since there are so many “homosexualities” out there (as Mark Yarhouse was apparently saying in his article), those capable of reorientation change are entitled to seek it.

    I think there could be some legitimate concerns that Exodus or other ministries might leave the impression they are moving away from supporting possible change in orientation (people hear what they want to hear) if they make “congruence” their mantra. How many people don’t even know what that means? There is an onus to completely explain congruence and community support/Christian discipleship the same as there is to explain change.

    It takes more than support in community, BTW. It also takes those spiritual “means” to a deeper relationship with God, and consequently, whatever change comes with it.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Karen wrote:

    Just one more quick post to try to clarify. When I say that I perceive Warren wants to make Exodus over into his SIT model, I don’t mean literally, that he wants us to use his therapeutic methods. I mean I think he would like Exodus to adopt/embrace the underlying philosophy and approach.

    Might be good to hear what you think the “underlying philosophy and approach” are? Perhaps my comments above clarified it for you and we crossed comments but I would like to get that cleared up.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Excuse me, but LMqAO!! Sorry about that laugh; but I don’t believe the superstitions, demons, or myths any more.

    Well, Lynn, you are certainly free to laugh off any body parts you want. Since they were not created by God in your view, you won’t be missing much, I guess. Brings to mind C.S. Lewis’ analogy in “Mere Christianity” of the self-sufficient person sitting out on a tree limb, sawing it off. Or Pascal’s wager. If you are right, you lose nothing. If you are wrong, you lose everything. Not a laughing matter, in my view. Enjoy your free will. I won’t ask about your ripped-our faith again. I probably will pray for you, however.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Sorry. I just realized I was kind of parroting some other remarks here that others had already interjected further down the chain. Seems like some of us are thinking in the same direction.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    My “agenda” (I think people use that word when they think you have bad motives, hence the scare quotes) is to promote a ministry model which makes congruence with beliefs the central focus as opposed to categorical change in orientation (from gay to straight).

    I agree with Warren that agenda is not necessarily a negative word.

    However, I really would like to see you, Warren, clarify what you mean when you say folks ought to be able to pursue congruence with their beliefs with regard to their SSA/homosexuality/gayness. You speak of a “Christian sexual ethic” without even clarifying that. That phrase is about a mile wide.

    What of the gay Christian who truly believes it is OK to be actively gay — that God made him/her that way? That Scripture even says it’s OK? How does your reformed theology bring Scripture into that picture?

    I am not accusing, just trying to understand more completely what you are saying. These are not sentiments to be toyed with. We’re talking about real people’s lives. So, we have the responsibility to dig until we have either a consensus or a parting of views. We can’t be wishy-washy in any way.

    Ministry and academia/therapy have natural suspicions of each other, it seems to me. Checks and balances are not a bad thing.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Long post to follow. I don’t use quotes as scare quotes, as in “agenda.” I mean I don’t have a better word to us at the moment or I’m using a kind of cultural catch-term and don’t have time to give a precise meaning. It’s not al all to imply motive.

    But the fact that I even have to explain this strikes me as kind of silly.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Should have been “don’t have a better word to USE … “

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I’m posting this long post without having the time to sufficiently read all the posts added since I took a break. Company’s almost here from the airport and I’ll have to break soon.

    I believe Exodus official belief and policy is congruent with what I’m posting here, but I again remind people that these are my personal opinions.

    Here’s what I believe …

    Heterosexual marriage is God’s revealed will for human sexual expression. Any intimate behavior other than that is sinful, disobedient to and dishonoring of God and inherently harmful to the individual human being.

    Jesus indicates many, many times that the inner life and being – thoughts, emotions and will – are more important than outer behavior since the two were often incongruent. Thoughts and emotions are generally neutral in and of themselves until acted upon. But they can also be temptations, an inclination toward disobedience that originates in “the world, the flesh, and the devil.” They must be resisted, and they can be overcome, and this includes SSA and SSB. Hearts and minds can both be transformed through God’s grace. Behavioral changes typically follow “heart” changes, and God’s gift of saving grace is not contingent on the former.

    The contemporary idea of sexual orientation is a cultural construct, driven largely by therapeutic worldview and political agenda. By and large, it does not reflect the above Christian worldview. That has the potential to confuse any conversation about SSA/SSB.

    Christians are called to surrender their sexual desires and behaviors to God’s revealed will and to His gracious work of transformation through the Holy Spirit. This is the process of sanctification, whereby the believer becomes progressively more godly. Worship, Bible study and especially prayer are means to that end, tools whereby God intervenes supernaturally to sanctify.

    There are two valued outcomes to sexual sanctification – living in a covenantal, lifelong male/female relationship called “marriage,” which should but does not always include sexual intimacy, or living as a chaste single.

    Chaste singleness reflects the state of being that believers will have in heaven – “they will neither marry nor be given in marriage.” It’s also a foretaste of the singular focus on and intimate relationship with Jesus that all believers will one day experience. Some people are “called” – have a special gift and purpose – to live this kind of life, others must live this kind of life because of circumstance.

    Heterosexual marriage reflects the image of God in creation and is also a living example of God’s “husbandly” relationship with Israel and Jesus’ relationship to His Bride, the Church. From a practical perspective, because of the difficulty of dealing with the sexual urge toward union or because of loneliness, heterosexual marriage would probably be the preferred outcome of most Christians.

    Scripture indicates that Christians who experience SSA can expect either of the two outcomes in their lives if they cooperate in the sanctification process. They can also expect (hope) that their inner life (thoughts, desires, will) and behavior will come into alignment with either of the outcomes. For many and varied reasons – having to do with the individual, with the entire Body of Christ, and with the sovereignty of God – the outcome of heterosexual marriage doesn’t always happen. That doesn’t justify the idea that one should stop hoping for or working toward it.

    We should have compassion for and pastorally minister to men and women who are disappointed in the outcome of their sexual sanctification process. We should be vigilant to confront any ministry, therapy or method that deliberately misleads. But we should not change the above worldview and message, which for me is a non-negotiable, for either of these reasons.

    The above worldview is not easy to communicate to believers, who come from a variety of different faith backgrounds, or to non-believers who do not use or understand the language of faith. It is next to impossible to adequately express it in a policy statement, and even more difficult to cap in a sound bite.

    Some folk on this thread and blog do not ascribe to any of the above, Lynn David for instance, who is upfront about being an atheist. Some (and I would include Warren here) SEEM to depart from portions of it because they do not have a supernaturalistic understanding of faith and Christian life and because they give primary authority to science.

    So, can bridges be built? Maybe, if that means coming to a place of understanding and respecting our right to disagree. If it means agreeing on the direction and message of Exodus, I don’t think so.

    If anyone on the thread is basically on the same page as me about Exodus’ mission and worldview, I’d like to hear from them about how the messaging could be improved – mainly in/through the policy and doctrinal statements on the website (www.exodusinternational.org). I’m willing to continue that discussion on this or another thread, or you can email me. (transcong@aol.com)

    But I really don’t care to continue to debate/discuss worldview and mission.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    In a nutshell, Warren, I think your underlying philosophy and approach are what you posted above … “Exodus could be very single minded. Help people live in accord with a non-gay-affirming Christian sexual ethic. Period.”

    As I’ve tried to explain, that is not congruent with Exodus’ mission. Perhaps I’m being simplistic, but it’s too neutral.

    Again, I’m stymied as to what more I can do to explain.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Help people live in accord with a non-gay-affirming Christian sexual ethic.

    Non-gay-affirming does not seem religiously neutral to me. Is there some other manner in which it seems neutral to you?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, I’m not being snarky about the next, but I really don’t understand.

    You write, “In ministry, however, the value direction and beliefs of the ministry are determinative of potential options and outcomes.”

    Yes, I totally agree.

    Then you continue, “My “agenda” (I think people use that word when they think you have bad motives, hence the scare quotes) is to promote a ministry model which makes congruence with beliefs the central focus as opposed to categorical change in orientation (from gay to straight).”

    Yes, I understand that. I also understand that the underlying philosophy/worldview for your suggested ministry model aligns with your therapeutical SIT model.

    But by your own definition – that ministry models are determinative of potential options and outcomes – I would still contend that Exodus’ ministry model desires and hopes for, if not necessarily expects, a different outcome than you do. You want to change Exodus’ ministry model. I don’t want to.

    And you dis us by again categorizing our mission as “from gay to straight.” (Unconsionable, I think after the time and effort spent on this thread.) You KNOW Exodus’ mission/ministry is more complex than that. It’s a disservice to suggest otherwise.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I forgot to add an “I believe” to my list:

    I am basically suspicious of psychological theory, which is just that, theory and not a “hard” (physically verifiable) science. I do not put much stock in the studies that have been done about SSA/SSB, orientation and identity because they are all based on self-report. In the same way, I wouldn’t pay much attention to physical testing because it couldn’t measure the interior life. People’s stories and experiences have some authority, but they’re often contradictory and subject to self-deception and delusion. (My own past life would be evidence of that.)

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, my company’s here and it’s time for me to quit for the day. I think we’re talking past each other. Cane we give it a rest until tomorrow, take a more prayerful look at our previous posts, and maybe start over again from there?

  • Michael Bussee

    Even when having a normal discussion, there’s enough of the debater in both Michael and I, that there WILL BE occasional sparring.

    Less and less, I suspect. I have experienced a change of heart and I have clarified a lot of things in my mind.

    Ex-gay males are still SSA, not straight. Female ex-gays seem more fluid.

    Ex-gay refers mainly to one’s beliefs about homosexuality — to a change in identity, self-image and lifestyle — and does not necessarily indicate reorientation from SSA to OSA.

    Such “healing” (SSA to OSA) is a real hope, but seldom happens in reality, is rather rare, and should not be a fixed expectation or the focus of change.

    The goal is holiness, not heterosexuality . Heterosexual marriage is the only proper (non-sinful) place for intimate sexual contact. Some ex-gays develop some OSA and some do not.

    Some ex-gays manage to have a happy and stable marriage. Some choose celibacy. For some, the inner struggle against SSA may diminish over time. For others, it is a lifelong battle with only a measure of success.

    Ex-gays have every right to call themselves whatever they want, identify however they please and live in a way that is congruent with their beliefs.

    EXODUS has been less-then-clear at times, but they are taking steps to undo misunderstandings so that the hopeful are not disheartened — or or so they walk away from God — when the change to heterosexuality that they might have hoped for does not happen.

    Did I get that all pretty much right?

  • Michael Bussee

    Just in case anyone else of the blog got the impression that I have been glib — or that I have used my marriage and daughter paint my post-EXODUS life as “blissful”, here’s a short list of some of the darker times since 1979:

    Being a visiting Dad. My wife’s sorrow and sense of betrayal. My daughter’s sorrow. My family pretty much cutting me off.

    My daughter telling me that folks at her church told her that “If he loved Jesus enough and loved you enough, your Dad would not be gay”.

    Gary’s painful illness and susequent death. The minister backing out of the funeral at the last moment because he was worried he might be perceived as “pro-gay”. The overwhelming loneliness after Gary died.

    Being fired from two jobs, just for being gay. Helping two other partners as they died of AIDS. Being called a “murderer” (by a gay guy) because I had lost three partners to the disease.

    Having three subsequent gay relationships end painfully when I learned they had been unfaithful to me. More loneliness.

    Fighting cancer. Losing my vision. (Both are OK now). Losing my Dad. Losing my Mom. The murder of my best friend and the attack on my life — just for being gay.

    Going through the murder trial. Watching the gang members smirk and giggle as evidence was shown. Having recurrent nightmares, depression and panic attacks after the murder and attempted murder.

    More recently, the bad economy, being laid off and living on very little income since just before Christmas. Not being able to buy anyone presents. Having to go on public assistance since I could no longer afford health insurance. Possibly losing my home.

    That’s the short list — and there are no “No fishing!” signs around any of these things — except for the more personal aspects of my marriage and divorce — which are frankly too personal and too painful to keep going over again and again.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    That’s an awful lot of pain and I feel deeply for you.

    For some of the pain, the blame was your own…but you’ve taken that to your Savior and had it cleansed. I’m sure though that some pain still remained.

    For some of the pain, Christian bigots could be blamed. I promise you that I fight them and expose them whenever they cross my path.

    For some of the pain, it’s just regular bigots…Christianity had nothing to do with it. My prayer is that we’ll all be able to tell the difference.

    For much of your pain, it was fellow gays doing the accusing…being unfaithful.

    For some of your pain, it’s a ‘that’s life’ kind of thing. I’ve been unemployed since February…gave up my very happy life in Minnesota to move back into my old tiny bedroom back in PA.

    And the AIDS…don’t know where to rightly place that blame.

    I won’t fish but I am puzzled. You’re a good guy, very bright and quite likeable, you’ve got morals…yet you’ve had a lot of pain sent your way by fellow gays. You cited losing 3 to Aids, the gay accuser, and then having 3 unfaithful partners after that. To me, that SCREAMS ‘broken’. Yet you resist that word so strongly whenever we use it.. I figure that if Michael, the bright, good and likeable guy, can have that much gay-induced pain in his life, what does that say about the odds for everyone else? There’s so much concern about the pain and damage that Exodus can cause but, honestly, doesn’t it pale by comparison? Do we rescue them from the pains of Exodus only to reward them with these gay pains?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Did I get that all pretty much right?

    Seems to me you did, but how much of that do you accept or believe?

    It’s perfectly OK to be evolving in your views, Michael. I’ve had to reexamine some things I have believed — not necessarily from a faith standpoint, but more from a cultural one. Andrew Marin got the ball rolling, Warren and some of you here added some impetus, and I spent much time in prayer and meditation over it. Still do.

    Still don’t have it all nailed down so that it can be succinctly stated, which drives my husband nuts. I’ve asked him to help me craft some pithier statements. His input is helpful as he walked the long road with me, but sees it from a (1) man’s viewpoint and (2) an always-straight man’s viewpoint.

    And you certainly need not be sharing all the most intimate and painful details of your life, Michael. I do not and will not. I share what I believe will help others. I may share a bit more in my women’s group as everything there is kept confidential.

    My heart goes out to you, as I have said before.

  • Michael Bussee

    I won’t fish but I am puzzled. You’re a good guy, very bright and quite likeable, you’ve got morals…yet you’ve had a lot of pain sent your way by fellow gays. You cited losing 3 to Aids, the gay accuser, and then having 3 unfaithful partners after that. To me, that SCREAMS ‘broken’.

    Then you are listening selectivlely. Pain comes from all directions, Eddy. Straights have pain inflicted upon them by straights. The murder was inflicted by straights. I assume the minister who would not bury Gary was straight. AIDS has killed straight adults and innocent kids.

    Disease and death know no sexual orientation. Neither do infidelity, hatefulness, selfishness, debauchery or stupidity. People of all sexual orientations hurt other people. I have even been hurt badly by some ex-gays.

    No one (SSA, OSA, gay, ex-gay) is immune. It doesn’t scream that gayness is broken. It screams that the world is.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Debbie:

    Seems to me you did, but how much of that do you accept or believe?

    I think I accept and believe pretty much all of it. Let me see..

    Ex-gay males are still SSA, not straight. Female ex-gays seem more fluid.

    Yup. I believe that.

    Ex-gay refers mainly to one’s beliefs about homosexuality — to a change in identity, self-image and lifestyle — and does not necessarily indicate reorientation from SSA to OSA.

    I believe that.

    Such “healing” (SSA to OSA) is a real hope, but seldom happens in reality, is rather rare, and should not be a fixed expectation or the focus of change.

    Doubtful on that. I know it’s a “hope”. It’s the reality I would like to see. If it does happen, I agree that it is very rare and should not be expected by clients or loved ones.

    The goal is holiness, not heterosexuality . Heterosexual marriage is the only proper (non-sinful) place for intimate sexual contact. Some ex-gays develop some OSA and some do not.

    I believe that is EXODUS’s goal. I don’t believe that anything but heterosexual marriage is sin. I do believe that some ex-gays develop some OSA and some do not. I believe that many of the ones who do already had some.

    Some ex-gays manage to have a happy and stable marriage. Some choose celibacy. For some, the inner struggle against SSA may diminish over time. For others, it is a lifelong battle with only a measure of success.

    I believ al of that.

    Ex-gays have every right to call themselves whatever they want, identify however they please and live in a way that is congruent with their beliefs.

    I strongly accept and believe that.

    EXODUS has been less-then-clear at times, but they are taking steps to undo misunderstandings so that the hopeful are not disheartened — or or so they walk away from God — when the change to heterosexuality that they might have hoped for does not happen.

    I believe that.

  • Michael Bussee

    Oh, forgot to mention the people who fired me for being gay were both straight and divorced. Like I said, no one is immune and no one is without blame — me included.

  • Michael Bussee

    No more blogging today. Just had two teeth pulled and the novacaine is starting to wear off. I will sign off today with this. Hey, maybe we have this blame thing wrong. Maybe it’s the dentists…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On3mrKW-Nk0

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Most def the dentists…

  • Lynn David

    Debbie Thurman….. Well, Lynn, you are certainly free to laugh off any body parts you want….

    I wish I could, I eat too much ice cream.

    Brings to mind C.S. Lewis’ analogy in “Mere Christianity” of the self-sufficient person sitting out on a tree limb, sawing it off. Or Pascal’s wager. If you are right, you lose nothing. If you are wrong, you lose everything.

    Yes, religions always come up with what purport to be reasonable concerns which should keep a person thinking in the same manner. What you do not understand is that for me it would be a form of insanity to revert to a belief that I see as delusional, again,for me. I would have to lie to myself.

    Not a laughing matter, in my view.

    Well of course not. Why do you think I said ‘sorry.’

    Enjoy your free will. I won’t ask about your ripped-our faith again. I probably will pray for you, however.

    Nevermind, in my case, For it won’t do me any good, it will only be to ameliorate your own thoughts at having come in touch with the mind of an atheist.

    .. .. ..

  • Ann

    Michael,

    Please do not feel obligated to talk about things that you hold close between you and your family unless it is of your choosing to do so. I don’t think there is anyone on this blog or elsewhere who does not have a “speck in their eye”. The only people you owe any explanation to, you have already done so. That is good enough. Share what you want to but just don’t feel like it is an ongoing obligation you must continue doing – ok?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    In the spirit of Kumbaya, I’ll smile and go away. I’m not exactly sure what authority Karen has to do any banning (none, I imagine), but I sure don’t want to outstay my welcome.

    But before I go, I’ll say that I believe this statement of Karen Booth to be correct

    I believe Exodus official belief and policy is congruent with what I’m posting here…

    The spirit of Exodus can perhaps be best observed in her assertions that Warren is a “squelcher of hope”, in her worldview that sees science and observable reality to be contrary to a proper spiritual worldview, an attitude that is quick to find offense but has no hesitation to rush to rudeness, a perspective of absolute certainty and unvarying conviction that her beliefs are universal, Scriptural, orthodox, and The Will Of God and that therefore she need not listen, question her certainties, or view anyone that disagrees with anything other than contempt.

    For years I truly wondered why it was that Exodus would leave deceptive and, at times, downright hateful things up on their site. And finally I realized that it’s because they just don’t care.

    And I can prove it.

    There is a church on the Exodus Church Network that is one of their premier, high-profile, celebrity pastor, mega-churches. The pastor has spoken at their Exodus Freedom Conference. He wrote an endorsement which Alan printed on his latest book (it should take about 10 seconds to figure out who this is).

    In 2004 he wrote: “A 20 year old gay male has a 30% chance of either dying or contracting AIDS before the age of 30. They are also 23 times more likely to get other sexually transmitted diseases than a heterosexual. There are also moral repercussions stemming from homosexual behavior as evidenced by the fact that one third of all sexual crimes against children are committed by homosexuals even though they are representative of only one percent of the population. Pedophilia has even been called central to the gay lifestyle. “

    You should recognize this stuff, it’s pure hate-speech and is completely based on Paul Cameron. This is designed to demonize gay people and justify political activism against their lives. Exodus hasn’t corrected him or suggested that he be truthful. They don’t care.

    In February of last year he said, “The homosexual agenda is being pushed upon this nation, to the point where it may become illegal for pastors to preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, that is where even such preaching is deemed a crime. In some countries this is already the case.” and “It is clear among statistics that homosexual relationships are mainly about sex, this is attributed to the fact of the amount of sexual partners a homosexual person has a year, regardless of whether he is in a monogamous “marriage” relationship.”

    Again falsehoods. This has been debunked over and over. But this pastor isn’t interested in facts. It gets in the way of his spiritual worldview. And Exodus keeps him as a reference and will, no doubt, have him speak again. Because they don’t care. At all.

    And, finally, in October of last year – when he was working hard to take away civil rights from gay people, this “good Christian pastor” actually said:

    Recently in Pennsylvania, a woman was arrested and sentenced for 47 years in prison because she had the following bumper sticker: God loves homosexuals, but homosexuality is a sin. This is only one of the many current and shocking examples of Christian prosecution presented in today’s message. If we care about the preservation of the faith in our country, we must carefully consider the opportunity we have to vote.

    This may sound new to you. Because you’ve never heard this one before. Because it is a complete fabrication without any detectable basis whatsoever.

    Did Exodus wonder about this? Did they tell him that lying for political purposes would disqualify a church from their Exodus Church Network? Did they even suggest that the church not present hostility, hatred, and demonization as its public face?

    Nope. I doubt they even know that he said this.

    Because they just couldn’t care less.

    Alan talks a good game about the church not reacting to homosexuals with fear and hostility. He talks about showing grace and love.

    But it’s bogus. It’s a face-saving measure. Neither he not Exodus have any desire to show grace or love or anything other than fear and hostility. It takes very little to see this.

    It’s very very sad. Exodus has the opportunity to be a real service to both the church and to those who wish to live a conservative Christian sexual ethic.

    But that’s not their interest. They are busy offering “hope” and “promises of freedom” and political activism. As for truthful and loving churches, well they just couldn’t care less.

    So yes, Exodus and Karen are made for each other. And folks like Wendy Gritter are pushed out.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    One last ps

    Yes, I did email several pastors at that church many months ago to point out that they were mistaken in the facts they had posted right there on their website. I did not receive a response. Because (need I say it) they don’t care.

  • Ann

    Karen,

    You do not deserve some of the recent comments directed toward you – it is evident they are self serving and meant to control or shut down the conversation rather than work through it. While I don’t always agree with you, particularly about some aspects of religion, I do appreciate the way you exercise grace and respect in your responses.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Ex-gay males are still SSA, not straight. Female ex-gays seem more fluid.

    1. I think I may have implied earlier that I agree with Michael’s assessment above. I don’t fully, just to be clear. Sorry. Still a bit travel-weary, I guess.

    2. Lynn David, prayer is never a form of insanity, even if it’s for an atheist. I have no need of merely soothing my conscience with it, either.

    3. I do have a few issues with the pastor Timothy is talking about, FWIW. It’s hard for a mega-church to be taken seriously, and that even applies to the one God has called me to serve in. If I had my way, I’d break ‘em all down into smaller churches.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Ann:

    Please do not feel obligated to talk about things that you hold close between you and your family unless it is of your choosing to do so. I don’t think there is anyone on this blog or elsewhere who does not have a “speck in their eye”.

    Ann: I will only share those things that I think are important to share. I will not share details that are too painful or too personal. And I won’t keep apologizing. It’s in God’s hands. My point in sharing the “less-than-blissful” things that have happened since I left EXODUS was to counter Eddy’s assertions that:

    (1) I try to make it all look fulfuilling and blissful — the “equal” of heterosexuality”,

    (2) I have used by marriage and my child to prove it,

    (3) I put up “no fishing” signs and am less-than-forthcoming when he tries to seek clarification of the less-than-blissful parts of my life.

    So, I gave him the “short” list. I pointed out that it has not all been “happy, happy, joy, joy” – and that in this broken world of ours, gays and straights alike are both victims (and perpetrators) of suffering.

    I included hurts from gays and straights alike. No one is immune. No one is unbroken. I get the feeling that Eddy thinks straights are somehow less broken. If so, he is simply wrong.

    Gays and straights alike can be selfsih, hurtful, broken, sick, disordered and sinful. And they both can suffer the selfishness, hurtfulness, sickness, disorderliness and sinfulness that our “broken” world seems to have in such abundance.

    Of course, Eddy, (showing his typically anti-gay bias) zeroed in on the hurt caused to me my some gay folk — minimizing the straight examples — as proof that gayness “screams” brokeness. Look around. Straights are just as broken and just as in need of a loving God to heal them.

    Now, back to my ice pack for my jaw and perhaps some sleep. I tell ya, it’s the dentists…

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    No one (SSA, OSA, gay, ex-gay) is immune. It doesn’t scream that gayness is broken. It screams that the world is.

    I imagine Eddy knows this. But if gayness is a worldly thing, it is broken, along with all the rest of it. Isn’t it interesting that Solomon said what is crooked in the world can never be straightened? The world, then, will always be subject to the fall and original sin and all that grew out of that. There can never be peace, poverty will never be eradicated and senseless things will continue to happen until Christ returns.

    People, however, can choose to receive God’s grace and whatever healing is subsequent to it. The Lord’s Prayer is a model Jesus gave us, and it includes “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” It includes asking for our daily bread. Daily. That’s this thing called Christianity. A daily dying to self, and receiving God’s grace for whatever comes our way. Some of it we volunteer for, some of it we don’t. Some of it we may understand, some of it we don’t. It is what it is.

    Our story is Paradise, The Fall and Restoration. The Fall takes up nearly all of history to date. Restoration comes one soul at a time in the meantime.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ex-gay males are still SSA, not straight. Female ex-gays seem more fluid.

    1. I think I may have implied earlier that I agree with Michael’s assessment above. I don’t fully, just to be clear. Sorry. Still a bit travel-weary, I guess.

    Debbie: Can you explain where you disagree with this statement? I thought we had all pretty much agreed on those two things. WIll look forward to hearing it when I sign back on tomorrow.

  • Michael Bussee

    BTW: The kum ba yah spirit is towards the people here as indiviudals. As you know, there are many things about EXODUS, as an orgization, that still trouble me very much.

  • Ann

    I am aware as I am writing this that, to an outsider, this must seem like splitting hairs.

    Dr. Throckmorton,

    I felt like this for a long time until I decided to understand what you were saying. I am glad I did as it has given me a whole new perspective – one that I think is very sensible and realistic.

  • Ann

    Michael,

    I hope you feel better tomorrow – keep the ice on as long as you can and take some tylenol to ease the pain.

    Please forgive me if I am ever out of line or cross any boundary. I just do not think it necessary to continue to explain yourself for something that you have already taken care of with your family. It is between you and them. Whatever happened with Exodus and the people who felt betrayed because of the choice you and Gary made is another story that you can continue to address and explain or not. I just think your family is off limits and you should feel no obligation to explain any further than what you already have.

    I do not believe that Eddy is anti-gay.

  • Ann

    Michael,

    One more thing – think I have said it before but want to say it again. Your spirit here has been a great example of kindness and respect of others. Even in disagreement you do not try to shut down or control a discussion and it is this kind of grace that is commendable. I love a spirited discussion and you have shown us how to do it with emotional maturity and intelligence and respect for others.

  • Lynn David

    Debbie Thurman…. Lynn David, prayer is never a form of insanity, even if it’s for an atheist. I have no need of merely soothing my conscience with it, either.

    Did I say it was? I hope I didn’t say it was or I’m crazy. The APA holds that deeply-held religious convictions are not to be construed as mental illness. I thought that I simply stated the only thing you would accomplish despite your best intentions.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Ann writes,

    ” Karen, You do not deserve some of the recent comments directed toward you – it is evident they are self serving and meant to control or shut down the conversation rather than work through it.”

    Thanks. Really. I had a self-defense all prepared but your post has checked me. I probably would have gotten “testy” again as well. So I appreciate that you’re able to see through the personal attacks.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    “Ex-gay males are still SSA, not straight. Female ex-gays seem more fluid. ”

    Michael, I don’t exactly believe this either. Mainly because it mixes attraction and orientation. I think it would be more accurate to say “Some ex-gay males still experience SSA” or “Ex-gay males may still experience some SSA.” I’d eliminate the “not straight” part all together. The statement about females seems OK.

    I haven’t had the chance today to look at your other statements. Busy with my god-daughter and her sister. The 2 year old showed sheer joy tonight in the gift of a package of sippy cups. How did we adults lose that simple gratitude?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Debbie Thurman…. Lynn David, prayer is never a form of insanity, even if it’s for an atheist. I have no need of merely soothing my conscience with it, either.

    Did I say it was? I hope I didn’t say it was or I’m crazy. The APA holds that deeply-held religious convictions are not to be construed as mental illness. I thought that I simply stated the only thing you would accomplish despite your best intentions

    .

    Lynn, I may have taken too many liberties with the word “insanity.” No, you didn’t say prayer for the believer was a form of insanity, just that believing for you would be. I saw an analogy, that’s all.

    But I do have to say that neither you nor I can know what prayer for the nonbeliever can accomplish. That is simply beyond you or me. I believe in the supernatural power of the one, true God and the Trinity, but you don’t. Your non-belief doesn’t not negate His existence.

    It would be fruitless to debate this, of course. I just find the spiritual journeys of atheists to be interesting. I threw out the C.S. Lewis thing because he (and others) took such a journey back to faith. And I care about my fellow man (woman). Peace to you.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Ex-gay males are still SSA, not straight. Female ex-gays seem more fluid.

    1. I think I may have implied earlier that I agree with Michael’s assessment above. I don’t fully, just to be clear. Sorry. Still a bit travel-weary, I guess.

    Debbie: Can you explain where you disagree with this statement? I thought we had all pretty much agreed on those two things. WIll look forward to hearing it when I sign back on tomorrow.

    Hey, Michael. I hope the tooth pain is better today. It’s a major bummer. Hate it.

    Sorry I didn’t clarify this earlier. I don’t agree that ALL ex-gay males are still necessarily SSA. I do believe those who have the longest road to travel back to wholeness (were always exclusively SSA) are the most likely to continue to have that as an issue to contend with. And women do seem more fluid in their sexuality, but they have the same emotions (expressed differently) and same spiritual battles as men. Physiological or biological differences are a slightly different matter, I believe. We’ve discussed that from all angles in other (sometimes R-rated) threads, of course.

    I have to keep coming back to the big picture regarding sin and brokenness that covers us all. I still say Warren nailed it in a previous comment when he reminded us that we all, believers included, will struggle with sin in some form in our lives. Are we really ex-sinners? We ought to be growing in that direction daily. We are redeemed and reconciled back to God through Jesus’ blood, but still in the world.

    The process of sanctification will gradually erode sin’s hold over us. “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4b) is a wonderful thought to meditate on.

    All sin is bondage to the enemy of our souls. Oswald Chambers was adept at reminding folks through his messages that we must give up our right to ourselves to know true freedom. I read “My Utmost for His Highest” a lot, along with my Bible. Somehow God has used Chambers as a catalyst in my life to help open my eyes to some deeper truths. He has used other great men and women of faith similarly.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Your non-belief doesn’t not negate His existence.

    LOL. I think I need another “cop of cuffee.”

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Ann writes,

    ” Karen, You do not deserve some of the recent comments directed toward you – it is evident they are self serving and meant to control or shut down the conversation rather than work through it.”

    Thanks. Really. I had a self-defense all prepared but your post has checked me. I probably would have gotten “testy” again as well. So I appreciate that you’re able to see through the personal attacks.

    Karen, I appreciate you. This is the toughest part of participating in these kinds of forums. We sometimes forget (moi included) we are supposed to be reflecting Christ in all we say and do, and begin wanting to defend ourselves. I refer us all back to Oswald Chamber’s view on the right to self above. That sobers us, or ought to.

  • Eddy

    Timothy’s lengthy ‘farewell to this discussion’ post also appears, pretty much intact, over on The Box Turtle Bulletin. There he does reveal the name of the pastor and the church…evidently it’s Carrie Prejean’s church.

    For the record, Karen did retract her request for Timothy to disappear and Warren also stepped in affirming that he is the only one with the authority to request someone to leave a discussion. If we all walked out on conversations where we ‘were not welcome’, there’d be no one left. Timothy, please feel free to stay on.

  • Michael Bussee

    Karen suggests:

    Some ex-gay males still experience SSA”

    That’s not truthful. It’s not “some”. It’s all( or almost all) as far as I have seen. I have said it many times over. In 30 years, I have never met a male ex-gay who does not experience SSA. The SSA is still there. These guys are not heterosexual.

  • Michael Bussee

    “Ex-gay males may still experience some SSA.”

    Karen, that’s not true either. “May” and “some” make it sound like ex-gays who are still SSA are the exception, when they are the rule.

    Wasn’t it you who admitted that “healing from” strictly SSA to stirctly OSA is “very rare”, “seldom happens” and should not be expected by cleitns or loved ones?

    I say it again. Ex-gay males (with very rare exceptions, if there are exceptions at all) are still same sex attracted to some degree or another.

    They are not now heterosexual (or “straight”), in the sense of now only being opposite sex attracted. That’s a fact.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    What are you basing your own stats on? Do you have solid scientific research to back this up that includes all levels of SSA people or is this based on your experience with those you have been in contact with? If the later it seems to me that you may be dealing with a biased subset also. I suspect the NARTH and Exodus may be using a slightly different subset for their understanding of change. I also suspect the subset among gay activists is skewed in a very different direction.

    My point is that you do not have a scientific basis to make the claims you are making either. Until you have interviewed all those who have experience some level of change in their live I would appreciate it if you discontinue the kinds of broad generalization that you so freely offer to us on this blog site.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am not claiming any scientific basis. I am only saying that in 30 years of asking I have not met or talked to one ex-gay male who is completely hetereosexual and no longer SSA. Show me just one.

    It was Karen who admitted, and who gave me permission to quote her, — that such a somplete “healing” is “rare”, that it “seldom” occurs and that it should not be expected by clients or loved ones.

    If EXODUS has information to the contrary, I would love to see it. Bigfoot may exist. I want to see and touch him myself. I will not take it on faith.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned: Perhaps you have met one?

  • Eddy

    I deplore Michael’s statement and have answered to it a number of times without adequate reply. I strongly object to his continuing to make his claim without addressing the confusions that it contains.

    I am only saying that in 30 years of asking I have not met or talked to one ex-gay male who is completely hetereosexual and no longer SSA. Show me just one.

    Michael’s statement is unfair because he uses a phrase ‘completely heterosexual’ that has not been defined anywhere!!! (Don’t we anecdotally say that most any man under the right circumstances might consider another man? So, is there anyone who is ‘completely heterosexual’?)

    And ‘no longer SSA’ is an absolute in Michael’s book. As I’ve said on as many occasions as Michael has made his claim, it should be expected that if a person has ever found pleasure in a given area, they likely will experience temptation in that area again.

    Michael may hold onto the question as long as he wishes but it has no value in this honest discussion where we are trying to move past being misleading.

    Also, I’m not sure if it’s happened by accident but it is perplexing that we moved from productive discussion on real definitions of the change that Exodus offers and now are back at this point where the change that Michael is referring to is complete and absolute. I’m making no accusations of purposeful muddling. It’s my guess that other voices have joined in that weren’t particular mindful of the progress we made. But it sure feels frustrating to have returned to square one.

    Michael–

    If it’s your contention that you weren’t being as absolute as I think you were in your statement, please include Alan Chambers’ experience in your reply. The man sounds damn happy to me with his wife and kids…and his SSA thoughts are minimal.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Debbie wrote:

    I still say Warren nailed it in a previous comment when he reminded us that we all, believers included, will struggle with sin in some form in our lives. Are we really ex-sinners? We ought to be growing in that direction daily.

    I am pretty sure, outsiders think of some of the materials Karen quoted as promising something which on the other hand other Exodus materials and statements does not promise. At risk of squelching hope, I will say a more accurate picture might be presented by going heavy on the fallible natures in the present and less on the potential future outcomes.

  • Michael Bussee

    The man sounds damn happy to me with his wife and kids…and his SSA thoughts are minimal.

    I am sure that is true.

    Michael’s statement is unfair because he uses a phrase ‘completely heterosexual’ that has not been defined anywhere!!!

    OK, how’s this. A completely heteresexual male is one who reports that he experiences no sexual attractions towards other males. These guys may be lying, of course, but there are lots of them who say it. I have not met one ex-gay male who says it.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am only saying that in 30 years of asking I have not met or talked to one ex-gay male who is completely hetereosexual and no longer SSA. Show me just one.

    That is not misleading. I am telling the truth. I really want to meet one. Honest I do. Have you guys met one who is no longer same sex attracted?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    When all is said and done, Warren, we must leave it in God’s hands. I don’t think you really want to squelch hope, but to paint a more realistic picture. I understand that. False hope is seen as cruel, and where do we draw the line?

    I probably love testimonies — real stories from real people — of the change in their lives most of all. They don’t promise that kind of change for everyone hearing them, but they do offer hope. Like the crippled man, seen after his healing by Jesus, jumping around. Or the blind man clearly regaining sight. That power still exists, even if it is on less-dramatic display and its effects take place over time.

    It is also seen as cruel to remove that hope from people because science or statistics want to render it invalid. Two sides to the same coin.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: I am getting frustrated, not angry. What is it that you want me to say? That I have met an ex-gay male who is no longer SSA? I can’t say it. That would not be true. What could I say about this ex-gay issue that would satisfy you?

    I have said they have the right to call themselves whatever they want, to live in accordance with their beliefs and to pursue and live out whatever “wholeness” means to them. Everyone has that right.

    When I point out the fact that they are not heterosexual, you jump on me. Are you heterosexual now? What do want me to say. How about, “Although ex-gays report significant changes in behavior and identity, they typically report that they still have same sex temptations to some degree or another.” — would that be better?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I very clearly told you how you could answer me in a way I’d understand. You ignore the point about the ongoing nature of temptation EVERY time this comes up. Was my request for you to restate your claim/challenge while showing how Alan Chambers didn’t qualify objectionable for some reason?

    Michael–

    If it’s your contention that you weren’t being as absolute as I think you were in your statement, please include Alan Chambers’ experience in your reply. The man sounds damn happy to me with his wife and kids…and his SSA thoughts are minimal.

  • Michael Bussee

    So I will revise it:

    For over 30 years, all “ex-gay” males I have met or interacted with report that they are still same-sex tempted to some degree or another. They do not typically identify themselves aas “heterosexual” or “straight”.

    Better?

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    I had a boyfriend who was all hetero and he admitted to getting oral sex from a guy because it was convienent – or maybe just too exciting. Would you call him bi-sexual? I wouldn’t.

    Michael’s inquiry for just one guy who has changed from all SSA to all OSA is unrealistic. No one can meet that. No one. We never forget. We will always remember our past and that is the way it is.

    He is being unfair and unreasonable when one xonsiders the human sexual experience. And very narrowly defining other people.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael’s inquiry for just one guy who has changed from all SSA to all OSA is unrealistic. No one can meet that. No one.

    Haven’t I been saying that? I

    He is being unfair and unreasonable when one considers the human sexual experience. And very narrowly defining other people.

    No. By saying I have never met a male ex-gay who is no longer same sex tempted, I am not “defining” people. I am simply stating FACTS. I am repeating what they have told me. Typically, even they don’t define themselves as straight. Why get upset with me when I state what they say about themselves?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I’m afraid the kumbaya is over. You can phrase and rephrase all you want. I told you twice of the context where it would translate truthfully (i.e. using Alan’s story as your base so that people could see what your terms really mean) but you continued to gloss right by it.

    I thought you were done playing word and label games. You pretend that you are. But I’ve made a very reasonable request…you’ve glossed right over it…and yet you expect me to ‘approve’ your new wordings. Why on earth would I cooperate with you when you purposely stymied my attempt to converse with you…to have you define, using a real human ex-gay example, your word meanings in your claim. You want ‘spin’ not truth and I’m tired of making simple requests that you decide to simply ignore while you then continue to make requests of me. It’s not respect and I simply don’t want to engage with you anymore.

    Goodbye.

  • Mary

    You narrowly define how men with SSA can define themselves. I’m not upset. I’m just staing a fact, also.

    If there is a smidgeon of SSA in someone you jump and call them bisexual or not OSA. I doubt you will find very many people that are all OSA.

  • Michael Bussee

    Let me put it in bold letters:

    Men with SSA have every right to define themselve any way they please.

    If they have SSA they have SSA. Lots of people claim to be only OSA. LOTS. Of course, they could be lying…

  • Ann

    False hope is seen as cruel, and where do we draw the line?

    Debbie,

    My answer would be to do first things first – the focus should be on separating an individual from a life that they acknowledge is not congruent with their personal values and/or faith. What happens after that is a whole other issue and one that will be personal for each person – there should be no standard or expectation from others as to how their life will unfold and more often than not, it is an ongoing journey.

    I probably love testimonies — real stories from real people — of the change in their lives most of all. They don’t promise that kind of change for everyone hearing them, but they do offer hope. Like the crippled man, seen after his healing by Jesus, jumping around. Or the blind man clearly regaining sight. That power still exists, even if it is on less-dramatic display and its effects take place over time.

    It is also seen as cruel to remove that hope from people because science or statistics want to render it invalid. Two sides to the same coin.

    Debbie, this is one of my favorite Bible verses – it talks about a hope and a future. I do not believe hope has to be defined as I think God wants us to trust Him for it and how it will work for His glory in our lives.

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy:

    I’m afraid the kumbaya is over. You can phrase and rephrase all you want. I told you twice of the context where it would translate truthfully (i.e. using Alan’s story as your base so that people could see what your terms really mean) but you continued to gloss right by it. …I simply don’t want to engage with you anymore. Goodbye.

    OK, if that’s what you really want, I want you address you. If you prefer not to talk with me, I will talk to the others here. The “kum ba yah” was not a promise not to seek further clarification or to discuss the meanings of words and phrases.

    It was a promise to be less confrontational, to treat others with more repsect — and to try to understand what they were saying. I am still trying to understand. You accuse me of “playing games” and “pretending”.

    What Am I glossing over. I have acknowledged that Alan is happy, that he still has SSA but is living beyond that. What am I glossing over? What do you want me to say? I honestly don’t get it.

    I thought you were done playing word and label games. You pretend that you are.

    This is really unfair, Eddy. I am not playing games. I am trying to reach some sort of mututal understanding. Why belittle me by accusing me of “games” and “pretending”? I am doing neither. Were the four statements I made fair or not? I thought they were a good restatement of what you are saying.

    Alan is a good example of a person who has made profound and significant changes in his identity and lifestyle — in spite of his ongoing same sex temptations. He is living in accordance with his beliefs and I applaud him for that.

  • Eddy

    Several times today you have bypassed my actual words and respectful requests to you. I gather that is because they didn’t fit your ‘spin’.

    Several times, you’ve missed the essence of what I said only to launch off into your own little personal opinion detour. (The fact that you don’t view all homosexual behavior as sin has no bearing whatsoever on the distinction I labored to portray between orientation and temptation. That was a pretty important point…in fact, I thought I might have expressed it more clearly that time than ever…but that doesn’t concern you…that point will be lost because you want to make it clear that you don’t think that all homosexual behavior is sin. Didn’t we know that already? Did it have any bearing on the distinction between orientation and temptation? If the distinction still wasn’t clear, did your response attempt to seek clarity on the point? NO. You are Michael, and your bias will be spoken everywhere and in every situation.)

    Well, I’m tired–very tired–of investing so much energy into conversation only to be at the mercy of your whims. I’m tired of making simple requests to have them ignored as if they weren’t even spoken; I’m tired of saying things quite plainly only to have you rephrase them in “Michaelese” and then seeking approval for your rewrites; and I’m tired of laboring to communicate only to trip one of your buttons and launching us off into a detour instead. And I’m oh so very tired of taking one step forward, two steps back. (If we’ve actually established that Exodus isn’t defining change as a change in orientation, what, praytell, is even the purpose of your “In 30 years I’ve never met…” statement? If it doesn’t presume that Exodus is promising a change in orientation, at the very least, it’s YOU suggesting that that is the goal and no one’s making it. So, it’s YOU muddying the waters…AGAIN…right after we worked very hard to clean them up a little.)

    Sometimes I think you’re a yo-yo, bro. Keeps coming around again…and again…and again. Spinning, spinning, spinning…but nothing to show for it but the spin.

  • Mary

    They could be lying.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    A recess might be in order. I am taking one as I have been participating here far more than I had originally planned. We do have other lives, I hope.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to have these discussions, and do find fruit in them under some of the manure. :)

  • Eddy

    Debbie–

    I think I’m in agreement on that one. I believe I’m overdue for a ‘time out’ myself.

  • carole

    Re: words/meaings dispute involving Michael & Eddy

    What happened to the basic agreement?

    This was what Eddy wrote on July 17:

    Michael–

    I think what you are saying about the paradigm seems to fit but I’m reluctant to use a word that isn’t easily understood by the many lay people who might follow the gay/ex-gay debate.

    The definition of ex-gay that we seemed to agree on says it far clearer than the paradigm. I think we should put it out there for consideration. It does seem like it would go far towards eliminating confusion. (I just don’t think it needs our names attached. But, even that I’m willing to discuss.)

    I also want to redirect you to the concept of ‘identity’. For some reason, it is a point that people seem to nod to but not really grasp and, IMHO, it’s really at the center of the controversy. Identity is key…it’s fundamental to a new Christian; they are breaking away from their identification with the world and they see themselves as part of a whole new way of thinking. So, in this level of newness, they reject all of the old labels. That’s their first objection to being labeled as a homosexual. It’s an old label…it goes to something they used to do, used to identify with…and, they feel it’s a sin, they don’t want to label themselves by the name of a sin. That would be disrespectful to the God who freed/is freeing them from that sin. (We’ve got to step away, for the moment, from ‘is it or isn’t it’…to them it is and they are stepping away.)

    Their second objection is that psychology and religion would define a homosexual differently. Psychology’s definition includes behavior, desire and attraction. Religion only speaks to the behavior and attractions that are toyed with. So, psychology includes a lot more people in its definition than religion does. For the ex-gay, if they are not doing it and don’t plan to do it and aren’t playing around on the edges by purposely flirting with temptation, then they simply are not guilty…the label does not fit. A homosexual is someone who does homosexual things and/or is dominated by homosexuality. Like a liar is a person who lies…not one who considers lying but then doesn’t. They really aren’t playing a word game…they might not be straight but neither are they gay or homosexual.

    Most recognize psychology’s definition but see that it is in conflict with the bible definition and choose to identify, if they have to identify at all, by the blblical one.

    Further, because they identify with this new mindset, many object to labelling themselves by any label. The very act of labelling gives a certain power or creedence to the label. To label myself by a sexual label gives sexuality a pedestal position in my thoughts. (I’m always amused when someone tries to ask a conservative Christian what ’sign’ they are…it’s a label they just won’t take. it might be true to the questioner’s reality but it does not fit the conservative Christians.)

    Beyond that, some strenuously object to the label because they sense they are being used to advance ‘homosexual causes’ some of which seem to be very anti-Christian. Most, at least for a time, seek a neutral zone where they are neither advancing a cause or detracting from it. I personally was offended because it seemed gays wanted to count me among them statistically but then, when it came to my issues of wanting to explore ex-ness, they didn’t just ignore me…they fought me.

    I think ex-gays would have no trouble being honest and forthright if we could avoid terms that can be so easily misconstrued. Both “homosexual’ and “gay” imply that you’re doing it or that you’re wanting to do it. This is why the ex-gay won’t cave on the use of these terms. Saying however that I’m SSA (same sex attracted) is different…it does not imply doing it; it does not imply wanting to do it…it just says what is…that I have these attractions. It’s way more neutral because it isn’t implying something that isn’t true to everyone it’s being applied to.

    This was Michael’s response:

    Michael Bussee ~ Jul 18, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Eddy: This (the above) is a marvelous piece of writing. It makes total sense to me. All of it. Thanks. I think I already knew all of this, but no one who identifies as “ex-gay” has ever described it so well. Great job.

    Still SSA, but living and striving for a different life.

    I do think “paradigm shift” fits. If you think something is sin, that’s what repentance seems to mean. You and I just disagree on whether or not it’s always sin.

  • Michael Bussee

    The fact that you don’t view all homosexual behavior as sin has no bearing whatsoever on the distinction I labored to portray between orientation and temptation. That was a pretty important point…in fact, I thought I might have expressed it more clearly that time than ever…but that doesn’t concern you

    Sorry I misunderstood it. It does concern me. I was trying to use your language, not the psychological “orientation” lingo.I deliberately included “temptation” because I know if fits better in the context you understand homosexual behavior to be sin. It does concern me. DId I mis-state something about the relationship between sin and temptation?

    That point will be lost because you want to make it clear that you don’t think that all homosexual behavior is sin. Didn’t we know that already? Did it have any bearing on the distinction between orientation and temptation?

    I thought it did. That’s why I referred to it as “temptation” not orientation.

    If the distinction still wasn’t clear, did your response attempt to seek clarity on the point? NO.

    YES, I did. And you got all huffy and walked off.

    I’m tired of making simple requests to have them ignored as if they weren’t even spoken;

    I mist have missed the simple request. I did not intend to? What was it? I thought you wanted me to acknowledge that Alan was a good example of someone who had changed even though he still had SSA temptations. And I did that. What simple request are you referring to?

    If we’ve actually established that Exodus isn’t defining change as a change in orientation, what, praytell, is even the purpose of your “In 30 years I’ve never met…” statement?

    I was referring to Karen’s statement that “some ex-gays experience some SSA”, when is seems more straightforward to say that all or most do. I haven’t met one who doesn’t — it seems to be all. Even EXODUS seems to be making it clear that It’s an ongoing struggle for all — or nearly all.

    If it doesn’t presume that Exodus is promising a change in orientation, at the very least, it’s YOU suggesting that that is the goal and no one’s making it. So, it’s YOU muddying the waters…AGAIN…right after we worked very hard to clean them up a little.

    I am not suggesting that it is EXODUS’s goal. I thought I made that clear. I have said that it is holiness, not heterosexuality that is the goal. I am not muddying the waters. I am not saying that “no one’s making it”. I just said they are still SSA — and even you guys say that.

  • Michael Bussee

    Why does it upset you when I say it — and not when pro-ex-gays say it?

  • Michael Bussee

    Is there anything in my four statements above that is unfair, “spinning” or inaccurate? I was trying to sum up what you guys were telling me about all of this. I was not spinning. I

    asked, “did I get it right?” — seeking clarification if I was off-the-mark — and you accused me of insincere game-playing and pretending and said “good-bye”. I have generalized and used Michaelese in the past. Now, I am trying to come up with something I can say that will be respectful and fair, that will not “spin”, that will use esaily understood language and that EXODUS can agree with.

    And Carole: I still think Eddy did a very job. I was trying to sum it up in fewer words, that’s all.

  • Eddy

    Goodnight all. Salvage what you can.

  • Michael Bussee

    Goodnight Eddy. I do seem to upset that guy! I think he is being sincere and he thinks I am spinning, misleading, playing games, glossing over, being “glib” and sarcastic. That is not my intent. Honestly. Well, maybe the sarcasm sometimes. :)

  • Lynn David

    Debbie Thurman…. But I do have to say that neither you nor I can know what prayer for the nonbeliever can accomplish. That is simply beyond you or me. I believe in the supernatural power of the one, true God and the Trinity, but you don’t. Your non-belief doesn’t not negate His existence.

    It would be fruitless to debate this, of course.

    Well, there have been some scientific debates on prayer for those who are ill and the conclusions have been that prayer doesn’t work. And so I have come to a reasonable conclusion…. peace!

  • Lynn David

    Eh…. I had your word debate on the mind. I meant: there have been some scientific research studies on prayer….

  • Michael Bussee

    Well, there have been some scientific debates on prayer for those who are ill and the conclusions have been that prayer doesn’t work

    Ah! But that depends on what you mean by “works”. It may not heal the disease, but it may heal the fear. Prayer always works. Sometimes, the answer is yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes not yet.

  • Michael Bussee

    ITo Debbie: I

    am grateful for the opportunity to have these discussions, and do find fruit in them under some of the manure.

    LOL. Thanks for taking part. And hey, sometimes the manure helps the fruit grow…

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael B.,

    The comments that I posted about “rare” were quotes from Mike Goeke writing in God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door. See the post above – Jul 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I’ve had a long day with my little girl visitors, and haven’t had the chance to check out the thread before this evening. I’m kind of sorry to see everyone saying “goodbye” and checking out, but I had been thinking too that it had almost run its course.

    I read back through Warren’s posts and I think I missed some of them in cross-posting.

    Warren, I think you and I are actually close to thinking and saying the same things – if that means that not any outcome to sexual sanctification is OK, but only the two outcomes of chaste singleness or heterosexual marriage.

    I really didn’t understand the distinction you were making between your SIT model and ministry. Or, I understood the difference but thought you still wanted Exodus to do the former – adopt a more therapeutic model.

    I really misunderstood you and I apologize for that. And for being frustrated and testy. I still think you want Exodus to downplay change more than I do, but I can live with that.

    I also apologize for sharing what I did about how you and this blog are perceived by some leaders in the ex-gay/post-gay movement. I didn’t do it to be mean, but I should have shared it with you privately. I’m sorry I didn’t.

    So, I say goodbye to this thread, too, and a special thankyou to Warren, Eddy, Michel B. Debbie T., Ann and Mary for one of the best online conversations I’ve ever had. It really helped me to think through my beliefs in a systematic way. It was a great gift to me.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren, I think you and I are actually close to thinking and saying the same things – if that means that not any outcome to sexual sanctification is OK, but only the two outcomes of chaste singleness or heterosexual marriage.

    Before you go, Karen. Could you address whether ot not you think that solo masturbation might be OK sometimes? David Blakesless has said that he think it’s morally neutral — like a nice meal or a good book.

    What is your take? Could I, as a single “SSA only” guy ever express or release sexual feelings in this way, in private, and still be morally OK? Could it ever be part of “chaste singleness” or am I to have no sexual release whatever until I die?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    LOL. Thanks for taking part. And hey, sometimes the manure helps the fruit grow…

    Yep, that’s the point. We need to remember it (the manure) is a means to something productive and not get distracted by it.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Ah! But that depends on what you mean by “works”. It may not heal the disease, but it may heal the fear. Prayer always works. Sometimes, the answer is yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes not yet.

    Amen. And studies I am aware of, even on blind, intercessory prayer, have yielded different results than what Lynn indicates.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I still wish we could step back and take a look at the whole change thing through a slightly different lens. Warren tried to refocus this debate, but it didn’t take. I thank him for trying.

    Why are so many of us married to our singular either-or opinion on change? It’s really not the degree of change that is the real point. It’s viewing SSA like any other brokenness resulting in temptation that may lead to sin. We’ve got science/psychology pitted against ministry/discipleship (the ministry of reconciliation).

    Where on earth is there more of an all-out war of terminology, precept and conscience — accept in the realm of abortion? Look at both those issues. Sexually driven and self-centered (for the most part) with a potentially devastating impact on lives. Abortion takes out a large segment of society that never sees the light of day. Gay affirmation, without even knowing what the struggle of self-denial might yield in one’s spiritual life, is also a travesty, IMHO.

    Alan Chambers tried to accomplish this refocusing in his book, I think. He may have partially succeeded.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12

    Ah, yes, Ann. Thanks for your comments on hope. Well said.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Michael B., do you really want this thread to end on a masturbatory note? (LOL) That’s a subject for another thread.

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