Blog post at US News & World Report: Does the APA advise a church switch?

Here’s the blog post over at Dan Gilgoff’s US News and World Report blog, God and Country.

The backdrop: The initial article about the APA sexual orientation and therapy report to hit the wire was by David Crary at the AP. However, some (many?) papers truncated the article in such a way that it seemed as though the APA was recommending either celibacy or a church switch as a way to resolve sexual orientation conflict.

Not long afterwards, OneNewsNow picked up that point and ran with it. From the US News blog post:

A news report from OneNewsNow, the information arm of the American Family Association, said the APA report “suggests that if a person with same-gender attractions has problems because of their religious beliefs, they should just change churches.” About the APA report, spokesperson for the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and executive director of Evergreen International, a ministry to homosexuals of the LDS Church, David Pruden, told OneNewsNow:

“The suggestion was as a Christian, when your conscience comes in conflict with what’s going on in your life — temptations, attractions, concerns, whatever they happen to be — that what you simply do is jettison your standards so that it becomes easier to live with your temptations.”

Both OneNewsNow and Mr. Pruden stand by their statements. But is it accurate to say that the APA report advises that conflicted people switch churches or “jettison” beliefs?

Of course it is not accurate. In the US News & World Report post, I quote Rhea Farberman who directly denies the claim. I then quote from the APA report which finds benefit in social support groups even if not gay affirming.

This is not to say that the APA discourages someone from changing churches if the client feels it is best. I suspect this goes in any direction. For instance, a client might decide to leave a gay affirming church if this seemed more in keeping with identity development. According to this report, psychologists would not try to prevent such a move, but neither would they encourage it.

I approached both NARTH and OneNewsNow with no change.

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  • Michael Bussee

    Dave Pruden, on the APA report:

    “The suggestion was as a Christian, when your conscience comes in conflict with what’s going on in your life — temptations, attractions, concerns, whatever they happen to be — that what you simply do is jettison your standards so that it becomes easier to live with your temptations.”

    Warren:

    “Both OneNewsNow and Mr. Pruden stand by their statements. But is it accurate to say that the APA report advises that conflicted people switch churches or “jettison” beliefs?..Of course it is not accurate…..I approached both NARTH and OneNewsNow with no change.”

    Quel suprise!

  • Michael Bussee

    What do we know about Mr. Pruden? He didn’t seem to know or care who Cameron is and refused to look into why NARTH still cites Cameron — even though Exodus deleted all references to this wacko last year.

    It reminds of Nicolosi not seeming to know or care about Berger, Schoenewolf and Cameron. Are NARTH leaders typically this careless? This out of touch with their own “experts”?

    And why would Pruden deliberately mis-represent what the APA report recommends? All people would have to do is read the report to find that his statements about it are false.

    I read the APA report twice — and found nothing of advising clients to “jettison [their] standards so that it becomes easier to live with [their] temptations.”

  • Michael Bussee

    Why does NARTH complain of foot pain (getting no respect) when they are the ones shooting themselves in the foot — over and over again?

  • David Blakeslee
  • David Blakeslee

    Apparently they had to modify rules a few days prior:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/19/AR2009081903631.html

    Democracy applied to morality…

  • Michael Bussee

    Leaders of the nation’s biggest Lutheran denomination voted Friday to allow gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy in the church — making it one of the largest Christian denominations in the country to significantly open the pulpit to gays.

    Time to celebrate!!! There have always been gay clergy. We have been serving Christ in the shadows for way too long.

  • Michael Bussee

    …the statement’s drafters agreed that such differing views could be accomodated because the homosexuality issue is “not central to our faith”

    Wonder what could be central? Maybe Jesus as Lord and Savior? Maybe His death and resurrection? Maybe grace? Maybe the two Great Commandments?

    How cool would that be?

  • David Blakeslee

    Perhaps this move was pending during the APA task force…

  • DAVE G

    The fact remains that one’s “authoritative community” makes all the difference in maintaining one’s identity formation and maintenance. Successful changeovers in either direction depend on the affirming community. Ex-gays have found support from non-sexual same-gender primary relationships, switched from the gay community to a supportive and commitment-reinforcing new (often religious) community, and become aware of a loving relationship with a transcendent “heavenly Father.”

    Read Dartmouth’s study “Hardwired to Connect” for more about “authoritative community.” http://www.americanvalues.org/html/hardwired.html is one of several sources.

  • Michael Bussee

    Maintaining one’s identity formation… Would that be that same or different as a succsessful changeover in sexual orientation?

  • Michael Bussee

    Democracy applied to morality… Is there some other way?

  • DAVE G

    Within our current polarized culture, one’s community helps define and maintain one’s identity, so if a change is to made, there needs be a change of authoritative community as well. The LGBT community does an effective job of reinforcing the gay lifestyle of its members; it’s not possible to become an ex-gay and remain in the LGBT community. But being “hardwired to connect” one needs an alternative community to reinforce a newly-established lifestyle and identity. This pattern recurs in case after case of ex-gay success.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ David G,

    A good publication.

    Morality’s roots in maternal nurturing.

    A person’s purpose expressed through a community.

    A community’s obligation to mentor the next generation.

    @ Michael,

    “not central to our Christian faith…”

    The union of a man and a woman is the finite, material expression of God…

    can’t get much more central than that.

  • Michael Bussee

    David:

    The union of a man and a woman is the finite, material expression of God…can’t get much more central than that.

    Might be for you, but heterosexual marriage is not central to my faith. Here is what is central to mine:

    I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

    the Maker of heaven and earth,

    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

    Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

    born of the virgin Mary,

    suffered under Pontius Pilate,

    was crucified, dead, and buried;

    He descended into hell.

    The third day He arose again from the dead;

    He ascended into heaven,

    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;

    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost;

    the holy catholic church;

    the communion of saints;

    the forgiveness of sins;

    the resurrection of the body;

    and the life everlasting.

    Amen.

  • Eddy

    Wow….that sure seems to be an exhaustive list of what’s central…and even the Bible doesn’t make the cut!

  • DAVE G

    OK, so when Jesus was asked about divorce, he preferred that it be avoided (” except for immorality”) because “that’s not how it was at the beginning” and He quoted from Genesis regarding the union of a man and a woman –together in the “image of God.” So what David says makes sense, that the procreative union of a man and a woman united in marriage (by God) reflects the reality of God Himself.

  • David Blakeslee

    Democracy can be an expression of morality…

    Democracy can be the tyranny of the majority…

    I hope Warren will contact the ELCA and download any documents related to this process.

  • Michael Bussee

    How did the Bible come into being? Is it infallible? Are the people who read it infallible?

    If they are not, how do we decide whose views become official, central doctrines of Christian faith?

    What if there is disagreement on scripture — about what is central to our faith and what is not?

    Do we take a vote or something? Democracy?

  • Michael Bussee

    David: As a Presbyterian, here is what I believe about the Bible:

    “The church confesses the Scriptures to be the Word of God written, witnessing to God’s self-revelation. Where that Word is read and proclaimed, Jesus Christ the Living Word is present by the inward witness of the Holy Spirit.

    For this reason the reading, hearing, preaching, and confessing of the Word are central to Christian worship. The session shall ensure that in public worship the Scripture is read and proclaimed regularly in the common language(s) of the particular church. (Book of Order W-2.2001)

    Leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) can be expected to affirm that “… the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments…[are]…., by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to [them].”

    Each Sunday, our pastor says: “Listen up for the Word of God in Scripture!” — and I try to. I read and study the Bible daily — but I do not claim to have perfect understanding of it. I don’t believe anyone does — so there is room for disagreement among Bible-believing Christians on these matters.

  • Michael Bussee

    It is interesting that the Apostle’s Creed (quoted above) does not contain a reference to the Bible or Scripture — although every aspect of it has its basis in Scripture.

    Th creed is ancient and has been used for centuries as a statement of the essential dotrines of Christianity. http://www.history.com/encyclopedia.do?articleId=201290

    Does anyone know when the doctrines on the inerrancy or infallibility of scripture came into being — that is, when they were first stated as central doctrines of our faith?

    I found this in Wikipedia, which seems to suggest that the infallibility and inerrancy doctrines are somewhat new.

    According to an article in Theology Today published in 1975, “There have been long periods in the history of the church when biblical inerrancy has not been a critical question. It has in fact been noted that only in the last two centuries can we legitimately speak of a formal doctrine of inerrancy. The arguments pro and con have filled many books, and almost anyone can join in the debate.”

    In the ’70s and ’80s, however, the debate in theological circles, which centered on the issue of whether or not the Bible was infallible or both infallible and inerrant, came into the spotlight. Some notable Christian seminaries, such as Princeton Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary, were formally adopting the doctrine of infallibility while rejecting the doctrine of inerrancy.

    The other side of this debate focused largely around the magazine Christianity Today and the book entitled The Battle for the Bible by Harold Lindsell. The author asserted that losing the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture was the thread that would unravel the church. Conservatives rallied behind this idea, agreeing that once a man disregards the ultimate truthfulness of the Bible, then anything can become justifiable.

    My point is that even if Scripture is infallible and inerrant, human beings (the ones who must, read, interpret, discuss, debate, teach and enforce Scriptural teachings) are not.

  • Eddy

    First, I’m the one who brought the Bible into the conversation not David. And I didn’t bring it in for the purpose of discussing interpretations or inerrancy. I brought it up to demonstrate that there are some things that are central to the Christian faith that didn’t get mentioned in the Apostle’s Creed.

  • David Blakeslee

    Holiness is a very demanding calling for all of us. Our inability to meet it does not change the nature of the calling; but can increase our humility and compassion:

    1 Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;

    2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

    1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.

    Those who can more often meet such a demands because of better genetics or a superior upbringing can stand in judgment of those who sincerely struggle with repetitive failures to meet the most basic moral demands.

    Regardless of who judges us on earth and their motives, whether corrupt or pure; the calling does not change.

  • Michael Bussee

    Those who can more often meet such a demands because of better genetics or a superior upbringing can stand in judgment of those who sincerely struggle with repetitive failures to meet the most basic moral demands

    .

    David, would I be one of those “who sincerely struggle with repetitive failures to meet the most basic moral demands”? And do you see yourself as one of those who “can more often meet such a demands because of better genetics or a superior upbringing?”

    Apparently, it is all very clear to you. You seem to see gayness, in and of itself, as unholy — and people who “do it” as moral failures. I do not.

  • Michael Bussee

    Simple. One man/one woman married sex is the only holy or moral sex. The Bible clearly says so. Gay sex is always unholy and immoral because the Bible clearly says so — and because it is not one man/one woman married sex. .

    Anyone who disagrees or does otherwise is guilty of moral failure. Period. Must have bad genetics or inferior upbringing.

    (Except for solo masturbation which is a morally neutral, like reading a good book or enjoying a nice meal — something the Bible says nothing about. Something you, David, made up.)

  • Michael Bussee

    David, forgive me. I think I may have gotten my threads tangled. My comments about what is and is not central to Christian doctrine should have appeared on this thread and not somewhere else on Throckmorton.

    I was commenting on your reference, above, to this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/19/AR2009081903631.html

    wherein the “statement’s drafters agreed that such differing views could be accomodated because the homosexuality issue is “not central to our faith”. I agree with them.

  • Michael Bussee

    I believe the Apostle’s Creed clearly lays out all the basics, the central doctrines of Christianity — the Nature of God, the person and work of Christ, etc., that make “Christianity” Christianity. It does not address everything important in the lives of believers.

    If I had been about centuries ago, I might have insisted that those who wrote the creed put this in:

    “The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to us.”

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Michael,

    You misunderstand me…and understandably so:

    Those who can more often meet such a demands because of better genetics or a superior upbringing can stand in judgment of those who sincerely struggle with repetitive failures to meet the most basic moral demands.

    This is a statement that leaves unsaid that I view such folks with “better genetics” and “superior upbringing” as potentially our 21st century pharisees.

    My follow up sentence poorly alludes to this belief:

    Regardless of who judges us on earth and their motives, whether corrupt or pure; the calling does not change.

    Sanctification, as a christian ordained growth process applies to all of us, in each of our areas of failure (these failures may be more likely because of genetics, gender, upbringing and so on). Regardless, it is a core concept in Christianity.

    I am attempting to argue, in these posts, about a general call to holiness that, for some of us requires changing our sexual behavior (whether gay or straight).

  • Eddy

    Michael inquired:

    would I be one of those “who sincerely struggle with repetitive failures to meet the most basic moral demands”?

    I don’t think anyone would see him in this light. Michael determined decades ago that ‘the most basic moral demands’ did not pertain to homosexuality, per se. No perceived demands equals no struggle–sincere or otherwise; no ongoing attempt to overcome would mean no repetitive failures.

    Reminds me of that country song/t-shirt slogan “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” How can you repetitively fail at something you’re not attempting to do?

  • Michael Bussee

    David: Thanks for clarifying.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am attempting to argue, in these posts, about a general call to holiness that, for some of us requires changing our sexual behavior (whether gay or straight).

    David, I wholeheartedly agree with this.

  • Eddy

    This is most excellent…a real sign of progress. I know in the hetero world some are calling for a stronger definition of committment…of re-establishing the sanctity of marriage as a ‘lifetime committment’…of teaching husbands and wives how to be better examples of the love of Christ…or of making abstinence before marriage acceptable (even desireable) again. It’s a tough battle and not for the faint-hearted…only for those who aspire to that holiness wholeheartedly. Can we look at some examples on how the call to holiness would impact the sexual lives of gays and how the rest of us can assist in giving voice to that call?

  • Michael Bussee

    David, in terms of “changing our sexual behavior (whether gay or straight)” as part of a “general call to holiness”, I would suggest that renouncing things like teen sex, anonymous sex, affairs, addiction to pornography, prostitution, sex which demeans or objectifies, cheating, lying, group sex, sex for sport, etc. would be a good start (whether gay or straight).

    So would legalizing gay marriage.

  • Mary

    Sexual holiness? Rarely seen and double standard when it comes to gays and straights in the church. Cannot even tell you how many straights are having sex outside of marriage.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I am attempting to argue, in these posts, about a general call to holiness that, for some of us requires changing our sexual behavior (whether gay or straight).

    I think you’d find alot of gay people arguing for the same thing :) Along with a call for equal rights when it comes to marriage!

  • Jayhuck

    Seems like most of the some 3,000 different Christian denominations have differing views on what is central to the faith – at least that has been my experience.

  • Eddy

    I must admit that I don’t attend and haven’t attended a gay church, so I’m going to need input from those who do. Of the areas that Michael mentioned, which are currently being addressed wholeheartedly by gay Christians? Can anyone provide any examples i.e here’s the issue this is how we’re addressing it.

    Unlike the word ‘change’ that me and my people have constantly been accused of misusing, the word ‘wholehearted’ has a commonly recognized step-child, ‘halfhearted’. The word used in this thread was WHOLEhearted. It implies a very deep and thorough committment. Recognizing areas that ‘oughta be changed’ seems HALFhearted…encouraging real change or effecting real change would be WHOLEhearted. In the areas Michael cited, what efforts or progress can anyone cite? The areas he listed can be found in this quote (I dont’ want to tamper with the wording):

    I would suggest that renouncing things like teen sex, anonymous sex, affairs, addiction to pornography, prostitution, sex which demeans or objectifies, cheating, lying, group sex, sex for sport, etc. would be a good start

    If I’m wrong on my own definition of Halfhearted vs Wholehearted, please, by all means, let me know and tell me how I’m missing it. But, for now, and we all know I have a bias…it might affect both the way I speak and the way I hear…I’m really craving an example of homosexual wholehearted aspirations to holiness.

    I’m going to go so far as to declare my bias once again and how it caused me to react to Michael’s rebuttal to David. His statement immediately struck me as less than genuine. Just an “us too” statement….a “we’re just like you’ statement”. But it didn’t have any backup…no examples. And, frankly, from my bias, I don’t think Michael’s ‘just like me’ …or David. So, I’m asking for support for the statement. If it’s a WHOLEhearted desire for holiness (including sexual–including HOMOsexual), there really ought to be some evidences of trying to bring that holiness into effect….something more than a list of areas where it’s needed.

    I fear we’ve slipped back into debate mode…trying to score points rather than actually discuss. I don’t buy ‘Wholehearted’ for a second. I will fight for honest discussion; I will demand substantive backup for statements that don’t ring totally true…that appear to have a ‘ta da!’ at the end. (That, I hope, explains my most recent comments.)

    Towards the ‘totally true’ point, please realize that I am FAR from holy…sometimes I find myself even rejecting holiness when it crosses my self-purpose…but, through it all, I have resolved not to redefine holiness and instead reckon with the difficulties that I have with it.

    All of that being said, can anyone provide evidences of the advances towards holiness currently being made–that you yourself may have even been a part of–regarding the areas Michael cited. I will quote him directly…tenses may not be correct but the areas where more holiness is needed will (I hope) be mutually agreeable.

    I would suggest that renouncing things like teen sex, anonymous sex, affairs, addiction to pornography, prostitution, sex which demeans or objectifies, cheating, lying, group sex, sex for sport, etc. would be a good start

    We self-righteous, religiously rigid, better than you, holier than thous, really need to SEE examples of the progress being made…otherwise our natural tendencies to see your words as empty…even false…take over. Being human can be a real bitch sometimes. I think it’s time in a fair and balanced discussion, to start calling ‘ the gay church’ to task; it’s time to start examining whether THEY are living up to the proclamations that they make and that are being made on their behalf. Can we go there or are they somehow exempt from the microscope?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I’m just curious – what do you mean by

    redefine holiness

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Would all you fire, brimstone and bluster be about taking the focus off all the “half-hearted” and hypocritical Evangelicals and other conservative religious folk out there?

    I’m not sure what would qualify as examples of progress for you, but you might want to start at http://www.gaychristian.net :)

    I mean, if you’re REALLY interested in finding examples – do some footwork man! Don’t make grand/long speeches over-analyzing someone else’s words in the half-hearted attempt of honest inquiry.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    You are a homosexual – would you call your attempts at holiness half-hearted or whole-hearted?

  • Jayhuck

    I mean – you can be a homosexual and not identify as “gay” right? Maybe we need to define the word homosexual first, because there are alot of ex-gay homosexuals out there, if I understand the word correctly.

  • Jayhuck

    err – I meant, AT honest inquiry :)

  • Evan

    Michael Bussee:

    …in terms of “changing our sexual behavior (whether gay or straight)” as part of a “general call to holiness”, I would suggest that renouncing things like teen sex, anonymous sex, affairs, addiction to pornography, prostitution, sex which demeans or objectifies, cheating, lying, group sex, sex for sport, etc. would be a good start (whether gay or straight).

    That is impossible. No society ever eradicated lying, cheating or prostitution, to my knowledge. It’s worth to keep trying…

    On the subject of pornography there are lots of things to be said and done.

    Pros and cons, and dilemmas: many people especially teens get mentally stuck on porn which can make them have too high expectations of what sex or a sex partner is. It helps to learn some stuff but some can get stuck on that, especially the ones who are not successful at finding a girlfriend/boufriend. Then there is the particular case of people who are deprived of intimate contact, for different reasons, and having access to porn can reduce the risk of committing some acts like rape or abuse. Porn can be an outlet for these people. Not to mention the jobs it creates.

    David Blakeslee:

    I am attempting to argue, in these posts, about a general call to holiness that, for some of us requires changing our sexual behavior (whether gay or straight).

    This doesn’t seem to work. Maybe I’m taking a too general understanding of your proposition, but the sexual dealings from many churches around the world are an indication that a call to holiness in general can backfire. Where else to look for a litmus test of this call if not in environments where holiness is part of the job. There are people who witnessed this failure and even wrote books about it (like this one).

    I understand that your call may come from the necessity to propose solutions for some cases (the mgmt of lgbt), but also as a standard that can produce some results (similar to Kant’s regulatory ideas, that don’t have any object, but are worth keeping.) However, these propositions must be considered against practical tests, because too much pressure to conform to strict dogma in the sexual realm can produce some ugly distortions of sexual interest, just as much as too much latitude.

    I think a more flexible workaround can be found without paying a too high price. If people accepted and were educated that it’s normal to be dissonant in terms of values and sexual interest, what can be regulated would be regulated and what can’t would be integrated as part of life, as an experience full of contradictions. Expecting consonance may be the problem here. If you ask someone to strive towards “holiness” you might get the contrary. E.g. Why saints sin and sinners get saintly.

  • Eddy

    I couldn’t find anything at gaychristian.net that addressed anything about how a gay christian should develop a more holy sexuality. And that was after travelling down some of their links. Anyone?

    I did see some references to reaching out to the gay community (evangelism) but nothing about growth towards sexual holiness (discipleship).

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck, thanks for the link. I have attended many gay Christian meetings, worship services and Bible studies — and holiness (sexual and in general) is a frequent topic.

    Except for the meetings where we were wholeheartedly promoting, excusing or condoning sexual sin. :)

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Michael –

    Except for the meetings where we were wholeheartedly promoting, excusing or condoning sexual sin. :)

    Those would be the outreach meetings, right?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    I have attended many gay Christian meetings, worship services and Bible studies — and holiness (sexual and in general) is a frequent topic.

    Except for the meetings where we were wholeheartedly promoting, excusing or condoning sexual sin.

    This is not called for. I have asked an honest question…I’ve answered many of yours quite frankly over the course of our time here. Why are you going the route of snarkiness instead of providing a few concrete examples?

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren: That’s right. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Actually, Warren, in every encounter I have had with gay Christian groups, there is no sense of minimizing, excusing, promoting or condoning any of the things I have mentioned above. We believe we are called to be holy, just as He is holy.

    These gay Christians, like other sincere Christians, are committed to living out their lives (including the sexuality) in a holy manner, pleasing to God — and encouraging others to do the same. Committed, loving, honest, faithful, married relationships are the model — the same model we uphold for straights.

    Now, if we could only get married legally — so we didn’t have to “live in sin”. :)

    You know, I was told by many non-gay Christians (and some ex-gay ones) that it was actually MORE sinful and LESS holy to live in a committed gay relationship — because at least one-night-stands did not indicate that we were “embracing” our sin — and we could repent over and over.

    Being monogamous with one gay partner in a loving relationship was affirming our sin, therefore less holy.

  • carole

    @Michael, you said,

    These gay Christians, like other sincere Christians, are committed to living out their lives (including the sexuality) in a holy manner, pleasing to God — and encouraging others to do the same. Committed, loving, honest, faithful, married relationships are the model — the same model we uphold for straights.

    Now, if we could only get married legally — so we didn’t have to “live in sin”.

    Michael, I don’t feel this is an intrusive personal question since you have posted several times about your belief in marriage and committed relationships, about your belief in the Christian value of marriage, and about your belief in gay marriage.

    Gay marriage was legal in California from mid-May of 2008 to November of 2008 until Prop 8 passed the night of the Presidential election.

    For many months previous to the election and especially 6-8 weeks before it, as it became apparent that the vote would be very close, many gays got married, fearing that Prop 8 would pass, as it did. They realized that the California Supreme Court might or might not uphold the voters’ passage of Prop 8 should it pass, but they weren’t willing to take such a chance. They reasoned that if the Court upheld a pro-8 vote, they’d be less likely to negate the same-sex marriages that had taken place from May-November.

    So I am wondering why it is that since you have spoken of being in a loving, committed relationship and since you are believer in marriage, why didn’t you get married when you had the chance in the state in which you live?

  • Eddy

    Michael said:

    as part of a “general call to holiness”, I would suggest that renouncing things like teen sex, anonymous sex, affairs, addiction to pornography, prostitution, sex which demeans or objectifies, cheating, lying, group sex, sex for sport, etc. would be a good start

    Then he later said:

    Actually, Warren, in every encounter I have had with gay Christian groups, there is no sense of minimizing, excusing, promoting or condoning any of the things I have mentioned above. We believe we are called to be holy, just as He is holy.

    So, we can conclude that gay teens are being encouraged to ‘save it until they get committed’…that teenage ‘fooling around’ isn’t being winked at or minimized by branding it ‘experimentation’? that it isn’t being excused as ‘finding your gay identity’?

    So we can conclude that porn, not just porn addiction, is regarded with general disdain and is discouraged? that not just sex that objectifies but lustful thoughts that objectify ought to be shunned? I’m unclear here because I remember several comments where Michael said he was going to the beach to ogle and where he jokingly suggested that I have fun ogling a few times when I mentioned I was heading to the pool. It felt like he was minimizing lustful looking and promoting fanning the fires of lust.

    Re: committment…is it a one partner for life thing that is being heralded as the goal or is it one partner at a time? Lifetime monogamy or serial monogamy?

    “Affairs” and “cheating” make the list of things that ought not to be minimized, excused, promoted or condoned. I’m not criticizing Michael; I believe that life has dealt him a raw deal or two…but 3 partners died of AIDS and 3 more partners were discovered to be unfaithful. There’s some sort of disconnect between that raw truth and

    These gay Christians, like other sincere Christians, are committed to living out their lives (including the sexuality) in a holy manner, pleasing to God — and encouraging others to do the same. Committed, loving, honest, faithful, married relationships are the model — the same model we uphold for straights.

    Didn’t the model breakdown in at least 3 of these partners? What’s up with that? Was Michael ‘unequally yoked with unbelievers’? Or did he somehow tap into a weird and unusual vein of gay Christians who didn’t believe in committment?

    (It just occurred to me that in the quoted paragraph that starts ‘Actually, Warren, in every encounter…’, there’s a weird language thing going on. Rather than saying what these gay Christian groups ARE doing, we’ve been givien a list of what they’re NOT doing. They are not actively minimizing, excusing, promoting or condoning the behaviors from the list. Great. But are they filling that vacuum with exhortations to teens to save it til committment, with appeals to guard your heart against the porn and prostitution, with admonishments to NOT stray from your partner and with encouragement to love your partner as Christ loved the church, with exhortations to resist anonymous sex and one-nighters.)

  • Michael Bussee

    So I am wondering why it is that since you have spoken of being in a loving, committed relationship and since you are believer in marriage, why didn’t you get married when you had the chance in the state in which you live?

    Carole: We are only dating. We do not live together. We were not engaged. Had we been, we would have married.

  • Michael Bussee

    Also, Carole, we have only known each other for about four months now. We met after the May-November 2008 window of opportunity. Even If we had known each other at that time, it would have been too soon to get married.

    After all the mistakes I have made picking partners in the midst of the loneliness and grief following Gary’s death, I want to make sure he is the right guy, believes in faithfulness, is really committed to Christ, etc.

    Sadly, I have made the same mistakes many straights do — letting my own loneliness and desire to be in relationship cloud my judgement. I have rushed into relationships before. Never again.

    This time, I want a long engagement, a ring and a church wedding. This time, as it was with Gary, I want the relationship to be truly Christ-centered — and so far, it is.

    .

  • Mary

    Way back in the day I attended the MCC in my city and then a smaller one in a suburb. Both of them had sexual encounters going on to the knowledge of everyone and people moving on to new partners etc… It was never discussed. It bothered me then and it bothers me now. Perhaps things have changed in the MCC congregations. Regardless, in America we really do have a relaxed idea of sexual morals that no one gay or straight is really maintaining any sort of biblical dsicipline. Well – the majority of people are not maintaining discipline. I don’t care what people say in public – walk intotheir private lives and we see a lot more going on. And I’m guilty of this, too. So … I certainly understand the difficulty in finding sexual holiness and it is really a broad social issue effecting all kinds of people.

    Gay Christians can have a committment ceremony (if marriage or civil union is not legal in their region) and I would have more respect for that than those who complain that they are they way they are because marriage is denied them. C;mon – we are all equally able to fall.

  • Michael Bussee

    Let us keep in mind that even straight Christian marriages sometimes break down. Some studies suggest that the divorce rate for Christians and non-Christians may be about the same.

    Now, what was the actual topic of this thread? I remember — NARTH lying about the APA report. Any word back from Mr. Pruden yet, Warren?

  • Eddy

    Sorry, I’m not down with the ‘switch back to the topic’…especially not when called for by the person who spearheaded the ‘off topic derailment’ with two back to back comments very early in the thread….and while my legitimate questions that pertain to the derailment remain unanswered.

    Michael Bussee ~ Aug 21, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Leaders of the nation’s biggest Lutheran denomination voted Friday to allow gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy in the church — making it one of the largest Christian denominations in the country to significantly open the pulpit to gays.

    Time to celebrate!!! There have always been gay clergy. We have been serving Christ in the shadows for way too long.

    Michael Bussee ~ Aug 21, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    …the statement’s drafters agreed that such differing views could be accomodated because the homosexuality issue is “not central to our faith”

    Wonder what could be central? Maybe Jesus as Lord and Savior? Maybe His death and resurrection? Maybe grace? Maybe the two Great Commandments?

    How cool would that be?

    Oh, and I still have unanswered questions regarding ‘gay Christians aspirations to sexual holiness’. And while those remained unanswered, I thought of another very practical question. I realize that, for many, marriage is not an option, but what percentage of gay Christians refrain from sex until committment? What’s the norm? (Back in my day, for a time I tried to hold onto the notion of ‘refraining from sex until marriage’–{no, I obviously wasn’t referring to the legal ceremony but rather until I’d found THE ONE and knew HE was the one I wanted to settle down with}–I couldn’t find a single gay person who didn’t think I was crazy.) So, does that sentiment still prevail in the gay community and has the gay church had any measurable success in encouraging ‘no sexual involvement prior to committment’?

    Although based on Michael’s comments, my questions aren’t directed to him, per se. Anyone who has any insight or answers is welcome to respond. And, if the questions remain unanswered, it just may be a situation that lends credence to the notion that ‘silence speaks volumes’.

  • Michael Bussee

    Regardless, in America we really do have a relaxed idea of sexual morals that no one gay or straight is really maintaining any sort of biblical dsicipline.

    Mary, I agree.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren: I will email you directly about my question about NARTH and Mr. Pruden. I suspect that he has not responded. I wonder if he even read the APA report? It sounds as though he did not, or that he misunderstood it — or that he is deliberately mis-stating the facts.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary, here is some interesting information to back up your comment that “no one, gay or straight, is really maintaining any sort of biblical discipline”:

    By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY, 12/19/06

    Almost all Americans have premarital sex, says a report published Tuesday that analyzes federal data over time and suggests programs focusing on sexual abstinence until marriage may be unrealistic.

    “The reality of the situation is that most people had premarital sex, and it’s been that way for several decades,” says Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute, a New York City-based non-profit organization that studies reproductive and sexual health.

    The study, which used statistics from the 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, asked about 40,000 people ages 15-44 about their sexual behavior and traced the trends in premarital sex back to the 1950s.

    Of course, the fact that sexual abistinence before marriage may be “unrealistic”, does not mean that we give up trying.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Gaychristian.net is a live blog – with ongoing discussions on a variety of topics depending on which group or thread you decide to take part in. I’ve been part of many that involve holiness and I think if you spent any time there, you’d find yourself involved in several as well

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    but what percentage of gay Christians refrain from sex until committment?

    Judging from the conservative Christians I know, and the figures that came out on the young conservative Christians with the purity rings, I’d say the two groups, gay and conservative Christains, were probably the same regarding sex before marriage – LOL

    If you spent some time on gaychristian.net, you’d know that there are many gay Christians who desire to wait until they get married to have sex. If you want more info on those groups, I’d recommend emailing Justin!

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    I don’t know anyone who waited until marriage or commitment. They may say that now after a season of not desiring so… but …. finding someone who is a complete virgin, who knows they are gay???

  • Michael Bussee

    We should certainly be teaching people to avoid sin and live in holiness, but the trouble is that without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, people have little power to do so. Thou shalt nots are kinda pointless really — except to point out the futility of trying to be holy on own own..

    Obeying these rules may seem to be the smart thing to do. They appear to make you love God more and to be very humble and to have control over your body. But they don’t really have any power over our desires. Colossians 2:23

    What does give us this power? Or more on point, who has the power? Only the Spirit living in us. Only God’s grace.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Since I don’t identify as a ‘gay Christian’, I likely won’t be blogging at gaychristian.com but I will sneak over and take a look at their discussions. I have an aversion to being ‘an invader’…if I don’t fill their bill, so to speak, let them have their blog without my intrusion.

    I appreciate your answer regarding sex before marriage but, the lack of response to my questions led me to remember that with gays it used to be sex before relationship. I hinted at this strongly in my last post. I’m not saying it’s wild sex…or frequent sex…or anything of the sort. But I am saying that there WAS a pattern with gays that you didn’t even consider pursuing committment until you tried sex first. Ass backwards from a traditional Christian POV…and offensive to a Christian ‘aspiring to holiness’ POV. Has that changed in the gay community at large and has it been addressed in gay churches?

    My sense is that gays still tend to ‘start with sex’. Maybe not on the first date. But…if after 3 or 4 dates, there’s still a connection, then sex is expected BEFORE considering committment. Is this true?

    There may come a time to make comparisons to what the straight world and what the straight Christian world is doing but, for the time being, can anyone answer my direct questions? In the world of gay Christians, what is the norm? Sex before committment or do they wait until in a committed relationship before expressing their love through either oral or anal copulation? (Pardon me for the graphic talk but my simple questions seem not to be getting through so I’m needing to get more precise and specific. I’m assuming they just aren’t hearing what I’m asking.)

    Big question numero uno: Does the gay church (not a random blog site) actually speak to sexual morality denouncing teen sexual exploration, sex before committment, porn usage, sex that objectifies? Does it actively denounce these behaviors and inspire its members towards homosexual holiness?

    Number two: In the gay church, what is the norm for when two people first have sex–is it before or after they decide to be committed to each other?

  • Michael Bussee

    Since all gay sex is sin, does it really make any sense to discuss how to pursue a holier homosexuality?

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck, I took your suggestion and signed onto GCN. So far, it looks like they believe that sinful sex is sinful and should be avoided.

    There are gay Christians there who believe gay Christians should be completely celibate and others who believe that committed gay unions can be holy.

    I will check to see what various gay churches and gay-inclusive churches teach on the matter.

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck, I also found this: http://www.gaychurch.org/ Since there is not a “gay church”, per se, but many different churches and ministryies to gays, I imagine that I would need to check with each one to discern their views on what kinds of sexual behaviors are sinful and what they teach about sex and holiness.

    I will get on it.

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck, This discussion has really sparked my curiousity. I have looking into stastitics on premarital sex. It would seem that very few people, gay or straight, Christian or non-Christian, wait until marriage to have sex.

    According to one study done by the Guttmacher Institute, a New York City-based non-profit organization that studies reproductive and sexual health:

    Of those interviewed in 2002, 95% reported they had had premarital sex; 93% said they did so by age 30.

    I believe that sex was meant for committed, married relationships and that it is best to wait — but it seems like only about 5% are successful at this. I wonder what sets this 5% apart?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I appreciate your answer regarding sex before marriage but, the lack of response to my questions led me to remember that with gays it used to be sex before relationship. I hinted at this strongly in my last post. I’m not saying it’s wild sex…or frequent sex…or anything of the sort. But I am saying that there WAS a pattern with gays that you didn’t even consider pursuing committment until you tried sex first.

    To be honest, I don’t know any straight people that this isn’t true for as well. Its usually the 3rd or 4th date when straight people tend to go for sex in what might be a new romantic relationship as well – if they aren’t out looking for just sex that is. That does seem to be what is paraded in front of us on television, but in my limited experience it holds up in the real world as well.

    Again, though, you’ll find many, many gay people on gaychristian.net who are professing to hold off on sex until they are married – and others who are not – but the gay minority really seems to reflect the larger straight population in many more ways than even I used to believe.

    What is the norm? Unless I were to do a large scientific study Eddy, there is no way I could answer that – I doubt anyone could answer such a question with any sense of reliability without such a study? Could any of us say for a fact what the norm was among straight people without a study? Not really!

    OK – I just saw the study Michael quoted – that’s interesting!

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

    jayhuck said:

    To be honest, I don’t know any straight people that this isn’t true for as well. Its usually the 3rd or 4th date when straight people tend to go for sex in what might be a new romantic relationship as well – if they aren’t out looking for just sex that is. That does seem to be what is paraded in front of us on television, but in my limited experience it holds up in the real world as well.

    You must have some pretty interesting friends. That is not true of the majority of people I know. Maybe my friends are boring.

    Something that nearly always gets lost in these discussions is the confound of gender. Males are more likely to pursue casual sex than females. Females may engage in sex but they are not most frequently the pursuers. We know that women have much greater mental health risks if they are sexually active at a young age than men. There are differences that are independent of orientation. When we are talking about sex seeking, on average, we are talking about men. If women were as sex-seeking as men, I believe we would see virtually no differences in relationships between straight and gay couples.

    That is an untestable hypothesis but one which when stated illustrates a need to take into account gender when discussing these matters. Another matter is religion and I am hoping Andrew Marin study of religion and gays will shed light on sexual practices among religous gays.

  • Michael Bussee

    Another matter is religion and I am hoping Andrew Marin study of religion and gays will shed light on sexual practices among religous gays.

    Thanks, Warren. I have been searching the net for stats on premarital sex. I have found some that seem to suggest that religion makes little difference. One even claimed that conservative Christians were more likey to have had premartial sex than non-religious folks.

    So far, I have not found studies that break it down by sexual orientation or sexual identity — so that we might compare gays and straights. Did your study of married SSA men ask the question? Do you know of any studies?

  • carole

    @Michael,

    Carole: We are only dating. We do not live together. We were not engaged. Had we been, we would have married.

    Got it, thanks. I think I got confused because a long while back in looking at some comments, yet before I was actually able to “connect” names of people to their posts, I recalled reading comments by a man who spoke of having been married four times, one a straight marriage and three gay marriages. I remembered it well because there followed a reference to his many life’s tragedies and that stuck in my head.

    Later, after I had been on the blog for a while, I realized that man was you. Then more recently in some threads you spoke of your partner, and I believe once recently you said you were dog tired and looking forward to going to bed and cuddling with your partner so I took that to mean you were more than just dating. I mistakenly assumed that you had been with him quite some time. That is why I wondered about your not marrying. It’s a good lesson about not assuming anything.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Evan,

    very late return to this thread…

    Regarding drives to holiness leading to more sin…please see Romans 7 and 8.

    Some people who diet become obese…for a variety of confusing reasons.

    Jungian psychology asserts: That which we resist….persists!

    Of course, that which we indulge tends to persist also.

    Holiness and sanctification are exercises, when properly applied, in lifelong humility, not gateways to a pure life…and certainly not platforms to demean and devalue others.

  • Michael Bussee

    Holiness and sanctification are exercises, when properly applied, in lifelong humility, not gateways to a pure life…and certainly not platforms to demean and devalue others.

    Amen and amen.

  • Michael Bussee

    Just struck me that the best way to lead homosexuals to holiness is to lead them to Jesus — and make them feel welcome in His church.

  • Jayhuck

    Warren,

    You must have some pretty interesting friends. That is not true of the majority of people I know. Maybe my friends are boring.

    It definitely applies to the majority of straight people I know – perhaps your friends are boring (I find that doubtful ;)) or perhaps we just hang with different age groups? I’m sure there could be any number of reasons why the straight people and straight couples I know act or behave differently than the ones you know – it could be the water here – ack! :)

    It will be interesting to read that study by Marin – but if history shows us anything, its that the religious conservatives aren’t often so different from there more liberal or even secular counterparts at times when it comes to sex. The failure of the purity rings itself is only one example.

    yeah, gender should be taken into account, but it should also be noted that the sex-seeking male and non-sex-seeking female examples are stereotypes – they may fit the genders, especially in western societies, but not all males are sex seeking (as much as the media would like us to believe) and some women are. There are also sociological factors that play into how genders behave differently in different societies/cultures

  • Mary

    I agree. Everyone is doing it (that’s from a song) but you get the idea. I knwo many couples who attend conservative churches that sleep with eacother.

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

    We know that women have much greater mental health risks if they are sexually active at a young age than men.

    Warren, I am glad you are standing by this. So, I can still quote you on that? You still agree with:

    Denise D. Hallfors, Martha W. Waller, Daniel Bauer, Carol A. Ford and Carolyn T. Halper, “Which Comes First in Adolescence—Sex and Drugs or Depression?” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 29(3): 163-170.

    By the way, is Marin qualified to do a “study”? Is this going to be a Barna-type survey?

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

    Hallfors does good work. I interviewed her for a couple of articles awhile back. You can quote me for sure although I would always quote Hallfors first as she is the primary source.

    I think Marin has an advanced degree and I know he is getting first rate statistical help with analysis of his data.

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

    I believe the man woman thing is more than stereotype if by that you mean an illusory correlation. Research has found difference across cultures about what men and women seek and the sexual behavior of men and women. While culture shapes some of the nuance, I think biology makes a powerful foundation for understanding why men and women would be different regarding reproduction and the means to get there. And that includes not only the different investments in reproduction (men a few minutes and women 9 months+ but also differences in brain wiring).

    Of course not all men and women are alike. Some women are taller than the average man but still on average men are taller than women. That is not a stereotype. I don’t believe the differences in sex seeking behavior are stereotypes either.

  • Jayhuck

    Warren,

    Perhaps stereotype was the wrong word – and I agree that its more than an illusory correlation – that is not what I meant by stereotype.

    However, the media goes a long way to shape how we think and view the genders in this country and in other western societies – and the sex-seeking man and non-sex seeking woman are very much a part of how they try and portray the genders – to the extreme sometime. It would be foolish also to ignore the impact that societies play in shaping sexual behavior in the genders. There also seems to be a desire/tendency, in men, to believe, or want to believe, that women are NOT sex seekers – and I’m sure that is true for various reasons.

    There are many men who do not seek sex as much as women. I would agree on the whole Warren that that is not the case – again, especially in western societies, but just how sex-seeking men are and how non-sex seeking women are, is up for debate.

  • Eddy

    My computer was down most of yesterday so I missed the latest flurry. I don’t really have much to add. Shaking my head a bit. It seems in this little detour about ‘aspiring to holiness’ we’ve come to a place where we’re ‘justifiying our horniness’.

    I also recognize that studies of sexual behavior and of the nuances will be difficult to come by. As we study and discuss, I hope that we won’t keep blurring the distinction between what our culture does and what Christians do. Yes, I realize that Christians are often just as permissive as our culture at large but I would hope that Christians who claim to be aspiring to holiness aren’t riding on the permissive bandwagon.

  • Jayhuck

    Warren,

    We know that women have much greater mental health risks if they are sexually active at a young age than men.

    Yes, but again, how much of that has to do with the way they are raised/ how much of this might have to do with societal factors? Probably a great deal – I doubt that THIS, especially, is a hard-wired thing, as opposed to the sex-seeking behaviors. ;)

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Could you elaborate on this:

    and the sex-seeking man and non-sex seeking woman are very much a part of how they try and portray the genders – to the extreme sometime.

    LOL. ‘Media influence’ is the name of one of my favorite hobby horses but I don’t recognize the ‘non-sex seeking woman’ pattern. I realize I may be blinded by the scantily clad half-time shows, sit-coms, soap operas, etc. And I realize that they are not representative of all of media. Can you cite an example or two of the media portrayal of the ‘non-sex seeking woman’ that would help me see past my blinders?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    It has a great deal more to do with the way they portray men than the way they portray women. And again – societal factors play a much larger role. I’ll share some examples later – off to work ;)

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Before I leave – look at the television role models in the 50′s and 60′s and 70′s for women – sometimes even in the 80′s. And don’t mistake scantily clad women for sex seekers – are they scantily clad because men wanted them to be, or because men are the primary viewers of whatever it is they are scantily clad for? Now I’m late ;)

  • Eddy

    Thanks, Jayhuck., your answers help to clarify. I thought perhaps I had this major blind-spot.

    I’m inclined to agree more with the fact that they go to the extreme portraying men as horndogs. (‘Two and A Half Men’ being, perhaps, the ultimate example.) They don’t seem to go to extremes portraying women as ‘non-sex seeking’.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck

    I think it’s both. Because men are on the average more aggressive than wo-men it comes naturally to men to act as predators. The media takes this thing, like many other, and puts the hyperbolic spin on it.

  • Evan

    I also agree with the doctor that research shows differences, but it all boils down to how big is big.

  • Evan

    Dave B

    Exercises, …alright. But you know the problem, when you set the bar too high, you get more failing on the way to ‘holiness’ or whatever the object of discipline is. Humans aren’t made to abstain on a regular basis, if they do that they get stressed, jealous, or resentful. We’re living in social environments, unlike the monks of yore. Think about this: 100 years ago there were almost 5 times less people in towns and cities. Less differences, less pressure, more social structure. Now it’s an ocean of people in large cities and there;s a lot more pressure to find a home for one’s feelings and defend it (or to fulfill some instincts). Less structure, on the other hand…

    So it depends on how much you’re asking from people. If you ask someone who is only same-sex attracted to abstain for life, you ‘re going to get a holy stressed man or woman. More stress from work + stress from no sex = it’s likely to vent in something. No wonder some people are changing their beliefs to make room for some life.

    Thanks for the answer to my points.

  • Michael Bussee

    David: Holiness for heterosexuals and spousosexuals — no sex outside of marriage. Holiness for homosexuals — no marriage, no sex.

    Possible exception for both — masturbation. Look it up. It’s in the Bible.

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    I agree on both counts :)

    I t

    hink it’s both. Because men are on the average more aggressive than wo-men it comes naturally to men to act as predators. The media takes this thing, like many other, and puts the hyperbolic spin on it.

    I also agree with the doctor that research shows differences, but it all boils down to how big is big.

    The next issue I’d want to explore of course is to identify how much of that behavior is driven by societal factors :)

  • Eddy

    Since David’s last post was more than 24 hours ago and since Michael already posted twice since then and since one of those posts was actually agreement with David’s main point, I believe it is safe to assume that Michael’s 3:10 sarcastic spouting is responding to something other than David’s words. We may never know what or why….

    Much of the surrounding conversation has been about degrees and I can’t recall one that suggested that sex outside of marriage was less than holy for the homosexual; every comment I recall was careful to use the terminology of ‘committment’ or ‘committed relationship’ instead of ‘marriage’. Concerns were expressed, however, that although many homosexual Christians either desire or are now in committed relationships, they are more likely to have sex prior to committment than their heterosexual Christian counterparts. I will accept the blame for laying that notion on the table. I didn’t present it as fact though…I laid it out as theory and explained why I wondered about it. (Note: I’m not sure if I’m also the one responsible for introducing ‘committment’ or ‘committed relationship’ but when I’ve used that terminology, I envisioned committment akin to ‘engagement’.)

  • Michael Bussee

    Can there be a holy homosexuality, or even a holier homosexuality if all homosexual sex in sinful?

    Oxymoron.

  • Eddy

    No one in this conversation has been talking all or nothing. No one here has been pronouncing black and white absolutes. The holiness detour started with Michael’s agreement with David that we should all aspire to holiness–sexual or otherwise. We granted him that and began discussing what a more holy homosexuality would look like.

    I’m still trying to figure out why there is such resistance to giving any substance at all to this homosexuality that aspires to holiness. I’m beginning to think that the original agreement with David was totally empty of any meaning…that it was just words. (Originally, I suspected it was a bit of an overstatement but now I’m wondering if it’s totally devoid of meaning.)

    But, the comments here have not been rigid. No one has suggested the black and white scenarios that Michael has presented twice now. It feels as if they’re coming in from out of the blue. The comments are obviously directed somewhere; they’re obviously connected somewhere but they aren’t tangibly connected to the comments present here in this dialogue.

    A good rule for all of us is:

    If you are responding to something that someone has said in some other thread, please remember that not all people read every thread…not all people follow every conversation. Whenever we respond to anything that isn’t actually on the current page or thread, it’s best to cite precisely what was said and who said it. Direct quotes are always preferred over paraphrases. Even when we’re trying hard not to be snarky, it’s easy to misrepresent what was actually said.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I’m still trying to figure out why there is such resistance to giving any substance at all to this homosexuality that aspires to holiness.

    I’m still trying to figure out why you believe there is resistance! What is lacking re: this issue in your mind?

  • Michael Bussee

    For those new to the Dr. T’s blog, Warren has posted some very helpful rules for commenting at the top of this page.

    Although it is sometimes hard to resist, try not to be snarky, saracstic, off-topic, rude, disrespectful, controlling, childish, negative, holier-than-thou — or any of the other things I am sometimes guilty of. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Well then, we’ll both be in a muddle, won’t we?

  • Eddy

    Not laying any accusations here…just going after bad debating techinque….

    ‘As it is written’ reminds me of Jesus’ temptation on the desert…now, let me think, who was it who kept tempting Him with ‘as it is written’….Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

  • Eddy

    I don’t know if the ELCA has ever rescinded a decision but I do hope that they’ll find this dialogue on ‘aspirations to holiness’ enlightening.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary: I agree.

    Everyone is doing it (that’s from a song) but you get the idea. I know many couples who attend conservative churches that sleep with each other.

    It doesn’t make it right, it just points out we are all just sinners saved by grace. Get to know gay Christians on a personal level. Apart from being SSA, they are pretty much the same as non-SSA Christians — with the same ideals and the same failings.

    All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

  • Mary

    Micahel,

    I remember how disappointed I was to find this out, too. It is disheartening. Especially when everyone is going on and on about homosexuals and yet, look! And I think those who are not seeing the hypocrisy are not seeing that they are being decieved.

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

    All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

    True, Michael. The problem is too many in the Church forget Paul’s rhetorical question in Romans 6:1, answered in the next verse — “What shall we say, then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be!” He set that up with a discourse on the doctrine of justification, contrasting i with the condemnation of sin, In Romans 5.

    How many of us use the “sinner saved by grace” mantra to excuse selfish, spiritually lazy behavior? “Well, I am just a weak human. You know, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I am what I am, always caught up in the war between the two natures.” It’s a convenient excuse. Doesn’t cut it, though. That’s why sanctification — choosing to move toward holiness — means so much. Christ never meant to leave us where he found us in our spiritual poverty. Salvation is the beginning, not the end of our journey.

  • Michael Bussee

    Not using “sinner saved by grace” to justify anything. Just trying to point out that no group has the market on holiness. OSA Christians and SSA Christians — we all miss the mark.

    “You guys” consider all gay sex as sin, as unholy. I do not.

  • Jayhuck

    Michael,

    “You guys” consider all gay sex as sin, as unholy. I do not.

    Amen Michael – there are plenty of Biblical scholars who would back you up on that point :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Jayhuck: some folks seem to have an assumption that if gay Christians do not think all gay sex is sin that we must therefore think that nothing is sin, that we are spiritually lazy when it comes to sin, that we are trying to “excuse” sin, etc.

    I cannot speak for all gay Christians, but the ones I have met — and I have met many — are just as aware of their personal sinfulness and just as serious in their desire for personal holiness as ex-gay and non-SSA Christians.

    Spiritual orientation and sexual orientation are not one and the same.

  • Jayhuck

    I agree with you mike – WHOLE-heartedly ;) I hope that I deserve that latter description :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Especially when everyone is going on and on about homosexuals and yet, look! And I think those who are not seeing the hypocrisy are not seeing that they are being decieved.

    Mary, very well said. It is tempting to assume that one group hates sin or loves God more. But God knows our hearts.

    From a commentary I am reading this morning:

    Jesus Himself said: “There is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17). Human self-righteousness is, before God, as filthy rags. None can be righteous but God—or one made righteous by God’s power—Christ in a person!

    “If we say that we do not have any sin, we are deceiving ourselves and we’re not being truthful to ourselves.” 1 John 1:18. We have no holiness apart from Him.

  • Eddy

    I cannot speak for all gay Christians, but the ones I have met — and I have met many — are just as aware of their personal sinfulness and just as serious in their desire for personal holiness as ex-gay and non-SSA Christians.

    This statement has a nice ring to it but how can anyone possibly assess it’s truthfulness. No substance has been provided. No criteria. Just a strongly held opinion.

    Allow me one example: in their striving for personal holiness many ex-gays try to minimize seeing other humans as sex objects…they try to focus on the whole person rather than their physical frame. I know many non-SSA Christians who endeavor the same. Yet, the few times that I mentioned ‘going to the pool’, Michael’s comments immediately went to ‘checking out the hotties’. In his anecdotes about going to the beach, the same reference came up. To many ex-gays and non-SSA Christians, ‘checking out the hotties’ is ‘lasciviousness’; it is ‘objectifying’; it is focussing more on a the state of a person’s temporal body than on the state of their eternal spirit and soul. Perhaps they are wrong in this thinking but it brings to light the fact that the statement ‘just as serious in their desire for personal holiness’ falls short of being accurate. There ARE differences. We won’t be able to explore them here because of a general unwillingness to talk specifics but there ARE differences–as the ogling example illustrates.

    Some might object that Michael was only joking…but again that goes to the statement ‘just as serious in their desire for personal holiness’…knowing my beliefs as they’ve been expressed on this blogsite, would a fellow Christian who is ‘just as serious’ make such jokes?

    I am not saying which of us is right; I’ll concede that it’s possible I’m overly rigid…but it’s a rigidity I share with many and it’s glossed over or ignored in the words ‘just as aware’ and ‘just as serious’.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Michael’s comments immediately went to ‘checking out the hotties’.

    I personally think that Michael is just being upfront and honest with this statement. We all do it! If you say you don’t, you’re probably lying, and to me, that’s worse. Besides, Michael is one person and you are bordering on judging him and where he is in his journey! You don’t walk in his shoes, you don’t know his struggles. Making statements about another person’s holiness and deriding them for where they may be on their personal journey is wrong. We ALL fall short Eddy – your treatment of some people on this blog has been awful at times – should we go there and talk about your own failings?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Quick example – A straight friend of mine who identifies as a religious conservative goes out on the weekend and picks up women. Is that right? No – but again, we all fall short. I do not judge him because I know its something that he is trying to work on – we all sin, whether its objectifying people, or misusing sex, or drug or alcohol abuse, or lying, etc….. I’m unnerved at the way you judge Michael and the fact that you are using what may be his own shortcomings as evidence that he is not striving to become holier.

  • Mary

    Eddy

    I totally get what you are saying about objectifying others. Having gone through the journey of moving from one side of the spectrum to the other, I do see sex and sexuality differently than the average person, too. It’s not just about sex. It’s about the person with whom I am attracted – the whole person. It’s not just about penises, vaginas, breast, etc… and really about the other person and how we relate to eachother.

    When I go to the beach – it is to go and have fun playing, swimming, eating etc… And while I do notice others – their physique, body types etc… it is not (not always) in a sexually arousing way. IOW – I don’t go to check out the hotties either. That to me is just sort of – so long ago type of thinking. I guess, I really have changed.

    Though I am not without sexual sin, I have certainly changed how I view sex and sexuality.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    You don’t know what you’re talking about when you say that you think Michael is just being upront and honest with his statement about the hotties. Yes, that’s possible for the beach statement…a simple honest admission on his part. It does not, however explain, however, why he’d say it to me when I announced that I was going to the pool–on at least two different occasions.

    Please don’t use your dogmatic blindness as an excuse to attack me personally. I am not judging Michael’s holiness in any way other than to say it’s NOT THE SAME. I even allowed for the fact that ‘me and mine’ might be over-rigid. Because, as my example demonstrates, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. I am not attacking anything other than words…words that made a comparison and said that they were just the same. My point, all along, has been that they are not. People keep coming back with all manner of generalized comparisons but they don’t support them. That being the case, I’ll continue to demonstrate that the statements being made are opinions…and I’ll demonstrate how I’m of a different opinion. It’s how discussion works. I asked questions very early on in an attempt to discuss differences, not one person was able to answer the questions and yet now Michael’s concluding that things are ‘just the same’. From what evidence???? Everyone just finished saying it was uncharted terrritory…that no one really knew…that studies (except perhaps for Marin) didn’t exist. Yet Michael takes it upon himself to ‘sum it up’…to speak on behalf of gay Christians, ex-gays and non-SSA Christians and pronounce a ‘just as’ comparison…no differences. He had no backup for his statement…how could he considering that the consensus was that it was uncharted/unexplored territory?

    I’m not saying I’m holy…not saying I’m holier…not saying Michael’s unholy…what I’m saying is that there ARE differences in how we perceive holiness…what we think holiness is…and how we approach it. I’m saying that Michael’s ‘sum it up’ statement is somehow flawed because it does not consider some very significant differences in how we perceive holiness.

    You were correct in suggesting that it would be audacious for me to judge Michael’s holiness or that of gay Christians in general. I don’t see how you can’t see that Michael’s ‘just as’ statement is a judging…it’s an assessing of value…of levels. I know I walked a fine line in my answer but I do believe I walked it. I pointed out a difference. If I told an ex-gay friend that I was going to the pool, they wouldn’t tell me to have a good time scoping out the hotties unless it was a warning in disguise…and unless they intended to pray for me while I was out on the battlefield. Like it or not, that demonstrates a difference in our approach to sexual holiness. Are our levels different? Some have a higher bar? Are some attitudes more ‘to the letter’ while others are more cavalier? I don’t know. I wanted to discuss that but there’s this recurring insistence that the differences don’t exist. As you can tell, I strongly disagree with that notion. I believe there are many differences but it’s going to take objective research to find them.

  • Eddy

    Mary–

    A personal bias. I shudder when I read sentences that begin with “I totally get what you are saying”. Reason being that even if you get the one point that you’ve chosen to elaborate on, it tends to shift the focus of my own comment to that particular point…distracting from the whole and possibly placing undue emphasis on something that was only a sidepoint or illustration. In this case, it would tend to make ‘objectification’ my theme or main point….and it was actually only part of an illustration.

    What you say is closer to how an ex-gay would approach going to the beach…they’d have that ‘lasciviousness’ filter hanging over them and they’d try to value the spirit over the body…that would be their approach to holiness…but I made no value judgements. That’s how they’d approach this sexually charged area. But what if they are being self-righteous? What if they are wrong in their ex-gay quest? What if it’s God’s intent that they celebrate the physical beauty of his creation? There are other questions down the road worthy of exploration but we can’t get to them if we blind ourselves to the real differences.

    Re the gay Christian and the non-SSA: That’s the comparison that intrigues me most. Do they have the same standards for lustful looking? At one point, does the guilt factor step in…the sense of “I’ve transgressed” or “I’ve crossed a line”? And is that point essentially the same for gay Christians as straight Christians?

    Do they have the same standards for sexual practice? Statistics seem to indicate that there’s a whole lot of ‘sex outside of marriage’ going on–even among Christians? I hear that…I hear that folks are crossing the sexual acting out threshhold even earlier in their relationship…but is the threshhold at the same place for gay Christians as it is for straight Christians. I tossed out a 4th date threshhold in another comment as an example only. I’m not certain but “from the media” I get the impression that the 4th date is a likely point for a first time having sex among straights. I’m hunching that, for gay men, at least, the ‘normal’ threshhold may be sooner than the 4th date. BUT, what my questions have been trying to get at are: is this threshhold a little further down the line for straight Christians AND is it further down the road for gay Christians? How do these two threshholds compare?

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    We ALL fall short Eddy – your treatment of some people on this blog has been awful at times – should we go there and talk about your own failings?

    You’ve made this statement or one similar to it more than a half dozen times in the course of our blogging here. I’d love to go there. I’d love to have this online chat about my own failings that you so generously offer. But I know what you know…that Warren would shut the conversation down before it barely got started.

    Being that we share that knowledge, your repeated challenges are very similar to the playground bluster that challenges a fight and secretly relies on the teacher being there to break it up. It’s bluster, buster. Since it’s something that we wouldn’t be able to pursue…since it’s something that has obviously escaped Warren’s radar…I suggest that you gather your examples of my awful treatment of people and send them on to Warren for his review and consideration.

    The fact that you’ve brought them up so often is an indicator of how serious they must be…and how vivid they must be in your memory. So, please, let’s have that resolve. Let’s spare you from having to make this statement yet again. Gather your evidence (I’ve used copy and paste with excellent results) and submit it in a personal email to Warren. He’s admonished me a time or two in the past on other things; if he concurs with your conclusion that my ‘treatment of some people on this blog has been awful at times’, I’m sure I’ll hear from him.

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    Point taken.

  • Mary

    I agree there are differences in how gay christians and straight christians view holiness when it comes to sex and sexuality.

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

    Ok, enough of the personal comments. This never goes anywhere good, well, once it did but it didn’t stay there.

    The topic is sort of about church and sexual orientation. I don’t mind observations regarding church and gays, church and straights, church and gays who pretended to be straights, etc. If anyone has any data that gets my attention.

    The main point of the thread is that the APA did not recommend church swapping, wife swapping, husband swapping, or any thing else like that. Gays and straights are sinners according to orthodox Christianity so it doesn’t really matter what “groups” do since “groups” don’t really do anything; individuals do. I have not seen the number of groups among gays that promote chastity that I see among straights but maybe I need educated. If there are such groups beyond gaychristian.net, then mention them. But the back and forth about which group is better is really unhelpful in my view since we are not judged by what group we belong to.

    So no matter how much you want to blast someone, just follow Nancy Reagan’s sage advice, Just Say No.

  • Eddy

    Thanks, Mary.

    My ‘conversations’ with a few people here are difficult enough to keep focussed or on point without ‘outside distractions’. :-)

    Jayhuck and I have a significant history of brutal entanglements, and, it’s been my experience that the less distraction the better.

  • Eddy

    Warren–

    I think I’m BI……..lingual.

    Mea culpa kumbaya….

  • Jayhuck

    Mea culpa kumbaya….

    LOL ;)

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks, Warren, for this:

    Gays and straights are sinners according to orthodox Christianity so it doesn’t really matter what “groups” do since “groups” don’t really do anything; individuals do.

    To any reader of this blog: I am a deeply flawed person. I have no holiness apart from God. I beg you, please, do not assume that I speak on behalf of anyone but myself — and please, do not use my journey, my successes or my faliures (and there are many) as an example of what any individual or group should do.

  • Michael Bussee

    Let me be blunt: When it comes to holiness — in both the strength of my desire for it and the actual living out of it — I am certainly not a very good example — as some commenters here discerned very clearly. May I suggest, instead, the Apostle Paul?

    In fact, I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. Although I don’t do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good. So I am not the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.

    I know that my selfish desires won’t let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong. And so, if I don’t do what I know is right, I am no longer the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.

    The Law has shown me that something in me keeps me from doing what I know is right. With my whole heart I agree with the Law of God. But in every part of me I discover something fighting against my mind, and it makes me a prisoner of sin that controls everything I do. What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die? Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me. Romans 7:15-25

  • Ann

    Michael,

    This is a very profound verse – it speaks to my heart and I am sure to many others here reading it. There have been so many interpretations about what the Apostle Paul meant, however, if this verse, which speaks to the human condition, begins or reaffirms a stirring of the heart toward humility and introspection, then something great has begun. Also, the best part is the last sentence – it does not leave us empty and hopeless in our human condition, rather just the opposite. We have redemption and hope and forgiveness through our faith and can begin anew every day.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Your personal holiness was never the issue. I explained that in my first comment and several times subsequently. My comments only went to your ‘just as’ statement…and since it was you who made that comment…I felt it was appropriate to use an example from you that demonstrated how things weren’t ‘just as’. You and I have a very different take on going to the beach (or the pool). That’s it…that’s all. We have a different take…it’s related to our perception of and response to our personal notion of holiness. So, it’s not really ‘just as’. That’s it. That’s all. No value judgments…just an observation of an area of difference.

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks, Ann. I sometimes worry that people might take my open-ness and humor as approval or promotion of sin. I confess. I do notice great looking guys at the beach – and elsewhere — and I think, “Wow! My compliments to that man’s maker! He is one handsome guy!”

    Sometimes, the thoughts go beyond simple admiration. Not proud of that, but it’s true. Like Jimmy Carter, I sometimes lust in my heart. More often, it doesn’t even feel like lust.

    I think it is envy – I sure wish I was a 20 year old, ripped, tanned, athletic skim-boarder — instead of a grey-bearded, achy old coot reading the Bible under my umbrella. I mourn for my lost youth.

    I know that lust and envy are both sin. The Holy Spirit bops me on the head and says, “Put your eyes back in your head, Mike. Accept that you have aged. It’s OK to look — to find someone attractive — but letting your heart and mind go to lustful or envious thoughts is out-of-line. Keep your eyes on Me.”

    I cannot and do not speak for all gay Christians. I don’t have any stats or studies. But, the ones I know do seem sincerely interested in trying to live a holy life. I don’t do a very good job at it. I hope they do better.

  • Michael Bussee

    At the beach or elsewhere, when my vision strays, this old hymn reminds me where to keep looking… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA2VpysAvgk&feature=related

  • Eddy

    Ann–

    Somehow, in Michael’s comments to you, he still seems to be responding to me…and to a message he got from my words that I didn’t deliver. This all started when I wondered if gay Christians and straights had similar sexual standards. Granted that all are fallen–both in the strictly Biblical sense and in the cultural sense…standards have changed markedly in the past several decades. But, are our standards essentially the same? Naturally, the exploration of that question only led to detours and diversions and then, oddly, to a conclusion from Michael that things were essentially the same across the board…the ‘just as’ that I referenced. I picked something seemingly innocent…something already in the blog record…as an example of a difference. The example was how we approach going to the beach or the pool…how we approach ‘eye candy’. I honestly don’t know how I could find an example any more innocent to display that there are differences…yet it seems to have raised a firestorm…and has Michael dressing in sackcloth and ashes. While he’s addressing comments to the blog in general and now, in response to you, the comments are clearly connected to my words and the perception that I’m branding/judging him as unholy rather than attempting to define and gain understanding from examining our areas of difference. I know in the past you’ve showed signs of being a capable mediator…are you refreshed enough from your trip to provide any helpful insight into this communication breakdown?

  • Michael Bussee

    Ann: I especially appreciated this:

    We have redemption and hope and forgiveness through our faith and can begin anew every day.

    That’s what made me think of the song. Hope you have a blessed evening.

  • JR

    It’s kinda off-topic, but I’ve always wanted to ask-

    What exactly is Warren’s own stance on homosexuality and morality?

    Does he buy into the interpretation of homosexuality as sin? I assume his personal beliefs are not allowed into therapeutic practice, so does he hold to the outcome-independent stance in the paper?

    What if the patient has an outcome in mind?

  • Michael Bussee

    JR: Warren has told me that he believes gay sex is not what God intended. That said, I don’t believe he imposes any of his religious or personal views in therapy. He’s a good man and a good therapist.

  • Michael Bussee

    For what it’s worth, I personally believe that things like teen sex, anonymous sex, affairs, addiction to pornography, prostitution, sex which demeans or objectifies, cheating, lying, group sex, sex for sport, sex with minors and sex outside of marriage (or since gays cannot marry in most states, sex outside of a monogamous, committed relationship) are sin — gay or straight.

    None of these sins should be taken lightly and Christians, gay and straight, should strive towards holiness. There are probably many other things I could add to that list — lust and envy for example. I should note that those are just my opinions and may not reflect how other SSA Christians feel.

    I should also note that everyone is different and that individuals may be at different points along the path towards personal holiness, some further ahead on the road and some lagging behind. I am also certain that some individuals and some groups are better at holiness than others.

  • Michael Bussee

    In looking over my posts, I realize that I should not have used the words “same” or “just as” in discussing the sexual holiness standards of Gay Christians. Bad choice of words.

    I personally don’t think that Gay Christians have lower standards of sexual morality — but how would I know if they are the same? Maybe they are lower than straights or ex-gays. Maybe they are higher. Maybe they are the same. Maybe they are very different. Who knows?

    I meant to speak ONLY of the gay Christians I know and interact with. I should have said that “the gay Christians I know seem to be quite serious about sexual and personal holiness” — and left it at that. I would imagine that the standards of holiness and the level of success at living out holiness would differ from individual to individual, as Warren has pointed out.

  • Eddy

    I believe this is a clue to how this conversation derailed:

    I personally don’t think that Gay Christians have lower standards of sexual morality — but how would I know if they are the same? Maybe they are lower than straights or ex-gays. Maybe they are higher.

    99% of the time, when we use the term ‘lower standards’, it’s a negative thing. Most of us can’t say or hear ‘lower standards’ without thinking ‘compromise’ or ‘cutting corners’ but that isn’t always the case. Didn’t Jesus get into trouble for challenging that ‘your righteousness is as filthy rags’?

    Over the years, I’ve known many Christians whose standards are higher than mine…folks who would never expose the flesh of an elbow or a knee, folks who would never step foot inside a movie theatre, some who frowned on joking of any kind, others who had rules against playing pool or cards…cooking on a Sunday…swimming in the same water as the opposite sex. Their standards were literally higher…mine were indeed lower. They didn’t adopt their standards willy-nilly; most everything they did was based on their interpretation of the Bible…but I didn’t come to the same conclusions. While I believed in the same principles, I thought they took some things to the extreme. Them higher…me lower but does that say which (if either) is God’s ideal? You can recognize a difference…you can even discuss a difference…you can even use the English words ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ re the standards without placing a value judgement.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary, you said:

    I agree there are differences in how gay christians and straight christians view holiness when it comes to sex and sexuality.

    I am curious. What do you see as the main differences in how gay Christians and straight Christians view morality? Do you see any similarities? Could you give some examples? Are you speaking of individuals or groups?

  • Eddy

    Mary’s comment came prior to Warren stepping in with his admonition. I really cannot imagine any way for Mary to answer Michael’s question without transgressing Warren’s appeal. This is the portion of Warren’s statement that would likely be violated.

    The main point of the thread is that the APA did not recommend church swapping, wife swapping, husband swapping, or any thing else like that. Gays and straights are sinners according to orthodox Christianity so it doesn’t really matter what “groups” do since “groups” don’t really do anything; individuals do.

    IMHO, the entire ‘holiness detour’ needs a “Road Closed” sign. We need to either get back to the actual ‘main point of the thread’ or let this thread die.

  • David Blakeslee

    Late returning:

    @ Evan,

    If you were addressing me about holiness and abstinence for gays (and straights). I would like to respond.

    You seem to be arguing that if there is not a reliable outlet for sexual pleasure, it does harm to a person….

    Although this is a common belief, I know of no research to support such an assertion. Anyone?

    I think it may be an Urban Legend…I would like to see it debunked on Mythbusters.

    Some have argued that the sexually repressed are more creative and innovative, using sublimation (as a defense) thereby making more profound contributions to society.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Evan,

    I don’t think it is about population density.

    It is about anger, social isolation and marginalization. Sex is the myth that promises to alleviate all of this…

    We market the myth—but first we have to make people feel empty.

    This could be a transition to a related topic…

  • JR

    Michael Bussee ~

    Thanks for the response. Does he reckon the development of homosexuality is a disorder or is it a normal development?

    Forgive my poor wording. I am neither professional nor an academic.

    When I looked into therapy that affirmed orientation change, I (perhaps naively) believed everybody was on the same page and the same side.

    I’m struggling to make sense of what exactly the differences are between all these groups that ultimately seek to help homosexuals who are unhappy with their feelings.

    Is it policy differences? Academic schisms? Personal quarrels?

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