"And what of them; those fragile few who sit lonely in a life of societal isolation ? They have journeyed an incomprehensible adventure of human transformation striving to re-join the human race, to feel the warm grace of a loving God and finally achieve acceptance of themselves, through this journey, which only they can comprehend. And yet to find once again they are ostracized and condemned, this time for their successes. The pains, the struggles and the scars that drove them deeply into the dark pit of confusion, self-doubt, self-loathing and communal banishment are again relived as they are victimized by the ghosts of their past. Mocked, disbelieved, scorned by the envy of tortured souls who relish at the notion of their fall back to the hell from which only they escaped. What great strength did it take to achieve ? How many broken souls are able to actually rise up and transform themselves into the very weapon which slays their own demons ? What great strength does it take to suffer the barbs of the envious and the devious who work tirelessly to undermine their hard earned peace ? Nobly, they suffer once again. Generously, they try to embrace the broken-hearted and struggle to carry them to salvation. If God makes angels of men, then would these not be among them ? These, who crawl across the political and emotional battlefield time and time again to retrieve the wounded and bring them to safety. These, who live in isolation from both those who have not succeeded in the journey and they who never needed the venture; thus neither truly understanding. Let them know that each bears a burden not all the same. Let them know that all struggle with demons of different names and devices. And let them know that none of us receive a parade in honor of our victories over ourselves. But each must find that reward within himself, in the peaceful contentment that he has become that which he dreamt he could be."
- The ministry is not about you, your church or your organization. Your focus and primary goal should always be to help people finding freedom from same-sex attractions. Don’t seek to make your name big, but learn to be servant leaders.
- Whatever program you use, understand that it is just one of many tools. It is not the Ten Commandments. Don’t reject other tools or ministries if they are useful for the people you are serving. It is not about your program. It is not your way or the highway. It is about those you are responsible for.
- Chastity, celibacy, abstinence, purity, avoidance techniques and the like are only means to an end. They are NOT the end itself. The goal is not chastity or whatever else, it is freedom.
- Only running away from something (like not doing, saying or thinking something) makes only the first 50%. It lays the necessary foundation, but if thins stop there, you do not offer real help. You can’t just run away from the bad (inappropriate sexual or romantic thoughts, words or deeds), you need to run towards the good too (building up one’s male or female identity, seeking out the emotional, relational and spiritual needs behind that and learn to satisfy them a better way, building healthy same-sex friendships, finding a fulfilled life and the like).
- A human being is an entity of three factors you cannot separate: Body, psyche and soul. If you want to help people find real freedom, you need to address ALL those issues. Only focusing on one won’t cut it.
- If you are a denominational ministry (that is a ministry that is or wants to be part of one church or faith group), you need to remind yourself of some points: Being accepted by your church or whatever else you belong to is NOT your goal. Rising up the organizational ladder and appearing in all the bulletin is NOT your goal. Shaping your ministry so it fits your denominational standards is NOT your goal. Your goal is to help people find freedom.
- The times where we could live in a safe haven on some distant island are over (if they ever were there at first point). It is good to have more or less secret or confidential groups where people with unwanted same-sex attractions can meet. But if things stay there, you are making a big mistake. If you do not stand up in public for what you believe in, you are paving the way for gay activists to gain ground and for the church or any other institution or organization to continue to walk on erroneous paths as they have no clue as to where to go. We are at war, so we better learn how to fight. Each one of us will be held accountable one day as to what he or she did with his or her talents. If we were ashamed of our beliefs or sacrificed them on the altar of pleasing people and being on the “safe” side. If you are doing that, you are just wrong and the sooner you understand that, the better for the folks you are responsible for. And most of all don’t try to cover up personal mistakes or even pride with theological or other commonplaces.
- If you want to serve, you need to do it Jesus’s way: showing unconditional love. That’s the whole point: you need to love the folks you are in charge of. If you do not have a heart for them, better stop right now. You also need to be humble and accept guidance and advice from others instead of believing you know it all.
- You also need to be creative. If you always walk on the ways you walked on before, you will always end up where you are now. Think differently, do things nobody has ever done before. Don’t let a set pattern hold you down when you are burning!
- Build up as many connections as you can: To church leaders, politicians, therapist, reporters, other ministries, social activists, scientists, doctors, and whatever else is out there.
- Your ministry should never become a one-man or one-woman ministry. It is not about you.
- Don’t be afraid to oppose people in public and make your point of view known – but make sure you are well prepared (I very much recommend Joe Dallas’s books), you have a daily spiritual structure and regular accountability, and finally make also sure you have some recreational and fun time in your life!
Should we take part in „scientific“ tests that want to (dis-)prove the possibility of change through our physical reactions?
From the bottom of my heart: NO.
Why is that?
There are many reasons for that. In short: You don’t want to go down to that level. Had I heard of ex-gay leaders that do that when I left my gay life, I’d probably not even have given the option of living a life aside from the gay scene a chance. I’ve been there where you show off your thing in public – I did not need to go back and go down to that level again.
Let’s go into detail:
First: Why would you want do that (and in some cases even take money for it!)? Think about the headlines: “Gay leader being paid for showing his thing in public”. You think that would really help the cause?
Maybe you want to do that to give a scientific “proof” for the possibility of change and thus motivate others. Nice motivation, bad thought. First you’d have to prove that you were “homosexual” at first place so you can prove you came out of it and changed to heterosexual. As the causes of “homosexuality” to this day are not even clear, it is impossible to do that. So any attempt to prove the possibility of change is futile from the beginning.
Second: Think about what could go wrong. You might be nervous, you might have a physical disease or what not. All of that could influence and/or distort the outcome – with dramatic consequences for people wanting and seeking change.
For a scientific test to be valid, it would also need to be repeated. How many men do you think can be found willing to do this?
Most of all, however, our goal is NOT to change from “homosexual” to heterosexual, but to become followers of Christ (for the non-Christians: to find freedom from same-sex attractions – however that might look like for the individual).
Do I think that change from “homosexual” to heterosexual is possible? Absolutely. For God all things are possible that might be impossible for men.
But: Who do you need to prove that to? The institutes that do those tests most likely than not are not what you might call “neutral” – else they wouldn’t do the test (see above). I don’t believe Christian scientists or serious secular scientists would do such “experiments”. Gay activists would not be convinced, even if the test would prove what you want it to prove. People that seek help might not be encouraged, but discouraged. Why? Some of them struggled for years to find freedom. Now they hear that this guy has changed a 100 %. I don’t know about you guys, but in my case this would add shame to the guilt. I’d even feel worse than ever before for not having made it yet.
Now just for the sake of the argument let’s assume everything goes according to plan and 100 men do the test and give a “scientific” prove they changed (again: it would not even be scientific at first place because you first need to prove you were “homosexual”). What would that show? That change is possible? So what? It would not be a sign for something being wrong or right from a moral perspective. Even if change would not be possible something could be wrong from a moral perspective. Even if change is possible, it does not make things right (if so, heterosexual men could and maybe even should change to “homosexuals” too).
Again: Do not go down to the level of some gay activists. Neither did Jesus. He was mocked and told to do this and that if He really was the Son of God. He did none of it. It would have been easy to say something like “Just for the record: You see that Temple over here? BOOF! Now you don’t!” or say or do something else to “scientifically prove” He stand above physics and thus is very “likely” to be the Son of God. He did none of it but stayed silent, knowing that people would not even believe then. Even the miracles He did perform were done to show people the importance of faith and not to show what a great magician Jesus really was. He did not need to prove anything to anybody. If people did not come to Him by faith, there is no point for them to follow Him anyways. Jesus even called those blessed that do not see and still believe. That should teach us a lesson.
Finally: As every good Christian we should surround ourselves with good and healthy Christian men that walk with us through life and encourage and/or exhort us and help us find the right decisions. God pointed out several times that our hearts are deceitful and we should not trust them. For us alone it is impossible to find out which ones of the many voices we get to hear each day are from God and which from the other side. In important matters – and taking such tests as men who have responsibilities certainly is an important matter – we should listen to the advice of our friends and also the advice and opinion of the people we work together with in a ministry and/or church congregation. Else we are very prone to fall for pride and arrogance (“Had I always listened to others, I’d have never achieved what I did achieve!” – Really? If there is something good we did achieve we did so through the blessings of God and through His sanctifying work). Works of the flesh (like pride) will never bring forth fruits of the Spirit. As believers in Jesus we are not individuals cut off from the rest – we are part of the body of Christ and should act like that.
• Pray more
• If the Lord calls you to do that: Congratulations! This is a very rewarding ministry, but also highly responsible and at times stressful.
• Start preparing yourself. There are lots of good resources out there (like the books by Joe Dallas).
• Seek an accountability partner for yourself.
• Ask people from other ex-gay ministries for guidance and support.
• Make sure you have a daily spiritual life of prayer and Bible study.
• Join a local church.
• Get supervision and pastoral care for yourself.
• Make sure to surround yourself with healthy friends and family members who support you.
• Make sure to know your own emotional needs and have them met a healthy way.
• Know yourself. Know your strong and weak points and prepare yourself.
• Get training in Christian counseling or psychotherapy.
• Know the Bible.
• Know your adversary’s arguments and how to contradict them.
• Be sure you can take a strong wind blowing right into your face from now on: Gay activists won’t like what you are doing!
• Have perseverance. There will be times when you will be sitting alone waiting for the support group members or whoever to show up – and they won’t. Don’t give up – people need to be able to rely on the fact that there is a safe haven for them! Also know that you will get to hear some painful stories. Can you take that?
• Make sure to have some fun time in your life, some time to relax.
• Make sure to lead a physically, mentally and spiritually healthy life.
• Set up a plan for your ministry: What is it all about? Which resources do you have? How about finances? Is there a program you can work with? Do you want to offer your services for free or charge money?
• Go online. Set up a homepage, a facebook page and a twitter account. You might even want to offer Skype-meetings.
• Go international.
• Get more people into the boat. It should never become a one-man (or one-woman)-ministry.
• Make contacts with other ministries. We are not out to fight one another, but to co-operate!
• Is your ministry Christian or secular? Even if it is Christian, you should never make it a condition for people to join to be or become Christians themselves. You are out to help people with unwanted same-sex attractions, not to make Christian converts.
• The only condition for people who want to take part in your ministry or seek its help should be the will to be free – and nothing else!
• Times are getting rough. Are you ready to stand up for your ministry – and your faith – whatever might come up? Are you ready for legal – and other – attacks?
• Do you have a heart for people with unwanted same-sex attractions? If you don’t love them like Christ would, don’t even think of starting a ministry!
• Last but not least: It is so much worth it!!
I don’t want to start painting things in black and white here. There is no such thing. However, some things should be considered wisely before using those means to a certain end:
• The press and the media can be a powerful platform for spreading the message of freedom from same-sex attractions.
• If you do not know how to handle them, they can also have the opposite effect: They (try to) ridicule you and what you believe in.
• If you get an invitation for an interview on TV, radio or for a newspaper, think about the motivation of the interviewer. Do they only need an ex-gay to mock him/her and his/her message, do not accept such an invitation!
• If there is the chance that you get a fair treatment, prepare yourself: Know the facts, know the arguments of your opponents and how to contradict them. Be authentic: Share also your own experiences and feelings in all of that. Before the interview: Pray. Pray that it is not you and/or your “wisdom” that shines, but that the Lord will shine in and through you. After such an interview people should not say, “What a great guy!” but rather, “What a great Savior!”
• Start with Christian or other faith-based TV- or radio-stations or newspapers that are more likely to accept your stand.
• For a start, it is easier to go with a pre-produced show that with a live one.
• Too much publicity can wear you out. Make sure to take a good selection. Also make sure to get enough rest and fun time in your life, to lead a physically, emotionally & spiritually healthy life!
• Seek personal accountability and pastoral care for yourself.
• Make sure to have some good friends and family members that love and support you.
• A ministry should never be a one-man show, neither should the press appearances be. Alternate among yourself when it comes to who will go to the interview.
• When you write a press release, pray and think well what you are writing.
• Not all reporters will like you. Make sure you can take public blows.
• Some reporters will do their best to distort your message, to dig in your personal history for some dirt, to falsify your message, to lie, accuse and judge. Satan is the master of lies and will try everything to get you and those who seek your help. Be prepared for that. Pray for such people, react calmly by giving facts and letting Got talk through you.
• Seek advice from others who’ve been there before.
• You and your ministry can also use the media to spread your message. Learn all the technical stuff, ask professionals – and then go for it!
• Know that this will cost time and money. Get other people into the boat as well.
• Take heart! If God is with us – who can be against us?
Most of the German churches completely ignore the existence of ex-gays or ex-gay ministries - at best. Some have a more-or-less open gay-friendly policy, others technically hold the biblical and traditional point of view - but rather in theory than in everyday life. The subject of same-sex attractions ("homosexuality") is usually not even mentioned in any church (with view exceptions). Hardly ever you get to hear a biblical sermon on it or it being adressed in church circles. Sometimes people in ministry make headlines for having same-sex partners - openly or not openly. Even big churches that (on paper) still hold a biblical view would not invite us - neither to adress the congregation nor on any event (some of them being really (!) big!). Sometimes I get the impression that if there is a big and public church event where they can't avoid to address it, they would rather invite people who seem to have not problem acting out their same-sex attractions (they would then apply the "same principles as for heterosexual couples": fidelity and the like. What heresy!), or they might invite gay friendly theologians or simply theologians with a big title - instead of those who offer real help. Ministries that offer real help. Ministries where people are finding freedom from same-sex attractions. One of the bigger denominations even has a purity ministry itself in other countries (even in Europe) - and they would not even invite them. I am at the same time very angry about this irresponsible behavior, about people who seem to offer no help at all (on the contrary, some even might lead people with ssa astray!), but also defiant: They will not silence us. As Michael O'Brien, the famous Canadian novelist, wrote us in an email: Continue to be the sign of contradiction! The time where people with unwanted ssa only met in clandestine circles is over. We are loud and proud as well and we could not care less what others think of us or how they view us. The truce is over - now it is time to put on the armor, gather and fight! We have a mighty enemy, so let's raise our (spiritual) fists and get in the ring! I call on each one of us and each one that supports our call to follow our battle call. There is much more at stake than just a couple of those "weird" ex-gay people. Once we open the door for sin to enter the body, it will spread. So take heart, brothers and sisters all over the world! Join us, stand up for your faith and your Savior and fight!
Men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions often meet in local or online groups, seek out therapists and get all those wonderful resources out there. All good and nice. Nothing to be said against that. And yet, you have some who keep on telling you they’ve tried “everything” and “nothing” worked so far. Oh really. After years and years of dealing with those folks that I love with all of my heart, here some points to ponder (or better: kicks in the butt):
- So you’ve tried everything. Did ya. Usually, a closer look reveals that they tried nothing for real. They might show up at one or two meetings, or order a book – and this is it. If you want to succeed, however, you need perseverance and a high stress and frustration tolerance. You need to be able to set yourself a goal and go for it – no matter how long it takes and how hard it will be. If you are not willing to do that, don’t blame it on the group, the people there, the program, the genes, your past, your parents or whomever else then. Your just a quitter looking for lame excuses.
- In many cases, self-pity is both a symptom and part of the cause of same-sex attractions. A baby that does not perceive himself or herself to be loved will start pitying himself/herself in order to get some love this way. A really tragic and sad thing to happen. This will take on till he or she is grown up, if nothing will be done against it. Usually, the individual does not even realize that. Other people start getting ticked off by the constant whining and complaining and think he or she is a wimp or worse. So if you struggle with that and already realized it, do something against it. Stop the whining. Stand up and fight! Learn to love and enjoy life and start working on your masculine/feminine identity. But PLEASE stop the whining! Whining is the easy way out in struggle. You see yourself as the poor and helpless victim. Take responsibility for your own life and act like a man/woman! There is no shame in being scared, but there is if you let your fear overcome you!
- Go for results. General bla-bla won’t get you far. Set yourself big goals (they really can’t be too big!), cut them in little goals and start making plans. Example: Instead of saying, “I will try to become a better person” (which is nothing else but a wishy-washy statement that will never lead to anything!), make your goal measurable and hold yourself accountable: “Until next Friday I will contact the volunteer program in our church and ask if I can join them in building houses for the poor. And I will tell Bill about it.” Like that you have a fix date, a measurable goal and someone that will hold you accountable.
- If you are a follower of Jesus (or Jew, Muslim – whatever), show that your faith is for real. Stop begging God to take “it” away from you – while comfortably leaning back doing nothing and waiting for God to do “His” job. Yes, God is a gracious and loving Father – and much like a worldly father who teaches his little son how to ride a bike, the Lord will teach you: Jesus died for you on the cross so you can be free – so the power of sin is already broken! You ARE free and the only thing that hinders you in realizing that is your lack of belief! As to your recovery in all other realms (like your family history, your emotions, identity questions, possible emotional, verbal, physical or sexual abuse or whatever else), He will teach you how to do it – but you need to trust Him and walk His path! Stop holding yourself back with lame excuses and finally trust Him! Even if bad things should happen, you know then that you are never alone! Let His love overflow you so you will become radiant with this love and joy! If we don’t have something to be joyful about, then who should?
- No man is an island. Neither are you. You grow in and through the company with others – so you should give something back and help others with unwanted same-sex attractions. This means accepting responsibility on a long-term basis. You won’t help anybody when you only show up somewhere when you feel like it. You might be (or feel) “different”. That is not a bad thing in and of itself. Let this “being different” become a blessing for others! Find out about your gifts and talents and use them for God’s glory!
- And last but not least: Get structure and discipline in all areas of your life: sexually, financially, healthwise, emotionally, relationally, socially, spiritually etc. Get yourself motivated each and every day by setting up a structure plan. Start your day by putting on your spiritual armor through prayer and Bible study and then throw yourself into the great and unbelievable adventure called life. Don’t waste it by shying back. Stand up and be the one God called you for! There is no victory in whining and complaining and finding a good excuse to reject all help and remaining a passive victim for good. There is no victory in blaming others for your inability to get your own stuff in order. There is no victory in begging God for what He already gave you, but what you continue to run away from: Complete freedom! What are you so afraid of? That you might really be free someday and be responsible for your own life? That through acting like a man/woman you might finally become one? That you might grow up to become and adult? Get your butt up and learn how to fly!!
Attacking Gay Activists and Fighting for Ex-Gay Rights?
Sounds good to me. But, why is it so awfully quiet out there? Thankfully there are organizations like Voice of the Voiceless that face gay activists head on and stand up for ex-gay rights. What about all the other ex-gays though? What about the Church? Silence.
Bing German, I find that very interesting. Not so long ago we had times where many Germans – and the rest of the world – stayed silent too when the Jews where being taken away. Why bother? I ain’t no Jew. Even most of the Jews stayed rather passive and offered no resistance (not that I reproach them that). Like sheep being taken to the slaughterhouse.
How is it we get paralyzed like deer standing in the flashlight of a car as soon as times get rougher?
How is it people who formerly self-identified as “gay” and found freedom later on stay silent and hide?
Most in the Church probably think that’s none of their business. Let the gays do what they want. We don’t have that problem.
Really? Each Church from a certain size on has that “problem”. And even if they don’t – you cannot escape a political force anymore that is strong enough to bring the mightiest men in the world to their knees. Why stop at churches? Why not force them to allow gays on their staff, to perform gay weddings? Not to even mention what’s behind the curtain once the gay kid is out.
As to the ex-gays themselves: Well, I guess you can find a thousand good reasons why you are not the right guy to stand up for ex-gays and share the joy and freedom that the Lord has blessed you so richly with.
But there is one good reason not to: Jesus.
If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, we need to accept His radical call for discipleship. “Follow me” is a battle cry, not an invitation to come and watch a nice church program. He called us to hold unto Him – even unto death! And He warned us never to deny Him!
I remember a Bible study I did years ago. We talked about the persecution of Christians in the last days as I wanted to make sure that each one that passes my Bible studies should be prepared if that day comes up. One lady said, “Why, there is no way I can withstand persecution! I am too scared!” I told her I was scared too and I shared a story of the early martyrs that has been passed on through the centuries.
Beneath the circus of Rome Christians were held in captivity waiting to be taken up and fed to the lions. Among them a pregnant woman. When she got in labor pains she started to scream as the pain was so intense. One of the guards said, “If you scream like that already now, wait till you are up there with the lions!” She answered, “Now it is me that suffers, up there it will be Christ suffering in me”.
That’s how I feel about it. There is no way I can withstand the devil and his followers through my own force. I am certainly not the guy to do that. But, when the day comes, I know that Jesus is with me. I need not suffer alone.
“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” (Col 1:24 NIV)