May 22, 2008

Another Ex-Ex-Gay Writes About How His Faith Was Used Against Him

That's my takeaway from this powerful essay written by Noe Guiterrez at Ex-Gay Watch (thanks to Peterson Toscano for linking this story on his blog).

Set against a biblical contrast of right versus wrong, ex-gay ministries often draw a direct link between the quality of a person’s faith and their commitment to make a choice in the “straight” direction. This value system often results in the ex-gay person being caught by a cycle of perpetual self-evaluation. Compelled to dissect every thought, every word, and every deed into these black or white categories, the life of an ex-gay can become all about choosing sides. With homosexuality as the target, the goal then becomes to eradicate all thoughts and behaviors associated with “wrong” sexual attraction. This becomes the “calling” of the ex-gay person who finds their purpose in the process of self re-orientation. I believe this mode of thinking establishes a clear and distinct association between the effectiveness of God in a person’s life and that person’s ability to commit to ex-gay change.

And even as I write this I hear the murmurs of ex-gay promoters and providers accusing me of focusing on the wrong thing, of trying too hard or not enough, of not trusting God or depending too much on God to do what I needed to do. With the Ex-Gay Movement they have an answer for everything but most of these answers boil down to one thing: It's your own fault.

Rather than face reality that I we sought for the wrong thing and that another way exists, ex-gay leaders, pastors, parents and "friends" cling to a faulty series of beliefs and lay loads on people's backs that make them, in the words of Jesus, "twice the sons of hell."

For me I discovered that "change" was not possible, not in the way they promoted it for years. More importantly change was not necessary and to pursue it damaged me significantly, so much so that I had to take nearly 10 years to recover.

I post stories like this, despite how ANGRY they make me, because people need to be exposed to these tragedies. Gutierrez lost over ten years of his life trying to be something different that God made him because leaders of his faith told him he was a sinner, preying on the weakness of someone struggling to discover who he was and, more importantly, who God wanted him to be.

On an earlier blog post, Peterson Toscano was kind enough to mention this blog as one who consistently report on the ex-gay movement. I do that in the hope that someone who is caught in the cycle that Noe Gutierrez was will see his story and realize that there is another choice, that God will love him and accept him as he walks out his life true to the sexual orientation He blessed him with.

I believe it is impossible for anyone to be in full communion with God and be blessed with the fullness of a healthy relationship with Him if we are not honest with ourselves and live our lives true to the way God made us. If I was trying to live a gay lifestyle, I couldn't enjoy a full and honest relationship with the Lord because I would be dishonest to myself.

Dishonesty is a sin, and sometimes the most damage is done when we turn that inward onto ourselves. I pray that there are fewer and fewer stories like Noe Gutierrez's, fewer years lost, less pain endured, as people like him selflessly put themselves out there and share their experiences.

Let his pain help you from enduring more of your own.

Then let God help you put the pieces together His way and show you the fullness of how He made you, not how someone else thinks you should be.

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