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2295Re: coercion to join ex-gay ministries?

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  • nojam75
    Jun 5 9:53 PM
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      According to Bruce Bawer's book, Stealing Jesus, the
      term 'fundamentalist' was coined in 1920 by the editor of a Baptist
      publication to refer to the anti-modernist group of Baptists. When
      I use the term, I refer to the fundamentalist vs. modernist debate
      within Christianity regarding the approaches to understanding the
      Bible and the message of Christianity. I would consider myself a
      fundamentalist to modernist convert.

      I agree that since 1920 the use of the term, 'fundamentalist', has
      been expanded to include extremists in other religions such as those
      within Islam. In fact, since 9/11 there have been bin Laden/Falwell
      and al-Qaida/Religious-Right comparisons made. So, I understand
      why 'fundamentalist' is a touchy term. Maybe I should
      use 'theologically-conservative Christian' instead.

      On the other hand though, promoting the idea of a God who creates
      and damns people to eternal hell over petty theological differences
      seems like a form of terrorism to me. Bishop John Shelby Spong even
      calls evangelism a form of violence. So, I've never quite
      understood the distinction some would like to make between
      Evangelism and what you call 'Legalism'. Generally, both are rooted
      in fundamentalism and fear. However, Evangelism was developed as
      the more marketable form of fundamentalism in our consumer culture.
      It's interesting that although hell is an essential doctrine of
      Evangelism, it seems to be rarely mentioned -- kinda like the way a
      drug commercial downplays the potential side effects.

      Why would we only call a gay-basher a hate-monger? How is telling a
      gay person to go to hell any worse than telling a non-Christian to
      go to hell? I know, I know "It's not me -- IT'S GOD'S WORD.
      Therefore, I'm not responsible for the message."

      - Norm!



      --- In exexgayministry@y..., BearJER@j... wrote:
      > Norm, I was brought up in a church which prided itself in being
      > "fundamental" to the gospel. Recently, there has been a shift in
      that
      > church in stating that they are primarily evangelical, rather than
      > wanting to be known by the term fundmentalists. I just think it is
      > unfortunate that the meanings of words actually get changed (kind
      of like
      > in pscyhology - social constructionism).
      >
      > There is nothing at all wrong with fundamental Christianity as it
      means
      > you believe in God and what he says in the Bible, though we do
      differ on
      > certain applications of scripture. The fundamentals such as Jesus
      died
      > for our sins, rose again, etc. are pretty much solid to our faith
      and
      > have to be or we couldn't consider ourselves Christians. I am
      just sorry
      > the definitions of words get messed up. The secular media
      actually did
      > that to us. The call RADICAL muslims like the suicide bombers
      > FUNDAMENTALISTS. A better choice of description would be
      LEGALISTS,
      > RADICALS, HATE-MONGERS, whatever. I dislike the fact that we allow
      > non-Christian media types to change the definitions of words. Do
      you get
      > my drift? We are now mis-using the term FUNDAMENTAL completely
      from its
      > original definition, and that is fact!!
      >
      > Thanks for listening,
      >
      > Jerry Boor
      >
      > On Tue, 04 Jun 2002 07:03:26 -0000 "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> writes:
      > > I have already had the discussion regarding my views on
      > > fundamentalism. Nor is this an appropriate forum to get bogged
      down
      > >
      > > into all the nitty-gritty theological details.
      > >
      > > What is more relevant is the nature of fundamentalism. The
      ultimate
      > >
      > > goal of fundamentalism is to defend doctrine while attacking all
      > > alternative ideas. Similarly, the ex-gay movement seems to be
      about
      > >
      > > pressuring participants to defend ex-gay theory while attacking
      any
      > >
      > > alternative ideas about sexuality. Both movements,
      fundamentalism
      > > and the ex-gay sub-movement, do not empower their participants,
      but
      > >
      > > seek to ensure that their participants blindly maintain
      doctrine.
      > >
      > > - Norm!
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In exexgayministry@y..., BearJER@j... wrote:
      > > > Just curious, Norm. Specifically, what fundamentalist
      doctrines
      > > did you
      > > > believe then that you no longer believe?
      > > >
      > > > --Jerry in Michigan
      > > >
      > > > On Mon, 03 Jun 2002 05:23:48 -0000 "nojam75" <nojam75@y...>
      > > writes:
      > > > > Thanks for sharing Pat & Chris!
      > > > >
      > > > > Pat, you make an important distinction in that you
      > > didn't "decide"
      > > > > to leave ex-gay ministry, but you "gave up". I relate very
      much
      > >
      > > to
      > > > >
      > > > > your experience. Toward the end of my ex-gay experience, I
      had
      > >
      > > to
      > > > > deal with the feelings of being a failure and a 'gay
      Christian
      > > > > sinner who should know better'. After commiting most of my
      > > > > spiritual life and identity to upholding fundamentalist
      > > doctrines
      > > > > and ex-gay theory, I felt that I was betraying my entire
      faith
      > > > > system when I began reconsider these commitments.
      > > > >
      > > > > What I began to realize though, was that I was not fully
      > > informed
      > > > > when I made these commitments. Being raised in Christian
      > > > > fundamentalism, I took certain doctrines for granted without
      > > ever
      > > > > seriously learning about the history and source of such
      > > doctrines.
      > > > >
      > > > > Similarly, as a young, confused conservative Christian
      dealing
      > > > > with 'homosexual tendencies', I was vulnerable to any
      > > conservative
      > > > > Christian group that was willing to address the topic --
      such as
      > >
      > > > > ex-
      > > > > gay ministries. And yet, I was forced to deal with the
      flaws of
      > >
      > > > > fundamentalism and ex-gay theory. Toward the end, I began
      to
      > > > > "give-
      > > > > up" trying to reconcile the increasingly complex and
      confusing
      > > > > theories behind fundamentalism and ex-gay theory.
      > > > >
      > > > > In hindsight, I view my ex-gay experience as part of my
      growing
      > >
      > > > > process. In going through the ex-gay process, I applied a
      set
      > > of
      > > > > beliefs that didn't work out for me. I view it as
      > > > > necessarily 'giving up' but as 'moving on'.
      > > > >
      > > > > - Norm!
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > --- In exexgayministry@y..., "Chris H" <itschris@r...> wrote:
      > > > > > Hey Pat,
      > > > > > Thanks for this post- your story is uncomfortably
      familiar
      > > to
      > > > > me!
      > > > > > I think that one of the most damaging messages is
      that 'If
      > > you
      > > > > don't
      > > > > > change (your sexuality), you don't have enough faith, and
      are
      > >
      > > > > therefore
      > > > > > not good enough/ a failure'. That ends up with one
      > > feeling 'not
      > > > > good
      > > > > > enough for God, otherwise I would have been healed'.
      > > > > > I too went earnestly to a Living Waters course (run by
      > > Exodus
      > > > > > ministries), and believed that I was 'truly seeking God
      with
      > > all
      > > > > my
      > > > > > heart'.
      > > > > > I guess I left because, like you, I gave up. I think the
      > > > > despair
      > > > > > associated with that process is one of the most
      potentially
      > > > > damaging
      > > > > > outcomes- and is positively nurtured by those from
      whom 'help'
      > >
      > > > > and
      > > > > > 'support' have been sought. I know I, for one, am blessed
      to
      > > still
      > > > >
      > > > > be
      > > > > > alive. I also know now that I am not alone in that
      sentiment
      > > (and
      > > > >
      > > > > there
      > > > > > are many more who didn't make it.).
      > > > > > Yes, I am happy and secure in the knowledge that God
      created
      > >
      > > me
      > > > > > lesbian, and the loving, faithful God I have always
      believed
      > > in
      > > > > would
      > > > > > have changed/healed (whatever.) me if that had genuinely
      been
      > >
      > > > > God's will
      > > > > > for me.
      > > > > > My partner now tells me she thinks I should ask for a
      refund
      > >
      > > > > (the
      > > > > > course cost me considerably, and I made significant
      sacrifices
      > >
      > > to
      > > > >
      > > > > get
      > > > > > there). However, I am secure in my faith, and knowing that
      I
      > > am
      > > > > where I
      > > > > > need to be (and that is truly a position I spent 30-or-so
      > > years
      > > > > getting
      > > > > > to, and longed for for the greater period of that time).
      > > > > > Cheers!
      > > > > > Chris
      > > > > >
      > > > > > -----Original Message-----
      > > > > > From: patthecatwv [mailto:patthecatwv@y...]
      > > > > > Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 3:00 PM
      > > > > > To: exexgayministry@y...
      > > > > > Subject: [ExExGayMinistry] coercion to join ex-gay
      > > ministries?
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I think its far too simple to assume that the decision to
      join
      > >
      > > an
      > > > >
      > > > > ex-
      > > > > > gay ministry is one of either being forced into it, or
      > > choosing
      > > > > > entirely freely. I know that I grew up in a dysfunctional
      > > family
      > > > >
      > > > > and
      > > > > > went to dysfunctional churches where the authority of the
      head
      > >
      > > of
      > > > >
      > > > > > household/preacher was all encompassing, where
      disagreement
      > > was
      > > > > > punished and love and acceptance withheld if there was not
      > > > > immediate
      > > > > > and total compliance. I learned to obey, that only one
      way
      > > was
      > > > > > acceptable, and it wasn't mine- it was their
      interpretation of
      > >
      > > > > God's
      > > > > > will for me. I really did not know how to think for
      myself,
      > > how
      > > > > to
      > > > > > separate what I had been taught from reality. I didn't
      even
      > > know
      > > > >
      > > > > it
      > > > > > wasn't real, that there was another way to be that was
      > > actually
      > > > > > healthier and more spiritually based. There was
      incredible
      > > > > pressure
      > > > > > placed on the members of those churches to comply, to
      think
      > > and
      > > > > > believe the same. If you doubted, you lacked faith, you
      did
      > > not
      > > > > > believe in God, and therefore could not be a part of- to
      be
      > > > > different
      > > > > > was a sin in itself. I was so damnably brainwashed, I
      could
      > > not
      > > > > see
      > > > > > any other way. I had a church pay for me to go to an
      exodus
      > > > > > conference, and I went willingly because I believed I
      would in
      > >
      > > > > fact
      > > > > > go to hell if I could not change, and because I wanted God
      to
      > >
      > > love
      > > > >
      > > > > me
      > > > > > and for them, the people I considered my friends to accept
      > > me. I
      > > > >
      > > > > > stayed just as gay as ever, just more guilt-ridden and
      > > ashamed.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > The first time I questioned out loud with a friend of mine
      > > whether
      > > > >
      > > > > > the bible was word for word the word of God, we both
      cringed,
      > >
      > > > > > literally expecting some kind of terrible judgement-a bolt
      of
      > >
      > > > > > lightning or something equally drastic. Of course, it
      didn't
      > >
      > > > > happen,
      > > > > > and I was quite relieved. I laugh about it now, but it
      took a
      > >
      > > > > long
      > > > > > painful journey to change those spiritually abusive
      beliefs.
      > >
      > > > > > Of course, I became that "godless liberal" we all feared
      so
      > > much
      > > > > as a
      > > > > > result of seeking, questioning, doubting, and exploring
      truth.
      > >
      > > > > And,
      > > > > > they have rejected me, but, as a result of all that
      reaching
      > > out
      > > > > is
      > > > > > that This person my old church buddies reject now has real
      > > faith
      > > > > in
      > > > > > God. I love him, I do not doubt his love for me now. I
      > > believe
      > > > > he
      > > > > > is there for me always, and that he created me Lesbian-
      and
      > > > > treasures
      > > > > > his creation.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > There are books that explain that kind of
      > > Christianity/religiosity
      > > > >
      > > > > in
      > > > > > detail and explain what is wrong with it- "The Subtle
      Power of
      > >
      > > > > > Spiritual Abuse", and "Toxic Faith" for example. And,
      there
      > > are
      > > > > > books that explain the journey to learn to think for
      yourself,
      > >
      > > > > that
      > > > > > journey into self-actualization like "Women's Ways of
      > > Knowing".
      > > > > >
      > > > > > To say people are forced into ex-gay ministries does not
      take
      > >
      > > into
      > > > >
      > > > > > account the power of culture, the indoctrination of
      religion
      > > and
      > > > > the
      > > > > > socialization process. I think most of us try them
      because we
      > >
      > > > > > believe what we've been taught- that we are terrible,
      sinful
      > > > > beings
      > > > > > that will be rejected by God if we don't change. I don't
      know
      > >
      > > > > about
      > > > > > you, but hell sounded pretty scary to me. And, I wanted
      the
      > > > > > acceptance of my fellow church members as well, my church
      > > family-
      > > > >
      > > > > > that is tremendous pressure, to lose the respect of the
      people
      > >
      > > you
      > > > >
      > > > > > trust and depend on.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I didn't leave the ex-gay ministry because I changed my
      mind.
      > >
      > > I
      > > > > left
      > > > > > because I gave up- realized I was not going to change-
      nobody
      > >
      > > else
      > > > >
      > > > > > really had, we all still felt "lust" for our own sex
      (amazing
      > >
      > > how
      > > > >
      > > > > > they always left out the tenderness, love and romance
      > > involved.)
      > > > > > My attitude changes came much later, after a lot of
      painful
      > > soul-
      > > > > > searching and prayer, and a spiritual awakening. I'm very
      > > > > grateful
      > > > > > to God that I made it here, and that there is even more to
      > > come,
      > > > > more
      > > > > > to learn, more growth to experience. Im grateful to know
      I am
      > >
      > > > > loved
      > > > > > by God and my prayer is that all glbt will come to know
      that
      > > in
      > > > > their
      > > > > > hearts as well.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > One thing that makes me really sad though, and sometimes
      > > afraid as
      > > > >
      > > > > > well, is knowing that many of my brothers and sisters in
      > > Christ
      > > > > will
      > > > > > always reject and castigate me for being the creation God
      > > intended
      > > > >
      > > > > > for me to be. Part of me craves that acceptance even as I
      > > know I
      > > > >
      > > > > > will never get it from most of them. But, God loves them
      too,
      > >
      > > and
      > > > >
      > > > > > there is hope. After all, I made it out, so can they.
      Love
      > > you
      > > > > > guys, Pat
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
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