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2296Re: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: coercion to join ex-gay ministries?

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  • BearJER@juno.com
    Jun 6, 2002
      On Thu, 06 Jun 2002 04:53:34 -0000 "nojam75" <nojam75@...> writes:

      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.

      REPLY: Norm, I wouldn't quibble with you over the some of the terms too
      much, but I have to respectfully disagree with you and Spong on the true
      meaning of evangelism. That term comes from a Greek word which means to
      take the gospel to the world. That is what Jesus said, "Go into all the
      world and preach the gospel to every person." That is evangelism in its
      purest form, not spreading petty doctrines, but spreading the good news
      that Jesus came into the world to save us. So, sorry, Bishop or no
      Bishop, Spong's statement about evangelism being violent doesn't make
      biblical sense to me. That would be the same thing as saying Jesus
      himself was violent because he very much taught Christians to be
      evangelistic.

      Jerry


      >
      >
      > --- 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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