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2298Re: coercion to join ex-gay ministries?

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  • nojam75
    Jun 8, 2002
      Jerry, I agree that Evangelism in its purist form should about
      sharing and living up to Jesus' message. However, I can't say that
      the Evangelism I've seen is anywhere near this definition. More
      often I've seen self-proclaimed Evangelists and churches turn Jesus'
      message into marketing slogans and recruitment drives. This type of
      Evangelism leads to a 'us vs them' mentality and eventually bitter
      disputes over definitions of what the fundmentals of the faith are.

      As for Bishop Spong's comments, I will not attempt to speak for
      him. To be fair, Spong comments were pre-9/11, so I don't think he
      was referring to physical violence. In its worse forms though, I
      think Evangelism can lead to very nasty tactics such as scaring kids
      with hell to convert, targeting specific less-powerful classes of
      people for conversion, and attacking alternative beliefs systems.

      - Norm!




      --- In exexgayministry@y..., BearJER@j... wrote:
      >
      > On Thu, 06 Jun 2002 04:53:34 -0000 "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> 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
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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