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2385Re:[ExExGayMinistry] Re: My Faith Journey

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  • Jerry
    Aug 24, 2002
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      Norm and Dave, I don't mean to butt in, but you mentioned about having feelings of inadequacy and guilt from your experience with the ex-gay movement. Nothing could be farther from the truth in my experience. I went to a conference today and heard testimonies of guys and gals that gained a lot of freedom in the area of sexual identity problems they went through, but there was no condemnation, no guilt. They are decidedly more happny and content now then they were before. I'm not sure why you guys had such a bad experience. Apparently, there must be legalistic groups out there who made you feel that way. But the group I went through in Michigan did not in any way make me feel guilty or more inadequate. Just the opposite. Don't lump all ex-gay ministries together. There are a lot of differences on all sides of the fence.

      Thanks for listening, --Jerry in Michigan

      ---------- "nojam75" <nojam75@...> writes:

      From: "nojam75" <nojam75@...>
      To: exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: My Faith Journey
      Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 05:39:04 -0000

      David, I just read you journey. I hope you don't mind if I ask some
      questions. I'm just courious to hear how others have overcome the
      ex-gay experience.

      - When you determined that your straight marriage was not working
      out, did you feel like an ex-gay failure or that the ex-gay ideal
      failed you? (In my experience, I felt like a complete failure even
      though I knew that leaving the ex-gay lifestyle made more logical
      sense.)

      - How have you dealt with the ex-gay teaching regarding the supposed
      roots of your homosexuality? (For me, it has taken me quite a while
      to overcome the guilt and feelings of inadequency that were
      reinforced by ex-gay teachings.)

      - Do you ever have doubts like: "Maybe the promoters the ex-gay
      movement were right"? (I have to admit that there are times when
      this thought occurs to me and I have to go through the entire
      thought process again.)

      I'm glad you found us (it's been slow around here lately) and thanks
      for sharing your journey.

      - Norm! (nojam75@...)



      --- In exexgayministry@y..., "DavidPlunkett" <davidplunkett@y...>
      wrote:
      > Hello Christian men and women,
      >
      > It's wonderful to have found this site, and to be able to speak
      > intelligently about our faith journeys being both lesbian or gay
      and
      > Christian. A forum of like minded people is an oasis when it
      feels
      > like so many are not "on track" with what's going on.
      >
      > My journey of faith started when I was a small child. I accepted
      > Christ around 8 years old in San Jose, California and was quite
      > enthusiastic to do so. I still remember the inexplicably
      wonderful
      > feeling after making my committment to Christ, not knowing any
      > theology at the time other than Christ loved me and gave me life,
      and
      > not knowing the conflicts I would later face as I emerged into the
      > man God created.
      >
      > I was born the first of two nonidentical twins in Northern
      California
      > of Southern parents. When my brother and I were ten, our parents
      > moved us to rural Oklahoma, where they were both from, and the
      first
      > of many culture shocks began in our lives. I found it incredibly
      > tough (this was 1974 and everything was very Wonder Yearsy!) going
      > from an area as urban as anywhere and knowing only that
      environment
      > to a backward, rural, Southern, provincial quasi-town with less
      than
      > a thousand people, all of them knowing each other way too well and
      > having too little to do.
      >
      > During this time of readjustment, I learned to mask a lot of who I
      > really was and try to fit in the best I could (still 10 years old)
      > because the kids in that town and in my school were extremely
      cruel
      > because I talked different than they did (I lacked the Huckleberry
      > Hound dialect) and perhaps other reasons that I was too young to
      > understand at the time. There were times that I really only had
      one
      > friend, Tammy, and I suppose I repressed the rejection and ignored
      > the remarks for longer than I really remember.
      >
      > By the time I reached high school, I became very interested in
      > Christianity and began a search that would lead me into the
      > charismatic movement for more than a decade. My friend from age
      10,
      > Tammy, joined the same church I did and for awhile we sang in a
      trio
      > called the "Sounds of Faith" along with the pastor's daughter. I
      > managed to become so involved while in high school that I was
      doing
      > the weekly bulletin, and the church newsletter, and was the
      pianist,
      > and was teaching Sunday school to high school kids my own age, and
      > invaribly a whole array of other things.
      >
      > For the most part, my local church accepted me and loved me and
      made
      > no demands, requirements or hurtful remarks regarding my
      orientation,
      > which by this time was probably apparent to many. I thrived there
      in
      > some ways, while drowning in loneliness in others, and it was a
      safe
      > haven throughout high school.
      >
      > After high school, I made the mistake in my zealousness to change
      > churches .... I wanted something more progressive, I thought. The
      > church I belonged to was pretty backward (I was still in the
      middle
      > of no where!) and I longed for a more relevant Christian
      experience
      > with people who I thought were more spiritually attuned. The new
      > church also offered me the chance to become much more active in
      > music, which I had developed during this time. I spent a few
      years
      > here, still dealing with my sexuality very strongly (and all
      alone)
      > and also beginning to face opposition and rejection from other
      church
      > members who often made up lies about me to prove their theory that
      I
      > was gay.
      >
      > As the lies and half-truths began to surface in church, I somehow
      > held closer to God than I ever did. It never made sense to me how
      > people could judge someone so harshly over something they had no
      > control over (I had still never had a relationship nor dated
      anyone
      > ever!), which was my very orientation. Sex had nothing to do
      wtih
      > anything at this point.
      >
      > During the middle 1980s, I was kicked out, chased out or made to
      feel
      > unwelcome at 3 or 4 different churches. I somehow saw the need to
      > find another one, each time carrying more baggage and history of
      an
      > abused Christian with me. I found that some Christians were
      > uncomfortable with someone wounded. It was very tough, then,
      > because the inevitable questions always came up. Very few people
      I
      > encountered were understanding enough to really listen, to
      consider
      > that I didn't one day wake up and make being gay my choice (just
      love
      > that rejection!), or that most of what they were judging me for
      would
      > never really change, because they judged based on outward
      > characteristics, not my private life, which they could not see.
      >
      > In 1988, I left Oklahoma for good. I relocated in Arkansas in a
      > college town of 50,000 people that is small to me now, but was a
      > major happening place back then. It was a time of change for
      me ...
      > I continued in church, and at the same time tried to "come out"
      the
      > latter 3 months of the year, but found the outside world and the
      gay
      > culture I experienced too shocking from the sheltered church life
      I
      > was raised in.
      >
      > While in college, I decided to study matierals by the ex-gay
      > movement, reading books I bought while on vacation so that no one
      > would know who I was. I read stories of people who testified of
      > overcoming homosexuality, and though it sounded hopeful, it seemed
      > too good to be true and overly simplified. Nevertheless, I met a
      > wonderful Christian woman a few months later in a photography
      class
      > who really took a liking to me, and we began dating. I had never
      > really dated before, so a lot of what we experienced was really
      > exciting. Before long, we got married in a beautiful church
      ceremony
      > (but only had 24 people there to my dismay!)
      >
      > Before we married, I told my wife a bit about my feelings, and she
      > did not judge them. She encouraged me to allow myself to love her
      > and perhaps that would make me "straight." Although I did truly
      love
      > my wife, I was never the least bit sexually attracted to her. She
      > could have been Julia Roberts, and I don't think I would have
      > responded differently in that area. We began to grow apart after
      > about six months, and though our marriage lasted 2 1/2 years, I
      was
      > the loneliest I have ever been in my life during that time. My
      > marriage to her was not fair to either one of us, but I've found
      > people will do a lot based on hope. If I could have read even one
      > story such as this I might have thought things out a bit
      differently.
      >
      > The last six months of our marriage, my wife and I moved to Little
      > Rock when I accepted a job there. Wow .... this was a real city
      and
      > there seemed to be a lot of gay people around. I was at this time
      > pretty bitter with the church, life in general, and perhaps God as
      > well. Not knowing what else to do, and seeing that my marriage
      was
      > ending, I began to explore what it was like to be gay.
      >
      > At this time in 1992, I told my parents again (The first time was
      > 1988) and they were very fearful and nonsupportive. My twin
      brother
      > didn't know what to make of it either. They had no skills on how
      to
      > cope with this themselves, and none which gave them the needed
      > strength to help me either. The rural areas that they lived in
      were
      > breeding grounds for judgementalism, especially of the religious
      > kind, and I think their concern over what other family members
      would
      > think didn't help much either.
      >
      > By '94, I was in a relationship with a nice guy and we decided to
      > move to Denver. I transferred with my job there, and we relocated
      > there excited for a new future. By the fall, though, it was
      clear
      > we were not going anywhere in our relationship, and we became good
      > friends, which we remain today.
      >
      > About this time, I attended a gay-affirming church I saw
      advertised
      > in Denver. It was my first experience seeing truly worshipful
      people
      > in a predominently gay congregation, and it moved me greatly. I
      > became involved there, and the next January, met my future
      partner,
      > Timothy. One Sunday morning, he came with a friend (wearing the
      > visitor tag) and sat on the front row. I thought he was cute and
      > left it at that.
      >
      > But after that service, I was invited to another event where he
      was
      > attending, and we happened to ride in the same car, both of us in
      the
      > backseat, and we visited the whole trip there. The next
      Saturday,
      > the second time I saw him, he was at a birthday party I was also
      at
      > and he asked me out, nervously as he would drag his shoe in the
      > gravel. It was so cute, I couldn't bear to say no, and didn't
      want
      > to, either.
      >
      > The rest is history. Tim and I have been together nonstop for 7+
      > years. We opened a printing business together over 6 years ago,
      and
      > we founded our relationship on Christ from the start. God has so
      > blessed what we have done together in so many ways. Our business
      > alone was grown from 3 employees in May, 1995 to over 25 this year.
      >
      > We also found perhaps the most amazing Christian community around,
      > totally by accident. When we decided to open our printing
      business,
      > I kept my ears open for people selling equipment or fixtures. One
      > day the end of '95 -- when we had been together less than a year
      and
      > had already decided to go into business together (Were we
      nuts???), I
      > found out that a print shop in Little Rock, where I used to live,
      was
      > closing and had their equipment for sale.
      >
      > We announced to friends in Denver we were driving to Little Rock
      to
      > pick up fixtures. A friend said, "How close is Little Rock to
      > Sherwood?" I said, "It's a suburb, why?" She said, "You just
      have
      > to go see these guys!"
      >
      > Now, Tim and I are not the type to just go visit with strangers,
      but
      > we had already made arrangements not only to look these guys up
      while
      > we were there, but stay with them, something very unlike ourselves
      > and something I don't think we've ever done since. But timing is
      > everything, and we met Randy McCain and Gary Eddy, two friends who
      > would be instrumental in our lives in many ways.
      >
      > Randy had recently been fired from a church he was on staff of for
      > being gay, and he and Gary had made the decision to begin a church
      in
      > their home. The week we were there was the first service, and we
      > felt led to begin being a part of it from day one. That was Open
      > Door Community Church in it's earliest days.
      >
      > We have watched Open Door grow from a small Bible Study of 4 or 5
      to
      > over 100 people worshipping in a beatiful building. Tim had never
      > been to Little Rock before we met; now we have made dozens of
      trips
      > back there, both by flying and driving, and we continue to long
      for a
      > way to live there. One of the most exciting things that is
      > happening there is that there is a really great mix of gay and
      > straight, male and female and old and young there; something I had
      > not seen in predominently gay churches. And instead of being a
      > storefront, they are a suburban congregation spreading the Word in
      > the Bible-belt South in a manner which is almost unheard of.
      >
      > My hunger for God and my love for Jesus Christ was completely
      > restored. The last few years I have studied grace and what the
      New
      > Testament church was founded on, and when I found Open Door, it
      was
      > exactly what I was looking for. To make the story even better, my
      > extreme love for worship music made the experience there complete
      as
      > that bunch is incredibly talented and anointed. The feeling
      there
      > is simply inexplainable.
      >
      > Tim and I press forward each day, knowing we are accepted by God
      > through Jesus Christ, not for who we are, but through what Christ
      did
      > for us. It is a privilege to share with you. We have posted
      pics
      > in this site's photos section.
      >
      > I currently host an MSN community which is an outreach of Open
      Door
      > Community Church called "Grace Online". If you would like to
      check
      > out our community, the URL is http://groups.msn.com/GraceOnline.
      We
      > have an active chatroom and good message board discussions. I
      plan
      > to spend some time in this site, too, and hope to meet many of you
      > here!
      >
      > In Christ,
      > David Plunkett



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      THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: Jesus said it: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."


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