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My Faith Journey

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  • DavidPlunkett
    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
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 20, 2002
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      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
    • nojam75
      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. -
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 20, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        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
      • nyguy_1225
        Norm, what makes you sometimes think the promoters of the ex-gay movement were right? And what specifically do you sometimes think they were right about?
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 24, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          Norm, what makes you sometimes think the promoters of the ex-gay
          movement were right? And what specifically do you sometimes think
          they were right about? That (a) God and the Bible speak against all
          expressions of homosexuality and against homosexual orientation? Or
          that (b) sexual orientation is mutable and God desires and/or is in
          the buisness of making homosexually-oriented people heterosexual?

          I find the ex-gay movement and those who get ensnared by it to be
          such a sad lot of people. It saddens me that they're taught to
          believe buying into "ex-gay" theology means they have been freed
          from bondage. Having watched the fruit of the ex-gay movement (or
          the lack thereof) and the lives of those who've embraced it for a
          very long time, I've come to see that in actuality the very opposite
          is true. It saddens me to such an extent that I spend my life in
          many ways caring for those who have bought into it by helping them
          to find real freedom in Christ -- freedom to live responsible but
          honest and authentic lives before the God who called them into
          fellowship.

          Thankfully, we're living in a place and time when more and more
          respected Christian thinkers, biblical scholars and theologians are
          now coming forward to say the Church must begin to re-think their
          treatment of Christian gay people and to re-examine the Scriptures
          to see what they really say, and do not say, about homosexuality.
          As Lewis Smedes, retired Fuller Theological Seminary Ethicist and
          best-selling author says: "The Church's treatment of homosexuality
          has become the greatest heresy in the history of the church."

          --- In exexgayministry@y..., "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> wrote:
          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.)
        • Jerry
          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
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 24, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            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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          • Jerry
            Why such a militant attitude? There are indeed people out there in the ex-gay movement who are happier and more well adjusted and serving God and their fellow
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 24, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              Why such a militant attitude? There are indeed people out there in the ex-gay movement who are happier and more well adjusted and serving God and their fellow man in a better way then before they went through the ex-gay ministries. If that worked for them, why would you want to tear them down? Do you think that would be God's attitude? I don't get it.

              Jerry

              ---------- nyguy_1225 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> writes:

              From: nyguy_1225 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
              To: exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: My Faith Journey
              Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 22:50:18 -0000

              Norm, what makes you sometimes think the promoters of the ex-gay
              movement were right? And what specifically do you sometimes think
              they were right about? That (a) God and the Bible speak against all
              expressions of homosexuality and against homosexual orientation? Or
              that (b) sexual orientation is mutable and God desires and/or is in
              the buisness of making homosexually-oriented people heterosexual?

              I find the ex-gay movement and those who get ensnared by it to be
              such a sad lot of people. It saddens me that they're taught to
              believe buying into "ex-gay" theology means they have been freed
              from bondage. Having watched the fruit of the ex-gay movement (or
              the lack thereof) and the lives of those who've embraced it for a
              very long time, I've come to see that in actuality the very opposite
              is true. It saddens me to such an extent that I spend my life in
              many ways caring for those who have bought into it by helping them
              to find real freedom in Christ -- freedom to live responsible but
              honest and authentic lives before the God who called them into
              fellowship.

              Thankfully, we're living in a place and time when more and more
              respected Christian thinkers, biblical scholars and theologians are
              now coming forward to say the Church must begin to re-think their
              treatment of Christian gay people and to re-examine the Scriptures
              to see what they really say, and do not say, about homosexuality.
              As Lewis Smedes, retired Fuller Theological Seminary Ethicist and
              best-selling author says: "The Church's treatment of homosexuality
              has become the greatest heresy in the history of the church."

              --- In exexgayministry@y..., "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> wrote:
              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.)




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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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            • nyguy_1225
              That s an excellent question, Jerry. And if you re sincere in wanting me to answer it, I would say yes, they may become more well adjusted in some ways but
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 25, 2002
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                That's an excellent question, Jerry. And if you're sincere in
                wanting me to answer it, I would say yes, they may become more well
                adjusted in some ways but no, homosexual people do not become
                heterosexual. Let me try to explain: Their gravest error is
                confusing a change in behavior with a change in orientation. Gay
                people in our society generally grow up feeling "different from"
                and "less than" their non-gay counterparts. They're often made to
                feel they do not measure up and often suffer rejection, ridicule and
                often incur deep hurt -- physically, emotionally, psychologically
                and/or sexually. And gay people are strongly affected by the
                negative attitudes of the church on homosexuality. It's hard
                enough growing up under the best of circumstances but when this
                other stuff is added to their plate the resulting poor self-esteem,
                depression and fear can be a severe blow to a fragile identity.

                In addition and unlike those who are not gay, there often are not
                healthy and helpful support systems in place to help them deal with
                all this in a healthy way. Where heterosexual people often have
                inherent support from their families, their churches, from society
                at large and enjoy legal support for their partnerships, etc., gay
                people more often than not have none of this. The end result is
                often acting act, various kinds of addiction and all kinds of
                unhealthy attitudes and irresponsible and unhealthy behavior.
                [Interestingly, we also witness the same kind of negative fruit when
                heterosexual people encounter similar rejection and lack of support
                growing up.]

                It is from these unhealthy backgrounds and painful experiences
                that "ex-gay" ministries may do SOME good. Many who have
                experienced this kind of hurt, pain, rejection and low self-esteem
                can with the benefit of healthier relationships begin to experience
                healing and wholeness, begin to learn that God loves them (even if
                no one else seemed to), learn that they do truly have worth, etc.
                All of this is very beneficial and certainly God would approve of
                this. However, in an "ex-gay" ministry all of this is this
                generally couched under the misguided assumption that homosexuality
                and any expression of it is sick or immoral, and anything that frees
                someone from having a gay relationship is inherently healthful.

                To go so far as to claim that sexual orientation is mutable and
                using the bible to back it up is another matter all together. The
                changes we've seen in the "ex-gay" movement over the past 25 years
                have been in personnel and in claims, not in orientation. Even, Bob
                Davies, the former director of Exodus International, the largest
                umbrella organization of "ex-gay" ministries across the globe stated
                in a press release shortly after "ex-gay" poster boy John Paulk lied
                his way out of being discovered in a renowned Washington DC gay
                bar: "I believe that, as an organization, we need to re-examine
                other issues [including] our use of terms such as 'healing'
                and 'change'."

                The Sunday Chicago Tribune summed up the signs of the times well
                some time ago when it revealed: "As a result of the [multitude of]
                defections, the strategy of Exodus and other groups appears to have
                changed dramatically. Rather than emphasize heterosexuality as a
                goal, most ex-gay ministries simply push a cessation of homosexual
                activity."

                The problem, Jerry, is these hurting people come into the "ex-gay"
                movement already feeling different and then when they discover
                the "ex-gay" thing is a I lie, more often then not they end up
                leaving the Church altogether and others are left to help them puck
                up the broken pieces of their life. What are the life experiences
                that drive someone to seek a "conversion" to heterosexuality? And
                are gay people truly shedding their same-sex attractions? Or do
                they continue to struggle against their natural impulses, accepting
                celibacy or marriage as a socially or church-sanctioned substitute?
                And perhaps most importantly, is it healthy to try? Most
                psychologists and increasing numbers of Christian counselors say
                no. They say that "ex-gay" ministries are trying to force gay
                people into a mold that doesn't really fit, and the results often
                lead to depression, addiction, even suicide. "When people repress
                their orientation, in order to make all that work, they hide under
                layers and layers of incredibly destructive behavior," says Terry
                Norman, D. Min., a professional counselor in Kansas City. He summed
                up the "ex-gay" ministries attempt to force people into this
                unhealthy mold in three words: "Ultimately, it kills." And that's
                why those who have seen the fruit of these ministries are against
                them.

                --- In exexgayministry@y..., Jerry <BearJER@j...> wrote:
                > Why such a militant attitude? There are indeed people out there
                in the ex-gay movement who are happier and more well adjusted and
                serving God and their fellow man in a better way then before they
                went through the ex-gay ministries. If that worked for them, why
                would you want to tear them down? Do you think that would be God's
                attitude? I don't get it.
                >
                > Jerry
                >
                > ---------- nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...> writes:
                >
                > From: nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...>
                > To: exexgayministry@y...
                > Subject: [ExExGayMinistry] Re: My Faith Journey
                > Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 22:50:18 -0000
                >
                > Norm, what makes you sometimes think the promoters of the ex-gay
                > movement were right? And what specifically do you sometimes think
                > they were right about? That (a) God and the Bible speak against
                all
                > expressions of homosexuality and against homosexual orientation?
                Or
                > that (b) sexual orientation is mutable and God desires and/or is
                in
                > the buisness of making homosexually-oriented people heterosexual?
                >
                > I find the ex-gay movement and those who get ensnared by it to be
                > such a sad lot of people. It saddens me that they're taught to
                > believe buying into "ex-gay" theology means they have been freed
                > from bondage. Having watched the fruit of the ex-gay movement (or
                > the lack thereof) and the lives of those who've embraced it for a
                > very long time, I've come to see that in actuality the very
                opposite
                > is true. It saddens me to such an extent that I spend my life in
                > many ways caring for those who have bought into it by helping them
                > to find real freedom in Christ -- freedom to live responsible but
                > honest and authentic lives before the God who called them into
                > fellowship.
                >
                > Thankfully, we're living in a place and time when more and more
                > respected Christian thinkers, biblical scholars and theologians
                are
                > now coming forward to say the Church must begin to re-think their
                > treatment of Christian gay people and to re-examine the Scriptures
                > to see what they really say, and do not say, about homosexuality.
                > As Lewis Smedes, retired Fuller Theological Seminary Ethicist and
                > best-selling author says: "The Church's treatment of homosexuality
                > has become the greatest heresy in the history of the church."
                >
                > --- In exexgayministry@y..., "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> wrote:
                > 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.)
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > exexgayministry-unsubscribe@y...
                >
                >
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: Jesus said it: "Do unto others as you would
                have them do unto you."
                >
                >
                > ________________________________________________________________
                > GET INTERNET ACCESS FROM JUNO!
                > Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less!
                > Join Juno today! For your FREE software, visit:
                > http://dl.www.juno.com/get/web/.
              • nojam75
                ... I m not necessarily talking about theological issues. Instead, I refer to the negative stereotypes ex-gay promoters use to characterize gays. Ex-gay
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 25, 2002
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In exexgayministry@y..., nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  > Norm, what makes you sometimes think the promoters of the ex-gay
                  > movement were right? And what specifically do you sometimes think
                  > they were right about?
                  > ....

                  I'm not necessarily talking about theological issues. Instead, I
                  refer to the negative stereotypes ex-gay promoters use to
                  characterize gays. Ex-gay promoters typically characterize people
                  in the "gay lifestyle" as being shallow, sex-orientated, and self-
                  centered. Sometimes when I see gays or gay media confirm these
                  stereotypes, I have to admit that some of the ex-gay criticisms of
                  the "gay lifestyle" are valid.

                  However, I know many gays who do not fit these negative
                  stereotypes. And many in the gay community and media do openly
                  question the self-centered lifestyle.

                  - Norm!



                  That (a) God and the Bible speak against all
                  > expressions of homosexuality and against homosexual orientation?
                  Or
                  > that (b) sexual orientation is mutable and God desires and/or is
                  in
                  > the buisness of making homosexually-oriented people heterosexual?
                  >
                  > I find the ex-gay movement and those who get ensnared by it to be
                  > such a sad lot of people. It saddens me that they're taught to
                  > believe buying into "ex-gay" theology means they have been freed
                  > from bondage. Having watched the fruit of the ex-gay movement (or
                  > the lack thereof) and the lives of those who've embraced it for a
                  > very long time, I've come to see that in actuality the very
                  opposite
                  > is true. It saddens me to such an extent that I spend my life in
                  > many ways caring for those who have bought into it by helping them
                  > to find real freedom in Christ -- freedom to live responsible but
                  > honest and authentic lives before the God who called them into
                  > fellowship.
                  >
                  > Thankfully, we're living in a place and time when more and more
                  > respected Christian thinkers, biblical scholars and theologians
                  are
                  > now coming forward to say the Church must begin to re-think their
                  > treatment of Christian gay people and to re-examine the Scriptures
                  > to see what they really say, and do not say, about homosexuality.
                  > As Lewis Smedes, retired Fuller Theological Seminary Ethicist and
                  > best-selling author says: "The Church's treatment of homosexuality
                  > has become the greatest heresy in the history of the church."
                  >
                  > --- In exexgayministry@y..., "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> wrote:
                  > 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.)
                • nyguy_1225
                  Thanks for the clarification, Norm. As I alluded to in my last post, it stands to reason why people (gay or straight) who incur rejection, hurt and other
                  Message 8 of 12 , Aug 26, 2002
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Thanks for the clarification, Norm. As I alluded to in my last
                    post, it stands to reason why people (gay or straight) who incur
                    rejection, hurt and other emotional wounding without the benefit of
                    support and healthier relationships would become more "sex-oriented"
                    and "self-centered," to cite juts two results. The best indicator
                    of future behavior is past behavior unless there is a significant
                    intervening variable. I maintain that significant intervening
                    variable should not be contending these people must change their
                    sexual orientation to be whole, healthy and/or acceptable to God.

                    --- In exexgayministry@y..., "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> wrote:
                    > --- In exexgayministry@y..., nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                    > > Norm, what makes you sometimes think the promoters of the ex-gay
                    > > movement were right? And what specifically do you sometimes
                    think
                    > > they were right about?
                    > > ....
                    >
                    > I'm not necessarily talking about theological issues. Instead, I
                    > refer to the negative stereotypes ex-gay promoters use to
                    > characterize gays. Ex-gay promoters typically characterize people
                    > in the "gay lifestyle" as being shallow, sex-orientated, and self-
                    > centered. Sometimes when I see gays or gay media confirm these
                    > stereotypes, I have to admit that some of the ex-gay criticisms of
                    > the "gay lifestyle" are valid.
                    >
                    > However, I know many gays who do not fit these negative
                    > stereotypes. And many in the gay community and media do openly
                    > question the self-centered lifestyle.
                    >
                    > - Norm!
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > That (a) God and the Bible speak against all
                    > > expressions of homosexuality and against homosexual
                    orientation?
                    > Or
                    > > that (b) sexual orientation is mutable and God desires and/or is
                    > in
                    > > the buisness of making homosexually-oriented people heterosexual?
                    > >
                    > > I find the ex-gay movement and those who get ensnared by it to
                    be
                    > > such a sad lot of people. It saddens me that they're taught to
                    > > believe buying into "ex-gay" theology means they have been freed
                    > > from bondage. Having watched the fruit of the ex-gay movement
                    (or
                    > > the lack thereof) and the lives of those who've embraced it for
                    a
                    > > very long time, I've come to see that in actuality the very
                    > opposite
                    > > is true. It saddens me to such an extent that I spend my life
                    in
                    > > many ways caring for those who have bought into it by helping
                    them
                    > > to find real freedom in Christ -- freedom to live responsible
                    but
                    > > honest and authentic lives before the God who called them into
                    > > fellowship.
                    > >
                    > > Thankfully, we're living in a place and time when more and more
                    > > respected Christian thinkers, biblical scholars and theologians
                    > are
                    > > now coming forward to say the Church must begin to re-think
                    their
                    > > treatment of Christian gay people and to re-examine the
                    Scriptures
                    > > to see what they really say, and do not say, about
                    homosexuality.
                    > > As Lewis Smedes, retired Fuller Theological Seminary Ethicist
                    and
                    > > best-selling author says: "The Church's treatment of
                    homosexuality
                    > > has become the greatest heresy in the history of the church."
                    > >
                    > > --- In exexgayministry@y..., "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> wrote:
                    > > 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.)
                  • calldon2k
                    ... Yes...gay equals shallow, sex-orientated and self-centered. So what is the percentage of single, hetero adults living together in adultery? I can tell
                    Message 9 of 12 , Aug 27, 2002
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                      --- In exexgayministry@y..., "nojam75" <nojam75@y...> wrote:

                      > I'm not necessarily talking about theological issues. Instead, I
                      > refer to the negative stereotypes ex-gay promoters use to
                      > characterize gays. Ex-gay promoters typically characterize people
                      > in the "gay lifestyle" as being shallow, sex-orientated, and self-
                      > centered. Sometimes when I see gays or gay media confirm these
                      > stereotypes, I have to admit that some of the ex-gay criticisms of
                      > the "gay lifestyle" are valid.

                      Yes...gay equals shallow, sex-orientated and self-centered. So what
                      is the percentage of single, hetero adults living together "in
                      adultery?" I can tell you that I know a few dozen "straight" couples
                      who are never planning to get married...or even stay together for
                      many years, just live together as if they are married.

                      And just sit around any gathering of 30-something or under single
                      males and listen to their conquests, their plans for the weekend or
                      their recent experiences. They personify the terms "shallow, sex-
                      oriented and self-centered!!!"

                      Males are males, whether gay or straight. They all have one thing on
                      their mind! But the media focuses on those evil, "shallow, sex-
                      oriented" gays while thinking it is OK for straight guys to "do it"
                      with as many partners as they can, as long as those partners are the
                      opposite sex!

                      > However, I know many gays who do not fit these negative
                      > stereotypes. And many in the gay community and media do openly
                      > question the self-centered lifestyle.

                      I can think of several 20-something (and older) guys I work with who
                      are ALL living with a girl with NO PLANS of getting married. What's
                      the difference? Gays are self-centered and the straight guys are NOT
                      self-centered? I don't understand.
                    • calldon2k
                      ... and ... Norm...EXCELLENT POST!!! I sent this to a couple of friends, one, of whom, is a Baptist preacher with whom I used to be associated. (I worked with
                      Message 10 of 12 , Aug 27, 2002
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                        --- In exexgayministry@y..., nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                        > That's an excellent question, Jerry. And if you're sincere in
                        > wanting me to answer it, I would say yes, they may become more well
                        > adjusted in some ways but no, homosexual people do not become
                        > heterosexual. Let me try to explain: Their gravest error is
                        > confusing a change in behavior with a change in orientation. Gay
                        > people in our society generally grow up feeling "different from"
                        > and "less than" their non-gay counterparts. They're often made to
                        > feel they do not measure up and often suffer rejection, ridicule
                        and
                        > often incur deep hurt -- physically, emotionally, psychologically
                        > and/or sexually. And gay people are strongly affected by the
                        > negative attitudes of the church on homosexuality. It's hard
                        > enough growing up under the best of circumstances but when this
                        > other stuff is added to their plate the resulting poor self-esteem,
                        > depression and fear can be a severe blow to a fragile identity.

                        Norm...EXCELLENT POST!!!

                        I sent this to a couple of friends, one, of whom, is a Baptist
                        preacher with whom I used to be associated. (I worked with his older
                        brother) We were out of touch for almost 20 years, since I left the
                        ministry in the middle of the night back in 1982. He has had a life
                        transformation and sees the futility in the strong, legalistic way we
                        both used to approach the Scriptures. He now knows my story and
                        attitude. I think he will appreciate hearing someone else (you) say
                        almost EXACTLY what I said many times, almost word-per-word!

                        Thanks for the excellent way you expressed yourself.

                        D*
                      • nyguy_1225
                        Thanks for your gracious words re: the post, Don. I m afraid this particular one wasn t from Norm, but from me. It was my reply to our brother Jerry who
                        Message 11 of 12 , Aug 27, 2002
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                          Thanks for your gracious words re: the post, Don. I'm afraid this
                          particular one wasn't from Norm, but from me. It was my reply to
                          our brother Jerry who responded to an earlier post I wrote. He
                          wanted to know why I had a "militant attitude" (I think that was the
                          term he used) toward the "ex-gay" movement. I thought it was a
                          fair question deserving an honest answer. Sadly, though Jerry pops
                          in from time to time and communicates a sincere interest in
                          discussing some of these critical and timely issues, he never seems
                          to stick around long enough to dialog. Hopefully he'll return...


                          --- In exexgayministry@y..., calldon2k <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                          > --- In exexgayministry@y..., nyguy_1225 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                          > > That's an excellent question, Jerry. And if you're sincere in
                          > > wanting me to answer it, I would say yes, they may become more
                          well
                          > > adjusted in some ways but no, homosexual people do not become
                          > > heterosexual. Let me try to explain: Their gravest error is
                          > > confusing a change in behavior with a change in orientation.
                          Gay
                          > > people in our society generally grow up feeling "different from"
                          > > and "less than" their non-gay counterparts. They're often made
                          to
                          > > feel they do not measure up and often suffer rejection, ridicule
                          > and
                          > > often incur deep hurt -- physically, emotionally,
                          psychologically
                          > > and/or sexually. And gay people are strongly affected by the
                          > > negative attitudes of the church on homosexuality. It's hard
                          > > enough growing up under the best of circumstances but when this
                          > > other stuff is added to their plate the resulting poor self-
                          esteem,
                          > > depression and fear can be a severe blow to a fragile
                          identity.
                          >
                          > Norm...EXCELLENT POST!!!
                          >
                          > I sent this to a couple of friends, one, of whom, is a Baptist
                          > preacher with whom I used to be associated. (I worked with his
                          older
                          > brother) We were out of touch for almost 20 years, since I left
                          the
                          > ministry in the middle of the night back in 1982. He has had a
                          life
                          > transformation and sees the futility in the strong, legalistic way
                          we
                          > both used to approach the Scriptures. He now knows my story and
                          > attitude. I think he will appreciate hearing someone else (you)
                          say
                          > almost EXACTLY what I said many times, almost word-per-word!
                          >
                          > Thanks for the excellent way you expressed yourself.
                          >
                          > D*
                        • Mike Dark
                          I have totally rejected all the ex-gay stuff as it never began to deal with my needs as a sexual and spiritual being. I have been greatly helped by the
                          Message 12 of 12 , Sep 20, 2002
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                            I have totally rejected all the 'ex-gay' stuff as it never began to
                            deal with my needs as a sexual and spiritual being. I have been
                            greatly helped by the exposition of Scripture from a different
                            standpoint. I would heartly recommend
                            http://www.reluctantjourney.co.uk/. It is written by an evangelical
                            Methodist lay preacher who has come to accept gay people and their
                            relationships.

                            God bless you all.

                            Yours in Christ,

                            Mike Dark

                            --- In exexgayministry@y..., Jerry <BearJER@j...> wrote:
                            > 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@y...> writes:
                            >
                            > From: "nojam75" <nojam75@y...>
                            > To: exexgayministry@y...
                            > 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@y...)
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > --- 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
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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                            >
                            >
                            >
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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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