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Re: My Faith Journey

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  • 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 1 of 12 , Aug 20 10:39 PM
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      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 2 of 12 , Aug 24 3:50 PM
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        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 3 of 12 , Aug 24 6:20 PM
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          Norm and Dave, I don't mean to butt in, but you mentioned about having feelings of inadequacy and guilt from your experience with the ex-gay movement. Nothing could be farther from the truth in my experience. I went to a conference today and heard testimonies of guys and gals that gained a lot of freedom in the area of sexual identity problems they went through, but there was no condemnation, no guilt. They are decidedly more happny and content now then they were before. I'm not sure why you guys had such a bad experience. Apparently, there must be legalistic groups out there who made you feel that way. But the group I went through in Michigan did not in any way make me feel guilty or more inadequate. Just the opposite. Don't lump all ex-gay ministries together. There are a lot of differences on all sides of the fence.

          Thanks for listening, --Jerry in Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          - Norm! (nojam75@...)



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



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        • 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 4 of 12 , Aug 24 6:57 PM
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            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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          • 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 5 of 12 , Aug 25 1:19 PM
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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 6 of 12 , Aug 25 11:09 PM
              • 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 7 of 12 , Aug 26 5:24 AM
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                  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 8 of 12 , Aug 27 10:57 AM
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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 9 of 12 , Aug 27 11:23 AM
                    • 0 Attachment
                      --- 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 10 of 12 , Aug 27 5:56 PM
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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 11 of 12 , Sep 20, 2002
                        • 0 Attachment
                          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
                          >
                          >
                          >
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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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