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Jeremy's ex-ex-gay testimony (part 2)

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  • Thomas Morey
    Discussion and critique of Jeremy s testimony Let me start out by saying that I can empathize with Jeremy, having walked a similar path of feeling quite
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2008
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      Discussion and critique of Jeremy's testimony

      Let me start out by saying that I can empathize with Jeremy, having walked a similar path of feeling quite different than, and isolated from, my male peers as an adolescent due to my same sex attractions; and experiencing what I perceived to be the acceptance of those in the body of Christ on condition that I never discussed my struggle with SSA issues; and then at last what it was like to experience the incredible euphoria of the loving and open fellowship of Exodus folks when I finally did divulge my struggle after years of living in desperation and loneliness.

      Not only do I empathize, but I also will always hold a deep and abiding respect (just as I do for Darlene Bogle as well) for his attempt not only to personally stay sexually pure before and during his participation and leadership in Exodus, but also for his apparent willingness to be poured out in the service of Christ for others who came to Courage UK for help in their time of need. The reason for this is because I too was a director of an ex-gay ministry at its inception, in Philadelphia, PA, called Harvest, back in the 80's. And, I believe that I also initially had an honorable passion to serve Christ by helping others find freedom from their SSA struggle.

      But, out my own spiritual immaturity, and therefore being completely unprepared for being on the front line of the spiritual battle in the stronghold ahead of me, what started in the Spirit, inevitably wound up being done in the flesh (Galatians 3:3), since I chose to persist. Actually, as I look back now on it all, my experience was like a male child electing to be the leader and provider of his family. And, his family not only consents to it, but what's more is that they actually encourage it without reservation! And, apparently this part of my story is somewhat similar to Jeremy's. He says, "In 1986, I became a member of an ex-gay ministry in the UK where, for the first time in my life, I met other gay Christians involved in the same struggle. Early in 1987, I had the opportunity to visit Love in Action in Northern California, where I was welcomed with immense warmth, kindness and hospitality. As a result, I returned home to found Courage UK early in
      1988."

      What? :-o You mean that he started Courage UK only after about a year, no more than two, of finding ministry and spiritual growth? Isn't that disregarding the Pauline warnings in 1 Timothy 3:6, "He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil", and 1 Timothy 5:22a", "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands..."? The Exodus organization itself has greatly matured since then, and would know better now than to allow someone so young in faith and in their psychosexual development, as both Jeremy and I were at the time, to become an affiliate ministry of Exodus so quickly. I know that I, in fact, just as the Holy Scriptures warn, became quite conceited, thinking myself to be indispensable, as a result of becoming a spiritual leader due to the fact that the local church which I was under the auspices of, Exodus and myself did not use better discernment and obey the Holy Scriptures. I began to live the
      illusion that I WAS the ministry, and didn't need a private life with the Lord, nor a life of mutual ministry and growth in the body of Christ. Rather, I believed the Church (who I thought at the time couldn't help me nor any other SSAd believers) and SSAd people actually needed me in order to grow. What arrogance! It does seem to me that Jeremy, as well as Darlene, had similar sentiments about themselves in regard to their relationship with the Lord, the Church and those to whom they ministered. Unfortunately, for them, it appears to me quite clear that, instead of allowing the Lord to correct their insolence and overinflated view of themselves as the very reason for their inevitable failure, and get the help that they need to not repeat such an insane way of relating towards others, they chose to not take responsibility for their wrongs, but rather immaturely attribute entire blame to the church and Exodus, and conveniently accept a false construct
      that comes from the pit of hell about who they are and to whom those they ministered partly, in order to avoid such responsibility on their part.

      Speaking of the Church, it appears that Jeremy mentions only a brief involvement with receiving ministry from leaders. He says, "I found refuge in a Church which was willing to embrace a repentant sinner, though this meant I had to fight any homosexual tendencies in thought, word and deed. This allowed me some acceptance and place in the church, and a number of church leaders gave many hours of their time to 'minister' to me—praying for deliverance and healing from homosexuality." It seems likely that he never experienced being an active member of any local body of believers for any duration of time, where he experienced the essential ingredients for growth, the giving and receiving aspects of ministry, let alone what really is necessary over the entire span of anyone's years as a believer. Rather it does appear that Jeremy just recognized his place as being an ambassador for the Church, if not its replacement for the SSAd believer. His tendency
      towards codependence apparently kept him away from the four streams of spiritual growth that one can experience in the corporate body of Christ: discipleship, counseling, healing, and spiritual warfare. A paraministry, such as Courage UK, will not be equipped with such a wealth of resource, at least in its entirety, as the Church can be, since it is not the Church; not for any participant, and certainly not for its leader!

      Jeremy speaks highly of the Love In Action ministry when it was in San Rafael, CA, back in the 80's, but fails to realize, or at least mention, in his testimony that that is the reason why its leaders, including Frank and Anita Worthen, were so effective in reaching out and ministering in the name of Jesus for all those years to the SSAd population. It was because they continued to drink from a continual supply of water, being planted by the rivers of spiritual support from their local church body, the Church of the Open Door. They undoubtedly set healthy boundaries from intrusions on their private lives with their Lord, as well as investing much of their time as an active member of the Church of the Open Door, in other functions completely unrelated to ex-gay ministry. As a result, the leaders there continued to grow in grace and the knowledge of God.

      I also had a local church body that supported me, Tenth Presbyterian Church in center city Philadelphia. Dr. James Montgomery Boice was an excellent teacher and preacher. It had so many active ministries, and a wonderful body of believers, especially for young single adults, better known as yups (young urban professionals), like myself. However, unlike the Love in Action leadership, I chose not to integrate myself into the fellowship (e.g., join a house fellowship one weeknight every week, commit to a small accountability group of men, attend another church ministry in a lay position, and just have some recreational fun on a weekly basis with any members not involved with the same ministry!). Rather, just as apparently Jeremy and Darlene did, I hid behind my pastoral role as a director of Harvest in my relationships with others, including with God Himself! As a result, I stopped growing, and those to whom I was ministering had to be stifled in growth as
      well, unless they took it upon themselves to branch out and make connections with others, a body of believers outside of Harvest. As a result, and at first, Harvest became for most participants, while I was its leader, ingrown and unhealthy. I saw that Harvest participants were mostly, if not only, making friends with each other, and not readily connecting with others in local churches of the Philly metro area. Many began developing idolatrous emotionally dependent relationships with another in the ministry, if not becoming sexually active as well. Exodus leaders call this experiencing the ex-gay plateau. Then, I inevitably had a brief sexual encounter myself with someone not involved in the ministry, after approximately three years of living in this insane fashion, while I was away in another state attempting to gain funding for Harvest, and confessed to the Tenth Presbyterian church elders what occurred, and eventually resigned. It does appear that
      both Darlene at Paraclete Ministries, and Jeremy at Courage UK, made similar choices.

      As for Jeremy, although I only have met him once at an Exodus Europe conference in Paris in the late 80's, I get the sense that he, much more even than Darlene and I, had considerable trust issues with the Church, and in particular with God's provision of male authority figures. He apparently operated Courage UK as a church, rather than a paraministry with the purpose of being a support to the Church in the UK. It was my intention, and apparently Darlene's as well, to only be a support to the Church, although we both semed to have caused our respective ministries to become ingrown too. He says, "...remember that we began as pioneers, but lost our way when we found a measure of acceptance and support from mainline churches. Instead of listening to the experience of those to who (sic) we had offered help, we refused to allow ourselves to face honest and necessary self-criticism, thus we failed to evaluate the long term effects of our work for what it was."

      (The discussion and critique to be continued in part 3)
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