Here is a letter sent to us. Any comment of mine is worthless.
Scot: Thank you for this post and for this website. I was turned on to this site by a friend and am currently reading “Jesus Creed.” I have been following this particular discussion with interest. While I agree that an empirical, longitudinal study on this topic is vital, I do not see many first-hand comments from people who have experienced changes in their sexuality. Although I have shared my story with select individuals, I have never shared it publicly, much less in church, for a variety of reasons. I do so now, albeit anonymously, hoping that it will be edifying to some who are seeking insight, either for themselves or to better understand a friend. Sorry for the length of this. I???m attempting to summarize over 40 years of life experience in about 1,200 words.
As is the case with many gay men, I recall having same sex attractions at an early age. I was saved at 13 and regularly attended a Southern Baptist Church. As a young teen, I was an outspoken homophobe, on religious grounds. By my late teens, I was humbled by the conclusion that I was sexually attracted to men, and had a hard time relating to girls. My first sexual experience was with a same-sex friend. Through my late teens and early twenties, I had multiple male sexual partners including two ???long term??? (1 to 2 years), mostly monogamous relationships, and a couple of casual sexual encounters with women. During this time I continued to consider myself a Christian, and even though I stopped attending a Baptist Church, I continued a daily spiritual walk and studied spiritual matters.
I came back into ???church fellowship??? through a man I met at a gay bar. He was actively gay at the time, separated, with one child, and deeply committed to his own walk with Christ. He and I never had sex. After several years, he became celibate and continued Christian outreach to gays. I was part of that outreach and had become celibate myself. I felt the Lord calling me to celibacy, at least for a time, after the painful breakup of the two ???long term??? relationships. In my case, those relationships were very emotionally dependent ones (heterosexual relationships can be just as dependent) which I concluded was not healthy, and I needed a break from that cycle. Our Christian message to the gay community was basically that: God wants to be reconciled to each woman and man through their faith in Christ; Assuming that homosexuality is a sin, it is no different than any other sin, despite the impression one might get from the American evangelical church; Your sexual behavior and orientation is a matter between you and God through the leading of the Holy Spirit. I studied questions regarding sexuality and spirituality as deeply as I could. I concluded that my salvation had nothing to do with my sexual orientation, or even what I did or did not do sexually (more on that later). It only depended on my accepting atonement through the blood of Christ.
After about a decade of celibacy, I felt the Lord nudging me that it was time to explore my ???latent heterosexuality.??? I was frankly excited by the possibilities. I attended a very supportive and informative group for ex-gays. The most important information I came across was a book called, “Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach,” by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. I started dating a few women. One became my wife (she helped me edit this and encouraged me to post it) after going out for two years, and a year long engagment which included pre-marriage counseling where we discussed my background. I was up-front about my past from the start and my wife was very patient with me as I worked through intimacy issues with women, stemming from my mother???s controlling tendencies. Although we were physically intimate in some ways before marriage, we did not have intercourse until our wedding night. We have been happily married for over a decade now and my only complaint about our sex life is that I seem to just never get enough of it. How common is that for any man?
Take-aways for me after this life-long and on-going experience are:
1. God is a big God, and full of surprises that challenge the conventional wisdom of humans.
2. I probably would not have considered ???change,??? as a twenty year old (which I thought impossible), if approached with the ???choice??? of life-long celibacy or eternal seperation from God, especially if given this choice before the awakening of the possibilty of change in my mind by the moving of the Holy Spirit.
3. My sexuality was greatly influenced by having an emotionally detached father and a mother who compensated for her fears by being controlling (I???ve just described one manifestation of the generational results of ???the fall???).
4. Even though others might be able to relate to it, this is my story, and I do not seek to superimpose my experience on anyone else as a general explanation for, or answer to, homosexuality.
5. For me, sex was primarily a means of achieving personal intimacy. A good book on this theme is Rob Bell???s Sex God.
6. Once someone has experienced same-gender sex, I do not know that, considering how our brains are hard-wired, they should ever expect to never find a member of the same sex sexually attractive again (sorry for the double negatives).
7. The ???struggle??? then for gay men who have ???changed,??? and are now in a monogomous realtionship with a member of the opposite sex, is no different than for life-long straight men who are tempted by opposite sex attractions. The ???ex-gay??? man (or woman) just has more targets on the radar screen.
8. As mentioned before, we???re saved by grace, not by works, including our sexual orientation or behavior. This is not to dismiss the importance of self-control and the work of the Spirit, over time, to bring that about in our lives.
9. There was no time in my life after I was saved, despite my sexual wanderings, that I didn???t have assurance of my salvation and communion with God.
10. Although human sexuality is deeply rooted, it is more complex and subject to the ability to change over time than either gays or conservative (or even liberal) Christains seem to acknowledge. Their positions are polarized and depend on extreme claims about the nature of sexuality that are as rigid and fixed as their political agendas.
11. One of the more unfortunate results of the on-going, anti-gay political reaction by the religious right, is to further alienate and separate gays from Christian community and the gospel of Christ.
12. Church folk need to be more patient with gay seekers and Christians, as they purport to be with others, and allow time for the Holy Spirit to work change.
13. Gay folk need to be more tolerant of other gays who explore other facets of their sexuality and not see their ???changing??? as a threat to themselves or their own politically reactionary agenda.
14. Emotionally supportive, straight, male friends are one of the most important influences in healing for a gay man who seeks to ???change.??? Come to think of it, shouldn???t all Christians be emotionally supportive of each other? Gal. 6:2, Prov. 17:7, Eccl. 4:10. What opportunites are there for these relationships to form in your church, or in your life of ministry, with gay seekers?
15. As a Christian, and a Psychology Major, I understand that my ???change??? was influenced by my faith walk, and by much more, including what it means to be human in the way God created me and creates each person uniquely.
16. I have continued to study this fascinating and personally relevant topic from the perspectives of both faith and psychology. Although I don???t say it much (both to err on the side of caution and since only God is the judge of all hearts anyway), my final and probably most controverisial conclusion is that when I get to heaven, I wouldn???t be surprised if there were gay Christains there who had not been led to celibacy. They might even include those who had life partners and who had yielded their lives to Christ day-by-day, as best they knew how, through the leading of the Spirit.
I???m interested in any comments.