Saturday, July 25, 2009

Exodus Reflections (II)

[Exodus Reflections I: link]

Three things happened to me at the conference. One, I received new and helpful information on SSA. Two, I had some significant interactions with people and with God that helped me better understand where I am in my journey. Three, I left with a solidifying sense of purpose and calling going into the future.

1. New and Helpful Information

(a) Is Exodus Interested in Change?

In the opening talk, Alan Chambers asserted that the primary purpose of Exodus is not to change people from homosexuality to heterosexuality, but to holiness.

For a while, I had been frustrated when people fed me that same line whenever I told them about my change experience (that is, change in same-sex sexual desires). I felt that they were saying "we just want Christ, becoming heterosexual is not really possible anyway."

What's the point of Exodus if it is not focusing on change in SSA? I can find God and grow deeply in my spiritual walk through other ministries (and I have). Isn't getting rid of my unwanted same-sex sexual desires something that makes a ministry like Exodus what it is? If so, then why water it down?

When I asked Randy Thomas in a face-to-face why Alan Chambers would not consider sexual desire change to be important, he felt that I had taken Alan's words too far. He said that Exodus sees same-sex sexual desire change as a by-product of the pursuit of holiness, and what mental health professionals are doing to help sexual desire change is "complementary" to Exodus' goals.

As the conference went on, it became very obvious through the workshops, testimonies, books, etc. that Exodus is very much pro-change, pro-freedom-from-homosexuality, whatever you want to call it. But in their official stance, holiness is primary, not heterosexuality.

In the large worship hall where I saw close to a thousand people at various stages of their change experience all worshiping Jesus, it finally dawned on me that focus on sexual desire change should not be the main message. Holiness is the message. It turns our eyes to the author and healer of our souls: Jesus. I had assumed, as a follow of Christ, that my change comes from God, but not everyone in the auditorium did, and not everyone in the media watching Exodus' work does. The testimony of Exodus ought not to be about change in sexual orientation (although that is what Exodus is about: they prefer to call it "freedom from homosexuality"), it ought to be about Jesus. I learned something new and important about rhetoric in ministry and organizational leadership.

(b) Other New and Helpful Information on SSA
  • Iron-clad biblical theology asserting heterosexuality as God's design and homosexuality as sin by Dr. Robert Gagnon (link)
  • Randy Thomas' argument that we are now in a post-gay era, and the gay versus ex-gay dichotomy is just not a good reflection of what is really going on in people's experience and conceptualizations of themselves (link).
  • Hearing a panel of speakers answer a question as to why despite years of freedom from homosexuality, some people still have "gay affectations." The answer from one very straight-acting panelist was that he had realized that he stuck with his effeminate behavior as a defense against fully embracing masculinity. When he finally confronted himself, then he was able to enter into masculinity in its fullness, affectations and all. Later, when I recounted the story to another attendee and told him that I am at the place where I actually really want to be a jock, his immediate response was: "Eew!"
  • A bold document has been published by NARTH to hold the American Psychological Association accountable to research-backed statements which counter their early unsubstantiated statement that sexual orientation cannot be changed, it is harmful to try to change it, and there is no greater psychological dysfunction in the homosexual population. These are NARTH's opposing claims, with the document given to the APA: (1) There is substantial evidence that sexual orientation may be changed through reorientation therapy; (2) Efforts to change sexual orientation have not been shown to be consistently harmful or to regularly lead to greater self-hatred, depression, and other self-destructive behaviors; (3) There is significantly greater medical, psychological, and relational pathology in the homosexual population than the general population (link). Currently, the APA has set up a task-force to re-evaluate their earlier statement. NARTH researchers tried to get a representative onto the task-force, but APA did not allow it. It currently comprises only pro-gay activists. The task force will share their deliberation in the upcoming month or so.
  • Hearing Nicolosi talk, I gained new insights about reparative therapy. His ideas are based on the latest empirically-supported understanding of psychotherapy interventions. I was impressed. One idea is that shame leads to homosexual enactment. So to help people overcome SSA, helping them overcome their shame response and cycle is crucial. I will be reading more about Nicolosi for sure. (Nicolosi: link)
(To be continued: 2. Significant Interactions with People)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Exodus Reflections (I)

On the way to the conference, I picked up Brother Luke. I had known him for only a short time through the internet. A friend had told him about this blog, and we got connected after he read several of my posts.

He seemed much softer in person. The sharp and caustic wit that came through our text chats somehow disappeared. We had developed a friendship based on our repartee, and I had grown fond of him. Fond of him enough to be afraid that if he were to "jump me," I might not be able to resist him.

Meeting him in person laid my fears to rest. Luke was a very gentle man of God who has loved and served his wife and children for years. Maybe a little too much, to the point where he was burning out, not receiving affirmation for his sacrifice. He would be the last person to jump anyone! We laughed when I told him the next day that I was afraid he would jump me when I met him.

The rest of the travels went well. Luke asked me questions, and I absentmindedly answered away, blahblahing about myself from the various different perspectives with which I confound myself in my head. Apparently, he wasn't bored. Imagine that.

We arrived.

As I walked towards the registration area, I struggled with being associated with so many feminine-acting men. I wish I could say it was a passing thought, but it wasn't. It took at least until the next day for me to ease up on that thought. I had my name altered on my badge so that my real name could not be deciphered. Luke did the same. However, by the end of the conference, all of my business cards were gone, given away to anyone who had asked for one--because I had opened my big mouth during the Q&A of a workshop, and received a lot of attention from folks interested in what I do. So much for my cloaked identity.

Brother A was there. We hugged. I remembered how much I missed him: a lot, not obsessively, but a healthily lot. I saw Elder SM too. It felt so good to see him in an unfamiliar context. I had attended elder SM's ministry for an entire year and had come to trust him. Two months ago, I shared with elder SM about Brother A and God's healing in my life through that relationship. Seeing elder SM and Brother A connect with each other was really special.

Brother Luke, Brother A, elder SM.

I was starting to feel better about being there.


Other people blogging about their Exodus experiences:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thou O Lord

Conversation from the recent past

Wife, awaken in bed: What are you doing up so late?

Me, sighing: I was looking at porn...

Wife: What?

Me: Yeah. I was looking at porn, but nothing. Gay, straight, male, female... nothing. It did nothing for me. (more sighing)

Wife, reaching out to hold my hand: You know, honey, you're desperately looking for something to fill you. Only one thing can do that: God.

Me: ...

Wife: That's what you really want. You want God to fill up the void that's been left open from the healing you've received.

Me: ...

Wife: ...

Me: I always knew there was a reason why God told me to marry you. He wanted to keep me on track with a woman after His own heart.

Then, we prayed.


Instead of going to places where fulfillment can no longer be found, I went to God. These words came to me: Thou o Lord, are a shield about me.

I Googled. And found this...

Psalm 3:1-5 (KJV)
1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

And this...

Tears streamed down my face, my arms lifted high!

How many years has it been Lord that I have believed in the enemy's lie that there is no help for me; that there is no hope for change. I have cried to You for years for healing from these desires. I had lost hope, and clung desperately to obedience alone, because I knew that You desired my obedience more than sacrifice.

I never imagined THIS day would come when I would be completely healed of my homosexual attractions. Indeed, You have been a shield about me. You have heard my cries. You are my glory and the lifter of my head!

Fill me with Your Spirit, Lord Jesus. Teach me how to saturate my being with You until I desire Your presence more than food or drink. Let my soul sing songs of gratitude and praise to You all the days of my life.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


My profile description (see right bar) has been changed and updated to reflect where I am now, and how I will be blogging into the future.

The style of my blog will be less and less "raw, authentic processing" and more and more nuanced reflections.

Next posts: reflections from Exodus 2009.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


It came.
It went.

I have changed.
And I'll never be the same again.

All the experiences I've had over the past four months have come together through this week of interacting, listening, engaging, and processing. My heart and mind are filled to the brim and overflowing, unable to contain everything that the Lord has taught me. I have been blown into little pieces and then re-consolidated into a new and improved version.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Response: Connecting With Other Men with SSA

In response to Summary Reflections #3, a brother emailed me and asked: "But---could you clarify what you mean by "connecting" with other men with SSA? And... does that include me?"

Below is my response to him.


Until a couple of weeks ago, I spent a good amount of time relating to men with SSA online. These are men such as yourself: Christian and wanting to change. I received something from these interactions although I am not quite sure what. An affirmation of my own change experience perhaps? A felt need to connect with other men who have experienced change so that my own experience does not feel quite so strange?

Anyway, let me answer your question by stating what I have learned over the last two months interacting with other men with SSA.

(1) Not everyone [read: Christian] is interested in experiencing change out of homosexual desires; some disbelieve me outright that this change is possible despite my constant ranting. Many seemed to prefer to argue and debate rather than to really try to understand what I am talking about.

(2) Not everyone cares to connect intimately. Some dissuade me from doing so--not healthy, they say, even though I keep telling them that what I am talking about is not sexual intimacy, and that it is precisely this kind of intimacy (vulnerable, physical, and non-sexual) with a straight, Godly man that has led to my healing.

(3) A small handful, like yourself and Rob Turner (The Architect's Garage) for instance, have stayed connected in a serious and committed way. And I have found it really rich and rewarding to be interacting with you folks.

(4) I started to notice that the same things were being uttered in blogs and online groups over and over again that I started to tire of engaging in the conversations. At first, I was very excited to get others to come take at look at this impossible pot-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow that I've found, but after a while (and after encountering many jaded responses) my excitement waned.

(5) I was spending so much time connecting with SSA men that I was sidelining my own work and family, not to mention my personal time with God. I decided to cut back, and when I did, I discovered that I was not missing the interactions, and my SSsA did not come back. My relationship with Brother A (and the small handful of other brothers) continues to deepen in intimacy and mutuality that these alone are enough to sustain my need for genuine and intimate connection with men.

At this point, I find myself with little desire to pursue other men with SSA for deepening intimate fellowship. The small handful of men that I'm already connected to (including you) is more than enough. This is not to say that I will not open myself to befriending those who want to befriend me. The point is, I will not chase after them any longer to try to offer them hope.

I think that's healthy for me.

I'm moving on with my very straight man-life. And I like it, a lot. I am looking forward to meeting some new friends, (...) but I am not interested in trying to convince anyone that change is possible. Maybe later, if God calls me to write a book or something. For now, I just want to live my very straight man-life and be fully present for all of its mundane ups and downs.

Last word: YOU are precious to God, and precious to me. I am glad you are in my life, and I look forward to connecting with you with increasing depth and godly intimacy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summary Reflections #3 (June-July 09)

I don't know how much of it is because I am busy, but I just don't have very much to say anymore.

My "struggle" is more and more a thing of the past.

How long has it been now?

About 4 months.

But it feels longer. I hardly remember what it is like to masturbate to a fantasy of having sex with a man.

Ugh. Gross just to even mention the idea. (No offense to non-straight folks, it's just how I feel.)

Even my desire to connect with other men with SSA is diminishing.

I don't know what to make of this. Should I stop writing here completely? As for posts on manhood or fatherhood, I find myself not really interested in blogging about it. I prefer to just live it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More Shout Out: Rob & Angie

Watch these clips of brother Rob and his wife Angie talking about their marital relationship in light of Rob's feelings of same-sex attraction (link).

Rob and Angie's story reflects mine with my wife. I may have SSA issues, my wife has her own set of issues too. I was always open with my wife, and told her of my struggles before we got married, and I continue to be real and authentic with her (although we spare each other of unhelpful descriptive details). We learn that we can't change the other person, but we can work on ourselves, and we can also be honest about what we would appreciate in the other person. And lastly, patience and prayerfulness--with a desperate dependency on God--has been crucial in my wife and I learning and growing in intimacy.

I am so proud of you both, Rob & Angie! :-D

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shout Out: The Architect's Garage (and a note to the Canucks)

Here's one of my online brothers: Brother Rob (he's open with his name).

He found me online through my blog a while ago, and we've been in communication since.

This man has got guts. Glory to Jesus!

Go take a look at Rob's welcome video at The Architect's Garage.


And to all you Canadians, HAPPY CANADA DAY!