Journey, Interrupted Q and A Part 2 (Conclusion)

We last left off with the panel of 4 talking about the various factors that “led them to choose the gay lifestyle.” We next pick up with what I believe is question 8 (honestly I lost track of the numbers after a while).

My done levels with this crap are pretty high, so I’m mostly going to let the panel speak for themselves.

Trigger warning: Contains discussion of childhood sexual abuse.

Question: How many years with christian counseling/therapy can it take to be able to break off from the lifestyle?

 

Oldman: I don’t think you can put years on it. When a person is born how long does it take? Laughs. It’s different for some than it is for others. It’s a matter of changing direction. We come into this world oriented to self.

We hear a lot about orientation. Society today would want you to believe that sexuality is an innate orientation. As we have developed our thinking in this area we’re coming to realize that everyone is born oriented to self. All we think about when we’re born is our tummies and a dry diaper. You know, self. We’re not oriented sexually when we’re born. So we come into the world oriented to self and that’s why every single person that’s ever been born, at some point in their lives, has to make a choice whether to be born again. When we’re born again we change directions. It can be an instant decision. We are oriented to Christ. How long does it take to make that decision? It doesn’t take you a lifetime to learn to be obedient, or decide to be obedient.

The man goes on to compare leaving homosexuality to learning to walk. When a baby falls, we  come over and help them get back up so they can try again. We don’t criticize the baby for falling.

Danielle: to use another illustration…. it’s different for different people. The experience of establishing yourself in victory is different for some people. Person A decides to stop smoking, and that’s it. They never again pick up another cigarette. Another person tries to quit and really struggles with it, fails a couple of times, then quits again. For some people it’s a struggle for the rest of their life. That doesn’t mean that person A is different from person B.

 

Baldy: Jesus was tempted in all points like as we…he resisted unto blood striving against sin until the cross….

His main point seems to be that Jesus was tempted, and yet we don’t remember him by his temptations. We don’t remember Jesus as “that guy who was tempted to turn stones into bread in the wilderness.”

So we shouldn’t refer to those who struggle with homosexuality as “the gay guy.”

Question: How can you have a successful marriage when one or both come from sexually impure pasts?

What exactly is meant by “successful marriage?” How exactly are you measuring that? I feel like each person has a different definition of what makes a marriage successful. Some conservatives I know will only consider a marriage successful if it lasts until one of you is dead. But unless you’re planning on going on a murder spree, you can’t really measure that very well.

Oldman: by being born again.

Oldguy and his current wife have been together 20 years. She was told she was crazy for marrying an ex gay, but she figured all marriage is a risk. It doesn’t really matter if a man leaves you for another woman or for a man, he still leaves you.

I…. think it makes a lot of difference. If your husband leaves you for another man, then at last you know the problem isn’t you.

Danielle: I can understand why it’s challenging… I have a broken past and this person who God leads me to could have a broken history as well….

If I get married, I’ll have to have a wedding night and I would not want to bring the baggage of my history into that marriage. As I was telling God this a thought from the Holy Spirit said “well, you pray before you eat don’t you? You pray before you start driving don’t you? Before you get up to speak? why would you have to worry if, on your wedding night you prayed first?”

Oh. My. God.

I’ve had enough, can I go home now? This has been overwhelming for me. Wonder if I can convince Danny to come rescue me.

Question: how do people born with both sex genitalia figure into this?

Oh God….make it stop….

Baldy: we’re not talking about people with ambiguous genitalia. We’re talking about people born with specific male or female origins. It’s important to differentiate between these two. Ambiguous genitalia, that’s a medical issue. What we’re talking about is working with the word of God and how he’s calling us to live. Hermaphrodites are an issue that would be more directed to medical community. Transgender issues comes into play and we’re sensitive to that.

The translation of the word “Sensitive” here is, “we acknowledge that this is a thing that exists.”

One of them says that he and “Wayne” both have gender identity issues, or at least, used to.

Man: Even if I were to get a sex change, still the bottom line is that my DNA is male. My DNA will always be male. I’ll never be able to give birth to children. The suicide rate is 40% among the transgender population, and that number comes from people who have had the sex change surgery, not from people who want it. We’re getting bombarded by transgender people like Catelyn Jenner (sp). Someone that I know of went through [female to male surgery] and was so disgusted with her body that she petitioned to have assisted suicide and the government approved it.

I wondered if there was more to the story, and found this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2440086/Belgian-transsexual-Nathan-Verhelst-44-elects-die-euthanasia-botched-sex-change-operation.html

It sounds like the man’s sex change operation was done by a surgeon who didn’t really know how to obtain the best results. The operation was botched. I agree that this is a sad story, and it shows why we need more research in this area so that this outcome is not repeated.

In any case, one of the men says this:

We need to differentiate between someone who was born ambiguous and someone who dislikes their gender.

It’s not that they don’t like their gender, it’s that they are not their gender.

Question: How do the worldly churches make this an acceptable way of life?

The “worldly” churches don’t make anything.

Man: With a new hermaneutic(sp). There’s a drive to interpret scripture based on today’s culture. If we’re interpreting scripture based on culture then what’s our rule of faith and practice? Culture. Culture should be seen through the lens of Scripture so that we can identify culture for what it is. As it was in the days of Noah….

As we stick to word of God, we’ll see that we’re living in the time just before the coming of Jesus. With all this confusion and violence and things you read about, these are just like in the days of Noah and Lot.

Many denominations are focusing upon love and acceptance. If that’s their doctrine they can accept anything. This love and accept theology circulating through all churches, look how ecumenical that is. Every church believes in love and wants acceptance, so all of a sudden you’ve got this ecumenical movement where everyone can come together….when you do that there’s no longer any faith and practice, God’s rule is disregarded…

Here the man talks about one of the key SDA beliefs: that we are living in the end times. The bible says that the last days of earth’s history will be just like the days right before the Noatian flood. I believe the reference for this is Matthew 24:37.

Man: If we believe that we can sin till Jesus comes, how do you convince a gay person they can’t sin till Jesus comes? Our theology is important.

I’m confused. I’m done trying to figure out confusing, so let’s just move on.

Wayne: some man took infants and manipulated them to the point of orgasm

—ew–

and he decided that since the infants could orgasm, that we’re sexual from birth. Public schools then decided they needed sex education in schools. Christians were timid till they saw sex ed being promoted in public schools and decided to educate their children too. So all of a sudden what should’ve been left in parents’ and the bible’s hands was suddenly taken out of their hands. Research was shown from Alfred Kinsey. Sex ed then began to take place in mixed gender classrooms. Abortions and premarital sex were on the rise along with euthanasia (not a typo) and homosexuality.

That’s how we got into this mess. “Sexual orientation” is not mentioned in the word of God.

If you google Alfred Kinsey, you do get a bunch of hits for infant orgasms. Of course, I can’t tell how reliable these sources are. Honestly, I still have a lot to do for school and so I don’t have time to comb the internet for reliable sources. Also, reading about this is kind of gross and I don’t want to deal with it so let’s move on.

However, I am absolutely positive that the Kinsey experiments are not the reason we have sex education. The reason we have sex education in schools is because someone, somewhere, no doubt noticed that sometimes parents don’t do their job. They don’t teach their children about the birds and the bees, And because (some) parents don’t do their job, their children are easier to manipulate and abuse. Children who don’t know what’s going on are less likely to even realize they’re being abused in the first place, let alone tell an adult. Abusers recognize that, and they will absolutely exploit that lack of knowledge. This is one of the many very good reasons why sex education needs to be in schools.

Also, I went to public school for 7th grade. That public school was the only time I had sex ed in gender segregated classrooms. All the sex ed classes I ever had in Adventist schools were mixed gender, with a male teacher, who’s son was later arrested for molesting a 6-8 year old boy.

I’m not sure why he’s talking about Euthanasia. I know some countries have approved it but the US isn’t one of them, and I really doubt it was caused by sex education…

Euthanasia is another rant entirely, so Moving on.

Question: Do the majority of LGBTQ have trauma in their background? If so, how do we help an LGBTQ see that?

I…don’t think it really takes any effort to convince someone they’ve experienced trauma… most people who’ve experienced trauma will be able to freaking tell you. If they so choose.

Baldy: I think the numbers are very high. Something we’ve found in our own experience: generally when a boy has been molested by a male they tend to have homosexual attraction. When a girl is molested by a male she tends to have homosexual attraction.

Oh God… these people are monsters.

I know the rates are very high. Muslims will kidnap young boys and force them to be young prostitutes.

I’m sure there are some Muslims out there who do participate in this, however, I know that a lot of other people do to, and I believe that the amount of non Muslims in the sex trade is less than the amount of Muslims who kidnap children so can we please stop blaming it all on the Muslims.

They interviewed these prostitutes and these prostitutes, even said they didn’t have same sex attraction before being kidnapped and molested. The behavior became normalized or even an attraction for them. This all just shows that you can train people to have a homosexual attraction.

Huh. I wonder where he is getting this information? I would be willing to look into it if he would cite his sources. Provided said source is reliable.

Question: How do you restore a former relationship, like an ex spouse, and a relationship with children from that former marriage?

By “reconcile with,” I don’t think he means “get remarried to.”  I don’t think the person who answers was ever trying to get back together with her.

Old man: My family was devastated when I broke up that marriage. There were years of pain and heartache.

The word “bitter” is mentioned.

When I came back to the Lord, it was my duty to God to reconcile with my ex wife. I tried to do that. We’d had many years of bitterness and resentment between us, and as I began to take these steps to reconcile with my wife my heart totally changed towards her, and her heart changed as well. To this day we are now good friends.

Church Member: amen

My ex wife and my present wife are good friends as well. We all sit at the same table and do things together without any pain and any hard feelings. God’s way is so good. His plan of reconciliation is the best.

He’s forgotten about the second part of the question. Someone reminds him.

Question: what about the children?

 

Man: The children as well. I wasn’t able to see them often as they were growing up. We didn’t have that bond we should have had. My son and daughter do very well when we’re together. Neither one are practicing Christians, unfortunately. That’s part of the consequence of breaking up a marriage.

Is he seriously implying that his kids would be Christians if he’d never left his wife? If so, why? It is my opinion that if your kids are not religious, it’s not necessarily anything you did or didn’t do. But I don’t know the details, so maybe I should just move on.

The damage to children in a broken home is, a lot of the time, more than we can comprehend. We’re praying earnestly that the Lord will interrupt their journeys and bring them back to the foot of cross. Overall my children and I have a very good relationship.

Is that why film’s title is “Journey, Interrupted?” Because silly me thought they intended to rip off the “Girl, Interrupted” movie title. Question for those of you who might know: Is this similar enough that Hollywood could sue these people at any point in time, especially if they try to actually get this film to play in theatres? Discuss.

Brian (moderator of tonight’s discussion and producer of the film) tells us we have time for 2 more questions, and I’m glad because at this point my done levels are through the roof. And I’ve probably still got a small socialization period to get through before I can find someone to take me home.

Question: What’s the biggest thing the Christian community can do to help?

Realize it’s not a sin to be who you are. Accept people and love them as they are without trying to change them. Get over your prejudice and embrace– oh who am I fooling. The day that happens is the day pigs grow wings.

Baldy: well, here I go. So, I have this analogy.

He quotes 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[b] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

I am quoting from the English Standard Version (ESV). I don’t remember if this is the translation Baldy used or not, and it does matter because not all translations have the word “Homosexuality” in them.

Baldy:  For the last 50 years we took homosexuality out of these verses. We’ve put it on a new pedestal and the message we’ve had in Adventism was that homosexuals would burn in a hotter hell.

Adventists do not actually believe in different hells. They believe that a person will burn according to how bad they were, and then they die. So Hitler would burn slowly and for a long time before finally dying (again), but someone who lived a good moral life without knowing Jesus would burn really fast and die quickly. So when he says “a hotter hell,” he does and doesn’t meant that literally.

Mostly homosexuality wasn’t talked about, but if it was, it was portrayed as the worst sin that ever was. The LGBTQ community took that and decided they wanted “special rights”

EQUAL rights Baldy EQUAL. EQUAL EQUAL EQUAL EQUAL. Gay people do not want special rights, asswipe, they want the same rights straight people have.

and to be recognized as a “minority status.” The Christian community has done more to help get LGBTQ rights than the LGBTQ community has. This is because Christians are against LGBTQ, so LGBTQ can say that the Christians are persecuting them, and then people get outraged on their behalf.

I am not explaining those last 2 sentences well. Do they make sense? If not, and you have managed to figure out what I mean, could you help me to rephrase them?

If I’d had any ounce of sense, I’d have pulled out my phone and started trying to record this. I’ll know for next time.

Someone starts to ramble about abused Children feeling neglected, and I lose track of what’s going on for a while. I will be generous and say I think he’s saying that abused children need to be cared for. Which I agree with… but in this context you manage to make it sound icky.

The place to start is to start asking for forgiveness. [of homosexuals] If we throw homosexuality into the pot with other abominations–

church member amen

–we’re all sinners in need of a savior. That would be more invitational rather than this condescending attitude of “oh you poor homosexual.”

There’s apparently a documentary out there called “Lord, save us from your followers.” It sounds interesting, I’ll try and watch it.

Wayne has an analogy. Or so he says. He keeps using that word and then not telling us actual analogies.

How high is that wall between you and the same sex couple that lives next door? How quickly do you try to get in your house without saying hello? I have a project for you. I want you go knock on their door and invite them to dinner.

Wayne goes on to say that when people tell him that they could never invite their gay neighbors over for dinner, he says, and I quote:

Stop imagining what goes on behind their bedroom door

This is the 2nd 100% true statement you guys have made all night. I’m too busy celebrating  the fact that you realize this to catch most of what comes next.

But he does say to treat them normally, like friends, and not bring out the bible, like, at all, till they see the love of Jesus pouring out from you. Just be their friend.

Ah, yes. Don’t get to know your gay neighbors because it’s the right thing to do, and because you’ve realized that you need to get off your high horse. Get to know the gay couple next door because Jesus told you to because that’s an opening you have to hopefully use to convert them.

A few weeks later, invite them over to dinner again. Don’t be too surprised if one or both of the same sex couple might say, “aren’t you guys Christians?”

Why would they be asking that unless it was the first time they’d seen people behave the way God intended Christians to  behave?

Sorry to break this to you, Adventists, but the only reason your neighbors might ask you if you’re Christians is because you have eleventy bajillion Bibles scattered throughout the house. Otherwise, inviting your neighbors over for dinner is a perfect normal thing that normal people do.

If you mean that the gay couple next doors’ minds are going to be blown when they find out that you’re Christians being nice to gay people… this also is not impressive. Many Christians today do believe that homosexuality isn’t a sin, and so the idea of Christians and homosexuals getting along isn’t exactly revolutionary.

Don’t be surprised if they also eventually ask if you, as Christians, are ok with homosexuality. When this happens, don’t flood them with criticism. Invite them to a bible study.

Right. Don’t tell them outright that you believe they are an abomination. Invite them to a Bible study that will tell them so.

Actually, he probably means you should invite them to a Bible study about Jesus and his love. Ok, but that’s rather evasive, and your gay neighbors are totally going to notice that. They will notice that you are being evasive and giving them bullshit answers and they are going to figure out for themselves that no, you’re not ok with it.

And then we’ll see who’s trying to avoid who when you both come home from work.

Final Question: One figure states that less than 3% of us adults live a healthy lifestyle. Do you think that the LGBT grows in part from living an unhealthy lifestyle or is it just general confusion of sex roles?

I feel like this question is actually addressing 2 things: homosexuality and transgender. And you really do need to differentiate here because they are not the same thing.

Wayne: I want to address the term, “lifestyle.” Please refrain from calling it a lifestyle. The Gay community has asked us not to refer to them as a lifestyle and I think that’s legitimate.

Then why didn’t you address this at the start of the Q and A session? It’s come up more than once and really you should have said it then.

When I grew up, the phrase, “the gay lifestyle” was associated with night clubs, bars, sex clubs, gay parties, etc and so on. Today, because we’re much more open about this, there are genuinely 2 individuals that come together and are attracted to each other that don’t frequent clubs and bars.

So, before the 21st century all those gay people weren’t really attracted to someone of the same sex, they were just… ?

So if you refer to it as “the gay culture” like you refer to it as “hetero culture” but that doesn’t mean you participate in all things that are “hetero culture.”

I’m confused.

but when you say “lifestyle,” that kinda lumps everybody into one thing. I hope that not using this term will bring greater respect for gay community, and it’s an easier beginning place to have a conversation with someone.

I agree with him here. If gay people do not want us referring to them as “living the gay lifestyle,” then we absolutely should stop calling it that. Even a stopped clock…

Baldy: In the gay culture there was a lot more pressure to stay in shape. I had to make sure I stayed healthy and looked good or I’d be gone before 30.

I’m a bit confused…is he referring to AIDS, or did he want to look good because that was the best way to pick up men? Because I don’t know a whole lot about AIDS, but I’m pretty damn sure you can’t prevent AIDS through exercise and nutrition.

I don’t think that that’s an accurate assessment in differences of health between the gay community and Christianity. Lots of Christians are morbidly obese and don’t live healthy lifestyles at all, yet still follow Jesus. We tend to make assumptions about the people who stand out the most. Not every homosexual is obvious about it. Could we try to move away from some of the stereotypes that continue to portray the ideas in our heads of what homosexuality is?

Yes. That would be nice.

One thing we talk about is that there are no rules for someone who is gay. There’s no formula for what makes a person homosexual. You’ve heard 5 different stories about how we got derailed. The first rule in homosexuality is that there are no rules as to why someone becomes that way. Let’s try not to catch on to stereotypes and make assumptions.

For those keeping track at home, that’s three whole things these men (with their token woman) and I agree with. We should have a drinking game.

Brian: These were all very very good questions. I want to go back for a moment, one thing we can do as Christians is to pray. Pray for that child, friend, etc. You know prayer goes a long long way. We see 4 people up here and each have, in their testimony, friends and family that were praying for them for many years.

The pastor gets up, says a short prayer, and that he hopes this evening has been very helpful.

It has. It very much has.

There was a merchandise table outside in the church lobby. I checked it out, but all the materials cost money, and I haven’t quite mastered the art of shoplifting while a dozen people are watching. So I won’t be reviewing any of their other materials unless someone wants to make a donation.

This is the end of the Q and A. I will add my closing remarks and then I will be done with this series of posts. Those of you who don’t want to read posts of a personal nature can skip this next part.

The way people were talking, I think they thought I was back for good. One guy tried to invite me to Bible study on Wed (I work) and insisted on giving me a flyer in case I changed my mind (about working?). Another guy kept giving me hugs and saying things like, “the lost lamb has returned to the fold!”

I wondered how difficult it would be, now, to establish that this was not going to happen often. This weekend, I almost expected someone to call me and ask if I wanted to go to church.

No one texted, no one called. I don’t know how I feel about this. Glad that I won’t have to deal with church, and yet…

It hurts. It hurts that no one feels the need to reach out to me, even though I don’t want them to.

Confusing? Yeah, well, that’s the nature of things.

However, I did not regret going to the event. This night has been so helpful, for the following reasons.

  1. It was good to see people I had missed
  2. The food. Oh God the food… I should’ve brought Tupperware containers.
  3. I got a lot of good material for a series of blog posts (please tell me you appreciate this; it took a lot out of me)
  4. These people do not love me. Not really. They love me as a means to an end. They would love me as a way to convert me, and then once they converted me, they would love me only as long as I fit into the tiny box they wanted to put me in.
  5. Freedom isn’t the reason I left the church. Don’t get me wrong, freedom is nice. But I didn’t leave the church to seek freedom. I left to find love. The real love, not the fake kind. I left to find, if they are to be found, people who would love me for me. Not the expectations they had of me, not the idea of me, and not me without my flaws. People who would love me because of who I am, not in spite of it.
  6. I read this book once about this girl who was told that love isn’t the most important thing. At the end of the book she discovers freedom is more important than love. “After all, if you’re not free to love whom you choose, what good is love?*” These people do not love me, cannot love me, because they do not have the freedom to choose not to love me. Their religion says they must love me, because God said so. And that’s not real love.
  7. I did, in a way, leave for freedom. Not the freedom to wear Jewelry or drink coffee or take ballet class. I left to find freedom to not believe in nonsense. I left because I wanted to be able to accept people for who they are without trying to change them.
  8. And so I have concluded that I can not go back. Not for good, anyway. I have long passed the point where I can even pretend to believe in nonsense.
  9. A rare visit now and again, though, is possible. They have no power to hurt me, I am not afraid.

Going to this event was not a mistake. Going back was necessary. Sometimes, it is only as we look back that we are able to move forward. Sometimes, just once in a while, it’s ok to look back. Contrary to Biblical evidence, you won’t turn into a pillar of salt. As I look back on where I’ve been, and where I am now, I feel satisfied. I am stronger now, smarter, and braver. And so I turn around and walk forward away from the church into an unknown future.

 

 

*Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura E Williams, last page exact quote.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Journey, Interrupted Q and A Part 2 (Conclusion)

  1. Thanks for putting this series together. I would add that the issue of trauma and sexual orientation is a complex one. That does not means that trauma creates sexual orientation or gender identity differences, but that people who are sexual minorities seem more likely to be victimes. We don’t know what the causal relationship is, if any. We just know there is a correlation and LGBT people may be more likely to have reported sexual abuse and trauma. What’s worse, is that sexual minorities are also less likely to get the treatment they need, which seems to be a strong undercurrent in the stories of these COM people.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978167/

    • Well, and too, childhood abuse is just so damn common that, statistically speaking, of course a lot of abused children are gay. And so part of what I was wondering is if the issue is correlation rather than causation.

      You’re probably right in that it’s very complex and there are no clear answers.

      You also bring up a valid point when you mentioned that none of these people seem to have sought professional help for their abuse. Of course, when the older ones were growing up I’m not sure how much help was available to them…

      Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out when I get my homework done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s