I read Ex-Gay Watch occasionally. Not often, mind you. I probably check in over there about once a week and if I feel so inclined, I'll comment. There are some posts, like this one, last month which tend to invite my perspective on things. I've been able to conduct civil and meaningful conversations with the folks over there. They've even linked to my blog under the category "in the middle", which I guess is fine with me. I think it's interesting that I have made no bones about my beliefs that homosexuality is not God's plan or design, homosexual acts are sinful, and "change" in attractions is possible, and yet, I'm still accepted and even affirmed at such a place.
Some people who read my blog may think it's ME who "gives" and not in a good way. I may at times appear to be "soft on sin". Is being listed as "in the middle" like being "lukewarm" in the spiritual sense? We all know what happens to lukewarm Christians. In truth, those are thoughts that I've wrestled with. Worrying that these things may be true, I've spent a little time communicating with some folks who I consider to be wise. This man, this man, and a few others for whom I have no links. They all assure me that this is not the perception they have of me from reading my blog.
After thinking about it for some time (imagine that) I'm ready to articulate some reasons I think I'm able to communicate not only pleasantly but in a sense of community with the folks at Ex-Gay Watch. It is this.
I speak only for myself and from my own experience when I talk to them. I can't say for sure that all men who desire sexual encounters with other men can make the switch and desire the same thing with women. In my personal experiences, this is the case. I believe holiness should be the goal, not having sex with the opposite gender. Some may have to give that part of themselves over to God to the point that they don't care if they ever have sex again, as long as they are right with Him. That level of dedication to God is tough stuff. But it's what I believe and I'm honest about it. While I've not made that exact statement at Ex-Gay Watch, that core belief drives much of what I communicate. I've stated plainly that a complete, 100% switch in orientation is not the goal, and furthermore, a remnant of struggle is not a bad thing for humans who tend to become prideful and lazy if not reminded from "whence they came". In other words, I become prideful and lazy if not slapped up side the head occasionally with how wretched I truly am.
I'm also careful to be considerate of the sorts of verbiage that offends gay folks and to literally humble myself at the feet of Jesus before I say anything there. I can't imagine conversing with them (after publicly claiming their orientation's behaviors to be sinful) without taking into account my own tendency to sin and my own dire need of forgiveness. I've learned from the folks at Ex-Gay Watch that saying "change is possible" is a particularly charged comment to them. I'm not saying you were gay and now you are straight. I'm saying, my struggle with sin (any sin) decreases as I journey closer to God, take the risks He calls me to take, and submit my will to His will. Still another thing I've learned and attempt to incorporate into my communication with those who are gay is that they don't appreciate being referred to as "homosexuals". They are gay. I call them gay. They also don't consider their orientation to be a "lifestyle" anymore than I consider myself to be living the lifestyle of a woman. It wasn't a choice they made to be gay. When I put this in the context of my own Christianity I recognize that I didn't get to choose my struggles. My sinful nature chose me, I certainly didn't choose it. God has revealed to me some of the reasons I desire things that aren't part of His plan. I struggle to continue to submit my will to His.
The bottom line is to maintain a humble spirit and Christ-like attitude even when others may not be doing so. It's important not to jump at the chance to argue every single point you don't necessarily agree with but to keep your eyes on the big picture. And what is the big picture? Reflecting Christ who glorifies our Father in Heaven.
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