A subtle shift?
Randy Thomas, VP at Exodus and blogger about all kinds of things has written an interesting post in response to a comment on his site.
Here is a link to John Piperâ€™s website.Â Itâ€™s only to his larger website because a search to drill down to a specific article would take a bit of time and there is SO much I would want to link to!Â I will just point you there in general for deeper theological issues and trust the Spirit to guide you to what you need if that is what you are truly looking for.
For many, even years of prayer doesnâ€™t turn them into a raging heterosexual and theyâ€™re left feeling pretty much still gay. Ted Haggard insisted he had been â€œcuredâ€, but we now see that was pretty much just self-deception on his part.
The statement where he said â€œcuredâ€ a while ago was confusing in and of itself.Â You say â€œself deceptionâ€ like you know the manâ€™s heart better than he does.Â My guess is that he was still discovering (at that time) all the complexity going on with sexual identity and attractions.Â My guess would be that he experienced some enlightenment and just ran with it.Â Thatâ€™s very typical of Western Christian thought.Â His most recent statements seem to be much more reasonable.
My prayer has rarely, if ever, been for God to change me into a heterosexual (even though my sexual attractions have changed incrementally over time â€¦ even with temptations.)Â My prayer has always been for Him to help me be content to live an obedient and joyful life regardless of what circumstances and feelings arise.
That’s interesting and almost word for word the kind of thing that I’ve been saying for a while now, that aiming for “straight” really isn’t what the Scriptures implore us to do.
Thatâ€™s why the whole false social construct of gay vs. straight fails everyone with same sex attractions.Â It keeps some locked in simplistic easy out answers and others without definition. Thatâ€™s why I reject the labels gay, ex-gay or straight and have pursued a post-gay journey for over sixteen years now.
Really? Post-gay? Careful Randy, I’ll be charging royalties…
I think when most people say â€œlifestyleâ€ they are picking up on an underlying gay ideology that tries to force people with same sex attraction into the false dissonance of having to choose between â€œcoming outâ€ as gay or remain â€œcloseted.â€Â The way this manifests is different for each person but the ideology imposed is the same.Â I donâ€™t like the word lifestyle either because it is meaningless nowadays.Â But I firmly believe there is a basic gay ideology that forces people to believe they either publicly identify as gay or they are ignorant, selfish and self-loathing.
Thatâ€™s why I like the word â€œpost-gayâ€ to describe my journey â€¦ I have/had same sex attractions but donâ€™t have to identify as gay because society says so and I donâ€™t have to â€œchangeâ€ my sexual attractions in order to be reconciled and obedient (not act on those attractions) to God.Â I also donâ€™t need to force myself into a self-imposed restriction of what God may bring into my life.
I think Randy has understood what I’ve been going on about for ages now. To be “post-gay” isn’t to deny that people are attracted to those of the same-sex, or even that you might be. Equally it doesn’t reject the idea that your sexual attractions might change (or might not). It more to do with moving beyond sexual attraction and orientation as your operating anthropology.
It means that while we might still positively consider going to groups like Living Waters to help explore wounding in our past, we don’t hang all our hopes on that “fixing us”. Indeed, that seems to be the issue with many of the “ex-gay survivors“, that they didn’t get “fixed” and therefore they concluded that they weren’t meant to get fixed in the first place. But what we’re starting to realise now by going back to the Bible is that that isn’t actually necessarily what God intends for us (to get “fixed”). In some sense reparative therapies and live-in programs are simply unBiblical if they are sold on the basis that “this is what you must do”, that being attracted to someone of the same sex somehow makes you spiritually or personally inferior to someone who isn’t and therefore being straight is “better”.
What if we were able to create a pastoral culture that was less based on modern social norms and more on real Biblical anthropology? What if we could create godly communities where it didn’t actually matter what temptation you struggled with on a day to day basis, but rather concentrated on helping you in your journey with God and your real struggle of walking the path he has set for all of us, a battle that everybody faces?
I’m looking forward to seeing whether Randy’s post is the beginning of a subtle shift in this area of pastoral ministry and in the future direction of those who he represents.