Saturday, June 30, 2007

Email Conversation about being ex-gay or not

The following is an email exchange I had with Disputed Mutability which I just wanted to file away here on my blog.

Disputed Mutability's email (my comments in italics)

Thanks for giving me the link to your blog so I can see where you are coming from. (Hey, I used to be a cutter too!) I find the opposite trajectories thing very cool. I don't think my narrative is the only one--that's why I link to so many different perspectives on my blogroll. I don't think any one perspective or story can fully illuminate this issue--but obliviously, the only story I can tell is my own. :)

"I have a question somewhere in me but I can't quite find it. It might be somewhere in this: I guess I wonder where you would have landed if your faith was strong all along. If you could have imagined being at your most spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy place. (For me at age 34). And from that place wrestled this out. What might you say? "

Yeah, I don't know. I can't imagine being raised as a Christian...I would be sooooo different! But honestly, for me personally, (I don't mean any kind of judgment here) the Scriptures and God's will for me on this issue have always seemed pretty clear to me, independent of my issues with the church. So, if I had to guess, assuming that the raised-Christian me would have liked girls as well, I would guess/hope that I would have pursued a path similar to the one I actually did--celibacy until/unless heterosexual love comes along. But who knows, really?

"Mostly I'm curious because a lot of people who are ex-gay were in the lifestyle and community. Some had very unhealthy lives. I read one woman's story all about how she slept around and did drugs and all manner of things and then renounced all of it. That is really great and so much healthier for her. But, I have never done any of that stuff. And I think this conversation gets muddy for me because for many who are ex-gay homosexuality has been packaged with other things that are unhealthy or pulled them away from God."

Yeah, it's not quite like that for me. I never slept around or did drugs, and I don't think my life was especially unhealthy. As I say somewhere on my blog, doing the exgay thing wasn't about life enhancement for me. At least initially, it made my life harder! For me, homosexuality pulled me away from God, because I couldn't avoid the conclusion from the Scriptures that it is not what He intends for me. But I don't see it as being necessarily tied to a self-destructive "lifestyle." I may have been a godless heathen, but I think I was a relatively healthy one in terms of how I handled my life. :)

"None of that's the case for me. In fact accepting myself more has allowed me to hate me less and become more healthy."

I'm a huge fan of self-acceptance. Whatever disagreements we might have about how we ought to live and love, I wish that all of us could agree on the importance of accepting and making peace with who we are, with what we feel.

It breaks my heart to hear stories of people hating themselves for this. Honestly, it makes me glad I wasn't raised in the church. Sure I didn't have the comfort of the gospel or Christ's presence in my life. But I also didn't have to go through all the crap that so many gay Christians have to.

"Not sure if this makes any sense but I wanted to say i like your blog and appreciate your story I just don't fully get it."

I'm not sure I get it either--I'm pretty much working it out as I go. But thanks for liking and appreciating it, and for taking the time to send me a nice note. :)

your sister in Christ,


Zuzu said...

I was reading an interview with a nun, Joan Chittister. Two things she said struck me, though I'm not sure if/how they relate or apply to this dialog - but somehow I was reminded of these things when I read this thread so I thought I'd share.

"Any human institution will be less than human in some parts of its history; in the case of a church, this can take the form of confusing religion with God. When religion makes itself God - makes itself the end rather than the means of seeing what is beyond us, what trasscends our smallness and enlarges our spirit - then that religion has failed."


"When you're a member of a family {eg. spiritual family/church), it can be as dysfunctional as can be, and yet, at the same time, you have love for it, hope for it. And if it weren't for that family, you wouldn't have any criteria by which to judge your own behavior. (I don't believe that sentence but to each our own.) But there's always room for growth. If we are not wanting to be more than what we are, then, frankly, I don't think we're religious at all. It makes us feel secure to take the checklist and say that we did three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys, so we're going to heaven. But what if we really believed that Jesus called on us to be conscious and moral members of society? And what if the Church said that was true, too?"

just me said...

Took me a minute to think about this... Thanks for sharing. Somehow this is encouraging... Institution stuff is always hard. And not only does religion get confused with God, but also worship of the bible gets put above loving God and people. Which is the point of all things christian...

I think the smallness your quote mentioned is the thing that makes it hardest to be in the church. And time with this is transcended is what makes me stay.

Also this line of yours "it can be as dysfunctional as can be, and yet, at the same time, you have love for it, hope for it." reminded me that I have a class in family system therapy this year which should be an interesting conversational partner for all this.

Hmmm. Still thinking. . .