The "Ex-Gay" Myth and Why it Failed Me Read More!

Last night, Grace Church of the Nazarene hosted Christopher Yuan, who spoke on the topic of “A Christian Response to Homosexuality.” Yuan, who lived an active gay life in his younger years, shared several points about which I’ve written in the past few months.

There’s a lot to like in Yuan’s message. As a professor at Moody Bible Institute, he expertly crafted his points around the parable of the Good Samaritan. His first major point was that we should love anyone who’s different from us. The second was that the Samaritan was a picture of Jesus.

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37, NIV)

Jesus had mercy on all of us, Yuan said, therefore we should have mercy on others. This is a profound message, and one worth repeating.

While listening to him talk about the Samaritan, I was reminded of a third point that would have been equally profound. After all, the Samaritans were complete outsiders of the culture of the day. They were rejected, loathed, and even considered less than human.

Jesus didn’t ask the man if the injured man was a neighbor… he was emphasizing the fact that a neighbor is anyone who gives of himself. This Samaritan, a man who was completely hated by the society around him, went out of his way to help someone in need.

Wouldn’t it be profound if we replaced “Samaritan” with “Gay?” Oh, how I wish Yuan would have made that point. Alas, it was a missed opportunity.

There was plenty of good material. He laid out several “dos” and “do nots” that were dead-on accurate. The “do nots” were simple: Don’t refer to our lives as a “lifestyle” or a “choice” (I think I was the only person to “amen” that statement). Don’t look down on gays. Don’t try to manipulate them.

The “dos” were also interesting, if not a little misguided: Pray for them — not to change into “straight,” but to find the ultimate satisfaction in Jesus Himself. After all, Yuan said, Jesus isn’t just “better,” he’s “Best.” Another hearty ‘amen.’

Finding that contentment in Christ is a wonderful thing, indeed. It’s a journey of hope, faith, and love that gives every person the opportunity — and the joy— to walk with the living, risen savior. Unfortunately, though, this is one of the only options that the Church at large gives to LGBT people: to be celibate and “celebrate singleness.”

My greatest concern, still, is the complete, utter rejection of physical intimacy in same-sex relationships. Yuan made clear that the only two “holy” forms of sexuality are being married (heterosexual) and being celibate as a single person.

This is part of what makes much of the church’s response to LGBT people somewhat disingenuous: We welcome gays into the church, but offer them no hope of being in a solid, stable relationship with a same-sex partner. In this new “nice” form of Church, gays are welcomed, as long as they don’t form a gay relationship.

While it’s definitely encouraging to see that churches are realizing that they’re considered to be anti-gay by those 16-29, and are taking action to soften their hardcore rhetoric, it’s very disheartening to be denied that one hope of physical intimacy that every human desires.

Oh, sure, we can be intimate with an opposite-sex spouse. We’ve become so adamant in being “biblical,” yet have absolutely no viable, reasonable path for a gay person to settle into a relationship with a same-sex partner unless we leave the church or find an affirming fellowship.

As it is, this is choice that gays are given: Utter solitude, or living a lie in a sham marriage. While celibacy is a nice “safe” place for gays to be, ultimately it makes us more comfortable to our heterosexual church neighbors.

Unmarried heterosexual couples who are living together are often told they either need to split or get married. Marriage is an option for them. They’ve already demonstrated they desire each other, and they desire that level of intimacy.

But for the gay man, there’s no hope of marriage within most churches. No hope of being celebrated, and no hope of being affirmed.

This is probably the very core of the struggle that we have as Christians — gay or straight — and in finding that place of reconciliation. And it’s still very much a dividing wall that keeps the two separate. In short, we’re welcomed, as long as we don’t ever, ever have sex. So long as that message remains, the divide will remain.

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72 Responses to Christopher Yuan: Jesus is Best

  1. BearerofChrist Yuan says:

    David: It was nice meeting you this weekend and I hope to continue the conversation and relationship! Blessings!

    Christopher Yuan

    • Christopher, thank you so much for stopping by! I throughly enjoyed your talk the other night, and I'm glad you're able to get a message of reconciliation into the church. While we might approach the conversation from different perspectives, I know that there's a lot we can agree on — and that we can fix our eyes on Jesus and know that everything else pales by comparison.

      I hope you'll consider what I've said here — every story is unique, and every testimony is a diamond in the rough, but the grace of God is for all of us, and empowers all of us where we are. My own journey took me to a place where I found complete reconciliation of my faith and sexuality, and my partner and I walk that path together… and he still puts up with me after nearly 11 years. Sainthood for that one, yes.

      Again, a great pleasure to meet you. I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the blog.,

      David

  2. Mark Buzard says:

    What would your solution be? The Bible seems very clear to me that it says sex between two people of the same gender is wrong – and I haev studied it well. Old and New Testament both say so – so what other option is there for us than celibacy? Twisting the Scriptures doesn't help – you can twist any.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      The bible never addresses the topic of sexual orientation, loving gay relationships or marriage equality under civil laws. Many Christians are fine with gay people, and Christ never spoke a word against gay people. He did say love one another.

    • Don't forget, that Jesus is the Word and the Word definitely forbids the sin of homosexuality, along with adulterer, liars, thieves, murders etc.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      "Homosexuality" is a modern medical term unknown in ancient times. The concepts we have about a person having a homosexual orientation come from scientific medicine. Stop pretending otherwise and stop making the loving marriages which come with marriage equality sound like murderers, etc.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Ex-Homosexual Through Jesus Christ = There is no such thing as an ex-homosexual. Every medical association explains that sexual orientation is lifelong. The president of the only worldwide evangelical ex-gay ministry agrees. (Google Exodus admits gays can't change)

    • Really? I was in the homosexual life for 15 years and after I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, He began to change my desires, I am going on my 15th year of marriage now to the opposite sex! I and thousands of others just like me have experienced change! not all have gotten married, but all have changed! does that mean people don't still get tempted? no! but temptation is not sin and anything you have given your flesh over to, can come back and tempt you! look at alcoholics, ex-smokers, drug addicts, etc. and your comment above: ( stop making the loving marriages which come with marriage equality sound like murderers, etc.) it's God's words not mine, so you take it up with Him my friend! God bless!

    • Jere Reiter says:

      I have heard that same claim from Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International for over 3 decades and from thousands of lesser known gay men. But Chambers now admits that nobody changes from homosexual to heterosexual. You are simply saying it to try to convince yourself, but you are not heterosexual. God never said a thing against marriage equality; you did. You are living the down-low life. That's why you don't use your picture and real name, afraid someone will recognize you from the gay bar. That's what happened to the nation's most famous "ex-gay" who literally wrote the books on changing from gay to straight, but that man, John Paulk, was photographed in a gay bar hitting on another man and he lost his national job with Focus on the Family and he has now split up with his wife. There are thousands of such stories.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Ex-Homosexual Through Jesus Christ – You have a lot of nerve coming onto a gay site and spreading lies when you block anyone from telling the truth on your site.

    • All the more reason to leave that kind of tripe on the site. The fact is that "ex-gay" is harmful. These ministries do NOT work. Every single person who goes through them is still just as gay as the day they went in. People like this "ex-homosexual" have been deluded into thinking being gay is all about the sex… and just because they don't have gay sex anymore, then they're not gay. It's far, far from the truth… and one of the great many reasons why people who share in these dangerous delusions often have serious collateral damage when they finally explode. It's tragic.

  3. Christopher,

    It sounds like you were boldly and powerfully clear. David seems to have understood your message although his comment that you missed an opportunity by not substituting "gay" for "Samaritan" seems a little odd. I suspect that was your whole point. It was implicit. Good work. Our job is to be faithful to God, love people and tell the truth. You did that.

    All people, straight like me, or those who struggle with same sex attraction, need to wrestle every day with the same issue, "Will I find my joy and freedom in slavery to Jesus or will I look for my joy in pursuits and people and ambitions that are outside of his will for me as his servant?" May all Christians learn to struggle well with that question and may all Christians learn to live with compassion for those on the same journey.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      God gave the gift of sexual orientation. It never changes throughout a person's life. Every science-based medical association says so, and the leaders of the only global ex-gay ministry, Exodus International concur. (Google Exodus admits gays can't change). The Catholic Courage groups also agree sexual orientation is lifelong and not changeable. So, now even those who advise celibacy all must face the fact that sexual orientation is not a choice. Sure, those like Christopher Yuan, can claim to live a celibate life. In my 22 years inside Exodus I knew many such men. In public they proclaimed loudly they were living an ex-gay life, but in private all admitted they "fell" and repented, fell and repented. That leads to disease and self-loathing. I am far happier engaged to be married to the person I love (marriage will soon be legal here). And I know many gay Christians who live exemplary lives, loving the Lord and their spouse. Simply hold all people to the same standards. Celibacy is not the option for an entire group of people God made that way. Fortunately, more young people see that today.

    • Jere,
      Just saying that "every science-based medical association" says so, doesn't make it so. You would be right if you said "most" but it isn't universal like you say. Most is not all. By your logic, we should allow men whose orientation is an attraction to underaged girls be endorsed as well.

      The reality is that we (our last 100 years culture) have turned sexual identity and expression into an idol and worshiped at its alter. Christopher is right. We, straight and gay, must find our satisfaction in following the will of God, no matter how hard or uncomfortable. The fields are ripe unto harvest. We need to stop arguing about sexual orientation and concentrate on getting the gospel of the Kingdom out to those who need to hear the message of the cross and resurrection of Christ.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Wrong, EVERY science-based medical association agrees sexual orientation is not a choice. The only exceptions are the faux associations created by bigots to try to make it look like this is not a settled matter when it is, but they don't follow the scientific method. Conservative evangelical professor Warren Throckmorton, former NARTH board member explains this on http://www.wthrockmorton.com. And your comparison of two loving adults spending their lives together (like 2 ladies in my church who have loved the Lord and each other for almost 60 years) with child rapers reveals ignorance at best, hatred at worst. Gays are embracing marriage in greater and greater numbers while record numbers of heterosexuals reject or delay it. The 50% divorce rate is a far bigger threat to marriage than the 1 or 2% who wed same-sex spouses.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty Schoenleber Jr I notice you did not try to deny the fact that the ex-gay ministries admit that sexual orientation never changes. Celibacy is fine for those who are called to it by God, but a disaster for those who do so due to pressure from those who refuse to love and accept gay people as God made them.

    • Calling others bigots because their research points in a different direction than we might want it to is no way to carry on a debate. Frankly, the only way you could know that the motivations behind a researchers work would be to be God himself. It is a dangerous thing to think that we know the motives of another person. The divorce rate in America is tragic and a big piece of the overall problem. But the oft quoted 50% figure is way over estimated and more thorough research has shown that the figures within the church are not nearly as high as some marriage-ministries report.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty Schoenleber Jr Bigots are those who refuse to look at the mountains of scientific and medical evidence available while clinging to the counterfeit science paid for by the prejudiced. Read Warren Throckmorton's blog. He was a NARTH board member and is still a conservative evangelical, but he was in on the meetings in which it was decided to black out all the contradictory evidence. He chronicles this well at http://www.wthrockmorton.com And the church has a huge problem with divorce no matter how much you want to falsely nitpick. You fundies rationalize what Jesus said in Mark 10:11 – Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty Schoenleber Jr Why not just admit you hate gay people and you use the name of Christ to justify your prejudice? Christ never said a word against gay people.

    • Jere, I can't admit what isn't true. I don't hate gay people. I love them. The fact is, i don't want to be involved with any church that doesn't reach out in love and compassion to same sex oriented people. But neither do i think it is loving to embrace a lifestyle that I believe God does not affirm and which leads to personal destruction now (in most cases) and eternal destruction (later). That is why I am willing to take the abuse of comments like yours. I love you and others like you too much to tell you that homosexuality is somehow a good thing. I wish you well, but I wish you most to find Jesus to be all that you need. On Dr. Throckmorton, I will check out the link when i have time. Thanks for the link.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty Schoenleber Jr – Do you think any hater will admit his hatred? Don't you know that the KKK truly believe they are the good guys? Contact any hate group and they will all tell you the same thing you claim regardless of the minority attacked by their group.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Do you think any hater will admit his hatred? Don't you know that the KKK truly believe they are the good guys? Contact any hate group and they will all tell you the same thing you claim regardless of the minority attacked by their group. The gall of you telling a gay person what is best for them and trying to put them in their place is no different than a racist doing the same thing to a person of African descent. Bishop Desmond Tutu said, "We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about — our very skin. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups.: He concluded, "Homophobia equals racism." He is a Nobel Laureate and a wonderful Christian.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Bishop Desmond Tutu said, "We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about — our very skin. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups.: He concluded, "Homophobia equals racism." He is a Nobel Laureate and a wonderful Christian.

    • Bishop Tutu is a hero for his struggle against apartheid and I have nothing but respect for him in that magnificent and God-glorifying battle against that scourge. As for his comment, if that is indeed what he said, "Homophobia equals racism", I think I can embrace that comment. It simply doesn't apply to me and many others. I don't fear gay people. I don't despise the gay community. My lack of affirmation is not rooted in either of those but are based on the clear teaching of Scripture. I don't hate or fear homosexuality, I pity it, for it, just like a heterosexual addiction to sex outside of marriage is not God's best, not the path of blessing and will be judged by God in the end, just like all sin by all people will be judged by who who is coming to judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). I want to help all people avoid that judgment by flee the wrath to come by running to the cross of Christ.

      So, if Bishop Tutu would still include me in his condemnation, I would still count him as a hero with regard to apartheid but would have to say that he has no ground to stand on in the Scripture for his position on homosexuality. Admirable on apartheid, wrong on homosexuality.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      No, you are wrong as you try to ignore your own human prejudices. You know nothing about homosexuality. Repenting of homosexuality works as well as repenting of your skin color.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      A literal reading of the bible "proves" the sun rises and sets each day. But as science gave us better information than was available in the Bronze age when much of scripture was written, people realized the bible was not literally true when they saw with their own eyes through a scientist's telescope. A literal reading of the bible got the whole universe wrong, so perhaps it is better not to make that mistake again on other controversial topics. Jesus never approved of those in His day who took the scriptures literally. Today's Pharisees call themselves evangelicals.

    • Jere, my friend, this will be my last post here. My comments have been respectful, reasoned and kind, even though we disagree. Your's have been filled with rancor, hostility and name calling in addition to putting words in my mouth. I have never, here or anywhere in my writing and speaking suggested the kind of literal reading that you foist upon me. I doubt that people even in the bronze age read the Bible the way you suggest they did. The "sun rising" for us and them was a phenomological and poetic expression not a brute description of reality.

      The New Testament book of Romans is clear (see Romans 1-2). Jesus is clear when he talks about marriage in Matthew 19 that marriage was designed by God for men and women. To go against Jesus is neither wise nor loving. Some evangelicals do have pharisaical tendencies. We all do. We delight in keeping rules and thinking that because we do, we are better than others. That kind of attitude should be condemned. But that is not the case in this instance or for the majority of evangelicals. I need Jesus. I need him to bear my sin, rescue me from myself, forgive my sin and cover me with his righteousness. So do you. I am not better than you. But as a follower of Christ, I must declare what he declares. And what he teaches is inconsistent with the homosexual agenda of this age.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Nonsense, you espouse hatred and call it love, ignorance and call it wisdom, offer isolated verses and miss what Jesus said was the entire point of the scriptures – love. You claimed you would look at the website of Dr. Warren Throckmorton, evangelical conservative but honest professor, but you did not. You have simply parroted old prejudices.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      "To discriminate against our sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay on grounds of their sexual orientation for me is as totally unacceptable and unjust as apartheid ever was." Bishop Desmond Tutu, in his new book 'God Is Not A Christian: And Other Provocations'

    • Jere, One last time (I hope). I am reading Throckmorton's site now. You did not supply a specfic link. It took me some time to find the article on his site. I have been reading it this morning, in the midst of other responsibilities. And again, I don't hate you or others with whom I disagree. There is no anger in my words or in my heart toward you. You are choosing not to believe me. That is your perogative. But your right to believe what you want to believe has little to do with the reality of my heart or deportment toward you.

      I truly believe that the most loving thing I can do is to not affirm homosexuality but rather, teach the word of God clearly to those who have ears to hear. Thanks for the further reference on what and where Bishop Tutu made his comments. He remains a hero for his role in ending apartheid but his theology on homosexuality is deeply flawed and unbiblical if it is as you state. Jesus will correct him in His time, just as he will correct those things in my theology that are flawed. And when Jesus corrects me, I will bow in humble submission and do it with joy.

      But with all that i have studied on the issue of homosexuality and Jesus, you and the Bishop are on shaky ground biblically.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      The bible has zero to say about "homosexuality" but the same God who gave us the bible gave us modern medicine and science. You don't reject those last two gifts except when it comes to one area, the one in which contradicts your prejudice. And your approach to scripture is the same one as the pharisees, the theology Jesus contradicted when they tried to condemn him by asking which commandment was most important. And Jesus said, "Love God…love your neighbor as yourself" concluding this was the summation and purpose of the entire scriptures. You failed by making the same mistake as the pharisees.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty Schoenleber Jr You made another false claim today by declaring you had made your last post and then coming back to post again. This is not the first time you have lied on this page.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty Schoenleber Jr “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu

    • Colorful and true as far as it goes. Of course, my point is that gay marriage is not an issue of injustice. It is a category fallacy.

    • A category fallacy? Are you serious? Not an issue of injustice? Your point of view is not only factually wrong, it's morally bereft. I know of at least two people who were prevented from going to their partners' funeral. Both people were in long-term relationships. SO try to tell THEM that it's a "category fallacy." They were barred from a FUNERAL. People all across the country are barred from sitting by their partners' bedside at hospitals, despite the White House proclamation that forbids such discrimination.

      Your "point" is wrong. When your view of the Bible makes it okay to deny people the right to be with their partner during life-and-death situations, then your view is dead wrong, as is your theology. And do spare us the platitudes of "Real love would warn them." That's not love… ever. That's just doctrinal excrement packaged to make it look like a nice present. No thanks.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Speaking of funerals, I was barred from attending my own child's funeral in an evangelical church. They used nonsensical non-sequitors, too, in order to justify something which is not justifiable.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Cruelty in the name of Christ is still cruelty.

    • David, and Jere,
      It grieves me to hear of your experience with those "evangelical" churches. I am so sorry for you and can only tell you that it would not have happened at any church that I have pastored. And I can think of no reason to deny you from being at your own child's funeral. That had to be an incredibly painful experience and my heart is torn for you. That church, if it was a church that denied you that privilege, was wrong.

      David, though I would not affirm your friend's homosexuality, I would not have denied them the opportunity to be at their partners funeral. I am not denying the real love that we can have for same sex people, only the expression of that love in a sexual manner that God designed for marriage in a heterosexual couple. Jere, I agree, cruelty in the name of Christ is cruelty. But I never see the declaration of God's will as cruel. I always see the loving declaration of God's standards as love, not necessarily easy to do but always saturated with love.

      Again, I am so sorry that both of you have experienced at the hands of some evangelicals. We all sin. It's why we need a Savior. But nothing justifies being banned from those funerals as you have said here.

    • It's not just being banned from funerals. Because we have no legal recognition in most states, we are considered strangers by the government. No next of kin status. No social security benefits. No joint tax returns. Nothing. All because people like you think it's a "category fallacy" and not an "issue of injustice." So please, spare me your disingenuous platitudes of "what God intended for marriage." Civil marriage has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a church permits it.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty Schoenleber Jr – you mean well, but you sound to gays like the well-meaning conservative moderates of a generation ago who said, "I'm not against you people but I don't want my kid to marry one of you." Back then they were talking about people of color while you come across that way to gay people. Race and sexual orientation are both given attributes one does not choose.

    • Jere, at least we have come to a more civil position. I do mean well. I want to represent Jesus well and I want to acknowledge the hardness of the process of sanctification for all of us. We disagree on the issue. I don't see race and sexual orientation as equivalent. And that is the crux of each of our positions. You do. I don't. You see room in Scripture for homosexual expression and affirmation. I don't. The fact that I don't doesn't make me want to vilify you, or fear you, or hate you. And it doesn't make me a demon from hell. We disagree. We have to, both of us, act on our conscience.

      My final question would be this, and I will phrase it for both of us:

      "If Jesus appeared to you (Jere) or to you (Marty) and said, 'My son, Jere is right, I affirm homosexuality' or 'My son, Marty is right, I do not affirm homosexuality' would you bow your knee in submission to Jesus and agree with Him or would you (Jere) or you (Marty), still demand that your view was right?"

      For me I want to say, if Jesus tells me I am wrong, I will bow my knee to him. And also for me, I am convinced that the best interpretation of the whole of Scripture is that Jesus would not affirm homosexuality. He would affirm homosexuals who bow to him but not the lifestyle or expression. Until I am convinced that Jesus is on the opposite side of my position, I will lovingly hold to it, loving all, preaching the gospel to all, and humbling recognizing that I myself have a long way to go.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Jesus has affirmed homosexuals, and I see it in the love of Christ in the lives of the gay Christians and couples I know. Today we could be closer to consensus on this if there wasn't such a political agenda to force your view on the rest of us. True religious liberty is when you and your church get to follow your beliefs and me and my church get to do the same.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Marty, if you want to check out a group that really respects both those gay Christians who choose celibacy and those who choose to marry the person they love, please check out The Gay Christian Network. They are not a militant advocacy group; they are led by celibate Christian man Justin Lee. His new book is called "Torn" about the damage done when both sides of this debate in the church don't listen to one another.

    • Thanks for the link Jere. I will try to look it up when I get the chance. I am definitely for actually listening and hearing what each other are saying rather than assuming or prejudicing the discussion with name calling and accusations.

    • Also, Marty, please read through the rest of this blog… especially some of the more recent entries where I address issues from a Christian perspective, and working to find common ground. I'm a little more harsh in my comment section because "giving the benefit of the doubt" often dismisses the very kind of rhetoric that harms LGBT people around the country and the world. By addressing them sharply, it gives the commenter a chance to realize just how damaging their words can be. That's precisely why I responded with so much hostility to your comment of "not an issue of injustice" earlier. I do confess that I have far less patience than I probably should – so I hope you'll at least understand my point of view. Specific articles I hope you'll read:

      http://skippingtothepiccolo.com/2012/05/19/conversation-coffee-june-28-2012/

      http://skippingtothepiccolo.com/2012/06/29/conversation-begins/

      Thanks for your time. God bless you!

  4. Mr. Shelton's comment about the only choice that gays have is between "utter solitude" or a "sham marriage" is certainly an overstatement. Just like any other single person (straight or not), gays have the choice as to whether or not they are going to engage with their surrounding community, and especially their church community. As a single female myself, I understand the challenges of being friends with married people and how tricky it can be to feel fully integrated into a church community. However, to a large extent, the degree to which I am actually alone or only feel alone is precisely my choice. "Utter solitude" is not a state of being that can forced on anyone, except perhaps on prisoners kept in solitary confinement. Unfortunately, that word choice makes Mr. Shelton sound like a poor and helpless victim, which is never becoming or convincing when engaging in dialogue around a difficult topic.

    • Quite the opposite, Megan. My point is simple — that gay and lesbian Christians are rarely (if ever) encouraged to form healthy, loving, solid, committed same-sex relationships. There is no option of marriage for many of us, and celibacy is the only other option.

      In a culture where gays continue to be shoved into the shadows, LGBT teens need to see good role models so that they can break away from the destructive cycle of the "gay bar" scene and promiscuity. Unfortunately, most churches have little to offer, which is part of why the divide exists.

  5. There seems to be a confusion between desire and need. Humans do not need to have a physical relationship in order for there to be a good relationship between two people. Society has poisoned our minds to think we should want to have a physical relationship with another person as soon as possible to become whole and it is sad that so many buy into that. The reason that part of the relationship is there to is to create life. What we want is not what we need. We need Jesus before sex.

  6. Steve Estep says:

    David, very glad you were able to join us Sunday night. It was a blessing to have Christopher Yuan and his parents in Clarksville for the weekend and I'm certain we are all better for the time spent with these sweet, Spirit-filled followers of Jesus. His words were not only informative, they were formative for us as a people who are striving to live out the faith in God-honoring ways and help others do the same. I especially appreciated his emphasis on our identity not being in our race, sexuality, socio-economic status, gender, (we could add denomination, nationality, etc.) or any source other than Christ. Our identity as His Holy people must define us and be the basis not only for our beliefs, but our behaviors. May God continue to draw all people to Himself and may our city come to know the transforming grace and love of Christ!

    • And here I was about to go to bed… silly me!

      Thank you for inviting me. I really enjoyed the service, and was glad to be there. Christopher's message was definitely focused on Jesus — and I didn't want to sound like I was being overly critical here. And I agree — our identity is in Christ, not in… whatever else it is we tend to identify with. When we "fix our eyes on Jesus," everything melts away.

      And it's even better when we share that identity with the one we love.

  7. Being at Grace Church this Sunday was a great experience. I enjoyed Christopher's speech and his story. I am not much of a reader but I can't put his book down. I hope everyone gets a chance to read it. Thank you very much to Christopher and his parents for coming and visiting with us.

  8. Jere Reiter says:

    Conservative evangelical professor Warren Throckmorton studied sexual orientation and was on the board of NARTH. He says this about sexual orientation change claims… http://wthrockmorton.com/2012/01/09/alan-chambers-99-9-have-not-experienced-a-change-in-their-orientation/

  9. Jere Reiter says:

    Christopher Yuan makes his living as a professional "ex-gay for pay." He gets so much attention from the Right because there are only a few dozen people left in that category. As is common among the dead certain "ex-gay" crowd, his real problems were addiction issues, self-loathing and promiscuity instead of a loving and committed relationship leading to marriage with the man he loved. He had such deep issues that he became a criminal, a drug dealer and we all know addicts and criminals are not the people whose word we should take at face value.

  10. Jere Reiter says:

    Having Christopher Yuan speak on the first day of Gay Pride month is like having Uncle Tom speak about slavery on the first day of African-American history month.

  11. Jere Reiter says:

    Christopher Yuan needs reparative therapy, not for his homosexuality but for his own self-internalized homophobia. It was his own self-hatred that led him to drug addiction, promiscuity and crime. If he had learned to accept his God-given sexual orientation, joined a gay-friendly church and married one man, he would not have had to create this false dichotomy between gays and Christ.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      The number of churches welcoming gays and lesbians is growing rapidly. The Evangelical Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, the United Methodists, the Disciples (Church of Christ), the United Church of Christ, Unity church, Unitarian-Universalist church, the Metropolitan community church, the Freedom in Christ church, the Unity Fellowship and many more churches including some independent and North American Baptist churches, like the one Jimmy Carter attends.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      How do they reconcile the scriptures with modern medicine and science? Start here … http://www.gaychristian101.com/ but there are many wonderful sources today, including the book, "What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?" and the video "For the Bible Tells Me So."

    • Jere Reiter says:

      There is nothing wrong with someone choosing celibacy, the problem is when he condemns all others who choose marriage to the person they love.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      For over 35 years Exodus International proclaimed that "Change is Possible" for homosexuals who wish to become heterosexuals. Their original co-founders Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper came to realize this was not so, and left to marry one another. This year the current president of Exodus International, the only worldwide evangelical ex-gay ministry, admits that nobody changes from homosexual to heterosexual regardless of how dedicated they are to conservative Christianity. When will conservatives listen to their own leaders in this area? (Google Chambers admits gays can't change)

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Christopher Yuan does not claim to be heterosexual. He just claims he is celibate.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      There are over 2.1 billion people in the world who identify as Christians. 3% of them are homosexual. Christ has never changed anyone from homosexual to heterosexual, per the Exodus leadership. But they still want to say God made 6 million Christians gay only to never marry a same-sex partner.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      The founder of Catholic Courage UK agrees that nobody changes from homosexual to heterosexual and the Catholic Courage programs here admit this is true. They just advise celibacy.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      Besides the ex-gay leaders themselves, who else claims gays cannot choose to turn straight? The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and among educators: American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers and National Education Association. That is simply in the US, but every science-based medical association in the world agrees. Science-based means they follow the evidence to the conclusion (the scientific method). Whenever you see someone who disagrees, they began with the conclusion first and then only publish evidence which agrees with their prejudice, i.e. NARTH and the deceptively named American College of Pediatricians (both Rightwing reactionary groups set up to advocate against gays). NARTH was founded by Dr. Socarides. The treatments to cure gays have never worked on anyone, including Socarides' own son, Richard, a gay activist.

    • Jere Reiter says:

      “I don't preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, "Now is that political or social?" He said, "I feed you." Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.”
      – Bishop Desmond Tutu

    • Jere Reiter says:

      “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”
      – Bishop Desmond Tutu

    • Jere Reiter says:

      “I can't for the life of me imagine that God will say, 'I will punish you because you are black, you should have been white; I will punish you because you are a woman, you should have been a man; I will punish you because you are homosexual, you ought to have been heterosexual.' I can't for the life of me believe that is how God sees things.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

  12. [...] than myself but it might be helpful to some of you so here is the link to the comment stream.  (Link to article here) [The full comment stream is now to 19 back and forth comments between myself and the two gay men. [...]

  13. Jerry Reiter says:

    What trash talk. Thank God the Supreme Court has finally done the right thing and destroyed Prop 8 and demolished DOMA's section 3. Now I can wed in my own state and the whole nation is moving towards full marriage equality.

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