Two words named “affirmation”

One church said “we are an affirming church”.  The other church said “we are an affirming church”.  One promotes same-sex marriage, one does not.  What is meant by “affirming”?  In English, there are two definitions of the word, “affirm”.  One is “to state as fact, strongly and publicly”, while the other is “offer someone emotional support and encouragement.”  When it comes to Christians with eroticized same-sex attractions, one side in the debate has seemingly claimed the rights to the word.  Anyone who does not promote the morality of same-sex erotic activities is prejudged as “anti-gay” or “non-affirming”.  And yet, some of the best emotional support actually comes from ranks of Christians who don’t recognize the existence of same-sex marriage.
If we read the research of psychologists, such as Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, we discover that emotional support, i.e. ”affirmation” is actually one of the critical elements missing in most of his clients’ childhoods.  The presence of affirmation turns out to be critical in healing.  The gay community advertises much of this affirmation to new recruits, but that affirmation is coupled with a demand that someone identify as ‘gay’.  “They wouldn’t even talk to me, when I decided to leave the gay lifestyle,” said one man.  “How affirming is that?”  “They told me I wasn’t ‘accepting myself’, when I began considering that homosexuality may not be healthy.” said another man in an emotional support group, “and they told me that if I wasn’t ‘accepting myself’, I had to leave the group.”  Not everyone reacts in this way, but it’s definitely evidence of a lack of basic acceptance of a man.
“They loved me for who I was, where I was.  There was no expectation that I had to be a specific person.  They just loved me.”  said a woman whose same-sex attraction is no longer eroticized when speaking of her church.  Emotional support was given to her by her church just because she was loved by God.  “It seems paradoxical, but for long-lasting change to happen, we’ve found [clients] have to be accepted where we are, as we are, ‘unchanged’,” says a another therapist.  It’s been difficult, sometimes, to teach churches that this is actually a fulfillment of the second greatest command, to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves’, not a rejection of God’s righteousness.  “God showed His love for us in this, that while we were still sinners Jesus died for us” so even for those who erroneously believe that eroticized same-sex attraction is a chosen sin by the individual, the scriptural witness still demands emotional support in love.
We need every church to be a “gay-affirming” church, but with the other definition of “affirming”, meaning emotional support.  If the church is to fulfill its mission, it has got to make the application of love, comfort and support more seen.  This is critical to helping those impacted by homosexuality heal, and important to our overall mission to spread the gospel.  If the news isn’t good, then we’re not speaking good news.  And the news is so good.


Tasks God has given to us

I’m the guy who skips to the end of a book to see how it ends, and when I skip to the end of Bible, I see the Church getting married to God’s son.  Some would say that it isn’t really marriage, it’s just poetic language.  After getting familiar with God’s purpose, I want to say that may it’s the other way around.  Maybe marriage itself is the poetry.  Maybe marriage itself is the metaphor.  And yet, everything in this earthly poetry we live has a meaning.  We read in Revelation that the splendid wedding dress the Church wears is made of the good works the saints have done — works God prepared for us to do ahead of time.

Yet some argue, I think without realizing it, that we don’t have any work to do, or that our work couldn’t be good.  I don’t understand how someone defends that position.  I’m not in the ‘saved by works’ camp, but God gives us tasks for us to do.  I think we have a real problem when we begin to argue that faith is the end.  I think that faith is the beginning, and we read that in 2 Peter 1.

“…make every effort to …”

Ok, so here we have an explicit command that there are in fact things we’re supposed to do, and we’re apparently, supposed to work on it really hard.  What are those things?

“virture, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, love, and love”.

So, quick point, love isn’t listed twice.  That’s just what it gets turned into in English. The Greek says “philadelphia”, and then “agape.”  Brotherly love, and then ‘true love’.  More on that, here.

Back to the point, not only are there things we should do, they even have an order, a sequence.  I think it’s also interesting that the beginning of the sequence is faith, and we are saved by faith.  And that the end of the sequence is “agape” (love), as in “The first command is this: Agape the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength, mind, body”, etc…

Alabama leftists use government power to try to stop Jews from practicing their religion.

Today marks the ‘beginning’ of a trial of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) against JONAH, ‘Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality’. I say ‘beginning’ in quotes, because the ‘discovery phase’, in which therapists have their private client documents riffled through, and other organizations have their files subpoenaed has been going on for years, mounting up literally millions of dollars in lawyer’s fees. I ask everyone to pray for Arthur Goldberg and JONAH to be acquitted in the trial. I don’t know if that is possible, though. In a fair world, the accusations that JONAH is promoting fraudulent therapy would be dismissed by the preponderance of men who have changed who volunteered to testify at the trial. But the judge decided since other people disagree, most of their testimony would not be allowed.
The SPLC has said that if successful, they will go after Christian organizations next, while dumping their exorbitant legal fees on the defendants.

Please pray for the plaintiffs to repent.
Please pray for the prosecution to repent.
Please pray for the judge to repent.
Please pray for the judge to be impeached and removed by the state legislature.
Please pray for wisdom from God for the jurors.
Please pray for defense for the Jews (and Christians) in this trial.

Why the Jonathan -David relationships fails the primary verbs as a model for same-sex marriage

Back in Genesis 2, we see that “for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” Some suggest that Jonathan and David’s loving, covenant relationship would be a model for a same-sex marriage, yet we see, even without children, which are biologically impossible, they’re relationship fails the verbs of the relationship. Take a look at 1 Samuel 20. David leaves Jonathan. And Jonathan doesn’t leave his father. Even though, it may not have been healthy for Jonathan to not leave, after all, this chapter includes another one of king Saul’s murder attempts on his son. So, in this fundamental way, a covenant relationship between Jonathan and David, (and wow, what a great relationship!!) did not exhibit the final verbness of the marriage relationship: Jonathan does not leave his father and cling to David to both leave.

Some argue that this passage actually proves there was an erotic relationship between Jonathan and David, largely because of Saul’s accusations of “choosing David for your own shame and the shame of your mother’s nakedness”. Certainly the nature of these accusations does mean Saul is alleging such a relationship, but we need to remember that 1) Saul is angry that God has picked David as the next king instead of his son Jonathan, and 2) Saul just insulted Jonathan’s mother as a “perverse and rebellious woman”. Saul is angry and is hurling insults, he is not speaking from the prophetic Spirit of God.

Let’s last turn to something great in their relationship: 1 Samuel 20:17, “he loved him as he loved his own soul”. Folks, some say this was an unusually close relationship, and I agree. But this is a model for how we are commanded to love our neighbor “as ourself”, Mark 12:31. So my question to you is this: is there someone in your life you have failed to love as Jonathan loved David? That would appear to be a sin.

Banning SOCE directly bans Christianity

Two states have banned so-called “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts”. Now, first of all, there is no mutually-agreed-upon definition of what that means.  Even many Christian counselors would claim to provide counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions, yet skip important pieces of effective therapy. So let’s look at authentic therapy as defined by some of the most well-known psychologists and therapists, see what it entails and look in the Bible to see if it fits in with religion somehow.

Shame & Empathy

While Dr. Joseph Nicolosi gives accounts of 4 typical life stories of men who experience eroticized same-sex attractions and Richard Cohen lists 10 categories of potential contributing factors, Cohen’s list looks like an expanded list of the items in Nicolosi’s list.  Nicolosi then describes in “Shame and Attachment Loss”, that what ties all these contributing factors together is shame and … You guessed it… Attachment loss (grief due to broken relationship). Suddenly, hearing this, anyone familiar with their New Testament will recognize new scripture relevant to homosexuality they’d not realized before. Passages such as “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”, “mourn with those who mourn, weep with those who weep”, become more relevant. When it comes to the psychological jargon for words like “shame”, we need to recognize a distinction between “guilt” which means “I have done something wrong”, and shame, which means “I am something wrong”. Guilt is sometimes appropriate in a Biblical world view, but shame is not. God has created us in His image, and created us to exist in relationships which reflect His nature. As king David says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”! And lastly, as if this wasn’t the beginning of our value, God loves us enough to send His son to die to redeem us!

So what heals the shame traumas which cause homosexuality (as a feeling)?  Empathy.  Dr. Brené Brown describes in her research that shame shuts down relationships, while empathy binds us together.  Vulnerability is what can take us from one to the other.  As she describes in her materials, “empathy” means feeling the same thing as someone, not “sympathy”, which is feeling sorry for someone, but with empathy, you are genuinely sad when someone else is sad, and happy that they are happy.  In this way, we fulfill the command in Romans 12:15, and Christ’s blessing in Matthew 5:4.  Now, it turns out that in order to do that, you actually have to love them, proactively.  We’re talking about both phileo love, and agape love.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves is the #2 command in Christianity, and Judaism, while the #1 command is to love God, and unless someone forget, Christ reminds us that if we aren’t loving our neighbor, we don’t love God, because He loves our neighbor.  So what does this have to do with therapy for homosexuality?  It takes us back to the origin of the definition of “Reparative Therapy”. Nicolosi constantly reminds us that this dos not mean the therapy itself “repairs” but instead that homosexuality itself is the subconscious mind’s attempt to repair the shame trauma.  Therapy, thus, entails going back to find the shame trauma, and healing it through empathy.  This is why we need the Church to be actively involved in supporting those affected by same-sex attractions, because no on can heal relational brokenness by themselves, it can only be healed in a relationship: healthy, loving and empathetic relationships: relationships following Christ’s explicit commands.

So what about minors? It turns out, if you go buy a copy of “Gay Children, Straight Parents” by Cohen or “Parents Guide to Preventing Homosexuality” by Nicolosi, you’re going to discover that their instructions are basically Ephesians 6:4, “fathers, do not exasperate your children, but raise them with the nurture and admonition of the Lord”.  This command comes to us through Paul’s writing twice, with the other one issuing a warning: “fathers, do not exasperate your children, lest they lose heart.”  Colossians 3:21.  First I want to draw you attention to the parallel between the word “exasperate” as the psychological jargon of a “double-bind”: a “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” situation.  God himself promises never to create such situations, instead promising He will “always provide a way out”, and He instructs parents to do the same.  It is well known, that part of the trauma necessary to create homosexuality is a double-bind.  It is this double-bind which causes the subconscious to essentially say “then fuck them!, I’ll find a way to get my needs met anyway!”  It’s a parent’s responsibility to provide these ways out for their child.  Shall we follow the laws of the state and NOT provide these paths out when God has directly commanded us to do otherwise?

In other words, “Reparative Therapy” is what Christian love looks like in the life of someone who, as Richard Cohen puts it, has a “same-sex attachment disorder”.  Banning Reparative Therapy under an umbrella of “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts” bans Christian love.


What does ‘Change’ mean?

But wait!!! Stop the presses!!! Reparative Therapy does NOT seek to change “sexual orientation”. What??? How can that be? I just spent several paragraphs describing how that works? Well, the phrase “sexual orientation” is actually not a scientifically-established concept. I.e. It‘s a phrase developed to persuade people to accept a particular political (and religious) agenda. In other words, the phrase “sexual orientation” is a propaganda phrase. People do not exist as “homosexual” and “heterosexual”. Instead, everyone is actually heterosexual in their core, and homosexuality is a combination of two emotional drives: everyone’s basic heterosexual drive for the “other than self” and everyone‘s drive to form emotional connections with members of the same sex. That’s pre-Oedipal disorder homosexuality. Post-Oedipal disorder sees the concept of the “other” distorted into something unsafe. There are several forms of homosexuality, check out other posts on for more details, but all reparative therapy looks like bringing the client more in touch with who they are in their core, a core which has generally been repressed through emotional trauma. Trauma, which has generally gone unrecognized as trauma, which prevents the grief process from completing, which prevents the blessing Christ pronounces in Matthew 5:4.

No, Reparative Therapy does not seek to “change” “sexual orientation”, in fact, authentic successful reparative therapy relies on the fact that the true sexual orientation remains intact under the emotional wounds.

Yet, the legislation which bans SOCE in New Jersey also ensures that castration for minors remain legal. Yes, you read that right. People who want to ban empathy want to maintain the legality of castrating minors. An activity explicitly forbidden in the Bible. That’s right, these laws are 100% totally and completely anti-Biblical.

Another way of saying this is: laws banning SOCE are anti-Semitic. That’s right, you heard me. Laws banning SOCE are anti-Christian, they directly ban the most fundamental aspects of Christ’s commands for a Christian, they also explicitly maintain the legality of activities God commands us not to do, and not to let happen in our land. All Christians, do not be deceived, laws banning therapy are not protecting “who we really are”. They are directly banning the most fundamental activities of Christianity, and when the law of man conflicts with the law of God, it’s our responsibility to follow God’s law. It is our responsibility as Christians to break laws banning SOCE.

An alternate title for this blog post could’ve been “banning SOCE makes loving gays illegal.”

“Christian entertainment” these days

Christian entertainment is made in 2 basic forms nowadays: direct evangelism, and children’s entertainment. It seems as though regular plots in which the characters ultimately succeed in overcoming their challenges by responding from a Christian worldview don’t exist. Recently Straight works differently, weaving the truth of Christianity throughout its content and production.

Direct evangelistic entertainment is any entertainment in which the primary cathartic moment is a character’s acceptance of Christ as savior. I don’t have any problem with evangelistic entertainment, in fact I think it can be effective. On the other hand, having every ‘christian’ movie have the same plot twist does get a little monotonous. Do we never get to see the sanctification portion of life? Paul altered his approach depending on what the people he preached to believed, but in something like a feature-length film, it also ends up being a bit of a hard sell. Without the ability to adjust it’s pacing and approach live with feedback from the viewer, pre-recorded content doesn’t respond to the fears and concerns of the individual.

On the other side, “Christian” entertainment frequently takes the form of children’s entertainment. In fact, “family” entertainment has almost become synonymous with “children’s” entertainment, and “adult” entertainment has become synonymous with entertainment against the morality of Christianity. Again, I’m not in any way against children’s entertainment existing, but there is some content that adults need to master which is inappropriate for children, homosexuality is one of those topics, which meant writing a “children’s'” version of the Recently Straight series was not an option. Re-enacting these true stories gives us many challenges of what and how we portray content. More articles on that here. My guiding principle has been that while characters’ sins are portrayed, we should not sin by portraying them, so many events are simulated, just implied, and in some cases, we do only describe what happened.

Non-Christian Entertainment
The vast majority of modern entertainment is what I classify as “non-Christian”, meaning it is based on a worldview contrary to the Biblical worldview, but does not challenge (by name) the Bible. In many situations, it is not readily apparent that the story is based on a non-biblical worldview, especially when we don’t know whether the writer likes or dislikes what the characters are doing until a final moment, and someone apologizes, or the music swells expressing either joy or anger.

Anti-Christian entertainment.
Something which directly calls out uniquely Christian doctrine, history or symbolism and alters its meaning to an anti-Christian meaning is what I call “anti-Christian” entertainment. While it may seem that this is far worse than non-Christian entertainment, I think it’s not as effective at actually leading people away from the gospel as non-Christian entertainment because Christians know that it is opposed to what they believe. It’s easy to recognize and counter anti-Christian movies and TV shows, such as the recent “Noah” movie. Whereas a generically secular production doesn’t elicit such a response from the Church. Instead, it’s presuppositions sink in to the minds of believers in the background, unnoticed.

Stories as a Godly teaching tool.
God uses stories as a teaching tool, and in contrast to everything that shows up on TV, His stories are all true. While Jesus’s parables jump out as a shining example, I see nearly the entire Old Testament as a recounting in story form.

Why recently straight breaks out of the box

Back in the real world, without the saturation of meticulously tweaked stories leading us into an unreality, we experience what Alfred Hitchcock calls the “boring bits”. Yet, it’s this dismissal of our own peaceful thought life which causes us to miss the goal of our continued existence here: living out the intention to love each other. In some ways, I’d say what I’d like to see as the results of inspiration of entertainment is for each person to write their own triumph story: a story of love, in which the individual considers and plans out how they can love someone. Seeing all the intention, all the forethought, all the consideration of the other, all the empathy, this is a fullness of life. It’s these stories we emphasize. Each man is working out the details in his on life, in his own relationships. He must learn to love God, himself, and others. Just as Jesus used stories to teach patterns of how we can fulfill our intentions to love, how to recognize when we fail, and as metaphors for spiritual truths, so we use our dramatic reenactments of the lives of men on their journeys to inspire those patterns and recognition in the Church.

Nouns and Verbs

I’ve been quoted as saying that there is no such thing as “a homosexual”.  And, frankly, I’m quoting that from Dr. Joe Nicolosi and Richard Cohen.  But much ado was made about “Such were some of you” at the Restored Hope Network Conference this summer.  They’re quoting a verse which says “Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you;” “but God.”  I’m going to assume Christians will know what the “but God” part stands for.  It would appear that “the Bible says there’s such a thing as a homosexual”.  But our modern English definition of “a homosexual” as a noun and the Greek language’s definition of “a homosexual” as a noun are different.  Let’s look at all of these words:

fornicator: a man who committed fornication

idolater: a man who idolized something other than God

adulterer: a man who had an extra-marital erotic sexual relations

effeminate: a man who submitted for prostitution

homosexual: a man who committed erotic activities with other men

thief: a man who stole something from another man

the covetous: a man who coveted a belonging of another man

drunkard: a man who drank to the point of intoxication

reviler: a man who insulted another man angrily

swindler: a man who cheated another man


See what they all have in common?  “a man” followed by a verb.  The noun part of the definitions are all “a man”.  Now, truthfully, I’ve tweaked the list.  Most of these can be “a human who”, but in the case of the “effeminate” it actually is specifically men, so I just adapted them all so it’s easier to see the distinction:  Is the verb part a noun?  Are our verbs what we are?  Or are our being part, the noun part, the ‘man’ part what we are? and the rest what we do?  I tend to think of it the second way.  Especially, for men with pre-oedipal disorder, their homosexuality is mainly caused by a deficiency of feeling what they are.  Teaching men who have been wounded in this way, that it’s what they are is counterproductive.


Another phenomenally bad teaching on Homosexuality claiming to be Biblical

I recently bought “Help!  My teen is gay” by Ben Marshall – and forgot that I had, and it sat in my mailbox for probably a few weeks.  In addition to large number of correct statements about salvation provided by Jesus Christ, Ben makes a large number of very simple logical fallacies.  It’s also obvious that he understands very little about homosexuality: that’s apparently fine with him.  I have wondered why the Church has been so severely misinformed about homosexuality and offered such bad advice, and now I know  …They must have been listening to him… or whomever lead him astray from the truth when he wrote the book.  Ultimately, his statements will lead people away from Christ, as they have in the lives of men I know.  It’s up to men like me, apparently, to lead them back.

One frequent logical fallacy is inferring on the whole a property of the part, and also inferring on the part properties of the whole.  Ben relies on such fallacies for his assertions.  Another way to think about this problem, which we deal with in science & engineering a TON is of “specific” and “general” solutions.  Ben quotes Jeremiah to say that the “heart is deceitful” and “who can understand it”.  Perhaps there are some things which lie unperceived in our hearts, but to assert we cannot understand any emotions, any thoughts, I think is outside the realm of realism.  As we’ll see later, we are explicitly commanded to do so.  Yet, Ben’s conclusion is that “for the struggling teen, this means that there is no chance that he or she can know the reason for the choice to sinfully think about homosexuality.”  So, I should mention here that Ben is apparently talking about “lost folks”.  Maybe he’s right about lost teens, but what about saved teens?  Do they not “struggle”?  It seems like maybe he thinks they don’t, as we’ll see later on.

Ben says “the teenager who is dealing with homosexual thoughts and desires can only hope to be saved by receiving a cure that will take care of the heart problem, not just the symptom of homosexuality.”  well…  yeah, but the problem is for every Christian I’ve met whose eroticized same sex attraction was alleviated as the result of prayer, I know hundreds who’s weren’t.  Are some not Christians?  Probably.  But for the most part, these men have been loving God, loving their neighbor as best they know how.  I also want to address this from the general / specific angle.  Ben writes “the only hope for the one struggling with homosexuality is to repent of personal sin and believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  Uh..  the need for salvation through Christ applies to everyone.  We might as well have struck the phrase “struggling with homosexuality”, and re-titled the pamphlet “Help! my teen is human.”  When someone picks up a pamphlet titled “Help!  My teen is gay”, from a church ministry, they probably want more than “tell them about Jesus”.  I’m trying to  imagine the Christian parent who thought, “oh, I never thought of that”.

Ben quotes Proverbs 17:9 to say the heart is deceitful, and then basically ignores any contribution our emotions can make, refusing to even name them.  In the practical exercises section towards the end, he lists 8 references to Proverbs, but skips 4:23, “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”.  I began to get the sensation that Ben heard some lecture he liked, and found what scripture could support it and didn’t take actual observations of actual homosexuality, and the effects of various approaches into account when he wrote this.  Well, some of us don’t get the luxury of closing the book on our ‘gay’ like he does when he’s done with this pamphlet.  Some of us are stuck with reality.

Another easily recognizable logical fallacy is affirming the consequent.  Ben says “Romans 1:18-32 clearly states that homosexuality is the result of mankind exchanging the worship of God the Creator for the worship of the creation.”  I’ve already covered that one here.

By reading scripture, or maybe proof reading his own work, Ben could have realized his errors, or at least taken pause from publishing, because his logical fallacies lead him to contradict himself and scripture.

On page 29 he says, “no human can know or understand the heart of any other human”.  Yet on page 32 he says “bringing to your teenager the truth that he or she is not alone in this world … will be a relief”.  Now, his conclusion is right, but he has asserted that he could not know it.  After all, if he can’t know the heart of another person at all, how could he predict what emotion the other person will experience.  Ben has stumbled on basic empathy here; I’m not sure he realizes it.

In addition, Ben asserts to the parents that “first and foremost, you need to remember that you did not cause your teen to partake in homosexual behavior.  If you find yourself feeling as if you have caused your teen to fall prey to this sin…”  and then he comes up with an excuse.  Yet, Jesus says “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” in Matthew 18:6.  If Ben is correct, then this scripture from Jesus is apparently not useful in “teaching, training, correcting and rebuking in righteousness”, and now he has a much larger exegetical problem.  I take this warning from Jesus very seriously.  Apparently, Ben does not.

Now I want to go back to basic emotional competency, because it’s clear Ben has none.  Scripture describes what we call “core emotions”: joy, anger, fear, sadness.  You might recognize scripture about these, “do not sin in your anger”, “do not be afraid”, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another…”  in Romans 12:15. Yet, Ben’s grasp of emotions seems to be “feeling good” and “feeling bad”.  In doing work with men over just a few years now, I find it very common that men with eroticized same-sex attractions have trouble distinguishing emotions.  Well, ok, men in general have more trouble than women.  They use general words like “I feel good”, “relief” or “I feel horrible”, as Ben does on pages 37 and 47.  Having the emotional intelligence to say “I feel content”, or “I feel shame” or “I feel sadness” is for the moment outside of their grasp.

I submit that a recognition of these basic emotions is a prerequisite to being able to fulfill commands like “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” in Romans.  This is a great description of something called “empathy”, when someone else feels along (the same thing as) someone else; i.e. reflecting their emotions.  This entire activity seems to have been dismissed by Ben with his statements about there being “no chance” someone could understand someoneelse’s heart, let alone their own.  There are definitely unknown areas in our emotions, but are we entirely unknowable?

Richard Cohen describes in his book, “Coming Out Straight” that he regularly sees an increasing emotional distance between same-sex parent and child.  In other words, a child may develop homosexuality as a result of an unhealthy emotional connection with their same-sex parent.  This happens when a parent does not empathize with their child.  The parents seem “distant”, or “tuned out” to their child feelings.  Some researchers have found a lack of empathy from a parent literally causes a feeling of dying in infants.  Empathy is that “feeling the same thing as” stuff, that Ben asserts is impossible.  Ironically, Ben has already claimed this emotional distance is likely to happen.  In fact, according to him, it may be the set up for the parent ever reading this book in the first place!  In the opening paragraphs of the book, Ben describes a teen who tells his dad, Jon, that he’s gay.  It goes like this, “Jon heard very little after the phrase, “Dad, I think I’m gay.”  Jon tried to grasp what was going on, but it was too much to handle.  He had no idea what to do or where to turn.  Can you identify with Jon?  If you can, believe me, you are not alone, This booklet is designed to be a guide for any Christian parent whose son or daughter reveals that he or she is gay.”  Check out these phrases, “heard very little” “what was going on was too much to handle”.  These are common descriptions of a parent checking-out emotionally, checking-out of empathy, being swallowed up in their own sense of inadequacy, their own persistent sense of failure.  Right here in his own introduction, Ben Marshall has defeated his own argument by admitting that the parents of gay teens would have the exact problems that the same psychological researchers he so adamantly denies can know anything find happens, and he is apparently completely oblivious to it.

Ben’s solutions for homosexuality also fails the specific / general test.  His instructions for the parent are to ignore that anything other than the child could have caused this, writing of the “sinful heart”, “this condition is not due to some outside force that victimized your teenager in some way.  It is because of the passing down of a sinful nature from Adam that your teenager has a tendency to sin in the area of homosexuality.”  Now, there are several things wrong here.  1) If we got a sinful heart from Adam, then Adam is the outside force – and so is the parent.  2) Satan lied about God’s nature to Adam.  Since there was no sin in the world before this moment, I’m going to label Satan as an “outside force, victimizing your teenager”.  And 3) this “you’re gay because you’re a bad thing from the inside” blame is actually what contributes to many men’s origin of homosexuality in the first place.  Why?

Homosexuality is, as the author says, the sinful hearts attempt to feel better.  But feel better because of what?  “Shame-trauma”.  Shame is distinct from guilt.  Guilt is “I’ve done something wrong”; shame is “I am something wrong”.  Guilt is entirely appropriate in a Biblical worldview, and I don’t intend to explain why here.  But shame… shame is very different.  Ben quotes David as saying “I was conceived in sin”, but David also wrote “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Genesis tells us that in our created form as male & female we are “very good” and “made in the image of God”.  Specifically, the shame underlying homosexuality tends to be around genderedness.  Now, this is predominately pre-Oedipal disorder homosexuality I’m talking about here, but it’s the significant factor in 80% of men’s homosexuality.  When a man feels like there’s something wrong with “being masculine” (as distinct from “being feminine”) we call this gender shame.  We always encourage men to embrace their genderedness, after all, gender is part of the image of God.  More on that later.  This is why we use phrases like “man” and “woman” instead of “person” when referring to an individual.  This is why we refer to an individual as a “son” or “daughter” of God, not a “child” of God, which Ben does on page 35.

Another major cause of “homosexual” “feelings” is childhood sexual abuse.  This is well-known; I won’t go into it here.  But, keep in mind that Ben says “your child was not victimized”.  In the case of incest, remember Ben says “the parent did not cause the teen to sin”.

Ben’s advice will also provoke some fledgling Christians to leave the Church.  Let’s see how that’s unfolded in the lives of men I know.  You start with Ben’s recipe that the child admit they feel horrible.  Ok.  horrible is not a feeling, it’s a “judgement”, but skipping that for a minute.  Ben’s instructions are for your child to “twist” their worship back to God … cause you know, fallacy of affirming the consequent, have them think really hard about how God sees what they’ve done, and if you’re at this point, they’ve been taught how Ben sees it, not necessarily God, so I’m not sure how much good that will do.  Then recognize your child feels “horrible” and “sorry”, then when they make a true “confession”, “this confession should then lead to a drastic change in the teen’s life.  There should be a complete 180-degree change in most areas of his or her life.”  Ok, he’s moved on to using “his or her”, so that’s good.  But the reality is, Jesus will keep working on us until the day he returns.  It’s these kinds of “pray it away” approaches, clocked in spirituality that ultimately drive ‘gays’ out of the Church.  When they try this man’s recipe, and it doesn’t work, it will begin to erode their faith.  And I’ve met those to whom it has.  They aren’t going to get in much of a debate with you.  They’ve “already heard it”, “tried it”, and “it didn’t work”.  Why?  Because the approach they were offered was based on logical fallacies and a near complete lack of knowledge on the subject.  Please Church, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t give instructions.  Lead to Jesus, great, then let Jesus lead them to me, or help them take the short cut.


Connection Pitfall: Joshing without an acceptance basis

Many men engage in joshing with each other when participating in a competitive activity together.  Joshing in an emotionally secure relationship is ok, but when forming a new relationship, especially with someone who has experienced a shame-trauma, can seem like additional shame, or bullying.  Many times this will take on an expression like, “I like playing with you, but I don’t like being ridiculed while we do it”.  When using shared activities as a way of connecting with someone who experiences eroticized same-sex attraction, please avoid joshing, unless they explicitly tell you it’s ok, or begin engaging in it naturally with you.  Even then, please try to keep it low key, i.e. let him lead the aggressiveness.

Connecting over an activity

Men form emotional connections by doing together.  This can be just about anything, so it’s up to you, but when forming initial ideas, don’t pick activities that your friend with eroticized same-sex attractions is not good at, or will not enjoy.  Initially, pick something with a good chance of success and enjoyment.  For instance, if he is also afraid of heights, don’t pick a roller coaster.  Directly overcoming fears happens later.  The beginning of a friendship should be easier ‘on-ramps’.  Movies are fine, but the cultural expectation of silence during movies actually hinders bonding time instead of increasing it, so either cut down on the concentration of movies or always join it with a social activity, like a meal, desert, or walks and chats.

Here are some ideas:

Tossing frisbees, watching a shared interested tv show or movie and talking about it, playing pool, fishing, horse back riding, pickup football, amusement parks, walks, workouts.


Remember, your goal in these activities is not to win a game: your goal is to connect emotionally with the man.  If you are playing a one-on-one sport, cheer him when he does well, as a father would.  A healthy father never cares more about winning himself than about bonding with his son by sharing a enjoyable activity.