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.


Protestors demand we do what we’re doing

Lol!!! I’m sitting at the Restored Hope Network, listening to a women give her testimony about transsexuality. She said she was thankful to God for the women in her church who didn’t tell her who she needed to be, but loved her for the woman she was inside – and that helped her embrace her true femininity. Yet, the protesters have a sign that says “we love our children as they are. why don’t you?” So here’s my question, why can’t we get opposed by people who can accurately articulate our position? Sometimes it makes me wonder what we’re doing wrong with our PR. Why don’t the people who disagree actually articulate a point of disagreement?

Under-sexed and over-eroticized

You’ve probably heard someone say that our culture is “over-sexed”, but truthfully, the word “sex” has become so overused that it has itself become a euphemism. In fact, I believe modern American culture has become under-sexed, though I am selecting a particular sub definition of that word. The other sub definition you would understand to be “erotic”, or the bow-chicka-wow-wow kind of erotic pleasure. That, on the other hand, has infiltrated into aspects of our society it was never intended. Erotic imagery is included in standard entertainment, and erotic attractions are used as “attention grabbers” in advertisements for other products. So, what most people mean when they say “over-sexed”, I call “over-eroticized”.

So why select that definition of sex to separate out? Because the word sex has a definition the others don’t: “of or respecting the differences between the two sexes” … realizing there are more differences between the sexes than just our genitals. God created an entire fabric of gifts to bestow upon the sexes, differently. Not as though one sex is better than the other, no, but that we’re complementary to each other.

My definition of sexual includes the psychological make up as well. In that regard, our modern American culture is under-sexed. I think in part because a movement began in the mid-1900’s as a result of Darwinian philosophy. Specifically, the movement began to devalue femininity, under the guise of enhancing femininity. Darwinian philosophy taught that the “fittest” or “strongest” survive, and apart from a Biblically-guided man to cherish his mate like Christ loves the Church, men began acting like male animals, and treated women as if they were nothing but animals. As Gloria Steinem finally said “we are becoming the men we wanted to marry”. I believe it’s unfortunate that these women were unable to find the value of their God-given femininity, and instead eschewed the blessings God had prepared for them, as though they themselves believed femininity itself was not valued.

Either way, our modern American culture devalues the unique gifts each sex has to offer, I.e. sexuality itself is repressed. Activists decry the differences in pay between men & women, neglecting to provide a valid theological or mathematical formula for why it would be good for all women on average to work as hard or as long as men. I might as well draw a line over freckle density and make a fuss about inequality with any arbitrary formula and selected precision as if it were immorality itself. As femininity now attempts to reassert itself in a shadow form, masculinity is becoming devalued, or worse, demonized.

This situation creates a perfect storm of sorts for increasing eroticization of same-sex attractions. Lacking healthy same-sex models for our children, they persist in a sort of androgynous stage for too long, they fail to see differences between the sexes as valuable, and don’t “get” what it really means to be a sexual being, before the erotic drive kicks in. And since our culture is over eroticized, it kicks in early. Erotic expectations and innuendo run roughshod over healthy expressions of physical affection.

Have you ever heard a sermon like this? “I know Paul says we should great each other with a holy kiss, but that was part of their culture and it’s not part of ours, so the appropriate command here is great each other with a holy handshake.” I gotta tell you, that’s a simple theological fallacy, and the counter example is easy. In our culture, erotic intercourse is expected early and without a lifetime commitment. Surely that hasn’t become ‘ok’? Let me dig a little deeper. God created the sexes, and he also created the erotic. He created them for a purpose and defines rules about how to use them. He also created non-erotic affection, as demonstrated in scripture many times over. Now, if God gets to make he rules about what is and isn’t allowed for erotic activities, doesn’t it make sense that He gets to define which activities are erotic and which ones are not? Or do we get to change His rules by moving the line with our “culture”? I think in that context, the true answer is clear. Culture may be important for understanding the meaning of scripture, but it doesn’t get to alter God’s law about morality.

In other words, I’m saying culture has corrupted the Church, and we need to return to Biblical standards for our affectionate behavior. Granted, Christian men do tend to be more physically affectionate than their secular counterparts, BUT both generally have an extreme dearth of natural, healthy physical same-sex affection. By taking the lessons from our culture, men have been taught that a desire to kiss or snuggle with a friend is a “gay feeling”, instead of a desire to express healthy male affection. According to Christian marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, “physical touch” is one of our 5 love languages. Instead of focussing on healthy ways to do heathy touch, he spends most of the chapter on this love language explains that it’s not the same thing as sexual intercourse. And according to his research, about 20% of men have physical touch as a primary love language, but it is being starved in our culture, and in particular – in our churches. Yet, men still long for physical contact, they seem to only be able to justify it in percussive motions, like tackle football, or a slap on the butt.

My heart sinks when I hear Christian leaders relegating those who crave love expressed through physical affection to wonder down to their local gay bar in search for the perfect boyfriend who will only want to cuddle. The healing process from homosexuality actually speaks directly to this hidden dichotomy: that there is no such thing as a “gay feeling”; we have two God given desires: same-sex attraction, and erotic attraction, and the lines between them have been blurred. How do we draw the line between them? Perhaps stop pretending that pop culture gets to determine what’s moral or not.

Christ prayed that we would be known for our love for each other. I think it’s proof we’ve failed when two men with their arms around each other’s shoulders in public are immediately suspected of being a gay couple, instead of immediately suspected of being Christians.

Under-sexed, over-eroticized.

God’s command is “love”, not “tolerate”, (Mozilla / Firefox)

Recently, Brendan Eich “resigned” because of his contribution to support Prop 8, in which a slight majority of Californians agreed with God that marriage consisted of a man & a woman and not two members of the same sex.  It is strongly believed that he was “encouraged” to resign by the company, and now some have started a boycott of the Firefox web browser which uses Mozilla.

Your choice as to whether to use the Firefox browser is up to you, but let’s not forget the Southern Baptist boycott of everything Disney because of their policy of providing medical insurance for live-in same-sex partners in the late ’90’s.  It didn’t work.

If we are right in our belief that eroticized same-sex attractions are caused by traumatic shame and attachment loss events in a person’s past, events which were strongly tied to the person’s concept of themselves as a gendered being, or to the concept of the “other than self” as a gender, then what does it look like for us to “love our neighbor as ourselves”.  In Matthew 5:4, Jesus says “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”.  In his book, Shame and Attachment Loss, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi summarizes same-sex attractions as a form of pathological grief.  If God intends on blessing those in grief with comfort, perhaps we should extend comfort to these men & women.  Each of us has been created in the image of the loving God, the Most High, the Lord of all creation.  He loves us and died for our sins;  there is no room for real shame in the Christian life.  In Gay Children, Straight Parents, Richard Cohen gives many examples of how to go about loving someone who is gay-identified.  I personally love some of these examples: invite them to dinner and don’t talk about being gay, invite them to a sporting or camping event with the guys (remember to pay extra attention to whether they feel connected and accepted by the group), explicitly affirm their gendered physical appearance, great them warmly and with physical affection, act in an absolutely trust-worthy manner, invite them to social events.  Let them bring their gay partner?  Sure!  (Their gay partner is your neighbor, too.).

Remember, “whoever loves the most and the longest wins,” again, Cohen.

C.S. Lewis, phileo & homosexuality

Was listening to an audio recording of C.S. Lewis talking about “The Four Loves” today from 1971.  In it, when talking about “phileo”, he said

There is lately a nastier bit of evidence that the experience of philea is not universal: If you speak of it with any seriousness, you are now quite likely to be suspected of  homosexuality.  This is extremely revealing…  [It proves] is that they’ve never known friendship or never known eros.  I appeal to everyone who’s known both to bear me witness that in some ways nothing is so unlike a friendship as a love affair.

Until modern times, male friendship expressed itself through kisses embraces and tears.  This behavior might be connected with a repressed erotic element, but no one with any historical sense could expect this was always so.  The truth is what is eccentric, what needs explaining was not the demonstrative gestures of old friendship, but the apparent coldness of ours.  This modern repugnance of close physical contact with my own sex may be diagnosable as pathological.


What Phil Robertson said which drives ‘gays’ out of the Church, and how to win them back.

So Duck Dynasty dude Phil Robertson gave an interview to GQ, and though it’s pretty clear from the writer’s comments that he doesn’t accept Phil’s worldview, I’m just going to take the quotations at their word since Phil hasn’t claimed they are false.  The hubbub has all been around Phil’s comments about homosexuality, in particular in how they relate to Christianity.  They’ve been called “anti-gay” and “gay bashing”.  And whatever Phi’s intent, they’ve sparked a flurry of lash from GLAAD, and A&E has suspended him from the show.  I didn’t want to get in the middle of a societal battle, and I’m not interested in getting in debates about whether A&E should or should not suspend the show, but it’s so relevant to the project and nothing anyone is talking about is promoting understanding or healing.  Instead, I see people drawing battle lines with “Christians” on one side and “gays” on the other, and the Biblical truth is people are not the enemy.  So here goes:


First off, out of the way, is this a free speech issue?

No, the 1st amendment to the U.S. of A. Federal Constitution prohibits the Federal government from stoping A&E from not hiring Phil just as it prohibits the Federal government from passing ENDA.  Phil is totally free to continue repeating his statements at his many speaking gigs around the country without government interference.


What did Phil do that is considered so hateful?

As you read this, if you’re not intimately familiar with what causes eroticized same-sex attractions, keep in mind that eroticized same-sex attractions are caused by 1) needs for love that haven’t been met, and 2) emotional wounds that haven’t been healed.

I hesitate to quote this, but here goes:

“It seems like, to me, a v[jayjay]—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s [component]. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Phil implies that erotic same-sex attractions are caused by a person’s own sin choice.  While that can happen, it’s not common now-a-days.  David Bowie is one example of someone who actually chose to participate in erotic sexual activities with men despite not feeling an erotic attraction to them, precisely for the purpose of flying in the face of Biblical morality, but today admits he is erotically attracted only to women and always has been.  Simply put, most people who identify as ‘gay’ didn’t choose to feel eroticized same-sex attractions.  So Phil’s statements are just plain uninformed, perhaps a little arrogant for thinking he understood it in the first place.  It’s something every person in the gay lifestyle knows is false, and hearing Phil imply it and then associate it with sin results in believing that they as a person are a sin.  It is critical to note that that is not Biblical morality.  God loves all people, designed us in His image, and Jesus died so that we might be saved.

Then Phil goes on,

“Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Thanks, Phil, for correctly separating “homosexual” from “offender”, many people forget to.  Of course, he added “It’s not right” to the end of the Bible quote, not sure why.  So what’s wrong with that?  Well simply put, when it comes to meeting people’s love needs, it’s really tough to start from “you’re going to hell”.  Bottom line is this: for pre-Oedipal disorder, the love needs they had are needs which arrive before the concept of right and wrong are understood.  i.e. you can’t meet their love needs with lists of ways to die.  For post-Oedipal disorder, their concept of the opposite sex is bound to grief, you can’t tell someone that not loving something which repeatedly wounds them is a sin worthy of going to hell, they are simply defending themselves.  For those who believe that they ‘are gay’ because they were homosexually abused and enjoyed it erotically, this doesn’t tell them that it’s not their fault, and that all men are fully-functional erotically, sometimes even in their sleep (Ahem, Lot’s daughters, and  Ham and Noah).  Since it’s also a confrontation with The Word of The Almighty, there really isn’t much of an opportunity to take back their adult assertiveness, defend their abused inner child and in so doing feel more powerful than their abuser.  It’s emotionally associating their abuser with God.  Not a good therapy plan, and not a way to draw people into the Church.  Actually, a great way to drive people from the Church, not kicking and screaming, but buckling their seat belt and keeping their beliefs to themselves: it’s a defense mechanism: so they can’t be abused again.

Is his Bible quote inaccurate?  not really.  Does it drive people who experience eroticized same-sex attractions out of the Church?  Yep.  Why?  Because it doesn’t meet them where they are, because it opens emotional memories of wounds from other Church members who have shamed, ridiculed, exasperated, abandoned, and abused them…  hey that sounds like a quote from somewhere.

Ok, so Phil made even more comments:

“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

And here the Christians are cheering, the ‘gays’ are revolting, and I’m face palming because they’re both making the same fundamental mistake.  The word “homosexuals”. It’s a word in English.  It has a very poor definition.  It refers to both people who engage in erotic activities with members of the same sex, and to people who are attracted sexually to members of the same sex.  But, it turns out, there aren’t any of those.  What?  Yes, every human being’s erotic drive always, always points to what they find to be their “other”, their “complement”, the completion of who they are.  It’s underlying concept of the “self”, and of the “other” which have 1) not grown completely because of love needs which haven’t been met and 2) emotional wounds that haven’t healed.  But people who experience eroticized same-sex attractions don’t know it’s not a “kind of person they are” because they are looking for an “identity” to fill the need for one which wasn’t entirely formed because of the unmet love needs and emotional wounds which haven’t healed.  So he may mean to establish a list of people who live in discordance with Christian morality, while they hear a list of “kinds” of people who aren’t good enough to be saved”.

Also, listing “homosexuals” along with international mass murderers, probably wasn’t a good idea.  These are people who need acceptance, affirmation, and affection, not an demeaning screening by TSA agents.

Now, to be fair, Phil didn’t believe he was in the process of counseling someone who was, as he puts it, “a homosexual”, he was apparently asked point blank about at least some of this stuff.  And was it a set up by someone discontent over at A&E to try to get the show canned?  Probably.

But in the end, it’s comments by Christians like Phil Robertson’s that drive ‘gays’ out of the Church, and it’s up to us to go win them back.


How to win them back

Well, hey, that’s what our whole site is about really.  One simple rule Richard Cohen gives is “whoever loves the most and the longest wins“.  I encourage you to get a copy of Straight Parents and Gay Children, and follow his advice, appropriately adapting if they’re not your actual child.  Let’s look at a few steps you can take.

1) You must be willing to “do your work”, and do it.  That’s what we say of folks who are willing to deal with the emotional wounds in their own life first.  You must also learn to be a Safe Person.  On our Book page, check out Boundaries and Safe People.  If you are not a Safe Person, you’re not ready to help.  It’s that whole Matthew 7, Luke 6 thing.

2) Accept them for who they are.  Who are they? a man or women, designed in God’s image, broken by sin (by themselves and others), in need of a saviour and loved by Jesus – just as they are.  Remember we know Jesus loved us because he died for us when we were still sinners.  You must see the potential in them, but accept them as they are today.

3) Learn about the causes of SSA.  By doing so, you will understand why they feel as they do.  It may not be “logical” to Phil, but it actually makes a far amount of sense, emotionally.  Understanding emotional patterns like anticipatory shame and defensive detachment will be tremendously helpful in understanding what’s going on during troubling times.  An easy on ramp you can read in 10 minutes is The only 3 things I wish my straight Christian friends knew about homosexuality.

4) Learn to empathize not sympathize.  Brene Brown does an amazing job of describing the difference, how empathy defeats shame.  Shame plays a critical role in creating erotic same-sex attractions.  Our entire project was designed to promote empathy onto.  Check out Act 1 of the first episode.

5) Help them find the way out of double-binds.  A double-bind is a darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don’t situation.  Almost everyone who experiences eroticized same-sex attractions has been placed in a shame-grief double-bind.  God promises not to make real double-binds (1 Corinthians 10:13), so there is always a way out.  It may be difficult to find.  If that way out involves a lot of sadness, you need to be there to comfort them. (Matthew 5:4)

6) They need a group for support.  One friend alone is generally not enough.  Encourage your friends to follow you in your decision to help.

7) Don’t assume they aren’t in the Church because they don’t believe in Jesus.  Yes, Jesus is #1 priority in their life, but there are many people who are living the gay lifestyle out of the Church who believe that the Church is simply so corrupted because of the emotionally traumatic things other Christians have done & said in the past.  This is a tragedy.  Christ says we’ll know each other by our love for one another, and frankly, you can’t really blame people for believing the Church is corrupted if they haven’t been getting love.  At the same time, the Church has the most to offer them.  Telling them “they’re gay” because they don’t “really” believe in Jesus “enough” is going to wound them more.  Unless, of course, they really don’t believe in Jesus, in which case, demonstrate Christ’s love and bring them the gospel.

In other words, you have to actually love them like a healthy brother cherishes his siblings.  Not just feel happy about yourself when you imagine that you’d be polite to someone who told you they had erotic same-sex attractions, but you have to actually value them, care for them, think about their good and make it happen.  Not smothering, not bossing, but delighting, empathizing, encouraging, deferring, and persevering.

Do they have a same-sex live in partner?  Guess what, same thing.  Love them.

The only 3 things I wish my straight Christian friends knew about homosexuality

1) There is no such kind of person as “a homosexual”.

An English dictionary is not a great source for a degree in psychology or theology, and the noun definition of “homosexual” blurs the line between people who engage in erotic activities with other members of the same sex and people who experience erotic attractions to members of the same sex.  There is huge overlap between these two groups, but churches have traditionally only been able to address the first, and ignore the second.  I’ve limited this discussion to the second group: men who have attractions to members of the same sex which have been eroticized.  It turns out God did not create such people, He created us male and female, both with erotic attractions oriented towards the “other than self”; instead there are people who’s erotic attractions feel like they are oriented towards members of the same sex because their same-sex attractions (not erotic attractions) have been eroticized.

So what do I mean by “eroticized”?  Culture calls it “gay”, but that’s a socio-political label many people chose not to accept.  Lots of other folks just use the term same-sex attraction “SSA”, but I found that’s not precise enough for what’s really going on.  Merely using the term “same-sex”, from the dictionary definition can actually relate to very healthy desires: our desire to spend time with other men – do things with other men, play football, go fishing, communal showers in the locker room, arm wrestling, or any other activity that men enjoy doing together, and that women typically don’t do with men. In addition, even the perception that another man is “handsome”, “striking”, “fit”, etc.. Is an attraction to his masculine attributes which is not unhealthy, in fact it could be inspiring.  Hopefully, each of us men had a father to whom we looked exactly this way.

Eroticized same-sex attractions are an emotional perception that another member of the same sex is “hot”, or “sexy”. This is different from lust, which is actively fantasizing about having erotic relations with the other person. No amount of “bouncing his eyes”, or “white knuckling” will reduce the feeling that other men are “hot”, because it is not one desire, but two which need to be separated.  There are other ways in which a man may become erotically or romantically attracted to another men, that particular one was what we call “pre-gender-identity disorder,” or “pre-Oedipal disorder”, there are several life emotional dynamics which eroticize same sex attractions, you can learn more about them later, the key is to realize there is no such thing as a single “homosexual desire”, and there is no healthy path into eroticizing same-sex attractions: they are always the result of unmet love needs and/or deep emotional wounds. And once they have been eroticized, there is no path out alone: it always involves someone else working love into our lives. I believe this is why “ever-straight” Christians need to learn about this issue so much: because straight Christians of the same sex as your brother or sister with eroticized same-sex attractions have the most to offer for healing.

The percentages of self-identified “gay”s who experienced sexual abuse seem to be shrinking.  Currently, around 1/3rd report sexual abuse.  Many will not admit to sexual abuse, ashamed they enjoyed it, not realizing the Bible has several examples of men whose bodies were fully-erotically-functional in their sleep.  Others will not report it because they have not identified it as abuse.  For others, it’s an issue they do not wish to discuss with everyone.  Please do not expect or insinuate abuse in someone’s past.  If it happened, and they want to talk about it, they’ll bring it up.


2) Erotic homosexual acts are prohibited by both the Old Testament and the New, for all national origins.

In a misguided attempt to “love”, many “gay friendly” churches have tried to remove or “grace away” what the Bible has to say about erotic same-sex activities.  But despite their best attempts, there is simply no valid Biblical hermeneutic to argue that erotic same-sex activities will be beneficial or healthy for anyone ever.  Robert Gagnon describes from the most liberal possible perspective of scripture that homosexual activities are not commanded or permitted in his book The Bible and Homosexual Practice.

There’s a double-edged sword here, so be careful.  One the one hand, you don’t want to encourage them to engage in erotic same-sex activities by misstating Biblical truth, but on the other hand, if you aren’t accepting of them as a son or daughter of God, they won’t get their love needs met in a non-erotic way.

It’s pretty clear the certain passages in Leviticus and Corinthians indicate that same-sex erotic activities are a sin, and a pretty big one at that.  Some argue that in Christ the law has been removed, but we need to be mindful that while the punishment has been suspended, the things prohibited by God’s law are still unhealthily for us in the long run. When we break God’s law, there are blessings He cannot give us.  God has planned ahead good works for us to do, and the wedding dress the Church (bride) wears on judgement (wedding) day is made of these deeds.  When we sin, God’s grace rescues us, but what? “should we continue sinning that grace may abound?  May it never be!”

So my recommendation is if they’ve ever heard that you don’t believe erotic same-sex activities are ‘ok’, they’re going to remember.  This isn’t like forgetting someone’e favorite ice-cream flavor; this is one of the major ways they define themselves.  Repeatedly telling them what you believe is “right” and “wrong” won’t meet their unmet love needs or heal their emotional wounds.  Because their very concept of “self” has been hurt, they believe “a gay” is what they are, so even phrases like “hate the sin, love the sinner” don’t convey a message that will help them at this point.

The key here is really to just love, and keep loving and keep loving.  Do they have a live-in “partner”?  Love him / her too; remember, they also have unmet love needs and emotional wounds.


3) As straight Christians, you have the most to offer to men and women with eroticized same-sex attractions to help 1) heal their emotional wounds, and 2) meet their needs for love.

Psychologists have identified 4 relationships that men who want to “change” can have, and how they can help:

  1. relationships with other members of the “gay community”
  2. others with eroticized same sex attractions who have chosen not to pursue the gay lifestyle
  3. same sex peers who have not experienced eroticized same sex attractions (i.e. “ever-straight”) who do not know about an individual’s eSSA, and
  4. ever-straight same-sex peers who do know about an individuals’ SSA.

They increase from least helpful to most helpful in that order.  There are very few cities in the US where Christians with SSA can get the kind of vibrant support groups to help meet their needs and heal their emotional wounds.

It’s way too easy to dismiss someone’s subconscious wounds as “childish” because the needs we have are typically met in childhood. It’s important to realize the reason God designs these needs to be met in childhood is not because they are less important or silly in some way, but because they are more foundational.  I’ve even heard well-meaning leaders in Christian ex gay ministries say “we don’t advocate these these kinds of therapies because this isn’t how adults relate to each other.” But when our troubles come from unmet love needs, telling people that they must remain deprived of love is not going to heal them: it’s drives them out of the church.

We need to learn how to empathize, not sympathize, with these men & women, and the easy way to do that, besides going back in time to live their life with them, is to watch reenactments of stories like theirs. Many times, it takes months or years for men and women with SSA to trust us enough to open up about the real source of their pain, if they even realize what it is. That’s the entire reason the Recently Straight project was started: to make an easy on-ramp to forming empathy for these men as a basis for helping the men form support groups to they can get their unmet love needs met and to heal their deep emotional traumas.  In doing so, we’re discipling the Church to fulfill Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are the broken hearted, for they will be comforted.” – Jesus

Tim Cook talks about “Equality”

Apple, Inc. CEO Tim Cook received Auburn University’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, and gave a short acceptance speech at the UN.  First, War Eagle!, Auburn runs deep in my veins, and though we haven’t produced it yet, the tight relationship of the Auburn family features prominently in the sequel to our Act 1 video.  If you want us to produce it, click the Donate button.  Certainly Tim has achieved a high level of success in his professional life.  Besides athletes, he is probably the highest profile Auburn grad in pop culture, and rightfully deserves this lifetime achievement award.  We expect him to continue guiding Apple, Inc. on a path of innovation and making complex technology accessible to everyone.

However, Tim used this opportunity to engage in hate speech and campaign for abolishing our critical 1st-amendment-protected rights.  Drawing an analogy with his time spent in the racist south, he associated people who do not believe in same-sex marriage with cross-burning racists.  Depending on how you view the speech, he either associated LGBT with blacks who had their civil rights abridged during the decades leading up to the 1960’s, or with physically disabled persons.

Specifically, Tim Cook is backing Federal legislation, called “ENDA”, which would be a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 1st amendment, which prohibits the Federal Congress from passing legislation respecting the free exercise of religion.  In this legislation, called “Employment Non-Discrimination Act”, employers are prohibited from not employing self-identified members of the “LGBT” community.


Business policy vs. Love vs. Law.

Please understand, here at Recently Straight LLC, we do not use a person’s self-identitfied membership as L, G, B or T as a sole determining factor as to whether we will contract with them, but that’s policy, not law.  The main reason I don’t use someone’s self-identified membership in LGBT community is because, as actors, their job is portray someone else, or as crew their job is to help me produce art.  Those kinds of jobs don’t see a lot of interference from someone’s unmet love needs and unhealed emotional wounds which lead to eroticized same-sex attractions.  That’s also why I don’t advocate discrimination in other business associations, unless for some reason it’s directly tied to their ability to fulfill their job.

As someone who experienced unwanted eroticized same-sex attractions I know how scary it could be that if someone discovered my “inner” feelings that I might be let go, or kicked out of Church, or shot, or abused, or end our friendship, or well anything really.  Anticipatory shame, and defensive detachment are hallmark symptoms of eroticized same-sex attractions.  Far beyond anticipating,  working the Recently Straight project, we’ve been discriminated against on several occasions.  We’ve been black-balled by some Dallas talent agencies, actors and actress have failed to fulfill their roles after deciding they don’t like the purpose of the project, marketing agencies have decided not to take us on as clients, and supposedly-conservative websites have decided not to allow us to advertise, Google has “disapproved” our ads, Vimeo has cancelled the accounts of other ex-gay clients, and even pastors have told me not to tell my testimony.  We’ve seen more than our share of prejudice and discrimination.  But I don’t complain much, because as a private business, that’s their right.  I wonder how those businesses will feel once they realize I can sue for $M’s when they use our stance on the origin of eroticized same-sex attractions as the sole reason they don’t work with us, which is pretty much all we are.  Lest they forget a Federal court has ruled that if L, G, B and T are protected gender identities, so is ex-gay.

The difference between business policy and law is that business associations are always voluntary.  Governments use coercion to enforce laws.  What level of coercion is appropriate to force a Christian Counseling group to continue employing a therapist claiming to provide Reparative Therapy for homosexuality after he announces that he identifies as “gay” and continues to engage in a gay-partner relationship?  (Don’t laugh, it happens.)  What level of coercion is appropriate to force a cake baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding when the cake baker does not believe that same-sex marriage can exist?  (Don’t laugh, it happens.)  Under this law, the Federal government would be in the position of prosecuting a religious organization which refuses to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.  Don’t laugh, it’s already happened to public facilities.  They react by discontinuing all marriage ceremonies.  These situations are already happening under some state laws, if ENDA is passed, they will begin happening in all states.


ENDA presumes truth contrary to science

The ENDA legislation is problematic for another reason: it hinges on the concept that “gay is how someone is born” by using the term “sexual orientation”.  Science shows this isn’t true.  Studied on identical twins have found that if one twin identifies as ‘gay’, in approximately 90% of cases, the other one does not.   Instead, we know that eroticized same-sex attractions are the result of unmet love needs and unhealed emotional wounds.  That’s why we promote love and acceptance of persons with eroticized same-sex attractions – because that’s what they deserve as being made in the image of God, it’s what Jesus commands us to share with each other, and it’s what they need to heal.


The need for “equality” has already been met

It is not coincidental that the gay lobby, of which Cook is clearly a proponent, uses the flag of “equality”, and is yet never satiated by their achievements.  They’ve now moved beyond wanting tolerance, and acceptance: now they want to harm others who do not believe as they do.  The sad truth is that they already are equal.  There is no such thing as a “gay man” or a “lesbian”, but instead all human beings are inherently heterosexual. We are all created “men” and “women”.  But not feeling the equality is a major contributing factor leading to the eroticized same-sex attractions.  It is in fact the goal of Recently Straight to help them feel the belonging, the oneness, the equality.  My motivation has been to do that with love, I see now that if we fail: their ‘stick’ will be to use the powers of government to coerce us.

Another FAIL at gay-affirmative theology

Someone sent me a link to the following article, and though it claims to be “humorous”, humor is one of the mechanisms the gay lobby has used to indoctrinate our culture about homosexuality.  Let’s take a look at each item on their list:

“9 – God knew we would be gay before we were born – and He made us anyway. — (Jeremiah 1:5Isaiah 49:1Romans 8:28-31). He let LGBT people write some of His favorite Gospel songs, direct some of His favorite choirs and called many to television and megachurch ministries.”

None of the above a scripture asserts anything related to eroticized same-sex attractions, or even a passing reference to homosexuality.  This merely asserts something not in evidence, that someone can “be gay”.  This is the very lie we fight against, the one the gay lobby has indoctrinated the culture to believe.

As for all the prominent “LGBT people”, everyone has sinned, so I suppose their next argument would be that God loves all sins.  Argument is invalid because it reduces to absurdity.

“7 – He structured salvation such that every man who wants to be a Christian must learn to love a man named Jesus. — (John 14:23).”

Fallacy of equivocation: confuses eros for agape & phileo.  We promote phileo and agape between men, we do not promote eros between men.

“6 – Jesus never said anything against homosexuality and He approved gender reassignment surgery. — (Matthew 19:12)”

This scripture does not discuss gender reassignment surgery, neither does it grant “approval” to such actions; it merely states that even someone who has been castrated (who were prevented from entering Jewish Temples because causing testicles to become dysfunctional is a massive offense against God) are not prohibited from receiving salvation through Christ.  (Good thing, since salvation is by grace.)

In addition, Jesus did explicitly say that marriage was only between a man & a woman, and did not remove the already-in-place laws regarding homosexual practice.  Mark 10:7  There is no scriptural basis for same-sex marriage whatsoever.

“5 – God uses rainbows in the sky to show his love and covenant of peace with humanity. — (Genesis 9:13) There’s even a rainbow around His throne.– (Revelations 4:3)”

I assume this is one of the more humorous points, sine the two are not related.  I have unfortunately, met people who assume that a rainbow is a symbol of homosexuality.  Instead, God’s meaning for the rainbow is to promise that the next time he judges the world it would be with fire, not with water.

“4 – He published David and Jonathan’s tragic love story in His best- seller, the Bible. — (1 Samuel 18:1-41 Samuel 20:40-422 Samuel 1:25-27)”

The assertion that David & Jonathan had a homosexual relationship is Saul’s assertion, not the Bible’s.  There is literally nothing to indicate that either Jonathan or David had eroticized same-sex attractions, nor engaged in erotic same-sex activities.  This is what we call “queering the text”.  i.e. the’s the Gay lobby’s attempt to inset their political and religious agenda into history.  Robert Gagnon discusses their relationship in detail in the book “The Bible and Homosexual Practice”.

Also interesting that they found no non-tragic “love” stories they could even attempt to queer.

“3 – In the Beginning, all humans were created intersex.
– (Genesis 1:27Genesis 2:21-23)”

There is absolutely nothing in the scripture to indicate this assertion whatsoever.  Neither of these verses indicate that man was created to experience erotic same-sex attractions, nor is the concept of “intersex” even mentioned.  In fact, were this assertion true, Genesis 2:20 wouldn’t make much sense, because he would have found what he needed within him.  In addition, assuming this verse were correct, it ignores the distinction God performs on Adam in creating Eve immediately after, again ignoring Mark 10:7.  In other words.  This is mindless drivel.

“2 – He designed a FABulous wedding in the Holy City of New Jerusalem and invited all his children (male, female and intersex) to come dressed in a gorgeous bridal gown. — (Revelations 19:5-9; Revelations 21:9-11)”

Again, this expresses a spiritual relationship between Christ and the Church, one which God creates marriage to mimic, not an erotic one between all men & women.  Ignores Matthew 22:30 / Mark 12:25.

“1 – And the top way we know God loves gays? Because God IS LOVE. — (I John 4:16John 3:16)”

God does love all people, men and women.  My problem with this is the assertion that there is such thing as “a gay”.  We do not find it evidenced in the research.  Instead, all people are created heterosexual, and feeling eroticized same-sex desires is the result of unmet needs for love and emotional wounds which have not healed.

Why we don’t call ourselves “ex-gay”, or Why we call ourselves “recently straight”.

Our culture wants to stick this label on us; even the Federal courts have actually used the “ex-gay” label when enumerating the kinds of sexual orientation to which non-discrimination laws apply.  But for many of us, “ex-gay” may be true, it doesn’t feel like who we are.


Positive self statements

“Ex-” is a negative label.  When we do our emotional work, one thing we learn is that emotions don’t really understand “not”.  We learn that one core need of any man is to be affirmed by other men.  This involves making value statements.  Frequently, we’ve believed statements like “I’m stupid.” or “I’m not good enough.”, or “I’m fat”, or “My muscles are too small to be a man” or other shaming statements.  Because the wounds we have are at the core of who we are, “not” statements can’t provide something we can hang on to and say “ah, that’s me”.  The limbic system does not function as a complex web of logical statements, as the pre-frontal cortex does, it works on general association.  I.e. one thing is kind of like another, they are associated.  So when we are looking for something that “feels like it fits”, we need positive statements.  Instead of encouraging us with negatives, like “You’re not fat.”, what we need to know is something worded in a positive way, such as “You’re fit” or as the case may be, “your body is masculine in appearance”, which is actually far more applicable to what’s going on inside than the actual body-fat percentage.

For some of us, “ex-gay” isn’t even true, because we believe gay is a socio-political label, not a “way to be”, we never applied that label to ourselves, but many did.  For the ones who have decided not to continue in the gay lifestyle, “gay” itself becomes a negative label.  Bottom line, identifying ourselves as something we are not, and as something we have chosen not to be is not psychologically-healthy.  We need our identity to be positive.

Asa result, even though our culture wants to tag us with it, “ex-gay” is an undesirable label for most men in that category.


Why we need labels

There are tons of men who don’t like boxing themselves in with labels.  I personally don’t have any problem with labels: without them, we couldn’t communicate; words are labels.  Some men don’t like that as a label, deciding to only take on the label “child of God”.  That’s their choice.  When I label a project such as this, I want to be clear and effective at getting the message out. Labels need to be both accurate and precise.  Accurate means true, precise means communicating only what we intend, not over-stating or understating the meaning.  As an engineer, my primary problem with spoken and written English is its huge imprecision.  Scientists and engineers have an agreed-upon method of specifying precision, while psychologists do have very precise statements of conditions, causes, effects and therapies for eroticized same-sex attractions, just look at that phrase, it literally doesn’t fit in a google ad-words title line.  We need something short, sweet, precise, accurate, and as a website address memorable.


A Little History

I would love to say that my initial thought was to take “ex-gay”, reverse both words, and come up with “recently straight”, but that’s not how it happened.  It actually stemmed from Nicolosi’s term “ever-straight”.  I supposed that if I couldn’t claim to be “ever-straight”, I might as well put up the next best thing, maybe not “ever”, but “recently”.  It stuck; pretty well, it seems.  I was quite shocked no one had ever used the term.  I loved that it turned out to be a rephrasing of “ex-gay” into two positive terms.  It’s a cogent label, means what we intend.