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.


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.

Why “change” doesn’t mean “change”

“Change” is a generic word; people project on it what they expect.  So what’s different in someone who seeks to “change” their “sexual orientation”?  It turns out it isn’t actually sexual “orientation”.  Why?  Well, simply put, the human erotic desire is always for the “other than self”, it’s never for the “like self”.  For someone to go from “gay” to “straight” they don’t need to change their sexual “orientation”, they need to get their legitimate needs for love met, and to heal their unrecognized and unprocessed traumatic emotional wounds.  Specifically, these needs for love are about the acceptance of healthy sexuality, and the emotional wounds are about both the self and the “other” (i.e. the opposite sex).

When these things happen, the internal emotional judgements about “sexual orientation” “change” by themselves.  The desire to find “self” is satiated, and the erotic attraction functions without interference.  In fact, not only do we not “hate” our same-sex attraction, and we do not seek to “suppress” them.  No, in fact we embrace same-sex attractions as a guide for finding the love needs and emotional wounds.  Far from “bouncing our eyes” off others we find attractive, we “bend each thought to the will of God” and learn about why we find that particular attribute attractive.  Each attraction is a message from our soul, and we know that filling it erotically is not healthy.  Trying to fulfill them erotically actually covers over the core need or wound and makes it more difficult to discern.

So “change” ends up meaning “feeling loved”, and “emotional healing”.  We don’t change into something different from what we were, as a word like “conversion” might imply.

Fisher inadvertently supports the gay lobby while proclaiming “not born that way”

I read an article by Bryan Fisher on entitled “The Latest in Scientific Research: There is No Gay Gene”.  I applaud him for taking the true stance that ‘gay’ is not how we are born.  I say ‘we’, because I used to be gay.  Well, ok, ‘gay’ is not a thing someone can ‘be’, but I’ll leave that alone for the moment.  That propaganda has been used to sway many in our country to accept homosexuality as a healthy alternative to heterosexuality.  However, there were other arguments in the article that I believe -inadvertently- support the gay community’s belief that regardless of what some preacher says about science, gay must be how they’re born.

In the article, Fisher wrote …”sexual preference in behavior is clearly a choice, a choice which no one is compelled to make.”  I actually disagree that behavior is always a choice (John 8:34), but is “sexual preference” “clearly” a choice?  Aside from those who’ve taken on a false gay or bisexual identity as a rebellion against Biblical culture, those who identify as gay will (correctly) demand respect for the fact that they did not get to chose whether to “feel gay”.  In reality, I’ve learned that our gay “sexual preference” is the result of “needs for love that haven’t been met and emotional wounds that haven’t healed”, to quote Richard Cohen.  As I learned to get my needs for love met in God-honoring ways, and healed my emotional wounds through many years of guided therapy and support groups, my attractions changed.  Knowing they did not make a choice to feel gay, most gays will agree with the underlying presumption that the two possible choices are biological and choice, and believe biological, defeating the author’s stated purpose.

Second, Fisher wrote “If homosexuality is biologically determined, then the rest of us don’t have much choice but to accept it as a sad and unfortunate reality.”  First off, the conclusion that we would accept something as a sad reality doesn’t mean it couldn’t have existed.  In fact, learning to accept our sad reality – and grieve it – leads us to healing, and ultimately ‘change’ (Matthew 5:4).  Richard Cohen summarizes the discovery of modern psychotherapy that the main determinant in whether psychotherapy would be successful is whether the client is able to get in touch with their emotions by saying “you need to be real and feel in order to heal”. – the dude spent years coming up with rhyming ways to make underlying truths memorable.  Denying reality because we wouldn’t like it is merely suppressing truth.  Making an argument against accepting reality is not going to influence anyone working from a rational foundation.

I think Fisher may have conflated “genetically-determined” with “healthy”, and in our fallen world, that is not the case.  The simple counter-example to the argument is the plethora of genetic diseases which are the result of genetic abnormalities, such as sickle-cell anemia.  In steps Texas Governor Rick Perry who says he thinks gay is a genetic abnormality like his predilection for alcoholism.  Rick, buddy, glad you’re overcoming the alcoholism, but please stop spouting off about stuff you don’t understand with your useless conjectures.  There can never be a scientific argument that anything genetic can be healthy or good because science cannot make any statements about what’s healthy, good, or worth-it, those require a statement of purpose and science cannot give us a purpose.  Only Theology can make statements about purpose and therefore make statements about good/healthy/ or worth it.

One argument Fisher makes I know that many are sympathetic to is “homosexual conduct is clearly harmful to human beings in any number of ways, not the least of which is serving as the leading cause of HIV/AIDS, which can leave young men disease-ridden and destined for an early grave. We don’t want that future for anyone.”  But, I’d highly suggest doing research into what men are willing to do for “love”.  Take a look at the death rates of soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, for instance.  They’re significantly higher than ‘gays’ with AIDS.  When seeking to love or protect those they love, or defend the rights of others, men regularly make choices which have much higher death rates than AIDS.  I do personally know several men who made their decision to “maximize their heterosexual potential” as a result of a boyfriend or close friend who died from AIDS.  But when they do, they belie that fact that up until it happened to someone close, they were willing to ignore the risks, which were readily knowable, in pursuit of what they believed was love.  It may have been emotional dependency, or codependency, but they’ve been taught that’s what “love” is.

Again, I believe Fisher found and is promoting the correct and true reality that ‘gay’ is not in-born, but unlike me, most people can’t evaluate the merits of a scientific report, and will trust their friends over someone they don’t know.  As an argument, it’s much more powerful to be able to say, “it doesn’t matter if it’s genetic, because even if it’s genetic that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy or good, or that it’s ‘love’.  One needs a theological argument to make statements about what’s healthy and good and worth-it, and my God loves you so much, it was worth-it to Him to lay down His life to save you, just as you are.”  The trouble with Christians (and I’m one), I’ve found, is ever backing up that statement with enough agape and phileo love to actually win over someone who has been neglected, shamed, abandoned, exasperated, or possibly sexually abused, or that they even need to be bothered by it personally.  Please join me in trying to win over the Church to demonstrate the kind of love that ‘gays’ -like me- need to meet their needs for love and support us as we heal our emotional wounds.

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.


The Gay Lobby’s succeeding plan to end religious liberty

The gay lobby, well, look ok, there’s not like a list or something, but check out the SPLC’s announcement to ban all sexual orientation change efforts “SOCE” across America.

They’ve first passed a law in California in November, 2012.  That’s what got my attention.  Before, that, my attractions had changed; I was just going to close that chapter on my life and maybe help mentor a support group or two.  But they actually made the therapy I’d been through illegal, well all of it, good & kooks, for minors.  Knowing what I know now, I wished someone had the knowledge to diagnose my symptoms when I was a minor.  It would have made this entire process soooooo much easier; so many emotional wounds I would never have gotten, so many needs for love which could have been filled sooner.  What about all those boys in California like me?  I realized I couldn’t stay quiet with my testimony; I had to stand up and defend our religious freedom.  I needed the Church to know the truth, instead of languishing in assumptions.

Then, instead of following his religious faith and vetoing a similar ban in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christy wholeheartedly endorsed a ban there as well.  No small coincidence.  See..  those of us from the South, well, we kinda think California is crazy.  But New Jersey?  What happened there? Turns out the most prominent Christian therapist who constantly succeeds in SOCE is Joe Nicolosi, who works in California and most of his practice is minors.  And the most prominent Jewish therapist is based in… you guessed it: New Jersey.  Oh, also, they’re just suing him.

While the whole nation pondered whether it was appropriate for Penn State to lose so many wins because of what Jerry Sandusky did, New Jersey gay lobbyists were inventing testimonies to ensure that once they sexually abused a child – they couldn’t get help.

Do we support coercing children into SOCE?  NOOOooo!  Do we support bashing gays or bullying?  NOOOOooo!  But come, on.  You’d think even Chris Christy could just say, “hey, religious liberty is cool in New Jersey.” but noooooo.

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