Connection Pitfall: premature presuppositional arguments

In “Desires in Conflict”, Josh uses an evidential critique leading to a presuppositional argument to try to convince Kevin which science is trustworthy.  There are 2 things going on here, so I want to clarify that.  1) Josh’s argument is correct, 2) That doesn’t help him connect relationally with Kevin.

Sometimes called a “nuclear strength apologetic”, a presuppositional argument is an actual end point where logically there is no other valid worldview than Biblical Christianity.  In other words, once presenting a presuppositional argument, there is no rational denial for the other person to present.  Instead of admitting their fault, most people react with whatever emotions are tied to the experience which kept them from accepting the Biblical God in the first place.  This could look like anger, fear, sadness, or for the case of someone with a shame-trauma – shame (a counter-emotion).  The only path of escape from the presuppositional argument is to deny the moral intentions of the person presenting the argument, and to interpret the argument as a trick, a trap, set and laid to intentionally repeat the previous emotional trauma.  After all, if the person putting me into the dead end argument does not love me, their logic is irrelevant.  And in this, they are, in fact, correct.  Remember, God commands us to speak the truth in love.

Far too often Christians attempt to implement this command by rationalizing: “Someone who hated him would tell him lies, thus I’m loving him by speaking truth”.  Nope. You actually have to love them, which means caring about how they feel – i.e. empathy.  I know this is hard, so I suggest practice, that’s why we’re doing this project, so you can begin to empathize with our characters, and transfer that empathy onto the real men in your life.  Before establishing a foundation for a gospel presentation, you must demonstrate in real ways your love for the person, or they will likely not believe you.  And I mean agape love, typically following phileo.  This means lots of empathizing.  This means you must truly lovingly pursue him (in a boundary-respecting way, not a creepy-stalker way).  Imagine a man dying of thirst.  Do you tell him of Jesus’s living water in the moment before he dies, or do you hand him a cold drink of water and thereby demonstrate your intentions, and then share Jesus?  Let’s start sharing those cool refreshing drinks of water with real men in our lives.

When working the details of theology, presuppositional arguments are amazingly useful, but they don’t directly address the core need of men who experience eroticized same sex attraction: acceptance, affirmation (as a gendered being) and (non-erotic) affection.

Connecting over a meal

Eating is an activity that everyone not on a feeding tube must do, so when looking for ways to connect with those who experience eroticized same-sex attraction, it’s an opportunity common to both of you.  Connecting one-on-one is significantly easier than connecting in a group, so a 1-to-1 meal can be a good on-ramp for developing other connections.  I suggest lunch first, then something like dinner.  During a meal, you can get to know someone better, to get some ideas for where to go next.

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?

I Support Sexuality Equality

I support “sexuality equality”, which means that everyone’s sexuality is equal.  Identical, in fact.  All human beings have the same sexuality: we are all designed to be erotically attracted to our complement, that which completes a bigger whole, what goes with us, but is not us.  In short – we’re all designed to be attracted to the opposite sex.  Those who feel an erotic attraction to the same sex experience it because of needs for love that haven’t been met and emotional wounds which haven’t healed.  Telling someone they ‘are gay’ and should ‘accept it’ is to unintentionally keep them trapped in that box of shame (which creates ‘gay’, not the other way around), which they relabel ‘internalized homophobia’.  “Reparative Therapy” has the goal of inspiring the real person inside, under the wounds and unmet needs to reassert himself.  All of our work is around getting in touch with our emotions through our feelings, distinguishing between truth and stories, throwing off the protection mechanisms and coping behavior that now hinder our progress, and respecting others as whole persons – including ourselves.  It’s dramatically successful (when facilitated authentically and to completion) and absolutely relies on the fact that God designed the client to be heterosexual underneath.  I have yet, in fact, to meet someone who completed authentic reparative therapy and did not ‘change’.

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.

4 meanings of “Love”

One of the fullest descriptions of love from the the Bible, and so many of the clarifying scriptures are written in Greek, it’s useful to know what the 4 words which get translated into “love” in our street / nut language of English are:

storge: You experience pleasure as the result of something.  “You make me happy.”  I.e.  I love banana pudding and roller coasters.  This word is not used in the Greek New Testament.

phileo: “Brotherly” love.  This is familial love.  Empathy is creates this, a feeling of sameness and belonging.  Phileo is not used frequently in the Bible.

eros: Erotic pleasure.  Calling this “love” in English is a euphemism.  It’s a feelings.

agape: This is the big one, the “highest command is to agape the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind.” kind of love.  The “agape your neighbor as yourself” kind of love.  The “holds no record of wrongs” kind, and the “We know God agapes us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”  The core of agape is working to do something good for someone not because they’ve earned it, but because you choose to do good things for them.  It’s a choice, not a feeling.


So which definition of love are Josh and Kevin using in the first episode?

Progress on the Republican Party of Texas Platform!!!

Unlike New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie, who simultaneously banned talking therapy for minors who wanted to pursue maximizing their heterosexual potential and maintained the legality of cutting their balls off, Texas Republicans have adopted a plank to the state party platform to not ban therapy for unwanted same sex attractions. Since the info has come out, we’ll now reveal that spearheading this effort was good buddy Jeremy Schwab, founder of the Joel 2:25 online support group, and assistant casting director for our very first production here. We fully support Jeremy in his common goal, and ask for prayers from the Church to support him as he now faces the onslaught of the gay lobby who hates that we have these freedoms. While we were successful in adopting the party plank, there are those in the party who still do not understand what we mean, including he chairman, and basically governor perry. We still have an uphill battle to get out the truth, and hold the elected representatives to the platform when the vote comes this session.

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.