Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reflections - Exodus Conference July09 - Beyond My Own Journey


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

I have been speaking publically about my journey with God almost since the beginning when I became a believer back in 1984.  I think the first time I actually shared with anyone, in a public setting, that God had pursued me, healed me, changed me, and called me out of the life style into a life fully devoted to Him was around 1988/9.  The setting was in my church at the time, Green Valley Christian Church.

Since I moved from CA to MT I have also had opportunity to go into the local high schools in Missoula, MT.  This came about through a series of God appointed meetings but I accepted the opportunity with great joy.  I have now been to Big Sky High School on three seperate occasions and Hellgate High on two occasions.  I am usually billed, by my own doing, as speaking from an ex gay perspective.  I have always (except my last time at Big Sky High School in 2009) been placed on a panel with at least one other pro gay speaker but it is usually 2 to 4 other panel members.  The broadest panel had five people all together.  There was one young man billed as having grown up in a lesbian household, one woman who was billed as a lesbian, another woman who was billed as a bi sexual (who happened to currently be married to a man to raise her twin children), and one man billed as a gay man (who also happened to run a non profit in MT to educate the public about the normalcy of gay life).

While I have personally never minded being billed as an ex gay, because it helps my audience to understand that I was gay and now I am not, the Exodus Movement has moved completely away from the ex gay label.  They felt that this label was to confining and did not reflect well the transformation going on in the lives of those people who have accepted Christ as Lord.  Of late, the Exodus Movement has been struggling with how to define themselves.  The issue for this movement is not ex gay or gay vs straight but Holiness.  They are having an discussion about the term Post Gay because it does speak to a paradym shift.  Post gay can also encompus having moved beyond gay dogma but does not mean into a life with Jesus.  More about Post Gay in another post.

I was having a hard time with this new position because I felt that it was side stepping the whole issue of healing and change that I have personally experienced in my own life with Jesus.  I felt also that talking about Holiness and not total healing was doing a disservice to those looking for freedom.  Although I understood their rational for moving away from ex gay , I did not embrace this new place. 

After having been to the conference I do now have a fuller understanding about why the move away from ex gay to something beyond it.  Although my story in and of itself is amazing and is valid and also happens for others, it does not encompass everyone’s story and personal experience.  There are other people who have been walking with Christ who have not found freedom from the struggle or the pull of the old behaviors and yet they are trusting in Him and are not willing to concede and go back into the life style.  They have changed their identification from "gay" to being defined in Him, even if they continue to struggle with temptation.  There are also others who have never "gay" identified, have and still are walking with Him and yet struggle with same sex attraction.  There are also others who have their own unique issue and circumstance but remain in Him.

The thing that helped me to best understand this movement by Exodus was a statement made during one of the workshops that I attended.  The root issue for all people is not gay or straight.  People do not go to hell for being gay, many straight people go to hell.  The issue is sin, only those who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior will go to heaven, regardless of what their particular struggles on this earth happen to be.  The issue is;  which direction are you moving?  towards Jesus or away.  Are you gaining ground in Knowing Him or are you resisting and walking in your own understanding.  The issue is Holiness, being set apart for His purposes.  In fact we know from Ephesians that God has created good works in advance for us to walk in, are we walking in them? 

So, although I will keep sharing my story of redemption in Jesus, as I speak to this issue in a public forum I will change how I frame the issue.  It is not gay vs straight.  It is about the direction you are headed.  Sy Rogers makes this comment during his workshops:  "God did not tell me not to be gay, He said, "Stop Resisting Me!"  I guess that really is it in a nutshell. 


Posted via web from jenniferthorne's posterous

No comments: