Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ex-gay blogger speaks

Check out these insights from an ex-gay blogger, Disputed Mutability, on "ex-ex-gays" (i.e., ex-gay survivors). She shows that the issues are more complex than what first meets the eye:

It’s been pointed out that vocal exexgay critics of the exgay movement are difficult for exgays to handle because they know what we’re all about. (As opposed to ignorant straights or gays who have never done the ex-thing.) I’d agree with that, but I would point out that that’s a two way street–exexgays have an unusual amount of insight into exgay life and experience; and exgays also have an unusual amount of insight into at least some aspects of exexgay life and experience.

We have both “been there” in a lot of respects. All exexgays by definition were once exgays, but many exgays have also tried the exexgay path as well, at least dabbling in it. (Many exgays are really exexexgays, or exexexexexgays, etc.) Most if not all of the exgays I have known questioned the exgay path and explored their alternatives at some point in their lives. It’s not like it has never occurred to us that we could be doing something different with our lives! :)

I had never before considered how much traffic must be going back and forth between the two groups, but it makes sense to me. I also appreciated the sentiments she expressed here:
. . . I want to do a pair of posts on “Their Pain” and “Our Pain”. You’ll understand better what I’m getting at when you see them, I think. I have struggled as an exgay with how to respond to the pain that exexgays report (i.e., “Their Pain”), as well as with the pain that their choices can create for us (i.e., “Our Pain”). In both posts, I want to focus on my responsibility as an exgay woman to treat exexgays well and respond to them in a way that respects them and glorifies God.

Disputed Mutability recognizes the need for honest, respectful and compassionate dialogue that "glorifies God." It's interesting that she puts it that way. That's because this discussion, if it should take place, will be largely an in-house discussion among Christians. Both ex-gays and ex-ex-gays (many of whom have survived with their faith intact) represent the most conservative Christian segment of the gay community. Or to put it another way, they represent the gay segment of the most conservative Christian communities.

Yes, there are such persons as gay Christians. Unless you acknowledge that basic reality, you can hardly begin to grasp what is taking place between these two groups. You will also miss out on how important it is for the rest of the church to tune into these issues and come to a more enlightened understanding of how to pastor, counsel and minister to homosexual members of our own congregations. Acknowledging the possibility that they might exist is a good first step.