Queer Action Coalition

Thursday, June 01, 2006

WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH...IF YOU HAVE A GREAT EXPERIENCE AT LOVE IN ACTION...IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL WHOLE, AND HAPPY...THEN WE TOO...ARE HAPPY FOR YOU.

The following is a sort of dialogue...two comments left by "Anonymous", a former participant of Love In Action, and a response from a member of QAC.

ANONYMOUS(in 2 entries):

I am a graduate of the 9-month program at Love In Action. But, it's not so much about what Love In Action has done, but what God has done. It is written in God's Word that the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ cleansed and brought to righteousness "homosexual offenders" (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Why would Jesus empower this to happen, and then permit this sanction to be documented for eternity in the Bible?

The Bible commands that we confess Jesus as Lord--not our sexuality as lord--over our lives. Many Christians even have a hard time believing that God would want someone to change from homosexual behaviors and mindsets, but Christians who profess God's salvation over their lives must be willing to acknowledge the truth of Scripture; this is a commandment of the God from whom the ministry of Love In Action draws its direction.

Perhaps the Jesus of the Bible is not the same Jesus this blog refers to. Yes, my Jesus loves gay people and other people unjustly oppressed and ridiculed by society. But I thank God that my Jesus cares enough about me--and anyone who will trust Him--to give me another option.

Does the person supporting the Queer Action Coalition have such freedom? I think not. But God's redemption is available to those who are willing to receive it.

1:59 PM

Bet you didn't count on a story like that....one of truth and non-shame. Shame on you for being judgemental of people who want to and are able to change their lives to glorify and follow Jesus.

7:45 PM


QAC RESPONSE:

Dear anonymous...as always, QAC has been, and will continue to be supportive of anyone's personal decision to make these choices for their lives. How can we judge you for making such a choice...if it makes you happy, and through this you feel more whole, and fulfilled...then you may indeed be doing what is right for you, and in that-we support your personal journey. It has never been a mission/goal/stated intent of QAC to condemn such personal choices. Our concerns are for those who are coerced into such places of shame, fear, isolation, and judgement AGAINST THEIR WILL....as their experiences with such programs as Love In Action have been quite different.

We can respect you as a fellow human being, and do not feel it necessary to co-opt, or exploit our personal idea's of a higher power in order to say that we have greater freedom's, opportunities, or understandings than those who may indeed hold quite a different personal understanding of such things. It is our hope that we may, over the process of our amazingly diverse lives, continue to learn and understand things...and from this...may we grow...

We come from this standpoint...It would be wreckless for us to ignore the countless stories of those who have both volluntarily attended LIA, and those teenagers who've been coerced into the REFUGE program...We cannot ignore their experiences. Just as we respect you for your choices, and the happiness it's brought you, hopefully, if only for a moment, you may look at the pain, and suffering many people have experienced inside those walls, and the choices they've made since, which have also brought them fullness, and peace of mind.

We certainly all have choices to make, and with each word...with each action...with each beat of our hearts...there are choices involved...sometimes we make them...sometimes others make them for us...sometimes we just do not have the answers, and do not know what choice to make...so we follow the path that we feel is right for us...we make decisions...and hopefully...we learn from these decisions...about our choices...about our words...about our actions...

In your first comment, you make several very all-knowing, absolute statements which present yourself as having a complete and full understanding of something that billions of people over the passing of time have also professed to have an all-knowing, absolute understanding of, however in many different ways. We can not be certain, but we wonder, if you feel as if YOUR UNDERSTANDING is THE RIGHT ONE, infallibly. It is impossible to know, from reading a comment on a blog, what is behind the words...as i'm sure many emotions, differing understandings, and questions lie. We just aren't sure how to respond....we suppose God may have wanted us to all be understanding...and thus we understand you have your perceptions of HIS word...what can we say, but "we understand", although we may percieve differently the same words, as so many have over the years-errupting in bloody wars, so much oppression, and misguided hate..people die while the argument over who knows the TRUTH plays out, as other people who "know the truth watch the people doing the dying and the killing, and say neither of them are right....but WE are right...we, personally choose not to engage that argument of who's right or wrong at the expense of putting vunerable human beings through a living hell of judgement, shame, fear, self-hatred, or worse...

In your second comment, you wrote:

"Bet you didn't count on a story like that....one of truth and non-shame. Shame on you for being judgemental of people who want to and are able to change their lives to glorify and follow Jesus".

Fortunately we've had the great experience of speaking to so many former clients of Love In Action, as well, one of QAC's organizers has had the opportunity to sit at length with John Smid. It is rather fortunate, because we are quite aware of the love and care that is experienced there at Love In Action. We are quite aware of the good intentions, and have never tried to demonize those involved. That's just it....we too, speak stories of truth, and thus understand the heart which exists inside everyone's personal truth...

We too, come with love. We too are fulfilled, we are whole, just, kind, and aware. You see, this may just be where we differ. It is our opinion that you are us, and we are you...That your Jesus, could indeed be our Jesus...just as ours, may also be yours...It is our perception that this life we're living-that we're working towards, working for so hard-everyday...is a life worth living...and that WE ARE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE...capable of understanding...of learning from what has come before us...from what we experience day in and day out...from both what we are...and what we will become.

We stand in love, when we stand and say "we support you", and when we come out there this coming monday, please be assured, when we hold sign's that read "we support you", and "be as you are"...not only are we speaking to those teenagers inside who may be forced there against their will...but we're also speaking to the person that they'll be once they leave...just as we are speaking to you.

Hopefully, you will understand when we feel the love in our hearts for those whose experiences have been different from yours, that this is not in spite of you...but merely out of our own love ....just as real, worthy, whole, and alive...

These individuals, their experiences, and where it had led them to this moment, may not look exactly like yours...but surely "your Jesus" would not ask every human being to live by YOUR personal understanding.....perhaps your understanding is not the correct one...as I'm quite sure those of us who make up QAC have plenty to learn about our personal understandings of life...

Maybe...hopefully...eventually...if not NOW...we may learn to embrace these different understandings...as opposed to forcing others to see it our way...

Be well.

13 Comments:

  • What we believe is the truth about God and Jesus must rest in the belief that the Bible is the only reliable source of the truth. If you do not believe the Bible in its entirety, you are only hoping that your understandings are more reliable than those who put their faith in God's word. The conclusion I came to after struggling with all the issues is this:

    If God Said It--In His Word
    I Believe It--In My Heart
    And
    That Settles It--In My Mind
    Whether You Believe It Or Not

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:28 PM  

  • What we believe is the truth about God and Jesus must rest in the belief that the Bible is the only reliable source of the truth.

    Understand that I don't speak for anyone at QAC, or anyone else but myself. I think they've really spoken their beliefs to you very elegantly and warm heartedly, and I'm just constantly amazed at how they can manage to keep so much kindness in their hearts toward LIA and its supporters, in the face of all the despicable lies spoken at LIA at and about homosexuals, and all that has been done to innocent kids, who were simply content to be who they are.

    But as to that belief in the Bible you speak of, as the only reliable source of truth, you're actually making two claims there. The first is the Bible is the perfect truth. The second is that you're a perfect reader of that truth. The biblical is perfect...and so are you. But...you're not.

    I see no humility in your words. No sense that you're as human and fallible as anyone else. No sign that you don't think you have, by virtue of your acceptance of this religion of yours, God's very own eye on the world. I don't see any faith at all. What I see, is a terrible dogma dressing itself up in the language of faith. But it is not faith. It is arrogance.

    It is not those of us who are willing to let our neighbors go their own way to God, because we understand the limitations, the imperfections of our own knowledge, who are elevating our understandings above everyone else's. You are. You have to, in order to carelessly assume you can read the perfect word of God...perfectly. It isn't the Bible says it and I believe it and that settles it. It's simply: I believe it and that settles it. That isn't the Bible speaking. It's you. You seem to have forgotten the difference.

    And that unmitigated arrogance is, I suppose, what gives the folks at LIA the belief that they can pick and choose what parts of the Bible to follow, and which to discard, in the fight for all that is holy and righteous. When it comes to homosexuals, the ninth commandment simply need not apply. They seem to think they can lie through their teeth about their homosexual neighbors, and God won't mind.

    That's where certainty and dogma bring you. Not to where you are a better person. Not to where you can love your neighbors as yourself. But to some higher altitude then God, where the teachings of the Bible are optional for you, and mandatory for everyone else. That is where it brings all biblical literalists. The first truth isn't that the Bible is the word of God, but that the person reading it is a human being and not a god. Try to remember a day when you knew that truth. It'll set you free.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 5:17 PM  

  • To Bruce:
    How do you reconcile your sexual sins with God's holiness and God's laws.
    Believe me, I have wrestled with most of what human beings wrestle with. Sometimes, I have had victory. Sometimes, I feel defeated. My concern is not your "life style" it for yours and others eternal life. Only the Bible clearly outlines the only way to eternal life. If you are sure you are going to heaven that's good. Many of us who put our faith in God's word will rejoice with the angels.

    God bless you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:09 AM  

  • Understand once again, I don't speak for QAC, or anyone but myself.

    How do you reconcile your sexual sins with God's holiness and God's laws.

    What sexual sins? I'm not being flippant here. What sexual sins?

    God's laws? You mean...like...gravity? The speed of light constant? The laws of bodies in motion? Again...I'm not being flippant here. What do you mean by "God's laws"? Ah...here it is:

    Only the Bible clearly outlines the only way to eternal life.

    So you say. But the Bible is not the word of God.

    Take a stroll down any favorite beach one day. Reach down into the sand and scoop up a few grains. There is the word of God. If God is that which created all that is, all that was, and all that will ever be, then those little grains of sand are God's handwriting. There is the Testiment of God. Everything else is commentary. Everything else. When the bird and the bird book disagree...believe the bird.

    You tell me you have wrestled with most of what humans have wrestled with. If you've decided to turn away from what God actually created...this good earth, this good life you were given...and embrace a comfortable dogma instead of His creation, then whatever it was you were wrestling with has defeated you utterly. Perhaps you cannot face this world as God created it, or yourself as God created you, unafraid, but that is no justification for putting fear and self loathing into others. And especially into kids who haven't even had their first love yet.

    I have no idea if there is an afterlife and neither do you. But if there is a hereafter, I wouldn't want to have to account to my maker for something like the suicide note Jack McIntyre left behind. Almighty God...I told that young man that it would be better for him to commit suicide then love another man. I told him You would more likely forgive him for killing himself, then for having sex with a man he loves. That was my love for him in action. No...I don't think that's going to get you into heaven at all. Do you pray before you go to bed? I suggest a prayer that Jack McIntyre, and all the other gay people so burdened with all the guilt and self loathing reparative therapy put upon their shoulders that they ended up killing themselves, because like McIntyre they could not bear to make another promise to God they could not keep, aren't waiting at the door to Judgment Day when you arrive.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 5:26 PM  

  • Two separate issues or discussion areas seem to be confused in all this. They are:
    1) What the Bible condemns or sanctions in the matter of sexual relationships and
    2) Whether it is possible to change sexual orientation by "therapy".

    I think it is unfortunate that (2) is not sufficiently focussed upon, here. It is quite possible for a person to believe that the Bible forbids all sex outside heterosexual marriage, and to decide to live a celibate life concentrating on friendships instead of romance.

    But groups like "Love In Action" KIND-OF promise more. They KIND-OF promise that homosexuality is not real and that they can help you to change sexual desire.

    They keep it unclear - especially so since their little fracas with the state - whether the change is to be achieved by clinical methodologies or my miracles via the Holy Spirit.

    I feel certain that the majority of persons who go, and of parents who send teenagers, are in expectation of CHANGE of ORIENTATION. I don't think for a moment that they go, or send their teenagers, thinking "This programme will not change sexual orientation but it may help with celibate living". I do not believe that the latter is the expectation at all! If I am wrong, and that was all that you expected when you went or sent your teenager, write to me and I will retract!

    But, truly, did Zach's parents think "Well, he will still desire the same sex, but will be better able to manage without sex" or did they think "He will no longer desire the same sex but will desire the opposite sex".

    It is highly notable that under presure from the state, Love In Action droped all pretention to clinical methodology and now explicitly identify themselves as a Ministry. But still they are coy about what results are to be expected.

    Love in Action, can you produce to testify, even one single person whose sexual orientation has changed?

    By Anonymous Phil, at 5:40 AM  

  • I posted this comment under the entry about Lance Carroll, but it seems to fit quite well into this discussion, so, at the risk of boring anyone, I'd like to paste it in here, as well:

    Coming from my childhood in the Assembly of God church and discerning my lesbian sexual orientation in my late teens and twenties, I felt tremendous pressure to "change" my orientation. My religious background clearly taught me that unrepentant homosexuals were going to hell. Even homosexuals who did not engage in physical acts of sexuality were sinning, simply by being attracted to and feeling desires for members of their own gender.

    I repeatedly fell in love with other girls, each time being rejected (because they were straight!), and each time hating myself and wanting to die because I "knew" how awful and filthy and sinful and disgusting I was for feeling the things that I felt.

    Eventually, though, I came to understand that God created me as the person that I am. I am innately drawn to members of my own gender for love and intimacy. My relationships with others are a sacred, as holy, and as reflective of God's love and covenant with humans as those of hetersexual people. God did not create me as a lesbian person only to then turn and laugh in my face and tell me it was all some big, sick practical joke and that I must suffer for the rest of my life, never experiencing true love and intimacy in relationship to a partner with whom I share my life. God loves me and desires that I be fulfilled and joyous, and that I be responsible and loving within the context of my God-given sexual orientation.

    I have studied the scriptures in detail with regards to passages relating to same-gender sexual behavior. It is extremely clear, once one has studied the scriptures in their original language and within the historical and literary context, that these passages do not speak to the issue of committed relationships between homosexually-oriented people. They refer to such practices as pagan temple prostitution, battlefield rape of defeated enemies, pagan sexual orgies, buying and selling of male sex-slaves, etc. In other words, they refer, not to homosexuals behaving responsibly in loving relationships, but to heterosexuals behaving very badly.

    God loves me as I am. I have a loving, committed and wonderful same-gendered partner of 15 years. We have two marvelous, beautiful, happy little girls together.

    I wish that all fundamentalists and others struggling with accepting and understanding their sexual orientation could come to know God's love and acceptance of them as I have. God is not the "monster" many of us were taught to believe in as children. God is not a testy creature who claims to love us one moment while holding a thunderbolt behind his back to "zap" us the next moment if we think the "wrong thought" or love the "wrong person." God has reasons for creating us the way we are. Just because we don't understand those reasons is not a good excuse for assuming God made a mistake.


    I agree with Bruce that it is extremely presumptuous for any of us to assume that our understanding of scripture is the only possible "correct" understanding. I also believe that it is an exercise in futility to study translations of translations of translations, all of which rely upon millenia of cultural overlay, and to somehow believe that we are thereby extracting "absolute truth" from the translation which we study.

    Those who supported the institution of slavery in the 19th (and prior) centuries, and who justified these beliefs with scriptural quotations similar to those used to condemn homosexuals made this same error. They presumed that passages from the Bible which appeared to support the practice of slave ownership were a clear indication that God designed some humans to be slaves to others and that God condoned slavery. They went so far as to argue that it would be morally wrong to do away with slavery because God had "so clearly" outlined and sanctioned the practice in holy scripture.

    Were they right? Or were they relying upon writings of holy men penned thousands of years ago, since copied and re-copied, translated and re-translated thousands upon thousands of times, and taking these writings out of any semblance of their historical, cultural and literary context?

    God said it?
    I believe it?
    That settles it?
    I don't think so.

    Blessings,

    Lorian

    By Anonymous Lorian, at 12:42 PM  

  • But, truly, did Zach's parents think "Well, he will still desire the same sex, but will be better able to manage without sex" or did they think "He will no longer desire the same sex but will desire the opposite sex".

    Yeah...it would be really interesting to be a fly on the walls during those conversations with parents that Smid has been having. That's all part of the deception and misinformation that QAC is speaking to here. In a way, you can say that parents are just as much being victimized by LIA as the kids.

    I think, yes, some parents just want to punish their children for being homosexual. But others are genuinely afraid for their kids, and these John Smid feeds a boatload of crap about shortened lifespans, sexual addiction, sexual brokeness, and so on. He's preying on their fears, and whether he's doing it in a genuine belief that God wants him to or just shear cult leader avarice really doesn't matter. The fact is that he's lying to parents, scaring them to death, to get them in the program.

    Be interesting to learn exactly what promises he makes, or doesn't make to those parents. Considering their party line is that nobody is homosexual anyway, the nature of "change" can pretty much be whatever he wants it to be. I suspect he is spinning a hucksters web at them, that makes them think he's promised whatever it was they wanted, without actually promising it. It would be real nice if, somehow, that schpiel could be brought out into the open, so the world could see how he's doing it.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 11:23 AM  

  • To: Bruce

    I was hooked on porn, before I was
    even a teen. I desired sex with a male buddy. I grew up on porn. It ruined my first marraige. I engaged in adultry. After divorce,I had numerous affairs. Don't tell me I do not understand the struggles all of us wrestle with.

    The issues of this life, and how we deal with them, matter for eternity. Anyone who claims the Bible is not the very word of God,
    is deceived. They have no hope for eternity. What you can not understand, you must accept by faith. Faith comes from the word of God.

    All sin is against God. There are sexual sins against God: adultry, fornication,
    child molestations, "peeping toms",exibitionists,
    rapes, sex with animals----
    homosexuality and others.

    To say that God created me to do things that He clearly calls Sin,
    is to say that God created me to sin. That is a lie from the devil.

    Jesus Christ died for everyone's sin. But he did even more. He delivered us from the very power of sin. Real arrogance is to think that you are okay, when you need the Savior.

    I believe it all.

    God bless you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:44 PM  

  • The point that you are missing, anonymous, is that God does NOT call committed relationships between homosexual people "sin." This is your (and others') misunderstanding/misinterpretation/misrepresentation. You are free to believe it, of course, but it is clear to me that this is as incorrect a reading of scripture as claiming that God supports slavery

    Think about this for just a moment:

    In all four of the canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John), the only church-sanctioned repository of Jesus' words during his 33 years on earth, he does not mention the subject of homosexuality even once. If homosexuality is innately sinful, an unnatural state which puts one in a position of damnation in the sight of God, why would Jesus not have mentioned this at some point during his earthly ministry?

    You may say that not everything Jesus said was written down. While that may be true, wouldn't such an argument dispute the inerrancy of scripture? If there was a topic of immense importance that Jesus felt needed to be brought to the attention of his followers, would he not, as an all-powerful God, have made certain that they included it in their writings that were to become The Word of God?

    He certainly spent time condemning other sexual sins. He spoke out clearly against fornication, adultery, remarriage after a divorce, impure thoughts about an object of desire, etc. But never once (according to scripture) did he choose to speak in condemnation of homosexuality.

    You might say this is because homosexuality was uncommon in Jewish society of Jesus' day, so it wasn't a matter of pressing urgency for Jesus to address. Whether this is true or not, would not Jesus, being an omnipotent God, have been aware of the major conflict homosexuality would be in the future of the church, and therefore provided some direct input regarding the "sinfulness" of committed homosexual relationships?

    Anonymous, I understand that you firmly believe that your understanding of the Biblical passages relating to homosexuality is correct. Understand also, please, that I believe just as firmly that God and the Bible do not condemn my relationship with my partner as sinful. I know that my covenantal relationship with my partner is as sacred and as representative of Christ's love for the church as any heterosexual's marriage.

    You are certainly entitled to your beliefs, and if they have assisted you in breaking your addictions to extramarital affairs and pornography, more power to you. But there are many, many of us gay and lesbian people out here who are not and never have been involved in unfaithfulness to our partners, sexual addictions and other such problems. There are many of us who love God and have personal relationships with God that are much like your own, I'm sure.

    Again, if you are helped in some way by your identification as "ex-gay" I support your right to label yourself in this way and to seek whatever therapy or assistance you feel brings you health and well-being. Perhaps you might consider extending the same courtesy to those of us who know that our loving same-gender relationships are healthy, life-affirming and God-centered.

    By Anonymous Lorian, at 2:25 PM  

  • To Lorian:

    Thank you for your response.

    When I was younger, I was in love with someone, I wanted to be with forever. Everything about our relationship seemed to be great:
    physically and emotionally. When she broke it off, I was ready to die. The relationship included sex outside of marraige. Did God bless it? No.

    God can and does forgive all sins,
    if you ask. The unwillingness to confess sin is the point of separation between us and God. Their must be sorrow, confession,
    turning away from the "actions", and trusting Jesus as our savior.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 tells it like it is.

    John 3:16 says "That God loved the world so much, that He gave his only son, so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life."
    The problem is that that there are many "whosoevers" who simply refuse to believe.

    God Bless You

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:07 PM  

  • "I was hooked on porn, before I was
    even a teen. I desired sex with a male buddy. I grew up on porn. It ruined my first marraige. I engaged in adultry. After divorce,I had numerous affairs. Don't tell me I do not understand the struggles all of us wrestle with."

    Thank you, anonymous. That does help me understand why you cling so desperately to the type of religion that provides absolutes.

    With that sort of backgroud, it must be very comforting to have a church provide all the answers you need, not only for yourself but on what you can then demand of others.

    Unfortunately, that isn't faith. Faith requires (yes, requires) that we challenge our beliefs. Otherwise we don't really believe them.

    If you are unable to deal with questions about the literalist interpretations, history about the compilation of scripture and about the comparison of other early religious writings in the middle east concurrent to early Jewish scripture, or the political nature of the selection of Christian connonical writings, then it truly must be wonderful to just accept someone telling you "this is what scripture means, this and ONLY this".

    Unfortunately, some of us believe that to know God we need to challenge our faith. We feel the need to look at context and at interpretation.

    I do believe that all "whosoever" will find everlasting life in Christ. However, living by dogma denies you the ability to come to know an amazing and wonderful God.

    While a child of God, unfortunately you are bound by Law and by tradition - just as were many that Christ came to free.

    I challenge you to open your heart to the freedom that Christ offered. Rather than live under the bondage of a relationship with a preacher or a interpreter of Hebrew or Greek, find the freedom of a relationship with God. Rather than be bound to some denomination's selective scriptural application (and outright rejection of other scripture), free your heart to know that God's will is often evident - even if a church says otherwise. Live in freedom in Christ - God incarnate - not under the bondage of Moses or Paul who were, after all, men seeking to know God just as we too seek to know Him.

    Timothy Kincaid

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:03 PM  

  • Thanks for your advice, Anonymous. I certainly sin on a regular basis (and seek God's forgiveness, as well). However, my God-given sexual orientation and loving relationship with my spouse are not sinful.

    Blessings!

    By Anonymous Lorian, at 4:46 PM  

  • To: Timothy Kincaid

    I have been to many places in the world and have come face to face with many people who have their own beliefs about god. Each one of us could create our own god, and decide how he will fit into our lives. The question is: How are we fitting into God's plan?

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:13 PM  

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