G’day Pastor Paul!:
Even to the ends of the earth has the ex-gay movement spread, and so, down here in Australia the ‘Living Waters’ (Desert Stream Ministries) people have left me high and dry (so to speak).
I spent six months doing the ‘Living Waters – pursuing sexual and relational wholeness’ course last year. The fellowship was great. Just getting together with other people struggling with these issues was a real eye-opener for me. When it ended though, I had just as many questions as when I began, and I feel no more ‘free’ than I did when i began, and in fact, I believe I’m even more confused.
Beginning next Thursday, I’ll be counseled by a professional Christian counselor to hopefully sort out my life. Mostly though what troubles me is the eternal question of how I can reconcile my life as a lesbian, with the relationship I desire to have with God. It’s a tough call I know, but as appealing as the ‘ex-gay’ movement can be, I feel stifled – as though I’m not being true to myself.
They’ve told me that I only have to be true to God. They’ve told me that there is freedom for those who earnestly seek it. I believe that. If I did not, then I would be limiting God. I believe all things are possible, but I also believe that not all things are probable.
And so….I wonder if I’m doing the right thing in seeking counseling. I wonder if it’s improbable that I will find ‘freedom’ from homosexuality. I wonder if I should try to let this whole issue rest and just get on with living my life – in the way I feel oriented sexually. At 30 years of age, I believe this whole issue is something I need to sort out once and for all.
Any advice or suggestions before I get in too deep with the counseling thing?
I always have trouble answering these types of questions because I don’t Believe, and have never believed, that a person can or has to change their sexual orientation. I have known I was “different” from a very early age — around 5 or 6. It seems that your discomfort, as well as the discomfort many others who go through what you have, is not about you but rather what others are saying about you.
You see if know in your heart that you love God and want to bring honor and glory to God — if you know that you are a creation of God and you understand that Jesus came that you might have life and have it abundantly — then what is the problem? It seems that you are allowing these people to tell you what is in your heart. Only you and God know what is in your heart. These folks have decided that if you love differently from the way they proscribe that you can’t love God. My Friend, it is all about what you know in your heart.
The only reason you are trying to be free is because they told you that you need to be free from this love you have. Please remember God is not so small as to only created one way to love. If this were true why do we witness so many different ways of creation? Is the world all one color? Is the world all one species? Is the world all one plant? Why has homosexuality been an ever present gift in every culture from the beginning of time? I am reminded of the words of St. Paul when he asked the question:
“Now there are different qualities given to people, but the same Spirit.
And there are different sorts of servants, but the same Lord.
And there are different operations, but the same God, who is working all things in all….For as the body is one, and has a number of parts, and all the parts make one body, so is Christ.
For through the baptism of the one Spirit we were all formed into one body, Jews or Greeks, servants or free ones, and were all made full of the same Spirit.
For the body is not one part, but a number of parts.
If the foot says, Because I am not the hand, I am not a part of the body; it is no less a part of the body.
And if the ear says, Because I am not the eye, I am not a part of the body; it is a part of the body all the same.
If all the body was an eye, where would be the hearing? if all was hearing, where would be the smelling?
But now God has put every one of the parts in the body as it was pleasing to the Creator.
And if they were all one part, where would the body be?
But now they are all different parts, but one body.
And the eye may not say to the hand, I have no need of you: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
No, those parts which seem to be feeble are the more necessary;
And to those parts of the body which seem to have less honor we give all the more honor; and to those parts of the body which are a cause of shame to us we give the greater respect;
But those parts of the body which are beautiful have no need of such care: and so the body has been joined together by God in such a way as to give more honor to those parts which had need of it;
So that there might be no division in the body; but all the parts might have the same care for one another.”
— I Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-25
You see? I think in this case you are the heart and the head is saying, “go away we have no need of you”, but the logic of creation says this is not so.
You want to be free? Then be who and what God has created you to be. Our heart is where God lives and breathes life into us. It is what flows through us. This day know that you don’t need a “Christian Counselor” or anyone else to tell you what your heart says, what it feels or who it tells you to love. This day you can be free from the hypocrisy that says God didn’t know what God was doing when God created you as a lesbian. Know that what your heart says is true, “I am a child of God who’s gift to the world is my life as I live it to be a service to God who loves me unconditionally!
Editor-in-Chief of Whosoever and Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta, Rev. Paul M. Turner (he/him) grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994, have been in a committed partnership since the early 1980s and have been legally married since 2015.