I found Candace Chellew’s Am I Ex-Straight? article unhelpful as someone struggling to come to terms with being gay and Christian. The assertion, “..only when one finds that homosexuality is separating us from the love of God, it needs to be removed” seems to give some credence to the beliefs of the “ex-gay” movement even though it is criticised in this article. I found the article bothersome because I was beginning to understand that “ex-gay” claims are usually false because of use of different terminology/criteria. This has left me rather confused.
Editor Candace Chellew responds:
I understand your problem with that article. Let me try to explain what was going on when that article was written. Maybe in its context you’ll understand.
While I wrote that article I was involved in a group called Bridges Across. They try to bring together people from all sides of the homosexuality argument including straights, gays and those who say they are ex-gay. On the mailing list we all shared our stories of reconciling faith and spirituality. The keyword on the list was “respect” .. to have our stories and journeys respected we had to respect the stories and journeys of others on the list. I met several people who professed to be “ex-gay” and happy with their decisions. Their stories were earnest, and loving, and they seemed genuinely set upon a path that took them away from acting out any homosexual desires.
While I didn’t believe for a moment that their homosexual desires had been “cured” or “taken from them by faith in Christ” … I did believe that they were genuinely happier people for their decision. They found that their sexual orientation was separating them from God .. they found it impossible to reconcile the two. Instead of giving up God, they made a choice .. some to remain celebate .. others to engage in heterosexual sex. I pressed them on all these points and each of those on the list said they were happier because they had made the choice to stop acting on their homosexual desires. I have to respect that. They now feel closer to God. Who am I to question that? I can’t.
The article does, however, postulate on why some people may be happier making this sort of choice than others. I introduce the Kinsey scale and it’s notion that sexual orietation runs a spectrum from exclusively homosexual to exclusively heterosexual. I feel like the people on this list, who made that choice and are happy with it, are people who run somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. These people have more bisexual tendencies than those who say they cannot change … or found that attempts to change .. or better phrased, attempts to repress that part of their sexuality that is homosexual … did not work for them and made them even more unhappy. These people fall further along the spectrum toward being exclusively homosexual. Making a choice to repress this part of their sexuality would only lead to pain and despair, and ultimately separation from God. Therefore they should not attempt giving up their orientatation.
I believed then and I believe now that ex-gay ministries do unimaginable harm to many people by forcing those who really only need to reconcile their faith with their homosexuality to feel the need to change. What I was trying to express is that we can only work on an individual, not a corporate, basis. What works for one person, may not work for the other. To say that once a person has successfully repressed his homosexual urges and now lives a “normal” life of a heterosexual is not to say that every person with homosexual desires can or should. This is my main problem with ex-gay ministries. They believe if one can, we all can. But since sexuality runs the spectrum … not everyone is in the same position to move fluidly from one orientation to the other. I almost envy those who can!
I do hope my lengthy explanation can help you better sort out where I was coming from in this article. Please don’t take one line and cling to it as everything I was trying to say in that piece. Overall, yes, I think ex-gay ministries are a bad idea whose time should never come. Like I told those on the list who profess to be ex-gay .. “that’s fine for you, but why do you feel the need to recruit? Go and live your happy life and leave me to my happy life.” In the end, that’s all the article asks for.
I was wondering about a statement in FAQ #6. I am not disputing homosexuality, I just have a question about your beliefs on sex. In FAQ #6 it is said “Sexuality in itself, be it hetero or homo, can be sinful when it is used for hate, violence, abuse or dehumanizes those involved.” I agree, those are sinful situations, but, I was wondering if you could explain your view with the belief that fornication is also sin? Fornication can be in a very loving and unabusive manner. If you don’t think it is necessarily sin, then why don’t you.
Editor Candace Chellew responds:
Thanks for your letter.
Also, it seems that your stance on loving a person,sin and all, is a bit confusing to me. I believe that Christ loves us in spite of our sins. He knows we are sinners, but died for us and took our past, present and future sins upon himself so that we may be declared righteous and therefore acceptable to stand in the presence of a Holy God. We should love others, in Christ, no matter what they do, but I believe that we are also called to turn from our old nature, for we are new creations in Christ Jesus. A person is not what they do. A person is who they are, especially if they are a Child of God.
Yes, I agree totally. You may want to view the issue Becoming a New Creation in Christ at for a little insight on that question from several writers and angles.
As for a quick explanation from my standpoint … I take to heart the words Jesus said to Peter in John 21. Peter was very worried about the fate of the one who betrayed Jesus. He wanted to know what punishment the other would suffer for such a sin. Jesus’ response? “What is that to you?” Jesus tells Peter others’ sins and punishment for such sins is not our concern. What is our concern? Jesus plainly states .. “follow me.” Sounds simple right? However, by following Christ we set the example for others. We help lead them out of their sins by showing what striving to live a sinless life is all about. Of course we so often fail at setting the example but Jesus tells us to follow him .. so we are dedicated to trying. By becoming a living example of what Christ would have us be .. by becoming that new creation .. we show others how to do it .. what it looks like .. and simply by living we show others how to escape the sins that grip them. But ultimately .. it’s between God and that person to deal with the sin. We can not preach it away .. or take it away for them ourselves. Only God can do that through Jesus. We are called to be examples of how it’s accomplished.
I hope that helps!
I know that hermenutics is a “rascally beast”, but I was just interested in the further explanation of your biblical interpretations.
I have a real interest in bringing the homosexual community to a saving knowledge of Christ, and that is why I ask some picky questions. I have a really hard time not hating those such as Jerry Falwell for their un-Christ-like blanket statements, and have really tried to concentrate my efforts, although I consistently fail, on being a person who does not judge based on what I think, but instead a person who can reveal truth in spite of myself.
I understand your difficulties .. believe me. I get daily mail from folks condemning me to all manner of hell fire. It’s hard not to hate them .. but then I have to have sympathy for them in how misguided and hateful they’ve become. Yes, we all fail in areas of our walk, but thankfully, it’s God’s grace that we rely on and not our own strength!
I have just read, and been very moved by your letter to our critics. There are many critics of all orientations and I believe God uses them to give us more strength and faith to carry out the work we are called to do.
Last year at our church, where I was a Board Member it was decided to hire a full time pastor. A man, who I believe was sent by God arrived in Vancouver to apply for the position. After meeting him I felt that God would have me support him. At the Board Meeting where he was introduced he was asked the question, are you gay or straight? I had not, nor would I ever ask that question, because I felt we were a church where all were welcome. However some felt this man could not minister to our flock because he didn’t understand our “Problems,” whatever that meant. Anyway last winter was my test of faith, but through it all I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit. I rebuked the Board members in front of the congregation, for being true Sodomites, (inhospitable) and warned them to repent of their wicked ways.
The Board went so far as to put me on trial for a number of fictitious charges. In the end I realized that this place of wickedness was not where God would have me stay, so Bob, I, and a few others kicked the dust from our shoes and left.
One thing I was made aware of through this battle was the enemy attacks us from every direction, but the battle is not ours, but the Lords. God has called us to finish the wall, may His will be done. May the closet door never be closed.
I’m writing to say how much I like your Seeds of Hope area within Whosoever magazine. I’ve read your responses since it’s inception and have been impressed ever since. I just wanted to say I think the work that you and others do (such as MCC’s website, Dr. Truluck’s site and Rev. Mel White’s site and, of course, the Whosoever site) is so important these days! Keep up the good work and may God bless you always! Sincerely Yours,
I wish to express my joy and thankfulness for Whosoever and the mission to which you have been called. I enjoyed the article by Rev. Vera Bourne Forgivness: The Visible Outpouring of Unconditional Love. It was so refreshing to see her insight and explanation of how to begin the healing process. The beautiful poem she quotes by Richard McBrien on love was so moving, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for ministering to gays and lesbians and offering us hope through Christ. Keep up the great work!
Mahalo, (thank you) for the article on being a Christian into leather [Soul of a Second Skin]. It’s a question I’ve been struggling with lately. I don’t love God any less when I’m in a scene than if I’m making gentle love. I still feel love but felt the excitement I have when wearing leather might be wrong. Me ke aloha,
I can only think that it was a blessing from God that I came across this web site. I just wanted to give special thanks to those who have created this site for GLBT people. For I was on the edge of giving up on life due to the abuse towards GLBT people from so-called “Christians.” You’ve given me a new hope that I almost lost. Thank You So Very Much!
Love in Christ Always,