Oct 9, 2012

A PASTORS CHALLENGE: ¨I assumed my attraction to men was only physical and that periodic encounters with men had been a kind of addiction, but not related to who I really was.¨

¨It was 1983 and I was about to graduate from a Christian college. I was terrified of the future because of my big, scary, dark secret. Finally, with a mixture of fear and shame, I scheduled an appointment with the school’s director of counseling. I told him my secret: I was attracted to other guys. I also told him that more than anything, I wanted to be free from those desires and live a normal life. He assured me that such change was possible, but would probably take about a year of therapy. Since I was due to graduate, I was referred to a Christian counselor in the city where I would soon begin seminary.

The new counselor, a sincere man with an MSW degree, also affirmed that change was possible. We began a counseling relationship lasting one year. “I’ve never met a homosexually-attracted man who had a good relationship with his father,” he told me. “Hmmm,” I thought, “my Dad and I have always been pretty close.” I told him so, and the counselor began a process of deconstructing my relationship with my father. He explained that my inability to bond with my father resulted in a quest to repair that relationship through bonding with other men. He was the expert and I was desperate, so I believed him. Thus began a journey toward becoming ‘normal’ that lasted nearly twenty years.

My story is similar to many others I've heard. A childhood centered in church and family. A growing awareness that I was attracted to guys, not girls, coupled with systems of massive denial. My identity was centered in being a good boy, an obedient son, a committed Christian. Inner nudges toward ministry set me on a path that included a Christian college and seminary - places where being gay was just not an option. I couldn't imagine a life that didn't include a wife, children, and the respect of others for being a Christian role model.

Being a pastor and practicing spiritual disciplines did nothing to diminish the power of my innate sexuality. I eventually got married to a remarkable woman, hoping the Christian counselors were correct that it would be a sign of my 'healing.' No doubt a very bad decision, though I'm deeply grateful for the two wonderful children who came out of our marriage.

In 2001 the unthinkable happened. On the day after my 40th birthday, I met a man with whom I experienced an overpowering emotional connection. Until then I assumed my attraction to men was only physical and that periodic encounters with men had been a kind of addiction, but not related to who I really was. A very brief 'fling' with this man ended when he challenged me to be completely honest with myself. A gay, Jewish agnostic man demonstrated greater integrity than this married Christian pastor, and his words began what ultimately resulted in my coming out...¨  please read Ricks story, HERE

Thanks to Ex-Gay Narratives, sidebar
Thanks to ¨Rick¨

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