It is kind of funny how time changes so much. Last week a thought crossed my mind of how much the world has changed for men and women like us who are gay and Christian. For so long I had hoped and prayed for a day like these where we are now beginning to experience a margin of acceptance as fellow believers. I can hardly believe the ex-gay movement has been nearly put to sunder; hopefully. The work of so many over the last decade has been vital to bring this about. Most specifically thanks in large part to the many straight allies who welcomed us when it was costly for them and also the strong voices from our own people providing testament that one could be gay or bisexual while living a redeemed transformed life.
Earlier in the week I saw a tweet from a speaker (who is also a celibate gay Christian) I admire greatly who was visiting the campus of my old seminary. It has been over a decade since I have studied there, yet it still seems like yesterday. I had heard through the grapevine that the campus had significantly changed for the better. For a while things were not so great for people like us. There was a time many Christians where fearful of people like us. This was especially true on this campus. The only acceptable view for many, and especially there, was the ex-gay position. To experience any sort of same-sex attraction was a dreadful sign of sin or demonic oppression. It was a solid basis for a disqualification of ministry.
It’s funny how much things have changed. My heart is enjoyed to see this particular seminary move towards a welcoming position towards people like us. To be perfectly honest, I smiled to see that this speaker was to be a guest there.
Still I remember what it was like to be upon those grounds. Roughly a decade ago the ex-gay groups were so numerous on the campus that they required different meeting spaces to accommodate the numbers. Side B position was not really an option or even talked about. But let’s be honest, the radical positions we are choosing to live and espouse was not really even talked about or acknowledged by pretty much anyone. It is amazing to think about how much has actually changed in the Christian world and on that campus for people like us.
Still I must be honest that a slight bit of anger comes up thinking back upon the days when the ex-gay was in its prime; most specifically on that campus. My mind drifts towards fellow classmates who would apostate over the issue. My mind drifts towards those of us who allowed faculty and/or school approved pastoral counselors to conduct exorcisms on us as we sought counseling. My mind drifts to all the pain and heartache that was. I am thankful that the Lord was so good to so many of us who lived through that time. He allowed us to persevere by his grace through those horrors. I am also thankful for so many of the younger gays who will never truly know what it was like to live in the heyday of the ex-gay movement and the hell that it brought.
The day is good as the world has changed and continues to change. For those of us who are celibate, gay and Christians we must continue to fight against oppression and suppression by those who deny we are full members of the body of Christ. The Lord is our good shepherd and he will watch over us faithfully. His sheep do know his voice,we will follow by his grace and we will not be snatched out of his hand.