Keeping it RealPosted: September 4, 2013
I suspect that a key reason that the organisation Exodus International fell, was because they didnt always “keep it real”. Im thinking primarily of their catch phrase, which was “change is possible.” Towards the end they dropped that line. The phrase wasnt real, because for the uninitiated, it would sometimes be interpreted to mean that it is possible to change from being homosexually attracted to being heterosexually attracted instead. Some at Exodus liked that interpretation. But others acknowledged that often the degree of change, was only small. The catch phrase was sufficiently non-specific, non-quantified, to be open to interpretation, and it allowed the organisation to respond to critics by claiming misinterpretation, if needed. Slippery. Another way they didnt keep it real was the existence of a culture there, where even the president for most of his presidency couldnt admit that he still experienced same-sex attraction.
Other ministries similar to Exodus International, likewise have elements that to me, dont try hard enough to keep it real. For example, some of them teach that it’s inappropriate for a same-sex attracted Christian to refer to themselves as ‘gay’ or “same-sex attracted”. And sure, fencing your identity in, could be a bad thing. And yes, I recognise that part of praying to God for something, involves the use of faith. But a same-sex attracted person can only believe that they are not same-sex attracted, for a reasonable duration, before the dissonance will lead to frustration and fundamental unhappiness.
Today I came across another element of the approach of not keeping it real, when I discovered a ministry called Taking Back Ground. On their website, they refer to those who
“… have been wounded by past hurts and taken captive by the desire to fulfill unmet needs for love and affirmation through same-sex attractions and relationships. Taking Back Ground helps equip men and women to walk in freedom from these desires as transformation takes place. ‘Freedom’ does not mean you won’t struggle or get tempted, but it does mean that as you walk closer to the Lord and lay down your own life, your own will, your own way of relating, you began to learn God’s good and perfect will and plan for your life.”
That’s a creative use of the word ‘freedom’ then, isnt it. Personally I tend to think of ‘freedom’ as the absence of struggle. I tend to think of ‘freedom’ as referring to, well, being free of all that.
I dont mean to say that these groups dont have redeeming features, or that all similar groups fail to keep it real. But certainly some could try harder on that point.