Monday, July 30, 2007

"My family can only love the mask they give me to wear..."

I've blogged often on gay Christian issues. I believe that the Church has the power, by ending its declared war on the gays in its midst, to spread peace, reconciliation and blessing into the lives of gays and their families. Instead it sows misery, self-hatred, doubt and fear.

Friend of this blog Eric from Two World Collision was recently interviewed for an article in the OC Weekly about ex-gay movements and the growing communities of survivors of those experiences.
Exodus International is no stranger to protest, but this year, Soulforce, a group of volunteers who have made it their mission to teach the principles of nonviolence on behalf of gender minorities, and Beyond Ex-Gay, a relatively new online community for ex-gay survivors, would swap bullhorns and hand-carried signs for a different form of retaliation.

Here, for three days, the survivors would gather at the university and tell the stories many at Exodus do not want to hear: yarns of rejection, failure and brokenness. And all from the lips of former ex-gay ministry members and leaders who once subscribed to the same mindset as the mammoth ministry:

“I failed God.”

“I’ve come to hate religion.”

“My family can only love the mask they give me to wear.”

The wall fills with color and pain as the clock ticks, the silent crowd growing restless and tearful, some seemingly amazed they’d met their personal demons here in this simple activity. A few “good” memories are scrawled—“Made great friends,” “God became a very real father to me”—but they are almost lost in the sorrowful missives.

The crowd falls back as the activity concludes—an icebreaking session for the Survivor Conference.

Then the man who blames himself in part for the birth of the ex-gay movement in Anaheim more than three decades ago comes forward and picks up a pen.

“The truth will set you free,” Michael Bussee writes in red, “but first it will make you miserable.”

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