Whenever one posts something, be it blog, twitter, facebook, whatever, if mixed feelings come before the click, it’s probably best to sleep on it.
The other day my feelings were mixed, but I shot it out anyway.
Two things happened since then.
1) I emailed a buddy across the blogosphere (Julie of Incite Faith) and asked if she thought I came on too abrasively. Her response was a great wake up call.
““But the line must be drawn between good and poisoned fruit.”
The line is love.
Love is what bridges the gap.”
2) The post was also reprinted on another site. A commenter said he felt compelled to give a response of truth because “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.”
I wrote about the bad fruits emerging from the ex gay industry and I meant it. The loud chorus of survivors coming out of reparative therapy doesn’t suggest a ministry of redemption. My own flirtation with it gives me insight into how the fruit tastes. I have seen too much and heard too much. I cannot cast this therapy aside as an “option” or “alternative”, because lives are literally at stake here.
And yes, I have some serious concerns about the fact that this is a business more than a ministry.
Having said that, I made the awful mistake of blurring therapy with therapists. Throwing babies out with the bathwater you could say. Maybe that’s why I had mixed feelings. And maybe I felt that the “poison apple” parallel packed a bigger punch, but in the process, I allowed a personal vendetta against Ms. Hamilton to reach a new low. And when you’re throwing low blows, you’re failing the Father.
There is something that I innately implied into yesterday’s post that is a gross mischaracterization: when I said “ex gay” I was referring to the therapy, not the clients or the therapists. It was a lazy mistake. But a big one.
I know people that have gone through the reparative process, and while they spoke of it’s damage, they never considered counselors to be cruel. Some even have fond memories of them. And we… I, need to entertain the idea that this may be true.
The words of Ms. Julie Hamilton had devastating consequences on my family, but that does not mean her intent was devastation. I don’t know her. And to be perfectly honest, she’s likely a wonderful person.
Ex gay counselors across the board may care more about gay folks than most people. It takes a special someone to trot into the trenches with strangers struggling with their sexual identity. And if that someone sincerely believes that reparative therapy is what’s best for their patient, then their reasons are rooted in love. More love than the words I wrote yesterday.
Justin Lee, author of the book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs Christian Debate, writes in his book… well, what I should have written in my post:
“Christians really are a compassionate bunch, even though the cultural reputation we have right now doesn’t reflect that. Because so many Christians- especially evangelical Christians like me- believed that gay relationships were sinful, they also wanted to believe that there was some way that gay people could become straight so that they could legitimately enjoy all the benefits of romance and marriage. The ex-gays wanted to believe this and to provide hope to others. Unfortunately, sometimes that desire for hope got in the way of being completely honest.”
If I start caricaturing even those with whom I most passionately disagree with, this blog is a fraud.
I missed the mark in my message. And I am sorry.
Burning bridges is always abrasive. It is always unhelpful. It is always hurtful. And it is always unchristian.
Cause bridges have no pre-reqs.
Disciples don’t divide. They put humility before vindictiveness and God before themselves.
Mother Teresa once said:
“if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
I traded a bridge for a partition in the last post, and its because I forgot their spot at the feast.
I forgot that no one is beyond redemption.
Not even me.
It’s a new day and God’s grace is fresh.
And I’ll try to be better tomorrow.