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LS: Sexuality Dialog in San Diego (and anywhere else for that matter)
Elijah was not afraid to face the Prophets of Baal, nor should lesbigay
Christians be afraid to face Joe Dallas.
I exaggerate him, and even demonize him here, much as I did went to hear
him speak. Yet when I listened, I found that he and I are concerned about
many of the same things. I found that we are even closer than either of
us feels comfortable, given the way that our age polarizes our choices.
For example, neither of us wants to be trapped in compulsions, sexual or
otherwise, and both of us have been. Both of us seek deliverance, and
both of us want to have Christ at the center of our lives. Both of us
have been profoundly moved in our spiritual journeys, and both of us share
narratives about those experiences with lots of people.
I have not sat down with Joe Dallas, but I imagine that we could have a
good conversation with mutual respect. I was the veritable mouse in the
corner when Ann Carlson and I went to one of his meetings in Maryland
several years ago. (See "More Awards","Voice of Integrity"," Summer 1994:
13. Kim Byham receives `Headline: Award of Excellence' for his headline
`Pussycats in the Lions' Den' for article in the fall 1993 issue by Ann
Carlson and Louie Crew). At that conference I was impressed by Joe's
candor about what could NOT be expected by many there to seek deliverance.
He noted, e.g., the persistence of homosexual desire for many who seek to
abandon homosexual behavior.
[see my report of the conference at
Were I caught up in anonymous, compulsive sex with strangers, I would be
seeking deliverance too. It was in a long siege of such compulsions that
25 years ago come September I was invited to room 609 in the Atlanta YMCA,
sure that the guy inviting me was a vice-squad cop, but I was willing to
risk jail for yet one more thrill. I have been living with the guy from
room 609 ever since. I am absolutely sure that there were three of us
there that Labor Day Weekend, Ernest, me, and Jesus.
When some of my friends in the Ex-Gay Movement tell me how they have been
delivered from sex in the bushes to a restored interest in their wives, I
rejoice, just as when gay friends tell me that they have had a restored
erotic interest in their partners to whom they have committed themselves
Options are out there. Not many take the x-gay option. Some who do, take
it with great violence to themselves and trap themselves into further
compulsions, but so do some who choose to act homosexually as if it
is only a sexual register. I know some 'ex-gays' who live their lives with
integrity, who make heterosexual adjustments and live out their
commitments with dignity and devotion.
Good and evil do not live at a single address on this issue. We would all
be well served I think, by many conversations across all these
differences, especially conversations that promote candor and
vulnerability rather than pat answers.
One way we often turn off homosexual persons who are fearful of themselves
is by our seeming glibness. The rightness of my decision or of theirs
does not depend on our getting the other side to give us a seal of
approval. We do not have to shut out witnesses to other decisions. We
will be judged not by how nice we are to other lesbigays and our friends,
but by how co-passionately we journey with Joe Dallas and his friends.
And there are a great many in the church that wish we would all disappear;
they even behave as if we have. Ex-gay ministries are the most
under-funded projects since "separate but equal schools."
May God flood us all with joy. She loves absolutely all of us!