Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a welcome, positive change of heart from an old friend

I have been slow to post lately, but even some of my family think I'm way to pre-occupied with "other things." I just need to work really hard to catch up with e-mails and do a blog entry so that you all don't forget me!

Yesterday I got a very welcome facebook message, from a friend I used to attend church with. She and I ended up talking on the phone, and she gave me permission to share her e-mail. Not only was she involved in a cultish church that I also attended (35 years ago), but she also unknowingly married a gay man (and she is straight). Fortunately she is getting the support she needs these days, and her message really was a lift to me when I got it. I will use it here:

Hi Carol,

I am not sure if you remember me. I use to go to GFT. I am [someone I know's] oldest daughter. I got caught up in the craziness of Ferris Miller's group and have been putting my life back together. It has been an interesting and humbling journey. My world view has radically changed on almost ever subject. I am currently enrolled in college with the long term goal to go into the mental health field specializing in trauma. I have have been networking with the International Cultic Studies Association and started working on a book about my own journey into a biblical base cult and recovery called, Stepping through the looking glass; a survivors guide to understanding cults, domestic violence and other adverse environments. My priest lent me a book that helped me totally change my view on the issues individuals who are gay face.( When I go to church, which is rare I go to an Episcopalian church. I like the fact everyone is welcome and people can be openly who they are.) I would like to volunteer some time to an organization that is an advocacy or support to those facing the challenges society forces them to deal with when a person is gay. I do not have the idea of love the sinner not the sin. I simply have the idea of every one. My former husband is gay but is a very homophobic about his orientation. His own struggles was a component of the abuse I faced. I am heart broken [former husband's name] could never be honest about his own struggle in a judgment free environment. Miller's solutions only made everything worse. Right now I am recovering from abuse issues from domestic violence so volunteering in that area is too close to home. However, I do want to do something for someone else. I read the article of Ray's coming out. It was a beautiful testament to your love and compassion. After years of being in Ferris's group I did not think there were people who actually loved and cared they way you and your family does. The article did a great deal towards restoring something in my own life. Thank you for your courage in allowing a very personal story to be told so publicly. I have seen the hate that so many in the church can be a part of and witnessed first hands the abuse of religion. I am just one person putting my life together who would like to extent any kind of help to a cause that is helping others live a meaningful exsistance. If you could make any recommendations I would appreciate it . I heard that you are involved in some organizations and was hoping you could make some suggestions.Thank you for taking a moment to read my email. I look foreword to hearing back from you. You, Ray and your family are in my thoughts often. I respect and admire all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This is the kind of change that really IS possible! Thanks for sharing :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If only people could see the damage religion can do when used as a weapon instead of as a tool. My gay ex was raised in the church and his father was a pastor. I'd never seen a more dysfunctional group of people in my life and thought my ex had managed to escape it. Boy was I wrong. He'd just learned to hide it, and after suppressing his sexual orientation for 55 years, it finally exploded in his face. He engaged on a covert mission of promiscusous sex that led to him being diagnosed as HIV positive. He may live a long time with that diagnosis or he could die next month. But either way I blame his family's warped version of Christianity for his situation.

I too am attending a church where people can be who they are, and I love it. I see a loving Christ portrayed instead of a judging one. I see congregants who love each other for what's inside, not for what they wear or their sexual orientation or even their political affiliation. It's a breath of fresh air after years of listening to sermons condemning people for being who God made them.