Please read and share with others this wisdom from Peterson:
Recently at Beyond Ex-Gay we received the following e-mail:
Although I have been out for many years and have had a relationship for 13 years, I have always had this inner guilt due to my religious beliefs and what the bible says. All this time I thought I had to leave by faith behind and deny with much anger God - and that hurts just as much too. I know longer want to do that - I guess you could say I am searching for answers. I am glad you have had this information on the Internet because, I have recently renewed my faith and have thoughts about going through one of these “healing” programs to be right with God – although inside I believe I am the way God made me.
I am confused still, and so torn.
Could someone help me find the answers I am looking for so I don’t feel the pain and guilt?
I post my response below:
Reading what you write about the confusion and the pain you have felt reminds me of my own struggle now 10 years ago when I first acknowledged that I was gay and that I could not change that (even though I tried mightily for 17 years). People told me over and over, “You can’t be gay & Christian!” So when I first came out, I assumed I could not be Christian any longer.
For a time I aspired to be atheist. Turns out I was a rubbish atheist, always praying and thinking about God. That led me to have a heart to heart with God. So many toxic thoughts filled my mind, much fear, guilt and dread that I was doing something so horrible in accepting that I was gay. This had nothing to do with sex or a relationship, but simply the act of accepting my orientation.
That fear can so cloud the mind. It was difficult to discern if it was really the Holy Spirit convicting me or if I was getting battered by many years of sermons and teachings pointing me in a particular direction. Then I remembered, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” God doesn’t lead by fear. Fear led me astray. Fear led me to go to war with my own body and mind. Fear caused me to go down a path that nearly destroyed my faith as I begged and badgered God to fix me, heal me, change me, contain me. I spent years coveting my straight neighbor’s life.
I didn’t trust lots of people at this time–gay or straight. I figured everyone had their own agendas and I needed to find answers for myself–just me and God. Over the years I did eventually find some books that help–Peter Gomes, The Good Book and Christian de la Huerta’s Coming out Spiritually. More so I benefited from reading history, particularly the history of the Bible and how it was used and misused through the years. I learned about the early church from Elaine Pagels. I also read the poetry of Walt Whitman, a revelation both spiritually and physically.
I also began to meet people, sincere Christians who also happen to be gay or lesbian. I got to know them and see their lives and recognize God in them, the fruit of the Spirit, and have fellowship.
In the end I discovered that I can be a person passionately in love with Jesus, serving God and still have a gay orientation. I can be authentic about myself, even if much of the church seems to disagree. In the process I rediscovered the scriptures for myself, found myself in them and a deeper faith.
It is not easy. Many trials, many doubts and the journey has required a certain fearlessness in the face of LOUD opposition, particularly rattling in my head from years of hearing it in the church. But when I get to the heart, when I get to the Spirit, when I sit still in the presence of God, I have peace and clarity. The ruts in my head that led me to places that continually condemned me and harassed me have leveled out.
My mind grows more and more liberated each day as I practice Romans 12:1,2–No longer conform to the patterns of this world (Patterns that say one must be gender-normative, heterosexual, and if you are not there must be something wrong with you and you will encounter troubles. Patterns that say that masculinity is more valuable than femininity. Patterns that insist that one must bow and scrape to the teachings of men instead of the leadings of God), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you can better understand God’s will for you life.
Steve Biko once say,
The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
A liberated mind brings peace, clarity and action.
I can't say it better.