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LS: Sexuality Dialog in San Diego (and anywhere else for that matter)

> I think you confuse changing obsessive behavior, no matter whose, with
> "curing" people of their homosexuality.  These are two very different
> things. 

Of course changing obsessive behavior and "curing" people of their basic
sexual orientation are very different things.  I believe that Joe Dallas
and his colleagues muddle the two, but so do many straights who listen
from the sidelines.  I believe that an open and vulnerable discussion
would give you the chance to make your point far more poignantly than you
will do if you treat the other point of view as unspeakable.  Shutting out
a point of view gives it power that you could deny it if you hear it out
and then respond face to face with gentle, cogent candor.

> But this man, according to his brochure which was read to us today, is
> out to propose the complete re-sexualization of people. 

As I indicated, he was quite candid in the Catonsville conference that not
all who seek to be cured experience complete re-sexualization, especially
regarding the persistence of homosexual desire.  (See
http://www.qrd.com/religion/anti/exgay/regeneration.txt)  You and I have
many points that we want to make about the implications of that
concession.  I think we have a much better opportunity to make those
points with him present, and with those who listen to him but not to us
present, than we do in their absence. 

Obviously such a forum is not the major one in which we forge our lives,
for we are not shaped primarily in opposition to their claims, no more
than Israel is primarily a response to the religion of Baal. Elijah did
not spend ALL of his time in pyrotechnic competition; but when he did, he
was good at it. 

> And the priest who thought he would be a good addition to our symposium
> thinks that LGBT Christians ought to go through this sort of brainwash,
> like it or not, because that's the only way they can be made "whole"
> (his words). 

You and I agree that Joe Dallas's approach is brainwash.  Many folks not
sure what position to take see our point of view as very much like
brainwash, especially if we find reasons to exclude the points of view of
those who disagree with us. 

The term *brainwash* does not further understanding. We have much to gain
from clear and compassionate public explanations of the two dynamics. 

Look again at the powerful statement that Tom Myers posted here from the
young man last week.  That young man heard affirmation from our point of
view, but wavered when he got back to the homophobic support systems of
his condemning parish.  I believe he would benefit from hearing the truth
claims of each group in a more public way, with persons from each point of
view responding to one another: he does not need to have one group off by
itself make up his mind for him, for then he will think we shaped him
("Eve made me do it!")

> I am offended that someone would
> propose changing me, God's own creation, to suit his notions of proper
> Anglican "norms".  

Joe Dallas is not an Anglican.  Period.  Full stop.  Don't give him clout
in your community that he does not have.  Very few of the 'healers' are.
The most celebrated one, Alan Medinger of Regeneration, recently left the
Episcopal Church, as did his wife Willa. 

As to the bigger issue, you are speaking to the converted.  I am offended
too.  But why not give your conferees the chance for you to state your
offense to him as irenically as possible in a public forum, rather than
use the offense to shut him out?  Be Anglican about it:  i.e., be gracious
and generous:  send him a bread-n-butter note afterwards.  The civility
alone may prove so novel that many more will take your Church seriously. 
God moves in mysterious ways Her wonders to perform (the most Anglican
hymn in the book!). 

One way to be generous is to share the numerous concerns that you and Joe
Dallas have in common, to share your common vulnerabilities.  That's what
I tried to do in my earlier post.

> Then, why inappropriate?  Because the goal of this symposium is to educate, to
> give human faces to the issue, to help heal, and to gain the possibility of
> living together in grace.  I only see a speaker like Dallas as counter to
> those aims with his talk about changing everyone's sexuality.  
You will find very few ex-gays, and almost no ex-gay Anglicans, willing to
show their faces; yet how will those whom you want to influence know that
unless you demonstrate the difference?  Call their bluff.  Most who
present the ex-gay point of view are the alleged 'healers,' such as the
notorious Earle Fox of Emmaeus Ministries in Ambridge, PA.  He's ECUSA's
very own Phelps; every time he foams at the mouth, some who share his
point of view begin to find ours more cogent.

If the "cure" is as efficacious as claimed, surely Anglicans who have been
healed will want to share that good news, even as you and I want to share
the good news of the healing we have experienced in our lives by
integrating our sexuality into our whole personhood.  (There was no accident
that I chose 'integrity' for the name back in 1974:  it named the process
into which God had dropped me in that YMCA room.)

When my friend Alan Medinger describes how God took him out of the bushes
and renewed his attractions to Willa, he is describing a miracle that we
can and should  honor.  When he tells me that I should leave my holy union
and find my own Willa, he sounds to me as if he is turning his experience
into an idol.  I don't want to do the same in describing my experience
with Ernest.   Each person needs the holy space to discern what is right
for herself or himself.

> Perhaps down the line in some future diocesan discussion, we can invite
> Dallas for the reasons you suggest, but right now, we wade through the
> worst morasses of bigotry and ignorance here.  We need remindings of the
> Gospel, of God's acceptance of us just as we are, and not some guy
> suggesting that we can more easily be accepted into the Episcopal Church
> if we just turn straight. 

Never go before him or any other creature without full assurance of God's
acceptance. It is only out of that blessed assurance that you have any
good news to share.

I rejoice in your ministry.

Be of good cheer!

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