Hello all. I want to tell you a story – the story of my transformation into a man who now understands that I don’t need to spend the rest of my life fighting to change what cannot be changed AND that I can continue to love, serve and grow in Christ as a gay man who is assured of his salvation!
I was raised in a rural area, the eldest of three kids in a very conservative Christian family, in a very conservative community. I always felt like I was different but didn’t realise it was due to my sexuality until about 12 years old (although I now realise too that being gay brings out other human qualities in addition to sexual orientation). We were Methodists, however my parents were strongly influenced by the charismatic movement in the early seventies. At this time a Methodist minister by the name of Clarke Taylor had left that denomination to start what is now known as Christian Outreach Centres. I can remember Pastor Taylor coming and staying in our home when my family were part of a core group who started a COC in the little town near where we lived. Whenever homosexuality was mentioned, it was always in the strongest of terms as the sin above all sins, a sickness and a choice that was so evil it was uncomfortable to even mention.
I was a happy child and always had a heart for the Lord. Upon reaching my teenage years I knew I was gay but tried so hard to push it away in my mind without success. I think I just kept believing it was something I would grow out of and eventually things would turn out differently. Of course, it did not dampen in any way, but only seemed to increase in intensity. This was a very private struggle as there was no way I could tell anyone, let alone my parents. I prayed many times for God to take care of this. The result of this internal struggle was twofold – it gave me a lively inquiring mind, striving to learn about the world I found myself in, about God and the reason things are the way they are. This was a good thing because it has given me an internal fortitude and strength of character with quiet determination that serves me well to this day. The other consequence of my struggle however, was that I became very shy and somewhat socially inept. I had no close friends throughout high school and was a bit of a class clown in order to get attention. I was good academically and began to excel in my music studies. But I thank God that despite all this, I never became despondent, depressed or angry – I just trusted in the Lord and knew He was ultimately in control.
I finished high school and moved to Brisbane to attend Uni and become a high school teacher. I loved being in the big city even though I was homesick at first. I graduated and worked in a number of places all over Queensland, still repressing my sexuality, still praying for God to fix it, still shy but confident in my work. Finally, when I reached 30 I gathered up the courage to tell my Pastor about my ‘problem’ after hearing about ex-gay ministries in my church. By this time I was very involved, as both an elder and as the leader of the music and worship ministry and could never understand why the Holy Spirit was so real to me in this ministry when my secret was supposedly so evil. I went to see the Pastor and one of the elders armed with a resignation letter, because the church I was in had been formed as a result of leaving the Uniting Church over the ordination of gay leaders. To my amazement they tore up the letter and allowed me to continue in leadership. I did however want to change so much, that I went along with the counselling, breaking of curses, deliverance and prayers that were carried out to heal me. I was then promptly sent on my way believing that God had healed me and was told that I would know if the sparks were there when I met the right girl. I was desperate to be seen to be ‘normal’ and desperate to know if the healing ministry had really worked. My church was notorious for match-making couples and also for desperate single women approaching eligible men and saying that God told them they were the one for them. This happened to me four times. I decided to try out a relationship with a lovely young woman who I knew really liked me, and who would have been the most loyal and loving Christian wife any man could hope to have. But the Pastor’s words rang loud in my memory – “if the sparks are there you will know”. I can tell you there was not so much as a single spark and I called it all off before I gave her any more hope it might grow into something special. My yearning to be intimate with a guy was stronger than ever. I contacted Exodus twice and received phone counselling. I tried so hard to pray it away and focus on other things, still believing for my miracle, but questioned the methods used by Exodus, which to me seemed like they were more mind over matter rather than true change. I was just as gay as ever and ended up saying to God in total frustration – “whatever happens with this from now on is in your hands Lord, I won’t try and force anything, please God show me your ways regarding this”.
I then felt a strong urge to leave my church and home where I was quite settled, to pursue my career through promotion. God has blessed this in an amazing way – I am now the Principal of a medium-sized school. Over the past 8 years I have climbed the ladder rapidly, receiving lots of affirmation through my work and for the first time in my life began to form real friendships, even divulging my secret to a few (although I am still a bit of a loner). I continued to attend churches but was nowhere near as involved as before. I began to read more widely and discovered that there is an alternative point of view regarding the biblical texts that are used to condemn homosexual people. I also discovered the truth about the false hope and failure of ex-gay ministries. I still struggled at times with doubts about it all and would worry that this new way of understanding was a trick and I would end up in hell. But then God reminded me of my very own prayer, and with this memory His love and assurance of salvation were so real to me.
In April this year, I was in Sydney on holidays and attended a freedom2b meeting. It was so good to be in the company of people who had travelled the same path. I wish I could be there every month, but I am living and working in a very remote part of Australia so it will be limited to holiday visits. I have definitely come out to myself, have come out to some close friends and have prepared a letter for my parents telling my whole story in more detail than you have read here. I will tell them face-to-face but find it easier to put deep personal things down in writing, so it will help. I have no idea how they will take it or when I will do it, but I just keep sensing that God wants this because it is the right thing to do. I know I’m not called by God to celibacy, so I guess the dream to meet Mr. Right is very real for me – but this one is up to God too, because I cannot imagine myself in the gay scene and have no idea how this could happen in my present circumstances. I have so much to be thankful for – a successful career, a wonderful interesting life that always brings something new, a solid faith in Christ and most certainly I am thankful that I am different! 😀