religious views

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Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 22, 2007, 22:07

I love you Sandy…… of your great qualities is to acknowledging you are learning……..and then running a close second is your humility in saying sorry.

Dove Snuggler
Joined in 2007
November 22, 2007, 22:38

Wow! There are many strains to this discussion, but I guess I’ve come in so late that I need to go back to the original question: “I am just wondering whether people in here have had a change in religious views either due there study, in relation to homosexuality in the Bible or after coming out…”

My simple answer is yes. Study was a major contributor to my coming out. As a student of Social Science I wanted to address issues like unemployment and health. I combed the 10 or 12 books on unemployment but somehow discovered there were several thousand texts on the subject of homosexuality. (I hope I’m not exaggerating). My first reaction was disgust. I even wrote about my disgust on several occasions … to think that there was so much focus on sexuality when important issues were under-researched! (How very dare they????) It appeared so indulgent.

Under my ‘Telling Our Stories’ section in the item entitled Closet Secrets I said: “I admitted to my psychologist that I thought I might be gay. As if I needed to think about it. She suggested I try having sex with a guy and I promptly sacked her as my psychologist. I was too far in the closet.” You would need to read my story to have any hope of understanding this.

After a few years at university I elected to study a unit on gender and sexuality to stretch my own understanding of gender issues. (I needed to justify to myself that this was ok). In the course I encountered both an influential Christian lecturer and a man-hating lesbian fellow-student. I was stretched to the limit but for the first time in my life I began to understand that not everything in my modern ‘New International’ translation was a true reflection of God’s attitude to gays. I’ll spare you the plethora of conclusions I came to, however the main issue was that Biblical translation was a debate, not a fact. Sodom and Paul are interpreted by Bible translators through their own veil of prejudice. Taking it at face value is like believing a politician’s bid to be elected.

Education has made me far more distrusting of the human interpretation of God and far more accepting of myself as a gay person. My concept of God and my concept of myself as a gay man are far closer than they ever could have been under the previous fundamentalist indoctrination of my former life. I have no regrets.

Thank you.


Joined in 2007
November 22, 2007, 23:52

Thanks Anthony. 😳

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 23, 2007, 00:05

I have no regrets. So true Kit.

I like what you’ve said in that post particularly the line

Education has made me far more distrusting of the human interpretation of God and far more accepting of myself as a gay person.

back to regrets……..I’m the same as I feel that every twist and turn has created me into the man I am today…..and i’m very happy with that creation. when people ask me do I have any regrets then I usually respond……..yes one……..that I left home without saying goodbye to my girls…….I wish I had the courage at that time to talk to them and tell them why I was going. There was so little courage left in me I needed every ounce just to walk out the door.

My little Bec sometime later said to me “Dad how could you have gone without saying goodbye. How could you? I couldn’t understand it. How could you? I thought you loved me so much you could never leave without at least talking to me. To walk out and say nothing left me so confused.”

I regret the hurt that brought into her life. there was already enough……but that act came down on her heart like a hammer on an anvil.

Dove Snuggler
Joined in 2007
November 24, 2007, 02:48

Hi Anthony

Your theme is very heartfelt. Our regrets are very different from one another and yet I suspect we all have them. I know I’ve met many men who have not had access to their children over several years, etc. I have my own difficult regrets around the death of my daughter (1987) and the death of my father (1995).

As you have told us you did the only thing you could manage at the time. We have all been there and we all need to forgive ourselves the things we perceive as failings. I consider I have a good relationship with my children and yet I have struggled with many statements my 21 year-old has said over the years. Even at her latest birthday party she reflected a total understanding of her mother’s life-suffering and a total lack of understanding of mine. Rather than fix her perspective, I have worked on becoming a better father to her by doing the things I dream about instead of dreaming about them. Last week I managed to score a pregnant unscheduled coffee break with her and her boyfriend at Macquarie Centre. It meant more to me than any reader could understand.

These recent events have also enabled me to be far more frank with my daughter’s young stepsister who has shared fortnightly weekends with me over most of her 14 precious years. (Anthony please forgive me this diversion). I tried so hard not to engage with this little girl because I never imagined the future that lay before us both. Her abusive father later faced a legal hearing (which I won’t go into, but which involved my now much older son testifying before a QC). The situation was so grave that child care centres could not permit tradesmen to visit except during her sleeptime.

This darling little girl cried incessantly when she was with her father, yet for some reason she always beamed at me through the gauze security door when I came to collect my older 2 children. It is one of those little life mysteries that we bonded by default and that we have both been able to support each other through thick and thin over the past 11 or so years. In fact tonight we had the most revealing heart-to-heart about why we have always valued each other. Without Nicki I wonder if I’d still have been here.

Take care. Kit

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 24, 2007, 15:25

I find it a constant work Kit.

the most difficult thing I found to overcome when they initially wanted to see me was the terrible sense of guilt and shame I felt for the hurt and pain I put them through. that really stopped me from connecting with them as I used to…….but that was a deep seated subconscious thing that impacted my life…….that gnawing feeling of shame, guilt and failure that hides away at even when we come out and impacts so many areas of out lives and relationships. Many years of conditioning to overcome.

that is why its so important to help our young people see the truth……so they dont have to unlearn.

good to have you as a participant in the forum BTW.

Joined in 2007
November 24, 2007, 18:13

What a poignant tale… I didn’t reply straight away because well… what can you say? But I did feel like giving you a great big hug. So uh… pretend I did ok? 😆

Dove Snuggler
Joined in 2007
November 25, 2007, 11:54

Thanks Sandy and thanks for the welcome Anthony.

I would have joined the forum some time back except for a combination of computer problems and study. I think it’s great to be able to discuss the issues that concern us … both light and heavy!

Anthony, you have a truly wonderful concept in wanting “to help our young people see the truth…so they dont have to unlearn.” Not everyone lives in a liberated world so there is a lot of work still to do.

I have put so much energy into accepting myself as a gay man that I admit I have underestimated the impact shame and guilt has had in my own life and my relationships with my children. Perhaps it’s like a parasite intentionally trying to sabotage confidence, effectiveness and potential relationships?

A resilience workshop I attended on Friday revived the well-worn saying. I think I’m finding new meaning in it: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” Those things may be visible, such as speaking, writing, working with others, even voting. But those things are also intensely personal … my change of heart, my capacity to love, my ability to recognise and deal with the parasite that seeks to destroy me.

Anthony, you risked everything to become a shining light in this community. I am sure we will all band together to pray that God will give you the healing your heart desires as a father to your beautiful girls.

Hugs. Kit

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
November 27, 2007, 09:58

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Hugs. Kit

The simple prayers are often the most profound.

“lord I believe…help thou my unbelief”

“father forgive them for they know not what they do”

Joined in 2006
November 27, 2007, 10:02

How true is that.

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