USA - 50 y/o former pentecostal pastor - now out!

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Joined in 2006
December 27, 2006, 10:06

My story is so similar to many that I’ve read that I’ll not bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that growing up in a loving, but very conservative pentecostal church (non-denominational, but similar to AOG), going to college and seminary and eventually being ordained and pastoring for over 20 years, being gay was a secret I tried to keep…well, secret.

I know the pain. I know the games and mental gymnastics we do to balance our faith and our sexuality. I went through the ex-gay thing, spent countless hours in prayer and/or therapy and have had enough anointing oil poured on me in deliverance attempts to supply a small nation.

Ten years ago, at the point of crisis and the end of my ability to hide (which really involved fending off all the rumors. “Oh, did you know that your pastor is one of ‘them’????) I blocked out the people, the voices, my family, my upbringing, even the cries of my own mind and heart and sat, totally vulnerable and open before God. It was there that the reality got through all the BS.

I had had a relationship with God almost all of my life, but had ignored it, failed to take advantage of it and even questioned its existence, yet, the relationship remained.

In the floatsam that was my life I began to find valuable tidbits. Successes, profound and positive effect on lives that my ministry had touched, even a very present and clear anointing from God, all the while being gay. Best of all, God already knew all about it. I didn’t have to rehearse my past or recount success of failure, I just had to begin to participate in this wonderful relationship. As I did, little by little, the questions were answered and the doubts disappeared, taking with them the guilt, shame, fear and pain that had so scarred my life in the past.

I’d love to tell you that it was all smooth sailing from there, but there were the normal bumps along the way. Rejection from those you’d most given yourself to, but also, acceptance by some you never expected! For every negative, there have been waves of postives. For every friend lost, there has been a deepening of the relationship with my lovely Lord. For every church-member who turned their back, two have stopped long enough to see what God was doing. For every time someone ‘just couldn’t believe it’ there were many, many more who realized that we are who we are by God’s boundless and amazing grace and that unconditional love doesn’t love in spite of real or perceived wrongs, rather, it loves without making those judgments.

Ten years into my new life, I have a deeper connection with God and with those around me than at anytime in the days of keeping secrets. No longer can anyone threaten me with ‘outing’, or blackmail me by threats and fear. I am no longer a victim and will never be again. As has been said so eloquently by many others, I have no need for deliverance because I’m not in bondage to who I am. I don’t need healing because my sexual orientation is not a cold or the flu, it is who I was created to be. I don’t need forgiveness for my sexuality, although there have been times when I’ve failed to live the life of integrity that I want to live, those are but failures of my flesh, not failures of who I am or of my faith!

In the end, this is my theme: God did a great job and it would be offensive not to live in the wonder of divine life ‘just as I am’, continuing to that place where, from before eternity past, I was purposed in Christ to be!

Wherever you are on your jouney of faith, God is there. Regardless of how people, clergy, friends or family may or may not have treated you, God is present and a constant help in your time of need.

Further, I am there too, as are the millions of others who have fought this good fight of faith and come out victorious on the other side. We walk together, men, women, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, curious, questioning, and unsure, we are part of each other. Rather than waste time trying to figure out who is right, or who is wrong, let us leave those questions with one who knows the end from the beginning and spend our time productively loving and supporting each other!

That my friends is my story, my song, my desire.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
December 27, 2006, 11:23

Hey Ken

welcome……I loved reading your story and related to so much of it. I was in a spiritual void for 6 years. I’ve come across quite a few who have had the same experience. what lenght of time was it for you from when you came out to actually resolve the faith and sexuality issue?

BTW…….the freedom of finally living a life of integrity is amazing isn’t it…….and thanks so much for sharing your story.

Joined in 2006
December 27, 2006, 13:38

In the end, this is my theme God did a great job and it would be offensive not to live in the wonder of divine life ‘just as I am’, continuing to that place where, from before eternity past, I was purposed in Christ to be! ( i love your theme Ken.)

Ken what you wrote was absolutely beautiful and very encouraging…..

I want to be all that God purposed for me to be ) Thankyou for reminding us all about that………….

Your right, He knew my life before I ever was, what I would do if went to the left and what would happen of i went to the right. Its so good to hear all the “positive” love scriptures, I dont ever recall reading anything negative out of Jesus’ mouth except toward the “religious” people of his day. The “church” for centuries has been brilliant at “tearing down and stepping on” i think it would be great if a revival came through where the church would ” build up and affirm” and stop trying to find everything that is wrong all the time.

Maybe as it was written to one of the churches in Revelation, too many have moved away from their first love “Jesus”, since if we are trully following and in love with Him, how can we not but be loving and gracious ourselves. You have certainly helped settle my mind down some more.

Joined in 2006
December 28, 2006, 03:36

Thank you for your kind replies!

The journey to understanding that my sexual orientation was a gift from God was long. I was in my 30’s before I could even think of that possibility. Once the subject was broached in my heart and mind, the doors to my closet were blown open and I walked out with my faith intact.

As ‘magsdee’ noted, it is a matter of leaving our first (or preeminent) love. Once I was able to look at the fact that I had been in relationship with Jesus for years and all that time, He already knew I was gay, I was actually embarrassed that I had taken so long to put the two together. In II Chronicles 12, King Rehoboam allowed a guy named Shishak, King of Egypt, to come into the temple and steal their golden shields. Instead of realizing that the gold represented divine presence, Rehoboam figured he could replace the gold shields with brass ones. Hey, after all they looked the same. But, what he had done was replace the presence of God with a substitute and a poor one at that. I too, out of false fear, shame, guilt, whatever, had replaced my first love with the substitute of ministry, work and the church. The correction was not to condemn (Romans 8:1, ‘There is therefore now NO condemnation to those in Christ Jesus”), but rather to bring back the gold shields and return to my first love!

God richly blessed my life, called me, anointed my ministry and brought great things to my life, but I still had this little tickle in my spirit that kept me thinking that it was because (I know how crazy this sounds) somehow God must not know I was gay. Today, that is laughable, but the real journey was to the realization that the evidence of that was false, God knew all about me, the end from the beginning and had blessed, called, anointed and used me anyway. I fell on my knees and asked forgiveness, not for being gay, but for being so thick-headed and unbelieving in God’s full, unconditional and perfect love.

Truly, Jesus is the lover of my soul and yes AVB, the freedom to live a life of integrity, without secrets is amazing!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to go on so long. Thanks for letting me express what is bubbling out of my full heart! I so appreciate being part of this group. Have a wonder-filled and blessed day!

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
December 28, 2006, 07:49

yes Ken……its such a simple thing isn’t it. …….and so difficult for us to comprehend………even though we preached it………we are loved unconditionally. It justdidn’t seen possible that included our same sex attraction….after all abomination is such a strong word.

For me…….I found that out first…..after 6 years in a spiritual void while i embraced the true me (the gay me)……..then some time later i looked at the bible verses with a more educated view.

Joined in 2006
December 28, 2006, 08:13

Hey there – loved your story, I can relate fully! Thank you for taking the time (and guts) to share!

take care


Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
December 28, 2006, 08:17

Hey Marc…….thanks for popping in…….feel free to share yours with us as well…….its great that we are connecting with others……..we used to be so alone.

i remember thinking, when I first left the ministry that I must be the only pentecostal minister in the entire world who was gay………how funny is that. I’ve connected with so many…..but i’m sure there are those who are out there feeling that terrible feeling of shame and failure i did.

we need no longer be alone.

Joined in 2006
December 28, 2006, 14:17

Hey Marc,

Thanks for your nice words. Glad you jumped into the discussion. Like Anthony said, I felt so alone in this struggle, but now know that we are not alone. The presence and love of God has drawn us together in our shared journey. We may have once been strangers, but we are not strangers or strange anymore! 😉

Like the old song says (I KNOW I’m dating myself here)’we are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord…’ and, we are one in our freedom 2 b[e]!

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
December 28, 2006, 14:32

Like the old song says (I KNOW I’m dating myself here)’we are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord…’ and, we are one in our freedom 2 b[e]!

very cute ken……that brought back memories… of the original charismatic songs i believe.

Since my autobiography came out i am connecting with others who have been in the ministry and had to leave becuase they were gay or discovered like Ted Haggard and Paul Barnes. some that i connect with are very much still lost in hurt and anger and faith seems to have vanished like a mist…….others have come to resolution……the more of us who speak of our journey to reconcilation and peace the more it gives others hope.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 27, 2009, 08:35

hey Kenny…its been some time since we heard from you…….whats happening in your life ATM

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