Sunday, August 30, 2009
1. Sixty-Eight Protestant Leaders Applaud Encyclical [weblink]
2. Seal of Confession Goes on Trial [weblink]
3. 'Comprehensive Sex Ed'= More Abortions [weblink]
4. House OKs Bill Against Child Pornography [weblink] (This is welcome news!)
5. RH Bill's Vocal Critic Dies [weblink]
6. Uruguay Set to Allow Gays to Adopt [weblink]
7. Researcher: 74% of Bisexuals Experienced Child Sex Abuse [weblink]
8. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Condemns ELCA Heresy Allowing 'Gay' Pastors [weblink]
9. Pro-Abort, Homosexual, Human Stem-Cell Groups Mourn Loss of "Greatest Champion" Kennedy [weblink]
10. US Court Rules 'Sexual Orientation' Laws Include Former Homosexuals [weblink]
11. Pepsi Cola Forms Gay Pride Organization - Boycott Pepsi Drinks, Frito-Lay, Quaker [weblink] Link to the AFA online boycott pledge: http://www.boycottpepsico.com
12. Muslim Europe: The Demographic Time Bomb Transforming Our Continent [weblink]
Quote for the week:
"The Lord measures our perfection neither by the multitude nor the magnitude of our deeds, but by the manner in which we perform them." - St. John of the Cross
Thursday, August 27, 2009
In this episode, Friar Roderick interviews Fr. Paul Check, priest from the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, and Executive Director of Courage International, on his apostolate which works with those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Fr. Paul focuses on the positive aspects of living a Catholic life in the midst of a decaying culture, and how to avoid getting caught in the tangled web of same-sex relationships.
Here are some quotes from Fr. Paul Check's interview:
"It is unfortunate that many people think the Church condemns this group of people outright and says they are only destined for hell and so on and of course that is very far from the truth."
"The word 'change' has to be approached with great care. From the standpoint of the Courage Apostolate, the change that we try to assist people with is a change from promiscuity to interior chastity - a chastity of the heart."
"...to help people know that a chaste heart is something that they can have, and a chaste heart is a peaceful heart."
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Greetings from Bagong Pag-asa!
As part of our initiative to educate and equip people with life skills, we will be conducting workshops (details below). Please help us by promoting our workshops to your friends, colleagues who might be interested as well as in your in your church, office, and social networks.
All proceeds will go to ministry programs such as support group meetings, Handog Pag-asa feeding program and Life at the Crossroads (HIV & AIDS initiative). For workshop fees and other details, please contact our office at the numbers indicated below.
The Church & the Homosexual Issue
August 29, 2009 and November 21, 2009 (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m). Open to all church leaders, church workers, and lay leaders free of charge.
Thinking Outside the Box
September 26, 2009. Open to all, with workshop fee.
October 17, 2009. Open to all, with workshop fee.
All scheduled workshops will be held in the BP Makati office. Due to limited space, reservation is required to guarantee participant slot. We can also conduct the said workshops in your church or office as in-house training on your preferred schedule.
We also have a monthly support group meeting for family and friends of people struggling with same-sex attraction. You may know of someone who may need help regarding a friend or a family member who is gay/living the gay lifestyle, please refer them to us and ask them to inquire about the Family & Friends Support Group.
Thank you and God bless you for helping us promote our programs!
Unit 10M, Burgundy Corporate Tower
252 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
Telefax: (+632) 886-4441
Mobile #: +63927-5788373 (Globe) & +63923-6191381 (Sun)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
1. Asian Bishops Emphasize Power of Eucharist [weblink]
2. Do You Also Wish To Go Away? (Biblical Reflections for 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time B) [weblink]
3. New Video Exposing Overpopulation Myths Gains Traction, Hate From Opponents [weblink]
4. Obama to Discuss Health Care Today With Faith Groups [weblink]
5. NIV Study Bible on Romans: 'Homosexual Practice Is Sinful in God's Eyes' [weblink]
6. Alaskan Mayor Vetoes Homosexual Anti-Discrimination Law [weblink]
7. Trial Date Set For Court Challenge to California's Proposition 8 [weblink]
8. Australia Court Legally Recognizes Two Women as Men [weblink]
9. Lutherans Adopt More Open View on Homosexuality [weblink]
10. Homosexuals More Likely to Seek Psychological Help [weblink]
Quote for the week:
The denial of personal guilt makes men ready to surrender their liberty. Better it is for a man to realize he has evil tendencies which must be fought and combated in order that his higher self may emerge. - Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Thursday, August 20, 2009
This is a personal sharing coming straight from an emotional wound I have had since I was a kid.
Last Sunday during our sports fest, I had the chance to play bowling again. The last time I played this sport was back in college - almost a decade ago! Feeling so excited, I grabbed the 10+ pound bowling ball. At first I didn't know what to do with the holes. I thought it was for the thumb, index, and middle fingers and I was wrong. It's for the thumb, middle finger and ring finger. How athletic.
As I was about to release the heavy ball from my right hand, the ball bounced and rolled over to the side lane. It was so embarassing! But during the subsequent attempts, I was able to pull it through. Thank goodness.
In my previous article I posted something about sports wound in which according to one study over 90% of men with SSA have struggled with this while growing up and I for one can definitely attest to this fact.
In recollecting my earliest childhood experiences, I was a normal kid. I remember playing street games including "piko," "tumbang preso," "sipa," "tagu-taguan," "baril-barilan," "luksong baka, "and even "Chinese garter." Name it I've played it. This was when I was around 5 to 7 years old and I was just fine.
But as I grew up, especially at school, things began to change. The boys whom I used to play with were now playing a different kind of game - basketball.
I hate that sport until now. Even though I used to watch PBA games while still young, I wasn't able to carry it through. Yes, I had tried playing basketball a couple of times, but because it is a contact sports I never got myself to like it. I was afraid of being injured. I was not good at dribbling the ball. I was not good at shooting the ball. I simply resigned myself to the thought that I'm not athletically competent for this sport. It's too rough a sport for me. I'm a "special" and "different" kid and so why would I play such a sport. Any other sport will do, especially individual sports, where me alone will be recognized but not basketball.
Every summer, our barangay holds basketball tournaments for boys of all ages even those as young as 6 to 7 years old. I remember being invited to join these tournaments which I would decline out of fear. My father was a basketball player himself and you could just imagine the feelings of shame and self-loathing that I felt during those times because I couldn't live up to the expectations of others and my dad as well. I was often compared to other boys my age and though I didn't realize it, I was gradually withdrawing myself more and more from my childhood playmates. In my young mind I couldn't understand why every boy my age should be subjected to such thing. "Don't you know other sports besides basketball?" I would often ask that question and being left with no other option I stuck to my conviction that I'm going to be "different" and indeed I am.
When I entered school I finally realized I could make up for my athletic deficiencies by excelling in academics. All the bullying and unpleasant experiences with being forced to play basketball would finally vanish - and so I thought!
I did well at school. I excelled in my academic studies. I joined quiz bees and spelling contests left and right, even competing with other neighboring schools. I impressed my teachers with high scores during exams, on-the-sport oral recitations and class demos, well-done projects and homeworks, and being active in other extra-curricular activities not related to sports. I was a consistent honor student. I even won a MAPSA-sponsored quiz bee competition as a grand champion which brought honor to my school and really made my teachers very proud of me. At least I've gained a tremendous sense of self-worth from all these things, a sense that I'm good at something, but deep inside me I tried to ignore the gnawing feeling that I was missing out on something important, something very crucial - and that's peer acceptance and approval.
Obviously, all these things were mere fronts to hide my feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
There was a specific time of the year that I always dread coming. I dread Intramurals season. It's a time coinciding with the foundation day of the school and the campus is abuzz with all sorts of activities. One of the highlights of the event is the annual sportsfest wherein different class sections at every year level compete for basketball and volleyball tournaments. And as for me, I'm nowhere to be found in the campus but inside the solitude of the library. That's how "geeky" I was in school.
Every time there is a tournament going on, especially when my section is the ones competing, I withdraw myself from the crowd. I stay in the library. And from there I secretly watch my guy classmates in all their athletic prowess. I never dared to go near the court as I felt so terribly awkward doing so. I didnt want to be asked why I didn't join the game. And if ever someone would dare ask me that question, I would just shrug it off. You can ask me a physics question or a mathematical formula, but don't ask that question please. It's hard for me to answer that...very hard. Nevertheless, one classmate of mine finally dared to ask. "Are you just content with your books?" Ouch. Double ouch.
In college, things were a little bit different. There was more room for me to breathe. I didn't feel pressured to excel athletically although we did have physical education classes for four semesters. This time I had a bunch of male classmates who were really into sports - soccer in particular. I would often see them practice in the vast open fields of my university. Now, I can afford to stand by amidst a throng of spectators and cheerers because not everyone is supposed to learn soccer. It so happened that most of these guys came from elite schools. It's relatively safe for me. But I also had a share of rejection.
I can still remember during one of our softball classes the coach divided us into two teams. He assigned two group leaders who would pick their respective members. And of course I was the last one to be picked out. I couldn't forget that incident. Sometimes I couldn't help but ask what went wrong with me.
In one of the semesters where we had to take up basketball as our subject in PE, I felt terrified. Not again. Thankfully I was not the only one who didn't know how to play basketball. There were a bunch of guys too like me and they seemed fine. In order not to subject myself from playing basketball, I opted to join a special group in our ROTC class that would exempt me from my PE classes! And I took that opportunity even if it meant extending few extra hours during Sundays amidst the sweltering heat of the day and performing extra duties during our ROTC.
Realization #1: If I could turn my life backwards, what things would I do differently? Well, leaving out the things I couldn't possibly change, I think I would not alienate myself from others because of fear and I would take the risk of exposing myself (being vulnerable). I must admit that I defensively detached myself from sports because I wanted to shield myself from any potential ridicule or imagined failure. By thinking that I'm different than the rest (which many gay men think of themselves), I effectively isolated myself from other guys. The irony of SSA in this case is that I want peer affirmation and acceptance and yet I voluntarily distanced myself from the very same guys that I want to get this affirmation from!
Realization #2: If it were possible, I would gladly exchange all the medals, all the honors, all my academic achievements for the opportunity to be affirmed and recognized as "one of the guys" - a well-balanced and well-rounded individual. Looking back, I realized that I overcompensated for my weakness by excelling in academics (which by the way is not really wrong but that in my case I had the wrong motivation for doing so and I used it as my primary self-esteem booster) to the detriment of other areas in my life, especially social interaction.
Realization #3: Athleticism is possible at every stage of one's life. Even if I am not naturally endowed with athletic capabilities, I can always keep myself in tip-top shape by making a commitment to stay fit and healthy through the means available to me, like going to the gym, jogging every morning, or engaging in sports I really like.
Realization #4: Sports per se will not make you "straight", but if you are willing to take the risk, the affirmation that you will get from heterosexual men is definitely worth it.
As a closing, I would like to quote Frank Worthen's take on this topic:
"The gay person has felt much pressure to do what he felt he could not do. He has been unable to conform to what the world considers the male image. Most have failed at sports (although not all, as there are homosexual athletes). To some, sports is synonymous with humiliation. They have been ridiculed and, in turn, have hated and ridiculed the interests of the normal male. Now, a rethinking process must begin. The gay person must not be pushed into things he can't handle. On the other side, he must be encouraged to take an interest in the interests of the normal male person, so that they will have some things in common."- (This Way Out, p. 96)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I had a blast (and sore muscles) yesterday at our Courage sportsfest! Rarely do I find an opportunity to engage in sports activities and so I decided to join in. I'm actually having some sort of delayed-onset muscle soreness today. Walking around and going up and down stairs can be a torment. That's what you get when you don't exercise much. This week I'm going to post an article on sports wounding. Admittedly, this is one of my major issues and I will talk more about it in my next post. Below are some bits of information I collected on the internet to better explain this wounding.
Boys suffering gender-identity confusion (GID) will suffer many related psychological and social problems. They are more likely to be anxious, depressed, and lonely. Many parents recognize that their GID children are not happy. These children are moody and easily upset and often lament that they do not fit in.
Eventually the prehomosexual child usually becomes the "kitchen window boy" who looks out longingly at the other boys in the neighborhood, wishing he could play with the children who reject and tease him. Instead, he ends up staying inside with Mom to clean the house with her and bake cookies. Parents of these children are quite right to be concerned, because this pattern, seen as early as preschool and first grade, portends many other adjustment problems later in life.
Some GID boys defy the usual stereotype of timidity and passivity and, instead, are superior-acting or extremely egocentric. Such boys "insist on their own rules in games...and when they do not get their way, they either withdraw or have temper tantrums."
Others are excessively worried about getting hurt and bruised, with a sense of fragility about their bodies. Some of these boys have an almost phobic reaction to aggressive language. They often complain about other children's rough language, and tehy seem genuinely frightened by aggressive behavior.
As Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons notes, fear of sports and other boys' aggression sets the sage for a weak masculine identity:
Weak masculine identity is easily identified and, in my clinical experience, is the major cause of [homosexuality] in men. Surprisingly, it can be an outgrowth of weak eye-hand coordination which results in an inability to play sports well. This condition is usually accompanied by severe peer rejection. In a sports-oriented culture such as our own, if a young boy is unable to throw, catch, or kick a ball, he is likely to be excluded, isolated, and ridiculed.
Continued rejection can be a major source of conflict for a child and teenager. In an attempt to overcome feelings of loneliness and inadequacy, he may spend more time on academic studies or fostering comfortable friendships with girls. The "sports wound" will negatively affect the boy's image of himself, his relationships with peers, his gender identity, and his body image. His negative view of his masculinity and his loneliness can lead him to crave the masculinity of his male peers.
Others studies found poor coordination and difficulties in playing contact sports to be common among prehomosexual boys. Similarly, a number of studies show that such boys appear to have trouble distinguishing between normal rough-and-tumble play and the deliberate intent by other boys to hurt them.
Dutch psychologist Dr. Gerard van Aardweg agrees with Dr. Fitzgibbons's observations regarding fear of aggressive play. The tendency of boys to be cautious and unaggressive and do not participate in team sports is a universal finding recollected in samples of clinical as well as nonclinical homosexuals and is also true in other cultures.
In elementary school, other children will begin to call these gender-confused boys "sissies," "faggots," "queers," or "gays." Most mistakenly and tragically, their teachers may even identify them as "gay children," and, thus labeled by their own teachers, the children may even come to think of themselves as "born gay." They may not be sure what being "gay" means, but they begin to suspect that they are very different indeed. Before long, their emotional estrangement from their own sex will begin to surface in same-sex romantic longings.
In 1950s and 1960s when it was possible to do research on the causes of homosexuality, a study of 500 males in New York who viewed themselves as homosexuals, revealed that over 90% of them had problems with athletic coordination and were subjected to various degrees of humiliating rejection by their peers when young. Many of these males related that not only did they feel like they were failures as males because they either were not good at or did not like sports, but they also felt that they disappointed their fathers, whom they thought had hoped that they would do well athletically. The lack of interest in sports interfered with the father-son closeness and bonding.
The need for male acceptance is essential for the development of a positive male identity and it precedes the adolescent stage of development. If self-acceptance is not attained through peer affirmation, rarely will a boy find himself attracted to girls.
In the initial stages of treatment people with this painful hurt regularly find so much inner rage toward those who rejected them that they are unable to forgive. This resentment, while primarily meant for peers, is also often with God for failing to give them athletic abilities. In attempting to resolve this anger, Lou, who was the victim of sibling and peer ridicule because of his lack of coordination in sports and who held back pursuing priesthood because of his homosexual attractions, expressed to God his profound disappointment with him for withholding those gifts. He verbalized to God a strong sense that he had abandoned him to the terrible suffering of peer ridicule, loneliness, and profound masculine insecurity simply because he was not given athletic abilities. Lou first needed to let go of his anger with God before he could release his rage of his peers.
He accomplished this by taking his resentment to the sacrament of reconciliation on a regular basis for his anger with his peers and with God. After his trust in God increased he was able to give up the multiple levels of peer resentment by reflecting that revenge belongs to God and by thinking that he was powerless over his anger and wanted to turn it over to God. These spiritual interventions into his childhood and adolescent rage brought him significant emotional relief and slowly broke the control which those who had hurt him had over his self-esteem. As his anger decreased, his insight and understanding grew concerning those who had made him feel inadequate. Lou came to see that the peers who had tormented him were jealous of his superior intelligence, were themselves very insecure and came from troubled families. This understanding later enabled him to feel compassion for his childhood tormentors, enabling him later to want to try to forgive them.
Making inroads into Lou's deep resentment was an essential part of the initial stages of his recovery. Then he needed healing of the wound of peer rejection, loneliness, and masculine insecurity. Traditional therapy cannot resolve these emotional wounds. Fortunately, Catholic spirituality can through a process of growing in an awareness of the reality of the accepting and loving presence of the Lord with the individual during the painful times of isolation in childhood, adolescence, and adult life. This knowledge of Jesus with one as a loving best friend begins by meditation. The individual tries to picture the Lord with him on the sports fields, in the gym and in the neighborhood accepting and affirming him. This meditation is often combined with reflecting upon the Lord communicating scriptural passages to the person such as John 15:9, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you". At times Lou would visualize the Lord being between himself and those who were ridiculing him, telling him that he loved him very much and that he never betrayed him.
Lou also became more aware of the Lord's unique love and friendship by making regular holy hours. During those times he gave to the Lord his masculine insecurity and loneliness and tried to be open to receive his love. As he became more aware of the Lord being with him as a young adult, his trust in Jesus grew, enabling him to become more open to his loving presence earlier in his life. Also, his trust in the Lord's love increased by going to the Eucharist more often and there specifically asking for healing of his homosexual attractions and the emotional pain causing them. Finally, a spiritual director helped him in numerous ways, especially in hearing the Lord speak to him through the scriptures.
1. A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality by Linda Ames Nicolosi
2. The Truth About Homosexuality by Fr. John Harvey, O.S.F.S.
3. The Origins and Healing of Homosexual Attractions and Behaviors by Richard P. Fitzgibbons, M.D.
The road to manhood is a long one. It is a road of learning, trying, failing, trying again...Some boys, however, do not reach this destination. At some point the striving became too much, the defeats and failures too painful, so they opted out...[T]hey took a detour....I was one of those boys. My detour took me into the world of homosexuality. - Alan Medinger
Sunday, August 16, 2009
1. Society Needs 'God-Experienced' Persons: Indian Archbishop [weblink]
2. Approval of Magna Carta of Women An Opening Salvo For RH, Abortion Bill Enactment [weblink]
3. California Same-Sex 'Marriage' Proponents Conflicted Over Future Plans [weblink]
4. Christians Face Continual Threat of Homosexual Agenda [weblink]
5. PFOX Asks American Library Association to Condemn Banning of Ex-Gay Books [weblink]
6. NARTH Scores 'Very Strong' Bias in APA Report Against Ex-Gay Therapy [weblink]
7. Harry Potter Star Blasts Parents Who Oppose Gay Sex Ed in Schools [weblink]
8. The Psychological Profession and Homosexuality: Lunatics Running the Asylum? [weblink]
9. Sex and Porn on Top 10 List of Kids' Online Searches [weblink]
10. Matt Barber Assails President Obama's Radical Gay Agenda at AFTAH Press Conference [weblink] See video below.
Quote for the week:
Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. - Gilbert K. Chesterton
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Moreover, in heaven, we can hope to meet once again those whom we loved and lived with on earth. Scriptures does not speak of this, but Mary's Assumption at the side of Christ is an indication that love which began here on earth will continue in heaven. And to this we can add the encouraging and consoling words of St. Cyprian: "What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his own country as soon as possible? Well, we look upon Paradise as our country and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace. O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endless bliss of everlasting life!!!
Today, Aug 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This is a follow-up article I found on the Pure Intimacy website authored by Heather Scaife from Exodus International.
"There is probably not a one of us that would not give nearly anything for a normal life."
by Heather Scaife
In recent weeks my thoughts have frequently pondered the question: What does healing look like?… more specifically: What does healing look like for the homosexual struggler?… and even closer to home: What does healing look like for me? I mean, after all, how will I know if I’ve arrived if I don’t know what healing looks like? ...Right?
Difficult Realization #1: I will never arrive. By its nature, Christianity should be an evolving relationship with Christ. There will never be a time when I no longer need Him. In fact, I’ve observed that the most mature Christians are those who grasp just how desperately they must cling to Him in order to survive.
Difficult Realization #2: Heterosexuality does not equal healed. I know many fellow strugglers who are much more intact than their straight counterparts.
Difficult Realization #3: Although a very small number of people are instantly and miraculously delivered from same-sex desires and a greater number of people find relief over a period of time, some have journeyed for years with little or no change in their orientation. Outsiders callously point fingers and accuse them of secret sin and the need to pray harder. Others mock with “See? We told you you couldn’t change. Stop torturing yourself.”
Through the controversy, I’ve seen these lifetime strugglers press on obediently following Christ with a courage and stamina beyond my comprehension. And I ask myself, Could this be what healing looks like? Could healing simply be having one’s own identity so intertwined with Christ’s, that others can’t tell where you end and He begins? Could it just be a state of being intact and whole?
There is probably not a one of us that would not give nearly anything for a normal life – some sort of heterosexual fantasy involving a nice house complete with a spouse and children. But what if healing is not about heterosexuality? What if we frustrate ourselves out of true healing because we have the wrong goal?
Daniel chapter 3 tells the familiar story of three Hebrew men who refused to bow down and worship an idol, even when the consequence of their choice was certain death. In verse 17, the men acknowledge that God is able to deliver them from their fate. However, it is verse 18 that catches my attention. They concede that their decision to be obedient will stand even if God does not deliver them. What a commitment! They had absolutely no assurance of deliverance! They placed their faith in God Himself rather than an outcome they hoped for.
This challenges me to a similar commitment. I know that God is able to completely deliver me from homosexual desires… but if He does not, let it be known, that I will not serve other gods (my own lust, fantasies, sinful desires, etc.)
These men made the highest form of sacrifice possible. The latter part of verse 28 says they “yielded their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.” We consider them great heroes, and truly they are. The happy ending is that they did not die, but they would have been just as heroic if they did.
I think that is what healing looks like. I believe it is having integrity when I have no idea what the outcome will be. I believe it is the ability to yield up my body so as not to serve or worship any god except my own God. I believe it is maturity born out of a burning desire to live for Someone greater than myself. And, I believe it is the ability to humble myself before that One and rely on Him so heavily that others can not tell where I end and He begins.
I would like to believe I will be completely free of homosexual desires some day. Short of sounding sacrilegious in ex-gay circles… heterosexuality is not my goal. And I am coming to realize this: I am closer to healed than I have ever been with the simple freedom I have found in pursuing Christ rather than a change in sexual orientation.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This timely article by Jeff Johnston is a reply to the recent report released by the American Psychological Association (Please see the News & Commentaries section for the complete report). What they basically say is that any effort on changing one's sexual orientation is unscientific and can be detrimental to one's psyche and mental health. NARTH opposes this view by presenting hard facts (and not mere propagandas) that change is indeed possible.
I want to raise two critical points on this issue.
To say that one is "born gay" and "born that way" is to condemn that person to the only possible option he or she has if he or she were to be happy and that is the gay lifestyle. We know for a fact that there is no clear scientific proof to prove the existence of gay genes and that most of what we hear about this issue are but overblown statements. If indeed you are "born that way", then you don't need to change anything and you can live your "gay life" to the fullest. What do you then make of the stories of people who once lived the "gay life" but decided at one point in their life to go "the other way"? Are they crazy, pathetic liars? When you tell gay people they cannot change, they get the message that they don't need to take responsibility for who they are and for what they do. In other words, you leave them hopeless.
My second point is that everyone has the basic right to decide for themselves the kind of life they want. In the case of ex-gays, they have experienced living the "gay life" and have come to realize that no true happiness and peace can be found there, and therefore the only option left for them is to "straighten" things up. I hope that those who advocate "tolerance" be tolerable of this fact.
The article below describes the many ways on how people can begin the process of change. Going beyond change in sexual orientation, Jeff Johnston tells us that any step we make in the direction opposite of homosexuality is a "change" towards the right direction - a change you can truly believe in. (right, President Obama?)
Freedom from Male Homosexuality
Over 30 years ago, Exodus International was formed as a coalition of Christian ministries proclaiming freedom for men and women struggling with homosexuality. Slowly Exodus grew and was joined by other groups that were formed to help people steward their sexuality and behavior according to God’s created intent, including Homosexuals Anonymous, Courage (Roman Catholic), NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality), JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), Evergreen (Mormon) and others. As individuals in these groups shared their personal stories of change, churches, denominations and other ministries – such as Focus on the Family – came alongside, and the news of "change" for those with same-sex attractions was broadcast more widely.
Both inside and outside these organizations, there was – and continues to be – much discussion about what "change" means. Does it mean that someone who has experienced same-sex attractions never has these feelings or temptations again? Does change just mean that a person only changes his or her behavior? Does change mean that a person shifts from same-sex attractions to opposite-sex attractions? Or are those who claim to have changed simply suppressing these feelings and living in self-denial? And how does one measure change?
This article attempts to articulate some answers to these important questions – both for those who struggle with same-sex attractions and for those who want to know more about the very real changes that God can bring into a person’s life. It will focus on the issue of male homosexuality – realizing that men and women are very different and that lesbianism differs from male homosexuality in significant ways, including how the change process often transpires. The insights I offer come from the combination of my own personal experience with change in the arena of same-sex attractions and over fifteen years of ministry experience helping others who seek to steward their sexuality in accordance with their ethical and moral values.
Male homosexuality is like any other sexual sin or temptation that a person may struggle with. Given that God works with us as individuals, there is no "formula" for the change process, nor is there typically instant freedom. Not surprisingly, each person’s path to liberty will be different.
Moreover, same-sex attractions do not change by direct action against them. In other words, they don’t go away just because a person "tries really hard" not to have them or "prays really hard" that they’ll go away. This is because same-sex attractions are almost invariably rooted in deeper issues – developing over time as a person grows up and including profound aspects of the person’s body, mind, spirit and heart. Thus, given that humans are complex beings – and human sexuality is especially complex – dealing with same-sex attraction is usually not a simple or easy undertaking.
The good news is that homosexual attractions and temptations do change, dissipate and even disappear for many men – as they cooperate with God in the process of becoming more like Jesus. However, there are a number of aspects to the process of change, and it will look different for everybody, with no guarantee that one’s homosexual attractions will completely transform into exclusive heterosexual attractions. This reality should not be surprising to Christians given that Scripture teaches that all believers will continue to experience struggles and temptations throughout the course of their lives – the ongoing battle between the sin nature described as the "old man" and the "new man" that we are in Christ.
Having said this, here are some areas where change has happened for many:
Change in behavior. For many men, this is of paramount concern. Some homosexual strugglers have struggled with fantasy, looking at pornography, masturbation and/or sexual activity with people of the same sex for years. Each time a person behaves in these ways, thoughts, feelings and actions are rehearsed in the body and in the brain. And these thoughts, feelings, and actions become more ingrained, more habitual. An individual might have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of these experiences. Changing behavior is never easy – and requires time, effort, motivation, support from friends and family, and the empowerment of God’s Holy Spirit. It also takes replacing old habits with new ones. Recall that the Apostle Paul repeatedly calls us to "put off" the old and "put on" the new. While some pro-gay activists scoff at behavior change, men seeking to follow Christ know that these efforts – though difficult – can be real and significant.
Change in motivation. It takes strong motivation to change. Many men are initially motivated to seek change from homosexuality by fear, shame or guilt. Others are motivated by the desire for marriage and family, the desire to follow what the Bible says about God’s design for us, or the desire to follow the Church’s teaching. Some are motivated by dissatisfaction with their gay relationships and experiences. Others are motivated by love for truth or love for God. While conviction about sin is good, self-loathing and immobilizing shame are not. Shifting to positive, productive motivations is a big change for many men. The stronger the motivation and the deeper the commitment, the more likely that change will take place. God is powerful enough to change our sinful and self-centered desires, to give us the motivation to change, and to empower our wills to stay committed to Him. Over time, and especially as we learn to receive God’s grace, many men notice a significant change in their motivations – from initial fear and shame to a love for God and desire to follow Him.
Change in identity. Many people believe that they were "born gay" – that being gay is the essence of who they are. This is what is known as the "essentialist" view of the origins of same-sex attractions. In contrast to this worldly view on sexuality, the Bible says that we humans are made male and female in the image of God – reflecting a heterosexual intent in our design – and that homosexual temptations do not define anyone. Thus informed by Scripture, the man who wants to change will start thinking about himself differently – as part of fallen humanity, as a sinner in need of a Savior, as a redeemed child of God, as a man. He will ask God to change his self-image, from the world’s view to a biblical view. Homosexual strugglers are not a separate class or essence of humanity, and the man who seeks change will stop thinking of himself as essentially different from other men. He must embrace healthy, God-given and God-ordained sexual identity and masculinity.
Homosexuals Anonymous (HA) is a Christ-centered fourteen-step program that illustrates this shift in identity that must take place. It is different from many other "step" programs in that the struggler does not identify himself by his sin. Here’s how HA articulates change in identity in steps five and six: "We came to perceive that we had accepted a lie about ourselves, an illusion that had trapped us in a false identity. We learned to claim our true reality that as humankind, we are part of God's heterosexual creation and that God calls us to rediscover that identity in Him through Jesus Christ, as our faith perceives Him." Many men who come out of homosexuality do not think of themselves as "gay" or even "ex-gay" any more. They are sons, fathers, friends, husbands – men.
Change in attitude. Men who struggle with homosexual behavior often feel victimized and rejected. This may have been true. But the gospel calls us to forgive and to release others from our judgment. The struggler often needs to feel the pain and hurt of wounds from the past, and then learn to give that pain and wounding to Jesus, who bore our grief and wounds on the cross. We either let Christ carry our grief and wounding, or we continue to carry them ourselves. Here, God also empowers us to live with a positive attitude: not complaining, but giving thanks; not bitter, but loving; not angry, but forgiving; not grumbling, but praising. Cultivating these attitudes takes time, confession, prayer, effort, help from God, and help from others – including pastoral or professional counseling. While this healing process can be very challenging to walk through, the end result can be joy, growth, and new life.
Change in relationships with men and women. Anyone who struggles with same-sex attractions will have to examine his relationships. This kind of thoughtful moral inventory will often involve confession and the willingness to grow, mature and cultivate new actions. Here are a few of the relational sins – often connected with the homosexual struggle – where God will empower change:
o Lust – desiring to use another man for one’s own pleasure and fulfillment;
o Envy – wanting to own another’s masculinity, wanting to possess another person’s attributes;
o Contempt – looking down on "straight" men or women, despising men who are unattractive, old, or effeminate, or fearing and hating women;
o Control – wanting to control another’s behavior, affections, time, or thoughts; and,
o Lying – not telling the truth about what one thinks or feels in order to maintain a relationship, not being honest about thoughts, feelings, behaviors or attitudes.
A man wrestling with homosexuality must also begin to develop healthy, non-sexual relationships with other men in the Body of Christ – learning to be a man amongst men. Specifically, learning to navigate uncomfortable or challenging situations in relationships is significant. And developing healthy relationships and good relational skills will often help same-sex attractions dissipate or lessen their impact and control over a person. God uses relationships in the Church to bring transformation, growth and healing.
Change in relationship with God. God longs to be in a deep relationship with each of us. But many of us view God as distant, angry, uninvolved or uncaring. We often don’t know how to connect with Him or how to hear the leading of His voice. Part of the Christian journey involves learning how to strip away the barriers to connecting with God. False beliefs about God must be identified and confessed, and we must be open to experiencing His love and grace. Men struggling with same-sex attractions often have deep hurts and wounds. Coming to God as a loving Father allows Him to begin to bring healing to those hurts and wounds – in His time and in His way.
Change in homosexual attractions. For many, same-sex attractions do change dramatically, and attractions for women develop. In his book, Desires in Conflict, Joe Dallas describes the reasonable expectations that many have experienced:
o change in behavior;
o change in frequency of homosexual attractions;
o change in intensity of homosexual attractions; and,
o change in perspective – homosexuality is no longer a life-consuming or dominating issue.
He goes on to write that many men also move into healthy other-sex relating. Although not everyone experiences this type of change, it doesn’t mean that it can not happen or hasn’t happened for many. There are myriad testimonies of men who have moved out of homosexual behavior and into healthy God-honoring heterosexual relationships.
Many men – myself included – have struggled with same-sex attractions and, through relationship with Jesus Christ, have found release and freedom from these attractions. Paul writes to the Corinthians to remind them that some of them used to be caught in homosexual behavior, but that they have been washed – cleansed and forgiven of past sins; sanctified – cooperating with God in the transformation process; and justified – no longer under condemnation for sin (I Cor. 6:9-11). And just as the men of Corinth found freedom from homosexuality, so, too, are many men today finding freedom and lasting change in their lives.
Living in line with God’s standards is not necessarily easy. But it is immensely fulfilling and brings great rewards. Frederica Matthewes-Green, author and commentator, reminds the church to intercede on behalf of those struggling with same-sex attractions. She writes:
"Those who struggle with such passions need our prayers. For some, persistence and prayer will lead to reorientation, while for others, there will be the difficult lifelong discipline of celibacy. As tough as this sounds, it’s not impossible, and it’s not unusual. Christianity has always required celibacy of unmarried heterosexual believers, which all of us were at some point and many of us may be again. This isn’t something we demand of homosexuals without being willing to shoulder the burden ourselves. On the path of celibacy homosexuals will find a crowd of heterosexuals going back two thousand years: never-married Christians, those widowed or divorced, those caring for seriously ill spouses. We know it’s tough, and we know where to find help: sixteen hundred years ago St. John Chrysostom wrote, "Even if lust makes imperious demands, if you occupy its territory with the fear of God, you have stayed its frenzy."
1. See, for example, Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart, NavPress, 2002, and Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Baker Books, 1996.
2. See Joe Dallas, Desires in Conflict, Harvest House, 2003.
4. See, for example, Leanne Payne, The Broken Image, Baker BookHouse, 1981, and Restoring the Christian Soul, Baker BookHouse, 1991.
5. Ibid, chapter 2.
6. See the Exodus web site, Real Stories – Men, http://exodus.to/content/blogcategory/20/149/ and http://www.stonewallrevisited.com/menus/pages.html for some encouraging examples.
7. "Facing the Homosexual Void," Touchstone, July/August, 1998, http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=11-04-029-f
Jeff Johnston is a Gender Issues Analyst at Focus on the Family and Love Won Out conference speaker.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
1. Elijah's Power Food, And Ours (Biblical Reflection for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time B) [weblink]
2. St. Jean Vianney Shows Priests How To Reach Modern Society, Pope Teaches [weblink]
3. Church Will Have No Part In Health Care That Destroys Life, New York Archbishop Insists [weblink]
4. NY Filipina Nurse Sues Hospital For Forcing To Assist In Abortion [weblink]
5. US Census Bureau To Count Homosexual 'Marriages' - Where Are The Republican Protests? [weblink]
6. The Mother of the Homosexual Movement - Evelyn Hooker, PhD [weblink]
7. APA 'Ignoring the Science' On Homosexual Reparative Therapy [weblink]
8. Info On Homosexual Health Risks Squelched [weblink]
9. APA Officially Rejects Reorientation Treatment For Homosexuals [weblink]
10. 'Safe Sex' With Condoms Bad For Mental Health, Psych Researcher Finds [weblink]
11. A Fair Judgment: Abandoning Biblical Morality Harms Children [weblink]
12. Homosexual UK Documentarian Says Gay Lifestyle A "Sewer" Of Casual Degrading Sex, Drug Abuse, And Misery [weblink]
Quote for the week:
Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast. -- St. Philip Neri
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This is a testimonial from brother J before he returned home last March. J is a Vietnamese brother who stayed with us for a few months. In his own words, he narrates how the Courage apostolate has impacted his life and his journey towards personal growth and healing.
I approached Courage as a student going under Pastoral Formation. For the reason why I choose Courage for my pastoral internship placement, I just came up with the issue of homosexuality in my country. In the context of Viet Nam, lacking of openness, knowledge and understanding on these circumstances somehow set up a boundary and push people who has problem with SSA into hopelessness. There are different forms of being homosexual but almost these people are afraid that community, family may know their struggle and look down despicably or disgustedly and put them out of society’s margins. Therefore, they dare not to mention about who they are even asking for the sacrament of reconciliation because not all priests are ready to discuss or deal with term "Gay" or "Lesbian" without judging or condemning.
It seems no way for them to go on, no solution to address toward pure living. Even if they ask for counseling, the mentor just guides them based on scientific or biological studies, not orient to spiritual nurture. In my observation, there are some people willing to change but they have to confront many difficulties and temptations. They are not completely released from homosexual factors even if they try to control sexual desires or decide to get married. Finally, after a certain time, some go back to gay lifestyle or have suffered with their marital life.
Personally, I believe that the Church can not stay away from this area and assuredly there is any updated solution in order to match to the modern Church. Within activations and resolutions, the Church in the Philippines may be a model in Asia and motivate me as a coming missionary and pastoral worker. I would like to experience how the Church faces and handles the realities which attempt to bring hope and love in Christ. It would be a learning of being with and fostering spirituality for persons whom I will work with in the future or I may meet unexpectedly during my journey.
Almost 3 months since I came to Courage, I have discovered newness through activities, learning and together with my reflections and integrations after each weekly meeting. In this personal reflection, I would like to emphasize only 2 significant realizations: spiritual support and fraternal love.
Similar with other Catholic community, purposely Courage has a pure environment which fosters spiritual life of each member. In every meeting, group members are able to recognize that God is laying His hands and tries to reach out to us as a compassionately loving Father. We admit our sins, our weaknesses and our limitations. Even though we are struggling with same-sex attraction and tempted to commit sins every day, but we never forget being Catholic as well and God is still waiting beyond inspite of small changes or massive changes. Courage’s spiritual support leads member to a chaste life not because of response to family building, unashamed life, or transferring to heterosexuality, but aim to personal growth with awareness of God’s love and let him accompany and journey in our life. Personally, I have been empowered and strengthened emotionally and physically. I look at same-sex attraction as a cross which I am carrying for a long time, but since comparing with the passion of Jesus Christ, I felt happy because I have a friend, a companion named Jesus and the heavy burden on my shoulder have been taken out day by day. Unless I put God in the midst of my life, I don’t have full freedom
Furthermore, I have been able to encounter the brotherhood among group members. I had to face my struggle alone and fight with inner self for a long time because there is not any group to support people who has struggle with same-sex attraction in my country. So I understand how painful individual battle is. For me, facing difficulty alone may easily put a person into depression and stress so that support from people who are confronting same struggle is the means of carrying, embrace, and empowerment. I am thankful and very much appreciate fraternal treatments of living in and being with community. I am very happy when they support and encourage me as their brother in different ways. Sometimes, it would be just simply a hug, hand shaking, or even a messege but it has an effectively good impact. I don’t feel lonely anymore and perhaps God sent me to Courage not only for study, but also to get in touch and experience peaceful and joyful relationships.
Maturity and self-awareness, which keep oneself standing on their own perspective concretely, play a big role in community. I was able to see them in some brothers and sisters through their sharing, their behaviors or even in one-by-one sharing. With emotional and physical maturity, brothers and sister are going to step out of the struggle confidently. They have back to ordinary life or continued their journey without worries and leave a good example for others. In addition, being with community also can be a motivation for each member to see things clearly and analyze situation deeply and get a higher perspective for each trouble and difficulty. Personal ideas or advices are very helpful and useful for some tension case aim other member to go on the right way and benefit from his or her life
All those things mentioned above entail me to the new stage of my life. I start to live out in a new way. I have learned how to let go of my pains, my past sufferings. I am healed with the people I met, with the knowledge I have got from both the Church and realities. I am willing to changes and embrace my changes despite of struggle in me toward to the full freedom in Christ. For no matter what will happen, wherever I go, HOPE still remains in the depth of my heart and I believe in a brighter and peaceful future.
Thanks bro for this wonderful sharing. How about establishing Courage there in Vietnam? Please pray for it and keep in touch.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
For the second time around this year, one of our Courage brothers shares his SSA struggles in the August edition of Kerygma magazine! I would like to take this opportunity to honor Bro. Gerald for his exceptional courage in revealing his struggle to his mother and his firm desire to overcome his weakness. This is the true confession of Bro. Gerald as told to Ms. Judith Conception.
I lived a life full of pretensions and lies. My life was a charade. I was very good at my act that no one suspected who I really was. Nobody knew my deepest, darkest secret except those whom I had intimate relations with.
I was nine years old when I noticed that I was attracted to men, especially older and cute guys. I started to have sexual relationships with older men when I was 12. Despite my same-sex attractions and gay relationships, I denied the fact that I was gay because during those times, I was the one being pursued; I acted as the female in those relationships.
I didn’t tell my family about my same-sex attractions. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, especially my dad. I was the one expected to carry his family name, being the only boy among eight siblings. I felt scared that I would be ostracized if my family learned about this. I also kept this hidden from my high school classmates. I feared that they would desert me and not speak to me anymore because my effeminate classmates were being bullied and abused by my male classmates. I didn’t want that to happen to me. This fear continued throughout my college life, to the point of being paranoid at times. I wasn’t effeminate in my ways and I managed to act like a straight guy on the outside. To help cover up my true sexuality, I joined the Boy Scout, played softball, basketball and volleyball just to be one of the boys.
Hitting Rock Bottom
I was in third year college when I confessed to my friend and confidant – a straight guy – that I was gay. He was the first person to know about my true identity. He did not condemn me but instead accepted me for who I was. We became the best of friends. I felt good when I was able to pour out everything to him.
In 1998, my life hit rock bottom. My life was in total disarray because by then I was deep into homosexual activities. My life had lost direction, meaning and purpose. I appeared to be jolly outside but deep within I felt lonely and empty. I felt I was a hopeless case until Divine Providence led me to Tita Dulce’s column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. She advised a letter sender to get in touch with Courage, a Catholic support group for persons with same-sex attractions who wanted to live a chaste life in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
I found my way to Courage, and there I felt a sense of belonging. The teachings helped me understand my homosexual dynamics, deal with my same-sex attractions and control my sexual desires. I have come to realize that a homosexual relationship is just an illusion and it’s a sin to engage in such a relationship. I began to accept that man is made only for woman and that true union is achieved through the sacrament of marriage.
As part of the healing process, I needed to confess my sins to another person (aside from a priest) whom I could trust and to whom I would be accountable. I had thoughts then of telling the truth to my mom. But I didn’t act on it because I didn’t think it was important for her to know and I didn’t want to involve her in my problem. Though my progress was slow, I was able to reveal myself later to people whom I trusted.
The Revelation Day
On September 28, 2007, I attempted to tell my mom about my secret. Months before, I prepared myself by going to confession, making consultations with a priest and with Bro. Rollie (incumbent head of Courage) about my plans, and rehearsing the lines I was going to say. I was all set when my sister dropped the bomb and confessed to my mom that she was a lesbian and had moved in with her girlfriend. I didn’t push through with my plan as I wanted to spare my mom of the additional burden and heartache. But I continued to pray to the Lord for the right time to reveal my secret.
In August 2008, I had a missed call from my mom on my cell phone. I returned her call and asked why she called.
She asked, “Is it true what I had been hearing about you? Are you gay?”
This is it, I said to myself. This may be the God-given moment I had been waiting for. “Do you really want to know the truth, Nanay?” I replied. “Then I will tell you the truth. Your suspicion is right. Everything that you heard from other people is true. I wanted to tell you this for the longest time but I was just waiting for the right timing.”
I heard her sob on the other end of the line. I didn’t hide anything from her and confessed about my sexual relationships with other guys. She advised me, “Son, be careful with the men that you have relations with. Don’t let them abuse you. Pray hard and avoid temptations. Instead of spending your money on these men, better help your elder sister in sending your nieces and nephews to school.”
After we talked, I felt light as if a huge burden was lifted from my chest and shoulders. Two months after that revelation, my mom had a massive stroke and passed away.
Keeping secrets and living in pretension had been tiresome. I had no inner peace. Telling the truth liberated me. It freed me from the guilt of living a double life and from the paralyzing fear of being discovered of my weaknesses.
My battle with homosexuality is not yet finished. Every day is a continuous battle for me to choose between good and evil. I still have my struggles with my same-sex attractions. I’m still a work in progress. But whenever I fall, I rise again and learn from my mistakes.
I look forward to the day when, through God’s mercy and grace, I would be healed of all my wounds – free from my homosexual bondages – and become a complete man.
(P.S.: Grab a copy of Kerygma Magazine at your nearest local bookstore now!)
Sunday, August 2, 2009
1. CBCP Mourns Death of Cory [weblink]
2. Cardinal Rosales: 'Aquino Icon of A Truthful Leader' [weblink]
3. Catholics Don't Do Crystals: How to Use 'Alternative Health Practices' Without Endangering Your Soul [weblink]
4. La Barbera Calls for Comprehensive Federal Study on the Health Risks of Homosexual Sex [weblink]
5. Pro-Homosexual Websites Slam AFTAH for Call to Investigate Health Risks of 'Gay' Sex [weblink]
6. Pro-Family Forces Submit Challenges to Maine's 'Gay Marriage' [weblink]
7. 'Stimulus' Grants Going to Porn Producers? [weblink]
8. Google Blocks Blog Exposing Homosexual Agenda [weblink]
9. Albania Considers Legalizing Same-Sex 'Marriage' [weblink]
10. Florida Quarterback Tebow Leaves Reporters Speechless: "Yes I am" Saving Myself for Marriage [weblink] You can also watch the video clip below.
Quote for the week:
"Every temptation resisted is a great act of worship of God. To put up with temptation and not seek the easy way out is a powerful acknowledgement of the sovereignty of God ... Even if one falls later on, he has accomplished an act of obedient worship that will not be erased" - Father Benedict Groeschel (The Courage to Be Chaste, p. 90).
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Today, August 1, the country mourns the passing of a great Filipino leader in the person of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. I saw the news on TV early this morning and somehow I felt a sense of loss of someone who will be greatly missed by a people who owe her so much.
I don't particularly take a personal interest in her life. Of course every Filipino knows her in this country. But there are a few things worth mentioning about this heroine of the 1986 EDSA revolution.
First off, I admire how she had kept her integrity and displayed moral leadership despite the challenges that beset her administration. Politics is a dirty word for me and I have very little respect for politicians. Cory is an exception to this. She never clinged to power beyond her term even though she could. At the end of her term she gracefully exited the political arena. She knew there were other more experienced and competent (but not necessarily upright) leaders out there. Contrast that to someone who promised she would never run in the elections but eventually did and who leaves every one guessing as to her future political plans. I call that 'kapit tuko'.
Very few people exit this world who leave a good long lasting legacy and who will be remembered as someone who lived for others and lived a full life. She restored democracy back to us - our very own freedom that shouldn't have been taken away from us in the first place. While watching the news the past few days I was impressed by the overwhelming outpouring of love and prayers for her. Even the Holy Father has sent words of comfort and prayer for her. I find that a rarity among politicians to receive such kind of attention. She probably was and is the most prayed for person in this country. What a contradiction she is when you think about our past and present leaders who have left (and will leave) us with a shameful legacy of kleptocracy, tyranny, corruption, and political scandals. I want to think how her enemies would also wish that they receive even just a fraction of the same kind of treatment as she did in their deathbeds.
So there goes my little tribute to our beloved president. I know that she will continually intercede for our country as she always did. In heaven, there will be lots of yellow ribbons tied round oak trees.