Tower of Light Ministries

Ex-Gay Ministry Exodus Closes

As some of you may have heard Exodus International recently announced that they are shutting down the organization after 35 years of ministry. Exodus International has been the world’s largest umbrella organization of ministries that help people who are dealing with SSA and their families and Tower of Light Ministries has been a member of Exodus International for the past 7-8 years.

Exodus International was founded in 1976 and the founders of Exodus had a solid biblical view of homosexuality. The organization received a lot of press over the years and became the primary avenue for people to find biblical help and support for their same-sex attractions. However over of the past several years Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, adopted a more liberal view of homosexuality. Then in 2012 Alan Chambers started becoming vocal about his new liberal viewpoints including speaking at the Gay Christian Network. After that conference many of the Exodus leaders and their ministries left Exodus (including Frank Worthen the primary founder of Exodus) and formed another organization called Restored Hope Network. Restored Hope Network is a biblically-based umbrella organization for ministries helping people struggling with homosexuality and their families. I attended meetings in CA with them as they were forming RHN and was impressed by the spiritual maturity of the leadership, their commitment to loving people well while representing Biblical truth, and the amount of experience they have in ministry. Exodus is closing but Restored Hope Network has filled in the gap providing hope and support for those struggling with same-sex attractions and their families. To find out more about Restored Hope Network click here.

Tower of Light Ministries will continue to provide help and support to those struggling with same-sex attractions and their families as we have been.

The Third Option: Being a Christian with same-sex attraction

 

Tired of Living Scared of Dying

Photo by Lee Morley

I often encounter Christian parents whose child has just announced that they’re gay and going into a homosexual lifestyle.  The announcement usually comes as a complete surprise and parents are devastated by the direction their child is pursuing and the potential ramifications of that choice.  Most of these kids have been raised in the church by Christian parents – so what is behind such a radical shift in direction for these kids?

Many Christian strugglers I meet with talk of the shame and self-hatred they carried for years regarding their same-sex attractions.  They know what the scriptures say about homosexual activity and they feel so much shame for having same-sex attractions even though they may not have acted on them.   All the scripture regarding homosexuality is regarding homosexual activity not the attraction itself, however many young people haven’t made a distinction between the attraction and the behavior.  They feel that if anyone knows of their attractions they will be rejected and ostracized, particularly by their Christian friends and family.  Sometimes as a teenager they risked telling someone, only to be told they are confused and don’t really feel that way, effectively sending them back into silence again pretending the attractions don’t exist.   Eventually these kids, who are filled with shame and self-hatred and are tired of living in secrecy, find a place where they can be known and accepted  – the gay community.   They’ve grown tired of living in secrecy and self-loathing so they throw open the door of their closet, join this new community of friends, and nothing is going to put them back into their closet of secrecy, shame, and self-hatred.

Our culture will tell you that as someone with same-sex attractions you have 2 choices: to either stay in the closet, drowning in shame and self-hatred or declare yourself gay, join the gay community and live a gay lifestyle.  The church will often imply you have one option – stay in the closet and pretend you don’t have these attractions.  Actually today many churches have opted for an additional option – reinterpret scripture so that you can follow Jesus while embracing a guilt-free gay lifestyle (this option is a big topic and needs to be a whole blog article itself).

There is another option, a scripturally valid option, very few people are talking about – that we can be Christians following Jesus, have same-sex attractions (or any other issue for that matter), and commit our lives to following Him in holiness and not follow through on those attractions to activity that scripture calls sin.  That we don’t have to be in the closet pretending we don’t have the attractions and living a life of hiddenness, shame and self-hatred however we also don’t have to declare ourselves gay and embrace a gay identity.  That there’s no shame or condemnation for those with same-sex attractions and committed to walk in holiness with Jesus; that we don’t choose same-sex attractions and God isn’t judging people for attractions they haven’t chosen.  That we can be Christians following Jesus, admit we have same-sex attractions, and hopefully be embraced by a community of Christians who are likewise struggling with their own various issues but wanting to follow God in holiness. Our issues don’t define us, they’re not who we are.  Our identity is in Christ.  While our identity is in Christ and our issues don’t define us that doesn’t mean we have to deny we have issues.

The third option: We are Christians committed to follow Jesus in holiness yet struggling with a variety of issues: pride, materialism, gossip, lying, porn, same-sex attractions….  This is the option we need to be talking about to our Christian youth and fellow believers.

Untying the Knots

knotAs I finished praying over one of the men in one of my small groups he shared “Every time you pray with me it’s as if a knot inside me comes undone.”  What an awesome picture.  It’s as if we have a lifetime of knots from all the wounding, painful events that have happened to us, and then we have additional knots from all the harmful messages we’ve internalized about ourselves as a result of that wounding.  We can become all knotted up from the hurt and pain of our past.  We can be at a loss for how to start untying the knots of the hurt, pain, and wounding of our lives.

In Living Waters we invite Jesus to come and meet with us and to start undoing the knots in our lives. We invite him into all those areas of hurt and pain and to speak truth into the lies we’ve come to believe about ourselves.   Honestly, there have been times when I’ve thought “Maybe I should step back and let one of my capable assistants lead my group while I focus on teaching and the overall leadership of the program.”  But then after another evening of ministering to the men in my group I think “Wow, this is what it’s all about and I would have missed this”.  I love watching God show up and minister his healing touch in the lives of the men in my group.   I love watching him untie yet another knot in the heart of one of his sons.