Beyond Ex-Gay


by Eugene


I can't say that I enjoy the feeling of being in transition. The process of reevaluating my beliefs and coming to drastically different conclusions about key life issues is leaving me in a position where I can no longer stay where I'm at. First, and most obviously, I'm taking a couple of steps back from the support ministry I've been a participant in for most of the last two years. Although I don't intend to let go of most of the friendships I've made there, or even to completely curtail my involvement, I simply no longer fit in at any place that believes that all gay relationships are unconditionally wrong.

That means I no longer fit in at my current church, either. Granted, it's been a while since I felt like I had community there, beyond participation on Sundays and with a handful of events, but it's been a comfortable place all the same, and one where God is visibly at work in the lives of many people. Nonetheless, I've sensed that God is nudging me to move on to someplace where I can more fully invest myself in a church community, so I'm currently visiting an affirming church that I first became aware of last year.Sign with curves

This church is a far cry from what I'm used to, at least in terms of worship style; it's far more traditional in that respect than the Gen X/postmodern churches I've attended for the last decade. This week I'll be having dinner with the pastor to get better acquainted with him and the church, and to get a feel for how I might fit in there should I decide to make it my new church home. I still have my reservations, yet at the same time a part of me feels drawn there.

The next domino that will eventually need to tumble is my current job. Although I work in a comfortable environment (there's that 'c' word again) with coworkers who like me and appreciate my work, they would be considerably less friendly if it became known that I no longer toe the Exodus line (which is quite popular around here). Nothing that I might have to say in my defense would be given serious consideration, since this issue is strictly black-and-white and 100% settled, as it is for most conservative Christians. Were I to identify as ex-gay I would be fully affirmed and supported, but no other option exists for me in their minds.

Man leaping between two rocksSo the time for me to consider a career change is fast approaching. I knew this day was coming even when I was still in the ex-gay mindset; I've simply come to the limit of how far I can grow in my current position, not to mention inside the Christian bubble. The need for me to step out, either toward a larger organization or into another line of work entirely, would eventually bring things to a head in any case.

Needless to say, such sweeping life changes don't come without a cost. I sometimes find myself feeling disoriented and disconnected, and somewhat anxious about the future. Although I have several close friends to turn to, I still find myself with far less support than I'd like to have. There's nobody who's there for me on a daily basis, and only a few who can even give me time weekly; most people in our modern, fast-paced society are just too busy to really be there consistently for anyone outside of their immediate family (if even then). So I suppose admitting that I'm feeling a little bit lonely these days would put me in good company.

So what comes next? I know that God is still in control, and that he's still directing my steps, but it sure would be nice to have a slightly better idea of what lies ahead. Or maybe it wouldn't; if you'd told me two years ago what my life would look like today, I'd have run away screaming. And yet now that I'm here, I couldn't ever imagine trying to go back to the way things were.