Category: Beyond Ex-Gay

A Christian Response to a Christian Critic

Christine and I receive many e-mails and messages via Beyond Ex-Gay. Most of them are from fellow ex-gay survivors sharing some of their story, giving a word of affirmation and support, or offering to help in some way. We also get a handful of letters from people who believe our work is misguided. Recently I received such a message from a visitor to the site, a woman who used to live as a lesbian but now is ex-gay. In her message she shared some of her story and concluded with the exhortation, “Please don’t give up!! Pursue Jesus and He will heal you!!”

Below is my response. As with all such responses, I copied Christine, who after reading it, asked me to post it at bXg. I am a Christian, but bXg is not a Christian site. We seek to be faith-friendly, and we realize that ex-gay survivors represent a wide diversity of backgrounds.

My response is written by a Christian to a Christian.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us. From your writing I do not sense that you wish to be disrespectful or abusive. Sadly some people writing us take that approach. Although you do not mean to be disrespectful or abusive, some of what you say is filled with false assumptions.

I hear in your words the assumption that some of us are not Christians, and that we have not spent many years seeking with much sincerity to understand God’s will for our lives. You assume that since you do not see yourself being a Christian and lesbian, that this is the only way to approach the situation. The scriptures are not that clear, especially when it comes to lesbianism.

Romans One is usually misinterpreted by people who take one or two verses out of context and overlook Paul’s other possible purpose in writing his letter to the Jewish Christians in Rome. Some fail to read Romans 2:1 which is the concluding verse for the several verses that proceed it. Some also overlook the fact that early Church teaching NEVER considered Romans One a passage about homosexuality. That interpretation came later.

But you did not write to discuss scripture. You wrote to lead us to Jesus. You wrote to tell us how wonderful life is with Jesus and the joy we will find in being in relationship with him. I know this joy and live it daily. My “gay lifestyle” includes worshiping with other believers every week as well as sweet times of fellowship on my own with God. My “gay lifestyle” includes listening to God and following God’s leading, which has affected nearly every part of my life including my diet, my friendships, my career, my sexuality and how I view and use my body.

At bXg we do not in any way seek to invalidate people like you who say they are happy as ex-lesbians (or whichever term you prefer to use). The reality is that such a life is not possible for the vast majority of people who have earnestly sought after it. Alan Chambers himself admits that Exodus has at least a 70% failure rate. For most of us, not only was it not possible, but we did great harm to ourselves and the people we love.

We don’t blame the ex-gay programs for all the hurt we suffered. Much of it was self-induced, spurred on by a society, an ungodly world, that along with some portions of the Church, believes that one must be heterosexual to be acceptable. In this belief the “unsaved” world and the Church live in unison, much like the church and the world both supported slavery for centuries. There is too much of worldly values in the Church of Jesus, and it is time that the church no longer conform to the pattern of this world but experience a renewing of the mind.

I understand that you cannot see yourself living as a Christian and a lesbian. Some early Christians felt it was sinful to eat certain meats. In fact major conflicts arose over that issue. But others felt peace and clarity in eating those very meats. I believe when it comes to many issues of sexuality, it is like this too. Looking at the scriptures, we see many patterns, not all in accordance to our comfort or calling. But we need to be careful not to judge; this is the very message of Romans 1 and 2. We need to trust each other that we have done the work and continue to listen closely to God.

Blessings on your journey,
Peterson

Ex-Gay Survivor Speaks about Suicide Attempt

Blogger, community organizer and ex-gay survivor Eric Leocadio recently sat with Daniel Gonzales to tape some video for Box Turtle Bulletin and Beyond Ex-Gay. Eric recounts much of his experience as an ex-gay including events leading up to his decision to attend and ex-gay program.

In this first of a four part series, Eric talks about a suicide attempt when he was age 14. I have met many other ex-gay survivors who at some point in the midst of their struggle over their sexuality, they attempted or seriously considered attempting suicide.

Ex-Gay Survivor Eric – Part One – Suicide & The Porcelain Punisher

Beyond Ex-Gay Update

Since this summer’s Ex-Gay Survivor Conference, Christine and I have primarily worked directly with ex-gay survivors, supporting them in telling their stories and helping them find necessary resources for their recovery. We have also met to begin plans for the next two years. Some exciting developments in store.

In addition, we continue to update the bXg website as well as respond to messages we regularly receive from ex-gay survivors all over the world. We see the ex-gay survivor movement as one that will grow with the people who feel drawn to be a part of it.

We welcome your suggestions and submissions for articles, narratives, art work, poetry and anything else you think might contribute to the site and the movement. We are finding that by telling our stories, we begin to understand more what we did, why we did it and what it cost us. Then we can get beyond those ex-gay experiences and enter more fully into life.

Here is a little update:

Video of the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference (15 min):
Here is a shorter trailer version

Featured Question
Okay, complete disclosure, Christine and I envisioned a “Question of the Month” but somehow it turned into the Question Every Six Months! Anyway, here is the current featured question:

What would you tell someone if they were thinking about attending an ex-gay program?

Check out five different answers from around the world as well as previous questions and answers.

New Articles
Loving Dissonance by Tom O’Toole
I also wrote some articles:
Ex-Gay Harm–Let Me Count the Ways
Change was NOT Possible series of articles

We have over 25 articles listed on the articles page with specific articles for ex-gay survivors, parents of LGBT children and spouses. We just posted two articles in Spanish and one in Swedish. If you know a language well and would like to translate some articles, let us know.

New Narratives
Seth Guyette
Barbara Leavitt
David Christie
Brandon Tidwell

Art Work
Collages of ex-gay survivors designed by Christine Bakke
Also we have some new artwork up at the visual art page–photos by Gregg Moreland, new art by Michael Goll, David Christie and Christine Bakke

In the fall a woman from Kentucky doing research for a college project contacted me. A married straight woman, she knew almost nothing about the ex-gay movement before her research project. She told me that she found bXg to be the most thorough and informative site out there. She read everything with interest, but said that the site became real for her when she began to read the narratives of other straight women. Her husband is not gay, but it got her thinking, what if he were? and suddenly the ex-gay survivor story became personal.

This is the power of narrative and one of the hallmarks of the bXg site. We wish to tell our stories as a witness and a warning. For most of us ex-gay therapy and ministries caused more harm than good. Through the art and narratives and such we have begun to build a public record to tell a story that has rarely been told.

Thank you all who have contributed so far.

What’s Goin’ On

I feel I have neglected my blogging duties, what with the premiere of Transfigurations, the prep for a bunch of travel coming up, and several new projects, not only have I had little time to blog, but little thought about blogging topics.

So this blog is an update of sorts and an apology in advance if I drop off further with my blogging.

The preparation for the premiere of Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible took lots of time and attention. But unlike my other premieres this time I had much more time and open spaces of time two weeks before the show. This reduced the stress. I felt pleased with the premiere and the direction the piece is going. I am especially satisfied that some of the material I present appears to be original. So little has been done around affirming pieces that look at the Bible and transgender people.

Recently I have worked on updates for both Beyond Ex-Gay and my PetersonToscano.com site. I added some new articles on bXg and have begun to put up Spanish language pieces too. On my own site I built pages for Transfigurations, The Re-Education of George W. Bush and Queer 101. Thanks to everyone who gave me their “blurbs” and mini-reviews for me to add to the pages. It helps so much for potential hosts of a performance to hear what other people think.

Two major projects in the works include a potential international conference around ex-gay issues, namely the harm that can come from seeking to suppress or change one’s sexuality. At this point I am not ready to share too many details, but I feel excited about the way talks have progressed, and I feel pretty certain we will do something outside of the US in May.

Somewhat related to that, I have been honing my Spanish and working on presentations I can do in Spanish. I have begun to translate Queer 101 into Spanish creating Spanish language characters to replace the English speaking ones (except Chad, I will keep him but just have him speak Spanish in his very own Chad way). Also, I am working a few lectures I can give in Spanish to mental health officials and academic settings.

In regards to getting stories out about ex-gay experiences, I have been in talks with various queer organizations in the US that want to reach out more in regards to the ex-gay movement and ex-gay survivors. Part of the work is helping people process their stories, firstly for themselves and secondly so that they can share their experiences with the public through the media and public speaking. Using one-person performances, interviews, blogs, on-line video, press conferences and op-ed pieces, I hope we can help people articulate to others what they sought after when they pursued an ex-gay life, what they did to become ex-gay and the outcomes and affects the ex-gay experience had on them and their loved ones.

This week I will be in NYC meeting with a film crew for a TV network that wants to feature the story of Beyond Ex-Gay and the work that Christine and I are doing. They will also highlight some my own journey as an ex-gay and former ex-gay. The next few days will take me back to some of my old haunts including the church I attended in NYC. We will also go to new haunts including my cottage near my dad’s house and my also Hartford where I live. I feel grateful for the opportunity to share the bXg story and my own narrative, but I also realize that it is hard work. I feel grateful for supportive friends I can turn to when I feel overwhelmed with the past and with telling my story vulnerably.

One should not lightly approach telling one’s story. No only are own stories precious, but it costs us something when we tell them.

On Monday I fly to Portland for a few days then back East to Baltimore to perform at Goucher then back to Portland to do the Ho Ho Homo No Mo Holiday Special. You can see the crazy flier for yourself. Marvin Bloom will make a guest appearance.

I will be in Portland up through the 17 December staying with dear friends Doug and Bruce and seeing loads of others including the gang at SMYRC. I then stay home for a few days before I see my dad and other family pre-Christmas. On Christmas Day I fly to Sweden for the rest of the holidays and to perform The Re-Education of George W. Bush (and Transfigurations at least once a day for Alex). I could never have done the Swedish trip without the generosity of friends in Sweden.

The past month I have also looked ahead to 2008 booking shows throughout the US (yes, and maybe even Texas!) as well as looking into possibilities in Northern Ireland and Scotland and of course more in England.

In spite of the craziness, I have been able to spend time in quiet reflection, prayer and doing personal writing. Also, I have even been exercising (I discovered something amazing–exercise done consistently over time actually alters our bodies. Wow, who would have known!) Of course I have been eating well, (a constant diet of sweet brown rice with a kick butt sauce) and most importantly have been well connected with friends both in Hartford and on-line (yes, I am happy with Facebook).

So now I must go off-line to do super tidying action in the apartment. There is nothing like the cleaning frenzy that a film crew can inspire. I already anticipate Joe G’s smarmy comments about me being a Media Whore. Personally I find the term offensive and prefer to be referred to as Press Magnet or perhaps a Publicity Slut.

Gay Vampires and the Ex-Gay World

Blogger Peter Varvel muses over at his blog Plastic Bubble World about his experience as a gay man growing up in an anti-gay Protestant church,

How lucky am I that I wasn’t raised Catholic? I had enough guilt as it was, having been raised Protestant, especially when it came to my sexuality. So, whenever I was sexually active, both guilt and my imagination fueled my paranoia.

What if the guy I was having sex with was actually a vampire? What if while he was, um, “goin’ downtown to pleasure me,” he sprouted fangs and decided to slake his sudden thirst for blood, right in the middle of it all?

I have never gotten through an entire Anne Rice novel. But I have always thought that the Christianity and homosexuality conflict would make a good background for a vampire story.

Someone who spent time in an ex-gay support group, Varvel expresses some of what he got from the teachings he sat under,

In real life, it would be too simple to say that ex-gay ministry teaches self-hate. It doesn’t fit into that convenient of a nutshell, at least not with the support group that I had been involved in. But I’ll confess that my time with them helped to influence the view of myself as something a bit monstrous, like the poor, deformed Phantom of the Opera, a soul not quite guaranteed salvation.

I don’t miss ex-gay ministry. I’m glad that I checked it out, and that I made an honest effort toward achieving their goals. But I’m also glad that I’m past that part of my life, years past the self-pity of that time, and that I have been able to reach a point of being at peace with–and acceptance of–myself.

Read all of Varvel’s piece Gay Vampires for Jesus (or, Sympathy for the Evil) and check out the dramatic image he provides along side his writing.

Like many of the ex-gay survivors who have written for Beyond Ex-Gay (bXg), Peter Varvel has a much more balanced view of the movement than most gay activist and ex-gay promoters. He admits that they don’t overtly teach self-hate.

It is easy to vilify ex-gay providers and say they are just money-grubby, anti-gay ministers of hate. This is not true. Many of them were kind people who unwittingly shoot out poison darts. Fortunately we can move past the negative messaging and live centered, peaceful, confident lives as lesbian, transgender, bisexual and gay people.

Check out the newest narrative over at bXg where Seth Guyettes shares The Ex-Gay Movement and The Negative Impact it Had on My Life.

Ex-Gay Harm–Let Me Count the Ways

In the past 4.5 years I have been in contact with over 1000 ex-gay survivors. These are people who pursued ex-gay experiences, either on their own, or more often, assisted by others like a therapist, minister, ex-gay program. They attempted to change or suppress their sexual orientation and may have referred to themselves as ex-gays or simply strugglers or by some other name.

Through hearing their stories (some of which are posted on Beyond Ex-Gay–bXg) and in unpacking my own ex-gay journey, I have begun to understand the many ways people can be harmed by their ex-gay experiences. Many of us also received certain benefits from our ex-gay experiences, but in most cases the harm outweighs the good.

I realize that the ex-gay experience is not the only culprit in bringing harm. The anti-gay church and a homophobic society and in many cases one’s own family contribute to the damage. But what the ex-gay experience does is deepen that harm by offering hope for some sort of change or freedom. Led by sincere and caring people, our ex-gay programs, therapists and ministers encouraged us and because of their kindness and sincerity, we often pressed on long after we realized the it was not working. Only afterwards did we began to understand the trauma we introduced into our lives as a result of submitting to ex-gay experiences.

Below is a list of categories outlining areas of harm along with brief descriptions for each. I invite ex-gay survivors to leave comments with specific examples and further explanations for any of the categories that resonate for them. They can even add new categories.

(warning: this can be heavy stuff to look at, so before you do, make sure you feel somewhat prepared and aware that this might bring up stuff for you)

Ex-gay experiences can harm us in several ways.

  • Emotional Harm–evidenced in feelings of shame, fear, stress, disappointment, exhaustion and rejection (especially when one is shunned)
  • Psychological Harm–manifested in the forms of depression, suicidal tendencies, post traumatic stress and in some cases the triggering of a psychotic break
  • Spiritual Harm
    • in the form of chronic discouragement, fear of God, and loss of faith communities and even of faith
    • distrust of spiritual leaders
    • a spiritual crisis of integrity and incongruence through the constant message that You cannot be gay and Christian
  • Relationship Harm–through the loss of vital relationships or damage to relationships with
    • parents
      • who, believing change is possible and necessary, reject children who will not choose to be ex-gay
      • who through ex-gay teachings get blamed for their child’s sexual orientation thus creating tension between the child and parent (and also causing deep pain and shame for parents)
    • spouses/partners
      • partners of the opposite sex that we dated and married because we believed such a life was possible but found it led to divorce and pain and loss for our spouse, ourselves and others, including children.
      • relationship with a current same-sex partner that gets hindered because of the shame and fear drilled into us by our ex-gay experiences
    • friends
      • who we kept/keep at a distance because we were trained to distrust intimacy for fear that we will develop an emotionally dependent/enmeshed relationship or romantic/sexual relationship
      • who we rejected once we became ex-gay and they represented a risk to the ex-gay lives we pursued
      • who rejected us because the conditional nature of the friendship. Once we no longer identified as ex-gay and a struggler, they ended the relationship
  • Financial Harm–
    • Some spent hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars on ex-gay treatment, at seminars and conferences and on books and tapes
    • Some parents refused to pay for college or even basic living expenses when a child would not attend an ex-gay program.
  • Career Harm–
    • Some left careers considered “unsafe” for a struggler
    • Some interrupted school and careers to take a diversion into ex-gay treatment
  • Physical Harm—in the form of health issues triggered by stress and depression leading to back problems, skin conditions, etc.
  • Sexual Harm–in the form of damaging sex eduction
    • Sexually naive people (many who never even had sex) learned about “gay sex” from sex addicts who expressed their sexuality through risky and even illegal behaviors often because of the shame and self-loathing they felt.
    • Program leaders, therapists and “testimonies” transmitted negative messages about sexual expression between people of the same-sex which can hinder people from enjoying a healthy, satisfying sexuality even after leaving ex-gay treatment.
  • Developmental Harm–because of stunted growth in key areas while we focused our efforts on our ex-gay experiences. Many of us stopped living our lives and diverted our limited energies into the ex-gay process thus hindering personal growth at vital developmental moments

Those of us who have suffered and still stuffer harm from ex-gay experiences need not be victims. The process required to face the pain and loss and unpack our ex-gay experience takes time and support. It requires grieving and forgiveness–especially we need to forgive ourselves for the times we subjected ourselves to harmful ex-gay conversion therapies and ministries.

We need not be stuck though. Many have moved beyond their ex-gay experiences and the damage to embrace life afresh and forge new paths. They even have been able to salvage the good they gained from the ex-gay experiences as they recover from the harm. For some of us, part of the process means looking at the list above in order to acknowledge and validate the damage we suffered.

When I feel discouraged about the many losses from my nearly two decades of ex-gay living, I remind myself that I allowed myself to go through much of that mess. If I could get myself into all that trouble, I have the power and resources to get myself out.

Please feel free to share your experiences in the comment section or e-mail me at peterson@petersontoscano.com or visit bXg and fill out a contact form. Thank you and may you continue to find courage and support in your journey.

(special thanks to all the survivors who contributed their thoughts this week as I began writing this post.)

Now that you have considered some of the harm, What Does it Mean for You?

Another Ex-Gay Survivor Goes Public

In what has become a national trend, another person who spent years in subjection to ex-gay conversion therapy, has come forward to tell his story. Jonmarc Ross of Portland, Oregon shared his narrative in response to the recent Love Won Out anti-gay event that took place in his city. He then sat down with Julie Sabatier of Just Out Newspaper.

Jonmarc Ross knows firsthand how harmful the “ex-gay” ministries can be. His experience with the movement almost cost him his life. Ross, 39, lives in Portland, where he works as a painter for Resurrection Properties. He relocated to P-town 12 years ago from Orange County, Calif., while he was still in the throes of fruitless efforts to “cure” his homosexuality. He gave Just Out a window into that experience.

Sabatier goes on to ask Jonmarc various questions about his experience.

JS: What kinds of methods did you undergo to try to “cure” yourself?

JR: While I was in therapy, I was to keep a journal of any time I was attracted to another man. Lots of studying what [I] call “clobber passages” in Scripture—the passages in Scripture that the ex-gay groups interpret to back their story up…basically using the Bible to clobber people over the heads and beat them into submission. When it wasn’t working with [the therapist] he told me I should talk to my pastor. That resulted in my being basically yanked from my position as worship leader and then pulled into the pastor’s office for a 20th century version of the Spanish Inquisition with all 13 elders of the church. This was all before I had been with another man.

You can read more here. Jonmarc is currently working on a narrative to submit to bXg.

To see video of two other ex-gay survivors from Portland, OR who came forward during the recent Ex-Gay Survivor Conference, click here.

Former Ex-gay Leaders in Australia Apologize

Former ex-gay leaders in Australia have added their voices to a public apology for “the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith” caused by the message that gays and lesbians must change or suppress their sexual orientation in order to be good Christians.

On June 27, 2007, Soulforce and BeyondExGay (bXg) brought together former ex-gay leaders from the U.S. and U.K. to issue a public apology for their prior involvement in providing and promoting ex-gay conversion therapy. As part of their apology, Darlene Bogle, Michael Bussee, and Jeremy Marks appealed to other former ex-gay leaders to join the healing and reconciliation process by adding their names to the apology.

Inspired by this historic statement, Vonnie Pitts, Wendy Lawson, and Kim Brett–all former leaders of Australian ex-gay ministries–have come forward to confirm with their American and British counterparts that ex-gay ministries cause more harm than good.

Pictures and complete text of the Australian leaders’ statements are available at bXg and Soulforce.

“There has been an increasing uneasiness in me since 2005 that what I was teaching was harmful to people,” says Kim Brett, who founded an ex-gay program that was affiliated with Exodus and Living Waters, two U.S. ex-gay groups. “I became tired and ill at ease with always feeling that this part of my life and others attending the group were broken and in need of fixing.”

Wendy Lawson, former leader of an ex-gay group in Melbourne, emphasized the personal psychological impact of the ex-gay message:

“I suffered torment and huge anxiety all muddied by confusion and constant failure during the Exodus years. For me the most traumatic outcome was my personal sense of failure as a Christian and not being accepted as a part of the church family I loved,” says Lawson.

Vonnie Pitts was a heterosexual church leader who organized an ex-gay support group in the Sydney area. Although her group members were dedicated and determined, she did not witness the changes in orientation promised by the group’s curriculum, which was adopted from the Missouri-based Living Waters ministry.

“If I were to see any of the people that I took through the Living Waters program again, I would say ‘I’m sorry.’ My intentions were to help you through your struggle, but I acted in ignorance,” says Pitts.

The Australian former ex-gay leaders were organized by Anthony Venn-Brown, who attended Australia’s first ex-gay program in 1972 and spent the next 22 years attempting to suppress and change his sexuality. During that time he married and became a national Christian leader in Australia through the Assemblies of God Church. Through his own experiences, Venn-Brown eventually came to realize that the ex-gay message created trauma rather than freedom. He narrates this journey in the recently published book, A Life of Unlearning-A Journey to Find the Truth (New Holland Publishers) and will share some of his story on 60 Minutes in Australia on Sunday August 19, 2007.

“Homo No Mo” No More????

As promised, I have an important announcement to share with you. It’s something that I had determined months ago, but sat with it, talked to my support committee and some of you about and held in the Light since that time.

I feel confident and even excited to announce that in February 2008 I will officially retire my play, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway Houuse–How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement. I premiered the play in Memphis, TN in February 2003 (on my birthday) and have since taken it far and wide. (A Google Vanity Search yields nearly 12,000 hits for the term “Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House“)

Back in 2003 there was very little out there countering the claims of ex-gay therapies and ministries. Mike Airhart had just started Ex-Gay Watch, and although gay activists, like Wayne Besen, spoke out against the Ex-Gay Movement, there were no ex-gay survivors telling their stories in any public way.

Since that time so much has changed. Folks like Christine Bakke and Darlene Boggle and Shawn O’Donnell and Eric Leocadio and Alex Resare and David Christie and Daniel Gonzales and (I could go on for quite some time) have come forward to share their own stories. Christine Bakke and I (with lots of help from Steve Boese, who reviewed Homo No Mo back in 2003) set up Beyond Ex-Gay (bXg) in April of this year and filled it with lots of powerful stories.

The Ex-Gay Survivor Conference and Soulforce‘s Ex-Gay Survivor Initiative have helped to highlight the concerns of ex-gay survivors and the clear message that many of us experienced more harm than good in our pursuit to suppress and change our sexuality. As a result, several survivors have shared their stories in video and placed them on YouTube. Currently there are at least eight differen documentary films in the works that all deal with the ex-gay issue. There is the autumn release of Save Me, a film about the ex-gay struggle, and new blogs by ex-gay survivors are being created weekly.

My story is out there, in large part because of my play and talks, and has been featured in news stories, documentaries, and TV programs (check out this week’s Edge article). I feel it is time for me to lay down the Homo No Mo play. In part, I want to make room for other people to tell their stories. Also, I know it will not be healthy or even interesting to be stuck in the same role for a long time. I have other plays that I do and still others in the works.

I do intend to produce a high quality DVD version of Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. We may do some filming in December with hopes of having it out by the spring of 2008. And I will perform the play as often as possible between now and February. My hope is to have my final performance in Memphis. (the fall schedule will be up once I return from England)

If you have been saying for years that you MUST get Homo No Mo to a theater or church or university near you, this your time to act. Feel free to contact Sarah or me.

But more importantly I want to thank you for your support and affirmation as I have been telling my story through the Homo No Mo play. I feel a special fondness for the piece in large part because of the many amazing people I have gotten to know through performing it. Through writing, performing and re-writing the piece, I learned a great deal about myself and my own struggle.

Today I see big shifts happening in the ex-gay world and the church, so I believe my play will very soon lose its relevance and simply become historical. We have lots to celebrate, and I see this final run of Homo No Mo to be part of that celebration.

Weekend in the Mountains

Ah, I had a lovely weekend in the Catskill Mountains (New York State) visiting my dad. Steve Boese joined me for the excursion which included meandering meals, lots of lively conversation and little road trips on country roads.

Steve even looked in at the cottage that I own which sits right by my Dad’s house. (photo is of me in front of it when I was age seven) The cottage now needs some work after the former tenants let it go, but I have such a clear vision for the place–simple, rustic, comfortable and designed for hospitality.

I envision a table filled with food and surrounded by interesting, creative, thoughtful people enjoying each other’s company (folks like YOU). On the two acres of land I also have plans to plant an orchard and loads of wild flowers and let some of the field go back to a natural state to provide a habitat for the local animals that find themselves getting edged off the land by developers.

All in all a relaxing weekend which was still wonderfully productive. I am reading a book I cannot put down–Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. (Thanks Tom D for the book! Hope you had a GREAT 40th birthday) Ehrman raises the all important questions that I had been terrified to ask for years, How did we get our Bible and just how accurate is it?

Over at bXg (Beyond Ex-Gay), Christine and I have updated some new pages. See new narratives–Barbara Leavitt, Lester Leavitt, Eric Leocadio. And read the updated question of the month (ok so it is more like a quarterly feature). Christine also posted the next question, so check it out and tell us what you think. Later this week Steve will have our Collages page up.

Tomorrow some ex-gay survivors will present their collages to the Love in Action staff after sharing their stories outside of the LIA building. David Christie is one of these brave folkks. This is the first time he has told his story in such a public way. Please pray, send warm thoughts and comfort to these guys as they tell their stories. It is not easy work. Also pray that John Smid, the head of LIA and his staff have ears to hear what these survivors have to say. The purpose of the event is not to bash LIA but to talk about the harm that can and does come because of ex-gay conversion therapy in its many forms.

It is too soon to announce anything yet, but be on the lookout–I will have a big announcement in August. (No I am not pregnant, but feel free to speculate–you always come up with the most unlikely and delightful ideas.)

Oh, and here is silly video of Jose Luis and me in Madrid in May. (I have no idea why I lower my voice so much when I speak Spanish–raro)