After repeated attempts to speak with Marvin on the phone, I finally faxed him the following letter on Wednesday. I have yet to get a reply.
I’ve struggled with what to say about your decision to sell your home and move to Memphis so that you can attend Love in Action. I am surprised that you do not answer the many phone messages I left you. But then again I am not. You have determined your course, and like a good soldier of the cross, I imagine that you will let nothing deter you from your goal.
I know I can say nothing that will dissuade either. Ironically I entered Love in Action on July 13, 1996, exactly 10 years to the day of when you will start your program next week. No one could have stopped me then. I felt desperate, lost and determined. I felt overwhelmed by a world that seemed oppressively opposed to my beliefs and by sexual feelings that no matter how hard I tried to control them only seemed to mock me with their intensity.
At that time I felt that I had no home of my own, no place where I could be myself. The church and my church friends rejected me because I continued to act out sexually regardless of the many attempts to stop, my promises and prayers. What I viewed as the “gay community” looked foreign and dangerous to me and especially to my faith in Jesus. The only refuge I felt I had was Love in Action where I believed I could be open about my same-sex struggles and grow in my faith.
Little did I understand that my parents silently ached to love and embrace me, that whole communities of queer people of faith existed all around me, that wise and thoughtful and caring friends stood nearby. But after 15 years of attempting to “get right with God” nothing was going to stop me from entering Love in Action.
I don’t know why some of us struggle with our same-sex attractions and gender differences more than others. I don’t know why even in the face of the mounting evidence to the contrary that some of us fight with all our might to transform ourselves. I don’t know why we confuse the things that really need changing with the things we insist must change.
Marvin, I cannot discourage you from entering Love in Action. You sound firmly fixed in your course. Perhaps some good will come of it. I met some of my dearest friends in Love in Action. I learned important lessons that helped me overcome the obstacles to coming out. These were unintended consequences, costly surprises. And shocker of all, when I finally came to the end of my struggle, I found Jesus there waiting for me on the other side, seeming to say, “Now let’s get on with the living part of your life.”
What else can I say? Look out for the killer Texas-sized biscuits–they will destroy that boyish figure of yours! Don’t let the feedback you hear destroy you and try to remember that even your captors are victims of the same system that oppresses you. Oh, and one last thing, please oh please bring some sort of recording device with you so you can chronicle your long day’s journey into night. And should things go badly, please contact Bob and Morgan and Ann and Pastor Tim Meadows and well, I can provide you with a detailed list of amazing Memphis people.
your friend and queer brother in Christ (I hear the rebukes from you already 🙂
Rumor has it that Daniel Gonzales of Ex-Gay Watch will be in the NY area, so maybe we can visit Marvin before he goes. Who knows maybe Daniel’s charms will prevent Marvin from wasting his time. Do you have any parting words of advice for Marvin before he departs to the nether regions???