Friday, 28 March 2014

The Gay Thing

I've had a rough couple of days.

The World Vision US stand has caused a huge ripple through christendom and has created something of a division. Its almost as if the lines are being drawn and all out war is about to ensue.

I've experienced first hand, the wrath of conservatives over anything pro gay. I've tried to engage in reasonable discussions and look at things a little more objectively. I've been passionate, patient, forceful and downright abusive at times.

Its taken its toll, especially after the last one today who glibly informed me (after I had shared my heart with as much integrity as I know) that my entire life was a farce, a fraud, and I was deluded and full of bull shit.

So here I am sharing some of that pain, and realising that fundamentalist christianity is possibly one of the most evil cults this world has seen.

I have been stunned by the level of blind arrogance and pig headed dogma these people display. Sure I've had run ins with religion most of my life, more so lately. But the "gay issue" is bringing the redneck spirit out of the woodwork for all to see.

The thing is, I'm not sure that christianity as such, has much to do with it, except that it provides an effective cover for personal agendas. These people have found a religious system that supports their personal biases and bigotries, and a book that can be manipulated to support whatever they see fit.

I'm feeling reactionary after all this, but its been stirring for a long time. I hate religion! Yeah, most of us do, but I mean christian religion in all its forms. I mean the traditional evangelical type of christianity. I mean 90% of all churches and the doctrines they preach. I mean those christian books you find in christian shops and christian music they sell in christian concerts and christian conferences full of christians trying to be more christian.

It makes me sick.

At least Islam doesn't beat around the bush, you know where you stand! But evangelical christianity is a snake of subtle deception waiting to suck the life out of you, under the guise of making you a better person. I know there are millions of sincere people in that system who care and love as best they can, so I'm not dissing them.

I'm talking about every doctrine and ideal, theological assumption, traditions, structures, methodologies, all of it. I hate it. Really I do.

I go to a little gay friendly Anglican church every so often. Wonderful loving people. But the service sends me spare! The doctrines they spew out make me cringe. I have to drag myself there and suffer through it all just to spend some time with these beautiful people! What a rip off!

Yeah, maybe I've lost it. Maybe I'm throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I don't really care any more. The small amount of real life left in those places isn't enough for me to endorse in any form.

Here's the strange thing though. I can understand and relate to people stuck in that system. I can communicate on that level, and I love the people, I really do! It doesn't worry me where they are or what they believe, I just want to show people the love God has shown me.

But I HATE the traditional church, fundamentalist christianity, religion in all its forms, biblical literalism, bibliolatry, hypocrisy. I loath all the Israel rubbish, prophetic end times gibberish, glory gold dust and gems, healing crusades, worship gatherings... it all makes me want to vomit.

I'm done with it all. Its time to move on and be the real human/spirit that I am.
One with God.

I am.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Living Waters Australia dies!

Awesome news!! 
Living Waters Australia is closing down!!

This is incredible news for me. 

As many of you know, I was part of this "ministry" for around 15 years. To hear its closing its doors in Australia is a huge relief. Please remember that there are some truly wonderful people in this organization who are very loving and genuine. The problem is with the ministry itself, its assumptions and methods, that leave a trail of silent devastation.

Thanks to Anthony Venn-Brown for this article.

Living Waters Australia (LWA), one of the foremost and longest running ex-gay/conversion therapy programs in this country will cease operations next month. Ron Brookman, the Australian director, gave several reasons for his decision in a newsletter to followers last week. Many in the gay community are applauding this move as this means only a handful of these harmful organisations remain.


Andy Comiskey, a 'former' homosexual and founder Desert Stream Ministries, developed the Living Waters program in the early 1980's in West Hollywood to heal the 'sexually broken' (gay men and women). Since that time, his books and methods became dogma for ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy practitioners and organisations around the world. When the leading ex-gay organisation, Exodus International, closed down in June 2013, Comiskey turned on Exodus President Alan Chambers. A small remnant of ministries committed to the 'change is possible' message created 'Restored Hope Network' and Comiskey became a founding board member and chairperson.

Randy Thomas, former vice president of Exodus International, stated in his apology to the LGBTI community that one of his greatest regrets was his promotion of Andy Comiskey and his participation in the Living Waters programs.

Living Waters in Australia

LWA has operated for nearly thirty years. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, the ministry worked out of Christian Life Centre in Waterloo, which would later become the city campus of Hillsong Church. When Pastor Brian Houston took the church over from his father, Frank Houston, in the late 90's the ministry was closed down by Brian because of its ineffectiveness. It was at this time LWA moved to Ramsgate. Under Brookman's leadership, LWA had a degree of growth running groups around Australia and holding conferences. But that has changed drastically over the last decade.

In 2010, Brookman confessed ''There has been a real shift in society lately. We have detected this through responses to Living Waters offerings, we cancelled a conference recently because only a handful of registered. This year we have fewer Living Waters groups and fewer people in those groups. Our leadership training week at Collaroy appears to be hugely undersubscribed'

Ron Brookman continued to preach the 'change is possible' message even at a parliamentary level.
In 2005, when Prime Minister John Howard was planning altering the marriage act to ensure that marriage would always be defined as 'between and man and a woman' only, Brookman shared his testimony as a 'former homosexual' to the large gathering of Christian leaders in Canberra; ignoring the fact that he still has same-sex 'thoughts' as he calls them.

In 2012, before the Senate Same-Sex Marriage Inquiry Rev. Brookman told the committee 'For over 30 years I was homosexual' and that he had experienced a 'transformation of my sexuality to heterosexuality'. Brookman also told the inquiry 'In the last six months I have celebrated the weddings of two ex-gay men who have married beautiful wives and two couples who have given birth to babies who would never have been born had they not transitioned from homosexuality'. These statements have not only been misleading they are also highly irresponsible (read THE SADDEST THINGS ABOUT THIS SITUATION at the conclusion of this article on Situational Heterosexuality)

In 2012, Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International was pleased to announce that two thirds of ex-gay/reparative/conversion ministries had ceased to exist in Australia in the last decade. LWA was one of the few that remained. Rev Brookman has also appeared on TV shows, documentaries and interviewed by the print media, preaching his message that gay men and women are broken human beings and God can change them to straight. His own marriage consistently proclaimed as the evidence. History tells us that the overwhelming majority of these attempts to become straight through a heterosexual marriage fail and there are not 100,000's of ex-gays as has often been claimed by people like the Rev Fred Nile.

Why it's finally coming to an end - reality check

In the LWA newsletter last week Rev Ron Brookman announced his resignation as Director of LWA, effective from 31st March, there will be a Thanksgiving Service on Saturday 12th April where he outline in greater detail the reasons for LWA's demise and that LWA Australia will be completely wound up by 30th June 2014.

The reasons LWA is coming to an end according to the retiring director.

Deficiencies in his own leadership (these are undefined at this stage)
Change in the Church and Christian culture over the last decade
LWA has shrunk to only 3 groups operating in the Sydney area
There is nobody who has been identified, trained, or who is willing to take up leadership of the ministry.
Nor does there appear to be openings to develop the ministry at this time.

Where does that leave us now?

This means that only a handful of ex-gay/reparative/conversion organisations are left in Australia, one of which is Liberty Christian Ministries, which are a part of the crumbling Exodus Global Alliance.

When Exodus International closed down last year Rev Brookman and others declared, in a poorly researched piece in the mainstream press, that the 'Gay cure' therapy will continue in Australia. As I pointed out at that time THESE WERE VERY EMPTY WORDS.

The remaining organisations days are well and truly numbered. WHY? The gay Christian movement grows exponentially, the number or LGBTI welcoming, accepting and affirming churches grows. The vast majority of Australians have an out, proud gay or lesbian brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, parent or grandparent, friend or work colleague. And to hear churches or religious organisations label them as sick, dysfunctional and broken is abhorrent, offensive and ignorant.

A Vigil

When LWA is holding its holding its Thanksgiving Service on Saturday 12 April, Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International will be holding a 30 minute vigil in Taylor Square, Sydney, to remember those we have lost through ex-gay/reparative/conversion organisations and because of faith/sexuality conflict and to celebrate those who have survived.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Mutual Respect - or not

These days there's a lot of conflict between conservative/traditional christianity and the more liberal/freethinking side.

It's a bit of a generalisation of course, but still worth the observation.

When those with more liberal beliefs present them, its often in a way that is forceful, provocative and challenging. After many debates and arguments the "liberals" get frustrated with the blindness of the traditionalists, and the traditionalists get annoyed at how liberals have twisted things like scripture and theology to their own agendas.

I can understand both sides of that argument.

Traditionalists say that the liberals aren't prepared to listen to their side of the arguments in a balanced perspective and have intelligent respectful debates. So here's my take...

Those who have more liberal beliefs (you know, things like biblical inerrancy, universalism, homosexuality etc), have had to battle through traditionalist thought to get to the more liberal beliefs. They already understand the traditional paradigms. They don't have to sit and listen to endless biblical debates in a balanced discussion, because they have already done it to get where they are now!

The onus is not on radicals/liberals to be balanced, its on traditionalist/fundamentalists to listen!

From my own experience, I've found the moment I express something that conflicts with traditional paradigms it's assumed I have no idea of the "true" biblical perspective or understand the theology and doctrines that have become christianity as we know it today. Basically, its assumed I'm ignorant and just need to be shown the truth.

But I, and nearly all liberal thinkers, are extremely well studied and come to the conclusion we do because of that - not out of ignorance.

So really there is no "balance" needed at all. Sure, we respect everyone and don't abuse them, but the responsibility is not on the radicals to justify themselves, its on the traditionalists to listen and respect the fact that the radicals completely understand the conservative side already and don't need it explained over and over.

If you can't handle people shouting about hyper grace, universalism, LGBT issues, biblical inerrancy etc, then the problem may well be with you. The onus is on you to listen to those who have been where you are and have seen things differently, not the other way around.


I realise that no one should be disrespectful in all this, and I'm not advocating ramming things down people's throats. There are many older folks and some with simple faith, who simply can't comprehend the whole issue in the first place. 

I'm not advocating arrogance, but trying to get across that traditionalists are making the huge assumption that liberal thinkers need to be corrected by the very thoughts and paradigms that have caused them to question traditional religion in the first place. They hold the position that we just don't have enough knowledge of scripture, good exegesis or correct theology.

And of course, most importantly, this is a generalisation :-)