Sunday, April 22, 2012

Courage founder: "Gay cure" not possible

Jeremy Marks who founded Courage in the UK to help gays and lesbians overcome homosexuality writes 'I began to think that perhaps we’d got it really wrong.' in
The Guardian:
In the 1980s, I started a group called Courage, to "cure" homosexuality. Although today the "ex-gay" ministry seems offensive, back then it was cutting edge, in that we were reaching out to the gay community. The rest of the church just said, "You're wasting your time, they're going to go to hell." We didn't have a "deliverance" approach, but there were some ministries that regarded homosexuals as being possessed by a demonic spirit that could be cast out. We adopted the psychoanalytic idea of an unfortunate family background: distant father, overbearing mother – and this was just a boy looking for a father's love. The idea was that if placed in an affirming male environment, you'd grow out of your desires.
I'd known I was gay from about the age of 13. I got on well with girls, but I didn't feel the sexual chemistry I felt when I watched Richard Chamberlain in Dr Kildare. In those days you could never talk about it. It was a lonely, frightening world.
By the end of the 1990s, the only ones doing well were those who'd accepted they were gay and found a partner. It was as if a great burden had been shifted, that they thought, "Now at last I know who I am. I know I'm in love with somebody and they love me." I thought, this is the kind of result we hoped they'd achieve living an upright Christian life, but they're finding that contentment just being themselves. I began to think that perhaps we'd got it really wrong.
I still run Courage, but now it's with a belief that you can be gay and Christian. We offer a chance to meet other gay Christians and support committed same-sex relationships. It's been difficult for my wife, because she's naturally very concerned that I might therefore decide, "That's it, I want to go and find a man." But we're coming up to retirement age and I wouldn't feel happy just to leave her – feeling abandoned after all we've been through together. Ours may not be the traditional heterosexual romance, but the care for one another's wellbeing is just as real. I try not to look back, but I know I've missed out in a big way – and so has she. She should have been with some heterosexual guy who adored her, as she should be adored.


Gary Kelly said...

The sin is not same sex marriage, the sin is not making it legal.

GreginAdelaide said...

How long has man been on earth?

How long have men and women been attracted to members of their own sex?

How come man is only just at this stage of acceptance?

How long will it take to be a non-issue?

Beats the livin' crap outa me.

Coop said...

I sense remorse and sadness here. Jeremy Marks wishes that courage campaign handeled things differently in the '80s.
And has he ever talked to his wife? Maybe she loves him and feels appreciated anyway. As in, she doesn't WANT to be with someone else.

I feel grateful that I've always accepted my sexual feelings. And I keep those who thought they had to be "cured" in my thoughts.
The Old testament stuff no longer holds true. Jesus tells us to love one another as we love ourselves.

Coop said...

I add:

Could Jeremy be feeling unloved/unappreciated? It seems that way.

GreginAdelaide said...

Coop, either that, or at least with a strong mix of regret....and trying to make up for it.

"I try not to look back, but I know I've missed out in a big way – and so has she."

"I still run Courage, but now it's with a belief that you can be gay and Christian."

I reckon that says it all.

Gary Kelly said...

On the other hand, I know of gay guys who have married and raised a family, and have no regrets. Each loves his family dearly.

So it's a bit of a hit and miss situation. Whatever path we choose in life, and for whatever reason, we basically get one shot at it.