Monday, September 22, 2014

UKRAINIANS with Same-Sex Attraction


Here is the announcement regarding our NEW Ukrainian language video-conference support group and upcoming resources for Ukrainians with Same-Sex Attraction:

http://joel225.org/UkrainianAnnouncement

The first section is in Ukrainian, but the English translation is below.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy Schwab
Founder & Executive Director
Joel 2:25 International







Jeremy@Joel225.org
http://www.Joel225.org

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Groups & Opportunities for Healing in Indiana, California, & Texas

Hi, 
In our Joel 2:25 Online Chapel, we have been meeting every day for Lauds and Compline in English and Spanish. We are hoping to add a few new groups soon including Vespers and at least one Women's Prayer Group (our others are co-ed). If you or anyone you know would be interested in joining us, please let me know or check out our Online Chapel at: http://www.Joel225.org/JoelPrayer 

Also, I just found out that there are only a few spaces left for the upcoming Journey into Manhood (JiM) weekends in California, Indiana, and Texas.
  • September 19-21, 2014:  near Bloomington, Indiana
  • September 26-28, 2014: Southern California
  • October 17-19, 2014: near Houston, Texas


I would HIGHLY recommend this experience. It was a huge breakthrough for ME and many others that I know. Here is a short video where I talked about my own experience: 




To register for the JiM weekend, click here: http://www.PeopleCanChange.com/jim  There are sponsorships available and I have been told that everyone who applies for financial aide receive some kind of help - so don't let that stand in your way. It is worth 100 therapy sessions and well worth a flight, etc. 


Also, if anyone here (or anyone you know) can benefit, we are starting a new video-conference group in Ukrainian that will meet every Wednesday.  http://joel225.org/j225_016.htm Please email: Ukrainian@Joel225.org for more info. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy Schwab


P.S.: Here is another video with more information on Journey into Manhood


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back from Beyond

Friday, June 27, 2014

Republican Party of Texas vs. the APA - Infographic

The APA is the only public health organization claiming to have "studied" this issue. All others (the AMA, etc.) simply re-post and quote from the 2009 APA's "Task Force" report. I am amazed by the LACK of rigor involved in the APA's task force report which is quoted by so many as an "Authority."
(You may need to click on the pic to open it full screen)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Born this Way" ?? hmm...

This should be self-evident, but unfortunately today's philosophy has caused so much confusion. 
"Gender identity and sexual orientation are grounded in biological reality. The body tells us who we are, and we cannot 'construct' - assemble or disassemble - a different reality in which gender and sexual identity are out of synchrony with biology. We cannot have been 'created' for same-sex relationships whose very design makes biological parenthood impossible.
My clients have found homosexual behavior to be maladaptive to their lives. Their impetus for change comes from their deep conviction that underneath it all they really are heterosexual men, and they seek a therapist who sees their inner potential.
These men have an internal conviction that homosexuality is not merely wrong but that - on yet a broader dimension - homosexuality simply isn't 'True.'"
                                  - Dr. Joseph Nicolosi


I found this (above) while re-reading the introduction to 
Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy by Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. of the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic.


This is one of the best, most comprehensive books on understanding Same-Sex Attraction. I highly recommend it!

Pax Christi,
Jeremy
http://www.Joel225.org

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Missionary Spirit of Radical Love

I love this quote from Archbishop Cordileone's speech. It embodies the missionary spirit of radical Love that we all must strive for.  - Jeremy
---------------------------------------
"To my fellow believers in Jesus Christ I would call our attention to those first generations of Christians in the city of Rome, who were so often scapegoated by the powerful pagan Roman government. 

But when a plague would strike the city and the well-to-do fled to the hills for safety until the plague subsided, it was the Christians who stayed behind to care for the sick, at great risk to thei
r own health and very lives. And not just the Christian sick: all the sick, regardless of religion, of how they lived their lives, or even what they thought of the Christians themselves. 


The historian Eusebius noted about the Christians of his time:

'All day long some of them tended to the dying and to their burial, countless numbers with no one to care for them. Others gathered together from all parts of the city a multitude of those withered from famine and distributed bread to them all.'
Likewise, the Emperor Julian complained to one of his pagan priests,

 '[They] support not only their poor, but ours as well.'
It is this kind of love and compassion in the service of truth, especially the truth of the human person, that has marked the lives of the holy ones of our own faith tradition and others as well: hospitals, orphanages, schools, outreach to the poor and destitute – giving without concern for getting anything in return, seeing in each human being, especially in the poor and destitute, a priceless child beloved by God, whom God calls to turn away from sin and toward Him, so that they might be saved." 

- Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco - address to the March for Marriage (6/19/2014)


Full Text available here:
http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/3201/abp_cordileones_speech_at_the_march_for_marriage_full_text.aspx

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Third Way - TONIGHT

Tonight, I'll be hosting a screening with others from Joel 2:25 at a church in the Fort Worth Diocese.

http://vimeo.com/93079367

This short film may provide more context than the news articles. This is NOT exclusively about "change" "curing" anyone's attractions, although I wouldn't rule out that possibility. I personally have experienced significant healing and change, but that's not what's most important. What is most important is freedom from shame and discovering REAL love and TRUTH.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy
Jeremy@Joel225.org


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Message to the Men, Women, & Families in Joel 2:25

I do realize that it is stressful to many of you to see the publicity. I never intended that to happen. I'm fairly certain this will calm down quickly as some other news story will take its place. Also, I realize that some of my public statements are being taken out of context and I have used some buzzwords that could be triggering.

One example is the term "Reparative Therapy." That is ONE tool that many of us have found helpful for healing, but it is not an end in and of itself and is not the central focus of Joel 2:25. "Reparative Therapy" is really just like other therapies, but it got it's name from the premise put forth by Dr. Nicolosi that the compulsion for homosexual behavior is often a "reparative drive" - and that if we address the underlying Shame and emotional woulds, this drive will be LESS compulsive and healing can take place. It does NOT mean "repairing" a homosexual person because they are 'broken.'

I realize that at least half of the SSA men I meet are NOT interested in "Reparative Therapy" itself, BUT they do have the desire to remain chaste and find support and fellowship. YOU are totally welcome here. Also, many others are working with therapists and may like to share personal experiences and/or learnings about their own emotional healing work and/or an Experiential Weekend or retreat they have attended. That is cool too.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Texas GOP Reparative Therapy Platform Plank

With all of the misinformation being spread by the media, I want to try to make a few points more clear regarding the platform amendment I wrote for the Texas GOP that supports the right of access for Reparative Therapy.

I personally have a LOT of experience with Reparative Therapy have benefited directly from therapy with Dr. Joseph Nicolosi Jr.

Also, over the last four years I have talked with over 500 others who have taken this journey as well. EVERY aspect of it is positive - even for those who may later choose a different path. I have read everything that has been published on this subject from all major associations.

I have addressed the top five questions I've received here (below):


1) This is not an "endorsement" or command for anyone. It simply protects the right of access for those (like myself and many others) who benefit from Reparative Therapy and other forms of SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts). The reason this plank is necessary is to stop the 50 state push for these laws: http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2012/06/01/another_outrage_in_california

2) It is NOT "Ex-Gay" therapy.  It never has been about "curing" anyone and it never will be. It is about healing and wholeness as well as congruity. There are many of us who experience Same-Sex Attraction, but do NOT want to embrace the modern "Gay" label and have moral beliefs that mean Gay Relationships are NOT an option for us at all. I have answered this question in the past. Here are two that might help clarify the goals for you:
                         a) "What does 'Ex-Gay' or 'Change' mean to me?"  
                         b) "To Change or Not to Change - Is that Really the Question?"

3) Reparative Therapy is POSITIVE and AFFIRMING of the individual. The entire premise of Reparative Therapy is building self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image. It is about healing emotional wounds. The belief is that healing these wounds will make homosexual behavior less compelling. Even if you believe compulsive homosexual behavior is healthy, surely you can see how healing emotional wounds and building self-image and self-worth is always a positive thing. Here is a video playlist I put together of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi explaining Reparative Therapy.

    3 a)  "Reparative Therapy" got it's name from the premise put forth by Dr. Nicolosi that the compulsion for homosexual behavior is often a "reparative drive" - and that if we address the underlying Shame and emotional wounds, this drive will be LESS compulsive and healing can take place. It does NOT mean "repairing" a homosexual person because they are 'broken.' 

4) Reparative Therapy is NEVER "harmful" or "dangerous." - There is ZERO evidence to suggest that ANYONE has EVER been harmed by actual Reparative Therapy itself. The news media continues to repeat the lie that "Reparative Therapy has been discredited." Nothing could be further from the truth!  The only "official" statements from the APA about Reparative Therapy came from a 2009 release by their panel of "Homosexuality" which consists of only six (6) therapists. NONE of them have ever practiced Reparative Therapy nor spoken to anyone who has experienced it. Five (5) of these six (6) therapists are openly "gay" and longterm political activists. They used the general "Warning" applied to all therapeutic interventions which lists a variety of risks. None of these have ever been linked to Reparative Therapy itself.

5) Does Reparative Therapy "work"? 
It has improved my life substantially as well as thousands of others. Did it remove all traces of SSA (Same-Sex Attraction) and replace it with 100% Opposite Sex Attraction?  No- not yet. I don't know whether it will, but that was NEVER the point in the first place. It is not supposed to be a "Gay Cure."   AA does not remove the temptation to drink, but it still helps millions of people live the lives they really want to live. Does that make it a fraud?

Anyway, for more information, please see my other blog post with the info packet I sent to the delegates here: http://myssajourney.blogspot.com/2014/06/republican-party-of-texas-platform-for.html

Also, please see these websites:

NARTH: National Association of Research and Therapy for Homosexuality
Joel 2:25 International - the ministry I started
People Can Change
Restored Hope Network
Courage Apostolate
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi - Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic
Voice of the Voiceless

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Republican Party of Texas - Platform for 2014 - please pray and help, if you can

I would like to share with you this resolution which I drafted and submitted for consideration to be added as a plank in the Republican Party of Texas 2014 Platform. I've drafted resolutions and lobbied the legislature for conservative causes in the past, but never for such a personal issue.  

Here is one news article explaining the situation: http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelbrown/2012/06/01/another_outrage_in_california  

As you know from my other blog posts, I lead a ministry based here in Texas, but with national outreach and we and many others have already being impacted by this new law that liberals are pushing in all 50 states.

Reparative Therapy and this type of ministry work played a significant role in saving my life and I have been blessed to help many others over the past four years. Recently though, this ministry work has been under attack across the country and in some states Republican legislators and Governors have been silent or complicit in passing these laws. 

After California and New Jersey passed these laws last year, I began reaching out to Republican State Legislators and State Senators to discuss the law. In Washington State, the bill flew through their House without any opposition from Republicans, but once we talked with the GOP state senators and they came to understand the full story, they stood up and blocked this awful bill. The same has been the case now for eleven other states. 

In each case, it took significant efforts to educate GOP legislators and rally grassroots support before their GOP lawmakers realized the importance of this issue to religious freedom. Since this bill is being introduced in all 50 states, it is a critical and unique addition to the State GOP which is not fully covered by the current language.  I presented the resolution and my explanations to the Texas Republican Assembly and the Eagle Forum and they both agreed and endorsed this resolution. I would have asked for other endorsements as well, but I wasn't sure who to contact.

Anyway, I have been told that this issue is one that many people have additional questions about so I drafted this brief packet to supplemental information explaining the reasons behind this platform amendment.

If (by chance) you are a delegate or alternate to the upcoming Republican State Convention here in Texas this weekend, please take a moment to review. This was approved unanimously by the Platform Committee and will be presented for approval by the full convention this coming Saturday. I will be there and I really hope I can count on your support for this important platform amendment. If you are in another state (or party), I would love to talk with you about how you can adapt this for your upcoming state convention and party platform. This shouldn't be only a GOP or Texas issue. Hopefully, we can ALL agree on the importance of protecting Free Speech and the Freedom of Relgion for ALL. 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
2014 RPT Platform Amendment Resolution Supporting the Right to Reparative Therapy / SOCE
1)       Proposed Platform Amendment
2)       Why this platform amendment is crucial for protecting free speech and religious freedom in Texas.
3)       What is “Reparative Therapy” and “SOCE” (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts)?
4)       Original (long version) of the resolution – includes additional “whereases” intended to inform
5)       Letters from Psychologists and therapists in Texas and California.
6)       Final version endorsed by the Texas Republican Assembly and Eagle Forum (same “Therefore” fewer “whereases”)

1)       Proposed Platform Amendment
“SUPPORT THE RIGHT TO REPARATIVE THERAPY
We call upon all elected officials in the State of Texas to ensure that licensed therapists, psychologists and counselors in the state of Texas cannot be forbidden or penalized by any licensing board for practicing reparative therapy and supporting clients of any age with sexual orientation change efforts. 

We support the rights of self-motivated teens and urge the passage of laws to protect the right to self-determination by those who experience Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction and seek to live out their values of chastity and/or restoration to heterosexuality.”

2)       Why this platform amendment is crucial for protecting free speech and religious freedom in Texas.
Activists have drafted a bill to be introduced in all 50 states which will ban or severely restrict access to Reparative Therapy and all other SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts) including religious counseling.  A similar bill is currently under review in the British Parliament which goes much further. A version of the bill will be introduced in the Texas legislature during the next term.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

LIVE TWEETING the Holiest 72 Hours of A.D. 2014

When I was a freshman at University of Dallas, my friend Frank was really inspired by Jesus' words in Mark 14:36 "Could you not stay awake with me for even one hour?"   The two of us decided to stay up all night on Holy Thursday to pray and read scripture. We kept the vigil going until 3:00pm on Good Friday (the hour of Salvation) - when we ended by praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My story and the benefits of Reparative Therapy & SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts)

I put this playlist together along with my own video interview to help share the TRUTH about Reparative Therapy which is one of the tools God used to save my life. I am so grateful to Dr. Nicolosi for his help. I also want to spread the TRUTH to those who have heard lies and misinformation. 



Those who say that Reparative Therapy is "harmful" have (in almost all cases) never tried or experienced ANY form of real Reparative Therapy. Those who did try it and who say that usually only did so for a very short while. In all cases, they are basing their accusations on politics rather than facts. Reparative Therapy uses all of the SAME modalities as any other therapy. 


The difference is that it respects the individual client's right to self-determination rather than imposing a modern pop-culture label and insisting that the individual must live an active "gay" life in order to be happy. Those of us with religious views are never going to find happiness by doing what we believe to be wrong. Only by finding truth, congruence within our faith, and self-compassion have we found real healing. THAT is the basis of Reparative Therapy.


#samesexattraction #SSA #homosexuality #exgay ex-gay lgbt gay ex-homosexual #SOCE Sexual Orientation Change Efforts#NARTH

Monday, January 20, 2014

Name Change (MyExGayJourney to MySSAJourney)

I recently changed the name and URL for my blog from: MyExGayJourney to MySSAJourney. I thought the URL (myexgayjourney.blogspot.com) would transfer to the new URL (MySSAJourney.Blogspot.com), but I guess that didn't work.

The reason for the change is NOT due to any change in my own beliefs or goals. It is just that I never intended to use the term "Ex-Gay" anyway. I don't believe any of us are created TO BE gay and this journey isn't about become "Ex" anything as much as it is about growth and healing in authenticity and assertion - releasing shame and other false identities and counter-emotions.

Anway, I hope to share more here soon. I've been preoccupied with ministry work (http://www.Joel225.com) and my regular full-time job in the corporate world, so I haven't had much time for writing. I hope to get more prolific in the future though.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Friday, January 10, 2014

15 Minutes a Day

This past week, a group of my friends in Joel 2:25 (http://www.Joel225.com) started meeting via teleconference each morning to pray Lauds (Morning Prayer: http://universalis.com/). The teleconference line is one that we set up exclusively for prayer and it's available 24/7.

Right now, we have two groups that meet every day: the Compline or night prayer group at 10:30PM CST and the new Morning group. Both of these are traditional liturgical prayers (from the Psalms) and they are awesome, but they are mostly from my own Catholic tradition. Our group is very diverse and at least half of Joel 2:25 guys are evangelical or charismatic and many are from Orthodox traditions. I would LOVE for us to get more daily groups with other forms of prayer / worship. 

Besides the obviously most important aspect of communal worship and praise for our King, there is a practical/ministry benefit. I've been reading a few different books lately on Addiction recovery. They are not specifically related to SSA, but all of them site the importance of "Keystone Habits" and positive community / group involvement and relationship with God as the most important factors for healing - recovery and long term sobriety.

When I first started Joel 2:25 about a year ago, I focused exclusively on deep emotional processing. My biased judgement at the time was that this was the area most ministries neglected. I developed the protocol we currently use for our Small Groups with the intention of creating safe and "sacred" space to enable vulnerability and deep catharsis. Our Small Group leaders are all really skilled in this type of work and I think those small groups are going really well.

At the same time, I'm realizing there is a LOT of value in short DAILY groups - even if it's only 15-20 minutes. It can be a huge help in developing sexual sobriety and spiritual growth. From what many therapists are telling me, this is critical for anyone to get real benefit out of the catharsis work.

Anyway, if anyone here would be interested in participating in or leading a daily group (15-30 minutes) for prayer, worship, scripture study, etc. - please let me know. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Please join us in prayer or let us pray for you


In Joel 2:25, we would like to keep YOU in our prayers. In addition to the video-conference support groups, participants gather in small groups at several different times each day to pray using our 24-Hour Prayer Teleconference line.

Currently, we have two establish daily groups that meet at the same time each day for Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Compline (Night Prayer). The prayers we use for each day are available online at:http://universalis.com/

Our dedicated prayer line is up 24/7 so we hope we can add more daily groups soon including Charismatic, evangelical, and Greek Orthodox groups.

If there is anything we can pray for you about or if you would like to join us in one of our prayer groups, please contact us: http://joel225.com/joel_021.htm

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Becoming a Whole Man" - by David Matheson

Here is a great new resource which is really excellent: http://becomingawholeman.com
Also the website for the "Center for Gender Wholeness": http://genderwholeness.com/

I highly recommend the book and the interactive website. The "Masculine Archetypes" that David Matheson describes are the "King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover." They are also referenced in many other men's programs - including the Promise Keepers

I actually have 8 books on my shelf right now about the "Masculine Archetypes" as well as one on the feminine archetypes. 

Anyway, this website is really awesome!  David Matheson is also one of the creators of the JiM weekend (Journey into Manhood) http://www.PeopleCanChange.com/jim I hope to have him come to one our Joel 2:25 meetings (http://www.Joel225.com) as a guest speaker later this year. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 has been an Amazing Year!

2013 has been an amazing year!

I have continued to be bless abundantly with opportunities to reach out, encourage, and support others who are making this same journey. I have also received more support, friendship, and real love than ever before. 


The group I has started (originally in my living room) has grown to over 320 men and women from 63 countries who participate via video-conferences. We have formed a non-profit corporation with bylaws and a Board of Directors and have begun the process of becoming a 501c3. Our 15 Small Groups are doing well and I'm blessed to know so many wonderful men and women who have been willing to volunteer to help lead groups and minister to others.

Our nightly prayer group has been meeting every night at 10:30pm for about six months now and my dad has even started joining us. That has been really AWESOME!  We are also starting a Morning Prayer group in January. 

While ALL Joel 2:25 meetings, video-conferences, and support services are FREE and ALWAYS WILL BE, there are many costs that incur to support the growing needs. There are also many things we would like to be able to do to provide more help if the funds were available.

IF you feel led, please consider partnering with us in prayer and if possible financial support: http://joel225.com/joel_021.htm. Also (regardless of whether you can help us), please let us know if there is anything we can be praying for YOU about.

Pax Christi and have a blessed 2014!

Jeremy

http://www.Joel225.com
Map of Joel 2:25 Participants:


Monday, November 11, 2013

Seven days of prayer/fasting for Women with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA)

In Joel 2:25 (http://www.Joel225.com), we currently have 14 small groups for guys in different languages and stages of life. We have been having men who are in other groups gather to pray while one group is meeting. (i.g. guys from the Spanish group praying for the Russian group, English group praying for the Portuguese group, Italians, German, etc.)

This past weekend, the men of Joel 2:25 began seven days of fasting and prayer / fasting for a major new group that we are starting for women. We've discussed in our men's groups that one of our roles as men is to wake up our Warrior archetype. In this case, we are dealing with major Spiritual warfare. This will be the first video-conference group of it's kind for Women with SSA. Our sisters will be embarking on a major journey with women from four countries already on board. It is important that we as men step up and fight for them on this battlefield by storming heaven with prayer and fasting over the next seven days.

Anyway, I'd like to ask you to join us in praying for the women of Joel 2:25 and for all women with SSA.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy


Thursday, November 7, 2013

NEW group for PARENT's of Teens with Same-Sex Attraction

I got another email yesterday from a 16 year old seeking help with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA). In addition to the two 15 year olds who emailed a while back, this is starting to weigh on me. All of teens who have emailed me so far have said that they're parents were aware of their SSA and willing to give their written permission for them to participate in a support group. I've sent them all the links/resources as I knew of, but had to explain we do not yet have a Joel 2:25 group for them. I think it's time I stopped stalling though on getting the Parent's group together. 

If there are any Christian Counselors or pastoral leaders who might be willing to volunteer to help lead these, I'd love to talk with them.  I'm also asking guys in our "Young Adults" Small Group (under 27yo) to volunteer to help join these video-conferences and share THEIR experiences and insights with the parents.

I am envisioning this as being separate groups for Fathers and Mothers of Sons and Daughters with SSA or other confusions. 





Pax Christi,
Jeremy
http://www.Joel225.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NEW Group for WOMEN with Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction (Joel225.com)

This is EXCITING NEWS!!!!!


The WOMEN of Joel have tentatively scheduled their first Small Group Video-Conference for Saturday November 16th at 2:00PM CST (20:00 GMT).

http://www.Joel225.com

 If you know a woman with SSA who would be interested, please encourage them to contact Carol at:  info@joel225.com

Here is our website with resources for Women with SSA: http://joel225.com/joel_014.htm
We will be adding a LOT more resources and information soon. :)

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

P.S.:  Here is a link for the Time Zone conversions (Event Time Announcer) for the Women's video-conference group. This covers every major city: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?p1=34&iso=20131116T22&msg=Women%20of%20Joel%202%3a25%20-%20Small%20Group%20Video-Conference&sort=1



Friday, October 11, 2013

National "Coming Out" Day

Today (October 11th) is supposedly "National Coming Out Day." I'm not sure WHO came up with that, but since some many people are talking this new holiday, I wanted to share a different message. This is from my friend Blake, who has been participating in our Joel 2:25 Young Adults Group.  Blake also has many other AWESOME videos on his YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlakeSweet1/videos  so I'd encourage everyone to Subscribe and check these out. They are really powerful! 




Also, here is a great article by Andy Comiskey about the trend in some Christian circles to encourage men and women with Same-Sex Attraction to embrace the false identity and the modern "Gay" label:



Andy is the creator of "Living Waters" a program that has helped many of my friends find healing and restoration. http://www.desertstream.org

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

To Change or Not to Change. Is that REALLY the question?

For those of us with Same-Sex Attraction who have chosen NOT to embrace a "Gay" identity or pursue gay "relationships" there often appears to be a great divide. This was going on long before the closing of Exodus and Alan Chamber's apologies last summer. It has also long been a source of contention with the Courage Apostolate, the Catholic equivalent and to a certain extent with JONAH, the Jewish version, StraightWay, the Muslim ministry, and Evergreen (LDS).

There are many of us who have strong convictions and emotions regarding one or the other "side." There are many others who would be somewhere in between these extremes and/or have not formed an opinion. I saw a blog post recently that referred to them as "Side A" and "Side B." 

I have found myself at different times on both sides and there have been times when I have felt strong emotions (Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Joy) at the mere mention of one or the other. I have also received strongly worded emails (10+ pages) from people who very upset with me for mentioning one or the other. 

I doubt I will be able to adequately address the "arguments" in one blog post, but I'd like to examine the underlying emotional charges. I'll try my best to do this objectively, but if you see any biases or errors in my analysis, please let me know. ;)

Past Wounds and Shame from Others
While society's overall attitudes toward Homosexuality and people who experience Same-Sex Attraction has changed rapidly over the last ten years, most of us have at one point in our lives still experienced significant external pressure to "change" and to become "100% heterosexual." This is especially the case for most of us who grew up in Conservative Christian homes where homosexual inclinations themselves (not just immoral homosexual acts) were seen by many churches as "evidence of a reprobate mind." 

I had this experience when I was 14 years old. I had already been struggling with my gay thoughts and feelings for over two years and praying incessantly that God would "change me" when I came home one day to discover that my parents had found and read my journal. 

The next few months were hell on earth for me. My parent's view of the development of SSA (fed by the rhetoric of the preachers they listened to, like John Hagee) was that FIRST, a person sells their soul to the devil and THEN, they eventually develop SSA (Same-Sex Attraction). They could not reconcile how a Christian who REALLY believed could experience any SSA. It was beyond their comprehension at the time. 

Since I KNEW that I had already been pouring my heart out to God and pleading with him for the previous TWO years to cure me of homosexuality, I found especially hurtful that they believed the reason I had SSA was that I obviously didn't really mean it when I had been baptized and professed Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. 

For our family, some relief came when my parents finally talked to a real therapist who was training in Reparative Therapy. It was only then that they began to realize that my Same-Sex Attraction might have some other causes other than just ME being EVIL. 

By that point though, it was too little, too late. I had completely shut down emotionally and was unable and unwillingly to even attempt to discuss the issue with them or anyone else. I managed to convince them that it had all just been "a phase" and we all agreed to not bring up the topic again. It would 19 years before I mentioned the subject to them again.

When I was in my early twenties, I often tried to join "Gay Churches" but always soon realized they had truncated the Gospel significantly in order to make it fit their desires. This grew tiring and I would always try to find my way back to a REAL church. 

The conservative Christian Churches I tried, were usually a little more tolerant than my parents had been, but they also still couldn't seem to understand how my SSA (and by that point Sexual Addiction) had not been completely CURED by my answering the altar call. When I tried to be authentic and explain where I was STILL struggling, it often caught them by surprise and they seem to insist that the answer was more prayer ("and this time REALLY mean it."). 

My own experience is very different from many of my friends who were part of Exodus and/or other Ex-Gay Ministries. Most of them never embraced the Gay identity and many of them never acted out on their homosexual inclinations. They experienced positive nurturing support and love from Church-led ministries which at least understood that they did not CHOOSE to have Same-Sex Attraction and that they were not "EVIL" or "Reprobate" for having experienced SSA.  I probably would have had this experience myself IF I had talked with an actual Ex-Gay ministry instead of trying to find understanding and support from Christians who had never experienced Same-Sex Attraction. 

I believe the attitudes of most Christians have changed over the years, but there are still many who would not really understand how SSA is different from Opposite-Sex Attraction (OSA) and  cannot be controlled or channeled in the same ways. It is VERY different from the OSA struggles described in the book Every Man's Battle (a book that I would now recommend for OSA friends, but discourage my SSA friends from reading). 

For a long time, my own gut reaction to any Church-led or faith-focused ministry addressing SSA was that they were saying what my parents had said that I "Chose to be this way" and/or that I would be 100% straight IF ONLY I had really meant it when I prayed. I realize in retrospect that most faith-based programs are NOT saying this and most of them never have said anything of the sort. 

Reactions to "Reorientation Therapy," "Reparative Therapy" or "Sexual Orientation Change Efforts": I have often received visceral emotional reactions from my Christian SSA friends whenever I have mentioned anything regarding "Orientation Change" or even emotional healing programs like "Journey into Manhood"In almost all cases, the individuals with the biggest emotional charges have NEVER actually experienced any form of Reparative Therapy. The reactions vary slightly, but the biggest emotional charge tends to be regarding the expectation of "change." It seems likely that their reactions are based on the same emotional wounding that I received (although from a different perspective). One friend of mine said it best in this sentence: "How dare you suggest that I need therapy?!"  - In essence, most of them feel that the mention of Reparative Therapy or any form of Psychological assistance for reducing Same-Sex Attraction is implying that they are Mentally Ill.

They seem to think that the purpose of "Reparative Therapy" or other emotional healing and "change programs" are to FIX THEM or make them 100% straight. While there are some people who have experienced this complete change through therapy and/or prayer, it is usually not the case that we experience 100% change instantaneously. 

This is the case for every other area of life as well. Many times a drug addict will answer an Altar Call at a church and surrender their lives to Christ. This is where the healing BEGINS, but it is not necessarily where it ENDS. As Christ works in their heart and transformation begins to take place, they may also be able to benefit from Rehab or working through a 12-step program. That does not diminish Christ's healing power. He could choose to instantly heal them if he wanted to, but often he has benefits for us and lessens to teach us through our obedience and gradual healing process. 

With regard to Reparative Therapy and Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) there is a lot of debate about whether it really "works." Almost everyone thinks though that for it to "work" it must be an instantaneously 100% change. That is a ridiculous and impossible standard to judge anything. For me, I can say that I have benefited TREMENDOUSLY from Reparative Therapy and everyone I know who has actually tried it would say the same. Even those I know who gave up and went back into gay relationships, say it was "helpful and positive experience." 

The Pro-Gay groups often try to argue that Reparative Therapy and other forms of Reorientation are "harmful" because they do not produce 100% change instantaneously. If you look closely at any of their claims, ALL of them are based on the idea that people will be "disappointed" and therefore "depressed" if they continue to experience some aspects of homosexual inclinations. They conclude that it is therefore better to encourage someone to embrace a "Gay" identity and avoid getting real help. That is such a ridiculous thing to say. If we used the same logic, we would say that Insulin should be banned and Diabetes is "Healthy and Natural." - After all, Insulin has not been proven to permanently CURE diabetes with one shot - therefore it MUST be "harmful."

My Same-Sex Attraction has been significantly reduced over a short period of time. It is now no longer a major struggle in my life. I am grateful for that. I have studied every aspect of Reparative Therapy and there is no possible way that any aspect of it could ever be "harmful." Nonetheless, it is a human scientific endeavor and does not rise to the level of Infallibility that the Christian faith relies on. The Christian Faith and in fact all monotheistic religions have always acknoweledged that homosexual "relationships" are harmful to the emotional well being and spiritual lives of everyone involved. This truth is independent of the effectiveness of any particular human effort to reduce or "change" homosexuality. Diabetes was harmful to the human body even before Insulin was discovered as a treatment in 1921. 

It is possible that Reparative Therapy could be replaced eventually with other therapies even more effective, just as Insulin might eventually be replaced by something else. These are tools that God has enabled us to use to enhance our lives, but they are not the focal point of the Christian life. We do not have to choose one "side" or the other. We simply need to focus on Christ, follow his will, and be open to the gifts he sends our way (which for ME, happened to include Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Reparative Therapy, Joel 2:25, and Journey into Manhood), but most importantly prayer, the sacraments, and spiritual healing through Christ. 

Pax Christi,
Jeremy


Monday, October 7, 2013

Joel 2:25 International, support & resources for overcoming Same-Sex Attraction

It's been a while since, I've posted here. 
I've been really busy this past year with ministry work. I started a small group at my house two years ago. Our group is called "Joel 2:25"  http://www.Joel225.com 



Ex-Gay, Gay, ExGay, Same-Sex Attraction, SSA Recovery

About a year ago we expanded and started having others join our meetings through video-conference from other countries. Now, we have 12 bi-weekly "Small Groups" and 215 guys from 55 countries participating in one form or another each month. The group is still primarily Catholic, but we have also had several protestants participating and most recently several Muslims and Jews. 

The reason I'm writing to ask for your prayers. We are in the process of completing the formal structure of the ministry. I've never done anything like that before, so it's a little daunting, but we are moving along pretty well so far. 

We are doing what we can though. We have small groups in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian and Polish right now. We are working on starting groups in Arabic, German and French as well as a group for Women. I also really feel led to start a group to help teens with SSA and their families. I'll post more about that idea in my next post. It will be different from our current format.

Anyway, sorry for rambling. Please keep us in your prayers. Also, if you know anyone who could benefit, please let them know about our group.

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Friday, October 4, 2013

Don's Journey into Manhood

Today I'd like to share my friend Don's story. His journey was a little different from mine in that he was married with a family before he began this journey. He is an awesome man of God and now leads one our Small Groups in Joel 2:25 (http://www.Joel225.com )

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In late 2006 I had grown utterly disillusioned with my life.  I had been fighting my same sex attraction through adolescence and my college years and for 25 years of marriage.  I was losing the fight.  I had a deep faith but I had concluded that the Love of God was somehow not meant for me.  I had prayed unceasingly for 40 years for release from this burden without any impact.  The worst part was the loneliness.  I lacked the kind of male friendships that I longed for and found straight men to be so unemotional and disconnected that they seemed incapable of real intimacy.  My wife was emotionally distant and hurt from my general lack of pursuit of her heart and I was facing the prospect of living the rest of my life in emotional isolation.  I could not stand it anymore. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Prayers for New Jersey

Please pray for everyone in the state of New Jersey. Yesterday, their Governor Chris Christie signed into law a horrible attack on religious freedom and an attack on many programs that provide REAL help to youth with this particular struggle. As of today, it is illegal in New Jersey for a 17 year-old with unwanted same-sex attractions to receive professional counseling, even with parental consent. I cannot grasp why Governor Chris Christie still claims to be a "Republican" a "Catholic" and an "American."
His actions are direct assault on all three



Pax Christi,
Jeremy

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/chris-christie-signs-ban-on-reparative-therapy-liberty-counsel-promises-to

Back from "Beyond"

I just got back from staffing "Journey Beyond" the advanced program that builds on "Journey into Manhood" (JiM). It was REALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!

This is my second time staffing JB - it's only offered once a year, but I got to take on a bigger role and see a lot of amazing transformations take place. We had a priest on our staff and we were able to have daily mass for the second year in a row. That was really powerful. I'd highly recommend "Journey Beyond" for anyone. I have had a few non-SSA friends go as well and they say it changed their lives as well.

Anyway, one of the per-requisites to go to "Journey Beyond" is the "Journey into Manhood" (JiM) weekend - since JB builds a lot on that experience. There are three weekends coming up:
  • September 27-29, 2013: Indiana
  • October 1-3, 2013: Israel
  • October 18-20, 2013: Texas
"Journey into Manhood" (JiM) changed my life back in 2009 and opened up a whole new world for me in terms of relating to other men and overcoming the limiting effects of SSA. "Journey Beyond" took that to the next level in 2011 and I've continued to see God working miracles in my life that began there.

Here is the link for more info: http://www.PeopleCanChange.com/jim

Pax Christi,
Jeremy