Showing posts with label SOCE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SOCE. Show all posts

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Platform plank of the Republican Party of Texas

If you are a delegate/alternate for our Republican Party of Texas convention this weekend, PLEASE make sure to be present on Friday afternoon and VOTE to APPROVE this plank 

Therapy and Counseling
"No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) for self-motivated youth and adults."


This plank is critical to protecting religious freedom and our first amendment rights. These rights are currently under assault by a small group of activists using misinformation and lies to convince Democrats and some Republicans to ban "conversion therapy for minors."  

The first assault on freedom in this case was this law which passed in California: Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN): "California Bans Gay Teen Conversion Therapy"  

This same misguided and unconstitutional law was then passed in NJ and IL - where it was pushed by Democrats with the help of several misinformed Republican lawmakers including "Republican" governors Chris Christie and Bruce Rauner (who still claim to be "pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family")

The same bill was introduced last session in the Texas legislature and added to the Democratic Party of Texas platform as one of their legislative priorities. These laws are clearly unconstitutional since it attacks freedom of speech and belief. 

There is not a separate modality of therapy for "conversion." The difference between this and secular "pro-gay" therapy is the beliefs and values of the individual and their therapist. This is an attack on the right of individuals to hold views that are different from the modern "gay" construct. As several gay activists have openly said, they want to make it a crime for anyone to say that homosexuality is "anything other than a normal healthy variant of human sexuality." 

As I explained in my previous post, this is philosophical difference. I am not arguing with their right to believe in Social Constructionism, but my own faith and my own life experiences have proven to me that there is a God and he has a plan for my life - which is much different from theirs. 

I know hundreds of individuals at all ages who feel the same way and we have a right to our beliefs and to operate ministries and therapy practices to support those who are self-motivated to purse this path. 

If you or anyone else has any question about this plank and/or would like more information, please contact me at: Jeremy@Joel225.org 

Thank you,

Jeremy Schwab
Senate District 12 / Denton County


Friday, April 10, 2015

Response to Alan Chamber's statement on Obama's ban

The latest statement by former Exodus President, Alan Chambers supporting President Obama’s efforts to limit the options for Christian youth reflects his long held willful ignorance of the subject.

The full text of Alan Chambers statement is available here on his website: http://alanchambers.org/alan-chambers-president-obama-is-right-to-try-to-end-ex-gay-therapy-rns-commentary/

Here is one of Alan's paragraphs which I find disturbing:
 “For too long, same-sex attraction has been categorized as sinful and in need of repairing. Such stigma has caused LGBTQ people crippling shame and fear. As a child I experienced and as an adult I perpetuated that stigma. I profoundly regret my support for and promotion of reparative therapy.”
I can sort of understand where Alan is coming from, but it is important that he and others understand that what they experienced and promoted at Exodus was never part of Reparative Therapy.

It is unfortunate that there are now thousands of people who went to Exodus groups and small church programs led by individuals  who were uninformed about the origins of Same-Sex Attraction and/or who refused to talk to real Reparative Therapists.

There really are people who experienced "exorcisms" or "deliverances" and then  went away believing that they had experienced  "reparative therapy.’  There are also many who would swear that they experienced it through Exodus simply because they heard the term mentioned briefly in a speech during a conference. 

There are others who were told by pastors that they just needed to have faith and marry a woman and somehow  that would cause all Same-Sex Attraction to go away. In many of these cases, they simply experienced more wounding and shame as well as a false promise that their Same-Sex Attraction would be miraculously 100% reversed overnight. All of these are the polar opposite of Reparative Therapy.

The efforts to ban Reparative Therapy are aimed at punishing those who disagree with the new mainstream beliefs that that anyone with the slightest Same-Sex Attraction must have been born TO BE "gay" and must be forced to embrace and celebrate that as their sole identity as early in life as possible. 

Since there is not a separate modality of therapy for them to ban, they want to ban any discussion that indicates the individual might have any options to control their sexual behavior or reduce their same-sex attractions.

Unlike Alan Chambers, I and many of my friends have actually experienced real Reparative Therapy from qualified, licensed therapists who were trained by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, the founder of “Reparative Therapy.”  The primary focus of Reparative Therapy is the elimination of shame. It is the polar opposite of everything Alan Chambers has  described.

None of the "Former Ex-Gay Leaders" ever actually experienced Reparative Therapy. Alan had the opportunity to work with Dr. Nicolosi for FREE but he refused (unfortunately for him and everyone else at Exodus).

I personally know hundreds who have benefited from Reparative Therapy. It has worked for everyone who has fully tried it. When I say "worked" though, I don't mean "cured" but rather that it has brought healing and restoration - improving overall quality of life. As a byproduct, Same-Sex Attraction usually decreases, but it may not go away entirely for everyone. That is not the only goal.

To summarize, here are eight key points that Alan may want to consider:

  1. Licensed Therapists have always been forbidden from attempting to "change" anyone against their will. That would be a violation of basic ethics.
  2. No one has ever committed suicide due to Reparative Therapy. The individuals who have committed suicide would likely be alive today IF only they'd had access to real healing and unconditional love - which are the aim of Reparative Therapy.
     
  3. No one has ever been “forced” to undergo Reparative Therapy. By definition, that is not possible. The therapy itself teaches self-respect and empowers individuals to stand up for themselves. You cannot “force” someone to be empowered and stand up for themselves against their will.
  4. Many people may have been forced into going to Exodus groups or talking to the church leaders and there are all kinds of those, but none of that has ever had anything to do with Reparative Therapy.
     
  5. Reparative Therapy is not a separate modality of therapy. It uses all of the same therapy modalities of other therapists. The difference is respect for the client’s faith and identity. Reparative Therapists believe that there is more to an individual human human being than a reductionist reference to their attractions.
     
  6. "Reparative Therapy" got its 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.'
     
  7. “Reparative Therapy  has brought healing and restoration - improving overall quality of life to everyone who has sincerely tried it. As a byproduct of this healing, Same-Sex Attraction usually decreases, but it is never expected or promised that it will go away entirely for everyone.
     
  8. None of the public critics who claim to have been “harmed” or "shamed" by “Reparative Therapy” have never actually worked with a real Reparative Therapist. This includes Alan Chambers and the outspoken "former Ex-Gay leaders".

Pax Christi,
Jeremy Schwab
Jeremy@Joel225.org


Monday, April 6, 2015

Religious Freedom Misunderstood by the Non-Religious

This is a very good analysis.

It partly explains why our former "Republican" state chair apologized for our platform. So many GOP politicians cannot articulate the importance of religious freedom because they have no comprehension of how faith in God can actually impact an individual's life and decisions.

The Post-Indiana Future for Christians

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-post-indiana-future-christian-religious-liberty-gay-rights/


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

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fighting against Self-Righteous Fundamentalism and Bigotry

Yesterday, I received an email from an old friend who was really upset by my efforts with Joel 2:25 International and Reparative Therapy. His email includes the misunderstandings I hear most often from those critical of my journey and my ministry work. I hear their anger. I also believe though that they are transferring the anger they have toward self-righteous fundamentalists who have said and done hurtful things in the past. 

It appears that they also assume that I am saying and supporting that same bigotry. I am NOT. If there is one thing I wish they would understand, it is that we really are on the same side in the fight against Self-Righteous Fundamentalism and Shame.

I have provided his original email along with my responses below:
---------------------------------------------
Dear Jeremy:

I just read the article in Towleroad where you are promoting David Pickup, your mentor's reparative therapy billboard that just went up in Dallas.  Given our past conversations, I have held my tongue because I felt like I was addressing a brick wall, but I really can no longer be silent. http://www.towleroad.com/2015/01/billboards-promoting-reparative-therapy-planned-in-dallas.html?onswipe_redirect=no&oswrr=1 I've also read on your Facebook recently where you were touting your Russian launch of Joel 2:25 (your reparative therapy organization).   Given the hatred the Russian president and government has put into law in Russia and the torture that we've seen gays endure in those horrific videos there, I now find your organization even more disgusting.  

If you were to ask anyone in our Russian group, they would tell you that Joel 2:25 has been a source of support and encouragement for them. Everything we do is about improving self-esteem and self-worth and reducing or eliminating shame. We fight hard against bigotry, intolerance, and violence and we have been able to help a few men and women escape from family situations that were as you described.

An investigative reporter who initially had the same view interviewed several of our guys from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She originally thought she would prove that we were causing "harm." After she interviewed them though, she contacted me and said she had changed her mind. Everyone she talked to said that Joel 2:25 was one of the best things that had ever happened to them. She is still critical of our views, but when she published her article, she was fair in sharing what these men had actually said about their experiences in Joel 2:25: LINK: Gay Men in Homophobic Countries Turn to Controversial U.S. Groups for Help 

I gave an hour long television interview which was broadcast via satelite to Iran. My entire focus was on helping the viewers understand that Same-Sex Attraction was NOT a choice and that it was no one's "fault." I also got a few minutes at the end to speak directly to anyone watching who was experiencing SSA themselves. Here is what I said in those last few minutes: VIDEO LINK: Message to Iranians with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) - Farsi

I, along with others in the gay community, the community you were once a part of and have now rejected, will continue to fight your dangerous organization along with the others like Northstar that you so proudly congratulate on your Facebbook page, along with your praise of the cast of "My Husband Is NOT Gay."  Your words:  "I'm thankful for the courage and bravery of my friends Curtis & Tera, Prett & Megan, Ty, Jeff & Tanya and others from NorthStar and Joel 2:25 who have been willing to share their testimonies with many of us for several years and now in a very public way."  I  too watched the show and I find those GAY men, like YOU, who are trying to suppress and live a life that is UNNATURAL to the way they were created by God just sad and pathetic, full of frustration and yes, self loathing.  I find their wives even sadder, non-trusting and frustrated in a sham of a marriage!  (they and you should read this article -- how unsuccessful gay Mormon men and straight women are with marriage -- 70% end in divorce compared to 25% straight Mormans.

Religion has damaged so many of us, but thankfully, many of us have used the minds and intelligence we were given to learn that we are perfect just as we were created.  I've said it before to you -- you question the creation -- YOU --  you are questioning the Creator - GOD.

I'm sure you read the suicide note of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen who took her life recently.  Her note stated that her parents had put her into Christian therapy where she was told that she was WRONG.   They tried to repair someone who WAS NOT BROKEN, just as you were not broken before you immersed yourself in reparative therapy.  (her letter is below if you haven't read it)

I read Joshua Alcorn's post and am as devastated by his suicide as you are. It is a horrific tragedy. I cannot imagine the pain that he must have gone through which led to his Gender Identity Disorder and then to his suicide. This young man needed unconditional love - not to have his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16. There was nothing wrong with him or his male body. It is a tragedy that the "transgender" propaganda convinced him that the only way he could be happy would be change who he is.

I do not know what kind of church his family went to or what kind of counselor they talked to. I do know that IF he had gone for real Reparative Therapy it would have helped him to heal and accept himself as a man. I have three friends in Joel 2:25 who are Ex-"Transgendered." They would also encourage anyone in Joshua's position to seek out healing. I do not know what other emotional wounds he had though so I do not know whether that would have prevented this suicide. This kind of tragedy goes much deeper than politics.

Just this week, Randy Thomas, a former "ex-gay" poster boy and VP of the now defunct Exodus International (the organization that you were once a part of that you once highly praised to me) came out as gay BECAUSE a gay Christian friend of his committed suicide.   "His death shook me to my core and made all the questions I had been asking were even more stark, consequential and pressing."

I've known Randy for several years. He's never really been an "ex-gay poster boy."  He never went for Reparative Therapy nor attempted to address any of the underlying issues he had. During his time at Exodus, he was proud to be a "celibate gay christian" and fought against everything anyone tried to do to bring real healing and address the real issues (rather than "pray away" or "white knuckling"). His recent "coming out" is not a change. He never left the "gay" identity in the first place. That is his choice and I respect his right to make his own decisions, but he and Alan Chambers have never been spokespersons for the rest of us. 

You once were very troubled and asked why I once told you that  "Blood is on your hands, Jeremy".  Well, these are just two examples.  There are thousands more and if you can't see that, Jeremy, you simply aren't looking and DO NOT WANT TO know the truth and the danger of your mission.

I am strongly against you and Joel 2:25 and other reparative therapy organizations because THEY ARE KILLING PEOPLE, making people feel less than, perpetuating self-loathing.   So, I will increase my fight to counter and fight you by showing those with religious damage and family rejection that they are PERFECT, just as they were created.   I will fight you and these organizations, especially on behalf of gay and transgender teens like Leelah, who have no choice when their parents force them into reparative therapy which kills the spirit of a young person, defeats them where suicide many times feels like their only option!  

I can understand your anger toward fundamentalists who have judged and shamed people like us. I am angry at them too. I fight alongside you against that bigotry. I am saddened that my work and that of RT has been in any way associated with that in many people's minds. Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame. 

You have fought and continue to fight to keep laws from passing that prevent reparative therapy for children, those under 18.  I will continue to fight UNTIL more laws are passed (like in CA and NJ). I will fight you until Joel 2:25, Northstar and David Pickup and your rhetoric are extinct, just like Exodus International and Evergreen have gone belly-up!   You have proudly authored the endorsement of reparative therapy in the Texas Republican platform.  Well, I will say it again and yes, I know my words are strong and harsh - but they are true -- BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS!l   

Do you not find it ironic that you argued above that Joshua Alcorn should have had his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16 to CHANGE his entire gender and yet you want to ban counseling for anyone that age who wants to change their sexual behavior? Which is more invasive and likely to cause lifelong harm?  Why not encourage young men like Joshua to accept themselves as they were BORN instead of forcing 16 year olds who do not want the gay life to embrace your "gay" label?

 I find you and these organizations extremely dangerous, appalling and disgusting -- not unlike the 9-ex-leaders of Gay Conversion Therapy who recently apologized to the LGBT community. (http://time.com/3065495/9-ex-leaders-of-the-gay-conversion-therapy-movement-apologize/)

Just like Randy, these 9 self-proclaimed "leaders" never went for Reparative Therapy. None of what they describe has anything to do with what we promote. They fought against the idea of emotional healing from the beginning. They went from being fundamentalist "pray it away" to the opposite extreme. Neither of which is healthy. They have nothing to say on the topic because they have participated in or experienced any of what they now claim to be experts on.

The billboard you've endorsed reads:  Reparative Therapy.  Real Therapy.  Really Works.  Given our conversation about how you still have SAME SEX ATTRACTION (which are three words for one -- GAY) -- you're own life proves it does not!   In other words, to quote my character 'Brother Boy' (a character you've quoted to me) -- IT AIN'T A WORKIN'! " 

Yes, I have seen a massive decrease in my SSA, but that's not really the main focus of Reparative Therapy. The focus is on removing shame and healing emotional wounds. It is not expected to be a "cure" becuase the SSA is not a disease. It is a normal need that must be met in healthy ways. The therapy has helped me (and everyone I know who has ever actually tried it) to find peace, self-acceptance, and healing. 

So, yes, I'm angry and fed up with you and your cohorts -- and you have a fight, and a very public one on your hands, as you will hear on The Del & Emerson Show today (if you choose to listen) as long as you keep spouting that  which disputes those authorities who I promise use their brains (American Medical Association,  American Psychological Association and most leading professional medical and social science organizations) instead of holding on to an archaic book that promotes slavery, stoning adulterers and rebellious children AND equates eating shellfish as the same abomination as men lying with me.  

The AMA and others have all copied from the one general statement issued by the APA Council on LGBT which consisted of 7 therapists. 6 of these 7 are openly gay (a strong bias) and none of these 7 ever practiced SOCE (Reparative Therapy) nor spoke to anyone who had.

They re-stated the general "warning" given for ALL therapies but said on page 87 of their report that they had not found any specific evidence of anyone being harmed by Reparative Therapy itself.  Even if I took their biased political stunt as authoritative, it provides no indication that RT has ever actually harmed anyone.

Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame. Those are all good things regardless of what choices a person makes in the future.

I acutally heard from a lady last night who has been in our Joel 2:25 women's group for the past year who said finding our group saved her life. I have heard from many guys in our other groups that every aspect of their lives have improved from being a part of this community. I hear this feedback all the time from all over the world.

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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I made the "top 5 list" for 2014

Wow, it looks like I made the "top 5 list" for 2014.

Texas Observer:  "Five Texas-Sized Examples of Anti-Gay Bigotry in 2014
by: John Wright

http://www.texasobserver.org/five-texas-sized-examples-of-anti-gay-bigotry-in-2014/


I'm sad that some would see my efforts as "Anti" anyone. They are not.

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)

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

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

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:


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

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

St. Joseph, the original Navy Seal

I was struggling with a lot of anger this past week over a blogger who relentlessly attacks everyone I know. He uses every accusation he can find (no matter how ridiculous) and spreads rumors all over the place. He viciously attacks and mocks everyone who attempts to support those of us seeking emotional healing and reduction of SSA. His beliefs and approach seem identical to Wayne Besen's blog, but this guy claims to be a "Christian Professor" and people mistakenly believe he is on our side so they forward links to his blog all over the place. 

I feel some Shame though because I erupted in anger when someone emailed me with a link to his blog. I wasn't so much angry about his latest attacks (mocking my friends Arthur and Alan at JONAH), but I was furious that people think he still on our side and then use him as a source. I dropped a lot of really important things especially tasks for ministry work (providing encouragement and affirmation to my friends in need). I instead focused my energy on arguing with him (which was NOT on my to-do list for that day). Not only was it a waste of time, it was potentially counter-productive to the ministry work to the individuals that God has placed in my path.
"Man's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness" - James 1:20
 In our local Courage chapter, a therapist here in Dallas / Fort Worth has started leading us in a program he developed called "St. Joseph's Workshop."

This past week we had our first section and part of the process/discussion focused on the manly virtues demonstrated by St. Joseph during the events we commemorate in Christmas. Obviously as a foster-father to God, he had a lot of responsibility.


The part that stood out to me was in Matthew's gospel with the Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:1-12). The discussion question was:
"What manly virtues did St. Joseph demonstrate in the 'Flgiht into Egypt' (Matt 2) and how does that relate to my life?"
I had never thought of it in terms of myself being in St. Joseph's place, but I realized what MY impulse would be if an angel appeared to me and told me that soldiers were coming to kill all of the children.  

My instinct as man would be to grab a sword and run out to try to STOP the soldiers - knowing that I'd probably die in the process, "but at least I did SOMETHING!"

I remember how I felt when I first heard of the CT school shooting and I cannot imagine what St. Joseph went through - being told AHEAD of time that something like that would happen and then be told he could not do anything to stop it. I cannot imagine having to just "RUN."

I seem to have an inclination to try to "fix what is wrong with the World" and I can easily get distracted by big political events and /or useless arguments about big political events. There is a part of me that just wants to "FIGHT the good fight" and even be a "martyr" for cause of justice. That's the raw emotional response in how I reacted to the blogger last week.

"There are many who would eagerly be martyred in front of the astonished gaze of thousands, but will not bear the pinpricks of daily life with a cheerful spirit, but think! Which is more heroic?"  - St. Josemaría Escrivá (founder of Opus Dei)
When I got asked last month to be on the Dr. Oz show (http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/gay-straight-controversial-therapy), at first I really wanted to go and argue for the truth, but God seemed to be telling me "NO."  I am glad that others were called to fight that fight, but it was clear that for one reason or another God didn't want ME to do this particular program.

In Matthew 2:1-12, St. Joseph was given very specific instructions to take Mary and the baby Jesus and RUN.  If he had acted in any other way or tried to handle things his OWN way (like I'm so inclined to do), he would not have fulfilled the mission God called him to do.



St. Joseph's mission in life was very much like a Navy Seal. He had to sneak past enemy lines and ignore the big explosions and fighting all around him. He had to stay the course, have courage and faith - AND focus on the one specific task he was given - even while it may have seemed like the enemy was winning big glorious battles right in front of him.

Since I came back into the Church and surrendered my life to Christ, there have been many occasions where the Holy Spirit has led me to specific people and places where I've had the privilege of participating in HIS harvest and seeing soul's revived and lives transformed (ONE at a time). Sometimes the mission is just to plant seeds, but I can still seem to tell when I have accomplished the mission and when I have NOT.

I have to learn to daily surrender to God's will and trust the Holy Spirit to lead me where I need to go. It's just really hard though to have to see the enemy win his seemingly spectacular battles (politics, the media, etc.) and knowing that I CAN'T fight those battles and can't fix the World in aggregate. Sometimes it is painful to obey and accept that I can't save everyone. It is hard to trust and let go of my OWN will. However, I know that staying focused on the "little things" and obeying his voice, keeps me rooted in HIM and through HIM my small efforts will bear fruit. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Travesty in California

Please pray for everyone in the state of California. Yesterday, their Governor 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 legal in California to give hormone blockers to an 11 year-old boy in order to delay the onset of puberty, but starting January 1st it will be illegal for a 17 year-old with unwanted same-sex attractions to receive professional counseling, even with parental consent.