Despite the rain my morning started off well with a free coffee and a croissant at one of my local coffee shops! “You bring me luck” she exclaimed as I’ve been telling her about Jesus and prayer and of God’s love for her and her family.
It was just as well as I woke up feeling a little heavy and discouraged by the challenges of ministry and the lack of response and support from so many.
Last night I watched a documentary on Netflix called “Pray away” and it’s definitely worth watching to better understand the gay/ Christian experience.
To be honest I couldn’t watch it all as it hit on some very painful experiences of my own life that still need more healing.
Pray away is a documentary about Christian people who believed that Jesus could heal them of being gay and who set up ‘healing’ ministries to help others.
One of the parts that hit me the most was how the gay men were encouraged to befriend women, establish a friendship and hopefully some sexual attraction would follow.
If and when it did they’d get married and have kids and proclaim to the world ‘I’m healed, I’m straight”.
“Just one woman would do” the guy said and because they were no longer meeting men or having sexual relationships with men they’d claim that they were no longer gay!
Yet years later these people have acknowledged how they were deceiving people by not telling them that they were still attracted to men even if they weren’t acting on it, that they struggled with gay porn and that they had no general sexual attraction to women.
They too felt that they had been used and abused by the Christian system to be what they were not and to push the conversion agenda.
Years later the marriages broke up and they all came to the same conclusion. “I’m gay, God made me gay and I can’t change it”.
This ties in with the experiences that I had in Australia with these ministries. Now fortunately I was never interested in becoming straight so I wasn’t there to be healed in that sense but I suppose God brought me there to learn what healing was and what healing was not!
It became very clear to me too while I was there that all the head pastors were still gay, had more fraternal friendships with their wives than spousal intimacy and were still quite broken and unfilled in certain areas of their lives.
I on the other hand wanted the ‘life in abundance’ promised by Jesus in the bible and I was willing to take the next step and accept that I could be gay and have a partner and be a prayerful catholic.
Yet this step was the one that was going to almost cost me my life and the ministers of healing unwittingly because agents of Satan as they went against me.
How could they know any better because they hadn’t gone any further on their own journeys and yet how sad that the people who had helped me in so many ways to accept myself were now the ones blocking the final and most important stage of my self acceptance !
And yet our catholic church seems to have even further to go because while the evangelicals seem to be learning their lesson with documentaries like this, many catholic charismatics lag way behind and still believe that gay people can be healed and need to find a good wife.
This scares me at times for our catholic church because over the last few years the majority of catholic charismatic healing priests and lay people all believe this and have quite large followings.
I know people with genuine healing gifts who have been used by God to heal countless people of things like cancer and all sorts and so when these people then say that homosexuality can be healed it’s logical for ordinary people to believe them.
This is the danger of the healing ministry. Just because someone has a gift of healing doesn’t mean that everything that they say and do is true!
And so today I pray for all those people in different churches and especially in the catholic church who are involved in the healing ministry.
The healing ministry is wonderful and amazing and has the power and the potential to change the world and the church and yet without proper understanding and theology it can be very dangerous.
I pray that our healers will humbly come to realise that God’s plan is not to make gay people straight but to set gay people free and to teach them how to love God and others of the same sex with true love.
May every catholic priest and Christian who has pastoral responsibilities for gay people watch this Netflix production and learn from it and may our churches become places of love, acceptance, understanding and true healing for the gay community.