Testimony from a Former Member of Alive In Christ
Allow me to preface my testimony by saying that I am writing this to a Christian audience--not to alienate non-Christians but to address the population that I expect to reach since this web site is linked to Park Street Church and Exodus International. If there are non-Christians who decide to read this, I want you to know that if I had read this five years ago, I would have thought that this person has gone off the deep end.
As recently as four and one-half years ago, I found myself enmeshed in a modern-day, "Sodom and Gomorrah" lifestyle. I thought life was great and that I was as happy as anyone could possibly be (later, I'll label this denial). Looking back through today's lens, my gay friendships and homosexual relationships were empty, broken, superficial relationships which couldn't satisfy my hunger for something greater. I tried everything to ease my anxious soul: sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, workaholism, wild parties, or anything to keep me from looking inward.
About ten years ago, when I found myself in a lot of back pain, I started to read the Bible. I was intrigued with this Jesus character. But, as I healed I put the Big Book down and continued to run from my demons anesthetizing my inner struggle with chemicals and sex and workaholism and materialism. I did pick up the Bible a couple of years later and I talked with a Christian in my workplace about my interest and he gave me a Life Application Bible to help me make sense of it. About five years ago, I developed some friendships with people who were also in the gay lifestyle, but were questioning life. We started reading books like the Celestine Prophecy and Conversations With God. I started to experience that the world is not just a series of coincidences, but there is some order to this random Universe. The awe of the Universe was the beginning of knowledge for me.
It was at about this time that God reached into the gutter and put his spirit upon me and at that moment I knew that I would live forever and share in God's inheritance. When I started to have a real relationship with God, certain shackles fell off immediately, but many problems remained. At this point, I didn't even think that homosexuality was wrong. God gave me a chance to get to know Him before He started to lead me away from homosexuality. I suddenly had a new perspective on things. He helped me see how shallow and empty my relationships were. He created a thirst in my heart to know Him better. And as I got to know Him better, I realized that He didn't want to take anything valuable away from me; instead, He wanted to give me something better--relationships with more substance and meaning.
Although I believed I was being led to a better place, I spent a lot of time grieving the loss of old friends as I moved on to a new life. I was so enmeshed in a gay lifestyle at that time, that I couldn't imagine what could become of me when I left it all behind.
I was led to Park Street Church four years ago and I was under the illusion that Christians were all perfect people. With my sinful background I felt alienated from the community. I knew that I didn't want to go back to my old life, so I felt caught between two worlds. Alive In Christ has helped bridge that gap for me. I can be a part of a Christian fellowship and acknowledge my past life and current struggles. I have been able to be open, honest, confessing, vulnerable and asking in this group setting. It is this "surrender" posture that creates the space for God to do His work of healing.
I have had a chance to share my childhood experiences of being brought up in a dysfunctional family system. There are many common threads to our childhood experiences which keeps us all growing in fellowship.
In addition to our group time, we are all encouraged to have an accountability person. The inability to connect with members of our own sex in a healthy manner is a typical symptom of people who suffer from homosexuality. This accountability person becomes a healthy mirror for what a good, healthy friendship should be like. My accountability person and I talk for approximately an hour a day. Learning to share my feelings with a healthy person and feel validated has fed my self-esteem and helped me greatly with my shame. I feel like all of my splintered personalities are starting to come together, especially when I realize that I only have to be what God created me to be--not what the world expects me to be--and he didn't create me to be perfect. I realize that feeling heard and understood and accepted for who I am is the peace-giving intimacy that I needed all along.
I still struggle with same-sex attraction, especially during emotionally trying times; however, I'm learning what triggers my difficult days and that these feelings pass as I work with mentors to properly label my core feelings. I am still not attracted to women, but perhaps one day this will become part of my journey. In the meantime, I am enjoying a new, healthy intimacy with friends and mentors which helps me feel comfortable with the idea of never having a sexual partner again. I am a celibate, drug-free, alcohol-free, cigarette-free man who enjoys fellowship with God and trusted friends.