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“Nice” Christians

It’s always bugged me. Even when I was a pentecostal bible basher.

“Nice” Christians. 

You know the type…
Always smiling, always have an encouraging “word” for you, and ignoring everything “bad” in the world and only trying to think “good” thoughts.
Plastic, is one word that comes to mind, or shallow. They are out there in their millions.

Most live happy lives and I guess that’s OK. But it’s not OK when you interact with them on anything other than how lovely the pastors wife looks, or discussing how your latest sponsor child in Africa is going.

I had a run-in online with an old acquaintance from my pente church in the 80s. She was commenting on the upcoming vote in Australia on gay marriage and was posting articles as to why we should vote no. I was quick to jump on them and point out the many flaws in the facts and research they stated. They were highly inaccurate and offensive for those who actually know what they are talking about.

The comments were all “oh, dear, how terrible, yes we must vote no!”. But I had the guts to point out the flaws. It didn’t go down well. But here’s the rub. You see, she’s a “nice” christian, so wouldn’t dream of confronting me with her real feelings, so proceeded with patronising comments that had that “I’m being firm but loving” attitude, and it was wrong of me to confront her and make assumptions about her views etc, and then finished off with “God bless”, and the unfriended me.

I’m inclined to think these types are far worse than the Westbro psychopaths. At least with Westbro you know exactly where you stand – there’s no fake mask, no pretence, what you see is what you get. (Yes, I’m generalising)

But the “nice” ones are insidious. They hide in their little isolated worlds and even when they “go out into the world”, it’s to do good deeds and help those poor 3rd world people and the “underpriveliged” (a very apt word). Of course, they may bring practical help but it’s always with an agenda of getting them saved and making them into “nice” acceptable western Christians, just like them.

In daily life, they avoid conflict, and if it arises, they default to bible verses, spoken in love of course. If that doesn’t work they may gently rebuke you with a smile and claim they still love you, but not your actions. They think that being “nice” is all they have to do to be “Christlike”.

The truth is, they are just like the Pharisees. Pretending they are wise and caring. Pretending they know best and we should just all be nice like them and get along. We must follow their doctrines and only allow questions that are within the constraints of their bible study guidelines. They are gutless, controlling, patronising, arrogant and everything Jesus stood against.

If you try to interact with these folks, you’ll come away feeling like you are the one with the problem. They may trigger all your issues of religious abuse, and then quietly, and oh so politely, point out that you are the one who has reacted badly. They may suggest a good Christian counsellor, or if you really get up their noses, they may snub you and remove you from their circle of niceness.

These are the ones I really struggle with, and I now realise it’s ok to call them out on it. It’s ok to challenge them. We don’t have to be “nice”. We have to be loving and compassionate but also real, honest, exposing bigotry and injustice – just like Jesus did!

We’ve only just begun…

Reparative therapy – Conversion therapy – “pray away the gay” – is on the decline and many organisations are closing their doors because they have realised that it doesn’t work. There’s a few fundamentalist die-hards that have regrouped to form even more evil and destructive “ministries”, and some of the smaller ones persist despite the overwhelming evidence that it not only doesn’t work but is extremely harmful.

So this is cause for cautious celebration isn’t it?gay deliverance

Well, not so fast. The problem is far deeper than these higher profile groups.

Most fundamentalist churches are extremely anti-LGBT. Perhaps they have a policy of welcoming them into the church, but it’s on the condition they change, and that’s where the fun begins.

The basic premises of reparative therapy have been accepted amongst Christendom as truth and adopted by every amateur prayer counsellor. Nearly every church has at least one “expert” ready to pray away the gay. They may be an elder who claims to have God’s anointing, a well meaning elderly woman who is regarded as the “intercessor”, the home group leader who has aspirations of running his own church some day, the prayer team who believe they can change anything if they pray long enough… many of them are really well meaning, genuinely believing they are helping people into freedom and new life. They all believe that anything outside the traditional sexual/gender stereotype is a sin – whether it’s caused by some deep emotional scar or a lifestyle choice, even if it’s from being led astray by ungodly relationships.

These are the ones that do just as much, if not more, damage as the established reparative therapy groups.

Deliverance (casting out demons) is a favourite practice in many circles, especially Pentecostal churches. Whatever methods they use, the results are the same – deep trauma, cognitive dissonance, lowered self-worth and much more – often leading to complex mental health issues and all too often chronic depression and suicide.

We may be winning the high profile battles against this evil practice, but we have yet to face the real battles. Religion itself is the enemy. A religion that is based on conditional, performance driven “love”, fuelled by traditions and dogma.

Unconditional love is the only answer – an answer that religion fails to understand at the deepest level.

Being Gay, Living Silent!

Being Gay Living SIlent

I’m proud to announce the publishing of a new booklet for the LGBT and religious community.

For too many LGBT people in religion, they are literally “being gay, living silent”. For many, education is the first step to freedom: education on the basics of gender and sexuality, mind sets or “paradigms”, religious abuse, and hope for a better life.

It provides succinct information for LGBT people and their friends and family, about the nature of sexuality and gender, our paradigms that govern the way we view belief systems, reparative “pray away the gay” therapy and church ministry, the impact of religion on LGBT people and encouragement to find a way forward.

Millions of LGBT people suffer silently in churches, too afraid to speak out, living in crippling shame and guilt, unaware that there is hope, life and love beyond the prison of dogma and religious control.

It’s an easy read, designed to be passed around.

Only $2.99 for Kindle and $7.99 for booklet.

Bulk orders available

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Evangelicalism, You Have Traumatized Me.

This is a powerful comment by Robert Lofgren from his blog “The Gay Post-Evangelical”

The gay post-evangelical

Evangelicalism, You Have Traumatized Me.

 

http://www.thegaypostevangelical.com/blog/evangelicalism-you-have-traumatized-me

My son is 17, gay and miserable

We may think it’s enough to just accept our kids sexual/gender identity when they come out. We may think that to love and support them will make them happy and give them the strength they need to survive.

But there may be something far more impacting you can do. This powerful letter by John Shore presents a hard truth.

 

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