Problems with church counseling for gay people

When gay people are looking for a church it might well be that they come up against a wall of contradiction and damnation.

Gay Married| Founder/Writer “GAYoda” | Counselor/Encourager Mike Rosebush, PhD, looks at ministry leaders and pastors who may have much Bible knowledge and an empathetic heart, but says:

 However, most of those leaders are clueless in providing counseling specific to one’s gayness. {Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit}

Today, it might be still very difficult to come out and say how one really feels. Not everyone is willing to openly accept any form of sexual identity. A few years ago, homosexuality was by many still considered a disease, which one could conquer by battling against it. I am afraid gay people, when going to a pastor or priest, in many cases will still hear the following:

Homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, repent of your sins and trust in Jesus.

If you have enough faith and grit, God will change your attractions.

You need to claim your true sexual identity as a straight man — God will not let you down. Never refer to yourself as “gay,” for your true identity is only in Christ.

Begin dating women, and your latent heterosexuality will emerge.

You have a disorder. Learn to accept it, just like Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.”

Being gay is a sexual addiction. Therefore, repress all homoerotic and homoromantic thoughts.

For heaven’s sake, do not be alone with another gay man. It is improper to engage in physical touch with another man. Therefore, flee from the temptation.

Confess every violation to your Accountability Partner here within our church.

Join our “Celebrate Recovery” group; all addictions follow the same pattern and can be controlled.

Develop friendships with masculine men; soon, you will acquire their mannerisms and thus lose your effeminacy. Avoid friendships with other gay men, as they are “blind guides” who will lead you astray.

Train your eyes to look away whenever you notice an attractive man; apply the “three-second rule” (i.e., do not stare at the man for longer than three seconds). Never look back at an attractive man.

If it proves difficult to change your attraction, you are meant for a life of celibacy. Remember, Jesus was celibate.

Rebuke Satan, and he will flee!

Memorize helpful Bible verses and recall them during every sexual temptation. {Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit}

Mike Rosebush, PhD suspects that virtually every gay Christian seeking counselling from a ministry leader or pastor has received some of the above “wise counsel.” Though, I do hope some gay people sincerely would be helped by a priest or pastor to be able to accept their own feelings and to find a welcoming community.

Rosebush writes:

Just because someone is a head pastor does not mean he is qualified to counsel gay Christians. My experience tells me that often the head pastor ought to be the last person that gay Christians should seek for counseling!Ideally, a counselor should have at least a Master’s degree in counseling, plus over 100 hours of actual counseling with gay Christians, and be licensed within your state. Many Christians consider themselves qualified counselors (or “spiritual directors”), but they have lacked the basic training and requisite counseling skills. Such counselors should not be using gay Christians as their proverbial “guinea pig” to try out their supposed cures. {Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit}

Him speaking about a “cure” indicates already a certain attitude or way of thinking that there would be some disease or something unacceptable wrong by that person. Strangely enough, the author of the article says the counsellor should have at least

100 hours of actual counseling with gay Christians

before he should be able to counsel, so how would he ever be able to get his 100 hours with gay Christians?

Here is a secret clue regarding whether someone is competent to counsel. Does your counselor patiently listen to you and accurately validate what you were meaning and feeling? If so, stick with the counselor. In contrast, if your counselor does all of the talking or is quick to provide you with his solutions, then run! Likewise, does the counselor first seek to understand — or instead, is he inclined to judge you as “right” or “wrong?” Judgmental counselors stifle authentic disclosures. And authenticity is always better than duplicity. {Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit}

From his article, I notice this counsellor does not believe in the Bible’s accuracy and ability to give all the answers. From his view on the Bible as the Word of God, he has doubts that the Bible may (or may not) have been originally inspired by God, because no original text remains today. For him

a progressive worldview does not believe the Bible to be a “how to” manual. For example, the “correct” answer may not be found in the literal text of the Bible. Instead, it may be found through personal experience, scientific findings, and the nudging of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the “answer” requires wisdom: a combination of Bible study, reflections upon what life is teaching us, and humility to try, fail, and still assuredly be loved by God. {Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit}

According to him

The gay Christian who holds a Sola Scriptura worldview might better be served with a counselor who has the same worldview. Ditto for aligning the gay Christian who is progressive with a progressive counselor. And yet, the really good counselors can allow someone to find validity in their worldview without narcissistically requiring the client to embrace the counselor’s worldview. Many untrained counselors do not have it in them to be that gracious. {Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit}

Which, for me, sounds a little as:

A gay person has to go to a gay counsellor.

Though, please have a look at how he offers solutions and looks at psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural, and client-centred methods.

Find to read: Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit

I am convinced that when people are looking for a church, they, first of all, should try to see in which way that particular church is following the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Nazarene master teacher, who as a Jew worshipped only One True God, and not a two or three-headed god. Then they should check how the members of that church put their ‘following of Christ‘ in practice.  Next, they just should go and bring a visit to that church. Just feeling how welcome they are as human beings, coming from somewhere else. Not yet giving too much away of the own personality. Just soak up the atmosphere of the community’s language, how its members behave among themselves, and how open (or not open) they are to someone from outside the community. I do not believe that in order to look for a church, one has to delve into one’s early childhood. Furthermore, I think it is quite wrong to think that we have to completely transform others and reach into the depths of their lives.

Amsterdam Gay Pride in 2008

We have to realise that every human being has his own nature and has the right to have it. It is not for us to judge others for what they feel or are. It is not correct to think those gay people should be pushed to corrective behaviours, though sometimes certain attitudes should be considered to change. For example, one can not accept that a gay Cristian would do non-acceptable acts of fornication or sodomy on a Pride Parade wagon or boat. Much too often we notice things in such Pride marches one can perhaps do in private, but not in public. It is just such actions which too often bring gay people in a bad light, and have many people think all gays would be promiscuous people. It is precisely such parades and what some gay people have displayed that have created such a negative image of the gay community.

Rosebush writes

the cognitive-behavioral model presumes that the gay Christian can practice new, corrective behaviors and thoughts, creating new, successful habits. For example, a person may need to identify “triggers” that precede certain ingrained behaviors and respond differently whenever the trigger is recognized.

For gay Christians, cognitive-behavioral counseling has been used to change a person’s sexual behavior or sexual identity. For example, the goal of a traditionalist gay Christian may be to find trustworthy friendships (“spiritual friendship”) that allow the gay Christian to thrive in his celibacy. In contrast, the progressive gay Christian client may need to practice new self-scripts (e.g., my sexuality is a gift from God; I was made for authentic relationships). {Gay Christian Counseling 101: Finding Your Right Fit}

By a lot of people the mentality opposing people with a different feeling than they has to change. A much more open attitude has to be taken to people with another lifestyle then one is used in the own circles. Church might be there to help people to overcome the burdens and to show how human love is one of the most important things in life we do have to share with eachother.

+

Preceding

  1. Youngsters, parents and the search to root in life
  2. Division and defrocking because of same-sex wedding
  3. Hiding or opening attitude for same sex relationships
  4. Same sex relationships and Open attitude mirroring Jesus
  5. Pelagianism, abundant sex, no works and refugees
  6. Christians close to falling below 50pc in England
  7. Right-wing fundamentalist Christians to dictate the U.S.A.
  8. Presbyterians and Reformed Christians, membership and active involvement is part of a congregation’s DNA
  9. LGBTQ+ people Welcome or not welcome in a Church
  10. Helping against or causing more homophobia
  11. Rights of Polish people in danger
  12. Living and Loving Faithfully
  13. The focus of multiculturalism in Europe on Muslims and Jews

++

Additional reading

  1. Liberal and evangelical Christians 
  2. My Multi-Cultural Childhood Could be the Answer to Racism & Xenophobia
  3. The Most Hated Family in America
  4. What Does The Bible Say About….Fornication?
  5. Cincinnati outlaws quoting the Bible
  6. 72 Synod Fathers on the topic “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”
  7. A Synod to speak freely and to listen without reservations
  8. The Catholic synod on the family and abortion
  9. Relationships and Sexuality Awareness Day
  10. No insurmountable obstacles to come to know God
  11. Need to Embrace People Where They Are
  12. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  13. When seeing a biblically sound church
  14. a little church
  15. A Progressive Call to Arms
  16. Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms

+++

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Published by Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".

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