Thursday, August 7, 2008

Contact from an Exodus leader

This week I received an email from an Exodus leader I haven't heard from in almost 15 years. At first, I was just surprised, then I started really looking at his message. It read: Darlene, I'm glad I ran across your blog. I still miss you. I am sorry to hear that your lover died of breast-cancer. Darlene is God sending you a message? Please consider coming back to Exodus. You are loved and missed. Why would God call you back to lesbianism, give you a lover and then take her away. I'm sorry that you are going through this. My heart is breaking right now but I believe that you belong to the Lord and "He chastizes the one's that he loves". I believe He is calling you back. If you want to talk I am here to listen. Please call me if you want to talk. May God Bless You, Anthony Falzarano

Anthony was the founder of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and has been active in Exodus for many years. When I first left Exodus in the early 90's...Anthony called to share his concern and assure me of his prayers for my return to the fold. He never called again.
I don't want to sound harsh, or judgmental of his recent contact, but I need to respond in this blog! I want to thank Anthony for reminding me WHY I left Exodus leadership and ministry.
1. He misses me but hasn't reached out in 15 years
2.I accept that he is sorry to hear about the loss of my partner due to breast cancer(over 3 years have passed since that event.)
3. Is God sending me a message? First hint of judgment.
4Please consider coming back to Exodus.- He obviously is not aware of my apology for that involvement, or how deeply I have been impacted by seeing the great harm done to individuals and families through this message.
5. You are loved and missed.---Somehow I've missed that message from Exodus leaders
6.Then...Why would God call you back to Lesbianism, give you a lover and take her away??
I think this is the line that hit me right between the eyes. Far too many Christians beleive that God will punish you if you don't toe the mark! To assume that bad things don't happen to God's people is to have an unhealthy view of the Christian life. God didn't give Des breast cancer, and take her away because of our committed 12 years relationship. I reject that Judgment.
7. He beleives that I am the Lord's-and that God is correcting me because He loves me. That concept is Biblical, however I reject the context of illness being a result of preceived sin! AND, I DO AGREE THAT I AM THE LORDS WORKMANSHIP. HE IS MY SAVIOR, AND CREATED ME JUST AS I AM.
8.He beleives that God is calling me back. To where? To What? I haven't left, and I am still active in this is a bit presumptious.
9.Anthony then says he is there to listen. Hummm..He has his mind made up that I'm living a sinful lifestyle, has judged me; tried to place guilt and shame on me to conform me to the accepted behavior...How can he Hear my heart when there are so many hinderences?
10. So, I remembered when I had all the answers and thought I was listening when I directed an ex-gay group. I told them how to pray and change their orientation so God would accept them completly.(Or was it so the church would accept them?)Anyway..This email has given me the chance to say one more time. I'm sorry for the harm I caused by that message of conditional love. Please forgive me. Darlene


Nelson G. said...

Can't help but notice that in the now two days that this news came out, your former colleagues have yet to issue statements of condemnation.

Good thing no one's holding their breath waiting for one, huh?

EDWIN H. PEART said...

It's sad when a professing Christian thinks that God is a cruel tyrant who is waiting to strike down people for misbehaviour and believes that bad things happen to you because you are bad. It's obvious that he hasn't done his homework. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were one of the finest Christian couples that ever lived and yet their only child born to them,daughter Robin, was born a mongoloid and died young, and two adopted children died young,daughter Debbie in a bus accident and son Sandy from alcohol while serving in the military. Were Roy and Dale bad people? Certainly not! I had the pleasure of visiting their museum when I was in Victorville California (it is now in Branson Missouri)and there was all kinds of evidence there that they truly loved the Lord. There was a book put
out by a Jewish Rabbi several years ago called WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE. He was writng from experience as he had just lost his teenage son from a rare disease. Was he a bad person?Certainly not! The Bible is a good book but it should not be our sole guide. In this age of the internet we must learn to think outside the box and consider all points of view. I have had correspondence with a witch (no she doesn't ride a on a broomstick and is in fact a young blond woman in her thirties) and two athiests one male and one female and I shared my Christian beliefs with them while at the same time telling them that even though I didn't necessarily agree with all their beliefs, I respected their right to believe them. And you know something, they respected what I believed in. I feel that seeds were planted there on those days and who knows, the stage may have been set for someone else to win them over. I have learned from these people something, if you want to get respect, you have to give it.Everyone has a story to tell and we can learn something from every person we come in contact with. My love for gays and lesbians came about as a result of reading A LETTER TO LOUISE by Bruce Lowe which I discovered on the internet in 2004. Even though Bruce was a retired Baptist minister, he was willing to study all points of view both religious and secular when writing the letter. And he was in his 80's when he changed his mind with regards to gays and lesbians.Yes I admit that when Anita Bryant came to my city in 1978 I was on her side with regards to gays and lesbians when I went to hear her speak but thanks to Bruce Lowe, my eyes were opened to the truth and I figured that if Bruce Lowe could change his attitude, so could I.And since that day, I have never been happier. Keep on keeping on Darlene. God loves you and so do I.




EDWIN H. PEART said...

Last week while relaxing in the sun in beautiful Negril Jamaica where with my wife I was attending the wedding of my nephew my mind went back over 50 years to when I was a teenager in High School. I was having some personal problems adjusting to school owing to being exposed to classmates who did not want to learn but were only around to cause trouble. I was sent to the guidance counsellor who was a teacher by the name of Harry. From the moment I met him I knew he was one you could talk to and he would listen. Harry was a great influence on my life in that his support helped me get throgh that diffcult year and achieve an average high enough to avoid having to write final exams. With Harry's encouragement I moved to a new school where conditions were much better for my final two years of High School. Harry was married to a woman named Hessie whose brother was a United Church of Canada Minister which was my church affiliation at the time. They had three sons.
Flash forward many years. I picked up the paper at that point in time and found out that one of Harry's sons had passed away. When I saw that he had a male partner who survived him I knew that he was gay and since he was in his 40's it was obvious he probably had aids. Was Harry a bad man because this happened? Absolutely not! Would Harry have rejected his son. Definitely not! A man like Harry who helped me and many others would have certainly stood by his son. This I know.

EDWIN H. PEART said...

Further to my article about the teacher named Harry I have found out some new information. It turns out he had four sons instead of three. And his wife had two brothers William and David who were both United Church of Canada Ministers. I met David many years ago when he gave the graveside service for a great aunt of mine who was the second youngest sister of my maternal grandmother. Small world isn't it?