Monday, June 28, 2010

L.I.F.E. Living in Freedom Eternally

clip_image001I first met this homophobic group at a Ken Scram KOMO4 talk show in the late 80s. They state NOW “L.I.F.E. Ministry began over 25 years ago in the living room of Ron and Joanne Highley in midtown Manhattan.”  There website is so vague as far as I can tell. They do not have any onsite way to learn more about the ministry or its roots.

At KOMO4 Ken Schram’s talk show I was actually the first to be called on to ask that group’s leader a question. I asked what did they think about the word sodomite, Ken interrupted with “let’s not get into semantics”. Well sodomite is the most important word in homophobia even if it is not treated so, because it is in 7 of the 14 verses used by homophobes to say gay is sin. L.I.F.E. got out of answering that one, but hey I was the first to speak that night from the audience. L.I.F.E. actually came to Seattle to go to speak at Queen Anne Assembly of God, who arranged the Ken Schram appearance.

Of course I cleared my schedule so I could go to hear the presentation from that ex-gay group. I was especially interested because they said they were Pentecostal. I knew so completely gay was not sin even by that early date that part was not the issue. The part I had a needless worry was “Pentecostalism” meaning tongues and interruption of tongues, Word of Knowledge and Word of Prophecy, etc. my concern was that I knew being filled with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit makes you open to spiritual things so it is wise to study so you can discern whose spirit is speaking. In the Spirit your spirit can utter wonderful praises and worship in the Spirit and make intercessory prayers and more. Problem is hey great , cool, neat, wonderful, I feel Jesus and more, but you are now open to spiritual things. Non-Pentecostals can be demon possessed and influenced and more and if Holy Spirit does his things it often is not felt inside as Jesus using your body and his presence feels like inside you. Assemblies of God does teach a good understanding of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Usually this is workshops or special guest speakers, but mostly slam bam thank you mam out comes tongues wow neato. Now let go take on the world in our new found power. Well I am exaggerating, but it is sort of like that. Now you have a bunch of Spirit filled believers with little experience and little teaching on operation other than the quoting of the spiritual gifts from the Bible.

Here I am about to go to an Assemblies of God. I been in Assemblies of God 25 years by that time so I knew the possibilities. AND here an ex-gay group that is Pentecostal and speaking at a Pentecostal church. All other ex-gays till then weren’t Pentecostals so never a chance for them to operate in spiritual gifts so it is all books on therapy or stating one of those 14 verses then arguing other verses to make gay all the more sinful. I was nervous, shy (I never confronted any church or church leader or groups or anything, just preached into a lens on a TV camera) now I am going to a place where I could hear tongues and interruption. I knew anything of God has to be Bible or it is not of God, but still if a Pentecostal interrupted a tongue spoken there and it condemn gays, what an act to follow and I was lacking in public experience to be able to deal with people using the Holy Spirit gift to speak in the spirit of their own spirit. Three spiritual sources are available to the Pentecostal. Satan (demons), they Christian’s own spirit, and god’s plus anything and everything that comes under things that go bump which refuses to have a simple Bible explanation to this day. People try to class everything into God or satan. I am not even mentioning angels of God who often deal directly with humans.

Well my fears were unjustified. The closest the ex-gays got to operating in the Spirit was when the group’s tag along ex-gays gave their testimony. At time they appeared to get a high, which resembles operating in the Spirit. His is when they were re-telling their story f meeting a guy they fell in love with and obviously you see a star twinkle in their eye, it was cool. Of course they would go on with more a duty type demeanor of saying they still struggling but some hope after 6 month of maybe seeing light at the end of the tunnel to getting better, never a hint to wanting to date opposite sex. I remember this like it happened yesterday. Never even a hint to any sort of operation in the Holy Spirit. Why couldn’t they play the Assemblies game at least or why couldn’t Pastor Johnson of that Queen Anne Assemblies of God do the AOG thing and do the praising and worshipping in the Spirit that brings often with it the move of God and tongues and interruption of tongues. NOPE nothing.

So what was their secret? They had brought a policy and procedure packet of how L.I.F.E. works. I still have it somewhere. I got pretty sick reading it at home later. It had behavior modification techniques similar to some stop smoking tricks. Like for smoking fill a can with cig butts then pour water into it and smell it every time you want a cig. This was a nice example. Others were abandon the ex-gay as punishment in hard love if they slip and do gay stuff or have thoughts. The whole of L.I.F.E.’s way was therapeutic not Bible deliverance. I really did not have to be concerned at all since L.I.F.E. did not use anything remotely Holy Spirit operation, worship, praising at all let alone any gifts of the Spirit.

When they broke for a break from the service to gather for cookies and coffee and socializing I joined them and passed out fliers (actually I was quite scared being so actively standing up for what I believed, thought I would be kicked out or arrested). The flier was simply the Greek and Hebrew definition of the word “sodomite”. Generally people accepted the flier, but the wife of the pastor went into a rage and told me she did not care if I even Jesus was there and handed out the word if it differed from what they were saying it would not be accepted. I was shocked to hear a pastor’s wife say that, but I have heard pastor’s wives say some pretty awful things. The Pastor saw this and came over with the ex-gay leader, his wife backed off and the pastor and ex-gay leader began giving me the 3rd degree. The pastors kept grabbing for my audio recorder to turn it off. The ex-gay leader kept repeating to me what did I think about annul intercourse. What a place to be in, the Pastor was red as a beet in his face and had clinched fists. I thought he was going to hit me and I wondered would I allow it and turn the other cheek so he can hit it too or should I beat him to a pope because he was not hitting me but the entire gay population so I should stand up in their defense as it were. I was terrified being in the center of such hostel Christian leaders. But hey I am Pentecostal what do you suppose that means? They were too, but not a hint to operate in the Holy Spirit. Well obviously they were not going to take control to make peace they so were against gays. This all happening in front of over 100 people in the break room. I had already talked over with Jesus that I am not all the bright and that I had no experience face to face and so shy that is it got to where nothing I could do or I was in such shock I couldn’t use what I knew and they would not listen anyway, they were really yelling at me, that I would simply go into the Holy Spirit and make intercessory prayer in tongues. So I did just that, I opened my arms and if by Magic (I don’t like this word but to explain) both the pastor and the ex-gay leader seemed to flow to my arms so I could wrap them around them and begin to pray in tongues. First round a minute or so the ex-gay leader faded from the scene and I was with the pastor still resistant so I held him close in my arm in love and prayed again in tongues. Zap he calmed down and became very friendly and a good host. Said he would help and welcome me to finish whatever I needed in getting my program clips. The rest of the service he was really nice. I was amazed to say the least. Argue if you want, but Assemblies of God pastor supposed to be full of the Holy Spirit and in charge and believes gay is sin did not do what he believes as an AOG pastor walk in the Spirit. I the one that he thought was so evil operated in the Spirit and the entire episode immediately calmed and changed the demeanor of that pastors so completely.

More testimonies from ex-gays and more twinkles in their eyes when remembering their love then a more sad look when they got back to describing their process of trying to be str8, of course that meant be celibate, none was even near considering dating opposite sex.

The ex-gay leader was in fact I recall ex-gay married to a str8 woman who was the actual head of that ministry. I am trying to get updates from L.I.F.E but so far they are not replying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That does not appear to reflect the current teachings of LIFE what so ever. Could you perhaps post some quotes from their literature that support your points?