THE LOCAL H.A. CHAPTER AND THE LOCAL CHURCH OR COUNSELING CENTER
The goal of all H.A. chapters is the restoration of its members to the Christian community as redeemed and dignified people. The following principles are designed to help achieve that goal:
The Welfare of the Group Is Primary
The welfare of the group always comes first. If a church or counseling center becomes controlling, the group should take steps to locate elsewhere. The group’s responsibility is first to people struggling with homosexuality, to lead them to freedom in Christ, and to the gospel truth outlined in the 14 Steps. The group should be autonomous in organization.
Church Guidance and Endorsement
If a church is in harmony with H.A. philosophy, a representative of that church, perhaps an elder or a deacon, could be present at an H.A. meeting as a special guest or advisor, but only at the request of or permission by the group as a whole. If the group feels inhibited by a pastor’s presence, the pastor should be asked kindly to not attend.
Autonomous Leadership of H.A.
If a counseling director or church officer has set up an H.A. chapter, he or she should be prepared to rotate that leadership and let the group elect officers when experience and maturity develops in individuals within the group.
H.A. chapters should be financially and organizationally separate from a church or counseling center while, at the same time, working in close relationship and co-operation with them. The H.A. chapter organizes its own socials, but may also work in conjunction with the church or counseling center and its’ programs.
(Taken from the "HOMOSEXUALS ANONYMOUS POLICY AND ADVISORY MANUAL")
How Should the Church (Re-)Act When It Comes to Same-Sex Attractions?
When it comes to same-sex attractions, churches tend to (re-)act in completely different and mostly opposing ways:
1) There are churches who completely affirm all kind of same-sex behavior and relationships (usually referred to as “gay marriage”). Their theology goes somewhat like this: God gave those people same-sex attractions and this is why it also is alright with Him to live that way. Besides, Jesus is all about love and when people (no matter what sex they belong to) love one another, then this is fine with Him. Love can’t be wrong. Basically, those folks ground their theology on their personal experiences and emotions and interpret the Bible from that standpoint – instead of studying the Bible and living our lives according to the written and the living Word of God. God knew how deceitful our hearts and emotions can be and this is why He left us His written Word and also the Holy Spirit to guide His Church in order to give us something to hold on and to live by. Love as God sees it is not just a fuzzy feeling, but a life-giving, life-long, heterosexual & monogamous covenant where people give themselves (as opposed to a contract where people exchange property). A covenant that reflects the covenant of Christ with His Church.
2) Then you have churches that just don’t deal with same-sex attractions at all. Their view goes somewhat like this: We don’t have “that problem” and so we don’t need to talk about it. Also we don’t want to shy away people from our church services. The problem with that: First, every church that has a certain size is very likely to have “that problem”. Second, the church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners. Obviously, it has greatly missed her job & vocation – else there wouldn’t be a need for ex-gay and purity ministries. Finally: Not talking about “the problem” does not make it go away. It does not help those concerned and also you will be very surprised when gay activists come breaking into your church doors someday, forcing you by law to hold same-sex “wedding ceremonies”.
3) Thirdly there are churches that seem have all the truth, but no grace at all. “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!”, “We love the sinner, but hate the sin!”, “It’s wrong because the Bible says so!” and statements like that might characterize those churches. The problem here: We cannot start reaching out to people in need by telling them what not to do, even more so when this is done from a standpoint that makes the person who issues those statements look like he or she does not belong to that group of “poor little sinners”, that just need to be told they are wrong and just need to “say no”. That has little to nothing to do with the Christian faith the way Jesus taught it. First, we need to understand about God’s love and grace at first place –and if we do we can – and should! – pass it on to others the way Jesus did. Everything else flows out of this. Remember the prostitute that Jesus saved from being stoned? He did not tell her, “Haven’t you read the Thora? What you are doing is wrong! Beat it!”. No, Jesus saved her from certain death before she could even say beep. Only then did He tell her to go and sin no more. Love comes before everything else – a love without any conditions (“I love you, but…”).
4) Finally, you have the churches that do not only welcome people with open arms and a loving heart, but also go out to look for those in need before they even think about knocking on church doors. They do not only re-act, but act. They love those that others look down upon and they do this because Jesus loved us first.
Preaching Like Jesus to the LGBT Community and Its Supporters | JD Greear
Who hasn’t heard that phrase before. We are supposed to love the sinner, but hate sin (i.e. what he/she does or fantasizes about).
At first glance this sounds perfectly right. And yet I’ve come to really dislike that statement and I ask my brothers and sisters to refrain from using such commonplaces, especially when it comes to people with same-sex attractions. And this for the following reasons:
1) You do not convince anybody with commonplaces – as true as they might be.
2) So we love the sinner. To which every gay activist (and every person in general) can and might reply: When was the last time you showed that – through unconditional works of love? It is so easy to give a fire-and-brimstone sermon on sinful “homosexual” acts. How much harder it is to love those people like Christ would! Because if you don’t, such a statement will backfire big time. And you deserved that.
3) Such a phrase is obviously talking about a person with same-sex attractions. We want to tell our church brothers and sisters to let “those people” know that we love them but hate what they are doing. Now thing for a moment how that sounds like for “one of those”. I had been there, so I have an idea about that. Throughout my whole “gay” time (which was many, many years!) I had the feeling that this is not only how I am, but most of all who I am. This is my identity – much like it would be my identity to be a white person from Europe. For “people like us” who are still involved in that life or in that world (whether or not we act out) this is not simply about “behaviors” or “fantasies” – this is an identity question. He or she thinks that they cannot do anything about it anyways (and just throwing facts at them wouldn’t help either, because they are bombarded with different facts all the time and rather confused anyway). As a consequence, these persons might feel rejected for who they are (like you might reject a person because of his or her color of skin) – if you mean to say that or not (for the record: this is not how I think, but how many “of us” think). Usually, it is not the first time they heard things like that, so to cope with their anger, hurt and frustration they might react very aggressively. They might see you as hypocrite, retarded, radical, inhumane – or simply stupid.
4) So we love the sinner and hate the sin. Fine. Sounds like we are talking about somebody else when we are talking about sinners. And in fact this is exactly what we are doing there: We point with the finger on other people and call them sinners that “deserve” to hear the truth. This in fact is hypocrite. If we point with the finger on somebody else, we should remember that all the other fingers are pointing back to us – for good reason. We sometimes tend to forget that we are sinners too. As someone once said: A church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners. And even if you find a “perfect” church, you ruin it the very moment you walk through its doors. I remember when I joined a “Bible church” a couple of months after I left the gay life and enrolled in H.A.’s online program. The brothers and sisters there were really nice, but man was there a difference between us. I walked in on a Wednesday evening to join there Bible study – dressed in army pants & boots and a black leather jacket. And there were sitting all those nicely dressed Christians. I felt like someone from Mars (which was not their fault, but still). They knew nothing about me, but as luck wanted to have it they dealt with a Bible verse speaking on sexual immorality. One of them mentioned that actually there was nothing for them to talk about as they didn’t have that problem. On the inside I thought well, now you do (as it later turned out, they had it as well). Sometime after that – I was already a member – a dear friend of mine held a Bible study before the service. He spoke about sinning. Sinning with a capital “S” sort of – the real bad stuff. And then he turned to me and said something like “Well, Robert, what do you say to that?”. As if I was the only sinner in the house (he might not have meant it that way, but it sure sounded like that. For a very long time I felt like the black sheep of the family there – as loving as they were.
So instead of confronting people with same-sex attractions with commonplaces and Bible verses (as true as they are, but the letter can kill if you don’t apply him with love – think of how Jesus saved the prostitute who was about to be stoned – He saved her before she could even say beep!), we might show them what Christian love, what Christianity in general is all about – through our actions. They should see Christ through us! That does not mean they should not be confronted with the truth as well, but they first need to be “fed” (that is taken care of with love), before they even trust us enough to want to know more about what motivates us. Just standing with a sign at the sidewalk when a gay parade passes by, does not to anything good for anyone. It might even make you look weird (to say the least).
To cut a long story short: Yes, sinners (that is we all!) need to hear the truth in and with love. But people that come from “out there” need to see what stuff we are made of first. They want to feel it, experience it before they might think about wanting to have it too. And yes, we all deserve the truth. But the truth in love – else there is no truth. Most of all people with same-sex attractions deserve every and any help possible – from a medical point of view (like therapy), from the Church, from their families and friends and from politics and laws. This is why I support “Voice of the Voiceless”.
Some time ago I served as a volunteer in a local prison. There you cannot throw Bible verses at the inmates. First, you are not supposed to do that unless they want it and second they can smell a mile away what your true motivation is – if you are there to get one point off your Christian “to-do-list” and do something for those poor prisoners by quoting them Bible verses and tell them some commonplaces – or if you are there for THEM. They want to see what you are made of – and then (and ONLY then) they might take some interest in your motivation.
I guess it is not much different with people who live a “gay” life. If we are REALLY made of that stuff, then let’s show it to them! Let’s love them like Christ would.
“So what is the difference between someone who willfully indulges in sexual pleasures while ignoring the Bible on moral purity and someone who willfully indulges in the selfish pursuit of more and more material possessions while ignoring the Bible on caring for the poor? The difference is that one involves a social taboo in the church and the other involves the social norm in the church.”
― David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
Most of the German churches completely ignore the existence of ex-gays or ex-gay ministries - at best. Some have a more-or-less open gay-friendly policy, others technically hold the biblical and traditional point of view - but rather in theory than in everyday life. The subject of same-sex attractions ("homosexuality") is usually not even mentioned in any church (with view exceptions). Hardly ever you get to hear a biblical sermon on it or it being adressed in church circles. Sometimes people in ministry make headlines for having same-sex partners - openly or not openly. Even big churches that (on paper) still hold a biblical view would not invite us - neither to adress the congregation nor on any event (some of them being really (!) big!). Sometimes I get the impression that if there is a big and public church event where they can't avoid to address it, they would rather invite people who seem to have not problem acting out their same-sex attractions (they would then apply the "same principles as for heterosexual couples": fidelity and the like. What heresy!), or they might invite gay friendly theologians or simply theologians with a big title - instead of those who offer real help. Ministries that offer real help. Ministries where people are finding freedom from same-sex attractions. One of the bigger denominations even has a purity ministry itself in other countries (even in Europe) - and they would not even invite them. I am at the same time very angry about this irresponsible behavior, about people who seem to offer no help at all (on the contrary, some even might lead people with ssa astray!), but also defiant: They will not silence us. As Michael O'Brien, the famous Canadian novelist, wrote us in an email: Continue to be the sign of contradiction! The time where people with unwanted ssa only met in clandestine circles is over. We are loud and proud as well and we could not care less what others think of us or how they view us. The truce is over - now it is time to put on the armor, gather and fight! We have a mighty enemy, so let's raise our (spiritual) fists and get in the ring! I call on each one of us and each one that supports our call to follow our battle call. There is much more at stake than just a couple of those "weird" ex-gay people. Once we open the door for sin to enter the body, it will spread. So take heart, brothers and sisters all over the world! Join us, stand up for your faith and your Savior and fight!