Exodus Part 3: Journey Into Manhood

This is Part 3 of a four-part post. The final part will be posted tomorrow.

What does all this mean for Exodus, and the “ex-gay” movement in general? My own experience with the movement indicates that, like any movement,1 it contains some good and some bad.

The Journey Into Manhood weekend is a perfect example. Some things about it were useless or hokey, and some things were downright creepy; but my hokiness-and-creepiness-detectors worked well enough to allow me to leave the bad and take the good. That wasn’t the case with everybody there. Some of them, I think, swallowed the creepiness and hokiness whole, and ended up sick with it; and some of them couldn’t stomach any of it, and left the same way they started.

I don’t blame either group, but I was luckier than both. The weekend gave me the tools and a head start towards achieving the things I really needed: emotional honesty with myself and others, the ability to express my own feelings and needs without shame, the ability to work towards intimacy without using manipulation.

So I still consider that weekend a turning point in my life, even if part of the progress I made afterwards involved unlearning a couple of the things I learned there, and even if I could’ve got the same things in a less creepy package. How can I know what might have happened or not happened if I hadn’t gone? I learned what I learned, and I was blessedly different afterwards. I believe the Lord used it as a tool to bring me healing, but how much of the healing inhered in the tool itself and how much was pure grace, I can’t know. I wouldn’t give any of it back.

To be concluded tomorrow.

1 Cf. e.g. communism, republicanism, capitalism, environmentalism, etc., etc. Part good, part crazy and dangerous and evil.

4 Comments on “Exodus Part 3: Journey Into Manhood”

  1. Patty says:

    Do you think, Steve, that some of the things you learned were useful because you wanted them to be useful? You had a desire for change going in that made the means to change visible and real to you?

  2. Ana says:

    The beauty of knowing we are broken already allows for us to dig deeper which enhances every experience knowing that God will use everything. I think Patty hit the nail on the head. I love your postings Steve. I truly relate to so much to what you write.

  3. Gerard says:

    For me JiM was a realization that I was not alone. That there were a lot of other men struggling with their identities because of their core values. It was an eye opener, I could finally share my burden. It is presented in an unusual way that I would not call hokey or creepey, but it is difficult to convey human emotions in short periods of time.

  4. City Boy says:

    It’s refreshing to see someone that admits that there are flaws in regards to these healing retreats for people with SSA.

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