Finding God in Exodus International [Deeper Story]

Exodus Billboard

 

It’s been a long day of work, so I’m a little late in throwing this up, but here it is. My latest piece for Deeper Story.

The beginning:

 

Last year, Exodus International, the largest ex-gay organization in the world, shut down.

I was at a Starbucks late at night when the news erupted over Twitter. I all but cried. I called my mom. “This is such good news, wow! wow!” she said and then I texted my brother who took to Facebook, posting the news by saying “This is a HUGE WIN for humanity.” This was monumental. A miracle. An answer to so many prayers said by so many souls in our community.

My total “ex-gay experience” was a rainy afternoon, in the home of a man who was not a counselor. He wasn’t from Exodus. In fact, I never met an Exodus counselor nor I have been to any Exodus events. And yet Exodus International once held a daily presence in my life. A powerful one.

Late one night, in my closeted teenage years, I quietly tapped into the Google search bar my most desperate question: “is there a cure for homosexuality?”

Topping the list of results was Exodus.

Read the rest over at Deeper Story

Grace for the Addict (at Deeper Story)

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A few weeks ago, I was blown away when I received an email inviting me to join A Deeper Story. Most of you know who that is, but in case you don’t- A Deeper Story is a group of Christian writers writing about faith in the peaks and weeds of life. They are some of the best writers on the internet today. I’ve been following them for well over a year now and I have learned so much from the writers there about writing and life and God. It has been a well of encouragement that I have turned to time and time again.

 

And today, I have my first post up over there, and I am hoping I can reflect just a fraction of that encouragement. It’s about a part of my life that’s a little profane: my addiction. And it’s about the grace of God, which is so much more offensive.

 

Here’s the beginning.

 

In the seventh grade, I won the Ramsey County Police Department Poetry Contest after I penned a poem telling anyone addicted to nicotine to just stop it. It was a district wide contest; a winner would be selected from every school. And a couple weeks after I submitted, my Language Arts teacher burst through the door of my history class. She walked straight up to my teacher and whispered in his ear. They both turned to me, smiling. I beamed back.

They gave me one hundred and fifty dollars. More money than I had ever held in my hands. And two weeks later, with my parents standing proud at the back wall and the local paper’s intern snapping shots next to them, I stood in front of my class and read the poem aloud.

“I know the chains of addiction may be holding you down, but think of your family! They still want you around!” I roared like FDR and the class went wild.

I am no poet. But my life has been riddled with irony. Here’s some: only a few years after speaking my plea into class, I was twirling the feathery white stick between my own two fingers. I was sparking the cherry at the end, inhaling it deep into my lungs. Over a lake, I lay down on a dock with friends, blowing filmy rings into the stars. Watching them rise and rise and wash away in the wind. Dizzied by the buzz that was breaking over me, I felt euphoric, badass, and truly alive. I did not feel the chain clinking around my ankle.

 

Click here to read the rest.