The last person who came from the US telling us how horrible being a homosexual is, was Adam Hood. His meetings were closed down, he was sent home packing and seems to have disappeared off the planet. Maybe he returned to the dreaded ‘homosexual lifestyle’.
Now we have a visit from Wayne Blakely, approaching 60 years of age, a US Adventist, who is preaching a similar but also different message. But he is a bit hard to categorize.
He spoke this weekend at the Adventist Hospital in Sydney. The promo blurb says. “Coming Out… Really? Is a full-day seminar dedicated to hearing from people who have struggled with same-sex attraction and issues associated with the reconciliation of that same sex attraction, practising Christianity and fitting into a Church family. Whether you, someone you love, or someone at your church is struggling with this, the issues will be discussed candidly, with very real experiences shared and we hope this will lead you to a more informed and Christ-like way to deal with this very sensitive topic. There will be an open question-time in the evening. It is free to attend, but bookings are essential for this catered program”
The Wayne Blakely story
It’s simple really. His mother wanted a girl not a boy. She used to physically abuse him (that’s sad). So that is what made him gay apparently. He grew up in the SDA church, but left at 18 when a gay man told him — they don’t want you, and there’s nothing there for you. And then he lived 37 years of self-described abusive, shallow, broken, addictive years that included two arrests for male prostitution and drug overdoses that almost killed him and sleeping with everything in pants it seems. And going to lots of funerals of people who died of AIDS. Approaching 60, he returned to Jesus a few years ago and now tells gay man and lesbians how they should live their lives. But don’t take my word for it. Watch this “riveting” video with superb academy award performances including Wayne playing himself. (please excuse my sarcasm)
Interesting title for the video, “Conversation Starter”. I think the only conversation this video would start is about the tragic acting.
Wayne Blakely’s Message
Wayne doesn’t preach the message that you can turn from gay to straight (nor does he rule it out, mind you if God does a miracle for him and makes him like women)…..but a same sex orientation is evil and not God ordained. So every young, middle-aged or senior Adventist who hears this message will essentially think that gay people are flawed. They can never fall in love with someone of the same gender and are destined to a life of celibacy. Yep that’s right. Alone for life according to Wayne’s interpretation of the bible. He lays it all out for you here. Straight? Gay? or Just Simply ‘Redeemed?: CELIBACY And of course this message will be regurgitated by Adventist parents to their gay and lesbian children and other Adventists to their friends. This is not a message of hope, but a message of shame and inequality.
It is bad enough that Mr Blakely preaches this message in western cultures, but he also travels to developing countries such as Kenya. And we know how dangerous the outcomes of this can be. Think Uganda and the “kill the gays” bill. Wayne Blakely’s shares highlights of his “homosexuality to holiness” story in Kenya
The good news
Approximately 40 people attended the Wayne Blakely seminar. Early this year though, a film, Seventh Gay Adventists, documenting the very moving and honest accounts of several gay and lesbian Adventist people, toured Australia. It was viewed by 100’s of people and the movie has also been shown at numerous Queer film festivals around the world (with rave reviews). At most film festivals it was to sellout screenings and received spontaneous standing ovations from audiences profoundly touched by the what they had just viewed. The documentary has had a positive impact on Adventists and non-Adventists alike. As a gay man of faith, the message of Seventh Gay Adventists was clear to me. God loves gay and lesbian people as they are and ignorance about sexual orientation in the church has caused untold damage to people’s lives and relationships with those dear to them. It’s time for the church to let go of outdated beliefs that homosexuality is a sin, a choice and can be changed and begin welcoming and embracing of all God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people. Most importantly, Seventh Gay Adventists creates a space for questioning by looking at the lives of real people who have had to negotiate the perceived conflict between their Christian faith and their sexual orientation. People have often labelled Christians who have not come to understanding as ‘homophobic’ but often this label is unwarranted. There is however a very real ‘subjectaphobia’ about homosexuality in many churches, including Adventism, and documentaries like Seventh Gay Adventists provide the opportunity for people to look at the subject in a sensitive and non-confrontational way. .
Message to Wayne
I am glad to know that you have left your self-destructive lifestyle and found faith again in your latter years, as have many heterosexuals. This, however, has nothing to do with your sexual orientation except that your poor choices in life were guided by an ill-informed message embedded in you by the church and society that being gay meant you weren’t good enough. It’s called internalised homophobia and it can drive people to suicide. Please stop repeating the message that sent you down such a tragic path in life. You will only create more pain and harm.
© Anthony Venn-Brown