Yep….. something I think many people have missed is possible the influence of midlife I believe. Maybe I’m more aware of this than others are because it happened to me like clockwork and I’ve worked one on one with so many who are in midlife facing similar issues.
Coming up to my 40th birthday something was happening. A shift. It wasn’t pleasant. Midlife is a transition where, particularly for men, many things have to be faced. One of those is unresolved issues and that some things you dreamed were going to happen may never become a reality. At 40, I faced the reality that I was, am and always will be gay. As a high profile preacher, married with two children facing this reality had enormous challenges, as you can no doubt imagine. Those who don’t face up to what comes up at midlife are plagued with it for the rest of their lives. If they are not conscious of what is going in then they slip into midlife crisis mode.
Alan turned 40 in 2012. Randy four years earlier. Midlife transition can hit anywhere between 35-45 depending a numerous factors. It was around this time that Alan began expressing new levels on honesty and facing huge challenges with Exodus. Whilst midlife transition would not have be major factor in the decision to close Exodus that certainly would have had some impact. Younger or older men would have reacted differently.
Like Alan and Randy, I know what it was like to have to kill your baby. I was abandoned by the leaders of my denomination to kill my baby, the ministry I’d invested years of blood, sweat and tears building. It was devastating. So where are these men now? Re-inventing themselves. From my experience, it can take several years before you find that complete centeredness again and that you feel like you are on track/on purpose. You can see what Alan and Leslie are up to here. Randy’s blog is here.
Maybe a good way to finish this story of is with a quote from Alan’s blog. It’s his reflection of what happened twelve months ago sitting in a basement surrounded/confronted by hurting, angry ex-gay survivors and his reactions at that moment would change the entire homosexuality/Christianity debate forever. It’s called An Unlikely Love
“The words used to describe us in the last year could fill volumes. Hitler. Hero. Traitor. Antinomian. Hypocrite. Hater. Lover. Good. Kind. Evil. Brave. Pretty much every good and bad name you can think of has been awarded to us. From any vantage point, Leslie and I have been marginalized. For years we have been marginalized by society for our belief that God’s creative intent for sexual expression is one man married to one woman for one lifetime. Now in our efforts to simply and wholly love and serve people, we have been marginalized by the mainstream Christian Church who once hailed our story as miraculous. We are now an embarrassment to many and I’m not always exactly sure why. Ironically, it is now the LGBT community who respect our complex story and are increasingly accepting us for who we are: unlikely friends” .
Read the 8 Factors that Created the Tipping Point separately. No.1 The Society Shift Factor No.2 The Gulf Factor No.3 The Internet Factor No.4 The Honesty Factor No.5 The Bridge Building Factor No.6 The Listening Factor No.7 The Evolving Faith Factor No.8 The Midlife Factor
Copyright © Anthony Venn-Brown