The ‘Choices’ Ministry is a christian based ministry set up at a church where I was a pastor for 12 years, and it was headed by a very charimatic American ex-gay who was also multi-talented.
Whilst I was known to my church and the diocese as an ex-gay but I was more remembered for bringing Dance & Drama into the outreach arm of the Church.
But Sy Rogers was the one who helped elevated Church of Our Saviour to a status in the Christian community that the Power of God can even ‘break’ the bondage of homosexuality.
As names has big significance in an Asian context; it was a stroke of genius that Sy Rogers had when he came up with the name ‘Choices’ because if you do attend his 14 weeks lecture you are clearly told that regardless the situation that led you to be gay; you can NOW make a choice to say ‘No’ to it. Yes, it was Sy Rogers who also came up with the cliche that ‘Freedom is when you are able to say “No” ‘
Anyway, about the same time that I decided to return back to an active gay life was also the same time, that Sy felt God told him to move on to another nearby country to start up another ex-gay ministry.
The ministry was then handed to his personal assistant Sam Lee, a cute asian boy whose greatest asset or ability is his sexy low voice that can make your knees go weak. Especially at the preliminary one to one interview with him, sitting immediately across the table from you. He even married an insipid looking wife, quite a carbon copy of Sy’s wife.
Anyway, since my return to the gay world and keeping connected with people on Signel, Gam-Pride and visits to Niche and Film Fest; I have already met about 10 gay men who have left ‘Choices’ and returned back to an active gay life; and among them two were formerly group discussion leaders in Choices. It was interesting when I asked each one of them the reason for their return to a gay life; obviously everyone of them was glad that I had also return to the gay life too.
Anyway, one of them was very positive about Choices and said that it has taught him and showed him , how to manage his homoerotic desires. BTW, ‘manage’ means to keep in check; for example we know that lying is wrong and so try to avoid telling lies. Altho’ this particular guy was able to manage his gay inclination successfully for more than a year; he told me that it dawned on him why would he want or need to manage his gay inclinations. Meaning that Choices has FAILED to help him see that it was wrong and sinful, otherwise he would have seen the need for it to be ‘managed’ or ‘put under control’.
I suspect the attrition rate has increased so significantly is because no one can stepped into the shoes of Sy Rogers and compete with him in glamour and drama whenever he stands up to speak. So prior to his departure, all 14 sessions of his lectures were all video-taped. Subsequently after he left; the ‘Choices’ was runned as such, all participants arrived by 6.45pm and watched a video of Sy Rogers for an hour on a terribly small 21″ TV; followed by half-hour of charismatic worship and prophecies which could move you to tears. Then all participants are carefully put into various sharing/discussion headed by a ‘leader’; this discussion is quite like ‘AA’ where u say, “Hi my name is Dinesh, and I have gay tendencies’. The older ones will talk about either their failures or triumphs during the week.
When I attended two sessions, I was shocked at some of the people who were appointed as leaders; especially those ex-lesbians. Their hair still remained short and butch, they dressed in jeans and t-shirt; when I expected them to be wearing lipstick and polished-nails complete with silk blouses that has white lace collar. However, I must say altho’ I have met more than 10 gay guys from Choices; yet I have not met a lesbian from ‘Choices’ that has gone back to their lesbian ways. Maybe ‘E’ could let us know if any of your lesbians have been to Choices to receive help previously?
Anyway it is barely more than a year and Sam Lee has asked to step down from heading Choices ministry,on grounds that he wants to do further studies. A very believable reason, except that Sam has been my colleague for about 3 years and I know that this is only a cover up.
With Sy gone, Sam stepping down and me returning to an active gay life; can the Church of Our Saviour continue to proclaim that in their church ‘the power of homosexuality’ is broken? Or perhaps since my alignment with the gay christian community; I should say ‘Is homosexuality a power which God wants to see broken in the lives of men?’ After being a gay christian for two years, I have come to the conclusion that ‘homosexuality’ is within the permissive will of God; it is to be celebrated and not condemned.
Autumn leaves & Winter tears, Patrick