Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rising Up Whole

When I first started this blog three and a half years ago, it was called "Rising Up From The Ashes." At the time, I still felt identified with the ashes all around me from my time in the ex-gay movement. As time went on, I realized that I was healing and growing away from all that mess, and I changed my blog title to "Rising Up Whole." It was a big step for me to acknowledge that I was moving on with my life. That I did not need to be stuck in the aftermath of an ex-gay life.

As someone who believed the lie of the ex-gay movement that said she was broken and needed to be "healed," the idea of being truly whole was a relatively new one for me. While I talked a lot about wholeness while in my ex-gay days, I had no clue what that really meant. At that time, wholeness meant I wouldn't be gay. Wholeness meant I wasn't operating out of a place of "broken sexuality." Ironically, the longer I was ex-gay and pursuing wholeness, the more broken I felt.

As I went through the (true) healing process after leaving the ex-gay life, I had to unlearn all the teaching about brokenness and and relearn my own worth and beauty, not just as a lesbian, but all that being me entails. Now, I feel I definitely operate out of a place of wholeness. I know who I am and what I value. I know that there's nothing in me that needs to be cured, and in fact there's so much about me that deserves to be celebrated.

The words "Rising Up Whole" have so much personal meaning for me that I even created a piece of art two years ago about how it wasn't me that was broken: it was only that I'd been looking at a broken mirror that had been held up for me.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Someone called and asked when I'd started "Rising Up Whole Ministries." Huh? It turns out that my anti-gay mother has taken this name that means so much to me (so much so that it's my skype, IM, email, and GCN handles) and started a ministry of the same name, and appointed herself as a counselor.

Go ahead and take a few minutes to pick your jaw back up off the floor. No, this isn't a coincidence. My mother reads this blog. She knows how much this means to me.

It's taken me a few weeks to get over the shock of all this and sort out some of my feelings about it. I don't know if it's an ex-gay ministry or just a general counseling ministry. My mom and dad aren't licensed counselors, but they are licensed ministers through some organization that did not require traditional seminary or even a B.A. (since my mom doesn't have one, and my dad has a major in industrial arts and a minor in history). This means they are able to put out a shingle and counsel others.

I suspect it has something to do with trying to turn something "meant for evil" into something "meant for good" in Christian-speak. To me it's just the height of disrespect. I will not change the name of this blog or anything else associated with that name. It's my name that describes my journey, and it will always have such meaning to me.

I am rising up once again.


  1. Christine, I applaud you in this. For me, part of my journey from 'ex-gay' is to claim and reclaim my identity. Since 'Rising Up Whole' is the identity you have so appropriately embraced and claimed, it belongs to you, no matter who or how it might be co-opted by others.

  2. Fundamentalist Christianity has it's own logic (if that's what you want to call it). Though I struggle with the actions of your mother and those of her ilk, I'm beyond proud of the character you have chosen to exhibit in your approach to something so egregious.

    You are indeed whole and deserving of celebration!

    Keep rising, Baby.

  3. I am just sick to my stomach from reading this, Christine. I know so well how it feels to have your family reject you. Even worse - your mother to steal your name? unbelievable...

    Yesterday I received a "birthday card" from one of my two fundamentalist daughters who has not beem willing to communicate with me for a year and a half, since I finally admitted to myself, my family and to God that I am lesbian. It was a "Christian" birthday card simply saying "I am praying for you." This is the first words I have had from her - when I called her 6 months ago to ask if we could talk she just said "no" and hung up.

    Somehow we will continue to find our strength and wholeness. Blessings on you, your new glorious relationship and your wonderful work as you grow and help so many others.

  4. I'm so sorry, Christine. Like others, I am so proud of you and who you are. Your depth and grace continue to amaze me -- may we all aspire to be more like you.

  5. Aw, hell, Christine, that just makes me want to cuss! (Pretty strong language for me - you know that I don't usually do that out loud or in print) Hang in there, girlfriend, you have proved that you have the real strength, and I commend you, pat you on the back and say, YAY Christine! I'm not going to be wishy-washy on this: I am genuine cheerleader of your wholeness, your theme, and your title! R U W! R! U! W!

  6. Christine you have a growing fan club here in the UK. I think I am your biggest fan. Your intelligence, wisdom, gentleness, humor, beauty and strength are lovely to experience. Thanks you so much for pressing through and pressing on. The world is a lovlier and safer place because of you.

  7. Dear Christine

    My support to you and your mission. Does lifting the name of your blog for completely contrary purposes constitute some infringement of copyright? It's rather akin to (for example) an organisation assisting people who are recovering from anorexia nervosa having its title aped by one of the "pro-anorexic" sites that have so polluted the web.

    Mr Toscano is right - your popularity is growing in lovely old England (and Scotland & Wales). Respect to you.

  8. Yep, definitely keep the name of your blog. That is just crass for your mom to use it as the name of her ministry.

  9. Good for you, Christine! I am so sorry that your mother seems to have so little respect for you, not to mention so little creativity. We know that you are your own wonderful and unique person, though, and not her banner to rally around. If this were my mother, we would be having it *out*. Unlike Carol, I do cuss--she needs to get her own damned name, and that's only a start!

    You are a help to so many, and your journey has been inspirational. I understand why the phrase means so much to you. I'm glad that you are going to continue being yourself and encouraging others to do the same.

    Christine's mother, if you are reading this, forget the rest of us. You need to think about your own daughter first. Otherwise, you have nothing to teach anyone else--not an LGBT person and not one of her parents--about this matter.

  10. Christine,

    I am so shocked to read this. It's completely incomprehensible why your mother would do this to you.

    I have been so proud of the journey you've undertaken since starting this blog. It has been wonderful to see you rise "from the ashes" to staking your rightful claim to wholeness. I'm proud of you, and I am proud to know you.

  11. Ben in OaklandMay 02, 2009 10:06 AM

    Christine-- your mother's attitude will never make you sorry your gay. It will just mnake you sorry that she's your mother.

    And isn't that just too sad?

  12. Christine,

    This example of what you obviously had to overcome to feel whole is yet another reason to admire you for taking the journey you have and arriving at the destination.

    It appalls me the hurt that is administered to people under the title of "ministry." Good for you for holding the ground you fought so hard to claim.

  13. This is not a surprise, seeing that the religious reicht has stolen other TLBG events and twisted them for their own nefarious reasons!

    We have PFLAG - they dreamed up PFOX
    We have the Day of Silence, they dreamed up the Day of "Truth"... the list is endless.

    If you want to be the bitch in all this, my dear, copyright everything. Then call an attorney to explain that some anti-gay "ministry" is using your copyrighted name deceitfully, and have a restraining order issued to stop your mom from trying to fraudulently use your copyrighted name.

  14. My sympathy but no surprises here. Since I got out of Christianity the one thing that has surprised me is precisely how intentionally cruel Christians can be.

  15. Christine,

    Your words remind me that I too have only begun to reach wholeness in my life after accepting who I really was - a gay man.

    The 'ex-gay' ministries peddled so many half-truths and downright lies about sexuality and wholeness, and some continue to do so.

    I'm glad that you, in wholeness, continue to have the courage and strength to be able to stand up against their misconceptions.


  16. Christine

    I am so sorry for this. You must feel totally betrayed. Consider taking some time to grieve.

  17. What the ... how did... umm... ackk!

    Wow, you will be an overcomer through race you are running, we have faith in you and we see it in your writing and from what we know of you.

    We pray for God's wisdom and grace to help you through this deep hurt.

    Our thoughts are with you
    Dawn and Teri

  18. Wow, Christine! I'm sorry!

    As always, you are taking the high road. You are truly amazing.

    I have great respect for you and how you are dealing with what appears to be willful ignorance and intentional cruelty. She has tried to steal your name, but she cannot steal your wholeness.

    Mother of Christine, you are so blessed to have Christine as your daughter. But, you have chosen to curse yourself by rejecting her. Accept the blessing. Accept the creation of God and wonderful person she is. Then, you will truly know the blessing that is Christine.

  19. Is that T comneter as in T Robinson??

    Anyway, is the pic a play on Payne's Broken Image book? If not, it should be for what she says about homosexuality in it.

  20. Hi Christine, I discovered the Beyond Ex-gay website to day while researching a post for my blog, and found my way here. It is nice to read a thoughtful writing from someone else who has been there. I'll be back.

    I'm knitting a blanket of stories, in which each knitted square corresponds with a blog post. The latest one relates to my ex-gay experience.