When you study Robert’s website (link below), you will find a central theme emerging – the necessity to trust and obey the Lord Jesus Christ; to experience a genuine faith walk where frustration, mistakes, stumbling, imperfection, pain and messiness are to be expected – not ignored nor hidden behind a mask.
Within the pages of “Buggin’ Out!” are the raw and honest experiences of Robert Lombardi (and men like him) who were (are) entrapped in the emptiness, desperation and frustration of sex addiction. Reading Robert’s little pamphlets (for the first time in 1998) absolutely shattered my heart. Identifying with the anguish, the triumphs, the humor and even some of the same experiences, I cried and laughed with every new issue I could get my hands on.
“Bend Down, Not Over” is the title of a wonderful little book self-published by Robert a few years ago. It is packed with his real-life experiences, his humor, his pain and his hope – all transformed by the Lord Jesus – into his passion to reach out to and engage broken men where they are. He describes “Bend Down, Not Over” as “a compilation of lessons I’ve learned about healing homosexual addictions through imitating Jesus Christ, without having to imitate heterosexuals.”
While acknowledging the importance of stewardship, biblical obedience and spiritual maturity in Christ, Robert refuses to sugarcoat reality:
My commitment, and perhaps my sharpest criticism, is to talk openly about all the temptations, real-world struggles, and ‘dirty stuff’ homosexuals must contend with. Yes, many scared and misunderstood men are trapped in gay sex theaters, many teens are secretly exposed to and addicted to gay pornography, and many married men are living double lives that are destroying them.
For this reason, you will not find these unfortunate but real struggles ignored in these pages. To do so, would be to claim that Jesus is not able to offer hope in this area or that He is too pompous to care . . . and both these statements are biblically and observably false.
It is my prayer that one day all who struggle against gay addictions will be able to understand thoroughly the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Not in word, not in theory, and not by observing it in others, but simply through a personal experience of liberation. (1)
“Bend Down, Not Over” is a compilation of (or the “best of”) the “Buggin’ Out!” series of newsletters. While recalling his own brokenness, Robert explains how and why both came into existence . . .
I wrote it for the homosexual who, like me, had been unable to embrace heterosexual intimacy. I wrote it for the man who lives in a static state of “51% Jesus Freak, 49% insatiable gay whore . . . don’t push me”. But mostly I wrote it for the Christian who finds himself unaccompanied, tired, and on the verge of giving up. I wrote it to remind you, and myself that a partnership with Jesus Christ is possible, even for the most chronic sexual sinner who has a repentant, if weak-willed, heart. And I wrote it to share the good news that it is this relationship with Jesus that heals the wounds to our identity that push us into homosexual behavior and other forms of brokenness. But above all, I wrote it to encourage you to accept Jesus’ challenge to come and follow Me. Everything changes at the point when we finally let Him dictate our next move.
“When I was a very active participant in the New York City sex houses and video stores, I knew that I did not want to be there, but felt virtually helpless to change. Every free moment I found, would find me cruising for contact with men, making futile attempts to somehow import their perceived masculinity into myself, where I knew masculinity was so ardently lacking.
I was out of control. If it looked masculine, I’d stare at it. If it smelled masculine, I’d sniff it. And if it tasted masculine, I’d turn it into a snack.
One early morning, about 4:30 a.m., I was lurking in a Manhattan video store, leaning against a cigarette vending machine, when I saw that someone had placed a Christian tract on it. It talked about salvation. It talked about Jesus. It mentioned places called heaven and hell. But these were concepts I had already grasped in church-camp at age 7. The tract just did not speak to me where I was. I respectfully returned the tract to the top of the cigarette machine, in case it might bless someone else at a later time, and mumbled in my heart “someone should make a tract that reaches people like me”. I heard a voice in my heart reply “so, do it!”
Hence was born a little pamphlet I made called Buggin’ Out!. Interestingly, the following year as I was putting it together, writing and rewriting articles, my focus turned away from finding men.
I would sit in the very same sex houses and video stores, or just outside them and, with pen and notebook in hand, try to read the faces and hearts of the men going in and out of them. I would then write about what I saw. It is so much easier to see a need for salvation in someone else’s life! By analyzing other men with the same brokenness, as an outsider observer, I learned so much about myself. I began to lose my heart of self-pity and acquire a heart of compassion for the men in these places.
Having a purpose in the Kingdom was the first step to my healing. This starts when we accept Jesus’ calling to surrender our time and our gifts to Him.
Upon the completion of Buggin’ Out!, I began returning to the sex houses and video stores, leaving copies of it on top of cigarette machines or taped inside the doors of buddy booths. Some were thrown into trash bins by angered staff, some where used to wipe off bodily fluids after an encounter, but some were folded and pocketed for reading later on. Then, miraculously, e-mails started coming in from guys who had found it and wanted to dialogue. A quasi ministry had been birthed.” (2)
Because it (Buggin’ Out) contained a lot of my private dirt, I planned on keeping it low-key. Steve (Robert’s accountability partner at the time) had other plans. Behind my back, he started mailing it out and, somehow, it caught on. Without even realizing it, I had become an amateur writer. The Lord had given me the desires of my heart. (3)
It has been nearly 20 years since Robert penned “Buggin’ Out!” Issue #1. I asked him to reflect upon its genesis . . .
I wanted to enable people to laugh at something that is actually quite painful, while leading them to Jesus. Back in the 1990s, the only literature available to me were books of statistics, testimonies and intellectual studies on the biblical verses pertaining to homosexuality. Reading them, I began to take myself and my struggles too seriously. I had to inject a bit of humor into the mix.
In the next installment of my interview with Robert (Part 2), I ask him to tackle these subjects:
- his life before starting a literature ministry
- the challenges of ministry
- how he has made sense of his same-sex attractions and experiences
- his thoughts about politics
Robert can be contacted at this email address: email@example.com
To access back issues of “Buggin’ Out!” Online Newsletter, click here.
To read my introduction to this interview series (“Connecting With Pain and Brokenness”), click here.
(1) Excerpted from the article “The Rest of Us” (Issue 4)
(2) Excerpted from the Prologue to “Bend Down, Not Over”
(3) Excerpted from the article “Recovery Burnout” (Issue 3)
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2015.
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