Article #69.

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.

In Part One of this interview series, Robert Lombardi (author/editor of Buggin’ Out! Newsletter) talked about how his literature ministry to reach and engage struggling sex addicts (like himself) came into existence (back in the 1990s).

In Part Two I asked Robert to tackle these subjects: (1) his life before starting a literature ministry, (2) the challenges of ministry, (3) how he has made sense of his same-sex attractions and experiences and (4) his thoughts about politics.

In today’s post, you will read about Robert’s vision of the ideal ministry for people with unwanted homosexuality, how we should care for openly gay (or same-sex attracted) youth and a very painful time in his life when his ministry/accountability partner and close friend left the faith, embraced life as gay man, and got married (to another man).

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Darrell Martin: Describe your vision of what the ideal ministry to people with unwanted same-sex attraction might look like in the context of the local church, given enough time and leadership.

Robert Lombardi: This is my favorite question by far. STOP the sob-sessions. STOP trying to heal mother wounds. STOP analyzing masturbation. If I had my own group, which I am way too-broken to begin LOL, I would pack a duffel bag for each member with gloves, hats, cigarettes and McDonald gift cards, and drive them to New York City.

I would then pray in a huddle for an hour and then release them in pairs to intentionally seek out and love whomever God puts in their paths. When the members see God show up and do great things through them, they will see how REAL and ACTIVE He is. They will also begin to see how LOVED and VIABLE they themselves are. This is where the healing of the broken self-image occurs. 

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Darrell: I like your answer. Over-complicating our everyday lives (and especially our relationship with the Lord) is so characteristic of our humanity. I have to ask at least one question about teens and young adults. How should we care for young people who self-disclose experiences of same-sex attraction? How should we care for openly gay youths in our churches and communities?
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Robert: Lead them to Jesus. Leading them to therapists and programs does not have a great track record. 
 
A special note to concerned, Christian parents: If you have not sacrificed your own comforts and desires to Jesus, it may appear unreasonable for you to ask your child to do so. 
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By this I mean the following: If you have a nice, suburban four bedroom house, two cars and other luxuries, have you surrendered these to Jesus? Do you have homeless or poor persons living in your spare rooms? Do you share your wardrobe with them? Do you tithe your income faithfully? If not, then you likely feel that the sacrifices of privacy and comfort would be too painful to deal with. 
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Same-sex love brings comfort to your child right now and he or she may also feel that the pain would be unbearable without the comfort that same-sex love provides. A sacrifice must be made willingly and out of a joyful heart.  Set the example on your end and perhaps your child will follow. Forcing or punishing a child out of homosexuality, although done with good intentions, is simply silly and does not honor Jesus or help your child in any way. 
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Churches should embrace gay children. Kudos to the gay children who show up to church to hear Jesus’ message. That is the Holy Spirit pushing them . . . be patient and let the Holy Spirit have the time and resources necessary to do what He aims to do.
 
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Click here to open "A Call to Christians In Recovery Everywhere" in a new window or tab.
Click here to open “A Call to Christians In Recovery Everywhere” in a new window or tab.
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Darrell: In the later years of the newsletter ministry you spoke of Kevin (a long-time friend and accountability partner) making a significant life decision. Relate to my readers his decision and the circumstances of how he came to this decision. How did his decision affect the friendship the two of you shared?
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Robert: When Kevin, who had been my ministry partner since 1999, decided to enter the gay lifestyle in 2007, it was like a painful divorce to me.  I felt betrayed and foolish. That we work side by side together, 8 hours per day, 5 days per week did not help matters. 
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However, today, in 2015, I see Kevin differently than I did back in 2007. I know that he made his decision out of loneliness.  He simply did not want to be lonely anymore. He had to cut his ties with everything Christian in order to fully devote himself to his choice. 
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On September 27, 2014, Kevin married his partner of three years. I attended the wedding. I needed to attend to bring closure for myself. Kevin still refers to me as his “best friend”. I guess that this is a compliment because he has excommunicated and shunned every other Christian friend / acquaintance in his life.
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Just as we used to be a good team in Christian ministry, Kevin and I are a good team at work. At the end of the day, I go home to my Hondurans and he goes home to make dinner for his partner and cuddle in front of the TV watching movies until they retire to the bedroom.
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Although I am secure in the choices I have made, a part of me is secretly somewhat jealous of Kevin. 
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Darrell: I can tell it still hurts. Like many others, I had followed the development of your friendship and partnership with Kevin within the pages of your newsletter over the course of several years.
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The depth of love, respect, intimacy and fearlessness that characterized your relationship was obvious. What is the status of your relationship with him today? How is he? And how are you doing?
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Robert: Kevin and I are not brother-close any more. Kevin dedicates all his time to his partner. He is typically unavailable socially. Any free time he has he spends at the gym. His partner is 15 years younger than he is and Kevin dedicates a lot of energy to staying fit and looking younger. My motivation to write was severely damaged in 2007, but I have started to put some effort into restoring this passion just this past autumn.
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Coming up in the last installment of my interview with Robert (Part 4), I ask him to select the following from his newsletter ministry . . .
  • his favorite article
  • the article of most personal importance
  • and the article that garnered the most reaction from readers

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Robert can be contacted at this email address: bugoutnyc@aol.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.

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© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2015.

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