March 30, 2005 by Isaac Hovet
Last night I was able to attend a homosexuality recovery group in downtown Portland. I had so much fun, which may sound weird, but let me explain.
For starters I am not homosexual, but one of my friends is going through the program at Portland Fellowship. He invited me to attend the “open group,” which is meetings they host 3 months out of the year in order to give room for people to explore the program and decide if they want to join. I was enthralled to be able to go because I have long wanted to have better things to say about homosexuality.
I haven’t been around much of the gay community so I didn’t know what to expect. What I saw last night from the 35 people who were attendance was joy. Many had been freed from chains of sexual bondage or are on the way to freedom. Some expressed feeling hope for the first time in a long time.
Laughter. Acceptance. Grace.
These people have had to be honest and open about the most intimate part of life. In doing so they have been able to move away from a bondage that has less to do with perversion than it does with identity and being loved. Some, late in their 40’s and 50’s are experiencing true, Godly love for the first time. These people laughed . . . what is there to do with freedom? Just laugh.
At the start of the meeting we each introduced our first name, how long we had been involved with Portland Fellowship and then rate how our last week had been (in general) on a scale from 1-10, 1 being hell and 10 being heaven. One rule: no one was allowed to say “5.”
Of course the clever people in the group quickly found ways around the no “5” rule:
One gentlemen responded, “My week . . . hmmm . . . somewhere between a 4 and a 6. . .”
We laughed . . . out loud . . . and long . . .
Another said, “Hmmm . . . 4.5 . . . and I always round up.”
Again we laughed. We watched each other laugh. We laughed some more.
Afterwards I chatted with several people who had been through the program. Some had lost their families because of homosexuality and some were becoming free early in adult life. All possessed hope, however. The hope that comes from knowing God and knowing, maybe for the first time, that they were loved. It was like watching children at the beach . . . they feel free . . . they feel safe . . . and . . . they laugh.
God frees us. God loves us. God wants us to laugh.
That sounds like fun . . . don’t you think?