Ex-Gay No Way

Title: Ex-Gay No Way: Survival and Recovery from Religious Abuse
Author: Jallen Rix
Publisher: Findhorn Press
Year: 2010

Available: Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Conservative Christian spiritual environments can be spiritually toxic and abusive. Youth raised in conservative Baptist and charismatic churches can find themselves plagued by constantly trying to appease God, a God who they think is so angry with people's sins that He would gladly kill His own son. In some cases, they find themselves caught up in a vicious cycle of

  • Temptation

  • Sin

  • The agony of failure

  • Sorrow filled repentance

  • Searching for a spiritual high that can inoculate against sin

Gay, lesbian, or bisexual youth growing up in such an environment can find their spiritual and emotional life is a roller-coaster, with exhilarating highs and frightening lows. Theologians do not define the unpardonable sin as homosexuality, but there is a tendency for conservative Christians to treat homosexuality as the unpardonable sin. Queer youth raised in conservative Christian churches can literally feel that becoming straight is a matter of life and death. As a result, they throw themselves, with their full strength, into any ministry or counselling that they feel might help them change. In the opinion of this reviewer, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals have experienced some of the worst religious abuse in the history of Christianity.

Books that frankly look at ex-gay ministries, that explain the faulty assumptions upon which these ministries function, and that share personal insights and experiences that helped cope with the pain experienced in ex-gay ministries are very important. Books like Ex-Gay No Way are worth their weight in gold if they can save a few queer youth many years of abuse and pain.

Jallen Rix appeared in the excellent documentary about ex-gay ministries, Fish Can't Fly. In the documentary, Jallen discusses writing a song with lyrics that proclaimed “I met Jesus in a gay bar.” The lyrics were striking and powerful. Gay bars can show more godly love than many churches. When this reviewer noticed a book written by Jallen Rix, the book immediately became a “must read.”

Jallen Rix is a musician, composer, author, and a sex therapist. Jallen, a gay man, was born and raised in a conservative Baptist home, so spiritual abuse and coercion might have been almost completely inevitable. Unfortunately, the spiritual abuse is not just limited to gay people. Their families, friends, and loved ones can also suffer a form of abuse.

Jallen Rix understands the depth of God's love in a way that many Christians cannot comprehend. He notes, “. . . unconditional love has no 'but.'” Those who really get God's love know there is nothing they can possibly do to make God love them more, so they stop trying to earn God's love. Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who sense the depth of God's unconditional love do not try to buy God's love by trying to become straight.

While Ex-Gay No Way is not an autobiography, the reader is able to join Jallen's healing journey toward wholeness. Biblical, theological, spiritual, and psychological insights Jallen discovered are shared. There is some movement seen in his family, as they move from being cold, remote, and judgmental, to being willing to come to the home he shares with his boyfriend, and as they share with Jallen personal discomfort with homophobic comments.

Portions of Ex-Gay No Way might bring tears, parts might bring a happy smile. Christians who have struggled to reconcile faith and spirituality will find Ex-Gay No Way speaks to some of their experiences. This book is a must read for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified Christians.