Monday, October 8, 2012

From Madison Avenue to Out of a Far Country : from darkness to light

After writing Madison Avenue or the Holy Spirit: conflicted Presbyterians and reading the book Out of a Far Country: A gay son’s journey to God. A broken mother’s search for hope, a lot of ‘avenues’ came together. I have taken some time to try and pull them together in one posting. What I see is a vast circle of darkness—materialism, greed and decadence coming together to prey on people whose hurts and loneliness have driven them into a lifestyle that breeds the same darkness and returns the favor to others. And the people, the community, gladly welcome each other until the misery becomes too deep and problematic. All the while Madison Avenue keeps pushing the darkness.

I wrote about the Arcus Foundation that now funds a lot of LGBT activities, afterwards I saw on their site a Florida group connected to the LGBT community and how they were giving out money to various Florida LGBT causes. The money was given by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force who itself receives money from the Arcus Foundation. But the Task Force makes a lot of its money from several activities; one in particular reminded me of the book Out of a Far Country. The activity is the Winter Party Festival, a huge multiple dance party held on the beaches of Miami.

The story in the book Out of a Far Country is about a mother who in anguish over finding that her son is gay also finds that she is a sinner who needs Jesus. The book is also about the son who not only embraces a gay identity but also embraces a lifestyle of multiple partners, huge gay dance parties and drugs. The parties he writes about are in Florida as well as other places and are like the ones described on the Winter Party Festival site. On their ‘about’ page the promoters of the WPF write:
Winter Party Festival has evolved into a week-long series of events benefiting the LGBT community nationally and locally. A portion of the nets proceeds of WPF support the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s efforts to take action, build power and create change for LGBT people. The majority of the proceeds are donated to local service organizations through a grant-making process administered by the Miami Foundation.
Within an advertisement, Winter Party Festival: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: Opportunities, meant to engage companies to economically support the Winter Party Festival are the financial demographics of the LGBT community. That part is self-demeaning. It is an encouragement for companies to financially support the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the WPF since, as they point out with their statistics, the LGBT community is mainly wealthy and “77 percent ‘believe in indulging themselves.” Among the layers of monetary commitments WPF suggests is an added VIP purchase, one called ‘Private Beach Cabana’-among the amities is this:
Cabana purchasers enjoy a hosted bar. The cabanas seat eight and include a variety of amenities, including a cabana boy, (or girl!) dedicated to your comfort, drinks and refreshments throughout the day.
Christopher Yuan, the gay son in Out of a Far Country writes of his first experience at such a party, but this one in Pensacola:
The dance floor was simply overwhelming. Huge, muscular dancers stood on pedestals, high above the crowd, and thousands of bodies, most with shirts off, gyrated to the music. Bars lined the outer edges of the bright and colorful dance floor, and bartenders sold mostly water to dehydrated partiers—high on Ecstasy—who danced and laughed with acquaintances and strangers alike. All around me people were hugging and having happy reunions with friends they hadn’t seen since the last circuit party they’d attended. …
Standing in the middle of the convention center floor I spread my arms wide and said, to nobody in particular, “This is heaven.”
Yuan’s friends gave him favors, companionship, fun, sex and drugs and he returned the favor. Eventually he started taking ecstasy and much harder stuff—he then begin selling and moving up into the world of parties and drugs, even jetting to parties-as well as planning his own—until he was arrested and imprisoned. Earlier he became sexually intimate with several partners who had AIDs and finally was infected himself. Like the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable Yuan came home. He became a Christian in prison. He even went to visit the chaplain about his same sex attraction.

Yuan writes of the idols in his life and how God worked to remove them. First it was drugs and then dance music which he felt would draw him back to drugs. Then it was his promiscuous sex. Finally, because of Scripture, he dealt with his homosexuality. The Chaplain told him it was okay to be gay and gave him a book to read. Yuan writes:
I sat in the chapel’s small courtyard to read, with the chaplain’s book in one hand and my Bible in the other. I had every reason in the world to accept the book’s assertion that God was okay with my homosexuality and gay identity. If I could be a Christian and have a steady relationship, with a man, that would be just about ideal. I’d go to church with him and maybe even start a family. It would be such a relief if this could all be reconciled.
But as I started reading the book and reading the Bible passages it referred to, God’s Holy Spirit convicted me that the assertions from that book were a distortion of God’s truth. Reading his Word, I couldn’t deny the unmistakable condemnations of homosexual sex.
But, finally, after giving over all of his idols to God, Yuan needed to sort out his identity. He had always seen his identity as a gay man. Yuan, using Acts 17:18 came to the conclusion that “Christ should be everything—my all in all.” He continues:
My sexual orientation didn’t have to be the core of who I was. My primary identity didn’t have to be defined by my feelings or sexual attractions. My identity was not “gay” or “homosexual” or even “heterosexual,” for that matter. But my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone.”
There are a lot of contrasts in Yuan’s story and the advertising ploys of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Perhaps lessons for the church. In loud colors, thousands of male dancers gyrate on a YouTube video enticing companies such as Coca-Cola, Office Depot and Southwest to spend thousands of dollars in support of LGBT advocacy. In a prison in New York City in a small room where 40 Hispanic inmates sung Christmas songs to Dios—Señor, Yuan found his calling to preach, and that calling reinforced through a young man who took the time to see that new prisoners received their basic needs:
They brought me over to their locker where they had some stuff for me. They told me whenever guys first came to the unit, the church—this group of guys at 5 North—would give stuff to the new guys to help them get situated: shower slippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap.
The malevolence is often loud and raunchy—the love of Christ often quiet and caring. The evil of this generation will keep pushing, attempting to build an empire, but the love of Christ held steady in the hearts of God’s people will become the haven needed for lost sheep. Materialism, greed, decadence—they can be traded for a Holy King who gives righteousness. Hurts and loneliness—the King was lonely and hurt, dying that all unrighteousness would be defeated and in its place the gift of abundant life.


Debbie said...

A cabana boy or girl? This is sex slavery being openly advertised? Disgusting!

Debbie Berkley
Bellevue, WA

Viola Larson said...

Of course they would deny it-but the insinuation is there-even if it is a joke under the circumstances it is not funny.

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