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For me, 1989 was the year of most life-changing events since my decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It was the year of my liberation from the closet, from homophobic ex-gay ministries, and from singleness. 

After three years in the ex-gay movement, I was a wreck. I wasn't receiving the promise of "healing" or "deliverance" from homosexuality that so many like myself sought. As a leader in the movement, others would confide in me their inability to control their homosexual desires. While I tried to comfort them, my own failure indicated to me that I was living a lie. After years of living a celibate Christian life, I felt no less gay than when I began my journey out of "the homosexual lifestyle." 

In desperation, I turned to a born-again Christian psychologist who specialized in treating sexual compulsive disorders. One thing he told me I'll never forget. He said he would never judge me if I embraced my homosexuality, and that my decision was between God and me. Never in all my Christian walk had a Christian told me he/she would not judge me based on my sexual orientation. After all the years of struggle, his words were the impetus I needed to jump off the fence. 

During this time, one of my gay co-workers told me about his church, Casa de Cristo. I knew of Casa de Cristo, and its separation from MCC. Still, I was leery: after all, didn't they have orgies in church?! My co-worker assuaged my concerns. 

The first service I attended at Casa de Cristo was the Sunday of The Evangelical Network (TEN) conference in 1989. Throughout my Christian life I'd been taught to look beyond the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Were the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control evident? Indeed they were, and in abundance. From the moment I arrived, I knew I was home. 

I continued attending Casa de Cristo, but nagging questions remained -- if this is of God, what about all the scriptures I had learned that condemned gays and lesbians? Senior Pastor Fred Pattison began a series on Sexuality and the Christian. I absorbed his teachings like a sponge. I realized that other Christians interpreted the "clobber scriptures" differently. Fred challenged us to study scripture for ourselves. In so doing, like Saul of Tarsus, scales of spiritual blindness fell from my eyes. I saw that God loved me just as He created me, that my sexuality was a gift from God, and that I was to respect the gift He gave me. 

In August 1989, I met my husband Paul through a personal ad in a local alternative newsmagazine. What drew me to his ad was his statement that he was a Christian. Despite this, I was hesitant to pursue the relationship; so many people had failed me before. Yet I trusted God. 

Paul worshiped at Gentle Shepherd MCC. Here was another opportunity for God to break down my walls of prejudice. I had been led to believe that MCC was at the far left of Christendom. Through my interactions with Paul's congregation, I've come to know many holy men and women in MCC who spanned the theological spectrum. 

As Christmas 1989 approached, I felt called to make a more permanent commitment to Casa de Cristo. I was accepted into membership at the Christmas Eve service. Reflecting back on 1989 that evening, I realized I began the year in turmoil, afraid of my sexuality and disbelieving of God's love for me as I was. I ended the year walking in freedom as an openly gay man. I threw the closet door wide open and proclaimed to my family and friends of my deliverance from ministries determined to change what God fully intended me to be. God didn't heal me of homosexuality; there was nothing from which I needed to be healed except my own inability to accept God's love for me. 

Kurt L. Jacobowitz-Cain
Phoenix, Arizona
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