September 23, 2018, 6:00 AM

“Torn” Session 2: Chapter 4


            The fourth chapter in Lee’s book focuses on his personal story.  In it we hear the growing internal conflict regarding his same sex attraction.  Lee realizes that he is attracted to men.  He also begins to admit that he does not have the same attraction for women.  The personal feelings of safety in thinking of himself as bisexual provided for a period of time begin to evaporate.  He finally comes to the conclusion: he is not bisexual; he is gay. 

            This creates overwhelming feelings of shame and self-loathing for Lee.  He feels this way because his church upbringing has so firmly impressed upon him the sinful nature of his attraction.  Far from thinking he could ever accept this about himself, Lee believes that in order to be a good Christian he needs to “fix” himself.  He needs to rid himself of his same sex attraction, and with God’s help, he believes he can do so.  He sets his focus on becoming straight.

            Lee confesses his feelings to his pastor, who invites him to participate in a group of other men in the church who also have same sex attractions.  Lee attends one meeting but finds it so disheartening, he does not return.  He also enlists his pastor’s help in telling his parents he is gay.  His parents believe, as he does, that being gay is a sin, but they tell him they will always love him no matter what.  They join in his hope that he could be “healed” and become straight.  Lee ends his chapter with advice for parents about how to support their gay children with some specific things not to say like, “don’t tell anyone,” and “how could you hurt us like this.”


Quotes of note:

            “Some parents have kicked their kids out, disowned them, and written them out of their wills.  Some have even told their kids they wished they were dead.”  p45

            “If we can’t get this right within our own families, how are we supposed to get it right on a larger scale?  A loving response starts at home.”  p46


Questions to consider:

            We often think of God as our divine and loving parent.  When Lee tells his parents that he is gay, his mother responds, “We’ll always love you… no matter what.”  How does this response relate to how we might imagine God’s response to be?

            Lee struggles with the notion of what God wants for him.  What do we think God wants for us? 

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