Venus Magazine publisher no longer identifies as lesbian

The Windy City Times has this story about the religious conversion of publisher Charlene Cothran and her intent to make Venus Magazine take an ex-gay focus.

Venus Magazine, a publication that for 13 years targeted the Black gay and lesbian community, is now a voice for the ex-gay movement.

Its publisher, Charlene Cothran, recently announced that she has been “redeemed”; is no longer a lesbian; and is changing the mission and direction of the magazine. On the Web site she writes, “As the publisher of a 13-year-old periodical [ that ] targets Black gays and lesbians, I have had the opportunity to publicly address thousands, influencing closeted people to ‘come out’ and stand up for them selves, which is particularly difficult in the African-American community.

“But now, I must come out of the closet again. I have recently experienced the power of change that came over me once I completely surrendered to the teachings of Jesus Christ. As a believe of the word of God, I fully accept and have always known that same-sex relationships are not what God intended for us.”

This story reminded me of David Benkof’s story (then David Bianco). His return to Orthodox Judiasm led to the sale of the “Q Syndicate” and a significant life change. The last time I talked to David, he continued in his religious studies and pursuit of heterosexuality.

PS – I did not realize when I posted this that this story is old news, first reported in 10/06.

UPDATE: 2/9/07 – Ms. Cothran’s magazine has a blog with some current commentary about her changes.

Sexual identity model discussion: Values vs. change

There is an interesting discussion going on at ExGayWatch about an op-ed (A Valued Life) I posted elsewhere. Another article posted on my website is called Why Do I Have These Feelings? This piece is similar to a previous blog post but takes a different approach to the question. These two articles attempt to flesh out in a column format some of my thinking regarding ways to think about and respond to sexual identity conflict.

Donnie Davies and Joey Oglesby: Long lost twins?

A Weirder than Fiction Exclusive…

Dallas, Tx (WTF) – A touching and bittersweet reunion was held here today in Dallas between local actor, Joey Oglesby, and recently famous Internet musician and youth pastor, Donnie Davies. Mr. Davies and Mr. Oglesby believe they are identical twins separated at birth and have lived in the same state off and on for most of their lives.

Mr. Davies has recently become a Internet sensation with his music video, The Bible Says, which uses epithets offensive to gays throughout the song. The video and song created a firestorm in blogosphere and set off a hunt for the elusive Mr. Davies. The search for Mr. Davies led to Dallas actor, Joey Oglesby due to their uncanny resemblance. Mr. Oglesby insists he is not the enigmatic Mr. Davies.

Instead, the men think they are twins.

“I always thought I had a twin,” said Mr. Oglesby. “You know it’s just a feeling you have, then out of nowhere, Donnie ends up in my own back yard.”

Mr. Davies said, “Texas is a big ol’ state, much bigger than the state of New Orleans, where I lived for awhile. I’m excited and elated to meet my brother Joey. I hope this answers all my critics out there and will stop the heinous censorship of my videos.”

Twin expert, Dr. Joakim Bottoms, is intrigued. “We are awaiting DNA testing, but they sure look alike. And there are other similarities too. They both have a preoccupation with homosexuality, they are about the same build, are musical, like Cyndi Lauper and they both can dunk a basketball. That’s a combination of abilities you don’t see everyday.”

Mr. Oglesby is half of the famous Chicken and Pickle Guys comedy duet which has been described as “a comedy stew of dance, homophobic/gay experimentation, male chauvinism, obscure racism, and spiritual revelation.”

Mr. Davies similar controversial work can be seen at Donniedavies.com.

Joey Oglesby

Joey Oglesby

donnie davies

Donnie Davies

UPDATE: 1/31/07 – Donnie speaks about his recent trials. Strangely, he fails to mention Joey.

Read all posts about Donnie Davies

Donnie Davies: Archie Bunker reincarnated?

While Donnie mania may be giving way to some Donnie fatigue, I continue to be interested in it for several reasons. One is the I teach social psychology and I am fascinated by the types of events and messages that persuade and capture the attention of groups of people. I showed The Bible Says video to my social psychology class and the reaction, as I expected, was quite negative. The discussion that ensued was subdued (I think my students were in shock) but focused on the persuasive potential of the video. As a caricature, the whole Donnie Davies episode could be quite persuasive. The analogy is to Archie Bunker and All in the Family. Take for instance, this episode where Archie reacts to the purchase of a doll for his grandson.

Donnie Davies may or may not literally mean what he sings (latest word from him is that he does), but whether he means it or not, the current Love God’s Way episode may function in the present day in a very similar manner to the way All in the Family did in its day. Those around then may recall the controversy over language and epithets used by Bunker on the show. Even though you knew it was spoof, it was still startlingly persuasive to see it acted out.

UPDATE: 1/28/07 – And the winner is…Looks like it is an actor named Joey Oglesby… And he’s a Baylor grad who once played a role in something called Jesus Hates Me.

Team Donnie Davies responds to email

Yesterday, I sent an email from the LoveGodsWay website using their email link(publicity.lovegodsway@gmail.com). I received an email this morning from Shane in response (and then a follow up at the end of this post):

Warren, I am sorry for the delay. Donnie has been swamped with work and all this other stuff as well. I could answer a lot of this stuff myself, but I feel I should wait for him. We are acutally working with one of the local news stations to do an interview. This should put to rest the rumors swirling around Donnie Davies being someone else. I don’t think he would mind me stating that we are new to this. Most of your concerns have no explanation other than the band and the ministry are relatively new. This is their first song. The album will be an independent release. I know that doesn’t help you verify any of this, but that is the truth. I will try to get an answer for you on the Exodus issue.

Thanks,

Shane

– Show quoted text –

On 1/25/07, Throckmorton, Warren wrote:

Donnie – I know you have already responded to me about this question but the questions persist about whether or not this is a clever ruse or a breakthrough new ministry.

I think some of the questions could be addressed if you could give a few more details about your situation. For instance, what church do you serve as a youth pastor? Does the Evening Service have any other music on the internet or recorded anywhere? Why are there no credits on your video, for instance, producer, cinematographer, etc? What is your opinion of Exodus International and their approaches to helping homosexual strugglers.

Hope to hear from you or someone who is handling publicity for your ministry.

With respect, Warren Throckmorton

Whatever this is, these guys are working hard at it.

Elsewhere, drummer Colby Starck denies he’s Donnie. And this pic is evidence against his Donnieness.

It’s coming

UPDATE: 1/26/07 – Someone from LoveGod’sWay Ministry replied to a follow up from me to Shane. I wondered why the website said the band had been together a long time but the email above said “The Bible Says” was their first song.

Here is the reply:

I am sorry for the confusion. It was miscommunication on my part. This is the first song that Evening Service has finished with Donnie and LGWM.

As to why there is little about Evening Service on the internet, they have had various names and members over the years. This video blowing up has surprised them as much as anyone. While the exposure has been great, they are actually very aprehensive what this means for their careers in the long run. So they are laying low for now and deciding how to best move forward.

I hope that clears this up for you.

Clear?

UPDATE#2 – 1/26/07 – A new video message from Mr. D. Looks like Texas in the background.

My Space: A place for friends but not Donnie Davies’ videos

Well, add MySpace to the list of sites rejecting poor Donnie Davies. All his videos are down on that site now, which explains the blank screen on the 1/24/06 post. You can see (for now) Mr. Davies newest effort on You Tube.

And then my attempt at sermonizing…

UPDATE: 1/26/07 – Several bloggers have a new theory that I think may be correct. A full report is here. In reviewing the various bands and websites association with the band Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypsies, a common element is satire, with right wing fundamentalism being the prime target. The band member strongly resembling Donnie Davies is Colby Starck, a drummer and singer with Bobby Conn and the Head of Femur band.

I used to love to try to find Waldo in the Where’s Waldo? books.

Hating may still be involved, just not in the direction first considered.

New video from Donnie Davies: The saga continues

Master of buzz Donnie Davies feeds the flame with another video this evening. He is building toward something but it gets more interesting with this video. On one hand, he says he was “born this way” when talking about his weight (which he has changed, he says) but then talks about being a “reformed homosexual” in the next breath. He gives a shout out to Andrew Sullivan, a “great Christian man” who Davies thanks for “getting behind me.” He says, “if it wasn’t for the homosexual community, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Lots of stuff that can be taken more than one way. Crazy like a fox or…

Amazing Day At Love Gods Way

Add to My Profile | More Videos

See my previous post on this topic for more…

UPDATE 1/25/07: This is more addicting than Idol. Donnie speaks. The theories about Mr. Davies and crew have not reached (E)X-Files proportion as yet, but theories abound. However, I doubt he is Todd. Perhaps Jason has something to do with this?

Google video has now removed The Bible Says video…

Now people are sending me stuff on this. Here is a bit more on the possible Jason Bolicki connection:

Then there’s the matter of Jason Bolicki, a gay director whose name surfaced on YouTube among commenters speculating on the video’s origin. Reached for comment at his home in Chicago, Bolicki denied any association with the video but said he laughed out loud when saw it “a couple weeks ago.” How’d you see it a couple weeks ago when there’s no record of the video existing before January 23? “Hm. Well, maybe I have the timing wrong.”

Weeks, days, what’s the diff? Sounds like Mr. Bolicki is either time challenged or has top secret info.

Sit, Jesus. Stand, Jesus. Good Jesus. Bad Jesus.

Every movement, whether political, religious, economic or social, hinges on the values of that group and how effective those values are at creating the desired transformation and keeping the movement alive through both good and bad times. Every group has a leader, at some point in time, who best articulates and embodies those values. Such a leader can either create a movement outright or accelerate a movement already begun. In later years that leader is revered and idolized for his accomplishments.

Christianity is such a movement. The difficulty and vision of Christianity are found in the person of Christ. The calling of Christ is to “…take up your cross and follow Me.”

The 20th Century has been noted for the acceleration of individual rights and individual freedoms. With that movement, whose leaders are you and me, comes a world tailored to the yearnings, wishes and demands of the individual. This movement has important repercussions in how we view faith and the values that faith demands.

As a psychologist in practice for 20 years, I have always viewed wryly my colleagues eagerness to talk about spirituality and their reluctance to talk about religion. Most psychologists view the former as healthy, adaptive and part of the process of becoming self-actualized. Most psychologists view the latter as regressive, reactionary, growth inhibiting and at best, quaint.

All this is to say that psychologists are quite willing to help people apply their spirituality in their own best interests. The happiness and meaning derived from one’s spirituality is the guage often used by clinicians to measure it’s effectiveness.

So how, then, would have psychologists evaluated poor Martin Luther. Tormented in adolescence, fearing the wrath of God in lightening, he converted to Catholicism and became a priest. But that did not alleviate his torment or his self-loathing. Hounded by guilt he drove himself deeper into his faith. He practiced penance with fervor in an attempt to alleviate his suffering. But to no avail. Ultimately, over years, he stumbled on “the rest of his faith,” that is, the glorious grace of God and his all sufficient supply in Christ. He wrote years later:

If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new

heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager

sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.

Luther’s work transformed Catholicism and Western Europe over the next 300 years. Most would argue that it was an overwhelmingly positive transformation. What if, upon seeing Luther’s suffering, a friend referred him to a psychologist who respected his spirituality, but did not respect his religion? Chances are, he would, with the best of intentions, undermine a pending revolution in the Christian faith, perhaps driving Luther into individualism, mysticism and irrelevancy.

Religious practice has recently been categorized along these lines:

Protean Religious Practice: involves picking beliefs and rituals from a broad variety of religious and spiritual practices.

Constrictive Religious Practice: involves picking a set of beliefs and rituals from a single authority.

Our hypothetical clinician would likely encourage Luther toward Protean Religious Practice in an attempt to free him from neurotic guilt associated with his constrictive religious practice. In that regard the clinician would be encouraging Luther to make religion “in his own image.” Luther would be commanding his religion to do his bidding, to escape his suffering. Sit Jesus, Stand Jesus. Good Jesus, Bad Jesus.

But that is not the example of Christ, and it is not the example of his disciples. Neither is it the example of the early church which suffered persecution to assert the dignity of female children being killed in Rome; or who confronted a murdering emperor (leading to the accountability of leaders to God); or institutionalized charitable giving, or contributed to the humanistic movement of the Rennaissance; or who contributed to the education of western Europe through the development of universities. All of this was based upon a constrictive religious practice. Jesus says I cannot choose whom I will love and whom I will not love (protean); the gospel is constrictive, demanding and calling us into the light of accountability: “If you cannot love your brother whom who have seen, how can you love God whom you haven’t seen?”

Similar challenges face clinicians and Christians as they attempt to understand same-sex attraction. Suffering is part of every Christian’s calling. All of us suffer as Christians for different specific reasons, but for the same single reason, we are sinners, born into a sinful world. We live for a better world to come and endure trials and tribulations for that future reward. Like Luther, I do not understand why I am suffering specifically (except that I am a sinner, in a sinful world) and I do not know yet what plans God has for my suffering (I doubt it will be as constructive and meaningful for the world as Luther’s suffering). I do know my sins are bold and require His amazing grace. And I am so thankful that nothing bars me from His unending mercy.

Donnie Davies 15 minutes of lame

Ok, maybe The Bible Says is going to turn out to be a parody, but it still seems pretty bizarre. I wrote Donnie Davies earlier in the day and asked:

“I cannot tell if you mean your song as a parody or not. Could you please explain?”

He wrote back and said

No, no Sir. We’re very serious. We made the video for serious reasons. Some people seem to think it is funny. I guess we can understand that but what’s been happening in this country isn’t funny unless you have a really dark sense of humor.

If have to have people in authority, we think they have to be trustworthy and honest. We hate what homosexuals liar like Ted Haggard, John Paulk and Mark Foley are doing. We hope that our song can help just a little bit to run sick creeps like that out of town on a rail. We hope people will learn that they can’t trust people so easily.

I attempted to post a video response to his video but I doubt he will post it.

UPDATE: At about 8:25pm, The Bible Says has been removed from YouTube with this statement: “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.” The other “Love God’s Way” introductory video remains up. But you can still see it at Google video.

Mr. Davies has a new video on YouTube which says God Hates Censorship and lists the two websites.

UPDATE: 1/24/07 – Andrew Sullivan thinks it is satire. Truth is, no one knows but Mr. Davies and his band mates, and they aren’t talking.

Except here, Mr. Davies has issued a comment on his MySpace blog about YouTube:

Video on MySpace

Well friends, YouTube took down the video that Evening Service and I have worked so hard on. I don’t know what hurts more; being censored because of my message or people making fun of my weight. Hopefully MySpace believes in freedom of expression more than Google does. Maybe China isn’t the only country Google is censoring. 😉

Spread the Word

Keep the Faith

Donnie D.

ps. If any of ya’ll post the video anywhere else please tell us!

Read all the posts on this topic here.

UPDATE: The mystery revealed!!!