1. He's a Great God!
by Randall Baine
Please study this disclaimer before reading further
Randy is the founder of REACH, a ministry to homosexuals and ex-homosexuals in Kansas City. His mime and dramatic performances such as Obie the Love Clown take him to churches and other groups across the USA. You can learn more about REACH by writing: REACH, P.O.Box 5817, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA.
I was born in 1941 in a small town in New York. My early childhood was quite normal, but when I was twelve years old my mother had a nervous breakdown. The consequent upheaval in my life affected my teen years in many ways. I had been baptized as a baby and attended church regularly, even feeling a call to the ministry as a high school senior after visiting the Washington National Cathedral and feeling an intense personal sense of God's presence.
When I enrolled in college, I told everyone that I was going to be a minister. But the humanist orientation of my college soon undermined my shallow faith and I gave up any intentions of ministry work. Also, by my Junior year I was beginning to feel that there was something "wrong" with me. I never had felt that I fit in with other guys. I had always had my female friends but never a real girlfriend. I now began to try and have sexual relations with girls and found that I had virtually no ability or interest. These and other problems became a preoccupation with me. A pastor I was referred to told me my problem was spiritual. He was right, of course, but it would be at least twelve years before I would see and accept that. Shortly thereafter, I quit school and went to New York City.
I arrived in April, 1962 with two suitcases and a laundry bag of clothes. I loved the freedom of New York. It was a place to be schooled in culture and for many subsequent years, I was nurchured in the temples of art, opera, theater and music. In September that year, I went to San Francisco and discovered the truth of what I had begun to suspect. I was homosexual. What a relief it seemed to be! I felt like a sexual being for the first time in my life. Within several months, I was immersed in the gay lifestyle. My early gay relationships were highly romantic and I really believed I was in love permanently -- several times. I soon learned, however, to use my sexuality to get what I wanted. I moved in with a successful music critic who was very generous to me and with him began to meet the bright creative people I wanted to be like.
In February, 1964 I was drafted into the army. I knew I could declare my homosexuality and keep from being taken, but I decided that I wanted the experience of the army and hoped for European travel. I was sent to Germany as Protestant Chaplain's assistant on a small base in Bavaria. It was easy duty, I loved Germany and I found that my sex life did not suffer. I soon had a German lover and discovered that a high percentage of the chaplain's assistants were gay.
My chaplain and I did not get along well at all. He never asked me whether I knew Jesus as my Savior or whether I wanted to. After about five months in Germany, I began to grow very restless. I did not want to spend another year in the army; I wanted to go on with my "real" life. I went to the company commander and declared myself gay. By Christmas 1964, I was back in New York, discharged "Under Honorable Conditions". The army had generously released me under a paragraph that stated "homosexual inclination without experience".
Once back in New York, I returned to live with my music critic friend who began now to support me completely. After several months, I began studying acting and dance. Very shortly after, I began to work as an actor. For the next two years, I cultivated my talent for performance on stage, as well as some work in film and television. I also got more involved in using sex to make professional contacts, increasingly perverse and dangerous sexual interests and deeper involvement in drug use. By mid-1967, my relationship with the critic friend was strained to the breaking point; my personal/sexual life was strewn with an incredible number of broken or breaking relationships; my continuing spiritual search had become mired deeply in the consultation of the I Ching; and all was greatly confused by almost constant marijuana use and frequent sampling of other stronger drugs.
In the fall of 1967, I consulted the I Ching one day and received an answer which I now understand was the Lord speaking to me through the only source I would hear. The message told me that I was spoiled, like a temple which had been plundered by the enemy and left bare of anything valuable. Within two weeks, I took a position with a professional children's theater company that shortly went to St.Louis to work in public schools. I spent the next year there and the Lord continued to do His quiet work to restore this desecrated temple. In February, I met my future wife when someone brought her to one of many parties I held in the house I rented for my stay in St.Louis. For several months, we saw each other because we travelled in the same art and drug circles. I was still unabashedly gay. She had just dropped out of college and was depressed and confused. In March, she made a suicide attempt and called me. That event and a subsequent near-collapse of my own from physical and emotional exhaustion seemed to begin a change in us both. We saw each other again in July and began to have a personal relationship. I had several brief romances with women during my New York years and experienced some short-lived genuinely heterosexual attractions. However, this time there was something else present and I sensed that this "something else" was spiritual. As with most people we knew, we had intended just to live together, but before we even moved in together we decided that we would really get married. We arranged to have a "hippie" wedding at a rock concert, making it legal before a pastor in a chapel service the next morning. Although I was stoned on grass for both services, I remember that my mind was very clear as I spoke the vows in the real service. God was making me aware of the covenant that was being made before Him.
The next six years were a time of great wrenching change. Our marriage was "on the rocks" within two months. My wife and I decided to spend several months in California before splitting up, so we left St.Louis in January, 1969. On our third day in San Francisco, our car and all our belongings were stolen. After a week, we gave up on their recovery, rented a car and drove back to St.Louis. I left my wife there (fully intending to get a divorce) and drove back to New York, arriving penniless and wifeless. Within two months, I was living on my own, working in theater tech and longing for my wife. She came for a visit in February and we were reconciled after getting snowed in for three days at a friend's house in the country. After a brief stay in New York, we moved to Columbia, MO and soon we both began to complete our undergraduate degrees at the University of Missouri.
Although the external circumstances of my life soon became much more conventional, I was still in great inner turmoil. I still did not believe in sin and was therefore unrepentant for the life I had lived. The perverted values and contempt for "straight" people still made me bitter and smug. Our marriage was heavily punctuated by violence and tears. I continued to smoke grass regularly. I was in therapy of one sort or another for the next four years, dealing with a succession of counselors, none of whom had any clearer grasp of the Truth than I did. I sought many ways to get a sense of peace and wholeness but in the end, I was still happy only when I was stoned.
After receiving my Master of Science degree in 1974, I fell into very depp depression. I went to meet a Christian psychologist who was reputed to have a healing ministry and found him in the midst of a group of Christians from various backgrounds. These people seemed to really sense the presence of God. In the course of that day, I was unforgettably touched by the Living Lord. At one point, I shared a recent dream which had been so frightening that I broke down while telling about it. Immediately, the leader laid his hands gently on my head and began praying. Many others were crying right along with me and some were also praying quietly. I knew I was being touched by Jesus. That evening, I asked the leader if I to might receive what these believers had. After dinner, he took me aside into a small chapel and led me in the sinner's prayer and a request for complete immersion in God's Holy Spirit. After praying for me, he left me alone with Jesus. I received the Lord that night, thanking and praising Him at the altar of the chapel.
The first two years of my Christian walk were full of stumbles and falls. I tried to find Christian fellowship in Missouri where I was living, but the churches I visited were much like the one in which I had grown up: nice folks, but no sense of the Lord's presence. I began a therapist job in Kansas City, commuting home on week-ends. Within a few months, I was again smoking grass regularly and turning my back on the Lord. By the end of 1975, I left that position in great frustration and confusion and again fell into deep depression. I still had no fellowship in the Body of Christ. I hid from the few Christians I did know any knowledge of my grass smoking, my homosexual experiences and other things. I began to feel that maybe I really was homosexual and that I needed to deal with it once and for all. I told my wife I was going to stay in Kansas City for several weeks, just to try to sort things out alone. I then went out to discover the gay community, find someone to fall in love with and see what happened. I found him on my second night out and began one of the most painful experiences of my life. For a month, I abandoned myself to the lust of my flesh and got a horrifying glimpse of hell. Every pleasure was accompanied by an ever-increasing sense of guilt. The Holy Spirit was illuminating every sin for what it was. My flesh wallowed in pleasure while my spirit writhed in agony. I recognized clearly that every homosexual relationship I had ever had was essentially like this one: indulging in the flesh and quenching the spirit, each move drawing me deeper into the quicksand of Satan's intention for me. I renounced it once and for all and accepted the healing Jesus purchased for me on the cross.
My wife and I rented a house with an option to buy it and I began to spend time working on the house. I also began to attend a little prayer group of people who were really seeking a close relationship with the Lord. I learned the importance of praise -- even at times when the circumstances of life appeared grim. I started regular prayer and Bible reading, soon coming into regular fellowship at a church. Soon it was 1976. I was not working, except on our house. I began praying for a way that I could return to performances for I saw this as my real talent. I pursued several acting and teaching situations but every door closed. Then one day, God gave me inspiration for a white-face character. I had never before done pantomime, but I recognized that here was a medium with which I could do a one-man show. I created the character over seven months and that summer, the Lord spoke to me about turning "Obie the Love Clown" completely over to Him for use as a ministry. Thus began my work in churches as Obie.
One winter Sunday in 1978, I was visiting a large Presbyterian Church in an eastern city. Their bulletin requested prayer concerning the issue of ordaining gay clergy. Upon my return home, I shared my homosexual past with a Presbyterian minister friend whose congregation I knew would be grappling with the same issue. Over the next months, we met several times. I found that he and other pastors were perplexed about how to deal with homosexual counselees. We arranged for a staff member from an "ex-gay" ministry in Minneapolis to come and share with us during February 1979. During his visit, the Lord spoke to me that I was to start a similar ministry. My pastor friend provided through his church a phone line and counseling space. I was soon seeing several people on a regular basis. From that beginning has developed the ministry REACH (Realizing the Eternal Alternative Christ Holds).
In both areas where the Lord has given me public ministry -- performance and homosexuality -- He has redeemed out of the ashes of my old life areas I had at one point considered hopeless. Both had to be completely yielded to Him, but both have yielded a spiritual harvest for His glory. He is a great God!
Reproduced with thanks from a pamphlet published by:
True Freedom Trust
LONDON SE4 1EF
This page was created on 30 January 2001
Last updated on 30 January 2001
Reproduced with Thanks