A Conversation with Becket Cook
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A Conversation with Becket Cook

(upbeat music) – We’re talking with Becket Cook, we’re here in beautiful
Southern California, you may hear some
landscaping in the background and all that fun stuff. But I wanted to talk
to you about your book because you wrote something
called “A Change of Affection”. And I have to tell you
a little bit about it, because a family member sent this in the mail to me and
said, “You have to read it”. And I looked at it and thought,
this looks interesting, I’ll add it to my list. But I started looking through it, and five hours later, I had
finished the entire book, because it’s so amazing. But not just because it’s
your story, it’s God’s story. And it’s the power of transformation. And it is such a cultural hot topic today. And you approach it with
such grace and truth. So from a 30,000 foot view, tell us a little bit about your story. – Okay, yeah, well, I
grew up in Dallas, Texas. And at a very early age, I knew I was attracted to the same sex, I grew up in the Catholic Church. So I knew that according
to my family and the church and my peers, that it was forbidden. So I didn’t talk about it with anyone and I kind of kept it hidden. So I had this weird double life where on the outside, I was
kind of a popular fun kid, but on the inside, I was struggling with
this same sex attraction. And then in high school,
I became best friends with someone who was
in the same situation, we came out to each other. And we started to explore sexuality. We went to gay bars in Dallas, which I don’t even know
how we got into these bars. But we went to bars, we went to clubs and I really felt like,
wow, these are my people, I’m finally home, this is it. And then same thing in college, had a best friend who was gay, we explored gay culture together again. And then after college, I moved to LA. And this whole time, God
was never an option for me, because I knew that I was, after college, I identified as gay. I mean, I came out to my
family, to my friends and– – And how did they respond to it? – Differently. (chuckles) My parents were pretty calm about it. They didn’t react in a crazy way. I was the youngest of eight kids. So by the time they got to
me, it was just like, okay. (both laughs) And, I mean, they had the
Orthodox biblical view on sexuality. So they were upset that I was gay, but they were like, “what can we do?” So then, after college, I fell
in love for the first time. And so that’s when everything sort of became
cemented as my identity. This being a gay man was
just totally who I was. And I moved to California, I moved to LA. And I lived the life, I got into this really
fun group of friends. And I lived a really fun life. I went to parties and
premieres and Oscars, and Golden Globes and fashion
weeks in New York and Paris. And I had this kind of extraordinary time. And would be at Prince’s house when he’s giving a concert
in his backyard one night, or have dinner with Meryl Streep and like go to the governor’s
ball after the Oscars and all these things, I had
all these great experiences. And then at a certain point, I started to feel like the law
of diminishing returns set in and I started to feel like, is
that all there is to a fire? – ‘Cause you had everything. You were with the fame,
you had the fortune, the influence.
– Yeah, I did. I was doing really well as a set designer in Hollywood and in the Fashion World. And so I kind of did
everything, met everyone, was friends with everyone,
traveled everywhere. But it’s just after 10
or 15 years of this, I started to feel like, what am I gonna do for
the rest of my life? ‘Cause this has been a fun
ride for a while, but it’s not. I don’t know what the meaning of life is. I don’t know what I’m doing here. Cut to I, was at Paris Fashion
Week in March of 2009, had this moment of total
emptiness at after party, felt completely empty, and then felt like, what am I gonna do for
the rest of my life? How am I gonna fill this void? ‘Cause the stuff isn’t doing anymore, these parties aren’t doing anymore. And then I got back to LA. And six months later, I met a group of people at a coffee shop, they had bibles on the
table, which was shocking. And they invited me to their
church the following Sunday. And I wasn’t sure I was gonna
go but then ended up going. And I heard the gospel, It was an evangelical church in Hollywood. And I walked in, heard the gospel. And I was completely blown away by it. And I didn’t know why
I believed it was true, but it was just my whole,
everything was shifting in me and my mind, my heart. And after the service
during the worship time, the Holy Spirit just
completely overwhelmed me. God revealed Himself to me in that moment. I knew that God was real. Jesus was his son, heaven
was real, hell was real. The Bible was true. I also knew in that moment, that being a gay man, living that life, living being as a gay man
was no longer who I was. I knew that that was over. I knew that that was part of my past, my old man, as it says in the Bible, I knew that that was done. But I didn’t care because
I just met Jesus Christ, had this like an intense
encounter with Christ. And I was like, “I’m all in”. I mean, I don’t care, so that part was easy to let
go of, that part of my life. – I mean, it was a dramatic conversion. Not just, I’m gonna
decide to change my life, you described moments throughout the day that the Holy Spirit was washing over you and changing so much. – Yeah, I mean, that
happened the second time. After the church service, I came home and I was in my bed to try to take a nap ’cause I was so overwhelmed. And again, the Holy Spirit, it was like I was Moses
in the cleft of the rock, and God was like, “Let me show some more of
my glory to you, brrr!” And I was like, “Whoa!” and I just started bawling. And I jumped out my bed and I just, in the middle of my bedroom and screamed, “God, you have my whole
life, it’s yours, I’m done, “like I am done.” And it was the most amazing experience because I knew immediately
where I came from, what I’m doing here, and where I’m going, and I finally knew the meaning of life. And it was like, “Whoa, this is amazing, “I can’t believe this is true.” And it changed my whole
world in a split second. – So it changed your world,
talk a little bit about, you had appeared or looked at Christians as the enemy really when you
were living the gay lifestyle, and then to have this transformation. Was that something weird to reconcile? Or was it so Holy Spirit changing, that everything changed
in your perspective? – Yeah, I mean, suddenly Christians were
no longer the enemy, they were my brothers and sisters. And the tricky part was telling
all of my closest friends who we were all practical atheists. None of my friends, we
never talked about God, we never once mentioned the word God in our group of friends. And telling them was quite a task. And it took about a few
weeks to tell everyone. But no, I mean, now
that I was a Christian, I started reading the Bible,
and every word of the Bible, every word off the page just was like, “Wow, this is true, this
is true, this is true.” It was like the symphony, and every note rang true in my ear. And it was amazing to read the
Bible after that conversion. ‘Cause it just testify to
what I just experienced. So it was like this amazing. – So people would probably ask, “Well, if you have that
massive of a conversion moment, does that mean that you had a conversion and now you’re straight?” So explain that a little bit. No, not exactly. So when I say conversion to people, they often think that it’s, oh I was gay, and now I’m straight. But when I say conversion, I mean from atheist to Christian. And, I mean, I still have
vestiges of same sex attraction. And that still is a part
of my life and a struggle, but it’s like I’m happy
to take up my cross, deny myself, take up my
cross and follow Christ. And I’m happy to deny that aspect of me. And so I wouldn’t call myself straight in terms of being attracted to women, ’cause that hasn’t happened. But again, I’m happy to
be single and celibate for the rest of my life. Because I have this incredible
relationship with Jesus. And people often think that it’s like, I’m being cheated out of something, or that I’m alone for the rest my life. And I’m like, no, I’m not
alone, I have Jesus Christ, I have this relationship with
the king of the universe. I’m never alone. And I always, like I just feel so, I feel the opposite, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world because I get to have this intimate relationship with Christ. And I’m happy that that old life is gone. – And that’s miraculous,
just listening to your story and hearing such a dramatic
transformation, to see that. ‘Cause we don’t, especially
in today’s culture where people are very afraid to even talk about homosexuality. And within the church,
there’s such division, is there such thing as a gay Christian? Speak to that. – Yeah, I mean, that’s
always the big question is, can you be gay and Christian? And it depends what you mean by gay, if you mean homosexual orientation and you’re talking about someone who has that orientation, but
they’re denying themselves and following Christ faithfully, and not indulging in that sexuality, then yes, in that sense you can be, but I would never identify
as a gay Christian because that’s my old self. And so it was like I wouldn’t identify as a gossiping Christian
or greedy Christian or tax collector and Christian. So I find the term confusing and, for those who… Are living, or engaged
in homosexual behavior, and call themselves Christians, biblically, and in my mind, there’s only two options
that are happening. They’re either in a backslidden state, or they’re not Christians at all. So that, to me, it’s a very,
the term gay Christian to me, is like I think of square circle, it’s like, it doesn’t
work, it doesn’t fit. It’s like sexual immorality is a big deal in the New Testament. And so I just don’t see
how it works together. – Fascinating, so talk a
little bit about identity, because you talk in your
book about sin as sin, but homosexual sin takes
it to a different level, because it’s talking about
the core of who you are. – Right, yeah, a lot of
people say that about, well, why do you have to
pick out this one sin? There’s so many other sins, and it’s like, well, most other sins
don’t come a pride parade. So there’s not gossip pride
parades or greed pride parades. But because homosexuality has become such a powerful
identity over the last 40 years, and especially now in our culture, it’s so difficult to untangle
that identity from the person. And so, obviously when I was a gay man, I thought that that’s
who I was to the core, and I thought that was unchangeable. And until I had the encounter with Jesus, so yeah, I think that it is such a strong, strong
identity in our culture now that it’s hard to unravel that unless you have the power
of the Spirit to do that. – So in our culture right now, we’re looking at legislation being passed. And right here in California, there’s a resolution that could
potentially ban your book. – I know. Because you say homosexuality is a sin. So from a —
– I don’t say, the Bible does. – Well, yeah.
(Becket laughs loudly) Your book just happens to say it too. But how do we approach
those cultural issues, the Equality Act, I mean, it’s everywhere. And we have to address, it’s not something that
Christians can avoid. So maybe there’s a
two-part answer to that, because there’s a biblical worldview. But even within the church, there’s confusion about
affirming homosexuality. So how do we navigate that? – It’s very difficult, and I think we, just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in exile in Babylon, as
Christians we’re in exile. And they were in a alien culture. They were commanded to bow
down to the golden statue that Nebuchadnezzar built. And they refused to do so because they knew what
the Word of God said. And their convictions were settled on it. And even though they were
threatened with being thrown, or they were told that
they were gonna be thrown into a fiery furnace, that
didn’t change their convictions, they were still willing to
go into that fiery furnace, because they knew that they didn’t want to compromise
God’s word by one iota. And I think that’s how we
have to be as Christians in this culture. A lot of Christians don’t,
there’s a lot of blind spots, and Christians, in general,
a lot of people in general, don’t understand that we’re
living in a very specific place in time and in culture. And 10 years ago, 20
years ago, 40 years ago, this wouldn’t even be an issue. But because the culture is so powerful, even Christians in the
church are caving into this. And just like Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, we have to stand firm in our
convictions on this issue and be firm on our convictions that yes, homosexuality is a
sin, but we can love people, we can go out and love people, but trying to go out as a
Christian and love people and not having your convictions
settled, is not help at all, because you’re just all over the place and people are confused. And so I think that in terms
of the Christian world, we really need to get back to the biblical
understanding of sexuality. And it’s not just–
– As a whole. – As a whole, and it’s not just like, six certain passages in the Bible that talk about homosexuality, it’s the whole Word of God,
from Genesis to Revelation. Where you get a full understanding of why God created sexuality to be confined within a covenant between one man and one woman, because it promotes flourishing of that. And anything outside of that
is dangerous and damaging. I mean, I lived that life for 20 years, and I can tell you, there was a lot of
dangerous stuff going on. People don’t talk about that. And there were a lot of, it
can be a very dark world. And I still, at the time,
I didn’t think about this, but now I look back on that and
see how much damage that did just having one night stands or having so many different boyfriends, how that had a huge effect on my psyche, and just emotionally how
that really scarred me. And so, anyway, we have to go back to the biblical understanding
of sexuality as believers. And in terms of culture, in general, just non-Christians in California, I think that this is a moment in history where we are going to be tested. And our faith is gonna be tested and we haven’t felt
persecution in this country. And I think that it’s starting to happen, and my book may be banned. And churches may be shut down. Biola University may be shut down, Christian universities may be shut down. But we have to trust in God, we have to trust that God is
sovereign over all of this. And he knows what he’s doing. This didn’t take him by surprise. He knows what he’s doing. And we have to trust that and continue to just live
faithfully to the Word of God and faithfully with our convictions on all issues, including sexuality. – An eternal perspective
that, like you say, this is just a vapor, and we
have eternity that’s at stake. – That’s right, I mean,
this life is so fast. I was like 15 yesterday, 15 years old. And it goes by so quickly. And it’s like what do
you want your life to be at the end as a believer? Do you want it to be about
how you tried so hard to kind of get around sort of
rationalizing certain sins? Or do you wanna just be
all in for the kingdom and all in for God? And no matter what happens like Paul, I mean, think about Paul. Paul wasn’t concerned about… All he cared about was running
around the Mediterranean, planting churches, spreading the gospel, he was stoned, beaten,
jailed, shipwrecked, and he counted it all joy. I mean, he’s inspiration because he didn’t think about, it wasn’t all about like, why was me, what about me? What about my life? I deserve this house with the picket fence and a husband and this and that, and a great job that I love. That’s not the biblical worldview. That’s not the Christian worldview. And so I think we need to
get back to that as a church. – Yeah, and that’s gonna take a lot, but it’s gonna takes people
like you sharing your story. And for us, seeing your
story, being encouraged and seeing the power of the gospel. But knowing there’s a cost, but also not being fearful as well. – Yeah, I mean, Satan is thrilled, he’s using this issue to
not only divide the church, but to divide culture in general. And so it’s a very
powerful thing he’s doing. – Well, Becket, I couldn’t be more honored to read your book and talk with you today. And I encourage everybody to read this because you tell your story, but you also give practical advice to how to navigate this
issue in our world today, and especially within the church. So, thank you for your encouragement. – Thank you.
– We’ll be praying for you because I know you’re in
the middle of the battle. But clearly, you serve a higher power and God is the God of the universe. But he’s right with you. And you are one of ours.
– Amen – So thank you. – Amen, thank you.

About Earl Carter

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2 thoughts on “A Conversation with Becket Cook

  1. I'm working hard with the ACLU to have Bi-bleSexuality designated as a legitimate sexual orientation and not just a hate group. If you are ashamed of your orientation you can choose to be Bi-bleSexual it's The Emperor's New Clothes of sexual orientations.

  2. No longer a gay man, but a Christian man. I have gay friends and I do not want to see them as a lost cause. I am happy when they share their achievements or share their new found love, but i feel heartbroken when I know that the life they chose is just "here on earth" or temporary. I also want them to be part of God's Kingdom. But how I be able to share that without sounding unloving. I hope Becket could come to the Philippines and share his testimony, and take his books here. Becket's story of redemption is something we Christians need to hear and learn about, so we would know what to do when the time comes when we'll be the one to be approached and asked that $64M question about our stand in homosexuality and we be able to answer it truthfully, uncompromisingly, but with God's love echoing in our words. Of course the Bible is still and will always be the best teacher on how to be ready to defend our faith. But hearing someone who's been there, done that and lived the life of a gay man, is a strong testimony and would be very encouraging for us Christians who worked, travelled and live with the LGBTs. The culture of homosexuality here in my country is also growing rapidly. But it's an altogether different culture and environment. Just recently, our Congress passed the SOGIE Bill (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality Bill) and this is now being tackled in the Senate. I do hope and pray that it won't pass. Again. Praying for you Becket, God chose you for this huge task and He will always be by your side, covering you with His protection on all sides.

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