Episode 239: Becket Cook makes identity simple.

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Intro/Outro: Welcome to Leading with Rusty George. Our goal is to make following Jesus and leading others a bit more simple. Here's your host, Rusty George.

Rusty George: Hey, well welcome to the podcast. So great to have you here. As mentioned, this is Leading Simple. My name is Rusty George. There has been so much in the news, in the media and mainstream regarding the LGBTQ+ community, how we relate to them, how we accept them, how we understand them, and every now and then a voice comes along that says, you know what? I'm part of that community and I have a little different take on it. And I wanted you to hear from Becket Cook. Becket raises some very interesting points about his own journey through being same sex attracted. And for those of you that have somebody in your family or maybe somebody in your home, or maybe it's yourself that is feeling this war within between the desires or the attractions that you have, and reading the Bible and hearing that, maybe that's not God's best for you. And you're trying to figure out, have I misread God or have I misread the scriptures? I think you're really gonna understand a whole lot better from Becket's perspective. I was blessed to get to know Becket a few years ago from a mutual friend in Don Gates and Caleb Kobach, and I've had several conversations with him, several cups of coffee, and he's just a great guy with a really strong heart for God that's gonna give you such an incredible perspective.

I highly recommend his book a Change of Affection that was very helpful for so many people in understanding how to view, uh, their own sexuality. And as we wrap up a series at Real Life called Kids These Days, we've been talking a lot about some of the, uh, pressures that our kids are facing in trying to understand and to recognize how they identify and finding their worth from that when they probably shouldn't, and where our worth truly comes from.

I think you're really gonna be blessed by what Becket has to say. I wanna thank BELAY solutions for their support of the Leading Simple podcast, and BELAY is a great resource. It helps out so many people with virtual assistance and website design and social media. You're gonna wanna check out belaysolutions.com. Well, here's my conversation with Becket Cook. Here we go.

Becket Cook. Thank you for joining the podcast.

Rusty, it's a pleasure to be here.

We met, I think about three years ago. Yeah. At a coffee shop down in Hollywood or whatever.

Becket Cook: I think it was the blue near me on like Beverly Boulevard and

Rusty George: Yes! Yes!

Becket Cook: West Hollywood area. Yeah.

Rusty George: Uh, my buddy, Mike Breaux had read your book and told me about you, and I said, he lives down here. We have a mutual friend in Don Gates. Oh, right, yeah. Our, uh, editor, or not editor, agent. Agent, I, it's so weird to say, I have an agent. Agent I know, but Book Agent . Anyway, he connected us and a mutual friend named Caleb Kaltenbach as well.

And I was so fascinated by your story, wanted to have you out to Real Life to talk, and then COVID hit the world shut down, and now we're finally able to get face-to-face. Yes. Hopefully one of us doesn't have COVID right now. I know, right? So tell us, for our audience that doesn't know your story, tell us who you are.

Becket Cook: Well, I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and when I was very young, probably, I don't know. Uh, middle, uh, fifth, sixth, seventh grade, I started to realize that I was attracted to the same sex, which is a very odd sensation to have when you're a kid. Yeah. Especially back in the eighties when it was very, very taboo, especially in Dallas and according to my peers, according to the world really.

Yeah. It was, it was a love that dare not speak its name, so yeah. . That was a, it's a strange phenomenon. Um, and you feel almost like in a schizophrenic in a way because on the outside you have to appear to be, you know, normal, quote unquote. And I, so I did, I went study with girls in seventh and eighth grade, but all the while knowing I wasn't, you know, I didn't have an attraction to the girls and so it was a strange, so I had to kind of bury this thing, this secret inside and.

I'm not really sure how I navigated it. I mean, how, because it is a really weird thing to happen. Mm-hmm. and, and then I, when I went off to high school, I went to a all boys Jesuit school and I, that's when things really kind of took off because I, I met someone in my class when I was a junior in high. Um, who also was dealing with same sex attraction.

Okay. And we became like best friends instantly. And that's when kind of the floodgates opened. And I, we started exploring gay culture in Dallas. Uh, I mean, I was 15, 14, 15, and he was a year younger. But we were going out to gay bars and I don't know how we got into these bars, but Wow. Uh, I mean, we looked so young.

we, but I remember going to this one club called the Stark Club. It was designed by Felipe Stark, the famous French designer. It was really, it was actually this super beautiful place, like a space, like a industrial warehouse. Mm-hmm. Kind of. Mm-hmm. very beautiful actually. And. and, uh, we were somehow, and again, we were like 14, 15, and we were on the guest list.

I mean, it was like really expensive to get into this club and we were immediately put on the guest list. And I remember walking in for the first time and seeing straight people, gay people, drag queens, like the whole gamut, right? And I remember just thinking, wow, like this is. , these are my people. Like these are the misfits of the world and they're all here and like, this is crazy.

I, and I felt this kind of sense of, I finally found my tribe in a way. And yeah. And so that went on throughout high school, a lot of craziness. And um, and then in college the same thing happened. I ended up befriending someone who. Same thing, dealing with same sex attraction. We ended up coming out to each other, was this whole drama.

And then, and then we started going out to, to bars and stuff and clubs and, and, and I, so in high school and in college I had someone to confide in mm-hmm. and I had, which, which was actually really helpful. And so instead of just like burying it and. being able to speak about it to anyone. I, I was able to talk about it all the time with these two close friends, plus a kind of an inner circle of people who, who knew?

And then it was, it wasn't until after college that it became my identity. Homosexual, homosexual behavior became my identity after college. When I moved to Tokyo with my best friend from college, we. . We wanted to, we didn't know what to do with our lives after college cause like I was, I was gonna, I applied to med school and law school and dental school and I didn't even apply to med school.

I applied to dental school and law school. Got in, but to both. And I was like, I don't even know if I wanna do either of these. And my friend was in the same boat. He was like, should I go to law school? And so we were like, let's go to Tokyo for a year. and figure our lives out because you could, at that time in the nineties, you could go to Japan and like teach English and it was very lucrative.

They loved, like Americans coming over and, huh. So that was a big deal in the early nineties. And so we went to Japan, you know, got jobs literally the day after we landed, like, had jobs. Um, and, and while we were there, we, we lived in this tiny apartment, the size of the studio and uh, basically. kind of, I don't know how long, eight months into it, he, his friend from Texas was visiting Japan and came and stayed with us and let's call him Adam.

So Adam stayed with us for a week, and by the end of the week, uh, Adam and I had fallen in love with each other, quote unquote. Okay. And we can talk about what that means, falling in love, but, um, . And that's when I was like, okay, like this is who I am. This is amazing. This is my identity. And that's when I came out to my family, my friends, everyone knew like, cause I got, I went, I came back to Dallas after Tokyo a couple months later and everyone knew in my life, my family members.

And so that was, that was like my kind of big coming out moment. And um, and then, , that relationship dissolved. Uh, it was, it was really intense for a little like, I, I think a year or two, and then it, it crashed and burned, which is very common. And, um, and then I moved to Los Angeles and Bec I was like, I'm not gonna go to law school.

I'm not gonna go to dental, dental school. I, this is, I don't wanna do any of that. I just want to like, go be a writer and maybe an actor. So I moved to, . And in 1993, June of 19th, 93, and uh, and when I got to LA I already had this whole core group of really fun friends because like my best friends from high, two of two or three of my best friends from high school who had all gone to like these Ivy League schools on the east coast, they had migrated West with all their friends from Brown and Princeton.

they were all in the business. They were all like actors, writers, producers, directors, and they were like super ambitious, super smart, funny as all get out and, and so, uh, so I had this instant insta group of friends. Mm-hmm. , it was amazing. And they were, they, and there were, you know, there were straight people, gay people.

It was a whole mix of people and they, and it was, it was crazy cause like, over the, you know, next several years I saw. , all of my friends, one by one were becoming like huge overnight. Like Minnie Driver was a friend before she did Goodwill Hunting and she was, we were all, she was in our group of friends and mm-hmm.

she was kind of like a not really known actress. She had done like a movie, one movie I think with Chris O'Donnell, but, um, , but then like she did goodwill hunting and then she became this movie star, like, and then that happened to all my friends. Like they all became huge in the business and mm-hmm. big directors.

And they basically, those same people, , all that whole crew, they run Hollywood now. Like whatever content people are imbibing on Netflix or h b or whatever that, those, that's from my friends, they're, they run the town. Wow. Um, and so, so, and I, in, in LA I was having all these amazing experiences. I. , you know, going to parties and the, the, uh, I was going to movie premieres every week and the Golden Globes, the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Grammys.

I was going, I was always invited to these award shows and to the after parties, the Vanity Fair parties and all these things. So there was all a lot of shiny objects in my life, just constantly distracting me and. and going to Prince's house for a three hour concert he performed in his backyard for no apparent reason.

Yeah. Like, you know, just little things like that. Sure. Um, hanging out with Arian Huffington at her house in Brentwood. That is hilarious. Like, um. . I was like, I, I told Aria Huffington one time, I said, you know, you're my favorite person in la. I was so into her and she was like, thank you darling. That's so, so that's so kind.

Um, but , I, uh, yeah. So I was having all this fun and I, you know, I was, I had some success in acting and writing, but it was like struggle, struggle, struggle. And then I ended up becoming a production designer, uh, in the fashion world. So I was doing set design for. Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and for these big brands like Nike, gap, you know, ysl, all these fashion brands, that's what I ended up doing basically as my career, uh, for many, many years.

And, and then with, with my group of friends, we, God was never, we never once mentioned God. Like we all just knew that God didn't it. We, it was just a tacit understanding. God's not real and we don't even have to discuss it because God is just for those people that, yeah, we don't, you know, those silly people who don't really know anything and.

we, um, but we all wanted three things in life. We all wanted to make it big in Hollywood, which they all did in a big, big way. Um, we wanted to find true love, which, you know, I cycled through like five serious relationships with guys, lived with them. So it was almost like, it was almost like being married and divorced like five times.

Mm-hmm. because it was that intense. Mm-hmm. , it was very traumatic. Um, and then we all wanted to have these extraordinary experiences, which we were doing, you know? And so I thought, okay, this is what life is about. It's about, you know, know thyself. It's about, you know, having these great experiences and these friends and, um, you know, and I, and I wanted to know the meaning of life.

And so I, I read Russian novels all the time, and I went to plays in New York and London all the time, like really serious plays by Harold Penter. And Tony Kushner and you, Eugene O'Neal, like plays that you think you would think would give you kind of insight into the meaning of life, but they never really did cause it would just like evaporate.

Yep. Because they're written from a place of dark, like from a place of darkness, really. Um, and so, , it was always frustrating to me. And then my religion of choice kind of was the art world, like mm-hmm. . And when, whenever I was in New York or London or Paris, I would, every day I would go to multiple museums.

Like it was, that was my thing. And I just thought art was like, almost like a spiritual thing. I was like, this is, this is like giving me this meaning I'm, it is like the museum was like a temple for me. And so, That went on and on for, for years. And then the turning point was in March of 2009, I was in Paris at Fashion Week.

I used to go to Fashion Week a lot in New York and Paris. And uh, that year I had gone to a bunch of the runway shows and most of the shows have after parties. And, um, so I was at this particularly after party. And um, and this was, this was March, yeah. March of 2009. And I. I remember it was at this club called Regin, this very famous Parisian club in the middle of Paris.

And I, I remember I was sitting with Rachel Zoe and her husband Roger. Rachel was like this fashion girl who had a TV show on Bravo. And I was kind of like looking out over the dance floor. Everyone was there, you know, in the, from the fashion world. Kanye was there, like everyone was there. And I just remember.

drink. I was drinking champagne and I just felt this overwhelming sense of emptiness. Hmm. And overwhelming like, is that all there is to a fire? Is that all there is? Like Peggy Lee would say seem, yeah. So I, I had this kind of a terrifying moment of like, wow, this can't be my life anymore. Like this is this kind of like, These shiny objects have sustained me since high school, since I was on the guest list at the start club, you know, in Dallas.

Mm-hmm. , you know, like going up the red carpet and people like waiting in long lines and me just being whisked up to the, you know, front door. Like I, and, but I was like, this can't be my life anymore. Mm-hmm. like this, this isn't real. This isn't real. Meaning this is, it's all been kind of a mirage in a way, and.

and I was in a panic because I was like, well, God's, and I knew for many years I knew that God was not an option for me because I was gay. I was like, so God is not an option. And I, by that point in my life in 2009, I was, I was a practical atheist. Mm-hmm. , I mean, there was, I just, I, I, I had gotten to a point where I was like, okay, the Bible's an ancient myth.

Like any other myth, any other ancient myth, and. and God is not, it's not, God's not real. Mm-hmm. . So I was in this bind and I, so I went back to my, the apartment I had rented in Paris in the mere. and I was kind of up all night in a panic about my, my life and my future, and I'm like, what am I gonna do? Like, I can't keep doing this. I can't keep going, going to dinner parties and like do, it's just like I can't, I can't have another conversation about fashion, you know, with somebody. And, and so-

Rusty George: Well, what's, what's interesting, if I can, if I can interject here for just a second, is here you are with, it's not like, Putting yourself in situations where people are communicating truth to you, but inwardly, you know, you know something's not right.

Becket Cook: Yeah.

Rusty George: You know, there's a God you should dismiss and overlook or assume he's not there. And if there is one, he certainly wouldn't be happy with your lifestyle. There's just that assumption there. It's just kind of hardwired in, would you say?

Becket Cook: Yeah. And I see, this is the thing I knew, there was no question in my mind, I knew. I was clear what the Bible had to say about homosexual behavior. I knew what it said. I wasn't ignorant of that, you know? Yeah. And so I knew that there was this chasm because I wasn't willing to give up my identity, quote unquote, at that time. Like, so it's like, well, how could I ever, um, reconcile the two things?

There's no way for that to happen. Right? And then I got back to la and then six, six months later, as God would have it. I was at a coffee shop in Silver Lake at Intelligensia and I was with my best friend. That was our kind of thing. Every weekend we would go to brunch and Venice, go shopping in West Hollywood or Beverly Hills, which is gay church brunch and shopping.

And then we would go to Intelligensia for coffee and hang out. Like for the rest of the day, we would just chill and like talk to people we knew, you know, people we, we would know would, we would run into people. and that d particular, particular day we were chatting and we noticed a table next to us and there were young people at the table and there was a, there were Bibles, physical Bibles on the table.

Hmm. And that was a stunning, shocking thing to see in Los Angeles. Cause I had never seen a Bible in public in la. Not once. Yeah. Since I had been here. So we. Ended up in a conversation with them. Um, it's kind of like a Christian's fantasy come true when a gay atheist is like, Hey, are you guys, Christians?

Tell me about your faith. What's the gospel? Literally, that's what I asked them.

Rusty George: They had to think they were being punked. , I,

Becket Cook: I know. Come on. So this is like a gift, like here of, and so they told me, cause again, because of the six months prior to that, because of that night in Paris, I was open to hearing a different, Narrative.

Yeah. So I, I just said, what do you guys believe? I was raised Roman Catholic. Like I, I don't even know what it, and they told me they were evangelical Christians and they, they went to this church in Hollywood called Reality la and they, um, they kind of just told me what their faith was and the gospel and, and then, you know, we talked for a while and it was a very pleasant.

Pleasant conversation and I of course get to the $64,000 question and I say, well, what is your church in Hollywood believe about homosexuality? And they said, well, we believe it's a sin. And they were just like very upfront about it. And they were like, there was no kind of like bait and switch or dodging, sort of dodging it.

I mean like, okay, well we don't really know. I mean, God really whispers it in the Bible. No, it was none of that. It was just like, yeah, it's a sin and we believe it. And so, and I, I knew, I. . I knew that was gonna be their answer. Um, but the thing is, what's odd about that is my reaction because in the past I would've been, you know, a year before that, 10 years before that, I would've been like, you guys are insane and you need help.

Yeah. Like, I'm leaving now, so good luck. Right. But because of that night in Paris, I was just kinda like, huh? I was like, what if I've built my whole life? on a false foundation. And I don't know it, I mean, God could exist. There is a chance that he does exist, a slim read of a chance. Like and, uh, what if homosexual, what if he does exist and homosexual behavior is a sin?

And I don't know any of this. Like, that's a possibility. So they invited, they invited me to their church the, the following Sunday. And I honestly didn't know if I was gonna go because it's, it's kind of a big step to like, to, it's like betraying your people, . It's like, yeah. Because if anyone, it's like my best friend who was, who is still gay.

Uh, we're not cl that close anymore, which is unfortunate. Uh, but anyway, if any of my friends had found out that I was going to an evangelical Christian Church mm-hmm. , they would. Been, they would've just been like, what is happening to Becket? Like mm-hmm. something like, he needs help. Um, so it was kind of risky to go and cause I was like, what if people find out what if I'm humiliated?

This is weird. And so I said, just gimme the address and I'll think about it. So I had a whole week to think it through and I was kind of going back and forth about it. I was like, maybe I should go, maybe I shouldn't. And then the following Sunday rolls around and I was. , what do I have to lose? Really? Like, I guess I can just go.

And so I got up and got dressed, got him, and I drove to the high school auditorium where it meets in Hollywood. And I walk up and the first thing, there's this woman, uh, the wo this, I, she's a dear friend now, um, Heidi Torric, but she. I walk up and she's like, hello, we love you. I'm like, . I'm like looking behind my me and like, what, what are you talking about?

You love me. And um, and then I walked into the auditorium and the worship band was playing. And that was a, a weird moment too cause I, I had just seen, not had just, but like a couple years before I just, I, I was into this show called, um,


Becket Cook: Blood. This really dark show that's known vampire to watch vampires.

and they made, they had this whole episode where they made fun of Christian singer. Mm-hmm. worship singers and basically like threw them under the bus. It was just terrible. So I remember walking in and hearing the worship music and thinking of that episode and like, oh, Christian music. Ooh, creepy. Like, this is so weird.

But then I was like, wait, it's actually nice. It's beautiful. Yeah. And it's really, I, I just loved how it was beautiful, just the way it was done. And so, I found, I sat by myself and Pastor Tim Chaddick came out and started preaching a sermon on Romans chapter seven. He was in the book of Romans for two years and like he, this, he happened to be on Romans seven that day.

Yeah. And uh, when Paul's like, why do I do the things I don't wanna do, blah, blah, blah, and, Hmm. When he started preaching, I, I just noticed this weird thing happening in me, and it was like I was, everything he was saying, every word, every sentence was resonating as truth in my mind and my heart. And I didn't know why.

I was like, I was literally on the edge of my seat, riveted to the sermon, listening to every single word. And it was the first time in my life that. fully un uh, heard the gospel and understood it. Hmm. It was like, it just became so clear and I was like, I remember thinking like, this is the gospel. This is like, it turned everything religion on its head.

And I was like, this is good news. And it blew my mind. I, so then after the sermon, he said, you know, there's people on the side of the auditorium on the prayer ministry if you need prayer for anything. Blah, blah, blah. So that was another moment. It was like, if I walk over there and ask for prayer, then I'm admitting that this might be real.

And like people could be watching me and they're probably like, oh, you know, I don't know. It was embarrassing kind of. Yeah. So, but I was like, whatever. So I walked over. . And again, it was like Christian fantasy come true. I walk up to this guy on the prayer team and I'm like, Hey, I don't know what I believe, but I'm here.

Yeah. And he's like, let me pray for you. And he lays hands on me when that was still legal here in California, . And he prayed for me. And um, I was like, just, I was kind of like, how does this random straight dude love me so much? Right? Because it seems so loving. it seemed like. Why does he care about me so much and my salvation or whatever.

So I go back to my seat, I sit down while everyone else is standing and worshiping for the next 25 minutes. There's more, there's 25 more minutes of worship music. Yeah. I sit down cause I'm so just overwhelmed by everything. And um, this, and then like the second I sit down, the Holy Spirit. just like, like falls upon me or just, and opens my eyes and God's like, I remember in my mind this is, this is exactly what ha went down in my mind.

It wasn't an audible voice, but God said, I'm God. Jesus is my son. Heaven is Israel. Hell is real. The Bible's true. Welcome to, welcome to My Kingdom. Wow. And I just started like bawling hysterically for the next 25 minutes. I could not, I was like doubled over and I was crying harder than I'd ever cried since I was an infant.

But it made sense cause I had just been born again. Oh. So I was like bawling and bawling, bawling. and I was crying over the conviction of sin, but also over the joy of meeting Jesus and knowing finally, no. Literally, I was like, it felt like the curtains had parted and I could see the meaning of life for the first time in my life.

I was like, oh my gosh, now I know where I came from, what I'm doing here and where I'm going. Like it was just. It was a road to Damascus. It was so powerful. It was almost like when Paul says, like, I once the new man who was caught up in the third heaven, when he is talking about himself, it, it felt like I was caught up into heaven for like a split second.

Yeah. Like that's how intense it felt. And it was so, uh, it was like, I wish I could, I wish I could go back and do that again cause it was so fun. It was such a fun moment. Um, such a crazy moment. And then, . I got home after the service and I got into bed to take a nap. I was just like my whole, I didn't even know my, I didn't even know what to think.

I was so overwhelmed. Got into bed and then God did it again. He's like, it was like when Moses is in the cleft of the rock and God passes by with his glory, God's like, let me show you some more of my glory. and I jumped out of my bed. I started bawling again and just, just burst into tears. Mm-hmm. , and I jumped out of my bed and in the middle of my bedroom I said, God, you have my whole life.

I'm yours. I'm done. And I knew, that's when I knew in that moment, I knew to the core of my being that homosexual behavior was of wrong. That it was a sin, that it was not I, it was no longer my identity. That dating guys was no longer a part of my future, but I didn't care because I had just met Jesus. And I'm like, I'm gonna go with that guy.

Good rids to that old life. And that was, yeah, September 20th, 2009 at 2:30 PM It was crazy.

Rusty George: Okay. Wow. First of all, and second

Becket Cook: of all, can

Rusty George: I have a drink of water now? Second of all, thank you for sharing it. I think it's, I think it's important to point out that when you have those kind of. Damascus moments, there's an assumption that it will always be that way.

Mm-hmm. , and it's not, yeah. I love your honesty of saying, I wish I could go back to that moment, and it, it just isn't. Yeah. Because life just kind of goes on and there's, there's even some of the Desert Fathers talk about the dark night of the soul and

Becket Cook: consolation, desolation.

Rusty George: Yes, yes. This difficulty you go through in highs and lows and all that.

but the constant thing is Jesus is still with you through the whole thing.

Becket Cook: Um, and just as a side note, since that time I've had. Multiple. Extraordinary, yeah. Amazing experiences with God. Just like, yeah, intense. Just very similar, but yeah, I know what you're saying. It does kind of wax and wane, I mean. Yes, yes.

Rusty George: Yeah, definitely. How was it then? I mean, you've just had this incredible mountaintop experience, but you gotta start, you gotta start saying goodbye to people or explaining to people who are gonna say goodbye to you. How was the next few weeks of your life?

Becket Cook: Goodbye. Farewell. Well, it was, it was a really crazy time because, I mean, I was so just.

Excited and full of joy that I didn't, I didn't really care what my friends thought at that point. Mm-hmm. , I was just like so elated. But I did have to sit each one down at its one at a time. And over the next three weeks I sat, I, I met with all my really close friends and I told them, and they were stunned.

I mean, they didn't know what to really say. They were kind of like, . Wow. Like they didn't know really. I got a couple of bad reactions from a couple people, especially the part when I told them about homosexual behavior being a sin. Yeah. They were just like, oh, you've crossed over like, you're crazy. And I, I kind of lost a couple of friends over that.

Um, but. , they, what's interesting is a lot of them, the kind of the, the general, the general vibe was like, I'm, you know, I'm glad you're happy, I'm glad you found your path, kind of thing. So yeah. Um, that's, that's what Maka Harte said. Like she, cause I, I sent her a whole email about the whole story and she was like, I'm so glad you found your path, blah, blah, blah.

And, um, , uh, which was sweet. I mean, you know, it's like, what else do you say? Yeah, if you, cause you don't know. And so that was, that was a difficult time. But it was also, uh, exciting because I got to tell them my story. I was, what was, what was weird about it is, , I thought, you know, the, I've been so close with these people for so long, especially the, these, several of those friends were friends since high school.

Mm-hmm. very like best, best friends. And I was, I was actually shocked that they didn't like come to Christ immediately when I told them my stories. Yes. I was like, oh wait, you're, what do you mean you're resistant? Like they didn't, I was like, they didn't follow you. You don't want to come to my church.

Like, because I all invited them all to my. and they were just like not into it at all. And, um, some, a couple were. But anyway, so it was a, it was a really strange time. And, and then I was still working, you know, I was working as a production designer at the time, and I, I, uh, I remember just. . Just telling everyone on the set, I didn't care.

I was just like completely fearless and I was just like, Jesus is real, you guys. It's crazy. I was telling, I was telling like actresses, pop star, Katie Perry, I mean she kind of already, but I was telling um, Uh, just, uh, but Paris Hilton, like all these people, I was like, Jesus, this is real. It's crazy. The gospel's true.

You guys have to believe this. It's amazing. And, um, I was shocked that I didn't get fired off of these shoots for years. I, I just, I was just on every shoot. I would, I would tell everyone about my faith and my story and. and, um, I thought for sure, like, this is the last job. Like they're, I'm never gonna get hired again on these shoots.

Mm-hmm. . And they, I just kept, kept getting hired and hired for many, many years until my book came out in 2019. And that's, that's kind of like when. . It's like, okay, the jig is up. Like it was one thing for you to talk about this. Yeah. Like in private sort of, but like to have a book out in the world, like you can't, we can no longer have you on the set with Yeah.

Jessica Chastain and Julia Roberts because it's too weird that you say homosexual behavior is as sin and Oprah. You know, like there's no way you can work with these people. Right. And so that's when my career as a production designer ended, but. , but it was, it was cool be for a long time, God ha I gave me such favor with that world and I was able to just share the gospel with so many people and, and a few of those people have come to faith since, so it's been cool to see that.

Rusty George: Okay. So I want to ask some of the questions that everybody has about, you know, just a little bit of pushback, I guess I should say, because for so long, your identity. was your homosexuality. Mm-hmm. . And so the, the pushback people have is, well, if you call that a sin, then I am denying your identity. That seems like the furthest thing from the love of Jesus.

Mm-hmm. that I can, that I can find. So, How do, how do you balance those? How do you see that? The love of Jesus, but, uh, my identity is

Becket Cook: broken. Yeah. I mean, all of our identities are broken because of the fall and, and, you know, whether you're born gay or whether it's environmental, it doesn't matter. It's a moot point because we're all born in sin.

We're not only born in sin, we're conceived in sin, as the Bible says. And, and so we all are born with innate sinful. I. That doesn't mean we act on them. And, and by the way, the, the identity aspect component of it is, you know, homosexual behavior used to just be a behavior. It didn't become an identity until, oh, it became an identity over the last 50 years.

And, uh, Sigmund Freud had a big part of that. Yep. Because he, Sigmund Freud, um, said at the core, human beings are sexual beings. Like, that's, that's the core of what it means to be human, is being sexual. And so that, and along with a lot of other philosophers mm-hmm. , Russo, you know, if, if you read, uh, uh, the tri, the Modern Self Oh, Carl Truman is very helpful.

Yeah. And, um, , but it, so it's gone from a behavior, it's gone from a behavior to an identity. It's gone from ascend to a sacrament over the last 50 years. Mm-hmm. . And so even though I thought it was my identity, it was a false identity. Mm-hmm. , it wasn't even real. And so, um, when Jesus in the gospels, he, when Jesus is interacting with prostitutes centers, tax collectors, He doesn't just like leave them in their quote unquote identity or their sin, he calls them to repentance.

So when he calls Levi the tax collector, when Levi leaves the tax booth and come and then throws a party for Jesus at at his house, that's a sign of rep. celebration in the gospels is a sign of repentance that that's a sign of repentance. And he leaves it behind. Hmm. The woman of Samaria, the woman at the, well, like he, he calls her, he calls her out on her sin.

Yeah. So, Jesus never, he was, he obvi, obviously he was the master of balancing grace and truth. Right. But he never separated grace and truth. Mm-hmm. , you can't have one without the other and it. if you, um, if a lot of people you know would say, oh, it's hate speech to say that homosexual behavior is a sin, and it's actually like the opposite because it's love speech.

Those people at the coffee shop love me enough to tell me the truth and I'm so grateful to them for, not for, cause I could have, who knows? I could have wound up in a gay, a quote unquote gay church, a gay affirming church. . I'm so grateful that they told me the truth, but they did it graciously. They weren't like, you know, you're going to hell.

Like they were just loving and sweet about it, and they're, but they were very matter of fact, and Jesus is like that in the gospels. He doesn't mince words, but he's also gracious with people. Yeah. And so, yeah, I think it's, . That's where we, it's always a danger to go too hard on the truth or too hard on the grace side.

So you have to really keep those in balance and ask God for wisdom in that. Yeah. Yeah. That's the,

Rusty George: the art and the science of it all. Yeah. I, it seems like there's this real difficulty for churches, especially in individuals. to see the difference between accepting and affirming. Mm-hmm. , because somebody can be accepting without being affirming.

But in culture's mindset, if you're not affirming, then you're not accepting. And you're not loving. So to love the gay community must you means you must affirm their choices. How

Becket Cook: would you speak to that? Yeah. Well, I would say, I would say loving is the better word to use it rather than accept, accepting has different connotations to it.

Okay. Because it's almost like you're accepting. that it's, the behavior is wholly righteous and good , which is the, what the culture says. Um, but I would say, yeah. Um, l I would say loving, loving them is, I mean, Jesus said that the, the, the, all of the law and the prophets can be fulfilled in these two commandments.

Love God and love your neighbor. Right? So I have nothing but love. For my neighbor, including my L G B T Q neighbor, I have nothing but love and compassion because I was there. I live, I was there, but for the grace of God, go, I, like I was that in that community and God rescued me out of it. And so I, there's there you can be, you can st hold fast to your convictions and the biblical truth, but still love people and.

and now unfortunately in our culture now, it's difficult. It's almost become such a barrier to even say that to someone who's in the commu in that community. Because when, when you say that to them in the community, all they hear is, you hate me, right? And like, if you don't fully affirm me and accept me, then you hate me.

Right? And there's really nothing you can do about that there really. All you can do is continue to love that person and pray for them. My sister-in-law did that for 20 years. She was an evangelical Christian. She loved me like crazy. Uh, she never, she didn't like condemn me ever. She just loved me and she prayed for me for 20.

Yeah, she prayed Acts 26 18 over me for 20 years, or, I don't know, 15, 20 years. And, and guess what? God answered her prayer. Amazingly, Acts 26 18 is, it's, it's in the mi it, it starts in the middle of a sentence, so it's a little awkward, but it's Paul in front of King Agrippa and he's telling him what God has sent him out to do, and he's preaching to the Gentiles.

and he says to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God that they may receive forgiveness of sins in a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Hmm. That's Acts 26 18 And she prayed that one verse over me and I, I just actually talked to her.

I interviewed her for my show this week actually, and she, I, she said that one day. I said, what was kind of the, the, you know, , this turning point for you with, in terms of me kind of praying for me. And she was like, it was, she was in a study in Revelation, the book of Revelation, and she was just like, it really struck her.

Hmm. She just was like, God, I want Becket to be in heaven with me, like please. And she just like cried out to God and, and then that's when she started. praying, you know, consistently for me. Hmm. That's

Rusty George: so good. Yeah. And I think behind everybody who's made any kind of conversion, you find somebody that was just praying for them faithfully.

Becket Cook: Monica. Monica and Augustine. Yeah.

Rusty George: Yeah. For on and on and on. . Okay. So, uh, last question, and that is, this is the big one that I think it's out there for a lot of people that are in this situation. The assumption is that if I make this choice to follow Jesus, if I give up on this lifestyle, Okay. I've gotten over the hurdle of identity and all of that, and I love what you said that it wasn't an identity to begin with.

Mm-hmm. . Um, but God wouldn't want me to be alone. Answer that for me.

Becket Cook: Um, well, You're not alone. You, so, yeah. I mean, people ask, people say that to me all the time. They're like, it. It's, isn't it unfair that you have to be alone for the rest of your life, isn't it? Don't you feel cheated that you can't have a partner, you know, a boyfriend for the rest of your life, or get married to a guy?

And I'm like, what? First of all, I have the most amazing relationship with the creator of the universe, number one. , it is such a powerful relationship. Paul was single. Jesus was single. Paul the apostle was running around the Mediterranean being shipwrecked thrown in prison, beaten, planting churches, and he didn't care.

All he cared about was getting the gospel out. And, um, even in Roman seven, he says it's better to be singles. Uh, you know, there's a whole single thing and, uh, . And so, yeah, and I always say this, I mean, I've said this a billion times, but what's unfair is Jesus had to be beaten, crucified, and tortured for my sins.

That's what's unfair. I, I honestly have not, since this has been, it's been 13 years since I've been a Christian, and not, I'm telling you, not one time have I ever felt. Whoa is me or my life is hard, or this is so difficult. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. The fact that God plucked me out of darkness and pulled me into his marvelous light is the most extraordinary thing that can happen to a human being.

And. as Tim Keller. He, Tim Keller once said this kind of like, and he's kind of caught himself a little bit, but he's, he was like, it's like winning. It's like winning the biggest lottery in the world. Um, but like, yeah, I just, I know I don't feel that way and I have my relationship with not only with Christ is so all consuming and all and so fulfilling.

and Ulti. I mean, it's like it, any other relationship pales in comparison to that. Mm-hmm. , but also my relationship with the body of Christ. Like I have so many Christian friends who I can turn to and who, um, you know, pray for me and hang out with and all this stuff. And so that's what the body of Christ is partly there to do.

You know, it's like we're to bear each other's burdens and so I never feel. Alone. I never feel cheated. I never feel like, you know, life's unfair, ever. I feel like so unbelievably, uh, I mean, lucky is not a good word, but unbelievably blessed that I get to be in the kingdom of God and get to have. Not only be in the kingdom but have everlasting life, which is kind of a big deal, you know, , right?

Uh, eternal life is sort of a big deal. And, um, and so yeah,

Rusty George: that's awesome. All right. Where can people find you? The book is called

Becket Cook: A Change of Affection. Amazon best place to find. Yeah, Amazon, anywhere, any, any fine bookstores. Um, Barnes and Noble has it too, and all the, all of them, but. . And then also I have a, I have a podcast or I have a YouTube show and a podcast called The Becket Cook Show.

The reason I called it that is cause every other name I tried was taken and I just never wanted to get sued over it. So I just feel like, yes, I'm just gonna use my name. Yes. Where I talk about culture, where I, because I, because I, because I lived in that. That culture for so long. So I talk about the lies of the culture and the biblical truth behind the lies.

And so it's called the Becca Cook Show. It's weekly on YouTube. It's very good. Oh, thank you. Yeah. Yeah. And I want you to come on my show. I'd be honored. Yeah, we need to do a But it'll be video, right? Yeah, it'll be video. I gotta, you'll have to like do a little makeup or something. Yeah.

Rusty George: Becket, this has been awesome.

Thank you so much. Thank you for having me, for being on the show and as, uh, he said, check out the book Change of Affection. It's fantastic. And of course, the, uh, podcast YouTube show as well. Become a subscriber. Yes. To Becket Cook is the subscribe is the best way to do it. Awesome. Thank you for doing this.

Thank you. Wow. Well that was a masterclass in understanding how to view identity, who we are in Christ, and I would imagine you've got somebody in mind that you wanna share this with to encourage them not to preach at them, not to condemn them, but to encourage them. Please share that with them and for everybody who might feel a little bit overwhelmed or a little bit confused, or what do I do now?

I would love to hear from you. You can DM me at Rusty l George on Instagram and I would love to be able to be in conversation with you or share comments on my website, pastor rusty george.com. Make sure you check out Becket's Social Media and podcasts as well. He's such a great resource and has become a good friend.

What a great, great guy and a great follower of Jesus. Um, that is dedicat. To pursuing Christ first and making him his chief affection. So hopefully you'll share this with a friend and it'll be encouraging for them as well. Next week, we're back with brand new content as we roll into the month of February.

Can't wait for you to be back with us. And until then, keep it simple.

Intro/Outro: Take a moment and subscribe to the podcast so you'll get it delivered every week. And subscribe to the Rusty George YouTube channel for more devotionals messages and fun videos. Thank you for listening to Leading Simple.

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Creators and Guests

Rusty George
Rusty George
Follower of Jesus, husband of lorrie, father of lindsey and sidney, pastor of Crossroads Christian Church
Episode 239: Becket Cook makes identity simple.
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