The End of ex-gay movement

 

 

 

Luke 19: 19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The apology by Alan Chambers of Exodus International the father of the ex-gay movement represents a symbolic end to the mainstream ex-gay christian movement which started in 1976 and later championed by James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

The negative impact of the ex-gay christian movement is massive, for a population of 500 million protestant christians would effectively have 25 million gay christians. 

It was all a lie, a false witness that being gay was a choice rather than an innate sexual orientation. They had wanted it to be a choice because they had mis-read the bible on homosexuality and confused it with the satanic religious practices of the ancients.

At the heart of it, was the abuse of the inspired Word of God, the bible, and a blasphemy of the name of Christ for a ministry of condemnation using religious laws which was incorrectly applied to the wrong group of people.

The ex-gay theology was used by the mega churches to condemn gays and insist that gays change or be kicked out from churches.

These were innocent Christians who went to Exodus because of the passion for their Christian faith, and they came out suicidal, their faith destroyed, and the belief in the bible and Jesus as the way, the truth and the life unsettled because biblical arguments were abused and spinned to come against their fixed innate sexual orientation.

Exodus and the mega churches supporting the ex-gay movement have undermined the integrity of the bible as the inspired word of God and the name of Jesus as Saviour. Jesus saved us from our sin but not from our heterosexuality or homosexuality.

Exodus have destoyed the faith and lives of perhaps hundreds of thousands of young innocent Christians and that is a capital sin because it caused them to depart from Christ. Many chosed to kill themselves because they can't change their sexual orientation which the mega churches with Exodus help taught them as a sinful lifestlye.

The apology by Exodus does not in any way excused them from the consequences, and harm caused, nor excused the the mega churches who have been willing parties to peddle and amplify this lie. They are all guilty as charged and liable for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, destroyed and shipwrecked faith. 

The apology was the obvious end to a lie perpetuated by the Christian Right and supported by the mega churches for the last 30 years. It was all in the name of Christianity and the bible.

The "lie" in the name of Christianity could not be maintained as homosexuality was legalised in much of the Western World, and gay marriages at the tip of becoming mainstream. 

The Exodus Global Alliance spinned of Exodus International in 2004 is a separate entity which still continues to operate but with the "mother" organization now gone, their integrity is in doubt. They will no doubt linger on out of the mainstream with little credibility.

The apology was important because it brings healing to hundreds of thousands who has been deeply harmed directly by the Exodus ministry, and also indirectly harmed as the mega churches used the Exodus materials to put gays in closets and spiritual/emotional jails.

And yet the apology is meaningless to the tens of thousands whose lives has been lost, who have taken their own lives due to the harm caused directly or indirectly by the ex-gay movement. One cannot paste the apology on all their tomb stones as they are too numerous and their skeletons called out for justice.

As recently as 2009/10 Exodus Board members were responsible for fanning the Kill Gay bills/laws in Africa where gays were rounded up and killed or had to go into hiding. The hideous consequences are still evident todate.

Justice however has not been served in any significant manner. Exodus was already in grave decline and was losing money and so the annoucement of the apology and the end of the organization came as no surprise.

Justice is not served at all because there was no compensation by Exodus, her partners or the participating mega churches and organizations. It is easy to talk, to say sorry, hence washing their hands clean of the deep blood stains. But they will find like Pontious Pilate that the blood stains could never be washed away without paying the due recompense.

In Luke 19, Zacchaeus not only acknowleged that he was a sinner but paid 4 times for the money that he has wrongly stolen from the poor and the weak. The penalty was 4 times the amount stolen and yet Exodus and the supporting mega churches haven't even paid a dime. The mega churches have billions in their bank accounts!

 Nevertheless, the admission by Exodus that they were wrong is important because it sets the stage and the basis for a time of healing and for recompense to be paid by the mega churches as a whole.

Ultimately, Jesus Christ paid for the dire sins of the church in this sorry saga of the ex-gay movement and the many spins, lies, and abuse of the bible by the mega churches. At the Cross, Jesus paid for all their sins.

This is the grace and the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, to forgive those who had caused so much harm and deaths to the hundred of thousands of sincere young Christian believers.

We too must forgive those who have caused so much harm and deaths that God's mercy, grace, and love will come into our lives.

We forgive, for Christ has forgiven us first. We love, for Christ first loved us. We can forgive because we know that God's grace is so abundant towards us because we are in Christ.

And this is the abundant grace of God available to the Gay community when they open their hearts to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

The time has come for the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ of shalom peace to reach the last tribe on earth.

Shalom

 

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I Am Sorry June 19, 2013 By Alan Chambers

Three years ago, Leslie and I began a very public conversation with Our America’s Lisa Ling, from the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) regarding some of our deeply held beliefs about Christianity and the LGBT community.  Today, we have decided to carry this public conversation even further. While this conversation has and may well continue to be met with many different responses from supporters and critics, it is our desire to keep having these honest discussions in the hopes of arriving to a place of peace

Several months ago, this conversation led me to call Lisa Ling to take another step on this messy journey.  I asked if she would, once again, help us add to the unfolding story by covering my apology to the people who have been hurt by Exodus International.  Our ministry has been public and therefore any acknowledgement of wrong must also be public.  I haven’t always been the leader of Exodus, but I am now and someone must finally own and acknowledge the hurt of others. I do so anxiously, but willingly.

It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the church’s treatment of the LGBT community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.

It is also strange to be an outcast from powerful portions of both the gay community and the Christian community.  Because I do not completely agree with the vocal majorities in either group and am forging a new place of peaceful service in and through both, I will likely continue to be an outsider to some degree. I imagine it to be very much like a man I recently heard speak at a conference I attended, Father Elias Chacour, the Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Israel. He is an Arab Christian, Palestinian by birth, and a citizen of Israel. Talk about a walking contradiction.  When I think of the tension of my situation I am comforted by the thought of him and his.

My desire is to completely align with Christ, his Good News for all and his offer of peace amidst the storms of life. My wife Leslie and my beliefs center around grace, the finished work of Christ on the cross and his offer of eternal relationship to any and all that believe. Our beliefs do not center on “sin” because “sin” isn’t at the center of our faith. Our journey hasn’t been about denying the power of Christ to do anything – obviously he is God and can do anything.

With that, here is an expanded version of the apology I offered during my recent interview with Lisa Ling to the people within the LGBTQ community who have been hurt by the Church, Exodus International, and me.  I realize some within the communities for which I apologize will say I don’t have the right, as one man, to do so on their behalf.  But if the Church is a body, with many members being connected to the whole, then I believe that what one of us does right we all do right, and what one of us does wrong we all do wrong. We have done wrong, and I stand with many others who now recognize the need to offer apologies and make things right.  I believe this apology – however imperfect – is what God the Father would have me do.

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To Members of the LGBTQ Community:

In 1993 I caused a four-car pileup.  In a hurry to get to a friend’s house, I was driving when a bee started buzzing around the inside of my windshield. I hit the bee and it fell on the dashboard. A minute later it started buzzing again with a fury. Trying to swat it again I completely missed the fact that a city bus had stopped three cars in front of me.  I also missed that those three cars were stopping, as well.  Going 40 miles an hour I slammed into the car in front of me causing a chain reaction. I was injured and so were several others.  I never intended for the accident to happen. I would never have knowingly hurt anyone. But I did. And it was my fault. In my rush to get to my destination, fear of being stung by a silly bee, and selfish distraction, I injured others.

I have no idea if any of the people injured in that accident have suffered long term effects. While I did not mean to hurt them, I did. The fact that my heart wasn’t malicious did not lessen their pain or their suffering. I am very sorry that I chose to be distracted that fall afternoon, and that I caused so much damage to people and property.  If I could take it all back I absolutely would. But I cannot. I pray that everyone involved in the crash has been restored to health.

Recently, I have begun thinking again about how to apologize to the people that have been hurt by Exodus International through an experience or by a message. I have heard many firsthand stories from people called ex-gay survivors. Stories of people who went to Exodus affiliated ministries or ministers for help only to experience more trauma. I have heard stories of shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope. In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgement by me. 

And then there is the trauma that I have caused. There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does. As my friends do. As God does.

Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person. Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.

Friends and critics alike have said it’s not enough to simply change our message or website. I agree. I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today. I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated. 

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. 

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection.  I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.

I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them.  I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.   

You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope the changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show that I am serious in both my regret and my offer of friendship. I pledge that future endeavors will be focused on peace and common good.

Moving forward, we will serve in our pluralistic culture by hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality, while partnering with others to reduce fear, inspire hope, and cultivate human flourishing.

 

 

 

 

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