Longstanding "ex-gay" ministry, Exodus Int'l, closes doors

Source: huffingtonpost.com

“Exodus International Shuts Down: Christian Ministry Apologizes To LGBT Community And Halts Operations”

Exodus International, a large Christian ministry that claimed to offer a “cure” for homosexuality, plans to shut down.

In a press release posted on the ministry’s website Wednesday night, the board of directors announced the decision to close after nearly four decades.

“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Exodus board member Tony Moore said.

The closure comes less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for years of undue judgment, by the organization and from the Christian Church as a whole.

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism. For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical," said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus.

The apology coincided with the ministry’s annual conference in Irvine, Calif., and the planned broadcast of a “Gods & Gays” report on “Our America With Lisa Ling,” which is slated to air on OWN tonight.

Excerpt from ministry president’s apology:

“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.”

Wooooooooowwwwwwww

This is a really heartfelt and thorough apology:

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.

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.

That’s amazing.

Yeah, kudos to them. Obviously, the whole cure thing was a complete sham and a ridiculous waste, but I have nothing but respect for Alan Chambers realizing that he was doing more harm than good and for coming clean in such a public way.

“To pretend that Exodus is a wonderful organization that never caused anyone trauma is not true. We need to change the way we do things, the language that we use, the truth of our story and how we interact with each other as Christians,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

LA Times article.

Good on 'em.

I’m frankly stunned. I was sure they’d be a thorn in the side of the Gay Rights movement for the rest of my life. Wow. Good on them is right.

It’s awesome that a Christian church has taken a good look at what they have been doing, seeing the wrong in it, and changing their behavior to be more aligned with Christ’s teachings without having to sacrifice their own personal beliefs. On the other hand, it’s sad that this is such a rare thing, you know? Love thy neighbor, love thine enemy, thou shalt not judge… all those things tend to be pushed to the side in favor of bigotry, something which I’ll never understand.

Such a surprising about face. It’s right up there with the XBone’s 180 :-). More seriously, much respect to them for doing this. It’s far harder to admit wrong and apologize than it is to stay the course.

It’s pretty simple, actually. Most religions, including mainstream Christianity, teach that they and they alone possess The Answer. Those who believe are saved, those who don’t are not. That pervasive “we’re right and you aren’t” attitude is inherently divisive and engenders feelings of superiority and bigotry in all but the rarest of individuals despite any exhortations to the contrary.

That was a mighty Christian statement and the happiest news I can remember reading in weeks.

I hope it isn’t some weird stunt.

Counterpoint:

http://johnshore.com/2013/06/20/who-would-suggest-that-exodus-internationals-apology-isnt-sincere/

He breaks down the apology and contrasts the remarks with Chambers speech from the previous evening at the Exodus Freedom Conference.

It seems the plan is to come back with a new organization Reduced Fear, that doesn’t really change much of anything.

Meh. The rebuttal seems a bit mean-spirited. He focuses on the fact that chambers doesn’t renounce his opposition to gay marriage and actual gay intercourse. OK, that’s fine, but Chambers actually brings those points up in his address and states that holding those beliefs does not give him leave to hurt anyone else. That’s pretty big of him.

Next, Shore doesn’t give him any credit at all for the core point of the apology: a very public acknowledgment that people are born gay (presumably at the whim or plan of god) and as such should be welcomed into the church. Chambers may not have become the progressive ideal of a theist, but I’d say he’s more than met them halfway.

This is unexpected turn of events.

That’s a curious thing to say if he wishes to maintain a strong moral distinction between homosexual attraction and homosexual actions. He will need a new, polite synonym for “sodomy”, if he feels that technical term has become too depreciative. Is such a word available yet?

Very nice read - thanks! Imagine if some politicians did the same!