The organization that came to symbolize the toxic, dangerous “pray-away-the-gay”/reparative therapy movement is biting the dust, according to its head, Alan Chambers. He (finally) admitted that he still has same-sex attraction urges and recently apologized for the harm his work has caused the LGBT community (though he still personally believes in the need to suppress those urges in the name of his religious beliefs). Via Evan Hurst of Truth Wins Out, Chambers:
“From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”
For these reasons, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a separate ministry. “This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,” said Chambers. “Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”
Local affiliated ministries, which have always been autonomous, will continue, but not under the name or umbrella of Exodus.”
Evan, on why this is huge news:
His written apology was open and one-hundred percent honest, and quite frankly, it took a real man to write it; to acknowledge the pain that Exodus has caused over the years; to apologize without equivocation, and with specificity; and to do all this with his own livelihood on the line. Much work remains to be done to defeat the lie of “ex-gay”/reparative therapy, but this is a huge step in the right direction. In his talk tonight, I saw a humble, honest, and most importantly authentic man who isn’t afraid to face the music, and to do what he can to fix the problems he’s had a part in creating.
Alan stated in his talk tonight that he doesn’t want to see another “ex-gay” organization fill the void left by Exodus’s closing, but called on the Church to actually become a safe place for gays and lesbians.
From Chambers’ 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.
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.