Note from Rowland: the ad which might appear above this article was not chosen by me, but by Google Ads. I’m trying to figure out how to monitor this. For example: there was an ad here about meeting Gay Old Men! Why? ‘Cos I have many gay friends – I’m a chaplain to a Christian gay organization (Freedom2B) – and Google knows I’m over 75! But I’m hetero and happily married to my beautiful (female) wife!
I presume Google will tailor the ads on your site to suit their guess about your preferences! Any help to sort this out would be appreciated. (Use the contact button to contact me. Thanks).Â
We were wrong, admits ‘gay cure’ group
US correspondent for Fairfax Media
In perhaps the most startling example of the recent advances by the gay rights movement in America, one of the nation’s most prominent religious opponents of homosexuality has dissolved itself, issuing a long and detailed apology for the harm it caused during its 37 years of existence.
Exodus International was formed in 1976 after a conference of Christian ministries and since then has been a proponent of what the group has called “conversion therapy”, which it claimed could “cure” people of homosexuality through prayer and psychotherapy.
During annual conferences sponsored by the evangelical group Focus on the Family and via local churches, Exodus recruited gays with the message that “the sin of homosexual behaviour, like all sins, can be forgiven and healed by the grace revealed in the life and death of Christ”.
The group was never without critics who said the so-called therapy caused confusion, distress and often despair. Studies found time and again that only a very small minority of those that sought to change succeeded – about 15 per cent, in one longitudinal study.
Exodus was embarrassed in 1979 when senior members Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper divorced their wives and left the group to be together. They eventually shared a commitment ceremony in 1982.
It now appears that for more than a year Exodus International’s leadership has been suffering a crisis of conscience. In January 2012 its president, Alan Chambers, told a Gay Christian Network conference that 99.9 per cent of conversion therapy participants did not undergo a change in their sexuality.
Then in July he toldÂ The New York TimesÂ that virtually every “ex-gay” he has ever met still harbours homosexual cravings, himself included.
On Wednesday, after a unanimous vote during its annual meeting, the group’s leadership decided to dissolve, with Mr Chambers telling the gathering: “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 stigmatised parents.”
In an interview withÂ The AtlanticÂ magazine on Thursday, Mr Chambers said he still believed the organisation had done some good: “Exodus saved my life. I was vulnerable and I had no other place to go. I didn’t know what the gay community was or how to find it.
“It was a safe haven for this little kid of faith who needed an option.”
But he also said he understood why so many people were angry with Exodus. “It’s been traumatic for many people. It’s been horrific,” he said.
“And it’s not just Exodus. It’s the church. It’s a religious system that has taught us how to be contrary to the heart of Christ, to treat people who are sinners in ways that God himself wouldn’t ever treat them.”
Response to the apology has been mixed.
“This is a welcome first step in honestly addressing the harm the organisation and its leaders have caused,” Sharon Groves, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s religion and faith program, said. “Now we need them to take the next step of leadership and persuade all other religious-based institutions that they got it wrong.”
One person commenting on aÂ Los Angeles TimesÂ online report wrote: “Thirty-seven years spewing lies, dealing in the commerce of guilt and self-loathing and the shame that comes from failing is more than a generation of ruined lives.
“Someone who went to Exodus International 37 years ago at 18, for example, would now be 55, with the best years of his or her life lost. There is no amount of apology that can repair those countless numbers of lives.”
The US Supreme Court is expected to make two crucial decisions on gay marriage. In one it will rule on whether or not the federal Defence of Marriage Act, which forbids federal agencies from recognising gay marriage, is constitutional. In the other it will consider a ban on gay marriage in California.
Read more:Â http://www.theage.com.au/world/we-were-wrong-admits-gay-cure-group-20130621-2ooat.html#ixzz2Ww7hJHg6
Exodus International to Shut Down
Exodus International to Shut Down
Thirty-seven-year-old ministry for those with same-sex attraction marks its last national conferenceÂ
Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.
“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,”Â Tony Moore, Board member ofÂ Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released aÂ statement apologizingÂ (www.exodusinternational.org/apology) to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and 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,” saidÂ Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
Chambers continued: “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 toÂ reduce fearÂ (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.
Exodus President, Alan Chambers, is available for interviews.Â For additional information and a schedule of activities, please go tohttp://www.exodusfreedom.org.
Evangelical Ministry to Gays and Lesbians Admits It Caused Harm
by Martin E. Marty
Monday | June 24 2013
Notice the tenses in Wikipedia’s entry on “Exodus International” posted only a day or two after events necessitated a change from the word “is” to “was”. Quote: “Exodus International was a non-profit interdenominational ex-gay Christian organization that sought to help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires. . . Exodus International formerly asserted . . . [it] was an umbrella organization which grew to include. . . over 150 ministries in 17 other countries.” Etc.
One does not expect instant revisions of encyclopedias, whether of the on-line or other-line sorts. Give the religious world a week or two before anything about theology draws notice from a few. But anything to do with “Sex,” not “God,” is the splitting agent of denominations. Hundreds of congregations in numerous church bodies have broken away since words like “same-sex” came to prime time in church and world.
We can’t fault the media for giving so much attention to last week’s news about the “Closing Shop” sign posted by Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. Quite remarkable is his avoidance of the pop-penitence so often practiced today. Not content with “if we offended or hurt anyone,” or “we made a mistake,” he went on to speak for the organization as he apologized for the pain, hurt, and all that went with the Exodus approach. He acknowledged that Exodus-type policies and strategies could lead to suicide and to church, family, and friends turning away. That’s quite serious.
Chambers, married to a woman and a father of two adopted children, acknowledged that not all impulses connected with his homosexual make-up had disappeared, but he understood them and encountered them with new understanding.
Since the simple declaration that homosexual activity is a sin used to be the first and last word, for Christians who made it basic to their understanding of faith, a declaration like Chambers’ is the latest shakeup in the ranks of the formerly completely self-assured evangelical leaders.
Not all evangelicals, of course, think this week’s news settles much. The Southern Baptist Convention’s new “ethics” man, Russell Moore was ready: “I think it’s easy to overblow this story into a parable of evangelical shift;” “it’s only the end of a ministry that had been confused for some time about its own views.” Chambers had said “For some time we’ve been imprisoned in a world view that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
Below, we provide links to an intelligent but not-unfiery exchange between two staunch evangelicals who argue about reactions to the five or six references in the bible that are negative toward homosexuality.
Columnist and blogger Peter Wehner, attacked by Kevin DeYoung, pastor of the University Reformed Church in East Lansing, responds in complex ways that we cannot condense here. Wehner quotes New Testament scholar Richard B. Hays, and Gospel Coalition founder Timothy J. Keller, both of whom make efforts to provide a broader context for dealing with biblical texts without down-playing the seriousness with which the texts are to be taken.
Wehner himself points to the standard evangelical compromise or by-passing of biblical anti-divorce texts, which affect millions, but holds firm to his insistence that the five or six negative biblical references cover everything that needs to be said on homosexuality.
Rest assured: more will be said.
“Exodus International.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Accessed June 23, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_International.
Chambers, Alan. “A Changing World – Letter from Alan Chambers, May 2013.” ExodusInternational.org, May 21, 2013. Accessed June 23, 2013. http://exodusinternational.org/2013/05/a-changing-world-letter-from-alan-chambers-may-2013/.
Do, Anh, Kate Mather, and Joe Mozingo. “Shifting tide was ministry’s doom.” Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2013. http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/21/local/la-me-0621-exodus-international-gays-20130621.
Wehner, Peter. “An Evangelical Christian Looks at Homosexuality.” Patheos.com, June 11, 2013. Accessed June 23, 2013. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2013/06/20/jesus-homosexuals-grace-wehner-deyoung/.
DeYoung, Kevin. “Common Fault Lines in Maintaining an Evangelical Approach to Homosexuality.” TheGospelCoalition.org, June 14, 2013. Accessed June 23, 2013. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/06/14/common-fault-lines-in-maintaining-an-evangelical-approach-to-homosexuality/.
Wehner, Peter. “Jesus, Homosexuals, and the Grace of God: A Response to Kevin DeYoung.” Patheos.com, June 20, 2013. Accessed June 23, 2013. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2013/06/20/jesus-homosexuals-grace-wehner-deyoung/.
Author, Martin E. Marty, is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His biography, publications, and contact information can be found at www.memarty.com.