On June 19, the leaders of Exodus International issued a formal, public apology to the LGBT community for the years of deep damage they have wrought in the lives of people of faith who were convinced they could be changed from gay to straight by the organizations wrongheaded, harmful practices. Today I awoke to the Good News that the board of Exodus International has voted to close the “ministry” all together.
What on earth would lead them to change their minds so completely?
I choose to believe it is the unfurling of hearts reaching out with tendrils of hope toward the ever present beauty of of God’s Grace that has changed the hearts and minds of the leaders of Exodus International. Rather than taking a posture of skepticism or hard hearted “you’ve already done too much deadly damage (which is absolutely true), I am choosing to be genuinely grateful, hopeful and welcoming to beautiful and broken people who, like me, are ever evolving on this crazy journey called faith.
Here is their statement, problematic at points for sure, in full.
Exodus International to Shut Down
Thirty-seven-year-old ministry for those with same-sex attraction marks its last national conference
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,” Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing(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,” said 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 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.
Exodus President, Alan Chambers, is available for interviews. For press credentials or to set up an interview, contact Amy Tracy at 407/808-9831 or 719/355-9075; firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information and a schedule of activities, please go to http://www.exodusfreedom.org.
Thank you sisters and brothers, welcome home.