This just got interesting.
On Wednesday, Alan Chambers, president of “ex-gay ministry” Exodus International, published a long, frank apology. It reads, in part:
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.
Welcome words and a welcome first step, but only words and only a first step.
As Warren Throckmorton wrote after reading that apology, “Alan Chambers is a guy in process.” But in process toward what?
Then this happened: “Breaking: Exodus International Is Shutting Down.” That’s from Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, who is attending what will be the final Exodus International conference and live-blogged the announcement from the opening plenary session there. This is from Chambers’ official statement announcing the end of the organization:
For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.
… 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.
Chambers will be forming a new organization — “reduce fear” — whose aim is to “come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”
This is surprising and encouraging. And liberating — almost like a kind of, you know, Exodus.
(P.S.: Kudos to whoever edits the Exodus entry at Wikipedia — which already has the announcement and has been converted into the past tense.)