An open letter to Exodus International’s super-remorseful Alan Chambers


Dear Mr. Chambers:

I am writing in regard to your apology yesterday for all the devastating things that your “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International, has done to LGBTQ people and their families over the past thirty-seven years. It’s so heartening when a person apologizes for how wrong they’ve been.

And congratulations on all the press coverage your apology is receiving! First you issued your I Am Sorry statement, right after that you announced, during your opening address at last night’s 38th Annual Exodus Freedom Conference, that Exodus was shutting down—and then, the very next day, you starred in a massively promoted tear-jerker of a TV show being broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network!

Why, it’s almost like you’ve been strategically planning your heartfelt apology for months! I’m sure you haven’t, of course: nobody is so low that they would turn a moment of piercing remorse brought on by the realization of how destructively wrong they’ve been into a manifestly self-serving, blatantly opportunistic, emotionally manipulative media event. But the timing of it all sure worked out well for you, didn’t it? Yesterday you were the head of a once powerful organization that had become utterly discredited, maligned, and irrelevant, because it was founded upon the life-ruining lie that God is righteously angered by any gay person who does not pray away their gay. And now, with all lights turned toward you, you’re launching Reduced Fear, the brand-new organization run by you and all your friends at Exodus International!

How great for you is all that? Way to go!

I have just a couple of quick questions, though. And since I know that you want to be as open and transparent as possible about everything you and Exodus are doing, I thought I’d go ahead and ask them.

Amongst the many conciliatory-sounding things you wrote in your apology are buried these words:

I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex …

and also these:

I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage.

Now, my guess is that, with everything going on, you got so busy that you simply forgot to edit out of your apology those two statements. I figure that must be the case; otherwise, one is forced to conclude that you haven’t in the slightest changed your belief that gay people can and should pray away their gay. And if you still believe that the Bible proscribes, denounces, and condemns homosexuality, then  … well, then what exactly are you apologizing for? About what are you feeling remorseful that matters?

Then, as far as I can tell, the only thing that you can be actually saying is that you regret not what Exodus was, but only how Exodus went about being what it was.

And if that’s the case, then of course you’re not really apologizing at all. Then you’re no different from the guy saying, “I apologize for being the leader of a group of white-hooded KKK guys who burned a cross on your lawn. That was wrong. You niggers still need to go, of course. But we’re gonna stop with the hoods and the cross burnings. People just don’t get behind that the way they used to. So we’re gonna regroup, lose the name ‘KKK,’ and come up with a more acceptable way of promoting what we believe. Isn’t that great?!”

So … isn’t that message pretty wholly the opposite of reducing fear? I think it is.

Assuming that you had only made an editing mistake or two in your I Am Sorry, I next listened very carefully to your speech opening the Exodus conference, in which you announced the closing of Exodus International and the opening of Reduced Fear (the website for which, btw—and contrary to what you indicate in your talk—is not, as of this writing, up). To the members of your audience, most if not all of whom still believe that if they only become strong enough Christians they can stop being gay, you said:

[The shutting down of Exodus] doesn’t mean I believe anything differently than I did a decade ago, when my message was different from it is today. … I’m not saying that we abandon what we believe.

So may I ask: Would you please take another look at my questions above?

You concluded your speech with these words:

My board and leadership and I want to see reconciliation and restoration in the church. And we believe the time is now for the church to open its door, and allow the marginalized in … so that they, along with us, can experience mutual transformation.

During times of crises, like natural disasters, we don’t stop and ask people who need help whether they’re gay or straight, or anything else. We see someone in need, and we help them. And it’s time for the church to get back into the business of serving and loving people in need. …

In the midst of this message tonight, and in the midst of this scary reality of what in the world do we do about this community [of Exodus International members]: Christ died to give you peace. The King is on the throne. And you can trust Him. …

We [the members of Exodus International/Reduced Fear] are to serve as missionaries in this culture. … We must be a beacon of hope. …

While [the closing of Exodus] is a painful thing … something better is coming. There is more. This doesn’t negate our stories. It doesn’t negate what God is calling you to do. It’s just simply a new time. [Alan: it was awesome the way, right after you said that, you froze in place, and for a full eight and one-half seconds I (I timed it!) silently stared directly into the camera you'd been ignoring for the whole previous hour! Boy. Way to use your super-handsomeness to drive home the point that you and Exodus are like a phoenix on the rise!]

My prayer for us this week is that we have an amazing last Exodus conference …  that we celebrate the amazing things that have happened over the last thirty-eight conferences and thirty-seven years. …

We are the church. Amen? And we have good news to share. And it’s time that we share the good news of Jesus Christ.

So, as I say, I’m just a tad confused. Not once in your speech—which I’ll be the first to say was veritably jammed with talk about God and forgiveness and healing and welcoming and redemption and reconciliation and peace and love and joy and salvation—did I hear you express regret for you and Exodus having spent over three decades helping to destroy the lives of gay people and their families through your peddling and capitalizing upon the message that God’s greatest desire for every gay person is that they cease to be gay.

I heard you say that you regret the way in which Exodus communicated that message. I heard you say that you regret the way in which people now think of Exodus. I heard you say how proud you are of Exodus. And I definitely heard you repeatedly say that it’s high time for the church to start welcoming gay people, and all others who are marginalized and “in need.”

But (as opposed to them being “in need”) I never heard you say that it’s okay for people to be gay. You didn’t come close to saying anything like it. What you said—though one must resolutely gaze into the haze of the great many other things you said before this critical message of yours clearly emerges—is that your new house, Reducing Fear, will be built upon the same dark foundation upon which the ruins of Exodus now sit.

Throughout your talk, you were definitely feeling unabashedly enthused and proud about Reducing Fear becoming, as you put it any number of times, the “father” of the church. (“[Exodus] is the older brother [of the church]. And it’s time we became the father.”)

I assume you’re aware of this, but just in case: acute remorse usually engenders a sense of profound humility. A lot of people find heart-wrenching regret incompatible with pride and ambition. I must admit that I am one such person. When I feel the full weight of something egregiously immoral that I have done, the last thing I want to do is go wading amongst the very people whom I’ve damaged, and start telling them about all my new plans for championing their best interests. But maybe that’s just me.

You, Mr. Chambers, are a master communicator. So I am certain that in short order you will make clear that you do, in fact, feel truly remorseful, and that the closing of Exodus International, and the launching in its place of Reducing Fear, is something more than what just now I’m afraid it can only appear to be, which is an appallingly arrogant, cruelly exploitative, and shamelessly self-serving expression of a cynicism so absolute it borders on the sublime.

 

Not altogether unrelated: As Alan “Pray Away the Gay” Chambers ties his tongue in a knot and  What today’s evangelicals are telling gay people.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    As always, your insight and and use of humor is spot on. I agree, the timing is quite odd on everything.and being an unabashed skeptic who’s favorite word is “why” I am dubious as well. We shall see how things pan out.

  • Nick

    I would like to remind everyone that the KKK’s bias was not solely racial, they were and are still also against the Jewish faith, the Roma peoples, and had a long running post-card campaign that used the slogan, “Gas homosexuals!” Those parallels to the Nazi movement are unmistakable. We must never forget.

  • Rob Osberg

    As always John, you are SPOT ON!!! Chambers and his crew have damaged and destroyed so many lives…no apology can suffice, but Gods judgement ultimately will. I’ll hold judgement on their new “Reduced Fear” organization. I suspect they, as others have done, will become blatantly a “love the sinner, HATE the sin” type of organization. Thanks SO MUCH John for your insight!!!!

  • Kristi Outler Byrd

    This is a step in the right direction but only a tiny one. Alan Chambers needs to come out and state EXACTLY what he believes about homosexuality. I hope the new organization doesn’t turn out to be a “let’s hold hands and all get along while all the while I think being gay is an abomination” -type of group. Time will tell. I’m happy for this small step but it needs to be only the first of many steps seeking reconciliation and forgiveness from the LGBT community that Exodus grievously harmed. Chambers needs to proceed with complete transparency from this point onward.

  • http://www.justjohnboy.com/ justjohn

    yes, and amen, mister john. the sum totalbof what i see is this: “holy shit, we have lost the culture and theological war. regroup and soft sell the idea that it is still a sin, but forgiven. and maybe them abominations will be fooled.” either way, it is indeed a seminal moment. the soviets didnt openly acknowledge fully being wrong after the wall came down. never have since. but tacitly, they have. maybe they need to have the comfort of preserving pridebin order to gradually change? let’s hope.

  • Kaui Lucas

    Above all, love. Luke 17:3-4 ESV Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents,forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

    • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

      The thing is, when one repents, he doesn’t say, “I don’t apologize for all of the things that you’ve actually got against me. And I’m going to open a new business that does more or less the same thing I always have”

  • Andrew Page

    Very well said John. I think there is a lot more at play here than merely remorse; Chambers is a smart operator and I’m not taking his apology at face value. But it’s a step in the right direction and a nail in the coffin for the “gay cure” movement.

  • Bill Meiners

    I appreciate Alan Chambers honesty and that he is willing to admit that Exodus’s past positions on same-sex attraction have not been correct. However it is also clear that Alan does not have any good answers that are both biblical and do not unfairly condemn gays.

    There is some confusion here. Alan Chambers said many good
    things. It is excellent in that he was being honest about the results of the
    ministry. What is confusing is he that he seemed to say or imply that is OK to
    sin or do what we want as long as we say we are Christians. We all know that
    Jesus said that many who call him Lord are not saved. It is true, as Alan said,
    that it not the Church’s role to decide or judge who is or isn’t saved.
    However, it is one of the Church’s most important roles to clearly communicate
    what sin is and what it is not. As well as what a person must do to be saved.

    It seems that Alan is going from one extreme to too far the
    other way. As the saying goes “The truth usually lies in the middle” To those
    who want to have a good balance and understand the truth on this issue, I throw
    out the following: That the Bible does not condemn a person’s sexual
    orientation. The Bible does clearly call out lust as sin. But that is
    independent from one’s sexual orientation. I know on the surface the Bible
    seems to condemn homosexuality, plus it has been church tradition to condemn
    it, and also it has been condemned by society for ages. But the Bible also says
    that there are some scriptures that are hard to understand and some people
    wrestle with and get wrong.

    Paul also told the Church at Corinth that he want to feed
    them with meat but they were still Christian babies and could only handle milk.
    This is a meat issue. It is actually not complicated but it needs truly mature
    Christians to understand it, as well as God’s timing.

    There is not space to give a full explanation here, but for
    a clear simple explanation on a balanced view on the same-sex issue check out
    the book “Biblical Support for Homosexual Marriage / A Message for the Bride of
    Christ”.

    As well as the same-sex attraction issue, it also clearly
    addresses and explains the two questions above: What sin is and what it is not.
    As well as what a person must do to be saved. I recommend it for those who want to understand the same-sex attraction issue better. However, most importantly I recommend it to those who want to communicate the real Jesus more clearly and simply to a lost world.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      And lust is only sinful, if you *act* on it.

      As a heterosexual, I’m attracted to lots of people. But I only have sex with my wife, and even then, when we’re trying to have a child, not just for the fun of it or when she is having other issues.

      • Bill Meiners

        Actually, according to the Bible, you are wrong. Jesus said that whoever lusts after another in their heart has sinned already, even if no action was taken. Sexual attraction is natural, but when it becomes an idol, it turns sinful and destructive, and becomes an enemy to the love of God.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          And what I’m saying is it isn’t an idol for me. I don’t even let it take over my thoughts.

          • Bill Meiners

            Theodore, that is good. Consider this though:

            There are many
            heterosexual Christians that live celibate and single lives. Paul the
            apostle did. The Bible says it’s a good way to live. However if the
            church made a rule that all heterosexual Christians should live this
            way, would that be healthy, doable, or loving?

            So then If the
            heterosexual Christian church would not want to live this way, is it
            healthy, fair, or loving to ask the homosexual Christian church to live
            this way?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            There is a *REASON* why the Church doesn’t ask heterosexuals to live that way. Certain lay orders and Protestant groups have tried it over the centuries, and it always results in the same basic pattern. The most recent one, in the United States, was the Protestant Shakers. Within 160 years, the entire denomination was dead.

            Let me know when homosexuals marrying each other results in children, then we’ll talk.

          • Bill Meiners

            Well then Theodore, according to your logic and
            reasoning:
            Heterosexual couples that do not have children, or cannot have
            children, are pretty much failures. Or maybe at least they should have separate
            bedrooms so as to avoid temptation or at least to not give the appearance of
            evil. Also, I guess we should probably should chalk up Abraham’s first 80
            or so years of marriage to Sara as a failure and pretty much a waste.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            “Heterosexual couples that do not have children, or cannot havechildren, are pretty much failures. ”

            Yes. Including myself, as I have fewer children than needed for replacement rate.

          • Bill Meiners

            No, not at all Therodore. You are only a failure if you choose to not love your neighbor as yourself. Of course, this is impossible to actually do, except one chooses to give up their life and ask Jesus to give them the desire and power to do so, as well as to submit to His Lordship. In reality It is not hard to do this, but equally true, it is also not hard to not do. Praise the Almighty for making such an unspeakable gift available to us and to all. What a God is God!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/ Kimberly

    John,

    Thank you for teasing out all of the problematic and narcissistic elements of what is happening with the “ministry” formerly known as Exodus International. Although I have come out with a posture of trust and hope, your incisive analysis of what I willfully tried to gloss over is a reality check worth sharing. I am frequently my own worst enemy as I rush to see the best in people while keeping one eye shut. I get f’d over lots and lots as a result. I do not see you as a cynic but as a stark realist and I thank you for snapping your fingers and keeping me awake.

    Kimberly

  • danafriedman64

    Hi John:

    You’re a brilliant, eloquent, and funny writer. I’m a comic, and I wrote jokes about Exodus International’s closing. They got laughs so I’m going to keep them. I’m Jewish, and wrote similar jokes about JONAH—the Jewish equivalent of Exodus International. Regardless, your insight about the approach Reduce Fear is going to take seems to hit the nail on the head. If their aim is to stop people from acting on homosexuality, maybe we can nickname it AA for Gay, or Gay-A for short. Whaddaya think?

  • mhelbert

    As I read through the many accounts of Exodus’ exodus, I, too, was confused. I wanted to give Chambers the benefit of the doubt. I read Kimberly’s post and thought, Yeah, that’s how we should approach this. But, that nagging little nit in my brain just wouldn’t stop buzzing. Thanks for giving words to what I was feeling.

  • SusanRogersStLaurent

    When I first read his apology, I thought it was good, that it’s high time someone in the reparative-therapy movement admitted that it doesn’t work. Then I read your open letter, and my first thought was, “Oh, yeah,” because you pointed out things that I wouldn’t have noticed. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for now, but we’ll see how this all plays out.

  • Cosmo

    To all of you piling on Mr. Chambers I have a simple qusion…Is it possible, and even acceptable in your view, for a person to have an honest conviction that the Bible calls the practice of homosexuaity sin while at the same time be profoundly remorseful of his wholly improper past behavior and attitude toward gays and lesbians? You bet it is possible. Let us remember that love is kind, it’s patient, and it believes all things. The man has made a big (and necessary) apology and he is obviously still struggling with the issue to some degree. Lighten up people, and let’s extend to the man some grace.

    • seannaes

      Did you read the post you’re commenting on? The whole point here, the reason behind the anger, is that not only has Mr. Chambers not changed, but he is working very hard to get famous off of this so he can carry that into a new ministry. What’s the problem with this? Well, his new ministry will be just as dangerous.

      If he actually felt any remorse, he would apologize and disappear from public life – not try to get into another position where he has influence over vulnerable people.

  • Josh

    As a Gay Christian, I am saddened by the amount of “progressive intolerance,” vitriol and sarcasm in this “open letter.” For an “Unfundamentalist Christian,” it sounds pretty fundamentalist to me. Sigh. When someone has come a long way, the response should not be, “nope, not far enough.” Imagine if this person had written the Prodigal Son story… “And the Father saw his son from afar and yelled “run faster lazy, you have some explaining to do!”

    • seannaes

      …he hasn’t come a long way…so there’s not really much more to say.

    • Cosmo

      I agree Josh. If this is the stock response to the Alan Chambers among us then we have farther to go on this issue than I imagined. I understand the cumulative hurt and pain in the LGBT community over the past actions of EI and others. However, confession must be met with loving forgiveness…all 490 times, not cynicism. God’s peace to you.

      • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

        he has not “confessed” nor expressed contrition for the very real actions and beliefs that were at the root of the damage he and his organization caused. he has expressed sorrow and regret that people were hurt, confused and even suicidal. but he does not seem to have grasped his complicity in that. if you read closely in his apology, he blames that pain and anguish on a few “bad eggs” within Exodus who he sacked after discovering they had abused their clients sexually or physically. that doesn’t even begin to answer for the spiritual and psychological abuse LGBTQIA people across the US have been subjected to as a result of the very existence of Exodus and the deeply flawed premise upon which it was founded.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          And those specifics were what so many are hoping for. That Exodus fostered such a backlash against the community, which was deemed as acceptable behavior among Christians all over the world is a real tragedy. There is so much work to be done, to help heal, and repair the damage to lives, families, and communities.

          This, thankfully, is merely a blip on the radar of the larger work to be done, which is to truly work to love one another as ourselves. We have a lot to do.

        • Cosmo

          Once again, his organization is gone. He has expressed deep regret and hurt over all of the damage that was inflicted upon so many as a result of EI’s methods and ministry. If what you are waiting for from him is a wholesale repudiation of all that he did and all that he use to believe about homosexuality then his critics will likely never be satisfied. You don’t have to like him nor do you have to necessarily trust him but love demands that we stop parsing this man’s words and forgive him. God’s peace to you.

          • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

            but the organization isn’t gone, is it? nor is his source of income. it’s just being re-launched with a different name and a slightly different mission statement. it’s purpose is retooled to mirror what’s been happening in several evangelical churches recently: they welcome LGBTQIA people to come in the door and then expect them to “allow Jesus to change them”. this doesn’t seem to me any better and, in fact, for those of use who are LGBTQIA and Christian it’s potentially even more insidious.

            no, I need to see what he really intends with this “Reducing Fear” thing before I have any idea whether or not to extend forgiveness.

            as I mentioned elsewhere, though, this does not mean that I hate Alan Chambers or that I’d refuse him the hand of Christian fellowship. far from it! I would greet him and engage with him respectfully and lovingly if given the opportunity.

            to me this is like when my 5 year old nephew gets caught doing something wrong and immediately he says “Sorry!”. before we tell him we forgive him we make sure he understands what he did wrong. I remain unconvinced that Alan Chambers understands that.

          • Cosmo

            I understand your concern about “Reducing Fear.” Time will tell. It’s my understanding (albeit finite) that Reducing Fear is not reparative therapy based in the way that EI was. Once again, we’ll see. As far as I can tell he still believes that the practice of homosexuality is contrary to God’s will and so it should be no surprise that he would be involved in a ministry that reflects that belief, minus of course the reparative therapy tactics. In my mind it was the reparative therapy voodoo that was the truly insidious part of EI’s ministry. The “allow Jesus to change you” route could be said about most every conservative church in America, so in that sense he is not doing anything groundbreaking with RF.
            Bottom line, his assumed belief against the practice of homosexuality, though one may disagree with him, does not make him a bad person. His desire to see people change, though one may disagree with him, does not make him a bad person either, in fact it makes him at least consistent. God’s peace to you.

          • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

            Some Christians believe same-sex attraction is okay with God but not same-sex relationships (side B). I believe both are okay (side A).

            However, even side B thinking is better than the belief that same-sex attraction is a ‘sin’ that needs to be prayed out.
            I think we will have to wait to see how the old Exodus develops.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            “As far as I can tell he still believes that the practice of
            homosexuality is contrary to God’s will and so it should be no surprise that he would be involved in a ministry that reflects that belief”

            Why? Why should he be involved in that sort of ministry at all? There are all sorts of things I think are probably “contrary to God’s will,” but I don’t go starting up ministries to address them.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          The above is why people like me are becoming convinced that LGBTQUIA is about hate, not love.

          • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

            my response is not about hate, but about anger at real pain and suffering that has been caused and needs to be answered for. as I’ve stated elsewhere, I would never presume to exclude Alan Chambers from Christian fellowship. if given the opportunity, I would extend him every courtesy and respect out of my Christian love for him. but I’m not about to trust that just because he says “I’m sorry” that he has genuinely repented from what he did until I see it evidenced in his actions. I’m loving, but not naive.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            The way that anger is being expressed, is no different whatsoever than the mind control Alan Chambers was attempting to practice in Exodus International.

            The lack of ability to forgive, speaks against Christianity and for something much, much different.

            I have grave doubts to begin with for homosexuality being love, just from the way homosexuals treat each other. I have the same concern for heterosexual couples where the man is ready to leave as soon as the woman becomes pregnant, or where sex is so central to the relationship that an inability to have sex becomes grounds for divorce.

            Celibate same sex attracted people, in comparison, have much to teach us all about love.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      How is saying “I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex” coming “a long way”?

    • Ben Boquist

      couldn’t agree with you more Josh. Especially since there are equally biting blogs being written about Alan Chambers from the fundamentalist perspective:

      “there is a concerted effort in pats of the church to disqualify me from my rightful place as a son, simply because we dared to say we were sorry to people who deserved an apology.” – Alan Chambers

      • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

        this is a difference I’d like to highlight. if Alan Chambers showed up at a welcoming, affirming church I’d like to believe he’d find himself embraced in the hands of Christian fellowship. if I were attending such a church myself and saw him in the congregation, I know that I’d want to speak with him courteously, respectfully and in Christian love. he and I might never agree, but I would not seek to exclude him from fellowship merely on the basis of his belief about the “sinfulness” of gay sex.

        as for his “I’m Sorry” and whether forgiveness is forthcoming, I agree with John Shore. first he needs to grasp and then apologize for what he and his organization did and said that was actually wrong. some other commenters have stated this is a “first step” that should be welcomed with joy. my problem with that is I don’t see Mr. Chambers stepping in the right direction for the right reasons. that doesn’t mean I don’t love him as a brother in Christ. I need him to recognize ME as HIS brother in Christ, just the way I am, openly gay and all.

  • seannaes

    I am in love with this post because I’ve seen right through this as well and I’m worried about what he’s going to be up to in the not too distant future. Children and teenagers have literally killed others and themselves because of the same crap that people like Chambers spread. TRUE remorse; the ULTIMATE apology for that fact…would be getting OUT of the public eye…not starting a new ministry while riding the wave of publicity that has been orchestrated so perfectly here. He’s going to continue to spread the idea that gay men should marry women and remain celibate and unhappy or whatever it is he’s doing with that poor woman, so anyone who thinks he’s really changed is mistaken.

  • http://www.theundergroundrailroad.ca/oneabolitionist/ Erin

    Being attracted to women & men is confusing, & Exodus International was no help. But even I knew a teeny baby step when I saw one – a step we can hold Chambers to account for. Your letter, sir, is more frightening. You might be saying what we all wanted to hear, but you said it in a way that I would not trust my own story to you — ever.

    It was one little step, & you jam him up for it. It was done in a way you disagreed with and you shoot him down. Gosh darn, we complain that we’re judged based on 7 little bible verses, and you shove him off by pulling out 2 strands in his letter.

    This was a STEP. Not the end. A first STEP. You mention the KKK… all former KKK members just dropped all their vitriol and rhetoric over night? Maybe… MAYBE… it took some time to re-work even the very words they spoke. Transformation was at work, but time was needed too. Could it be possibly be the same here???

    I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt by EI, but you’re lack of grace shown here has offered this bi Christian no hope that you could be supportive or loving or reconciling either.

    Sir?

    I hear your points, but you could please offer a re-write that would endear more trust and hope from the rest of us? It was downright mean.

    • John (not McCain)

      The vile bigot goons of Exodus helped turn me suicidal. Fuck Alan Chambers and his “apology”. I hope he and his sham wife rot.

    • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

      Erin, did you read the whole “I’m Sorry” letter Alan Chambers posted on the Exodus site? If you did then you surely, as I did, saw that Mr. Chambers did not take responsibility for the psychological damage and spiritual abuse that has been heaped on LGBTQIA people across the US as a direct result of the existence of and message of Exodus International. Instead, he only took responsibility as an employer for the actions of a few “bad eggs” who had physically or sexually abused Exodus clients. Alan Chambers still doesn’t “get it”. He doesn’t see how dangerous and damaging is his still held belief that for someone other than himself to be gay, to have gay sex, to engage in a gay marriage is “sinful”. He hasn’t yet come to the realization that it’s neither his nor any other Christian’s business to concern themselves with how much or what kind of sex someone else has who isn’t their partner or spouse.

      It’s difficult to see this “I’m Sorry” letter in any other light than Alan Chambers regretting his loss of income and his desire to market a “new, improved, less offensive” Exodus.. err.. Reducing Fear organization so that he can still have gainful employment and can still promote the idea that gay Christians should either do their best to pretend being straight or should be celibate in order to “fully participate” in their churches.

      As for John Shore, I can assure you he does “get it”. I’ve read several of his books and followed his blog postings on LGBTQIA topics. I’m not only an openly gay Christian, I’m one of two LGBTQIA members of the Unfundamentalist Christians admin team.

      • http://www.theundergroundrailroad.ca/oneabolitionist/ Erin

        I did indeed read the letter in its entirety. And yes, there were elements I wish he had been clearer on. That wasn’t the point of my response.

        For years, we’ve been asking to be shown mercy, grace, love and acceptance. Whether Chambers is truly extending these things or not (or a mixture thereof) remains to be seen. As I said: this is a baby step. Perhaps towards good or perhaps the baby will fall on his butt. But it’s a small start, and to jump hard on such a small step, whatever direction, was mean-spirited and the antithesis of the Spirit. Perhaps there was truth, but love? Where was that? Why should any person believe Shore when the love we supposedly espouse to was rolled up using the same tactics we accuse anti-gay groups of using? Quite frankly, I was astonished.

        To fight for those good things above using snark is a low blow. I’m sure JS does “get it”, but I maintain his handling of the situation was ungracious, unmerciful, and showed on behalf of many of us a nasty side that many of us have worked hard to expunge. We all wish for shalom. But unless we take it up on ourselves to continually extend it, why should the rest of the world believe us that there is a better way?

        JS had some fair points. His presentation of them were cruel, in my opinion. The points could have been made just as powerfully without the snark, the meanness or resorting to the taunting we’ve been exposed to from others in our own lives.

  • Merwyn Haskett

    I understand being cautious and skeptical, but where’s the Christian Grace? Maybe he doesn’t deserve it, but the whole point of Grace is that we don’t deserve it. Give him a chance to “go and sin no more” first.

  • Martha Graham

    for him to have acknowledged that what they were doing is “unblblical” is huge stuff. Not saying we need to celebrate him with open arms, but we can celebrate that no matter what move they make next, this is indicative of a huge awakening across the board for the next generation of christians. I as a gay woman see it as a glimmer of light. Maybe not the light at the end of the tunnel, but an indication that there’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. It’s here.

  • http://www.emergentfaith.org/blog R. Jay Pearson

    John, I read your open letter yesterday, and while very well written, I refuse to buy into the absolute cynicism you employ in justifying your suspicion and distrust. No way. No thanks.

    We Christians have a narrative: after being ridiculed by our enemy, after being persecuted by our enemy, after being beaten by our enemy, and after being tortured and mutilated and hung on a cross by our enemy . . . we still extend grace to our enemy. Now, this does not mean glamorizing abuse, inviting victimization, or dismissing accountability. But it also does not mean using suspicion as our measure for how much grace we give. That’s not the Jesus Way. The “Church” has done that for centuries, and look where it got us.

    We extend grace for the sake of “the other” as much as for our own, and in this case Alan Chambers has outright asked for it. And if we hold back because we’re afraid — or even worse, if we instantly assume — he might not be sincere, well then the sincerity of our own faith is just as much in question as his, isn’t it. Grace is the fireman who runs into the danger.

    • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

      In order to understand why some of us are cynical, think of it this way. If Alan Chambers were the head pastor of a church that had made its reputation (and his fortune) teaching the evangelical line of faithful monogamy, sexual purity, tithing, moderation, etc. and then we discovered that he had been paying male prostitutes for sex, bribing them into silence, throwing wild drunken parties at out-of-the-public-eye locations and generally living high off the benefits of the church’s income… would you accept a mere verbal “I’m so sorry” that didn’t also include concrete evidence of changed behavior? Would you be eager to support his “new, improved” church that promised to teach a slightly less stringent version of the old evangelical purity message?

      Alan Chambers and Exodus International have been teaching loudly for years that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and gender dysphoric people can be “saved” from their “sin” by undergoing reparative therapy. They’ve played that particular harp for so long that a very large number of evangelical Christians in the US are singing to their refrain. Now that it’s become evident their “pray the gay away” approach simply does not work and is not based in reality, we need more than “I’m sorry” and “I still believe gay sex is sinful” before we’re going to jump on the forgiveness bandwagon. He’s asked for forgiveness. Let’s see whether he truly means it.

      • http://www.emergentfaith.org/blog R. Jay Pearson

        Yes I would. Because a person’s past behaviors are not the standard for how grace is dispensed. The Jesus Way — by which I mean Love — is the standard, which includes the maxim “forgive seventy times seven times.” And if I’m really going to embrace the Jesus Way, then I can’t say I accept it wholeheartedly while applying it half-heartedly and imagine that my faith (or my word, for that matter) has any more validity to it than Alan Chambers’ or anyone else’s.

        And I understand cynicism. At a young age I was publicly excommunicated from my congregation because I was gay. I was thrown out of my home because I was gay. I have been assaulted because I was gay. The list goes on. And through all of it, bad religion, and the ignorance that attends it, was the constant culprit.

        But I have two choices: I will be a slave to fear, or I will be free.

        I choose to be free. And the Jesus Way — loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving our neighbors as ourselves — is the best route to authentic human freedom that not only liberates the self, but liberates “the enemy” through forgiveness and reconciliation via the power of radical grace.

        So I’ll take the Jesus model. Every day of the week. And twice on Sunday.

    • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

      I’m going to disagree with you that John is just being cynical. John took the time to read the apology and notes the guy’s hesitations.

      You see, if someone says, “I’m sorry you feel that way” when you say that something was hurtful, that isn’t an apology. That’s just a backhand.

      I think it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that a person who has made all of his money off of bigotry and doesn’t come out and say that everything he did was wrong, but that it was only his methods that were wrong, is still at it.

      I expect him to sucker-punch anyone who lets their guard down. This thing that has elements of an apology but so many more elements of an excuse gives me plenty of cause for concern.

      • http://www.emergentfaith.org/blog R. Jay Pearson

        In the Gospel narrative we have Peter, who swore he would never deny Jesus. Yet he did. In fact he denied Jesus three times, the third time with Jesus looking right at him. And while reprehensible, Peter benefited from his act in that he spared himself the same persecution that was befalling Jesus. Later, Peter wept bitterly over his error. Then, later in the narrative, we see Jesus forgiving Peter, in spite of what he had done. Was Peter trustworthy? Not if we see only his history of errors. But that’s not what Jesus chose to see. Instead, Jesus extended grace. Not because Peter deserved it, and not even because Peter asked for it. But because Peter needed it.

        I am no different than Peter. Alan Chambers is no different than Peter. He may again commit an error tomorrow. But that possibility must not hinder the extension of grace today.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        There is that difference between accepting an apology and trusting that person. This is no difference, and why there are people who are not ready to give this guy a free pass.

        Sure we can accept that he is remorseful, but would we recommend anyone to his new, revamped ministry? I know I wouldn’t, not until I knew for sure that what was to be offered was safe, and healthy. Until then, apology accepted, now see if you can keep out of the hen house before I let you near the frying pan again.

        • Sandy Knauer

          Apologies are for the person doing the apologizing. The words alone make no difference to the person who has been wronged until the apolgizer makes reparations and completely changes so that s/he never harms again. Only then should anyone be asked, let alone expected, to accept an apology.

          • Christopher Erik

            Apologies are not merely for the “person doing the apolog(y).” An apology is the acknowledgement of a relational wrong and it represents the first step toward for the possibility of forgiveness and “reconciliation” (the healing of relationships). While forgiveness cannot be demanded, Christ taught that reconciliation and forgiveness flows both ways. “If you you’ve sinned against a brother, go to him . . .” (seek reconciliation). And “if a brother has sinned against you, go to him . . . ” (tell him the wrong). In both cases the goal is reconciliation. If we care about living in relationship with others, at any given time we are going to be the one apologizing or the one requiring an apology which is why puts such a premium on forgiveness. Peace.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Yeah, and that is often impossible. For someone to be to the point of forgiving someone else, it often takes getting past the emotional fall out that the offense caused, If the offender is repetitive, it makes the task that much harder. It’s going to take time, on the part of the forgiver to do so and be at peace with that decision. It’s not instantaneous, and it is certainly not for the benefit of the person who did the wrong. Forgiveness can help with reconciliation, but not necessarily.

            As for apologies, it is also for the person who did the hurt, to demonstrate that they recognize that they screwed up. But an apology should always take a further step. They are the offender, they are the one who caused the harm, and therefore they should at least make an effort to try to right it. They may never heal a rift caused, but they can take steps to not make that kind of mistake again. The burden is pretty much on their shoulders to make the effort to fix things, not the one who bore the brunt of their actions. It both steps are not taken, then it makes it nearly impossible for a rift to be repaired. Sadly to many offenders want the offended to do most or all of the work of repairing a rift they themselves caused. It never works.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Which is the point to John Shore’s piece and the focus of our reservations about Mr. Chamber’s statements. Many of us have been on the repeated receiving end of “I’m sorry” statements.and know good and well that that statement is just a pair of words. It makes us a bit cautious with good reason. Plus as you mention Sandy, saying I’m sorry is meaningless unless the person saying it makes a concerted effort to change. If the effort is made, even if we know they may have set backs, then we can accept that they are really trying. We are waiting to see if the “really trying” part occurs.

            As James has mentioned, we’d love to be proven wrong in our concern. We’d be delighted to be in error, and would not hesitate to say “we were wrong about this organization’s and its board’s new endeavor”.

      • Michael Neal Morris

        Pointing out that he doesn’t believe the apology is one thing. Essentially expecting the man to turn his back on his beliefs and think, in every way, like Mr. Shore is another.

        • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

          we don’t expect him to turn his back on his beliefs. we expect the holder of those beliefs not to launch yet another Christian ministry that may be more “inclusive” but still has as its foundation the idea that gay sex is sinful and that gay marriage is a shameful parody of “real” marriage.

          what’s that saying about a rose by any other name?

          this doesn’t smell like a rose.

          • Christopher Erik

            “we don’t expect him to . . . we expect.” Who is this “we”? Some nameless self-appointed hegemony acting as the “belief police” among fellow Christians? You seem to be confusing and not allowing for the distinction between heteropraxis and heterodoxy. Chambers confessed and apologized for the “bad practices” of his organization and your intent on reading all kinds of self-serving, insincerity into that (you may be right about this guy but I’m arguing against your reasons for discrediting this guy). The problem that I’m having with your argument is that it does not allow for a distinction between what one believes and how one acts. Ironically, it is this very problem (the incongruity of our belief and behavior) to which the Christian tradition prescribes the spiritual discipline of confession – confessing that we are not “acting” according to the truth. Despite your personal convictions to the contrary, it is possible to change ones actions without changing one’s essential beliefs. The fact that you can’t imagine how someone who doesn’t share your view of homosexuality is capable of being used by God to serve the interests of said homosexuals, does not mean that such a scenario doesn’t exist in the real world. So when you argue that Christian ministries which hold a traditional view of homosexuality are by definition incapable of offering Christian services to the homosexual community,” I have one question for you James. Says who? You? Suffice it to say, I think you are being had by your own presuppositions and prejudices – you may want to loosen your grip on your underwhelming claim to the ethical high ground from which you freely cast libelous statements upon your assumed opponents. Peace

          • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

            “we” being the Unfundamentalist Christians which group John Shore founded and which group is being castigated by Michael Niel Morris for having expectations we don’t actually have.

            as I mentioned in my reply to your top level comment earlier, my issue with Alan Chambers and Reducing Fear is much more individual and particular than general. I do have serious reservations about any church teaching homosexuality as sinful that also claims to “welcome” LGBTQIA Christians. then again, as you say, I’m not the Head of the Church so I don’t get to presume which congregations are or are not putting the correct priority on their beliefs or practices.

            now, if we can dispense with the name calling and insults, please?

          • Christopher Erik

            With all due respect, I did not list a single, solitary, quotable, insult, nor did I call you a “name.” Your comments, despite your denial above, are nothing short of a critique of the beliefs and practices of this man and his ministry. I honestly don’t have any problem with your criticism of Chambers since I don’t have any personal experience with him or his ministry. I don’t have any “stock” in defending this guy per se. But again (you did not engage my essential argument) my issue is the way that you argue “by extension” of this guy that anyone who does not share your viewpoint regarding homosexuality, is by that fact, ineligible to provide any support or aid in the form of Christian ministry. Again, says who? My experience does not support this viewpoint that you seem to be convinced of. So while I do not have “stock” in the particulars of this man and his ministry but I do have “stock” in this issue and in seeking to engage in open, respectful and even vigorous discussion of the issues that affects the Christian community. Peace

          • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

            “Some nameless self-appointed hegemony acting as the “belief police” among fellow Christians?” – name calling

            “your underwhelming claim to the ethical high ground from which you freely cast libelous statements upon your assumed opponents” – insulting

            I welcome respectful and vigorous discussion. I have no issue with disagreement. What I don’t appreciate is the use of emotionally charged rhetorical devices followed by dissembling over whether they were, in fact, intended to provoke.

          • Christopher Erik

            you’re right – that was a “rhetorical device” (guilty as charged) and this is an “emotional” as well as an intellectual issue but again, that is different from “name-calling” and while you may not “appreciate” that kind of rhetoric, I assure you that I did not intend on insulting you. If you are equally concerned with our personal level of “appreciation” I would personally appreciate that you would consider addressing some of my specific points and questions which I have raised. All the best.

          • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

            “So when you argue that Christian ministries which hold a traditional
            view of homosexuality are by definition incapable of offering Christian
            services to the homosexual community”

            I’m actually not arguing that. I mentioned I have serious reservations about churches operating on that premise but it’s not my call as to whether that’s the “right” approach for them to take or not. I personally would not feel comfortable attending such a church and would not recommend them to any of my LGBTQIA friends who might be seeking a church home.

          • Christopher Erik

            Thanks James. I hear you and I think I get that you “would not feel comfortable attending such a church (a church with a traditional view of homosexuality).” But given the fact that you aren’t willing to make the “call as to whether that’s the ‘right’ approach for (said church).” How do you know then that this guy who has apologized for his “bad approach” is either incapable or insincere in seeking to start over with a new “approach” albeit while still holding to the traditional view. Unless you are prepared to call the traditional Christian view on homosexuality into question (beyond one’s personal preference) it seems that we can leave the door open for this guy who seems to being doing a very “Christian” thing by confessing to his mistakes. Again, I don’t know this guy Chambers and I don’t have any personal experience with him. He may be a great guy or a serial killer for all I know but I don’t think he should be discredited from a ministry to homosexuals just because he holds a traditional view on homosexuality. That said, I don’t know how I feel about a ministry directed at one particular sin. I could see how that could get pretty messy (hypocritical, manipulative, moralistic) really easily. So on that basis, I may have a categorical rather than a particular suspicion of any ministry whose goal is to target a given sin. I suppose that’s what AA is. Anyway, thanks for your patience and for engaging me in this sensitive and seemingly crucial issue. All the best.

          • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

            as someone who is regularly on the receiving end of rhetoric that I know originated from Exodus International, I do have “stock” in what happens with Alan Chambers and with his new ministry of Reducing Fear. I hope that he is sincere and that this new “thing” of his will produce something good for Christians in general and LGBTQIA Christians in particular. I’m not Polly Anna, though. I can’t just imagine up a “bright side” to look at. I need evidence and right now the only evidence I have just raises a whole lotta red flags with me.

            I look forward to being proven wrong

  • andrewwagner58

    As Josh said earlier, this sounds like something a ‘Fundamentalist’ would say to me.

    It breaks my heart to see how we are so quick to judge.

    We are the ones supposed to extend Grace.

    The ones to extend Love.

    And the ones to Forgive.

    Yes.

    Alan Chambers has hurt a multitude of LGBT people with his organization.

    But I must believe we need to forgive him.

    We may forgive, but not forget.

    Here is a quote by an Exodus survivor, and it’s authentic and vulnerable and honest, and I think we should all take it to heart.

    “Forgiveness is in process and it will come, but as an Exodus survivor I at least have to pause a bit for some reflection. It is a not-too-subtle form of abuse that says, “Homosexuality is a psycho-spiritual disorder from which God can heal you.” Twenty years ago, I bought that line because I desperately loved my two beautiful sons who were about to enter their teens along with my wife who found herself in a situation she never signed up for. I wanted to hold my family together so badly I’d have done anything, and I did. After three agonizing years of support groups, pseudo-psychotherapy that included warnings of demon-possession and “being slain in the spirit,” I concluded, as most of us did, that “God indeed can heal, but he won’t heal me.” It came down to an afternoon, and a strong impulse to sit in my garage with the motor running. Looking in the mirror at my 39 year old face, I began to wonder if my boys would rather have a gay dad than no dad at all. I answered that in the affirmative and I lived to tell. Ultimately it was my family that loved me unconditionally helping me to find the God who loved me that way too. So, when asked to take this apology seriously and welcome my emerging brothers and sisters, I will indeed do so. However, I need a minute to breathe and to honor the memory of those who looked in the mirror and answered differently. An apology will never alter the landscape of wounded lives, some of which were needlessly lost. But believe me when I say that I welcome this development and that it gives me hope. This is the only authentic thing I can say at this moment.”

    -David Gregory Starbuck

    I hope we can forgive the unforgivable just as God forgave the unforgivable in us.

    Grace and Peace,
    Andrew

    • RockyMissouri

      Thank you for sharing that…

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    here’s the thing, we need this type of criticism to our actions, to be able to withstand the tough questions, to have others look at what we do and wonder about our motivations. We shouldn’t necessarily accept what someone says at face value, because we don’t always know the underlying motivation behind one’s statements or actions.

    As has already been stated here, forgiveness is a process, instant forgiveness is a myth. Just because someone says they are sorry, doesn’t mean that we automatically accept it and then move on like everything is peachy keen, ignoring all the collateral damage surrounding us. Because in reality the reason an apology was necessary is because someone got hurt, and in this case a lot of people did. Whether it was genuine remains to be seen, whether more people are going to find themselves needing this organization to apologize remains to be seen, whether the restructure will have any more success than the previous model, remains to be seen.

    Mr. Chambers may truly believe he’s on the right track here, he certainly appeared to before. What John points out is how this apology played out which does make it seem more disingenuous. I read the transcript of the apology as the link is provided. He does acknowledge that there were people hurt and he is saddened by that, even if I think he pulled his punches on specifics.

    I am one of many who has to wonder what will come of all this. As we don’t yet know what the new organization will be doing yet, and I hope that it is much more than a baby step forward to full inclusiveness for all within the church, we just have to wait and see. Being cautious and rather suspicious is not at all unhealthy, considering Exodus’s history.

    Love is the underlying theme that John Shore uses, as well as all the rest of us who are a part of Unfundamentalist Christians. Sometimes we may say something that others will not like. We can’t help that, as we are not in the business of pleasing everyone, as if that were even possible. What we are trying to do is present topics that are relevant, open up the floor to discussion and thought, to promote respect for all people, regardless of who or what they identify themselves with.

    • Sandy Knauer

      Huh? So, it wasn’t an apology at all? It was him trying to open the floor to more discussion? Wow.

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana Hope

    I think his apology is a good start. First you have to admit that people are not born gay. After that, we can talk about the other. Of course, I do understand that if we conclude that it’s a sin to be gay, then it would follow that God can “fix” it. Perhaps he is inconsistent, but it’s the first step.

    • RockyMissouri

      People ARE born gay. And it’s perfectly fine ….. What a wonderful world -when we get this through our heads…

      • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana Hope

        crap I made a freakin typo. sorry. I thought I wrote “are” *edits post*

  • ChuckV

    Thank you Mr. Shore. I’m glad someone is seeing through the not-pology. Sometimes you do have to be cynical.

  • DoubleDogDiogenes

    It was a carefully crafted pseudo-apology piece followed by a nationwide “pity me” tour. Spot on Mr. Shore!

  • Michael Neal Morris

    Looks like a root of bitterness has taken hold. Guess if Chambers had said anything less than “I’m gonna do what this Shore guy I don’t even know is thinking I should do,” Mr. Shore would be upset. Guess he gets to decide who should be forgiven. Wish the Bible had revealed to me that Mr. Shore was in charge of forgiveness or that he had the oracle of understanding that can read into the hearts of others. Silly Bible.

    • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

      if Mr. Chambers still believes same-sex sex is a sin and still believes that the only “biblical” options for gay Christians are marrying and having sex with someone of the opposite sex or being celibate for life, what is it exactly that he’s apologizing for? it seems to me that in his own mind he hasn’t really done or said anything wrong (but a few “bad eggs” in Exodus, who he fired after discovering they were abusing their clients, THEY did something wrong). he admits that reparative therapy doesn’t work so, ok, that’s something. but the only thing he’s really expressing sorrow for is that we’ve perceived his actions, words and ministry as hurtful. “I’m sorry that you feel bad about what I did” isn’t really an apology.

      • josephprestamo

        Alan very clearly apologized for Exodus’ methods and the use of reparative therapy to attempt a complete change of sexual orientation. He did not apologize for his personal beliefs on marriage, and why should he? Isn’t the point of tolerance that we can live peacefully and not compromise our beliefs?

  • Christopher Erik

    Within the Christian faith there are countless things that the Bible prescribes and condemns. The challenge for the Christian is to avoid falling in to either of two extremes: 1) sublimate all of the controversial material of Scripture to the realm of rationalism and idealism and empowering political consensus as the ultimate court of arbitration in terms of Christian belief and practice. 2) The other side of the ditch is for the church and her members to assume the role of judging and condemning everyone who transgresses scriptural imperatives i.e. Ten Commandments. The third option is to accept the reality of “sin and grace” and to learn to live in the tension created by the Christ event. God has reconciled himself to an “evil world.”

    No one likes this tension of “evil world” and “loving God.” For some the reality of a “loving God” is an essential denial of an “evil world” since it is not God of Jesus Christ who overcomes the “evil” but rather a certain “love ethic”, which is no more than idealism, rationalism and democratic ideology at work. Others are so focused on “the evil world” that they lose sight of a loving and gracious God. They assume that their conservative ideology and moral politics are all that is needed to drive out evil and in this way they betray the message of the Cross (God overcomes the evil world by giving himself to it). In short, outside of the gospel of Jesus Christ (God was in Christ reconciling himself to the world), I see just as much fundamentalism among my conservative friends as I do with my liberal ones.

    • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

      Alan Chambers isn’t being called to task by John Shore over failing to meet rigorous standards of “liberal fundamentalism”. he’s being called to task for issuing a statement that seems disingenuous. he says he’s sorry but sorry for what, exactly? he still holds the same beliefs but admits reparative therapy doesn’t work. he’s sorry that some bad people in his organization abused their clients but that’s not really his to apologize for because once he learned of their behavior he did the right thing and terminated them. he says he’s sorry that people have been hurt and that some have reacted to the message of Exodus International by leaving the church entirely or even taking their own lives out of feeling rejected by God. but that’s saying he’s sorry for something someone else felt or perceived and that’s not really an apology at all.

      bottom line: he still believes homosexuals must stop being gay in order to be Christians and to have a place in the Church and that’s fine as far as it goes. we’re more than willing to extend the hands of Christian fellowship to him despite disagreeing over this belief. but he’s launching a new organization to preach the “touchy, feely, less offensive” version of that belief and to continue profiting from being, at the core, anti-gay and THAT’s NOT OK.

      • Christopher Erik

        Hello James,

        My comments were made more to the overall zeitgiest surrounding the issue and represented by the concept of “sin and grace” or “evil world” and “loving God.” I wasn’t wasn’t commenting on the particulars of Chambers confessed transgressions or his private motives – perhaps he should be more specific and take more responsibility for treating people badly. I realize that not everyone shares the same views on “orthodoxy” but, like yourself, I’m interested in the dialogue. If you are willing to grant Chambers his personal (corporate) belief about homosexuality, then why should he not be able to start over with a new ministry, one that will not abide by the practices, which he has publicly denounced? It seems to me that you simply cannot imagine such a possibility. Honestly, I cannot presume to know or be qualified to make the judgment of whether or not he should reboot his ministry but suspect that you and I do not share the same view as to what constitutes Christian ministry.

        In other words, I hear you saying that someone who does not embrace or condone homosexuality is essentially disqualified from providing any aid or assistance to those people who would desire such a ministry. Your comments sounds more like an indictment on Chambers beliefs. I really don’t see the basis for your accusation that Chambers is “profiting from being, at the core, anti-gay” (maybe he is. maybe he isn’t but again, I’m not in a position to make that call with you based on what I’ve read). No offense, but your argument sounds to me like mere, politicized theology, mere ideology – an ongoing battles between liberal conservatives and fundamentalist liberals. Peace

        • http://UnfinishedXtian.wordpress.com/ James Walker

          it’s more particular to this case than that. what I see Chambers suggesting in his “I’m sorry” and relaunch is that despite the massive harm done by him and his ministry in the past and despite the fact he hasn’t changed his core beliefs about homosexuality we should trust his new ministry not to be harmful to the LGBTQIA community. this is, to me, exactly similar to a pastor who, after getting caught in a sexual abuse scandal, makes public noises of apology and announces the creation of a new church ministry where he’s once again in a trusted position and once again has available potential victims to pressure and coerce into sex.

          so it’s not that anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin is disqualified from ministry in my view. there’s room in my Christianity for a diversity of beliefs and opinions about this topic. it’s that this particular man is disqualified from this particular type of ministry. does that make more sense?

          • Christopher Erik

            Yes James, I it does make sense. In summary I think we are talking about two general categories: 1) an “anti-gay ministry” based on “fixing” gay people. 2) a “pro gay ministry,” which accepts the person as well as the “gay lifestyle.” What I’m suggesting (based on my personal experience) is a third option based on a more personal and relational approach to life and Christian ministry, where we cease viewing people either as a demographic or as a “project.” Christian identity transcends male, female, Jew, gentile, single, married, gay, straight, etc.

            That said, I think it is possible to take a more relational, non-clinical, non-moralistic approach to life and relationships without adopting a more relativistic view of sin. So I might grant to you that Chambers could be “disqualified” based on his previous mistakes and mistreatment of people (though I’m not sure who is qualified to sit on that jury). But I don’t believe that he is “disqualified” simply based on his holding a traditional view of sin. If we were using that standard (adopting a relativistic view of sin), then Jesus would be disqualified from ministering to prostitutes, Roman soldiers, tax collectors etc. Again, I really appreciate this dialogue. Thanks.

    • Steve Tapia

      Perhaps you could round out your repertoire by listening to a little more Christopher Hitchens?

    • Steve Tapia

      How’s THIS for “tension’s”?

      This is the Lynn Lavner quote;
      “There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning homosexual activity and our enemies are always throwing them up to us usually in a vicious way and very much out of context. What they don’t want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterosexual activity. I don’t mean to imply by this that God doesn’t love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision.”
      No truer words have EVER been spoke!

      In the Aramaic Language and culture that Jesus taught in, the terms for “sin” and “evil” were archery terms. When the archer shot at the target and missed the scorekeeper yelled the Aramaic word for sin. It meant that you were off the mark, take another shot. The concept of sin was to be positive mental feedback. Sin is when you are operating from inaccurate information and thus a perceptual mis-take. When you become conscious and aware if the results of your inaccuracy you have the option to reconsider what you have learned and do as they do in Hollywood, “do another take.” By the way, where the arrow fell when it missed the target was referred to as evil. I hope this information is useful.

      Since the primary motive of evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one’s evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? In India I would suppose that the evil would demonstrate a similar tendency to be “good” Hindus or “good” Muslims. I do not mean to imply that the evil are anything other than a small minority among the religious or that the religious motives of most people are in any way spurious. I mean only that evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them.

  • James Gertmenian

    Powerfully and beautifully said. In my experience the best (only?) sign of true, deep repentance is silence. If one feels remorse for something one has done, one makes an initial statement of apology and then one becomes quiet. At this point, the conversation belongs to the one who has been wronged or harmed. The offender should have nothing more to say for a significant period of time.

  • Sandy Knauer

    Oprah has a network?

  • Jeni Merritt Watkins

    Bravo!

  • jasmine999

    YES. Thank you.

    The other thing that really bothers me is that Exodus’ very presence lent credibility to the bizarre belief that being gay is a sickness that can be healed. People spent thousands, occasionally tens of thousands of dollars to be “healed.” They were not healed. They were terrorized. Their lives were ruined, their psyches fractured, etc., etc.

    A half-hearted apology that in no way addresses the central bigotry is NOT ENOUGH. In fact, it’s infuriating. I suspect the next move will be Catholic: It’s OK to be gay! God loves gays! Gays merely have to sacrifice love, romance, sex to feel God’s love! That sounds hard to do, but just give us a few thousand dollars, and we’ll make it easy for you to live without the urge to fall in love and have sex.

    There has to be a very special place in hell for people like this.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I love how the fear inducing has flipped sides. Too bad Alan isn’t afraid enough yet.

  • Aliza Worthington

    Those who feel John Shore is not being quite forgiving enough, how forgiving should we be of Paula Deen? She’s apologized now…for saying hurtful things…not for the belief system system that spawned it… http://jezebel.com/paula-deen-begs-for-forgiveness-in-sorry-about-the-rac-533726187

    • Steve Tapia

      Oh, PULEEEZ! Did I honestly just hear you reduce this, and compare an epitaph of Paula Dean’s to the life ruining actions of an individual mouth piece for an evil corporation, Exodus International?!?!
      As far as I’m aware, nobody has killed themselves over what Paula Dean has said!
      However, Alan Chambers and Exodus International have been directly responsible for suicide over the course of some 37 plus years!?
      Lady! I’ve got a quarter in my pocket, and I’m going to give it to you so you can go out and buy a clue!

      • Aliza Worthington

        I can’t say what you heard, but what I intended was to challenge the commenters who think perhaps John isn’t being forgiving enough of Chambers – an analysis with which I disagree. I was comparing Chambers’ “apology” to Deen’s “apology” in that they were both self-serving and strike me as insincere. They’re both apologizing for being caught in or called on their bad behavior, rather than the thinking that led to the behavior itself. I’m not sure which evil caused more suicides: homophobia or racism, but they both aim to denigrate and keep a foot on the neck of the oppressed. I doubt people will be forgiving of Deen, and I think people should view Chambers’ “apology” with as much skepticism if not more.

        I can buy my own clues, thank you. We’re on the same side, sweetie.

        • Steve Tapia

          You might want to reassess your comparison honey, as one doesn’t equate to the other, regardless of which side you are on!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Honey?? Seriously?

          • Steve Tapia

            What are you, babe? Her public defender now, or just her spokesperson?

          • Teresa

            Don’t be a child.

            Clearly what Aliza was trying to say is that both are bigots, both apologies are disingenuous, and neither individual should be let off the hook after their grand public statements.

            You’re wrong that this EI douche is facing no repercussions for his actions. Conversion therapy was the bread and butter of his organization and brought in big bucks. With it getting loads of negative press and even being outlawed in some states, he’s losing money hand over fist. This is not to mention the civil suits being brought against him now that his bs has been brought to light. He’ll pay.

            You may be right that racism (which was the basis for Paula Deen’s statements, as was previously noted) hasn’t caused any suicides – instead racism caused murder. Tons of it. For hundreds of years. You can’t forget that racism and homophobia are born of the same irrational emotion – fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of different, fear of anything not immediately understood. Two sides of the same coin.

            Maybe you should find something else to be all up in arms about, as I’m pretty sure we’re all on the same side here.

          • Steve Tapia

            LOVE

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        To say that racism hasn’t caused death, and still isn’t causing death and destruction is rather naive. Racial and ethnic hatred is still, sadly alive and well, and people are still dying all over the world as a result. For a beloved celebrity to perpetuate such ideals, unfortunately gives justification to those who agree with her ideals. I haven’t followed Ms. Deen’s story, but I live in the same part of the world, and know that her comments and beliefs are not uncommon in this region. Aliza’s point is sound, as is John Shore’s.. What is the motivation for a public apology, and based on that motivation, what is the sincerity?

        • Steve Tapia

          I never said that nobody ever committed suicide over bigotry, you may need to read more thoroughly next time!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I am quite capable of reading and writing on a college level, as well as comprehending both. So how about toning down the patronizing statements?

  • Guest

    Ultimately,as always the truth is about God, rather than any one of us or many of us together…Jesus spent a short lifetime demonstrating the unexpected delivery of a message about just who really is God’s beloved…those who warp and thwart this message need to be called out, objections raised and motivations clarified…many folks do the wrong things for what they believe are the right reasons…the ultimate irony in the world of gays-prayed-straight is that many of them find the love attention and focused spiritual attention God intends for all of us, and many a LGBTQ seeker is attracted by the certainty, biblical focus, and dilemma rich work of this arena of Christianity …the astounding number of human beings who have been involved in this movement say more about the ongoing failures of progressive churches to provide biblical, nuanced thought, rich complexity and an intentional deep community and connection to enspirited LGBTQ seekers than the obviously simplistic gay-made-straight practitioners!

  • Doug Lowry

    Ultimately,as always the truth is about God, rather than any one of us or many of us together…Jesus spent a short lifetime demonstrating the unexpected delivery of a message about just who really is God’s beloved…those who warp and thwart this message need to be called out, objections raised and motivations clarified…many folks do the wrong things for what they believe are the right reasons…the ultimate irony in the world of gays-prayed-straight is that many folks questioning not just their gender expression but their faith expression find the love attention and focused spiritual attention God intends for all of us, and many a LGBTQ seeker is attracted by the certainty, biblical focus, and dilemma rich work of this arena of Christianity …the astounding number of human beings who have been involved in this movement say more about the ongoing failures of progressive churches to provide biblical, nuanced thought, rich complexity and an intentional deep community and connection to enspirited LGBTQ seekers than what it says about the obviously simplistic gay-made-straight practitioners!

  • RockyMissouri

    EXCELLENT..! Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/h.behan1 Aodh P O’Beachain

    Time for a break and a brake. The Catholic Christian Church proclaims that every sinner is loved, and we all are skinners, while we hate the sinner. Some do not get that universal fact of all of us as sinners and thus feel that they can exclude my sin from their ” forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those” thus effectively denying they are sinners. Some activists totally hate, harass and condemn their favourite Whipping Boy/Girl for actively promoting the gay life style and abortion as absolute rights; while others advocate hatred for those who see chastity, celibacy, pro-life from “erection to resurrection” as hate speech. As to the Exodus “apology” it was very definitely rumination and certainly not a clear cut apology or statement of a new vision. I apologise for any and all who miss the Saviour’s Message, that all Hus followers are in a Health Care Centre for healing. I also ask those who are vulgar and rude to and about Christians or Catholics or any branch of the Church because of their own deafness or blindness, regardless of who caused those.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      “the gay life style”?! really?

      • jasmine999

        Can someone explain to me what the “gay lifestyle” is? Half my friends are gay, as is my cousin. Where is the lifestyle connection between an ex-marine bus driver from WI, an aspiring screenwriter in LA, two paleontologists living in a condo in San Francisco, and a lesbian couple with two children living in the suburbs of Baltimore, one a housewife, the other working for a gov’t agency???

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I suspect that the term was coined to emphasize the theory that being gay was a life choice, like opting to live in the city rather than the suburbs, or preferring to frequent sci-fi conventions instead of staying home and watching Duck Dynasty marathons…or only wearing plaid,

          That being LGBT has as much to do with a lifestyle choice as being a cat has to do with peanut allergies is something the phrase fails to address.

  • Rev. Constance McIntosh

    BRILLIANT!!!!

  • Roger Morris

    An angry, vengeful, unforgiving and ungracious piece of prose, so obviously dripping with Nietzschean “Will to Power”. Yours is the type of response that Nelson Mandela could have incited with the fall of apartheid – but chose not to. And BTW, accepting gays is not the same as accepting gay marriage. Even many gay and lesbians think gay marriage is unnecessary.

    • tuibguy

      Many straights think straight marriage is unncessary, too. What is your point? That you should deny people rights just because of some weird notion that your god doesn’t like egalitarian freedom of people for self-determination?

      • Roger Morris

        I was merely pointing out the author’s conflation of “support of Gays & Lesbians” with “support of same sex marriage”. These are two separate issues – for gays and lesbians as well.

        • Steve Tapia

          For society and religious groups as a whole to deny equal rights and treatment to the marginalized, under the guise of moral or religious “reason’s or objections”, whether it be dating or marriage, is still nothing more than church sanctioned bigotry. No matter your religious view’s, you still have to afford a human being a normative dating and sexual life. The same standards afforded your straight counterparts.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      “angry, vengeful, unforgiving and ungracious” Did you read the same post
      I did?

    • Steve Tapia

      We often project our own bitterness into another’s comments, when we ourselves are the only ones to feel angry, vengeful, unforgiving and ungracious. One whom injects subjective “Nietzschean will to power” into an otherwise neutral letter of a personal experience, makes one highly suspect of the perceived reactions by the following letters of repley above.
      In other words Dr. Danfee isn’t the nut here. It’s Roger Morris!

      • Roger Morris

        Ad hominem. But anyway. Hardly a “neutral” letter. More like a letter full of invective, much like a crowing with one foot on the carcass of one killed in battle. The demise of Exodus may be welcome, but the response in this letter reflects an unhealthy bitterness. Move on.

    • Teresa

      The difference is that the gays and lesbians who think marriage is unnecessary aren’t trying to stop anyone else from doing it. Straight people against gay marriage, this man included, can’t make that claim.

      • Roger Morris

        Can you prove that claim? How can you be sure that some of those actively opposing gay marriage aren’t, in fact, gay couples? How can you prove that all hetero couples who disagree with gay marriage are actively campaigning against it? Plenty of unproven assumptions in your comment.

  • drdanfee

    Well it is a difficult time to keep asking Mr.Chambers what he deeply means … about himself, about the ‘unwelcoming’ church that has funded Mr. Chambers and EI before his time, about what a ‘welcoming’ church might indeed be insofar as that faith community continues to believe entirely negative things about LGBTQ folks …. (any where from people were ‘traumatized’ into not being st8, to people are rebelling against core human mores of simple natural decency because they are not str8, to people are just obnoxious because they cannot simply accept and/or conform to, a traditional closed absolute revelation message that their bodies are simply prepped for ‘bad stuff’ in ways that /thank goodness?/ stru folks do not embody ?????? I must say, though, this is a first public time that I’ve ever heard Mr. Chambers admit that anybody was ever harmed by the multitude of ex-gay ministry practices. I wonder how … and here, as a club footed exgay survivor myself, I really would like details? ….

    I wonder how Mr. Chambers believes these harms occurred if the basic message that people just need to have God transform them into neutered people who ‘act str8′ or are ‘str8 acting’ as the old hookup ads used to say, is still the Good News? I have heard him refer to EI related program leaders who were found to be having sexual hookups with their participants while of course preaching that such physical intimacy was evil and not necessary for a truly Holy Spirit companion-ed Christian believer.

    Another new sounding bit is that it really does read like Mr. Chambeers is willing to accept some degree of personal and organizaitonal responsibility for not speaking up to correct people who mix up the core Good News (Jesus says you LGBTQers ARE just awful but he died for you anyway so that you could tone down being so awful?) with falsehoods and folk tales (like: same sex couples make dangerous parents, same sex couples will cause human civilization to rot from the inside out because homosexuality is impossible to harmonize with Nature, same sex couples are sinful in pretty much the same ways that liars, thieves, batterers, drunks, and a whole lot of other people are) ???? By the way my own ears are still mostly confused from hearing Mr. Chambers so far. He tends to hint at what he is saying, so that you start to guess what he really means about this or that point or detail, and even sometimes when he is asked, he never quite comes right out and speaks in reply to the point of confusion.

    I think he has started to promise that he will not publicly or in church life, lobby any longer for LGBTQ folks to be treated any different in law or public policy from other citizens. I think Mr. Chambers did say that while he personally still believes that acting in any ordinary fashion on his own same sex attractions would be just as evil now as he ever believed it was, that is his personal belief and he will not any longer base equality in law or policy on LGBTQ folks agreeing with this personal conservative view he holds. In available traditional terms, it would be so much clearer and easier if Mr. Chambers could just come right out and say he has been called to and received the gift of ‘same sex’ celibacy and that he does not automatically believe any and all other LGBTQ people can be grooved into his particular charism/path. Gee now I’m more confused than when I started this blog post comment.

    Let me say for the record: I barely survived ten years or so of rigorous exgay church life and counseling when I was between about 14 and 24 years old. I had to walk away from it in the end because it offered me no way to live daily in a typical human guy body without carrying categorical pain and disconnection from other people, since who could find the ‘safe’ dividing line between sensual friendliness like hugs and the core longing to pairbonding with another special guy. It seems theoretically possible to find, but I never honestly found it. The best stratgegy was to shut off as much as possible, and let other people assume I was living in a sacred ‘peace that passes all understanding.’ I wasn’t at peace of course, but it sure made everybody else happy clappy to think I was restored and reconciled to God’s flock.

    I won’t dwell on every single harsh detail, but extended fast cycles went on for two to three years . (I could never stop eating for more than 3 days at a time, being a typical 15-17 year old teenager; but I did repeat the 3 day fasts again and again right after eating as minimally as I could for that fourth day. My grandmother worried I was so skinny I was doomed to get Tuberculosis, but of course it was all about not feeling my body any more.). Then when all that fasting/praying failed to change me, we moved on to pentecostal Bible Belt USA deliverance prayers, what the Catholic church would call exorcisms. I had the foul devils from hell prayed out of me every time a church leader with mojo came through our local church. So I lost count of the number of times those devils were commanded to scram in Jesus’ name. I internalized all of it. I swallowed it whole: hook, line, and sinker weights.

    Now, all that was fifty years ago.

    I am now having surprise intense flash backs to scenic details and body sensory/emotional states which I guess I totally blurred out and bottled up at the time all the exgay ‘help’ was happening. Last weekend was repeat cycles of exorcism flash backs, interspersed with falling into hypnotic dreamless sleep states for a couple hours’ nap, only to awaken and repeat. I can honestly say that these exorcisms feel like being sandpapered in Jesus name from all the insides, out. Every single innard lining in my body feels rubbed raw.

    Now of course it finally makes sense why, during hospital internships in New York City one summer up near Columbia, I could handle every other assignment in the hospital with strangely calm aplomb, except for the burn ward. Even walking by the hospital burn ward gave me such heebie=jeebies/tremors I thought I was going to burst out crying, and I had no conscious clue notion why I should happen to feel so suddenly shaken about it. Finally, with the flash backs’ help, it does make a painful kind of emotional sense.

    Well. Only time will tell us how Mr. Chambers intends to do work that asks churches who believe utterly terrible things about LGBTQ people, to be welcoming. I guess we better keep and ears and eyes and minds and hearts as open as possible to see how it goes from here. Alas. Lord have mercy.

  • Jerry Lynch

    This is what I know about making an amends: I note where I was wrong, specifically, sweeping only my side of the street and offering no excuses or mitigating factors, and then ask what they consider is just restitution. As stated in a previous blog on this subject, the enormity of trashing your entire life’s work is not easy. A little face-saving is normal and understandable. Of course, this dance Chambers is playing with what borders on a near non-apology could be even more insulting to those he has harmed. How’s this: “I truly and thoroughly screwed up. I am heartily sorrow for all the unnecessary pain and damge I caused. If there is anything, anything at all, that I can do to ease your suffering and burdens, I beg of you to let me know.”

  • Steve Tapia

    While I find the GLBTQ christian community’s reaction to the open letter of John Shore, is amusing (in some sick, juvenile way) to say the least, I do find his more than justifiable questions and anger to be quite miniscule in comparison to the countless lives and spirits Alan Chambers and Exodus International ruined beyond repair, over the past two generations!

    Just how many lives have been lost, as a direct result of this egregious sin and pseudo science? No one can definitely say for sure! However, it Flies in the face of any acceptable psychological practice and theories.

    To berate the points and questions he’s raised is quite ridiculous, in light of the lifelong scars and crippled souls Mr. Chambers of Exodus International, et al, is responsible for and have directly caused.

    *”I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” – Susan B. Anthony*

    And this hollow, vapid “apology” made by Chambers is quite patronizing and condescending. And not just for the unacknowledged damages caused to the “patients” in “treatment”. But also for the apparent fear he’s exhibited, by not being forthcoming in his admissions.

    It sounds more like he’s already had legal council, and won’t say anything that could implicate him in any legal wrongdoing, as he could be sued for malpractice. And with the deep pockets they must have, I could only imagine how quickly they’d be willing to settle!

    This sin is also for the irreversible damages done to the reputations of the Gay community (called libellous slander, and more accurately called “bearing false witness.”) throughout the Christian community insofar as how he assumes to interpret both God and Jesus’s views the GLBTQ community, and sexual expression therein. (Translation; the world view, as seen through the Christian eyes.) the hight of audacity!

    I find this, both appalling and insulting that the Gay community could ever think that Mr. Shore had gone too far, as he hadn’t gone far enough!

    Especially in the context of Chambers and his ilk from the get go, condemned us all to everlasting Hell fire , for doing nothing more than acting on the nature that God Himself instilled into us.

    To assume authority and knowledge of God’s judgment over another’s soul, is the epitome of arrogance and pride. And isn’t pride one of the deadliest of sins?!

    *”We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing/ all-powerful God, who creates faulty humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes”. – Gene Roddenberry*

    Isn’t it true that in Christianity to truly absolve oneself of sin, and to show ANY “TRUE” repentance, one must first fully acknowledge the full sins and errors?!

    Then sincerely and with conviction ask for forgiveness of the injured party(s)?!? And upon being forgiven by the injured, is it not true that the person MUST turn away from any actions that could possibly be misconstrued as simular actions!?!?

    Isn’t anything short of these intrinsic steps, nothing but a hollow effort?

    While you all play devils advocates and split hairs over how far Mr. Shore has gone, don’t you ever stop to think about how you’re so busy shooting yourselves in the foot, that there is effectively no collective outcry over the years of egregious injustices caused by this man, and his organization?

    I personally think that to show ANY support for a religious entity of any kind, that conducted themselves in this manner, is the biggest sin of them all! There is the sin of commission, and then there is the sin of abject complaisance.

    What on earth do you all need? A big rock to fall on your collective heads?!? This has already happened! To have some “religious” organization continue to be actively supported, either by attendance, tithing, word or deeds is beyond my comprehension!

    The only true power you all have, is the collective bargaining rights you have to spend your money at other more accepting and affirming venues. Mere tolerance is unacceptable, especially in this case. To abandon and sue this organization is the only recourse that’s acceptable, or sensible!

    Best Explanation Of Religion I Have Ever Heard, And I’m Practically An Atheist
    http://www.upworthy.com/best-explanation-of-religion-i-have-ever-heard-and-im-practically-an-atheist?c=ufb1

    Debunking the Regnerus Study – John Corvino
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1S7zIOvRNs

    Love the Sinner / Hate the Sin – John Corvino
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdb8UC9_fMw

    John Oliver Mocks Anti-Gay Laws And The Most Flamboyant Anti-Gay Protestors You Will Ever See
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e61xAQY-WIE

    To know a person’s religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance. – Eric Hoffer

    God Himself, sir, does not propose to judge a man until his life is over. Why should you and I? – Samuel Johnson

    “For there is nothing either good or bad, thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet, II.ii

    “The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.” – Abu Ala Al-Maari

    “In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.” – Friederich Nietzsche

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp

    Science September 11

    Letter to Dr. Laura

    Claim: Letter to Dr. Laura highlights fallacy in a particular anti-homosexual argument.

    Dear Dr. Laura,

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

    a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

    g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

    h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27. How should they die?

    i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev 24:10-16) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

    • stephen m swafford

      Thanks Steve T. Great post and for the links…i’ll ck them out. I agree, i think those affected by this man and his organization should definitely sue this asshole and his company for emotional damages. I totally despise him and totally hope he and his family and relations suffer for the rest of their lives…..

  • Y. A. Warren

    Biblical rules were written for ONE “tribe,” in ONE area of the world, during ONE time. The “Christian” church co-opted it for their domination of the world through fear, promoting large numbers of births to be their “soldiers of Christ.” None of this has anything to do with the example of Jesus. My conclusion, attempting to be as responsibly compassionate as possible, is that many “Christians” don’t really believe that Jesus is their “Christ.”

    Don’t even get me started on all the misinformation about the purpose of human sexuality they have promoted.

  • jeremiahfarris

    John, You have the right to beleive what you want and how you want. It’s your constitutional freedom, so is his. Alan apologized but He does not have to give up what he beleives, and you can not state that he is wrong in your book just cause he apologized. People can apologize and be sincere but still beleive in what they believe. It’s like when I correct my children for the things they do, They were still wrong and are at fault but I correct them in love. That does not mean just cause I was so loving that they were not at fault. Alan is just stating these are his beliefs, but he sees the damaged committed. Having beliefs is not wrong, everyone believes in something or a thing.

    • Sillama

      His ‘apology’ was damage control, nothing more. I’ve worked in mental health treatment for many years, and I am very sure I know when someone is knowingly being untruthful. He is an “Elmer Gantry.”

  • Steve Tapia

    In ANY case, Alan Chambers might be better off arguing his case before the U.S. Supreme Court’s, instead of the courts of public opinion!
    Who knows? He may have much better luck with that! :-D

    WE WON!!!!!! YAY!!!!!! :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
    HRC BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court has ruled on marriage equality cases! More details soon. Visit http://lil.ms/h2f/bb318 for latest updates.

  • josephprestamo

    Alan Chambers could not have been clearer in his attempt to make peace and build bridges, without compromising his personal beliefs. Isn’t that what we all should do? It’s sad that people can so misconstrue his words.

    • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

      How do you “build bridges” when your personal beliefs are simultaneously destroying the very bridge you’re claiming to stand on? If you’re personal beliefs stand in direct opposition to homosexuality, maybe you shouldn’t have a ministry that’s at all associated with homosexual issues.

      • josephprestamo

        You can build bridges by valuing people for who they are, not what they think or do. You can love people even when you disagree. How else can different moral or religious beliefs ever co-exist? Are you suggesting that everyone should simply adopt your personal beliefs instead?

        • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

          Part of “who they are” is being gay — do you value them for that?

          • josephprestamo

            Sure. Loving someone means just loving them. Accepting that they believe and act in ways that you might disagree with.

            It’s tricky to make identity statements though. I am attracted to men, and sure, that is a part of me. But it’s not all of me. I want people to value me for me, not for who I’m attracted or not attracted to. And to say that I’m defined by my attractions just doesn’t do a good job of describing my real identity. So I guess, personally, that’s not where I’m looking for people to value me.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            No one’s identity should ever be reduced to a single statement about their sexuality…that’s why I said “part of ‘who they are.’” But being gay isn’t just a matter of disassociated beliefs or arbitrary actions — our sexuality is an essential part of who we are and how we relate to the world.

            You gloss over the deeper issue: there’s a huge difference between simply disagreeing with someone’s viewpoint and believing that an essential part of who someone is broken and sinful. In the case of the former, there’s plenty of room for irenic bridge-building. For the latter, you’ve already arrived at a conclusion that precludes fully loving and accepting the person for who they are. That doesn’t mean you can’t treat them with civility — but can you truly value someone for being gay while still thinking such a sexual orientation is abhorrent to God?

          • josephprestamo

            I don’t mean to gloss over anything. But I do not believe that my sexuality is an “essential part” of who I am. There are secular organizations that teach that sex is optional. However, the fact that you hold another belief doesn’t make me value you any less. I don’t believe that ideas are as valuable as people.

            What do you propose moving forward? What should we do with all of the differing sides on this issue? It sounds to me like you aren’t leaving room for the possibility of a set of beliefs other than your own.

          • http://coolingtwilight.com/ Dan Wilkinson

            I don’t equate “sex” with “sexuality.” Humans are sexual beings, created by God with sexual identities — not just in terms of physical anatomy but also in terms of emotional, psychological and spiritual characteristics. Our sexuality informs our understanding of the world and shapes our relationships with others in a myriad of ways beyond simple physical attraction. You may not feel that your sexuality is essential, but it’s part of who are just as much as your sense of humor or your ability to reason or your moral intuitions or your aesthetic values. Change or remove any of those things and in a very real way you’re no longer YOU. Sexuality isn’t just a belief or just a behavior, it’s part of who you are. And to say that that part of someone is somehow “wrong” ultimately devalues the person as a whole.

            How to move forward? Let’s start with honesty. That, for me, is what is at the heart of the issue with Chambers’ “apology.” He acknowledges that he caused a great deal of pain and harm and is regretful of that, but he doesn’t seem willing to acknowledge that it was foundational beliefs about the moral nature of homosexuality that directly led to those harmful actions.

            Is there room to move forward? Not unless we’re honest about the foundations that our “bridges” are being built upon. Not unless we’re honest about how we understand — and how we live out — our beliefs and our faith.

            For me, that means I can’t leave room for a set of beliefs that I think are morally wrong. Should I leave room for racism? For misogyny? I can’t leave room for views and opinions that devalue people, that relegate them to second-class status, that marginalize them and abuse them and in some cases even kill them. Does that make me intolerant? Sure, just as I’m intolerant of any form of hate or abuse.

          • the shepard

            the only thing i absolutelt can’t tolerate is intolerance.
            and broccoli, so i guess that really two things.

  • the shepard

    you have all put much more effort into the words he said than i have.
    but, i did watch him saying them and everything i have learned in a lifetime of being lied to tells me that the man was, to be polite, extremely disingenuous.

  • Steve Tapia

    Perhaps it would be enlightening, edifying and educational for those that experience much confusion and stupor on this matter to watch a video which explains pretty much everything on the matter.

    John Corvino – What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality? (Full DVD Video)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iXA_0MED98

  • Steve Tapia

    8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism

    Here are some top ways Christians push people out the church door or shove secret skeptics out of the closet.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/155553/8_ways_christian_fundamentalists_make_people_convert_–_to_agnosticism_or_atheism

  • Steve Tapia

    20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity.

    http://www.seesharppress.com/20reasons.html

  • Steve Tapia

    Why The “Fundamentalist” Approach To Religion Must Be Wrong, and Why Fundamentalism Denies The Power Of God.

    A hypertext essay by Scott Bidstrup

    “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good… Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.” -Randall Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue Quoted in The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 8-16-93

    “I want to say to all you Scribes, Pharisees, heresy hunters, all of you that are going around pickin’ little bits of doctrinal error out of everybody’s eyes and dividin’ the Body of Christ…get out of God’s way, stop blockin’ God’s bridges, or God’s goin’ to shoot you if I don’t…let Him sort out all this doctrinal doodoo!…I refuse to argue any longer with any of you out there! Don’t even call me if you want to argue…Get out of my life! I don’t want to talk to you…I don’t want to see your ugly face!”

    -Paul Crouch, President, Trinity Broadcasting Network

    “In winning a nation to the gospel, the sword as well as the pen must be used.” “Democracy is a heresy against God!” -R.J. Rushdooney, Director of the Rutherford Institute, which was the principal funder of Monica Lewinsky’s legal defense, and architect of “Christian Reconstructionism.”

    http://www.bidstrup.com/religion.htm

  • Steve Tapia

    While these guys are debating and splitting hairs over whether or not Alan “Mengele” Chambers is genuinely sorry or not, (in light of his vapid and hollow apology, I kinda’ doubt it!) There are plenty of open and affirming churches which welcomes the GLBTQ community with open arms, and absolutely no judgment against the GLBTQ community! Support your local affirming church!

    Open and affirming churches in California

    http://www.google.com/search?ei=Ic7uUbiaOqWViAKotYG4Bg&q=Open+and+affirming+churches+in+California+&oq=Open+and+affirming+churches+in+California+&gs_l=mobile-gws-serp.3..0i22i30.33383.64425.0.66602.57.44.2.4.4.0.987.8343.1j4j4j3j5j4j1.22.0….0…1c.1.22.mobile-gws-serp..31.26.8974.qvitRLiGU08

  • Steve Tapia

    L Boy! At the Brea Congregational United Church of Christ, they even have free same sex marriage ceremonies!

    This sounds like a much better place, then to have to worry about whether or not being gay, or acting on our gay feelings is a sin, or not!

    http://www.breaucc.org/

    Let freedom–and wedding bells–ring! Free same-sex marriage ceremonies at Brea UCC The stay on same-sex marriages has been lifted. In celebration of marriage equality, Brea Congregational UCC is scheduling free marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples on July 20. We will waive our usual wedding fees as a way to extend an extravagant weclome to a group that has historically been excluded from the church. Please contact the church office at breauccwedding@gmail.com for more information and scheduling. [Weddings at Brea UCC.]
    ooooooooooooooooooooooooo
    A win for all God’s children -The Brea Congregational United Church of Christ celebrates the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding Marriage Equality. It’s satisfying for me as a pastor of a denomination and a local church that have taken a bold stand on this issue years ago. I am very happy that same-gender marriages will soon be legal in the state of California. Brea UCC has been on the side of Marriage Equality for several years. We are an Open and Affirming congregation, which means we accept all LGBT persons as they have been created as children of God. We look forward to welcoming them into full participation in the life of the church, as we have for years.

    The Rev. Rick Marshall Brea Congregational UCC

    BCUCC statements here

    Our church in the Orange County Register

  • Steve Tapia

    Move Over, Adele: This Lady Wins The ‘Songs That Make Me Cry’ Award

    http://www.upworthy.com/move-over-adele-this-lady-wins-the-songs-that-make-me-cry-award?c=ufb1


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