The title is a bit of a word play in that I call attention to a keynote address (caution: large mp3 file) by Wendy Gritter at the 2008 Exodus Leadership Conference. Introduced by Exodus President, Alan Chambers, Mrs. Gritter is leader of the New Direction ministries in Canada. The mission of New Direction is “creating a safe place for same-gender-attracted people to journey towards wholeness in Christ.” The focus of New Direction appears to be much more focused on Christian ministry to same-sex attracted people as opposed to mediating change of sexual orientation.
The address is about an hour long and should be heard completely to get the message but I pulled out a couple of quotes to portray the tone:
What would it mean to stop seeing the gay affirming church as our enemy?
…when we look at those who now have their stories on the Beyond Ex-gay website…we also ought not to be patronizing? There can be this subtle sense that ‘you just didn’t try hard enough….but see we did.’ How can we engage relationally with those who have come to different theological understanding than we have?I think we need to relinquish a defensive posture that would focus on what we are against instead of what we are for.
What the culture sees is that you guys are about reorientation.
We shoot ourselves in the foot when we put second things first.
There is much more and you can get a sense of the direction from the Power Point as well. The general tone is that Exodus would be wise to avoid political entanglements that prevent optimal Christian ministry. Ministry should be the main (sole?) focus. In addition, she takes on the messaging of Exodus that change is possible and causation is not inherent. She believes those issues should be secondary to actual Christian formation and living. With reorientation as the focus, Christian ministry can take a backseat. In other words, Exodus should not be a “poster child for straightness” as the main message.
There is much to unpack here so let’s talk…