Once More on Exodus Closing

Alan-ChambersThere is another news story up on the closing of Exodus. It’s the second one from CBN. It has an interesting segment in the interview with Alan Chambers. I haven’t watched all of his interviews, but something stood out to me. I know he is talking about the burden of one ministry organization carrying a message, but my first impression in this interview was that perhaps he was talking about his own personal burden of carrying that message. It’s interesting in that regard. Whatever you think about the decision to close Exodus, I did appreciate the emphasis on needing a broader response from the whole church rather than a focused response from a parachurch ministry (though both/and is also possible – rather than either/or).

You see, too, the different options that appear to be available for people who are navigating this terrain. You have the option of ministry that focuses on change of orientation, identity, and behavior, as seen in Restored Hope Network (RHN). The segment talks about RHN as picking up with the original mission of Exodus.

Then there are the various ministries that have been under the umbrella of Exodus. Before its closing, those ministries were focused less on orientation change and perhaps more on behavioral changes and identity considerations. That may still be held out as a point of focus for some ministries.

A third option I began to introduce in my interview but was not able to develop in the segment shown was that of someone who might focus on Christlikeness or sanctification independent of whether their attractions change. The discussion for these folks is more about celibacy and spiritual friendships or mixed orientation marriages (with full awareness/consent before entering into the marriage).

Where the church goes with all of this is yet to be seen. Perhaps seeing ministries as on a continuum will be more helpful than feeling one has to choose one over the other. The focus on bridge-building and creating safe spaces for people to engage and discuss these issues may also represent a place on this continuum to some; others might not resonate with it as a ministry to their conflicts with same-sex sexuality. In any case, we will have to see how all of this develops over time.

1 Comment

  1. Peter Sprig, “Change is possible is a very modest statement”
    Well no it is not, in fact that is a huge statement that we know from experience has deeply hurt thousands of people.

    Yarhouse, “It’s always difficult to talk about change because the average person just hearing that will think, is it possible to change? And they will think in their mind a categorical shift or change from completely gay to completely straight. And I don’t think that is particularly likely, it’s not what our data shows. ”

    Good! Great!!! This is much better than your last interview. You were up front that it is *not likely* that people do change their sexual orientation from gay to straight. In your last interview you came out and said “Change is Possible” and you did NOT define change. This time you did it different, you defined change, the type of change most people think of and then you said it isn’t likely, and oyur data doesn’t show that it is likely.

    I’m really pleased with your interview here. On your last interview you sounded very much like the old Alan Chambers, misleading people about himself. Chambers held himself up as what is possible to *everyone*, a straight marriage, “Look at me and and you can have this just like me.” He never used to (the old Alan Chambers) admit that in fact he is still gay as ever, he just doesn’t act on it.

    In your previous interview you sounded almost exactly like the old Alan Chambers, in this interview you sound like the Honest Mark Yarhouse. I follow you and read you because I thought you were honest. An honest scientist. I hope you continue to speak jsut like you did in this interview. First off in the interview you must define what change is. Saying, “In Christ change is possible” is incredibly misleading when you first do not identify change. Which you did NOT do in this interview.

    I think, my guess is that you are looked up to, respected in the Evangelical Churches, someone they go to for advice and guidance on this issue. I think it is really deeply important that you tell the churches that a change from 100% gay to 100% straight is very unlikely and the data doesn’t support that. Knock this false hope out from under them so that they can then move onto your real message, which is moving *from scientific statements*, to *religious statements*.

    Religious statements on how best to support and include sexual minorities in their churches. It is wrong to offer false hope of sexual orientation change. It is wrong to talk about change without defining it. Because that is all they are going to hear, that “Through Christ Change Is Possible” and their idea of change and your idea of change are two different things. The rest of the guidance you give is only then a back up plan, in case a particular person in their church does not experience change (which you told them could happen) from gay to straight. Because you said change is possible through Christ.

    You got it RIGHT here. You really did. I am a little worried about you alluding to mixed sexual orientation marriages (fully informed you qualify that as) as a possibility. I bet you would not want your own daughter or son to marry a lesbian or gay man. But that is a whole other discussion. You got it right here.

    Many thanks for not censoring my comments.

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