I was recently asked, “Where do you get your understanding of God?” Because I desire everything in my life: my worldview, my relationships, my actions and reactions, even what I think about myself to be based on who I understand God to be, this is an important question. While both my own study of the Bible and sound teaching from others have shaped my awareness of God, my immediate answer was, “from my father.” I am by nature a picture person and things come to life when I see them. My dad was a picture of a good father. I see God as a Good Father and everything I read and hear about Him verifies that picture.
Before and especially since my dad passed away on August 2, 2013 my thoughts have lingered on this question and my answer. My earthly father gave me the gift of understanding what it’s like to be in relationship with my Heavenly Father. Because of who my dad was and how he treated me, I rest in the unconditional and gracious love of God. I know that’s not the case for everyone. There are some fathers who have abused and/or abandoned their children causing them to feel ashamed, unworthy, and insecure. For you dear ones, I am sorry and I long to help. Hopefully, sharing a bit about my dad will help paint a better picture of a good father and more importantly the Good Father.
Cross-posted from the Speak. Love. website
The world is fraught with bad news. It has been since the beginning and will be until the end. Ironically, after however many thousands or millions of years (depending on your theology, or lack thereof) humans are still surprised wars continue to happen, that people die, and senselessly bad things happen to really good people. We don’t expect this reality. Maybe because God didn’t create the world or its inhabitants to experience the decay that has been unstoppable since Adam and Eve fell in the garden. Our expectations match what was to be our original perfect reality and not what became our actual reality post fall.
Andy Crouch, prolific author, speaker, and Executive Editor of Christianity Today, says it like this,
“We live in a bad news to bad news reality in the church. We start in Genesis 3 (the fall) and end with Revelations 20 (the lake of fire).”
Andy’s point is that even the Church, the entity Pastor Bill Hybels calls the hope of the world, has succumbed to this grim, joyless, and visionless existence. As Believers we live like the rest of humanity, in shame and defeat, with a poor image of God the Father, Redeemer, Creator, Author, and Finisher. And, we become a poor reflection of Him.
This is the fifth of five video interviews Alan did with RELEVANT Magazine. The other videos were posted here throughout the week.
This is the fourth of five video interviews Alan did with RELEVANT Magazine. The other videos will be posted here throughout this week.
This is the third of five video interviews Alan did with RELEVANT Magazine. The other videos will be posted here throughout this week.
This is the second of five video interviews Alan did with RELEVANT Magazine. The other videos will be posted here throughout this week.
This is the first of five video interviews Alan did with RELEVANT Magazine. The other videos will be posted here throughout this week.
Photo/Graphic Credit: RELEVANT Magazine. Click image to read the article featuring Alan’s testimony and recent decisions concerning Exodus.
This article by Eddie Kaufholz is from RELEVEANT Magazine Issue 65: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 as well as their podcast. Here is the intro:
“Change is possible!”
That was Exodus International’s slogan, an unapologetic answer to the dicey “are people born gay?” question. Often described as the largest “ex-gay” ministry in the U.S., Exodus worked with Christians who dealt with same-sex attraction for 37 years. That all changed in June, when Exodus International’s president Alan Chambers stunned the world by apologizing for his ministry and shutting its doors for good.
Chambers sat down with RELEVANT Podcast castmember Eddie Kaufholz (who happens to also be a pastor) to discuss that apology, tell his stories and give his vision for the future.
Photo Credit: Edward Linsmier for Buzzfeed. Click image to read the full article.
From the article “The Man Behind The Historic Implosion Of The Ex-Gay Movement” by David Peisner:
… Chambers not only closed Exodus in sudden and dramatic fashion, but acknowledged the ineffectiveness of gay-to-straight reparative therapy and offered a remarkable mea culpa that apologized for his organization’s many missteps. He’s now founding a new organization focused on bringing Christians and homosexuals together, called Speak. Love. Many in the LGBT community hailed Exodus’ demise as a victory in the culture wars but were disappointed Chambers hadn’t gone further in his support of gay rights or his renouncement of the religious underpinnings of the ex-gay theology. To many evangelicals, the man who had not only been a leader of the ex-gay movement but also a living example of its successes was now a lost sheep, or worse, a heretic.
“There are times when I feel like I don’t have a country,” Chambers says, not far from a wall of photos that include shots of him with his wife, with his kids, and with Mike Huckabee. “There are people who have been invested in this fight for years on both sides. It’s the vocal minority on either side that gets the microphone. What I believe is there are far more people in the middle.”
It’s this middle group that he’s hoping to represent and talk to. The question is, will he have the chance? At the moment, he’s working on defining specific plans for the new organization and raising money to keep the lights on. But in order to succeed, he’ll need to convince people that his divisive past has indeed passed, and that his own personal struggle won’t get in the way of his public mission.
This article is worth the read. Please check it out. If inclined, come and let us know what you think after reading the article.
Click the above image to see the three part video interview with Anderson Cooper 360
This has been a busy summer for Alan in many ways, including media. Here is a list of some of the highlights over the past few months:
Special Report: God & Gays – Lisa Ling, Our America
‘Ex-gay’ group Exodus International shuts down – BBC World News
Exclusive: ‘Gay cure’ advocate apologizes - Anderson Cooper 360 (Three part video interview available online at link)
Some Christians shift on gays: Column – by Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today
Exodus International: Let the Recycling Begin! - by Brandan Robertson, Revangelical Blog
Homosexuality & The Question of Christian Unity - by Brandan Robertson, Revangelical Blog
Why I’ll Accept Your Imperfect Apology – by Laura Ortberg Turner, Christianity Today
Exodus international: bending history’s arc - by Christian Piatt, Red Letter Christians
My Response to the Closing of Exodus International - by Tony Campolo, Red Letter Christians
Can Christianity Learn to Say, “I’m Sorry”? - by Stephen Mattson, Red Letter Christians
Watermark interviews former Exodus figurehead Alan Chambers - by Susan Clary, Watermark
Alan Chambers, Exodus International’s Former President, On Sexual Labels, ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy – by Michelangelo Signorile (Includes audio of Alan’s interview on Signorile’s Sirius OutQ Radio program The Gist.)
Exodus to Speak Love – article by Erik Guzman and audio is included of Alan’s interview on Steve Brown Etc.
This is definitely not a comprehensive list and two more important interviews are coming soon to Buzzfeed and Relevant Magazine. Stay tuned!