“Conversion Therapy in Australia: A report released this week confirms conversion therapy is still practised in Australia, despite being deemed unethical and harmful by psychologists… @BobBrownFndn and @AlanMchambers talk about their personal experiences with conversion and aversion therapy and its surprising pervasiveness in Australia. www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au”
@SatPaper
October 19, 2018

Our Dear Savior’s Birth

By Leslie Chambers

Since childhood, I’ve loved ‘The the Night Before Christmas’. I vividly remember sitting with my mother as she slowly recited the words and turned the pages of the book that held a special spot on our family room coffee table each Christmas.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what a kerchief was or that I’d never tasted a sugarplum, I longed to for such a night.

 A couple of years ago, I was asked to address the children of our church in our Christmas Eve service and found myself wishing I could capture the wonder and beauty of Jesus’ birth. As I began studying the Gospel accounts and Old Testament prophesies, the purposeful cadence of Clement C. Moore’s enchanting poem echoed through my mind.

 Thank you, Mr. Moore, for your beautiful poem and as a seminarian and Bible scholar, I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your cadence to tell the story of our dear Savior’s birth.

Our Dear Savior’s Birth

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the earth

The scene was set for our dear Savior’s birth.

A remarkable star hung in the night sky,

To witness the miracle commencing nearby.

Magi believed it was the sign of a king,

To him, gold, frankincense, and myrrh they would bring.

Shepherds keeping watch o’re their flocks thru the night,

Would soon behold a most glorious sight.

Angels stood ready, hovering poised to proclaim,

“Glory to God and in peace he will reign”

To the City of David, a young couple was bound,

But upon their arrival no room could be found.

Joseph felt anxious, but he chose not to fear,

When Mary’s time to give birth was suddenly near.

Pain mixed with peace met unmatchable joy,

And time would be marked with the birth of this boy.

Mary remembered the angel, who said she found grace,

When Jesus was born she stared grace in the face.

She beheld her son with ten fingers and toes,

She swaddled him and kissed his sweet little nose.

Prince of Peace! Lord of lords! King of Kings! Rising Sun!

Son of God! Son of Man! Great I Am! Holy One!

Explain your Father to us – who loves beyond all.

Explain your Father to us – that is your call.

As you existed when the world was created,

Now God is with us, oh, how long we have waited!

Then out in the fields, the shepherds heard singing,

And angels appeared – what good news they were bringing!

So to town the men hurried—their feet taking flight.

 “A Savior is born in our city tonight!”

Finding baby Jesus in a manger of hay,

“The angels, they told us we’d find him this way!”

From the East Magi trekked with the star as their guide,

In time the star’s light led to Jesus’ side.

The moment they saw him, pulled gifts from their packs

And with worship and bounty they did not hold back.

Little Jesus – he laughed! He giggled and cooed.

He toddled and waddled and walked he grew.

His family was Jewish and they raised him this way.

It was Moses’ Law they sought to obey.

So at the right time, they gave an offering of love,

On the altar they sacrificed two turtledoves.

Sanctifying this child and setting him apart,

Gives us a glimpse of his dear Father’s heart.

Joseph and Mary treasured all they were told,

How a plan for salvation was to unfold.

Jesus would flourish a wise man among men

And would offer himself and would not condemn.

 For God so loved the world, he gave us his Son,

To all who believe, life eternal will come.

On this silent night, and throughout this glorious season,

Enjoy every minute remembering Jesus is the reason.

When you open a present, tied with ribbons and bows,

Think to yourself of all the love that it shows.

One last thought I will leave on this pre-Christmas night,

“God knows you and loves you with all of his might.”

I love church. Church feels as much like home as my own kitchen. Sometimes it’s an absolute mess, but that usually means something fantastic is cooking!  As a young man who believed in Jesus and who was gay, I had two choices when it came to being a part of a church. I could either become not-gay (or by default stay hidden in a closet of shame and secrecy) or not go to church. Within the past few decades, LGBTQ people of faith have found a third option in open and affirming churches and I’m thankful. These 3 options have also played out when allies, friends, and family of LGBTQ people find themselves veering toward affirmation and inclusion.

Today, I find myself wondering if there is more. What if we as the Church, the body of Christ, his bride, could lovingly, thoughtfully, and graciously wrestle through these important realities together? What if LGBTQ people and our friends, family, and/or allies could “come out” authentically within the community of believers we call our local church? What if the desire for conversation, relationship, love, and the gospel trumped fear, accusation, whispering, and division? What if we chose to live in the tension for the sake of relationship and the gospel?

I don’t go to a perfect church, but it is my church. It’s a place where I have exposed my weaknesses, wept openly, argued passionately, used profanity in heated small meetings with other leaders, been loved through the worst of times, and supported when we didn’t know where or when the next paycheck would come. At our church we’ve been prayed for, cared for, and loved deeply. In turn, we’ve given to, prayed for, cared for, and loved others. We believe there is no more important truth to understand than to know how much our good Father loves us, to fully receive that love, and from there love him and others to the best of our ability.

This video is my most recent message at my church and shares much of the struggle I mentioned.  My hope is that it conveys how burdensome such tension can be—but how worth it living in the tension within ones community is.

I love both my church and the greater Church and I have tremendous hope that, as the Church, we are becoming all we were created to be. I love that my church is choosing love, relationship, and conversation for the sake of the Gospel and people. That’s real life. That’s maturity. That’s grace.

“Alan & Leslie Chambers Interview on Steve Brown, Etc.”
by Dr. Steve Brown w/ Alan & Leslie Chambers

Sorry, listening to the audio on this website requires Flash support in your browser. You can try playing the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

 

DMy Exodus Book: From Fear to Gracer. Steve Brown, founder of Key Life Network, is a good friend who has stood with Leslie and me through the tests and trials we’ve walked through as leaders in the evangelical church. I am thankful for his wise counsel, encouragement, and friendship.

Leslie and I sat down with Steve and his cohosts, Zach Van Dyke, Justin Holcomb, and Erik Guzman last October to talk about our latest book, My Exodus: From FEAR to GRACE (Zondervan, 2015).

Click below to listen to the show. Please share your comments.

 

 

Easter and New Life!

WP Chain of Lakes CanalWelcome to spring, my friends. Living in Winter Park, Florida most often means the weather of spring isn’t so different than that of winter, nonetheless it is full of new sights, sounds, and fragrances. Spring is all about new life. I hope yours is full of just that.

Please CHECK OUT  the latest from Leslie and me:

Thanks so much for stopping by! Love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. Or on social media:

My Washington Post OpEd on Gay Marriage

I once led an ex-gay ministry. Here’s why I now support people in gay marriages.

Last week I had the privilege of writing an opinion piece for the The Washington Post in light of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage. Here are the ending paragraphs from the article:

My prayers going forward will be for those who fear the results of the decision that was made today. Those who feel like they have lost their country and like evil is prevailing. As one who once felt that way I believe I can pray for them with great understanding and empathy. My prayer won’t be for them to change their mind on anything gay. My prayer will be for them to repent of fear.

Perfect love casts out all fear. Love never fails. I hope the 60 percent of Americans who won today will remember the 40 percent who feel as though they lost. This is truly an opportunity for the majority to do unto others better than they were once done unto. I believe this can happen because what I have found as a former conservative religious leader amongst the people I once opposed is love, acceptance, affirmation and friendship.

It’s time to end the war. It’s time for peace and rest. For Christians, I believe the Gospel demands it. There’s never been a better day for it than today.

Click here to read the full article. I look forward to your comments.

Alan Chambers: President Obama is right to try to end Reparative Therapy for minors (RNS COMMENTARY)

Religion_News_Service_-_Coverage_of_religion__ethics_and_spirituality_from_around_the_globeToday Religion News Service asked me to weigh in on Reparative Therapy for minors. It is titled, “Alan Chambers: President Obama is right to try to end ex-gay therapy (COMMENTARY).” From the article:

I got married in 1998, and for more than 17 years have found it easy to be faithful to my wife. I am more in love with her today than ever before and enjoy every part of our amazing marriage. But it took me 20 years, 12 of which I served as the president of Exodus International — the world’s largest so-called ex-gay ministry — to realize my story is just that: my story.

While I am thankful for the ministry I went to for support — there was no other place for gay Christians to go in 1991 to admit the truth — I am sorry that they and I prescribed a one-size-fits-all story for every gay and lesbian person. I’m sorry we preached an incomplete gospel and wrongly told LGBTQ people they could and should do more to be acceptable to God. Doing so was deeply hurtful and damaging to many who never experienced the kind of change we thought possible.

For too long, same-sex attraction has been categorized as sinful and in need of repairing. Such stigma has caused LGBTQ people crippling shame and fear. As a child I experienced and as an adult I perpetuated that stigma. I profoundly regret my support for and promotion of reparative therapy.

And that’s why I stand with President Obama in calling for a ban on this practice for minors and for greater measures to protect adults seeking this niche therapeutic intervention.

Click here to read the full article which shares about my journey and explains more of my reasoning behind my agreement with President Obama.

UPDATE: Speak. Love., The Chambers, and ZONDERVAN!

Today we are consolidating Speak. Love. into AlanChambers.org. In June 2013 when we closed Exodus International and embarked on this new season we decided to continue doing what we knew well, which was run an organization. However, about a month into the process someone asked me rather pointedly, “So, Alan, what’s your hiring policy going to be for Speak. Love.?” It was then I realized I didn’t want another organization, policies, procedures, or anything similar to what we had just left behind. Leslie and I wanted to be free to work and partner with whomever we chose regardless of sexual orientation, label, religion or lack there of.

Speak. Love. has been a great platform for discussions and bridge building. The many good goals, clear message, and original intent are being best expressed through Leslie’s and my speaking, consulting, and writing. It just makes sense from a stewardship angle to consolidate these online resources. Will the future hold a separate non-profit? Maybe. I haven’t yet perfected fortune telling. What I do know is the God given mission and vision of Speak. Love. is being lived out every day in Leslie and me as a team and will find a great online home here at AlanChambers.Org.

Please stay engaged as we ramp up our posts. The last year has been tremendously relaxing and purposeful for Leslie and me. One of our greatest accomplishments was writing our first book together. In July after many months of talking with publishers and deliberation we signed with Zondervan a division of Harper Collins. Our book, My Exodus: Leaving the Slavery of Religion, Loving the Image of God in Everyone is due out August 25, 2015.

Please stay in touch with us here at AlanChambers.org or via these social media platforms:

www.facebook.com/AlanManningChambers

www.twitter.com/AlanMChambers or www.twitter.com/LeslieMChambers

www.instagram.com/AlanMChambers

www.pinterest.com/ChambersAlanM

For those who want to give towards the work of reconciliation we are doing, you may do so by clicking the donate button near the bottom of the sidebar.

I am excited and honored to participate in this event. From the All Nations Gathering: Pastor’s Day “Reconciliation Talks” event page:

You are cordially invited to the Pastor’s Day “Reconciliation Talks” hosted by Sandra Turnbull, David VanCronkhite, Keith Page, and Ed Salas. The seminar is designed to provide opportunities to build relationships with other Pastors and Church Leaders, and provide a platform for sharing on issues regarding faith and sexuality.

This year we are delighted to have special speakers, Danny Cortez, Alan Chambers, and Rev. Dr. Ken Fong. Come hear inspiring stories and meet new friends who have a heart for reconciliation.

The “Reconciliation Talks” seminar will take place from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. There will be a dinner break following the seminar for everyone to enjoy dinner across the street at “Fronk’s” before reconvening for the 7:00 pm Communion Service with special speaker, Pastor Danny Cortez.

The “Pastor’s Day” is a Pre-Conference Event that precedes the All Nations Gathering 2014 Conference the weekend of October 9th – 12th. You are also cordially invited to attend the All Nations Gathering 2014 Conference and can register for this event by clicking here.

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Date: October 9, 2014
Time: 09:30 a.m. - 08:30 p.m. PDT
Event: All Nations Gathering: Pastor's Day "Reconciliation Talks"
Sponsor: Glory Tabernacle Christian Center
562-920-1845
Venue: Glory Tabernacle Christian Center - Bellflower
562-920-1845
Location: 9812 Walnut Street
Bellflower, CA 90706
United States
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Towards Peace & Conversation

 

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.