Can Another ‘Gay-Friendly’ Faith Group Help Steer the Conversation for Christians on Homosexuality?

Christian Post
January 27th, 2014

Alan is quoted in this article which is centered around a new project called Imago Dei. From the article:

The Imago Dei campaign is the latest among a handful of emerging faith-friendly initiatives attempting to defuse heated conversations among Christians on certain polarizing issues, specifically homosexuality. Although this latest evangelical-led movement holds the view that homosexuality is a sin, its supporters affirm that both “straight and gay” people bear the “image of God” — not exactly a newsflash for some Christians, but definitely a necessary acknowledgment as far as those who lead similar organizations are concerned.

NALT and The Reformation Project obviously differ in their messages from the Imago Dei campaign, but the fact that the latter affirms the humanity of all people is enough for celebration, according to Alan Chambers, founder of the now-defunct Exodus International.

The ex-gay organization was known for trumpeting reparative therapy as a “cure” for Christians with unwanted same-sex attractions. Last year, Chambers disavowed his organization’s methods, apologized to the gay community for causing any members “trauma” and dismantled the nonprofit he had been leading for 12 years — to the delight of critics, and to the dismay of some longtime supporters. He now leads an organization called Speak. Love., whose mission is to “serve in our pluralistic culture by hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about faith, gender, and sexuality; and partnering with others to establish trust, reduce fear, and inspire hope.”

Chambers, still getting familiar with the evangelical-led Imago Dei campaign, said on Friday that he finds its inclusive statement “great” and thinks it is “hitting the nail on the head.”

“That’s a wonderful thing to point out, and it’s something I’ve been trying to highlight in the last few months as well, that everyone does reflect the image of God,” Chambers told CP. “You can find the image of God everywhere you look if you just look hard enough.” Even in “monogamous, long-term faithful marriages” among people of the same sex, he added, commenting on some of his gay and lesbian friends.

“What I find in many of those relationships is that they’re bearing the image of God in the area of faithfulness, commitment and love, trust and fidelity and all of those things,” Chambers explained. “Nowhere in that do I even have to make a judgment on the morality of homosexuality or anything like that.”

Although Chambers believes the Bible shows that God’s creative intent and expression for human sexuality is “one man and one woman for one lifetime” (as he told Relevant magazine last year), he says he refuses to live forever entrenched in a debate about the issue.

“I think that’s a pit that we Christians have dug ourselves into, thinking that we constantly have to live in a split-screen debate mentality, like we’re on Fox News or CNN, constantly debating the cultural issues when we can simply say, ‘These people bear the image of God. They’re reflecting God’s image in this way,’” said Chambers.

“Let that stand alone. Whether someone is a Christian or not, they’re bearing the image of God, in my opinion, in some way, and I think to reflect on that positive is a wonderful thing and something that is desperately needed in the church today.”

Click the link highlighted above or here to read the full article.

Alan Chambers Featured In September/October 2013 Issue of RELEVANT Magazine

Photo/Graphic Credit: RELEVANT Magazine. Click image to read the article featuring Alan's testimony and recent decisions concerning Exodus.

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.

“It’s a Leap Of Faith”: Alan & Leslie Featured in Excellent Buzzfeed Article

Photo Credit: Edward Linsmier for Buzzfeed. Click image to read the full article.

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.

An Overview of Alan Chambers’ Summer Media Appearances

Click Image to see the three part video interview with Anderson Cooper 360

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 downBBC 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!