Today 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.
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.
Jesus, friend of sinners
We have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name
But the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners
The truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You
But they’re tripping over me
We’ve all broken dishes at one time or another. Leslie and I are avid collectors of family artifacts and have inherited hundreds of pieces of china and other breakable mementos. Because we display these rare treasures rather than store them, some have been broken. Because of their sentimental worth we try to fix these pieces. In some cases we simply put them in a box with other broken wears in hopes that we can do a mosaic with them later.
You see, even broken heirlooms are of high value to me. Yet, until today I hadn’t considered the deep value of the actual fracture. I have long preferred fixing these items in such a way that their brokenness is masked, which is how so many of us treat our own personal struggles, weaknesses and failures. We go to counseling or support groups to “fix” ourselves and then try to pretend nothing ever happened. Like that’s even possible.
Last Sunday Alan gave a powerful and practical sermon at Grace Church Orlando titled Evangelism Overhaul: Practical Grace. You can listen to the sermon through the player instance at the end of this page. Here are the notes for his sermon if you would like to follow along.
Evangelism Overhaul – Practical Grace by Alan Chambers
A. Repent of our own immorality and recommit to holiness.
B. Repent of Hostility and Recommit to Bold Love
2. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35)
John 13:35 (NASB) – 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.