Introduction to Speak. Love.

Profile PicThe 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.

I think it is this posture that most fuels our desire to fight. Look around, listen to the news, conduct your own interviews of people on the streets; Christians are not known for our love. Nor are we often characterized by what we are for. We are known for being against. We are known for shooting our wounded and fencing the communion table so no one dirty will get in. We speak with the tongues of angels, we do this and we do that in Jesus’ name, but we have not love. At least not real love for people who fail to meet our ungodly high standards—the very standards we fail to meet. The least of these are aplenty and we treat them as the least, the last and the lost. We hope they ‘get saved’ only if they don’t bring their mess with them. And we rely on para-church organizations to deal with that mess.

As a lifelong evangelical Christian who grew up entrenched in church culture and church life and who has spent nearly every single day of my adult life deeply involved in a professional career of Christian service, I don’t know how God accomplishes much through us, His people. I say much because there are amazing examples of Jesus to be found in the Church. But, as a whole Body, we are struggling and in need of reformation: A grace reformation—one that reveals the heart of the Father and no longer the anxiety of the emotionally and spiritually asthmatic Older Brother, which has become the picture of the Church in the 21st century. As believers in one body, what one of us is says or does reflects the whole. Most of us are known for what none of us want to be.

Here’s the problem: we don’t live as though we have peace. We are anxious, hopeless, angry, and shocked. Our anxiety-ridden minds think the solution to finding peace requires us fighting to recreate hope, which will make us happy and put an end to all the shocking things in our world. We think we can create peace. The truth is, according to John 16:33, we are promised peace when we have Jesus, the Prince of Peace, as our Lord and Savior. We aren’t promised a world of peace, just an inward, never-ending, reality of it. The Church, the spiritual Body of Christ, does not operate from a spiritual position of absolute peace. We exist in fear—fear of God’s wrath, first and foremost, and fear of what will happen if we don’t “work” for Him. It’s sad, really. Exhausting. A treadmill of works and rules. It’s not the life in the Promise Land of peace and rest or the goodness we are promised in Psalm 27:13-14 where it says:

13 [a]I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

As an earthly father, the very last thing I want my children to feel or live in is fear of me. I don’t want them to operate in life out of a position of fear of anything. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a healthy respect for me and who I am for them, the dangers of life and their surroundings, or that they don’t need to be careful. Obviously, they do need to be careful and respect the boundaries our culture and environment have set up, whether in nature or elsewhere. But, they don’t need to fear me, Leslie or anything else. They don’t need to worry. I am speaking to myself as I type this, too. I am constantly learning not to live in fear of anything.

Fear motivates us to be self-focused, self-absorbed, and reactionary. Our solutions are not based on trusting God to be God, but rather on our human efforts and endeavors to save the world. But, as my friend Tyler Wigg-Stevenson recently wrote in his fabulous must-read book by the same name, The World is not Ours to Save. We must trust God to be God because we cannot be Him or do His job for Him no matter how hard we try or how much we want to.

To sum it up, we are cultural defeatists who live in constant religious turmoil overreacting to our surroundings fully expecting that through our human efforts we can save the world, please God, and experience man-made Utopia on planet earth; all by tomorrow. No wonder the world hates and/or pities us. We are delusional. Dictatorial. Lacking compassion.

So glad this doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There is another option. We need to, as 4Him so poignantly sang back in the 1990’s, get back to the basics of life. It’s actually a song full of appropriate words. The basics: love God and love people. Simple in all its complexity. It will mean shutting off FoxNews and the split screen debate mentality that permeates the evangelical church. It will mean refraining from the senseless Facebook tirades that so easily suck us in. It will mean shutting up for a change rather than pretending we know it all, including God’s every thought and opinion on, well, everything. It will mean listening to people whose sin you think you know and deep down love to hate (the sin, that is). It will mean learning to think, speak, and act from a posture and position of secure peace in Christ and His absolute love for all.

I realize this is a tall order. But, as I contemplate the end of the human story—however far or near it may be—the Bible says it culminates with a harvest of people. There is no qualification made on their political or social positions, economic background, race, age, or sexual orientation (there it is—wondering when I was going to mention that deal breaker were you?). Truly, anyone can know Jesus if they simply believe. A great harvest of believers in Christ and His finished work will come when we, current believers, are more compelling than we are today. When we represent Him better than we have before. When we speak like Him. When we love like Him.

If we have not love we are like a clanging cymbal! Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

Alan served as the final president of Exodus International from 2001 to 2013 when together with a core team of leaders and board of directors he closed the organization and began making great strides towards building relationships with the LGBTQIA community and encouraging the global Church to do the same. With a goal to reduce fear, establish trust, and inspire hope on both sides for the sake of the Gospel, Alan and his wife, Leslie, spend their time being available to anyone who desires to talk. He has been featured on every major media outlet across the globe. Alan and Leslie’s first book together, My Exodus: From Fear to Grace (Zondervan, 2015) releases on September 29.

The Chambers spend the best part of their lives with their 10 year olds, Molly and Isaac, and the rest having conversations about all things gay with anyone and everyone over lunch in Winter Park, Florida or in other locations throughout the world.
Follow Alan and Leslie on Twitter: @AlanMChambers and @LeslieMChambers

I value your honesty and critical review. Please refrain from attacking others.

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70 thoughts on “Introduction to Speak. Love.

  1. Since I am been one of your harshest critics at times I will you kudos where it is due and I am impressed by this. Since I am an atheist I don’t believe in the religious parts but it is nice to see a call for conservative Christians to change their ways and messaging. From this AlterNet article: “Research conducted by the pro-Christian Barna Group in 2007 on Americans age 16-29 found that “anti-homosexual” was the dominant perception of modern Christians. Ninety-one percent of non-Christians and 80 percent of Christians in this group used this word to describe Christians.” I am glad that people like you who had a history in the past are speaking up and changing your message.

  2. As a christian who is gay and fully accepts myself, my orientation, and it as Gods design… I have to say, I am encouraged by your approach to several issues that your raise. Like the previous commenter, I give you kudos as well. I personally think that how you live is fine. Who am I to tell you to be with a man or woman? That I am not one to criticize. You have to live how ever you feel is right for you and affirming gay christians … to them the same… if you’re not going to live according to your conscience, then what? So, I’m encouraged so far, Alan. I pray your family is blessed.

  3. God bless you, Mr. Chambers. You’re such a hero of mine. I actually walked right past you one afternoon at this summer’s final Exodus conference in Irvine, but I couldn’t stomach the strength to say hi. Haha, I’m a bit of an introvert. Needless to say, your courage and grace inspires me. I look forward to more of your writings and ministry. It is so needed. Much love. – Tom

    • “The Bible knows but of two” rules that Jesus held higher than any other: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and LOVE YO NEIGHBOUR AS YOSELF CHILDDDD.

  4. Thank you Alan, for your beautifully written thoughts. As a mom who has been learning what true unconditional love is for her son, I so appreciate all you do. My husband and I attended our first conference this past June at Exodus’ last conference, and were inspired. I am so glad you are continuing, in this new direction through Speak.Love. Since our son came out to us a couple of years ago, I feel like I have had my eyes opened to a whole new world. I am experiencing a new love for all people regardless of political, social,economic, race, age, or sexual orientation. My hope for the church is that all can have their eyes opened, as we have, to love all people for who they are, right where they are. I would love to see the church break down the barriers we have created, and accept everyone, and love everyone. I would love someday, to be a support to parents, who struggle to love and accept their children. I will continue to pray for you and Leslie, and your wonderful family. You are an inspiration to me. Again, thank you!

    • Lindsey,
      You shared beautifully what I would have written had I been as eloquent! I am feeling the same way and am in the same situation! God bless and I am looking forward to supporting this discussion and Ministry!

    • Lindsey,

      Yes, it certainly is all about love. It doesn’t matter how many times we talk about the need to ‘speak the truth in love’ we always have to be careful that we have as our foundation the IN LOVE part! on the journey now too, hopeful, and cautious, yet never without love and so good to find others learning to love too.

  5. Thank you for having the courage to do all that you have done and continue to do! I cannot imagine how stressful and painful the last year has been for you. For me and many other LGBT people, thank you!

    Speaking up and speaking out against the norm and accepted path is not easy. Being told you are a heretic, a follower of satan or the like is beyond painful. It has only happened a few times for me and I cannot begin to contemplate how much hatred you have had thrown your way.

    I pray for you and your family. That God will bless you all and remind you of His endless and bottomless love. That you would all have the Truth of God surround your hearts and your home. That God’s unfathomable peace would be instilled within your hearts.

    I’m very excited to see where this ministry is headed and how God will use it in the future. This is especially true as I’ve felt God calling me to ministry in helping in this area as well.

    A verse of encouragement on continuing what you have already started:

    Galatians 10:1
    10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    • Thanks for your thoughtfulness, Micah, and encouragement. Interestingly, in 1996 a dear friend gave Galatians 10:1 to me with a note that encouraged me to be strong in the areas of restoration and reconciliation and said I shouldn’t fear man! Timely reminder!

      • The blind leading… Sounds more like you are feeding people what they want to hear love without the truth is that really love at all or is it just candy coated lies in the desert. Question do you know that you are a wolf ? I wonder…

        • Oh Rick – don’t cry wolf too often. It’s a shepherds duty to spot the wolf and call him out. Be sure your heart is a true shepherds heart. Remember the Great Shepherd – He sees the heart.

  6. Thank you for speaking the truth in love and mercy and grace. We were also at the California conference and though new to the organization and disappointed at it’s turn, we now quite clearly see the upward turn Speak.Love is taking and appreciate it so much. So comforting to know God’s words in days of old still bring truth and help and direction for life in today’s world. He has opened my mind not only to the creation and purpose of mankind, the desire by God for celibacy before marriage, the joy that only He can grow in me, and so much more – but mostly that “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” How can I be critical of someone’s lifestyle when I lie, gossip, overeat, slander, and so on? Lots of work sitting in this chair right here! Need to stay on task!

    • Oh Carol, I am so grateful for the stories of those who were a part of Exodus no matter how long or short the duration. I know this was a difficult move to understand and caused many to question. Alas, God is much bigger and He has something better in store for all of us as we seek to love all people as He does. Live your faith. Share your life! Blessings to you!

  7. You’re right, that when Christians, or those on the right, make hateful and divisive comments (which happens so often online), we drive unbelievers away from the Lord, and we are not representing Him accurately at all. Jesus proved His unbelievably vast love for us when He let Himself be tortured and killed for our sakes. And He reached out to sinners all the time. But don’t we also represent Him inaccurately, when we emphasize love so much that we don’t include His message to the sinners that He helped — “Go and sin no more.” It’s as if we’re failing to help our friends with cancer find the doctor that can treat them and get them into remission. Is that love?

    • I don’t mean to imply that I am without sin. Not at all! And I try not to judge anyone. But I try to confess my sins daily and do my best to obey the Lord and to seek the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome my sins. I’m sure that the temptation of same-sex desire is overwhelming and more difficult than I can imagine. I do not believe that sexual sin is a worse sin than any of my sins (in how it separates us from God), not at all! They’re equal in God’s eyes, I believe. It’s just another sin. The only reason I’m commenting here is confusion over what exactly the direction of your ministry is now. This is the first time I’m visiting your website, and it sounds like you’re emphasizing the importance of our reflecting God’s love (which I emphatically agree with), but I don’t see any offer of help with the struggle, or any hope for those that want a way out. Perhaps that’s because there’s been so much hateful rhetoric out there, that you feel that healing is needed, and an emphasis on God’s love. I certainly understand that! But you’re not changing your message to say that a change in behavior is not possible or needed, are you? I mean, alcoholics also have to deal with a lifelong temptation that is terribly, terribly difficult. But that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for them to follow that inclination and drink when they feel like it, does it? Please help me understand what you are trying to do. Thank you!

      • Cana to equate gay people with alcoholics is frankly insulting. Different people come to different conclusions about gay committed relationships and sin. An alcoholic is doing damage to their health and in many cases their families which committed gay couples are not.

        • Tim, this is a rather harsh reply to Cana, don’t you think. She was merely equating struggles with one sin with struggles with another. You seem to be saying that some sins are worse than others and she is wrong for implying they are not. I think she has James on her side, but even so, I did not detect the harsh, judgmental attitude in her comments that I see in yours.

        • Tim,

          I find it just as insulting for you to peddle the idea that alcoholics are damaging their bodies, but gays are not.

          The rectum is not designed for penile penetration and it doesn’t matter how “committed” you are or not.

          An alcoholic (active) IS destroying their body, which is to be a temple. Conversely, gays (active) are not only desecrating their temple, but have added injury to the insult by sinning against another of God’s children.

          • Hi Sandra,

            I get your take, but trying to talk to someone about this, there are so many pitfalls when we say, “The sin is penetration because it’s bad for the body,” then the responding question is, “What about straight people having anal sex? What about straight people who have lots of children, when that can wear out the body and do harm to it?” or other things people do that aren’t good for the temple but aren’t called out as sins. (That’s a huge run-on sentence, so please forgive my grammar everyone!)

            And if we say, “It’s against the way God made us, the natural order of Adam and Eve!” then the curiosity arises of, “Then what about artificial hearts, or couples who don’t have children, or people who eat food that’s genetically engineered?”

            But then if we say, “The sin is because God said it’s a sin and that is the way it is!” it becomes, “What about ALL THE OTHER THINGS God said were bad that aren’t now, like shellfish or short hair for women or myriad others? Aren’t you just picking and choosing?”

            I have my own opinion on this, but that’s not what I’m highlighting here, I just want to talk about how it is a very hard take trying to convince even a Christian that homosexuality is wrong, given the myriad interpretations that exist and the question of cultural interpretation or what the original language means or what’s changed.

            Really, this is why an organization like Speak. Love. is important, because we can argue and argue and argue that this interpretation or that interpretation is right, but unless someone seeks God and finds the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering to them, everything else will be arguments of man against man. If a person can argue with you and persuade you into a position, a person can argue you out of it. I love the notion that we can have a group that presents the arguments but acknowledges the questions, embraces everyone and wants everyone to be on a quest to pursue being closer to God.

            I don’t think people can get closer to God without self-examination and discernment coming along.

            My two cents, FWIW.

      • Cana, the direction of Speak. Love. is to create a space that isn’t currently available. We’ve decided there is one basic message we feel called to share: love. Read the earlier post we did on 1 Corinthians 13 from the Message translation. We aren’t here to call out sin or judge people. There’s enough of that elsewhere. I trust the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of believers seeking such counsel–we are not the Holy Spirit. If someone asks for my help with struggles they are facing, I am happy to help, but our ministry is such that we are trying to find some common ground, a way to serve all people in the way Jesus would have us serve. We operate under a motto, which sums up who we are nicely: Live your faith. Share your life. That simply means you can find out what I believe about all sorts of things by how I live my our my faith in the context of my daily decisions. But, regardless of what I believe about a host of issues ranging from theological to social, I will share my life with anyone and everyone who wants to share theirs with me–no agenda. It is what Jesus did and what I believe He is calling us to do. It’s all about service and not about telling people what they should do or how they should live. I am happy to share my opinions on relevant topics but those opinions serve to guide me and how I live my life, how my wife and I live and raise our kids. We live in a pluralistic world among all sorts of people from other faiths and ways of doing things. I am excited about being joyfully immersed in that world and engaging with people. I hope it will positively impact the way people see Christians and Christianity and mostly what they think about a God they previously distrusted or feared because of how His followers have misrepresented Him. Hope this makes some sense.

        • Alan, I respect what you are trying to do, as you say to provide a space that is not currently available, to provide some common ground between Christians and the world. To demonstrate the love of Christ. I commend you and believe that your intentions are truly noble. I have just spent the last two hours reading every single post in this column and contemplating what it all means. I have been truly and deeply challenged in my thinking. I can see that I need to have more grace for my fellow believers. And yet, I am left wondering…I am wondering, Alan, if, in your effort to create some new understanding and connections between Christians and those who have been traditionaly marginalized by the church, that maybe you are going too far. You comment that you are not here to call out sin or judge; there is enough of that elsewhere. And so you want to empasize love. So you seem to be implying that you are trying to provide the “other side” that most Christians seem to be neglecting or missing. And, again, I commend you on that. However, in so doing, are you not neglecting or missing something yourself? I get the feeling that you have come to a place in your life where you have seen so many Christians acting wrongly, including yourself, and you are deeply motivated to try and change that. Bravo. Really. I mean that. But let’s not also err on the other side. You said you will share your life with anyone and everyone who wants to–no agenda; because that is what Jesus did. i must disagree with you there. Jesus absolutely had an agenda. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. And He did that through His life, as well as through His death and resurrection. Which brings me to another important point: sin is serious and costly. It cost Jesus His life to redeem all mankind. So we ought not to trifle with it or turn a blind eye toward it. But, again, I want to thank you for what you are trying to do. You have helped me see a need to be more grace-filled and understanding towards others in their journey. But I fear that you may be leading some astray by sending the message that love is all that matters. That clearly is not the message of scripture or the message of Jesus. As others have pointed out here, Jesus loves, forgives, and says, “Go and sin no more.” Crystalmaepgh summed it up nicely when she said, “Love without Truth is just as meaningles as Truth without love.”

  8. Jesus didn’t, leave the adulterer in her sin he didn’t leave the prostitute in her sin. He had then and still has today the to ability to Speak this love you talk about into the souls of man kind and radically change them. God is love without doubt and yes I am still a sinner but his language is truth. Truth mixed with his love and the grace and or the time to let his spirit work and not force is what changes sinners into saints. It is my experience that people (men) who believe that they are gay have a very God given gift to communicate and connect on a spiritual level with a woman, this gift is what men (macho jocks) need. Ask any women with a ‘ gay BFF ‘ if this is true. The problem I see is that this is now so foreign to most of them they also push these men away with comments like “your so different”. It’s just a different twist of the same lie keeping these men questioning who they are. Gods beautiful little boy come to this earth to heal and restore a broken relationship. Please realize that the master of lies is also at work here and his agenda and only agenda is to destroy that relationship. Love without Truth is it really love at all? Jesus who you also claim as your saviour as he was prefect and with out sin speaks only truth and he to has this ability to connect with all people at this spiritual level why would you not seek wisdom from him. He never created gay, he created men and women with amazing gifts that have been twisted by lies that label them gay and they and we, me included have fallen for time and time again… Seek Truth.

    • Way to play to stereotypes. I know gay men who communicate well with women. I know those who don’t. As a gay man I have never had a female best friend. In fact most of my best friends are straight men. We aren’t confused. We merely know who we are attracted to. Stop trying to put gay men into a stereotypical box.

      • Yes I suppose you are right in the sense that not all stories are the same. Circumstance also plays a huge role in making any decision easier to make. However what ever your personal story you are still following a lie. The only box that is mentioned in my post is the one we all put you in. My comments are calling you out of that box so you might experience a healed and or restored relation ship with a God who adores who he made you to be. The lie is you believe that he made you to be gay and that is the only issue. Many in the ex gay community believe very strongly that some men for various reasons hate women with a passion therefore obviously they also choose this life style. The end result is the same the Gods design for relationship is destroyed and the master of lies wins again… He is the master as it is the only language he knows. So choose to seek truth and allow God not me to speak the truth (his only language) and life into you very soul.

        • You are going there? First if you haven’t gotten the message Exodus in no more. Frankly I am surprised this message was approved because I was insured that this was no longer the aim of this group. The ex-gay groups are getting smaller and smaller. And I have friends with many former ex-gay leaders who have renounced those groups.
          As for me living a lie I would only be living a lie if I denied my orientation. Instead I am married to a wonderful man and have a rich life that most would envy. I am truly blessed.

          • Comments are solely owned and only represent the views of the person writing the comment, not Speak. Love. That’s a pretty standard understanding of how comments work.

          • Thanks Randy that is very true I would not want anyone to think I speak for anyone other than myself out of my own life experience. It would appear the easy way out for you Tim is to deny the truth (God) and follow the lie that you were created that way … sorry I suppose you weren’t Created either. I would also wonder if you are truly blessed. I suppose that would very much depend on your definition of truth (being the root of truly). Again the lies you follow come from the same being, or do you also deny any and all spirituality. Just trying to figure it out, looking at it from all sides, having some dialog figuring out who you are, it’s called getting to know you. I speak from my heart as a result of my own experience. Have never been affiliated with any ministry let alone an ex gay one as you stated your many ex gay friends have denounced this approach. I would reiterate that if you would simply be open minded and truly seek the Truth… right you don’t believe in that. Question does not believing the truth change the fact that it is the truth. Millions of examples to this statement come to mind. Enough of the German people followed Hitlers insane lies to kill millions including people like you. I can’t make you believe the truth but not believing the truth = believing a lie, so not believing this truth changes nothing it is still the truth you just don’t believe it. Once again the master wins relationship destroyed. If you only knew the love and relationship God has for not only you but the man you claim you love… Seek it many who have tried to prove God to be a lie no longer do so. It’s personal and only he can speak the right message into your story mainly because he knows your story better than even you. Only he can radically change you life that’s my story. It is also the story of the adulterer and the prostitute from the beginning of my post. The only common thread being sexual sin. Been there…

          • Typical arrogance by a conservative Christian that only you and your type speak the truth. I say conservative Christians because I refuse to brush all Christians with the same brush. My whole family are Christians and do not share your beliefs in what you consider truth. In fact they are what I envision when people talk about Christian love.

          • Tim

            I believe that I responded to someone else’s post if your interested or not you can check it out The Lord bless you in you journey.

    • Rick, what God is He fully is. Fully love, fully truth, fully grace, fully compassion, fully just. His greatest work came in the form of Jesus–a free gift to us. An offering of love of the highest order. He didn’t send Jesus to judge or condemn. He sent Him to seek and save. The mission and message of Jesus wasn’t anything like the one you spouted above. Tim isn’t a project, he is a person. His gay life is between him and God. I don’t think he cares if you disagree with his decisions or life and your ranting and raving only cause more hurt and anger. You have every right to believe what you believe and even to share it in the way you want to share it, but don’t be deceived into believing your style is an answer to the question WWJD.

      • Thank you Alan. I was bawling and my heart was breaking for Tim and for my son and for everyone who has had to listen to…well what was said.

  9. Is there room for love in the evangelical world of hatemongering? It seems to me christians can only tolerate gays as long as they (the christians) start to turn away from certain aspects of their faith, a faith that is, after all, based on the Bible, which is clearly anti-gay, as well as generally anti-human in most regards (God=good, man=evil (and of course, gays are the worst evil, or so it seems.)).

    Considering Alan Chambers’s shameful past (Exodus was undeniably evil), I find it hard to see that he has anything good to offer but if I’m wrong and you can do anything to work against the bigotry you used to support, I wish you the best.

    • All of you who have shown disdain for conservative Christians are being just as unloving as those how show contempt for homosexuals. People are not “pluralistic” in their beliefs. There are not boxes of ideas and concepts, but instead variations of thoughts within of a spectrum of shades and colors of ideas. When we put people into boxes and label them this type of person or that type of person we are not being loving at all, but we are showing our intolerance of each others’ beliefs. I may believe the Bible is a bunch of bunk or I may believe it to be “God’s Word.” Whatever the case, my love is based on who the person is, not what he or she does in bed and with whom, or whether that person believes a book to be a literal message from God. Stop with the name calling and judging…on both sides!!

  10. Tim
    Have you read anything I have said ? Love with out truth attached to it is a lie, it’s not Love at all. Am I perfect not on your life I know all to well the sin you are living in likely for a different reason but I do know it. If you were my boy and I have 4 of them now you would know how much I love you. Not saying your dad does not love you because personally I would find it impossible not to love one of my boys. I was there from the moment that they took thier first breath. I will love them regardless of how they live thier life untill the day I die but they will know the truth and in love.

    It’s a choice God is giving you a choice he is not about forcing you to do anything that’s a robot. His desire is a relationship with you. Even this ministry and your family should agree with me on that note. God sent his only baby boy to live and die to restore this relationship. The master of lies that I speak of has no other purpose than to destroy this relationship he could care less how this is accomplished. The only sin that you should be concerned with is rejecting Christ and what he has done for you. Why would you do this knowing what you claim your family represents in Christs love for you. OMG you don’t think I know how messed the church is do you really think I would share all my ghosts in there. It’s about you and Gods son give it all to him and let him work out the details of your sin. Repent means to admit you are a sinner and accept this gift not give the church a list before enter. The truth is almost always what we don’t hear and healing almost always hurts more than the wound it self but is it not worth it in the end… That’s a for sure YES from me.

    • Tim thank you for all this dialog I do really appreciate it and you as well. I will look again later but a shower and bed time is in order.

      Rick

  11. Thank you Alan. Being a Christian who also happens to be gay, I was grateful for the work of Exodus in supporting men in my situation. It’s an invidious position: condemned by the church for merely being this way and weirdly condemned by gays for being in the church and having a faith. You face a constant battle with your sexuality and your faith with no one to talk to.

    I’ve tried prayer ministry. For a while I thought it had worked, but sadly it was only temporary.

    I have thought for sometime that the church and the gay community need to start talking to each other in a more reasonable way. I’m so pleased to see you’ve made a start.

    • A gay man thanking an anti-gay hate group for its good work. That’s priceless. The rest of us, non self-haters, are happy it closed its doors.

      • Whether gay or straight, being a “non-self hater” or a person who loves themselves or has a “good self image” is not something to be proud of. God tells us that we are born loving ourselves too much, that because we are born void of a relationship with Him, one of our major struggles will be with loving ourselves and serving our fleshly desires. He tells us to consider OTHERS better than ourselves and to not think too highly of ourselves. Chasing after self-love and self acceptance is a dead end. Only when we look at life and life’s issues from God’s perspective can we find peace and joy and love for all men. And only as we get to know God in a personal, intimate way through His Word can we be free of this obsession with love for self and trying to get other humans to love us the way only God can.

        • Which again proves that christianity is a hateful ideology because it idolizes a bloodthirsty deity that hates humanity. And also proves what I said about christians only being able to tolerate gays to the degree that they can turn their backs on their beliefs. And this self-hatred and hatred of all mankind is why groups like Exodus and the Westboro Baptist Church exist; so they can make others as miserable as themselves and destroy their lives. Which is why Mr Chambers, whose claim to fame is causing people misery and driving them to sucide, has zero credibility talking about “love”

          • Hi Carl, I am a christian and I do believe the Bible in terms of sexuality… I don’t agree that homosexuality is any bigger or lesser of a sin than me being attracted and dwelling on someone who is not my husband (lust/Adultery). Its no different to me than lying or cheating or doubting God. I am sorry that you guys have faced so much hardship and hurt. It does break my heart. I’m even sorry if I may have been a part of that. I have learned in my life that we are all predisposed to different sins (and I know that you don’t believe that acting on same-sex attraction is sin -thats okay). I’m included in being predisposed to sin. No one has had to teach me to make mistakes. It happens. Now God has come and he has changed me. I don’t make the same mistakes that I use too…at least as much as I used to… I’m a work in progress. I say all this to say, that I am of no greater or lesser value to God than you. He loves you rather you believe in him or not. You may have heard the saying, God loves us as we are, but he doesn’t leave us that way… I have gay friends and gay family. I will love them no matter what even if they never change. I don’t expect them to change if they don’t know the Lord. My only aim is that somehow they would come to experience him and come to know this God who loves humanity and want to save it. Sin is sin- we all carry that baggage in some form. God takes our baggage when we come to him. Carl its okay that you don’t believe me or agree with me, but don’t let that keep you from being even a little curious about the God of the Bible. I dare you to open and read it. Once upon a time I didn’t believe in the God I know now, but someone challenged me to seek just a little bit… and I did and God spoke a changed my life. He took my shame, my abuse, my pain and he made it something beautiful. The aim of God is to have relationship with his people and bring restoration. He wants a relationship with you.

          • Carl, I am so sorry you feel the way you do about Christianity, Christians, and God. Try and remember that God sent his only beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross, bearing the sins of all humanity so that humanity could be forgiven and given new hope. God is love and He loves you, Carl. Ephesians 4:15 says, “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church”. Carl, brother, I will be praying for you.

            1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 says, “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we can live with Him forever. So encourage each other adn build each other up, just as you are already doing”.

  12. I have been reading the comments and I know that I am not going to get the words right so I just ask that you try to see my intent- and if it comes out weird, please just ask questions if I screw up:)
    Warning this is a bit of a long one- so you can skip if you don’t have time:)

    First of all, to all of you who have been hurt, terrorized, chased down or abandoned by the Church (Big C) I feel like I want to offer you all of my heart to apologize, over and over again…for the rest of my lifetime which still won’t be enough. Until this issue came to my door and became personal I didn’t realize how bad things were. We have been struggling with my youngest son through 6 years of chemo so I feel like I’ve had my head in the sand. And now that I am waking up I feel like I want to do anything I can do help undo the damage or at least not ever, ever perpetuate it.

    My Adopted Son, who knows the Lord, came out just before he graduated High School. He was actually afraid that we would kick him out. KICK HIM OUT! That says it all man. He says he knew deep down WE wouldn’t but he was afraid anyway because everyone else would have. Like we could ever abandon our Son- like Christ would ever Abandon His son. That’s when I realized how deep the Problem was.

    I watched him be abandoned by the Men of the Church that we were in, men that he trusted and loved and I had to actually Intervene to Protect him from a few . I NEVER expected this- I know- we were blind and I will never forgive myself for not figuring it out sooner. We were focussed on other battles- but when we woke up we of course left that small confused Church right away. But we see what you have all been dealing with on just this small scale.

    I should probably just stop there because the apology, the confession that I took too long to see what was going on and did too little about it is really the biggest point here. I am part of a Church yes, but first I am a Lover of the one who loved me.

    I was a mess- seriously. I thought I was ‘unsaveable’. I struggled with Addiction that did not go away when I was came to know Jesus. I did Therapy, 12-steps, Endless Prayer Groups, and I was still the same me. I was rejected by the church and told if “I just prayed enough, was a better Christian” etc…I would be “healed”. I know- it sounds familiar eh?. It didn’t go away- I just went underground:) BUT- I learned that the “group” of accusers was just a “group of fellow broken people”…it wasn’t Christ and it certainly wasn’t Biblical. It was just people that were afraid because they didn’t have the answers. I was messy. There was no ‘cut and dry solution’. They didn’t know what to do with me when I wasn’t fixed and were embarrased by me because for some reason I seemed to represent the “Unsaveable” or the “Unfixable”. I see that happening here and now that I know, I am responsible to do everything I can to reach out and change it.

    I do not in any way claim to have all the answers. I don’t have to. I don’t’ have to know what a gay man should do once he is ‘saved’ and finds out he is still gay. (By the way- God isn’t suprised:) I know that the Lord says that committed relationships with only one partner is the very best thing. He says that marriage should be between a man and a woman- but he also says that any woman who is divorced and marries again is an adulterer….and last I checked homosexuality and adultery were listed together in all those lists they keep throwing at you. And yet Divorced couples are Everywhere in the church…how is that any different? And who am I to judge either of them? I am not in their story and God only tells each one person their story. And He WILL do that- for all his children, gay, straight, divorced, single, bipolar, black, green, ones who dance, ones who don’t…it doesn’t matter- He can handle it I don’t have to worry about figuring it all out.

    My Job IS to love. That is the Gospel. I am responsible to share that and God is responsible for the rest. What that looks like in the life of each and every precious Gay and Lesbian Child is not up to me to judge. Anytime I feel like I need to make that call I can sit down and list the 10 things that I did today that don’t match up with where I should be on that list in the Bible and thank God that I’m saved by Grace- not by who I am or what I do.

    I adore my gay son and…shockingly enough- we adore his Boyfriend. We have adopted both of them now. We will love them, share what we know that God says about what is his plan and live in the ‘messiness’ while they figure that out. And I know that if they decide to Trust Jesus- he will lead them the way they should go- and I will shut up and trust God with what that looks like.

    I know this is a long Rant, I’m so sorry, but one more thing. My son has Leukemia. He did 3 years of chemo from 10yrs-13 yrs old. He loves Jesus, trusts Him, has amazing Faith. The Cancer came Back. Was it because he wasn’t saved?
    The same people who abandoned my son when he came out struggled and distanced themselves when my son relapsed. Can you be a Christian and still have Cancer? Can you be a Christian and still struggle with addiction? Can you be a Christian and still be Gay? Do we all become instantly ‘sainted’ when we are saved? Apparently some have:) Me- I’m still just a messed up sinner following Christ. I am seeking him, learning, taking things out of my life as he leads,moving towards His best for me, but STILL not living up to everything in that List that would exclude some and not others. I expect others that know Him to continually follow His leading- I have the Perfect Standards in the Bible- but I also know none of us will get there while we are here and our job is to love eachother and help eachother along as we move toward what God has for us..

    (Again- please don’t think I’m comparing being Gay to having Cancer- No way- I’m just saying that these situations have brought about the same response for some reason. I am only talking about my experience.)

    My husband and I are late to the game and were not involved at all with Exodus Ministries. But in reading just these past two posts for Speak. Love. we feel we need to be involved. We just need to love all people like Christ did . Tell them about His love and atonement and then….let Him deal with each of his Children Individually as He sees fit and stand alongside as they continue to grow. I don’t know what that will look like in the life of every Gay or Lesbian individual any more than what it will look like in a Straight individual…that’s OK- I’m not God and I don’t need to be. I just need to do my job and that is to love and protect and come along side the Gay and Lesbian Community just like I would and have any other Community. Just like Christ came alongside me.

    Did it come out weird? It probably did- I tried not to edit it too much because I am sure everyone is tired of immaculately edited and engineered posts… but I am sure I made lots of mistakes. I appreciate everyone’s honesty and ‘realness’ and hope that this is a safe place for all of us.

    • As I hear people on this site talk about the problems of being gay in the church, or addicted or divorced or an alcoholic, etc., in the church, and how their church judges them and then rejects them, I find myself imagining how different it would be if I were gay and instead of attending an evangelical church, I attended a Catholic Church. You see, I was raised Catholic and if there is one place you can be completely anonymous as you worship God, it’s during the Catholic Mass. In addiction, no one pays any attention to you! Week after week you can attend the mass and no one knows or wants to know anything about your life. As far as judging your lifestyle goes, the laypeople seem to feel that’s the job of the priest, not them. So I guess if you did find friends in the church they would probably leave you alone to live your life whatever way you thought best. And I doubt seriously that the local pastors would do anything to challenge how you were living your life. And if you wanted to, you could go to confession every week, say your ten Our Fathers”, ten Hail Mary’s and get absolution. I know it probably sounds like I’m being facetious or even flip, but I’m really not. I live across the street from a Catholic Church and have felt tempted to attend mass on Sunday – Or perhaps Midnight Mass this Christmas! Seriously, the Catholic Church will never change their moral stand on homosexuality and will never perform gay marriages; however, I believe you would be free to come to church every day and never have to answer to anyone for how you lived your life.

  13. I loved Molly’s post because I find myself in a bad place that was similar to hers. I was saved 22 yrs ago via an Exodus ministry, which discipled me and supported my coming out of the gay lifestyle. However, over the past 10 yrs I have been addicted to pills.. My sinful nature rationalizes that it is a lesser of the evils. When I am not on the pills I feel so lonely and wish I was in an intimate relationship. So, celibacy is achievable for me with the help of pills. I would infinitely rather be an addict than act-out sexually with a woman, the worst of which is the sin I would pull another in. Of course, this is a lie from the enemy. As Paul said “He has given us all we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus”. So, I guess I am a carnal Christian ? With regard to divorce and adultery: I have always reconciled it by the idea that divorce is a forgivable sin. If it is forgivable, Christ paid for it. So the woman has no more sin to cause her to be an adulteress. I have followed Alan over to this new ministry because I think my beliefs line up with his overarching message: Homosexuals will not go to hell because they are homosexuals. They will go to hell because they are lost. I am certain there will be gays in heaven – the saved ones. Those who believe that God honors sexual sin are deceived. You can be deceived and still be saved. You can be in sin and still be saved. To those of you who are down on Alan because of his past associations – shame on you. He can’t change the past. You have no idea how many close relationships he lost in the church when he broke from Exodus. People he had known for decades- friends who now call him a false prophet, heretic, & blasphemer. God Bless you Alan for your courage and commitment to speak love!

    • It’s fascinating to me how the Christian god apparently created some people in such a way that they would be forced to live in celibacy (and even Mr Chambers, unlike many christians, agrees that being gay is not a choice). Often christians compare gays to other sinners like thieves and murderers, like being gay was a choice like stealing or killing. But killing and stealing is a choice, same sex attraction isn’t. So we get the “love the sinner, hate the sin” nonsense. So what’s sin? Apparently it’s doing whatever displeases God. And whoever “invites Jesus into their heart” is forgiven anything. So Christian hate mongers will go to heaven and good people will burn in hell. Wake up. That’s not the way the real world works (and I wouldn’t want to go to a heaven that let Jerry Falwell and Fred Phelps in). And no, I’m not the least ashamed of anything I’ve said about Mr. Chambers. He has caused untold people misery. if he really had a change of heart he should be better off without his “friends” in the hateful “ex gay” movement..

      • I know right? That is exactly the question that I had when my son came out. What am I supposed to tell him? He has to be alone for the rest of his life? He has to keep himself hidden? Pretend? These are the things that I don’t have figured out. What the Lord has shown me right now is that it probably isn’t even for me to decide. God works with each of us individually. My job is to love in the hear and now. Show everyone the Real Jesus…the one who hung out with everyone without prejudice and then trust that He will lead them where He wants them. I don’t dissect or insist on judging the details of my heterosexual friends and family that is so not my businesses. Why is it OK to expect full disclosure from gay Christians and why in the world would we think we have any business judging them? I totally understand how you can feel that way

        • The point being that it defies all logic and doesn’t make any sense and should, as, the fiction it is, be “unceremoniously flung into the outer darkness, among the dead gods, dead empires, dead philosophies, and other useless lumber and wreckage”. Welcome to the real world. Don’t let fairytales dictate the way you live.

          • Hmmmmm…perhaps I misunderstood what we were talking about. I meant I struggle with how to counsel my gay son how to proceed and how to protect him from people who would demand the intimate details of his life that no one would dare to ask a straight person. I’m not sure what you are wanting to ‘throw out’ or are referring to as fairy tales. Forgive me if I misunderstood or got it wrong. I’m on my phone so its tricky. Would love clarification and am sorry if I didn’t get it. I am trying to learn to express things clearly and obviously have a lot to learn:). Respectfully, Molly

    • I love your comment: They won’t go to hell because they are homosexuals…They will go to hell because they are lost. True….

      Many quote the big “you will not inherit the kingdom” scripture, but totally miss what follows..”And that is what some of you were”… Christ came to give us a new identity in Him… Our sins are no longer that identity- Christ is… I pray that God would free you of all your addictions. And until you’re free, he gives you the strength to be obedient. When/if you fail, he gives you courage to get back up and try again.

  14. I’ve was born into ministry–raised by missionary parents overseas–then went on to become a missionary myself. I’ve seen so much harm done by people who value speaking Truth over loving others…and I’m afraid that determination to point out sin in others often comes less from a desire to be Christ-like than from an impulse to prove to others that they’re wrong and we’re right. There is so often an element of spiritual arrogance in the strong language used to shame members of the LGBT community–which completely negates any simultaneous attempts we might make at loving them. In our effort to “love the sinner and hate the sin,” we’ve proven that we’re very bad at the latter. Few of us are able to hate sin as purely and lovingly as God does, yet we consider it our right and our calling. I wish we’d focus on the “loving” mandate, as Speak.Love. is, and leave the sin-hating to God. He does it so much better and with so much more grace, mercy, purity and genuineness that humans can. I fear we too often usurp the role of the Holy Spirit by attempting to impose our agendas and timing on human beings who would benefit more from relationships. Speaking.Love certainly doesn’t yield the immediate (and many times impure) satisfaction preaching at someone from a self-righteous position does, but it allows for relationships through which the Holy Spirit can speak…it His time. I commend Speak.Love for taking this courageous stance. http://michelephoenix.com/2013/08/because-i-love-my-homosexual-friends/

  15. Pastor Chambers, I respect what you’re doing, and I truly believe that your intentions are good. Jesus said something along the lines that his disciples would be known by their love. I get that it is not our job to sanctify people, but it is the Holy Spirit’s job. But while God loves each person as they are, he does not leave them that way. He calls them to live differently- to not be enslaved by sin. We must remember that sin is not God’s design. His word is still very clear about those certain issues we try to justify at times (I do this in my own life too). We can cover it with all the love in the world but sin is still sin. This doesn’t mean we are disqualified or rejected by God. It simply means that it was not God’s plan or his way. Now God’s plan and His way doesn’t matter to the person, who does not want God-So to battle over it in is useless and hurtful. If we lead people to Jesus, I truly believe he can fix the rest in his time.

    I’m thankful that you didn’t apologize for believing the Bible on those controversial issues. I understand that we are all predisposed to certain sins… we have hang ups that we struggle with. As we rely on God, those struggles become less and less, but only because he becomes greater and greater.

    My prayer for you is that God would continue to bless you, and give you discernment. I pray that you would some how find the balance between love and justice (not saying you do or don’t have perfect balance… I admittedly still need balance in my life.) I pray that you would have boldness to speak the truth in love, which would in turn bring hope. I love that you have been open about your failures and your struggles. God uses our weakness, so that people can see Him.

    I apologize if any of my intentions have been taken wrongly. I will always side with truth and love. Have grace on me cause I am still learning…

  16. Frankly, I don’t agree at all with your description of the church as having “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.”

    I don’t agree that Christians are without peace, fearful, without love, self-absorbed, anxiety-ridden, judgmental, unwilling to get involved in the lives of “sinners”, and shooting the wounded. I don’t agree with that at all. And I have to say that if that is your impression of the church and of believers, then you aren’t hanging around enough of the real ones.

    We all know there are plenty of people who profess Christianity who don’t know what it means to follow Christ; they are Christian because their grandmother was or because they’re American. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. I have been waiting to see how you roll this out, Alan, and I will engage respectfully. But I cannot neglect a rebuttal to this atrocious portrait you are painting of believers when there are so many who are sincere, filled with Christ’s love, accepting of all, working tirelessly out of love in obedience to Christ for others, shedding tears for the sin that is destroying peoples’ lives and relationships and keeping them from the best that God has for them, and overall being a beautiful example of a life that yearns for more of Him, more of the Truth, more of His Love, and sacrifices much of this present life’s luxuries for the sake of the eternal value of every soul.

    In my own journey I have run into a plethora of intelligent, loving, sometimes naive but always accepting, joyful and encouraging Christians no matter where I was in my walk. In fact, the treatment I have received from many in “the world” since becoming a follower of Christ is far more brutal than what I thought was “persecution” from the Church when I was gay. When those who do not follow Christ congratulate you, be careful. The Truth is foolishness to those who are perishing.

    Love without Truth is just as useless as Truth without Love.

  17. I have been reading through some of the comments. I would have to say that I am a very confused person. I am looking for help on the subject of being gay. I am 33 years old. I am gay and I am also A believer in Christ Jesus. These last few years I have been acting out my fantasies, Gay bars, phone lines, sex clubs. At first I would feel very guilty for the things I have done, but after a while the guilt has not been as strong. I know deep down in my heart that what I do is wrong. There is no relationships, it is just a sexual thing. I honestly don’t think I can ever have a regular relationship. Lately my guilt has been coming back and getting stronger. I think it is a good thing because I know Jesus is tugging at my heart. The thing is I am relizing that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life alone. And that sucks. I want to fall in love with some one but I know it is wrong. I am not attractive at all to women. I like men, but I do not let things last long because I fear God is going to drop me because I am sinning. How is a person suppose to live a long happy life if he can not live the way his heart tells him to live. I want a family, kids,a white house a picked fence. It can be very lonely trying to live a secret life and trying to please God. I know he loves me, but I also know I hurt him deeply because the sin in my life. I get confused because I see gay men coming out, worshiping in church together, getting married. But the bible tells us that it is an abomination to lye with another man or women. Now churches are changing and saying it is OK. This is a very confusing society we are living in. I wish I was a straight person and not gay. But I can’t change who I am. What is a person like me suppose to do?

    • Confused:

      How I sympathize with your plight – and please, I do not mean that in any kind of condescending way! I do not have an easy answer for you. I do not know what your life must be like. I do know that people have been living secret lives since Adam and Eve first hid from God in the Garden. I know that husbands and wives (perhaps more husbands?) keep secrets from their spouses for years and years and go to their graves with their secrets still buried. I am not advocating that! But I am acknowledging it as a reality. I read a biography of a well known American writer named John Cheever, written by his daughter, wherein she talks about his life as a closeted homosexual during the 50s through the 80s (I believe). I had never heard of him before I read her book about her own sexual addictions and struggles with alcoholism (her father was an alcoholic as well). They were interesting books and although I seem to remember that she talked about God and her father made some kind of statement of faith after joining AA, she was definitely not an evangelical or fundamentalist Christian. Anyway, I mention the book because of her description of how her father hid his sexual preference from everyone because he did love his wife and wanted a family, etc., just like you. I am not offering advice here! Just wanting to let you know you are not alone in your struggles. You already know that anonymous sex in darkened theaters or public bathrooms is not the answer. Whatever your “preference” is, wanton indulgence of your lust will never be a solution for you. You ache for love and companionship yes? Well, we all do. Even married heterosexual men! Please do not think your needs are somehow unique because of your sexual desires. Or that finding a woman or man to “truly” love you will take away all your loneliness. God is the only answer for the deepest emotional needs we have. His Truth, His Love, His Grace can satisfy and fill the hole in your heart. It is the temporal lie that says anything natural can satisfy our heart. ‘Our hearts are restless, Oh, Lord. Until they find their rest in Thee.”

      God’s Best,

  18. I have to respectfully disagree here. We are called to love, yes, but in loving others, we stand for what’s right and we share the Truth. God’s Truth doesn’t change, because He is unchanging. It is impossible to love someone without honesty. I love the people that God created but I also know the importance of standing against darkness and being a light in the dark world. People hated, absolutely detested Jesus, because He exposed sin. He warned us in Matthew that we would be hated too. But if we are called to be like Him then shouldn’t we be like Him in every way? I’m not saying that we should condemn someone or turn them away; I’m saying that its not wrong to lovingly show the Truth in God’s word. That’s the only way for them to know that they are on the wrong side of salvation and see the Way back to God’s light.

  19. Alan, I have followed closely the transformation from Exodus to Speak Love. We as individuals and the world need to know and experience the grace of God through Christ. And the way that is done is primarily through us who know Christ. We as Christians must love and demonstrate it to everyone without any strings attached. I am trying to learn all I can about what Speak Love stands for and professes. Therefore I do have some questions. As I have read, really what little there is, the blog, the question for me is, where do love, acceptance and grace intersect with reaching out to those who are under the influence of same sex attraction and then possibly the acting out of same sex relationships? Where do you believe we should also address the issue that God wants to free us from the curse of sin? That also is showing love to the person, because of eternity. Even when Jesus taught the woman caught in the act of fornication, that he loved her and didn’t judge her, he also said go now and sin no more. Where do you believe that should be handled along with the love and acceptance of each and every person?

  20. Thank you for your reminder of Grace. Thank you for standing up with Jesus for the brokenhearted, the poor, the deserted, and the sinners. But most of all thank you for loving confused Christians like me. I don’t know how to not be gay, but I am In Grace, my sweet Jesus. Knowing someone like you can love me, reminds all the more how great is our father’s love and how insignificant the trespass when in our daddy’s arms.