One year ago this week Leslie and I walked into the dark, unremarkable basement of Hollywood Presbyterian Church and sat down in a circle made up of people whom some in the mainstream Church would rather forget. There was a time when I believed they should be forgotten or at least ignored. I was the leader of Exodus International, the largest Christian organization in the world offering hope for change to anyone impacted by homosexuality. That change had come to mean ridding oneself of homosexuality. These folks all came from Christian backgrounds and had damaging stories about Exodus and the Church. They were no longer interested in the change Exodus represented. Though I hadn’t been connected to or even met most of them, the organization I was leading bore responsibility for some of the anger and hurt they carried into the ominous basement that Sunday afternoon. As the leader of Exodus International, I was their enemy.
I had been intentionally listening to stories like theirs for months. I knew something had to be done. The hurt was extensive and I believed it was my duty to make things right. I needed to repent and apologize to this group. The apology had to be unequivocal, unconditional. I asked Lisa Ling and her crew to capture the apology on camera so others could also hear and receive. The entire 3 hour and 25 minute ordeal was filmed and portions of it ended up being featured in an episode of her hit TV series Our America on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). It only seemed fitting to partner with Lisa as she had facilitated a coming out journey of sorts for me when she pursued me for an interview that aired in March 2011.
Click the above image to see the three part video interview with Anderson Cooper 360
This has been a busy summer for Alan in many ways, including media. Here is a list of some of the highlights over the past few months:
Special Report: God & Gays – Lisa Ling, Our America
‘Ex-gay’ group Exodus International shuts down – BBC World News
Exclusive: ‘Gay cure’ advocate apologizes - Anderson Cooper 360 (Three part video interview available online at link)
Some Christians shift on gays: Column – by Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today
Exodus International: Let the Recycling Begin! - by Brandan Robertson, Revangelical Blog
Homosexuality & The Question of Christian Unity - by Brandan Robertson, Revangelical Blog
Why I’ll Accept Your Imperfect Apology – by Laura Ortberg Turner, Christianity Today
Exodus international: bending history’s arc - by Christian Piatt, Red Letter Christians
My Response to the Closing of Exodus International - by Tony Campolo, Red Letter Christians
Can Christianity Learn to Say, “I’m Sorry”? - by Stephen Mattson, Red Letter Christians
Watermark interviews former Exodus figurehead Alan Chambers - by Susan Clary, Watermark
Alan Chambers, Exodus International’s Former President, On Sexual Labels, ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy – by Michelangelo Signorile (Includes audio of Alan’s interview on Signorile’s Sirius OutQ Radio program The Gist.)
Exodus to Speak Love – article by Erik Guzman and audio is included of Alan’s interview on Steve Brown Etc.
This is definitely not a comprehensive list and two more important interviews are coming soon to Buzzfeed and Relevant Magazine. Stay tuned!
Crossposted from the Exodus Blog
Watch Alan Manning Chambers opening address at the 38th Annual Exodus Freedom Conference.
Originally announced June 19th, 2013.
Exodus International to Shut Down
Thirty-seven-year-old ministry for those with same-sex attraction marks its last national conference
Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.
“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing (www.exodusinternational.org/apology) to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.
Cross-posted from the Exodus Blog:
Exodus Int’l President to the Gay Community: “We’re Sorry”
Leader of 37-year old ministry admits grave errors
Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, issued an apology to the gay community for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole.
The apology (http://exodusinternational.org/apology) dovetails with the ministry’s 38th annual conference in Irvine, Calif. – and the Thursday, June 20, airing of the television broadcast “God & Gays” on Our America with Lisa Ling. On Ling’s program, Exodus President, Alan Chambers, sits down with gay and lesbian people hurt by the Church with the goal of reconciliation.
Tune into OWN television on June 20 at 10pm EST for Alan & Leslie Chambers interview with Lisa Ling on the Our America special “Gods & Gays.” This is a new program and not a repeat of their previous shows. Check out the show intro video below:
Leslie and I decided many months ago we were done watching people fight on the news and got rid of cable. Now when we sit down to watch TV we pick a feel good movie off of Netflix. It’s glorious. If it weren’t for the emails that came into Exodus we would have completely missed that the Supreme Court was deliberating on gay marriage. Part of me wishes I could have opted out of having to watch, listen and read all that is being said and written by people presumably on “my side” who fail to convey my heart and beliefs as a Christian.
Question of the Week – How Can Christians Respond to the Gay Marriage Discussion?
This week’s video answers the question, “How Do We Respond to a Gay Person Attending Our Church?” Whether we take the church into our community or welcome the community into our church, the door should always be open. Check out today’s video and let us know what you think.
If you find these videos helpful please “Like” and “Share” them with your social networks. Thank you!
In today’s video we announce a new Equipping Event planned for Southern California in May and answer the question, “How Do We Respond to a Gay Person Attending Our Church?” Also, a special thank you to those who have given support to Exodus.
If you find these videos helpful, please “Like” and “Share” them with your social networks to help spread the word. Thank you!