Hero of the Week Award: June 21, Alan Chambers of Exodus International

21 Jun
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Yes, you read that correctly. Alan Chambers, president of the notorious “ex-gay” organization Exodus International is this week’s hero. Chambers has a complicated history. Although he is married to a woman, he has famously admitted that his attraction to men has never ended. Over the past year, he has made a number of statements that seemed at odds with the Exodus mission of “converting” gay men and lesbians, insisting that sexual orientation is not a choice.

This week, he went one step further and issued an abject apology for his role in contributing to the pain and oppression of the LGBT community. He describes his own journey noting that “it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.” Chambers does a nice job of looking at the damage he and his colleagues have done, owning the impact of their work, whatever their intent. Let me start by saying that Chambers does not really fully qualify as a Hero, but he is evolving and this is worth noting.

Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person. Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.

In fact, he and the Exodus board have decided to close down the whole organization, making this announcement yesterday.

From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom.

The situation is still complicated. Chambers and his colleagues still cling to their belief that homosexual behavior is a sin. His refusal to continue pushing that belief on others, coupled with his work to end an organization whose very mission was nothing but harmful, however, sends a powerful and much-needed message.  Let us hope he continues to evolve and realized that being gay is NOT a sin!

14 Responses to “Hero of the Week Award: June 21, Alan Chambers of Exodus International”

  1. Central Oregon Coast NOW June 21, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    For a different view, which questions Chambers’ sincerity read: http://johnshore.com/2013/06/20/who-would-suggest-that-exodus-internationals-apology-isnt-sincere/
    I suppose only time will tell.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 21, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Nancy, perhaps I am being too generous to Chambers–I don’t know. I want to believe we are all capable of bell hooks’ transformative experience. I would like to think that Chambers is starting to evolve. Yes, only time will tell and let us hope he will continue to do some repair work.

      • Central Oregon Coast NOW June 21, 2013 at 7:45 am #

        We’ll have to see what his new organization “Reduced Fear” is all about; apparently it has the same people at its helm as Exodus International did. I think I’m always the skeptic!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 21, 2013 at 7:47 am #

        Nancy, I think a certain amount of skepticism is healthy! I want to reserve judgement on his new organization until there is a mission statement in place and we see what the MO is.

  2. Central Oregon Coast NOW June 21, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  3. Jennifer Carey June 21, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    I’m so glad that you posted this. I have read several articles and interviews, looking for duplicity, hypocrisy, a turn-around, etc. So far, his move seems to be sincere and Christ-like. The fact that he came forward and:
    A) apologized, without following with a “but”
    B) categorically stated that reparative therapy does not work, and
    C) that his ministry and practice *damaged* individuals
    D) asked for forgiveness

    These struck me as quite sincere.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 21, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      Jennifer, thank you! You would not believe the flack I am getting from other LGBT voices. I love how you outlined exactly what I was trying to accomplish in the blog article. While I, like Nancy, retain some skepticism, I have to acknowledge it is a move in the right direction.

      • Jennifer Carey June 21, 2013 at 8:44 am #

        Yes, I think skepticism is appropriate. Look at how he does moving forward. Hopefully, this is a positive turn and trend. We all know that at the end of the day it’s actions, not words.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 21, 2013 at 8:50 am #

        Yes, we need to look at his future actions! Well said!

  4. dykewriter June 21, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
    I have been struggling with this

    on one hand, I am happy they are admitting their transgressions

    but, given their history and the historic strategies of status quo enforcers of social and systemic discrimation/oppression

    I do not beleive they mean the words that they say

    I think they will be retreating to a lower profile, same behaviors under a different name

    given the givens

    creationism to intelligent design

    reproductive rights and personal sovereignty

    marginalization of historic scapegoat groups – artists, intellectuals and sexual minorities – all of which seem to be correlated or co-existing conditions in the demographic group…..

    it all comes back to having a sense of humour and perspective

    and the rigid religious don’t have a sense of humour or any self perspective

    self identity and self loathing

    I feel really sorry for these people

    but its’ their victims – society at large and individuals within my sub community

    targeting groups by representative individuals is the essence of a hate crime

    they have not recanted their hate

    they are just licking wounds and crocodile tears

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 21, 2013 at 9:23 am #

      Nina, thank you for reblogging this article. I guess I want to be hopeful and want to reserve any judgement until we see the next steps as they unfold.

      • dykewriter June 21, 2013 at 10:45 am #

        well. the way to predict the future is to understand the past

        and I am a big picture futurist

  5. Ladonna Sears June 22, 2013 at 4:09 am #

    The global organization that promotes the message of “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ” launched a new ministry this week to specifically cater to women struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 22, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

      Is there a link to this organization and to Chambers? If so, could you provide the link?

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