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!