There have been a few mentions in comments on this blog and elsewhere about an Exodus radio spot suggesting “sudden, radical and complete change” of some kind.
I received the following statement in an email from David Fountain, Director of Conference Services, earlier today:
Here is an email blast that went out to everyone on our conference list on Friday:
Wow, the 2007 Exodus Freedom Conference is less than 18 days away! The Exodus staff is very excited about seeing you and what God has in store for all of us at this year’s Freedom Conference.
We are expecting Him to do nothing less than move in revolutionary ways in and through our lives. In the midst of all the noise and confusing messages from the world today, we are choosing to pursue God. We are making a decision to follow and surrender everything to Him, even our struggle with homosexuality. Our President Alan Chambers recently said, “A life of freedom doesn’t equal a life absent of struggle. As long as we live on this earth, we will continue to struggle with our own humanity. A life of freedom is actually found in the midst of the struggle, when we choose to fight. Especially, when it is difficult to do so.”
The rewards and benefits of living a revolutionary life for the ultimate revolutionary, Jesus, is worth it! In John 10:6b He says, “Anyone who goes through me will be cared for-will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” We will settle for nothing less than the life of freedom Jesus offers all of
Exodus is also calling for a revolution within the church: a sudden, radical, complete change where the body of Christ begins ministering grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality. We will continue to advocate for those struggling with unwanted homosexuality, for those who are gay identified, and for those who love them.
Join us for this life-changing eye-opening week of learning and healing!
We will also be placing this statement by the promo on the website:
A Word from Our President About REVOLUTION
“Exodus International exists to mobilize the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality. As such, we are calling upon the evangelical church to undergo a sudden, radical and complete change in the way it has dealt with the issue of homosexuality in the past. “As former homosexuals, we know that the process of transformation is often a long, difficult journey towards healing and holiness. If the body of Christ will embrace and demonstrate the compassionate truth and grace of Jesus Christ-then we will witness a true revolution in our generation.”
-Alan Chambers, President, Exodus International
UPDATE – June 12, 2007: I received the following note today from Alan Chambers:
A month or so ago I took note of a comment by Timothy Kinkaid that was posted on either XGW or Warren Throckmorton’s blog regarding terminology.
Having grown up in church I understand and fluently speak Christianese. The culture at large doesn’t always understand the way we speak. This is something that we are aware of at Exodus and are making a more concerted effort to change. I struggle to find words that explain “healing” and “change” and “transformation”. Those are applicable to my life and story. However, I do recognize that they can and do unintentionally mislead people.
Our public service announcement highlighting our annual conference is being played on one Christian radio station in California. This PSA references our conference theme, Revolution, and its definition: sudden, complete and radical. We want to emphasize that we are calling for such change within the evangelical church and the way it has typically dealt with the issue of homosexuality. By no means is it our belief that change from the complexity of issues surrounding homosexuality is often sudden or complete.
In an effort to clarify our message, we have produced a statement that appears on our website and has been sent to the station running the ads.
Messaging is important as is honesty. Our intention with this ad was simply to call the church to sudden, radical and complete change regarding how we have traditionally dealt with the issue of homosexuality.
I am truly sorry for any confusion this caused.
President, Exodus International
I thank Alan for this note and clarification.
23 thoughts on “Exodus statement about “sudden, radical and complete” change”
Ah, Stephen Bennett. Yes he’s a good source to quote. I’d refer to him and to FRI as much as possible.
he he snicker snicker
This guy came to my church. Everyone’s different, but his story’s probably worth noting:
— Stephen Bennett Ministries
True that is not the experience of having same-sex attraction, but acting on those attractions in inappropriate ways is definitely destructive and I should be able to say so without judgement.
I”ll meet you half way. You should be definitely be able to say that you’ve found that acting on those attractions has been destructive for you. But if you expand that to others and make universal assumptions about someone else acting on attraction, well then you opened up the judgment and can probably expect some back in return.
It sounds like we’re all in agreement that the Exodus radio ads are a crock! I still haven’t written my letter to Alan because I don’t think I’m able to communicate effectively about it yet. For once, I’m in total agreement with Michael on at least one point…the use of the words ‘sudden’ and ‘complete’. Not that it would change anything but, Warren, is there any way you can link to an audio of the radio ad?
Anon2–I appreciate your perspectives tremendously. I’m glad that you’ve learned that it’s YOUR path, YOUR journey. I hope you continue to contribute here.
I keep feel like I’m forgetting to say something but there’s a blinking icon on my taskbar that is demanding my attention. Later….
Uh, no offense, but this sounds like the same kind of rhetoric groups like Battlecry use. Lets promorte a Christian revolution, support the Christian counter-culture, be radical and extreme for Jesus Christ. Blah, Blah, Blah. I don’t want an extreme buddy Jesus, I want a principled ethical Jesus. I have more respect for wacked out fundies than I do for the kind of people who try to make Christianity ‘relevant’. At least the fundies have the sincerity of their convictions. These people don’t even have that. If you want to cure gays to protect biblical inerrancy, just say that. Don’t beat around the bush and talk about revolutions. Last I checked, homosexuality wasn’t a small Latin American country that evangelicals wanted a coup in.
This Michael, is the problem I have. I did not use the term exgay or former homosexual to describe my experience, you did, I do not. You put that label on me because I refuse to glorify something that I have come to experience as destructive in my life. True that is not the experience of having same-sex attraction, but acting on those attractions in inappropriate ways is definitely destructive and I should be able to say so without judgement.
As far as how things have changed, I do not think it will help change your mind at all if I describe in detail what has changed, because that is my experience not yours.
Anon2 said: “From my own experience when I say that change has occurred I find that many do not believe that to be true.”
By now, that should not surprise or trouble you. Perhaps they don’t trust it, because people like you (who claim that they have “changed”) typically don’t DESCRIBE the change. They expect the critics to accept it on face value. That’s asking too much. If you want to communicate with skeptics (like me) It’s not enough to say “I changed”. That could mean ANYTHING. To the best of your ability, tell us WHAT changed and HOW.
Most of all, avoid the labels (like former homosexual or ex-gay) that give the incorrect impression that EVERYTHING has changed, that you are now “completely heterosexual” — or that you no longer have gay attractions. If you MUST use one of these (vexing) terms — or really LIKE a label for personal reasons — that’s cool, just try to explain what YOU mean by it. Otherwise, it looks like you are being less than truthful. By now, we know that vague or grandiose language that promises or implies “sudden, radical and/or complete” change is irresponsible “hype” — and people have gotten really tired of that.
What you are saying sound great and I could not agree with you more, but from my own experience when I say that change has occurred I find that many do not believe that to be true. They do not want to accept that I can take some level of responsiblity for my life and offer it over to Jesus and to God inorder that I may experience a more fulfilling life away from the damaging influence of homosexual behaviour. This may not mean that I have experienced a 100% change in my feeling, but it definitely has given me a clearer understanding as to why I might feel some level of attraction to members of the same sex. It has also helped me realize that that attraction is not necessarily a sexual requirement unless I want to focus it as such. So much of what I am learning is that the choices I make on a daily basis influence how I feel about myself and my relationship with those around me, especially with Christ.
I do not feel I am overly religious, but I do feel that if I want to experience a connection with God I must be willing to abide by some set of rules and be able to be open to other points of view not just the ones that seems to work for me. Others experiences may have provided them with a different way of finding God. Who am I to judge? I am finding myself looking at how I am justifying my own position more and more these days and in so doing I am learning humility and empathy for others. When I am unable to do this I find that my ego takes me down paths that I would rather not follow.
I believe this “accident” of language can best be understood in context of this quote from an article from the Global Chinese Christian News Service:
And over the last five years since Alan Chambers stepped into presidency, the ex-gay organization has increased its number of member ministries to over 130 as well as its involvement in public policy issues and has become a prominent voice on gender issues, particularly in the wake of the Ted Haggard sex-and-drugs scandal.
“I think the media exposure is a result of our expanded vision,” Thomas explained. “I think they’re seeing our willingness to speak a redemptive message to the public sector. People are interested in a new opinion and so we bring that to the table and the media has been willing to report.” [emphasis mine]
When your goal ceases to be ministy and becomes swaying public policy, these accidents of language can become easier to make. When you cease being accountable to God and become accountable to political accomplishments, your methods change.
I agree with you strongly, Mary. That’s why I think it’s a much better idea to simply drop the labels altogether — and give your testimony. You don’t need slick advertizing or vexing terms. Just tell the world what Jesus has done for you. You don’t need catchy, vague, misleading or highly personal labels.
You just need to tell the story. Tell us about the long, difficult journey, tells us about the struggles and victories. That’s OK. Everyone’s experience is different. There’s no need to “define it” — if you just describe the changes that have taken place — and are STILL taking place — in your life.
It’s hard to give change of this kind a definition. It’s ambiguos at best. It seems disorderly to those who are trying to understand what you mean when you say change and it is never a final answer really until the day a person dies. Only then will we know if change was complete. I guess there are few shades of black and white and many, many more shades of gray.
At least it’s on record now: “As former homosexuals, we know that the process of transformation is often a long, difficult journey towards healing and holiness.”
I am not sure why Mr. Chambers thinks “former homosexual” is somehow more descriptive of the “change process” that “ex-gay” was. Keep in mind — about a year ago, he announced that he wanted to “do away with (“ex-gay”) entirely” becase it was “more negative than anything” and didn’t “clearly describe what the change process is all about.” Come on, Is “former homosexual” any less vague and misleading?
At least we have EXODUS admitting that “the process of transformation is often a long, difficult journey towards healing and holiness.” Long and difficult, NOT sudden and complete. The exact OPPOSITE of what their radio ads promise. Let’s be even MORE honest. It’s not “often” a long and difficult process. It’s ALWAYS that way and (as we have seen) NOT at all “complete”.
Half of this statement seems to be reactionary to the various media experiences which Exodus and its allies have had in the last year or so. And somehow Exodus seeks to convert those setbacks in the media by realigning its member ministries with something closer to the truth. And then there are statements such as this:
Like homosexuality is the absolute worst that has happened in our world. I find this, well, sickening. It may be hype, but it still sickens me. That a state of being in man is considered to be so inhuman and impacts the world evidently so negatively. Well to me these statements are indicative of inhumanity, and have been so for many millenia….
Wow Eddy. We agree. 🙂 I really think EXODUS owes the public, not just a “clarification” but a sincere apology — and a full explanation. How did this happen? What steps are they taking to be certain that this stops happening? If they don’t do that, it makes it look like they WANTED it to happen — that their intention was to do the old “bait and switch”.
Complete, sudden and radical change for the unhappy gay? No, ummmm, we meant the CHURCH — that’s it — the CHURCH needs to totally change the way it treats gays! Yeah, that’s it!
Haven’t we all been saying THAT for years? Heck. That’s why we created EXODUS — because the church needed to change its attitude and approach — to reach out in love to hurting gay people who needed God. No, this looks like something else: either incredible carelessness and a sense that “no one is minding the store” OR — they’re doing a scam. Either way, it makes EXODUS look really bad.
I like the longer text and was kind of impressed that Exodus was calling upon the church to sudden radical and complete changes in attitude. But I was totally dismayed that they’d use the very same words…but directed towards the individual…in their radio ads. Totally confusing when you consider the big picture. And, as Michael PROPERLY quoted me, it rates as nothing more than hype.
Some ideas: send letters to Exodus and/or Alan Chambers protesting the radio ads. If they defend the ads, stick to the issue of the gross misrepesentation promising ‘sudden radical and complete change’. (Yeah, they slipped in that buzzword ‘change’ so that it doesn’t qualify as a boldface lie…but, it IS the kind of misrepresentation that we all agree has got to stop.)
I’d like a copy of this years scheduled classes and speakers before I can surmise if the text at the head of this thread was also total hype.
And I’d like to know if the local radio ads were sponsored by Exodus or by local ministries (who may have taken it upon themselves to rearrange the wording).
From the Policy Statements page on the Exodus International website:
‘Exodus affirms reorientation of same sex attraction is possible.’
So don’t tell me that change means anything other than what people who’ve tried ex-gay therapy/ministry have always thought it meant: true orientation change. And stop pretending that not what’s meant in the radio spots for the conference in Irvine. And for crying out loud, there’s no way in the world this had anything to do with changing the church. And for the record, before the church can start ministering truth to homosexuals, how about Exodus being honest and consistent. Advocating? Since when? All I see is schmoozing to the religious right and scaring the relatives of GLBT people with paid speeches. And wrong Alan, if you are free you do not struggle, you cannot have it both ways. Stop playing games with words and ideas. If someone is chained up and struggling to break free, we don’t claim for a minute that their struggle is a sign of freedom, they aren’t free until their chains are loosened. If all Exodus can do is give people some peace in the midst of a lifelong struggle then that’s what you should say, but don’t use words like change, freedom and revolution when you can’t deliver the real thing.
Ditto. Norm said it well. On another thread, Eddy rightly called it advertizing “hype”. If EXODUS truly wants the church to change its tactics, it might read this passage — and then do some deep soul-searching:
“We are not like so many others, who handle God’s message as if it were cheap merchandise; but because God has sent us, we speak with sincerity in his presence, as servants of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2: 17 GNB)
I heard the ads and it sounds like what everyone is complaining about.
Here’s the text from the “Christian Hit Radio” audio ad on their website (emphasis added):
The other spot, “Inspiriational Radio”, (their spelling) is basically the same with a repetitive phrase omitted and another one added.
It seems clear to me that the word “change” in the ad is referring to change for those with same gender attractions — not its conservative Christian audience.
The ad is clearly directed toward conservative Christians who want to “change” gays. If Exodus was really interested in changing the church, who not directly say so in the ad and call-out the wrongs of the church?
If anything, the insincere clarification above only adds to “the noise and confusing messages from the world today”.
It will only work if people know to “go to the website will get the full context for the spot”. The devil is in the details. You have to read the fine print, I guess. Didn’t anyone at EXODUS listen to the spots before they were approved?
And if EXODUS truly is calling for a sudden, radical and complete change in the way the church responds to gays, how about making these sudden, radical and complete changes?
Suddenly post an anti-hate/anti-bullying/anti-violence statement on the EXODUS homepage. It has been over a year, and still nothing official.
Radically change course. Get out of politics and stick to ministering grace. While you’re at it, radically change affilations — suddenly dump NARTH since it still backs Cameron, Schoenewolf and Berger.
Completely do away with terms like ex-gay, former homosexual and formerly gay identified — and just tell your personal stories, describing what really happen (the struggle). That would be a great start. They could practice what they preach. For EXODUS, sudden, radical and complete change should begin at home.
My understanding from Alan is that the PR spot was not intended to refer to orientation change. I think the wording of the spot was unclear and this is an effort to clarify the intent. People who now go to the website will get the full context for the spot. I am not sure this will be sufficient but it will be interesting to see what listener response is.
So the email statement is not talking at all about a change in orientation? Just a “sudden, radical and complete change in the way the church has dealt with the issue”? Is this also what the radio spots say?
As should be expected with PR driven “godspeak”, the statement is incoherent.
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