Today’s Orange County Register has an article discussing the upcoming Exodus Conference and the Ex-gay Survivors Conference to be be held about the same time in Irvine, CA.
There is a lengthy article so I think I will make this an open forum for anyone who wants to comment.
16 thoughts on “Exodus, Ex-ex-gay conferences featured”
I still think it’s ironic everyone is up in arms that Exodus aligned itself within politically connected Christian organizations and at the same time no one can call out the gay agenda for doing the same. If gay was a truly legit lifestyle then why do we need all the lobbyist’s and behind the scenes manipulators to prove how normal gay is when the proof has always been the people involved in the gay lifestyle. Christians are trying to preserve our way of life as well and that threatens gays because we also exercise self preservation. Gays don’t think that the previous generations that came before the modern western age saw the outcome of homosexual lifestyles in a societal construct. That the pros and cons were never debated the way they are in present day. Gays assume this is the first time in world history such things have been tried. The only thing that has changed is the expectation gays have for the world to conform to their ideals and that it’s their right to force everyone to agree that gay life is normal when the facts state otherwise. Does anyone gay or straight think it’s fair the government is trying to ban public displays of Christianity? Separation of church and state shouldn’t translate to being arrested or harassed for being in public stating what I believe-yet that’s the reality. (Merry CHRISTmas was replaced by the P.C. Happy Holidays was the start.) The courts are trying to say the first amendment applies to everyone except Christians because to acknowledge God in a public setting is such a bad thing. Yes-Christians HAVE to be political. Our rights are just as important even if the gay agenda says otherwise. We have the right to defend marriage as being between one man and one woman, we only have the last few thousand years as an example but that doesn’t mean anything to gays. They want this for themselves and don’t see that changing such laws doesn’t make it right and is unfair to force those who know it’s wrong accept it as a man made law. Christians follow Gods laws to the best of our ability. Gays judge us and think we should be as perfect as can be and laugh at the notion that it says as plain as day being gay is not what God intended for men or women. When gays get what they want from society they still won’t be happy and will scramble once again to find the cause of their unhappiness as a community. The right will never change their stance and gays will always spin the facts in their favor ignoring things like mental illness, substance abuse and sexual addiction as problems in the gay world. They make them things to be celebrated through things like bath houses (are there also straight bath houses in every major city?), gay bars and cruising areas. Not all gays do that kind of thing but Most of them do as gay culture has marketed for years a way to feel connected to the community is to be social in a place where everyone is just like you which often times means the bar. If that’s not true then why does every gay friendly area have plenty of watering holes? Is it a coincidence in every city?
Timothy could have been describing me when he said: “A person who leaves an ex-gay ministry and positions himself in an affirming church and finds a committed partner and is a pillar of the community for the next 50 years is still a failure – they didnâ€™t â€œcome out of the homosexual lifestyleâ€. And they remain the political enemy of Exodus.”
Not only a failure and an enemy! When I decided I couldn’t keep fooling myself and others by pretending to be “ex-gay”, one of my fellow “founders” wrote me a reassuring and loving letter — in which he graphically described the fiery, eternal penalty that awaited me for leaving.
He also graciously included a copy of his recent newsletter. In the cover article, he called “gay Christians” like me “anathema”, “greatly to be destested” and “condemned” by the very words I applied to myself. Eddy’s attitude about the matter seems much more Christ-like.
BTW – I am a gay Christian who lives a celibate life who is also completely opposed to Exodus!
Until Exodus completely divorces itself from politics, I believe it will see its own downfall. No compassionate thinking person is going to be able to reconcile their message with their actions.
And when an Exodus spokesperson expressed any political viewpoint, many again assumed that those views were shared by all member agencies.
Yup. When a spokesman claims to be speaking for “hundreds of thousands of former homosexuals like myself” then people think he’s speaking for… oh you get the idea.
I most definitely hope that the politics goes away. Oddly enough, there are quite a few gay Christians who would not be opposed to an organization that sought to help those who believe they have to live a life of abstinance, if it wasn’t married to a political agenda that wants to take away my gay friends’ health insurance or my lesbian friends’ kids.
Good catch all. Yup, I meant ‘convicting’.
Good to meet you Jayhuck. I do have to take one notable exception to your comment “that the Ex-gay movement (and this includes Exodus)is also a political machine…” LOL! If I could only explain Exodus and the ‘Ex-gay movement’ to you.
I got involved with Exodus back in its infancy…about a year after Michael Bussee did. The so-called ‘ex-gay movement’ was really just a whole bunch of gays who ‘got saved’ during the evangelism explosion of the 70’s. These saved gays were spread across the continent and, except for densely populated areas, most didn’t know that any others were out there. But, they were all trying to make some impact wherever they were: street ministries, half-way houses, discipleship groups, counseling centers, evangelistic meetings. The ‘ex-gay movement’ was born when these people all began to find out about one another almost simultaneously. The notion of getting together, meeting and learning from each other led to the ‘summit conference’ that launched Exodus.
Absolutely NO political agendas whatsoever!
Exodus became synonymous with the ‘ex-gay movement’. What Exodus was (and is) is that collection of ‘saved gays’–getting together, meeting and learning from each other. It’s a ‘loose-knit coalition’…meaning that although there are some basic standards and criteria that must be met, Exodus does not direct member agencies on how to operate, what to say, what agendas to have. One agency might be extremely evangelical. Another might lean towards a charismatic theology. One might be offer rigid discipleship programs while another might simply offer peer counseling and Bible studies. Believe me, there is no ‘political machine’.
I think what has happened, though, is that in an effort to reach more people, Exodus leadership (a board of directors chosen by the member agencies) ‘compromised’ and starting teaming up with Christian organizations that had strong political agendas. Only now are they beginning to realize what an unholy alliance that was.
Guilt by association was one major negative side effect; it was assumed by many that member agencies shared all the political views of the ‘pro-family’ caucus.
And when an Exodus spokesperson expressed any political viewpoint, many again assumed that those views were shared by all member agencies. I have a feeling that some major rethinking is going on.
If Alan Chambers recent (last several months) statements are any indicator, Exodus is beginning to see the light. Only time will tell what the ultimate outcome will be.
I realized that after I posted my last comment 🙂 Sometimes I wish we had a few minutes to make last minute changes to our posts as we do on ExGayWatch 🙂 But, thank you!!!
I wanted to say something that I know I’ve been harping on for some time. Regarding your comment above about making space in the body of Christ for all – I agree with that sentiment completely, BUT I think its very very important for the gay community not to allow all this progress to cloud the fact that the Ex-Gay movement (and this includes Exodus) is also a political machine bent on undermining its rights.
I agree that we should all be able to make whatever choices we must in our lives to align our actions with our values and beliefs, but we cannot allow some Christian groups to continue to work to undermine our rights while at the same time claiming they are making room for us “at the table”.
I’m happy to hear Alan’s new take on the matter, but none of us should be led into a false sense of security, or forget that he and others say its fine to be gay, but we’re not going to let you have the right to do this and this…..
I think he meant convicting. It is God that convicts the heart of sin and guides us into repentance.
Eddy’s saying that if God isn’t pleased with us, he can tell our hearts where he wants us to change. All the ranting of man is never as effective as the still small voice of God.
Y’know Eddy, I too think that God’s big enough to give us each direction in our lives. I think the “point them towards God” message simply can’t go wrong. Whether your theology or my theology on this issue is COMPLETELY WRONG is irrelevant. If we are pointed towards God then we are facing the direction of the answer to that theology. But if we’re focussed on political battles and differences of interpretation we can miss God completely.
I’m hoping that when you said “convicting” you meant, convincing 😉
I always felt it was my job simply to keep their hearts pointed towards God. I might say what I have to say once but, after that, it’s God’s job to do any convicting. (Have I just invented the quasi-passive evangelical?)
My best friend went ex-ex-gay about 5 years ago! For some strange reason, our big theological difference doesn’t impact our solid friendship. Most times, we concentrate on the things we have in common; sometimes we challenge each others beliefs. It’s all good.
I agree – I realize I’m getting off topic, but the real problem for me isn’t whether people change their behaviors or not, its that Exodus is so deeply entrenched in politics.
No religious group has the right to prevent others who believe differently from having the same rights as they do. The funny thing is that Ex-Gay groups often claim they want equal treatment and then turn around and prevent others from enjoying the same thing. I’ve never understood this
I personally would think that those individuals who came away from your program and instead found a way to reconcile their faith to their orientation as successes.
I’m glad you don’t think them failures.
Sadly, though, this isn’t the language of most ex-gay ministries. A person who leaves an ex-gay ministry and positions themself in an affirming church and finds a committed partner and is a pillar of the community for the next 50 years is still a failure – they didn’t “come out of the homosexual lifestyle”. And they remain the political enemy of Exodus.
Let’s hope that this is soon to change. Let’s hope that there is space in the body of Christ for those who find themselves convicted to shun same-sex relationships and for those who believe God has designed into their life that one special same-sex person to make them complete.
Please don’t hang Alan or Exodus by the numbers. Even if his estimate of 1/3 is true, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
In my experience at Outpost, we had people who came to us ‘for help’ and many did not know what they personally believed about their homosexual condition. Some came by ‘court order’, some by direction of their church, some by parents or siblings, a number by request of their spouse. Some came in response to society’s attitudes about gays or internal struggles. An important first question was ‘What do YOU believe?”
We did explain what we believed but we also let them know about Christian groups that believed differently. I know of other ministries within Exodus who did the same thing. It was the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin, not ours. Anyway, I wouldn’t count these people who discovered they believed differently as ‘failures’ since they were never with the program to begin with.
I’m not explaining away failures; we had them! I just think that turning Alan’s 1/3 statistic around and then inserting the term ‘failure’ might be stretching things a bit.
And, remember, it’s no secret that Exodus is, for the most part, a collection of peer counselors. Don’t keep charts. Don’t keep stats. Don’t chart goals. And, zero data or stats gets reported to Exodus HQ…it’s simply not that kind of relationship. Don’t take Alan’s statement as infallible; it was an opinion.
I had people who left that I assumed returned to their gay lifestyle and I later learned that they simply felt ‘they’d outgrown the group’. I had others who I assumed went happily heterosexual and discovered they found an LTR with another man. Don’t have the stats.
I was out of touch since Friday but was glad to see productive conversation has been continuing. It’s an art form!
Come to think of it, if (according to Alan) only a third of the people who seek help from EXODUS are able to set healthy life goals, behave heterosexually, save their marriages or remain celibate, that’s not very good odds — and we’re not even talking about changing a person’s sexual orientation anymore. Even with these more modest, realistic goals — after 30 years in business, that’s still a 70% failure rate.
I think it’s a pretty fair article. I am particularly pleased to see an increasinly frank and self-disclosing attitude on the part of EXODUS leadership. First, the recent clarification about the misleading radio ads. No, “change” is not really sudden, radical and complete after all. It is actually a slow, gradual and never-quite-complete process.
And now this: “While no statistics are kept, Chambers estimated about one-third of the people who seek help from Exodus “find and live out goals for their lives, including living heterosexually, restoring their marriage or living a celibate life.”
Given all the hype of the past, you’ve got to admit this is refreshing. EXODUS isn’t claiming to make people staight. No. The goals are much more modest after all — (1) to help unhappy gays find and live out life goals. (That’s wonderful! More people should try to live goal-directed, value-centered lives.) (2) “Living heterosexually” — which of course is not the same as actually BEING heterosexual.
(3) “Restoring marriages” (A very admirable goal — and something I work towards every day in my profession as a Marriage and Family Therapist.) (4) OR “living a celiabate life” — again no problem here. Everyone has the right to live in accordance with their beliefs, eh Warren?
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