What is change? Exodus and the Our America segment

I still haven’t seen the whole thing, but I will later.

By request of a commenter at the Exodus blog, I want to link Alan Chamber’s response to the segment.

During the segment I linked to yesterday, Alan acknowledged that he continues to experience same-sex attractions. At one time, this would have seemed like a betrayal of the “change is possible” mantra. However, Alan defines change as an ideological experience, first and foremost.

Diminishing or elimination of same-sex attraction can occur to varying degrees, but Exodus does not believe that an absence of same-sex attractions is necessary in order to live a life in harmony with biblical principles. Like I said during the interview, God wants our hearts more than he wants anything else.  When He has our heart then and only then can He begin the transformation process.

Change is possible.  For Christians change is ultimately about embracing a new identity. This new identity is rooted in what God says is His best plan for individuals, humanity and sexuality.  This involves a personal decision to reject behaviors and an identity that conflicts with biblical truth about life and relationships.

There may be a few people, mainly women, who have experienced an elimination of same-sex attraction, but I have only met a handful who claim it. I have met more who once claimed it and but then later experience SSA again.

Alan’s statement, to be consistent, needs to be understood not as a statement of science but one of faith and belief in the primacy of self-definition. Gay, to many evangelicals, means approval of homosexual behavior. And since they do not believe that is right, they change everything they can to achieve congruence with their beliefs. However, they have not changed their automatic attractions in ways that would meet categorical definitions of change.

And of course, for purposes of identity, this is just the way it is for some. According to the 2009 Task Force report, this is a defensible objective. Task Force chair Judith Glassgold told the Wall Street Journal:

“We’re not trying to encourage people to become ‘ex-gay,'” said Judith Glassgold, who chaired the APA’s task force on the issue. “But we have to acknowledge that, for some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else.”

Exodus has of late come much closer to clarity about what changes when they say change is possible. With the OWN segment, they have come another step closer.