These two particularly resonant words follow the global closing of Exodus International, an organization that has, for the past 37 years, crusaded a mission to “help” gay Christians become straight.
Along with its formal closure, the organization issued an international apology to its community, lamenting to the “new generation of Christians [that] is looking for a change – [and that] wants to be heard.” The organization even stepped forward to issue an apology on behalf of the entire Christian Church as a whole for its years of undue judgment against homosexuals.
The most interesting component of the unfolding story is that the president of the organization, Alan Chambers, who is most vocal in Exodus’ apology, admits that he once identified as gay. He now lives with a wife and kids – a result undoubtedly simulated by practices he was once taught through Exodus or a parallel “educative” organization – but is also now agreeing that “mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.” Admittedly confusing for me, but reassuring nonetheless.
Jesus’ New Testament message from John 13:34 reads: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Christianity, at least through the vein of this particular organization, is now starting to accept these words as more weighty than other Bible verses which preach difference and indignation.
Everyone in the Christian religion is a prodigal Son of God. That is what the religion teaches. Rather than banishing particular individuals from His Kingdom, Exodus International has made a vitally important step to “welcome everyone, to love unhindered”.
Exodus International has demonstrated openness to a changing world, and relevance through religion. It is empowering and prideful, a brilliant example for other currently anti-gay organizations to follow.