Saturday, August 1, 2009

LESSONS FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH EXODUS INTERNATIONAL'S PRESIDENT ALAN CHAMBERS

The President of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, recently published a book entitled, "Leaving Homosexuality," and the interview he gave regarding his "leaving homosexuality" is instructive.

Alan Chambers said: For so long I’ve heard gay activists say to me, “You’re just in denial. You’re not grasping the reality of the situation. You’re just denying who you really are.” The truth is, I am in denial, but it is self-denial. I’m not in denial of who I used to be. I’m not in denial of the temptations that I could still experience. I am denying the power that sin has over me.

Sin does not have any power that we don’t give it, and what I’ve found is that my freedom – and the freedom of others I’ve known who’ve left homosexuality -- was centered around denying what might come naturally to us regardless of how it got there. And once you deny sin’s power, you can live a free life.

The most authentic part of my life is first and foremost my relationship with Christ, but sitting here where I’m doing this interview in my back yard -- with my kids and with my wife -- this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness.


[For the full interview, see here.]

Moreover, in his April 20th blog post he wrote the following:

I'm a follower of Christ and believe every word of the Bible is true and infallible....[I say] to the gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you no more reasons to justifiably doubt God's love for you. I am sorry for the times when I have contributed to that.

Jesus does tell us to deny ourselves and pick up our respective crosses and follow Him! However, to view same-sex love as a "cross" is merely internalizing the oppressor's mind-set, rhetoric, and presumed values rather than seeing same-sex love as one of God's many gifts!

Chambers says that he believes that "every word in the Bible is true and infallible," and that statement is both specious and tautological (Not even the Bible makes that claim for itself!); he presumes that his interpretation of the Bible is the only possible one; he presumes that his exegeses of certain biblical passages are true, undoubtedly because homophobic clergy have been interpreting those passages for him, and he has internalized their erroneous views of both the Bible and of those passages.

He seems to have allowed Gay people's oppressors to create an identity for him that is divorced from his "temptations" and "denying what might come naturally" to him, and replacing them "with my kids and with my wife." About the latter he alleges: "this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness."

By creating an identity consistent with what he undoubtedly feels is the world-view of most of the secular world, and with the world-view of most of the institutional Church (and certainly of virtually all of the fundamentalist wing of the institutional Church with which he seems to identify), his manufactured identity and place in life "brings me happiness," not necessarily because he is living in accordance with his true identity as a gay man, but because he is conforming to both the expectations of most people in society and with the professing Christians with whom he identifies--those who believe that "every word in the Bible is true and infallible"; living as a Gay man or woman is a sin. Hence, he has made himself believe that he was "created to be" something that does not come naturally to him, as he himself says that he is daily struggling with his perceived need for "self-denial" in this crucial area of his life.

He feels that he has "left homosexuality" because he is now married and has children! However, Jesus says that one's true identity is based on one's thoughts and not merely on how one acts! (Matthew 5:21-22; 27-28) Indeed, Proverbs 23: states: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...." Chambers, along with many others, seems to feel that being Gay is what you do! However, being Gay is what one is!

Chambers or anyone else can be heterosexually married and have numerous children and yet still be Gay, because that's how God created them, and no amount of self-denial or, more accurately in this area, self-torture, can or should change that fact.

It doesn't seem to appear to Chambers and others in or out of the "ex-gay" movement that by seeking to deny this emotional/sexual primal part of their very selves, their souls, that they are throwing one of God's precious gifts back in God's face, and that they are preventing themselves from living "abundant" lives that Jesus promises His disciples so that they can fulfill the ministries that God has given each of them to do.

By viewing as an axiom that living as a gay man or woman is a sin, Chambers sets himself and many other Gay people up for seeing their sexual orientation and the thoughts, "temptations," behaviors, and relationships that go along with that sexual orientation as being inherently sinful! He doesn't seem to ask himself why God would create Gay people if God didn't approve of Gay people and their faithful relationships in the first place?

He seems to feel that the Bible condemns as sinful one's living life as a gay man or woman, which it clearly doesn't, despite repeated homophobic messages from assorted clergy and others who ignorantly think that one can "leave homosexuality"; tellingly, he omits consideration of the passage in Matthew 19:12 where Jesus is clearly talking about Gay people: "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb...."

"Eunuchs" who are born that way are undoubtedly God's Gay children! I'm not surprised that Chambers and so many others who are fundamentalist professing Christians never refer to this verse, as their homophobic assumptions and commensurate reading of the Bible hide this important truth from them.

I have genuine compassion for the Alan Chambers' of the world!

And I have even greater compassion for all of God's Gay children who have been cruelly victimized by the mind-set that would in any way bear false witness against them!
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8 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Thank you Dr. Maneker, I think your critique covers this subject appropriately...it never ceases to amaze me how ex-Gay advocates throw recovery around as if they´ve had brain surgery...unfortunately it is usually apparent more was removed than is helpful to them or those around them...truly, I´m thrilled this guy is thrilled with his wife and kids...I pray they will always be thrilled with him as he exploits LGBT people in the name of a God who needs no defense.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks Leonardo. It's almost inconceivable how he and so many others lead lives of unnecessary guilt to the point where they manufacture an identity, and live a life, that is diametrically opposed to what God has gifted them with, and then in the name of God, and their interpretation of the Bible, throw that gift back in God's face, and teach others to do the same.

To live a lie is bad enough. But to make a veritable career out of telling others that living a lie is "in God's will," serves to wreak untold psychological, social, political, and spiritual damage on others. Best wishes, Jerry.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

Seems to me this Chambers dude uses his wife and children as a crutch every chance he gets. Let me ask you for your informed opinion, since I know you're a husband and a father: Is that really what getting married and siring offspring is for? I'm sure your answer to that question will be quite instructive and quite challenging to the mindset of people like Alan Chambers.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Don Charles: Getting heterosexually married is the making of a commitment to a person to whom one is authentically romantically and sexually attracted; conceiving and raising children is a possible product of that authentic attraction and commitment.

Chambers reveals his inauthenticity by his marrying a woman and having children by stating, "..sitting here where I’m doing this interview in my back yard -- with my kids and with my wife -- this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness."

"This is who I am. This is who I want to be." Well, what is it? Is it who he is or what he wants to be?

One is either Straight or Gay or Bisexual! If he's Bisexual, that's one thing, but I don't hear him saying that he is but, rather, that he was once homosexual and now he is heterosexual because he is married to a woman and has children.

Marriage isn't for purposes of public relations or for wish fulfillment that is inauthentic to the romantic and sexual feelings that one has. That's not fair to the spouse and not fair to God Who has gifted Chambers and other Gay people (like He does Straight people) with their capacity to romantically and sexually love another person.

Chambers says, "This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness." He feels, as a fundamentalist professing Christian, that the "truth of my life" is one that he manufactured in accordance with his understanding of the Bible. It is is in living in accordance with that understanding that "brings me happiness."

So, it seems to me that he's "happy," not because of his "heterosexuality," for if it were he would not suffer "temptations." Rather, he sounds like he's "happy" because he is living in accordance with his biblical interpretations, his conforming to those of his fellow church members, his conforming to his perceived values of the heterosexist society.

So he seems to sacrifice his homosexuality so as to obtain social approval and, in his religious circles, obtain credibility as a Christian, as he and those professing Christians with whom he identifies falsely see a basic contradiction between being Gay and being a Christian.

When one heterosexually marries, it is based on one's authenticity as a heterosexual! When one homosexually marries (to the degree that it is allowed), it is based on one's authenticity as a homosexual!

Anyone can marry a person of the opposite sex, but that doesn't necessarily tell anyone anything about that person's sexual orientation, as it may be done to gain social credibility.

"Doing what comes naturally" must determine whether or not one marries which must be based on which sex one is emotionally and sexually attracted to. To do otherwise, is very unfair, and even cruel, to the spouse (unless he or she agrees to a marriage of convenience) as well as to the person who futilely wishes to "pass" in a heterosexist society, much as some Black people sought to "pass" in a White Supremacist society in the not too distant past.

Jesus says that a house divided cannot stand! I wonder how many heterosexual divorces have occurred because one of the spouses was Gay?

I hope I did justice to your question.

Best wishes, Jerry.

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

"Marriage isn't for purposes of public relations or for wish fulfillment that is inauthentic to the romantic and sexual feelings that one has. That's not fair to the spouse and not fair to God Who has gifted Chambers and other Gay people (like He does Straight people) with their capacity to romantically and sexually love another person."

Yes, I think you did do it justice.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks Don Charles. Best wishes, Jerry.

genevieve said...

I'm a husband, father (soon to be a grandfather) and transgender. This is a blessing God has given me and I wouldn't change it.

I get the idea that Mr Chambers is trying to prove to himself that he is
not gay. I also get the idea that he's in denial. One of the anvils society tries to weigh us down is with is that we cannot be unique. We have to be like everyone else.

I would tell Mr. Chambers that God uses folks that society deems unattractive or not worthy. John the Baptist is a great example. I would encourage him to read about him. I've seen God move in the lives of many GLBTQI folks.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks genevieve. You hit the nail on the head! Best wishes, Jerry.