There has been a lot of buzz of late about changes in the focus of Exodus International under Alan Chambers’ leadership. As many of our readers will know, New Direction used to be a member ministry of Exodus. In fact, I served as the Regional Rep for Canada for about three years. In that time, I did my best to encourage the network to step back from debates about causation, to focus on discipleship rather than reorientation change, and to cease any involvement in political matters that would impede or prevent civil equity for LGBT people. It seems that some five years later some of these changes are being incorporated into Exodus as it moves forward.
In my last conversation with Alan, I encouraged him to think very carefully about how Exodus will navigate dialogue with those who hold affirming views in the future. He and I both know that societal attitudes are shifting at an incredible pace, at least in North America. These shifts are happening both outside of and inside of the Christian community. I challenged Alan to think about the potential role Exodus could play in modeling peace-making and being a catalyst of respectful dialogue in the midst of diverse perspectives on the question of gay marriage for Christians.
Where I particularly hope to see more change at Exodus is on the question of identity. I have written about this before and so I won’t belabor it here. I think that the way people describe their identity is intrinsically linked to their ability to be honest and live an authentic life. It is true that we ascribe meaning to the description of our identity – but such meaning is not determined simply by the description. Rather, each individual determines the meaning they will ascribe to the way they choose to describe their identity. For example, many women describe an aspect of their ide