Coming out (again!) Ex-gay leaders apologize

29 06 2007

From the LA Times ….

Three former leaders of Exodus International, often described as the nation’s largest ex-gay ministry, publicly apologized Wednesday for the harm they said their efforts had caused many gays and lesbians who believed the group’s message that sexual orientation could be changed through prayer.

Speaking at a Hollywood news conference, the former leaders of the interdenominational Christian organization said they had acted sincerely in their years of work with Exodus. But they said they had all, over time, become disillusioned with the group’s ideas and concerned about what they described as the wrenching human toll of such gay conversion efforts.

The news event, in a courtyard outside an office of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, was timed to coincide with the opening of Exodus’ annual conference, which is being held this week at Concordia University in Irvine. A competing “ex-gay survivor” convention is to begin Friday at UC Irvine.

Exodus’ president, Alan Chambers, reached by phone at the meeting in Irvine, said he disagreed with its critics, adding that its methods have helped many people, including him.

“Exodus is here for people who want an alternative to homosexuality,” Chambers said. “There are thousands of people like me who have overcome this. I think there’s room for more than one opinion on this subject, and giving people options isn’t dangerous.”

The former leaders from Exodus cast its work in grim terms.

“Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families,” the three, including former Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee, said in a joint written statement presented at the news conference. “Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear and loss of faith that this message creates.”

Now a licensed family therapist in Riverside, Bussee left Exodus in 1979 after he fell in love with a man who was a fellow ex-gay counselor with the group. He speaks out frequently against ex-gay therapies.

“God’s love and forgiveness does indeed change people,” said Bussee, who remains an evangelical Christian. “It changed me. It just didn’t make me straight.”

Others speaking at Wednesday’s news conference included Jeremy Marks, former president of Exodus International Europe, and Darlene Bogle, the founder and former director of Paraklete Ministries, an Exodus referral agency based in Hayward, Calif.

All three said they had known people who had tried to change their sexual orientation with the help of the group but had failed, often becoming depressed or even suicidal as a result.

“We are committed Christians, but we’re still gay,” said Marks, who heads Courage UK, a gay-affirming evangelical ministry based in England.

Among those at the news conference was the Rev. Mel White, founder and president of a faith-based gay rights group called Soulforce. White, who was the ghostwriter for the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s autobiography and later came out as gay, praised the former Exodus leaders.

“It’s a major moment, a paradigm shift,” White said. “They’re saying this doesn’t work, and that’s incredibly important.”

The Exodus meeting is expected to attract about 1,000 people, Chambers said. Chambers, who is married and has children, said he and other current Exodus officials are careful to warn those who seek help that such a path is not easy.

Sexual orientation “isn’t a light switch that you can switch on and off,” he said.

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All i can say is …. Amen.

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Exciting news from the North, eh?

22 06 2007

Bishop Fred Hiltz is elected Primate of Canada

I am sure he will make a fine Primate.  I understand that he is progressive and that he’ll continue to work towards a fully inclusive Church.  The election was really really close …. on the third ballot, it was pretty much a tie between him and Victoria Matthews.  The Personal Atheist is quoted as saying earlier today “Canada hasn’t been this exciting in years! :-p ”

I have to admit, I was kind of rooting for Victoria, though I fully admit for shallow reasons. I don’t know too much about her other than she is supposedly theologically rather conservative compared to Hiltz and that she was theologically orthodox on matters such as the Divinity of Christ, and so on.  I’m sure she would have been more than a match for the secessionists as well as the Primatial Bullies.  I also think it would be cool for North America to have the first two female Primates.  

Yet, there’s also a certain, um, kinship matter which i had to check with my sister.

It’s always interesting to see what these ecclesiastical types like to do in their spare time, so I checked up on what her bio had to say, as well as what the Anglican Journal quoted her as saying when asked “What’s in your General Synod Survival Kit?”

From the bio: “Never married, no children, one large dog.”

<silence>

From Anglican Journal:  “A bag of Macintosh Apples, some granola bars, cold FX, instant coffee, hand cream and bath crystals.”

<silence>

<whistles innocently>

I’m not sayin’ anything, but I’m just sayin!!  If my sister wants to confirm that my suspicions are correct as her radar is more attuned to women than mine, she certainly may. 

Vicky was also on record as being enthusiastic about the election of our own Presiding Bishop, +Katherine Jefferts-Schori, and I’m sure they would have enjoyed working together.  Vicky could have even helped +KJS with some hair-styling tips.

There, I said it. 

I have the greatest respect for +Katherine, and I think she is the right one for the job in The Episcopal Church, but that respect and admiration was given grudingly, mostly in part due to her hair.  The personal atheist and I still refer to her with all affection as Q-tip lady.  When she was elected, I said, “I’m sorry, but as a gay man, it is hard for me to have respect for someone who has bad hair.”  But she won me over.

Yes, I can be that shallow.  No, I don’t like it. It is a mark of my brokenness before Christ (cue Amazing Grace or Just As I Am) that I can admit it and a mark of her leadership, skill and vocation that it has been overcome.

But, she’ll always be q-tip lady to me. 

In any event, we welcome the news of the election of the Primate of Canada. 🙂

Pass the Molson, eh?





Conversations with the Reverend boy and his Personal Atheist

21 06 2007

My Personal Atheist and I joke about how we should have our own TV show.   Until that happens, I am going to introduce a segment to this blog called “Conversations with my Personal Atheist” which are transcripts of some of our more interesting IM chats.  This will also serve to keep us from getting too serious.  Here’s one from today ….

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the Reverend boy: the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, gave a speech at the Canadian General Synod yesterday.  24 hours later, people are still trying to find anything of substance.  One person commented “I was a guest at England’s General Synod last year and he gave the same speech.”

the Personal Atheist: LOL that’s called diplomacy: saying a lot without saying a thing.

tRb: he spoke for 10 minutes and didn’t have a point

tPA: points are overrated.

 

tRb: the Mad Priest basically said, “huh?”

tRb: I said, “Mad Priest, I whole-heartedly agree with your assessment.”

tRb: One French Canadian is reported to have said C’est what, eh?

tPA: LOL

tRb: someone else is reported to have said “He went on for a quite a bit and didn’t really say much of anything, but I did like the story about the cobra”

tPA: cobra???

tRb: he told a story about a cobra  <ahem>

 

tRb: to paraphrase, the cobra asked an abbot how he could get more people to like him instead of running away all the time.  The abbot said, “well for starters don’t bite people!” so the cobra went along side of the road stood perfectly still and watched people go by.  When they realized he wasn’t going to bite, they proceeded to beat up the cobra. the cobra painfully slithered back to the abbot, who said “My word, what happened to you!”  The cobra said he followed the abbot’s instructions to the letter and didn’t bite anyone.  The abbot replied, “I didn’t tell you not to hiss! :-P

tPA: LOL

tPA: and what did costello say?

 

tRb: see?  this is why we need our own TV show. I should at least start posting these conversations on my blog.

tPA: you should! the bishop conversation from a couple of days ago was classic.

tRb: I think i might do that with this one 🙂 Do you have that saved in your archives?

tPA: no, unforutanately.  no archives for AIM.

tRb: darn it

tPA: i do recall making some very non-atheist comments.  LOL

 

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Stay tuned for next week’s “Conversations with my Personal Athiest” when we will (hopefully!) discuss a better title for this segment. 😛

Until next time, pee hee!





Happy Birthday to Me

13 06 2007

Updated post-party:

The evening was awesome!  One of my friends and I got together for cocktails before the rendez-vous time (apple martini’s!  YUM!!!) and  then went over to the restaurant where I was supposed to be.  I was surrounded by my closest friends.  There was my Personal Atheist, of course, his boyfriend, and two friends whom i refer to affectionately as “the beta twins.”  (they’re not twins, but they’re close enough that they could be brothers)  SIR called in the middle of it all to send his personal well-wishes, so that was great to have him there in some way even if he could not be there in person.  He arranged the whole thing and picked up the tab for everyone. 

At the end the waitstaff brought out all these balloons with a big slice of ricotta cheesecake and my friends gave me their gift, which was a gift certificate to a leather shop in town.  They also gave a me a cool card which had a picture of a guy in a sling.

Definitely one of the best birthday’s ever.  So now the first third of my life is over and has ended on a very good note.  The future for the second third looks equally bright and I think I’m really going to start coming into my own, with God’s help and the Lord willing.

My

Tomorrow, June 14th,  is my birthday. I shall be 33 years old. 

I’ll most likely be otherwise engaged for a few days, so there won’t be much reporting going on, but I will probably have something to say about the Executive Council report when it comes out.  I also have been meaning to talk about our Presiding Bishop’s recent appearance on Bill Moyers.

As it turns out, SIR is still away and it looks like he won’t be able to make it for the day, but he promised we would celebrate next time we saw each other.  Meanwhile, I have been informed that SIR has gotten in touch with some friends of mine, including my Personal Atheist, and is apparently cooking up something from afar.

All I know is that I need to be at a certain restuarant at a certain time tomorrow evening. 

I have to say, I’m one very lucky boy!  No one has ever gone out of their way with this much trouble for me before.  From what little I know, the evening promises to be great and I’ll be surrounded by friends, so needless to say I’m really looking forward to it!!!!





Infallible Corkscrew Statement #2 — courtesy of the Mad Priest

13 06 2007

I was going to say something about what’s going on the Anglican / Episcopal world, specifically relating to ++Katherine’s interview on Bill Moyers and the news about Kenya getting in on the Episcopal Parish Poaching Game, but I stumbled across this post by the Mad Priest which pretty much says it better than anything I could ever say.

He writes: 

Lots of rumours flying around the media today about the imminent demise of the Anglican Communion. Personally, I don’t think any new initiative by the schismatics will gain them much ground. I think we know the figures in respect of those we will lose, already, and there is probably little we can do, or even should do, to stop their apostasy. I very much doubt that another round of childish games by power hungry Africans will add to their number.

‘Nuff said, in my opinion!

Therefore, by the power invested in me, I hearby seal the Mad Priest’s statement with the Corkscrew of Anglican Infallibility.  😀

I really should send him one. My prayer is that he would use it wisely and with dignity. 😉