So this happened, yesterday:
“Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.”
This was the same day that founder Alan Chambers wrote a lengthy apology to the LGBT community:
“It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the church’s treatment of the LGBT community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.”
You can read the full statement by Chambers yourself, but after reading the press release stating the shutting down of Exodus International and Chambers apology, I felt like I was left with more questions than answers.
Shutting Down or Re-Branding?
When you announce shutting down an organization and directly follow it by announce the start of another, it requires a moment to pause and reflect:
- Is Exodus International continuing as before, simply changing names, mission statements and tactics?
- Or, is Alan Chambers taking things in an entirely different direction?
Upon further Google searches, I found some answers here and there, but at the end of the day when a “Friendly Atheist” says, “Good riddance to them,” I’m no further informed then when I first began my search.
If this teaches anything to the ChurchMag audience, it is the importance of clear communication. When you visit the new aforementioned ministry website, it revels nothing:
Rule #1 when shutting down one organization to begin another: Finish your new website.
So far, everything that’s been done seems very intentional, so perhaps a un-finished website was part of the plan as they wait for the media tide to drop. Again, I’m left asking more questions instead of finding answers.
As a friend of mine said to me this morning,
“Surely, SURELY the information age had something to do with this. Look up Exodus videos on YouTube and then read the comments. Look up blogs about Exodus… and read the comments. The ubiquity of information online, and the related public dialog online, were hugely influential in both causing the hurt, but also in giving Exodus the ability to listen and realize the hurt they caused. Pretty remarkable.”
No matter how you look at it, the Internet has enormous, not to be ignored, power to invoke change. This makes it ever so more important to understand how to use it to communicate effectively.
After all of this media buzz and due to the lack of clarity, we’re all left with the unanswered question of whether or not Chamber’s and his new organization’s basic theology has changed or remains the same.