Christians: The New Social Outcasts

Posted by on Apr 3, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

This is a thought provoking article written by Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International. I have also posted a comment following his article.

Christians: The New Social Outcasts
Alan Chambers Columns Let’s Get Real

I was an outcast in the 6th grade. I’ve told more than one person that I wouldn’t go back to that time in my life for all the money in the world. That was the year my classmates got downright mean. We’ve all heard the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” but many of us know from personal experience that they can. Words can wound our spirits and create fear and isolation. Some of the 6th graders in my class knew this all too well and used it to their advantage.

One day after school, I boarded my bus and was waiting for it to take me home. There were around twenty other busloads of students waiting to do the same thing. One of my classmates leaned out his window so hundreds of kids could see and hear him. He started speaking in a mocking, effeminate manner that was clearly meant to emulate that of a “gay” person’s voice. He then called out my name – waving and pointing. The message was clear, “Alan is gay.” My entire bus just looked at me. Kids on the other buses did the same. They began to point and laugh. I endured more incidents like that than I care to recall.

As I transitioned to junior high and high school, I did a lot to repackage my image and worked hard to overcome anything that would hint that I might be gay. I’m not sure I did a great job, but most of my classmates finally decided they liked me. In my early adulthood, I began to seriously consider how to deal with my struggle with same-sex attraction. The world around me was shifting. The culture’s beliefs and attitudes about homosexuality were changing. What had long been the position of Hollywood started rubbing off on Main Street. Eventually, after trying it I decided that Hollywood’s views were based on the illusion of a contented gay life that conflicted with my deepest beliefs. I turned to the ministry I now lead, Exodus International, for support and they helped me unravel scars from the past and inspired me with hopes for the future.
It was during this time of transition that one of my classmates told me that the leader of the cruel attacks I endured in 6th grade had come out as gay himself. I did feel some empathy for him, but the fact that he was launching an all out verbal assault on me while he was struggling with the same issues was tough to reconcile. He was the most popular, accepted kid in our class and could have used his popularity to help me, a “geek,” but instead shunned me and encouraged others to do the same. I guess insecure people often displace their insecurity by demonizing others.

Fast forward more than twenty years later to now – where the social climate as well as the opportunity for rejection is still changing and evolving. We now have various social networking sites such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Facebook, you have to send or receive a “friend request” in order to connect with someone. I’ve sent and received many from old classmates – good friends and casual acquaintances. One day as I was perusing my list of friends, I noticed that two of my good buddies from high school had all of the sudden disappeared from my “friend” list. I wondered if it had anything to do with my “controversial” life or my “controversial” career. So I e-mailed them and asked. My suspicions were confirmed. Talk about hypocritical. I have 1,300 friends on Facebook (sarcastic “Woo Hoo!” to follow) many of whom by no means live moral lives, vote the way I would or even believe in God. I know several who are openly gay and others who outright reject my faith. I choose to befriend those who are diametrically opposed to the life I have chosen to live and yet I am rejected for my “bigoted” and “intolerant” views.

People of faith who choose to surrender their sexuality to Christ and who choose to live their lives in a way that is different than the culture’s new normal are now the new social outcasts. It’s obvious that people of faith in general are in the same category. I was just reading that California’s Prop. 8 opponents are now circulating maps identifying the personal homes of individuals who financially supported Prop. 8 in order to harass their families and shame their views! Unbelievable.

Many students will risk the rejection of their peers and subject themselves to outright discrimination on April 20 to stand up for biblical truth on campuses nationwide on the Day of Truth. This annual event originated five years ago to affirm every students’ constitutional right to free speech and to provide an opportunity to have an honest conversation about sexuality. These students will courageously join their voices with the more than 13,000 others who in years past have done just that. I stand with them as someone who has experienced the freedom truth brings and I am reminded that we are in good company. Jesus was a social outcast. He told us we would be too in 1 John 3:13, “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you,” and in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” He considered us worth the rejection of the world. May we consider those who reject us worth the same.

Alan Chambers is the President of Exodus International, the largest worldwide Christian outreach to those dealing with unwanted same-sex attraction and the author of two books – God’s Grace & the Homosexual Next Door and Leaving Homosexuality. http://www.exodusinternational.org/

Richard Holloman said:
The Church Gets a D- At BestMuch of the current anomosity that is directed toward Exodus ministries and many churches by individuals who are gay-identified stems from the fact that the Church in general has done a very poor job in loving and understanding those of us who have strugged with or who experience same-sex attraction issues. The church has been excellent at pointing out sinfulness but has been greatly lacking in the area of being redemptive or understanding toward those who deal with SSA. This is totally unfortunate becasue Exodus International and those who serve with Exodus International and in ministries affiliated with Exodus International are striving to be Christ-like in compassion, love and understanding toward those who deal with SSA. Much of what we have heard through the media and by some gay-embracing individuals has been unfair and untrue. Exodus International and affiliating ministries simply believe the Bible teaches that any sexual behavior outside of marriage between one biological male and one biological female is contrary to God’s plan and purposes and is sinful. This is not hatred. It is our faith. If this is truly what we believe then not to speak out would be the unloving thing. The question is what does the Bible really teach. The bottom line for Exodus ministries and most believers is this is biblical truth and is not up for debate. Some who disagree have chosen to be unfair and charge us with hatred, hate speech and homophobs. This also is just as unfortunate as is how the church in the past has dealt with ssa issues. The ironic thing about this is Exodus International and those involved with Exodus ministries have a desire to challenge the Church to become more biblical in dealing with this issue and more Christ-like in responding to those who are hurting. Jesus calls us to a radical love that is unconditional and comes absolutely from His Spirit within us. Therefore, I don’t care who you are, where you’ve been, or what you have done . . . I love you and accept you where you’re at. I will walk with you and will pray that you don’t remain there.

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