Exodus Head Acknowledges Marriage Isn't the Answer for All Struggling Gays

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By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter
April 13, 2012|3:51 pm

Alan Chambers may have been able to find a wife and have a happy marriage after leaving the homosexual lifestyle, but the same couldn't be said for a lot of individuals struggling with same-sex attraction.

Chambers heads Exodus International, which claims to be the world's largest ministry to homosexuals and their families. With a majority (60 percent) of those seeking help through Exodus being single, Chambers wanted to clarify that the ministry's goal is not to get everyone married.

"We never want to communicate, even indirectly, that the answer for people with SSA (same-sex attraction) is marriage," he wrote in a blog post earlier this week.

While testimonies like Chambers' are celebrated, he has heard from many who choose to be celibate and who do not want their stories overshadowed.

"I do hear from people who say, 'Alan, that's great for you, but I don't want your life. I just need to know that it's okay if I choose celibacy,'" he wrote. "In addition, dear friends of mine have said, 'Alan, why don't you ever highlight messier stories where everything doesn't end in marriage and sounds like complete and absolute change has occurred?'"

Chambers – who struggled with same-sex attraction growing up but found his desires and lifestyle to be incompatible with Scripture – has been married to Leslie since 1998 and they have two adopted children together. He testified that he fell madly in love with her and that it wasn't "lust at first sight" but "love at first sight."

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He openly admits that he still has temptations and struggles with regard to homosexuality but stresses that they are not the same as they were 20 years ago.

"SSA isn't a greater struggle or more concerning to me than other things in my life. Again, they just are. I guess that is why I have no problem talking about them, admitting them and feeling really great about myself even though I have them. They do not define me," he said earlier this year.

He also clarified, "Leslie isn't threatened by my SSA, either. She knows how I feel about my relationship with Christ first and how I feel about her followed by our kids and so on. She isn't a surrogate for sexual acting out. She is my treasure and the object of my deepest human longings."

Exodus International has often highlighted the stories of men and women who have "experienced great resolution in their lives related to their struggles" and who have gone on to get married.

But this year, the ministry has been making "an enormous effort to make sure our ministry to married folks and our promotion of married leaders doesn't overshadow our ministry to those whom God has called to be faithfully celibate, whether for life or a season," Chambers said.

"Marriage is a hopeful desire for some, but our experience is that most men and women who come to us for help simply want encouragement for where they are and some tools and help as they move forward one step at a time."

Chambers acknowledged that Exodus has often given the impression that the process of finding freedom in Christ and leaving the homosexual lifestyle is easy and neat. But that's not always the case.

"We don't want to limit God or say that amazing things aren't possible, but we also recognize that amazing can be a part of the messy journey and not just a descriptor of the final outcome," he wrote.

With the Exodus Freedom Conference coming up in June, Chambers is hoping to make it a "safe place" for singles who may not want the life that Chambers and other married persons have.

 

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