I’d like to say I planned this post to be as timely as it is, but I mostly live under a rock called Grad School. Ask the person I had this conversation with yesterday:
“Man, Facebook is blowing up today.”
“Really? Why? What happened?”
[incredulous look] “Gay marriage.”
“Oh yeah.” I shrug and go back to grading papers; make a mental note to stay off Facebook for 24, no make it 48 hours just to be safe; promptly forget.
That this post is timely is pure coincidence, or not; you choose.
About a week ago, my friend Julie wrote about the grace she experienced from a rather controversial place. I asked her if I could highlight it here because I value the fresh dialogue she opened up about conservative Christians and homosexuals. This nuance is perhaps particularly important this week as so many who call themselves Christians are proving the sad stereotypes true. I hope this story of grace will challenge all of us to act and speak and better yet, listen, with grace toward one another.
A Space of Grace: The Truth about Many Ex-gay Ministries
I had breakfast this morning with the man who’s been the single most influential person in my life outside of my family. His name is Ricky Chelette, and he’s the Executive Director of Living Hope Ministries. I met Ricky when I was 16 years old, and he was just a Baptist minister who mentored kids like me in his free time. About 5 years later, he became the director of Living Hope, which is an Exodus member ministry and could be referred to as an “ex-gay” ministry” (since that misleading term is often used to refer to ministries associated with Exodus).
These ministries have been flogged by the media for the past several years, vilified as an oppressive movement of people who are devoted to making gay people straight. Some of that criticism has been necessary—there have been ministries who have been judgmental, oppressive, and downright abusive at times. Many of them deserved to be vilified. I’m concerned, however, by the way all ministries seeking to walk with people in this manner are lumped together and caricaturized for the whole world to mock. You clearly haven’t been told the whole story.