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07/24/2009

'The truth is, I am in denial, but it is self-denial.'

by Jeremy Hooper

In what might be his most revelatory interview yet, professional "ex-gay" Alan Chambers is Chambersessentially conveying what we all know: That his and many others' "change" is little to nothing more than re-closeting for the sake of pleasing one certain, anti-gay vision of God. And honestly, even interviewer Gary Schneeberger seems to realize it. Here are a few choice snips from the two boys' lil chat:

SCHNEEBERGER: 1. The title of [your new book] is telling. It’s called Leaving Homosexuality, not Entering Heterosexuality. Why is that? What’s the difference?
CHAMBERS: The key thought here is the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality. It’s holiness. There are people who are conflicted with their sexuality, involved with homosexuality, and there is a way out for those who want it. But it doesn’t say that they’re going into heterosexuality, because that’s not the point. The point is that people can leave whatever it is that God calls less than His best and move into something that is His best, becoming more like He is.

SCHNEEBERGER: 2. Now, I’ve heard it, and you’ve heard it: Gay activists are going to read that and say, again, “Alan Chambers is living a lie. He’s suppressing who he really is.” You make a great point in the book that is very applicable to anyone who struggles with any temptation -- and that is, self-denial isn’t a bad thing. How do you respond to those who say you’re just living a lie?
CHAMBERS: For so long I’ve heard gay activists say to me, “You’re just in denial. You’re not grasping the reality of the situation. You’re just denying who you really are.” The truth is, I am in denial, but it is self-denial. I’m not in denial of who I used to be. I’m not in denial of the temptations that I could still experience. I am denying the power that sin has over me.

Sin does not have any power that we don’t give it, and what I’ve found is that my freedom – and the freedom of others I’ve known who’ve left homosexuality -- was centered around denying what might come naturally to us regardless of how it got there. And once you deny sin’s power, you can live a free life.

The most authentic part of my life is first and foremost my relationship with Christ, but sitting here where I’m doing this interview in my back yard -- with my kids and with my wife -- this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness.
...

SCHNEEBERGER: 5. There are some remarkably honest passages in this book -- from the details of your childhood to the details of your sexual addictions to the details of your wedding night and your honeymoon. This book is not going to go under the radar when it comes to the attention of gay activists. A lot of them read CitizenLink. They’re going to see this story. What would you say to them as they learn about some of the details of your story they may not have known before?
CHAMBERS: This is me being honest. I have nothing to hide. There is absolutely no reason for me to be anything other than candid about the truth of my life, because I think it really speaks to the bigger issue. And that is, who do I trust? Who is my hope in? Who is my security found in? Who do I look to for every answer? And that is Jesus Christ.

When someone is critical, they’re going to be critical whether I share some of the things I’ve shared or not. I’m looking first and foremost to help people who want help to realize this is what it looks like to leave homosexuality. This is a really good picture of what this life that I love so much looks like. If people look at that, no matter whether they’re fans or critics, and say, “This guy is brutally honest about how hard this road is but at the same time how much he loves the journey he’s on,” then I think that speaks volumes.

And honestly, as a Christian leader, I think that that’s something we have to do more often. Christians really need to be honest about their struggles, because secrecy is worse than lies, and I don’t have any desire to go back to where I once was. I have every desire to move forward. I have the life I love, and it gets better every single day. And I’m going to be honest about that -- the good, bad and the ugly. And at the end of the day, I choose this life. This is who I am.
FULL INTERVIEW: Friday Five: Alan Chambers [CitizenLink]

We really have nothing to add. In fact, it seems that we basically have the same assessment of Alan as he has of himself. He's "self-denying" what is naturally within him, making a choice to live as who he thinks he should be rather than what he naturally was/is/could be. And he's doing so because he, unlike medical science, refuses to see homosexuality as an orientation that is fittingly compared to heterosexuality, instead choosing to position it as an aberration from the one and only accepted norm. We get it. We don't agree with it, but we get it and fully support his right to live, what seems like (but may not be), a conflicted life.

Fair enough. He has every right. Our issue is now and forever has been Alan and his community's role in passing off this information as factual information rather than personal belief/choice. Let's not forget that this is the same Gary Schneeberger who, just this month, tried to spin what was essentially an internal NARTH press release as a credible, peer-reviewed journal purporting to find benefit in "ex-gay" therapy. And let's not forget that this is the same Alan Chambers whose sole paycheck (as far as we can tell) is derived from using his own personal choice to convince countless many parents and impressionable (often hurting) teens that this, their own constrictive version of the gospel, is, well -- the gospel.

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Your thoughts

At least while he makes a living peddling this to people in vulnerable situations, we can take heart in him & his associates backing themselves into an ever-smaller niche with preachings like this:

"The key thought here is the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality. It’s holiness."

The more 'believers' who are willing & able to get in the public eye and reduce their religion to nothing more than the opposition of homosexuality, the more deeply churches divide and the thinner their lines of supply become.

If a LGBT commentator proclaimed the opposite of homosexuality were holiness, they'd be quite easily decried as maniacally self-sabotaging - the exact same applies to our detractors.

- - P.S. - -

Not to be pedantic here, but isn't holiness technically reserved for popes, texts, institutions etc. - not having sex doesn't qualify someone as holy surely?

So by extension - seeing as offices & objects cannot possess sexual orientation - holiness could no more be the opposite of homosexuality than citrus could be the opposite of upright, or laminated the opposite of blue?

Posted by: PM | Jul 24, 2009 7:55:41 PM

Every single time I see these ex-gay "success stories," it's always a person who struggled, not with a perfectly normal and loving homosexual relationship, but with sex/drug/alcohol addiction.

Somewhere along the line, they were convinced that instead of the sex/drug/alcohol addiction, their homosexuality was the problem. Go figure.

Sure, if this guy wants to live this way then he's got every right, but it makes me sick that he and his ilk try to pass off this seriously fucked-up worldview as irrefutable fact. That he might tell impressionable kids that, it's not the addiction that's bad--it's your natural attractions.

I believe a few things about this guy:
1) He's lying, at least in part.
2) He's miserable, but very well-spoken, and beaten about the head with guilt and a specific (and FLAWED) interpretation of the Bible. (Loving homosexual relationships Are. Not. Condemned. In. The. Bible. http://www.whosoever.org/bible/ )
3) He's bisexual, so it's not completely repulsive to him to have sex with a female partner.

Anyway. Just wanted to rant a bit.

He can live how he wants, but he has no right to condemn others or fuck with their heads.

Grr!

Posted by: Donna | Jul 24, 2009 7:56:19 PM

why are you giving this guy free publicity who cares if he wants to try to have a relationship with a woman? who is he anyway, some guy who decided there is more money in being a heterosupremacist than in being a homo? Let him screw around with women, poor women. We don't need him and you sure don't need to be giving this guy publicity.

Posted by: PlanetSpinz | Jul 24, 2009 8:46:26 PM

Well, the real questions, the ones that might have been asked, but were not included in this interview..

1. How's your sex life? How many times do you do it?
2. How's your wife's sex life? Is it satisfying for her?
3. Don't you worry that you are cheating her out of a meaningful relationship?
4. Have you been faithful to your wife?
5. Does she have someone on the side?
6. When were you last checked for STDs?
7. Your wife?
8. Do you have any income that isn't derived from professional anti-gay activities?
9. How do your kids deal with the stigma that their dad isn't really a breeder?

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 25, 2009 12:00:27 AM

I think Chambers may have opened a very important door. Since he has now established this as a matter of faith, and of a relationship with a personal God (I even use an upper-case "G" just to be extra-respectful), then we can engage the ex-gay movement on those terms.

I think many parents and conflicted young gay people see "conversion" therapy as some secret passageway to a happy life of fulfillment in a heterosexual relationship. If the ex-gayers would admit that this is not reparative therapy - for a condition that doesn't need correction - but religious indoctrination, then I would have substantially less of a beef with them.

Eh, but that would ask them to be intellectually honest. Who'm I kidding?

Aw well. I can dream.

Posted by: John walsh | Jul 25, 2009 12:21:16 AM

After reading all that, my only thought is, "Man, that guy must really hate women." For the sake of his own "holiness", he is willing to deprive his wife the love of a man who truly desires her. I can't believe that is God's plan. God made sexual desire, and I'm certain that God wants everyone in a sexual relationship to feel desired.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jul 25, 2009 7:20:23 AM

So is this guy REALLY ex-gay (in his own mind)?? Or is Ex-Gay his job title? How much money does he make doing this? Maybe I'll become ex-gay for 1 millisecond, then become ex-ex-gay so that it can become my profession: Ex-Ex-Gay. With 2 Ex's in the title I should make twice as much as he does lol!

In all seriousness, there are 2 main factions being hurt by him and people like him: the wives (unless they're just in it for money), and the confused and neglected teens being pushed into this by ignorant and dominating parents.

I say neglected above, because any parent who truly loved their child wouldn't ever try to force their child to do something.

Posted by: Paul | Jul 25, 2009 11:06:14 AM

I'm really conflicted by this. Because he's just sort of put this in the same language as addiction therapy -- that you are never not a addict, but you have to learn to manage it. I've never been really happy with that "always a sinner" theory of addiction either.

He's basically saying that heterosexuality is a "choice." Or at least it is for him. Like sobriety. I think that for a lot of people love in a relationship is enough. Sexual desire takes a back seat to nurturing. And for these people, going through ex-gay therapy and settling down with a wife, might make sense.

He certainly would have culture and history norms on his side. (As an aside, I'm always amazed at how much easier the trans community has it in some Asian and Pacific Island cultures than gays and lesbians. They have such a strong bias culturally to two genders, and opposite partners, that it's easier for boys to become girls -- and it's generally boys becoming girls -- than to stay boys and love boys.)

BUT!

Seems to me that a better use of his time and energy would be to spend it on making God's earth better for everyone. To allow for difference. And to not focus on the hate in the Word. (And realize that interpretations change) than to preach sexual attraction as addiction.

In fact, in the long run, it might benefit his beloved Christianity. An inclusive church is a growing church after all.

Posted by: Christopher | Jul 25, 2009 11:06:46 AM

Yeah it really scares me that people try to equate homosexuality with other sins such as murder. I was just watching this show about these crazy lesbians who killed old people... and like they deluded themselves into thinking that all these "sins" were equivalent. people are crazy!

Posted by: Krissy | Jul 25, 2009 2:43:10 PM

If Chambers book generates enough revenue, and the wife gets fed up with the sham, then he should be prepared for a big fraud suit. She could end up with the kids, and most of the spoils of his "fraudulent" endeavor. And, she may be able to find all the proof that she needs to support her claim of fraud in the pages of his book. For that matter, anyone married to an "ex-"gay might find themselves in a similar position, and all because this book exposes the underlying fraud.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jul 25, 2009 5:11:52 PM

I find it interesting that so far those posting haven't mentioned their personal relationship with a risen Savior.
I am a gay man by definition, but by the Grace of God, I am re-born. (I am sure this will get those who have never had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ going)

He is right. Being a homosexual or not is not the issue. the issue is where you place your trust. Trust in Jesus changes your perspective. Through the renewing of your mind, God will mold you into his child. If you don't believe the Word of God (the Bible) than this discussion is accurate. Once the your heart and mind or open to the Love, Grace, and forgiveness offered by Jesus, the word becomes your moral compass. That is all he is saying.

I pray daily to be more like my father in heaven. If that means dying to myself daily as Paul did. Than so be it. I am grateful for the promise of eternal life and i will die to my desires that are contridictory to Salvation in Jesus Christ.

He is real. He does care. And he is calling each of us to a personal relationship. Gay or straight, God never changes. He is the Same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And for those that refuse Him, there is judgement. Believe it or Not. He gave us the free will to make that choice. I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IN HIM and Homosexuality is a SIN.

I am sure this will not get posted but you who are reading it may the spirit of God bring you peace.

Posted by: Stephen Holland | Aug 10, 2009 1:51:58 PM

The damage caused by the extreme religious and the unabashedly self-righteous never seems to end.

One day, this country, this world will be lifted above the idiocy of people like Alan Chambers, who's sole objective seems to be taking pleasure in the pain he inflicts on gay teens and their parents.

Until then, Mr. Chambers and his minions will shroud themselves in the eternal, but unachievable, goal of "holiness".

In the meantime, though, we can take comfort in the knowledge that, if Mr. Chambers' all-loving god exists, and by extension Heaven and Hell, then Mr. Chambers shall most definitely be destined for the depths of Hell.

Posted by: Steve Cooper | Aug 23, 2009 1:44:11 AM

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