When I first wrote briefly in my newsletter about being at the Exodus Conference and the 37 year old organisation was closing a lovely person responded via email saying “Thank you…….etc etc”. I laughed aloud. Oh dear, this person was under the allusion that somehow, singlehandedly, I had managed to bring the world’s largest ex-gay organisation to a grinding halt. I replied thanking them for their gratitude but that I was a very very small cog in the wheel. Others have been far more influential in the long saga.
To even attempt to name the individuals involved in reaching out to Alan and others at Exodus would be mammoth task. I know some of them but in naming individuals I’d be sure to miss some important contributors. One thing I do know is that it began as far back as 2007 when the first Ex-gay Survivors Conference was going on only kilometres from the Exodus conference A group went over the conference and met with Alan. Amidst the 1,000’s of angry condemning emails Alan received others were taking a different approach; emails, phone calls and meetings set up….. all with the same end in mind to build trust, relationship and dialogue. Some gave up in frustration.
One thing I’ve learnt in bridge building is that one needs enormous amounts of patience and grace. Changes like we have seen with Exodus shutting down do not happen overnight. Going from being anti-gay to gay accepting/affirming is a journey of many years through several stages. I’ve been on this journey with some individual church leaders and churches for over 10 years now.
Sadly, it most cases it has not been Exodus or the Church reaching out for dialogue with the LGBTI community as one would think Christians motivated by love would do. Quite the opposite actually. It’s been LGBTI organisations and individuals who have reached out and built bridges to them.
Or read the 8 Factors that Created the Tipping Point separately. No.1 The Society Shift Factor No.2 The Gulf Factor No.3 The Internet Factor No.4 The Honesty Factor No.5 The Bridge Building Factor No.6 The Listening Factor No.7 The Evolving Faith Factor No.8 The Midlife Factor
Copyright © Anthony Venn-Brown