The end of Exodus

I find the end of Exodus International sad to some degree. It feels as if it represents the end of a cultural moment in modern Christianity when those that sought to honour Biblical ideas on homosexuality were ascendant.

Now it feels splintered. There are many groups and organisations that claim to be Christian and all of them have a significant following and respect. There will always be groups that seek to honour Biblical truth on this issue acting as cities on hills in a dark world, but I feel that they will find further marginalisation as ‘cultural christians’ shift their support to active same-sex Christians giving the impression that that movement has the weight of numbers.

In some ways it was nice to have an organisation with some sort of international organisational clout on this issue. When the troubled teen or shocked parent went googling finding their website must have offered some comfort and give an impression that there was some organisational weight behind this view. I also think a large gathering of people provided an opportunity for many to find some level of freedom. I personally had intended to go one day if it matched with my winter school holidays here.

The end of Exodus is in some ways inconsequential; perhaps even positive. Organic, grass root groups started by passionate individuals seeking to do mission within their local culture will thrive as they lose the burden of an umbrella organisation often using methods and messages they find unacceptable. Hopefully groups focused on Biblical truth, gospel hope and real world reality will gain the ascendency.

It is a good reminder that the local church should be the place where people dealing with same-sex attraction can turn and find support although perhaps Exodus could have served a purpose if they had have shifted their mission to equipping churches to take strong Biblical stands on this issue in a fast changing culture.

Positively, we were also spared watching Exodus careen on for another couple of years and perhaps recounting all the Biblical truth they once held.

To be cynical I imagine that Exodus was losing significant financial support as it shifted on previously held beliefs. (Obviously some of those needed recanting as many of us know personally they didn’t quite work in reality and perhaps what we needed was a more theologically rich hope along the lines of Wesley Hill’s book Washed and Waiting.) People who give money want to support a strong horse that has confidence in its beliefs and actions and, despite the merit in some of Exodus’ shifts, it doesn’t promote confidence. I also would speculate, although have no evidence, that Exodus was losing organisational support at the local level and volunteers and conference attendees at a national level. The fact they were able to die with dignity is impressive and probably deserves a place in PR textbooks of how to avoid an embarrassing end for a non-profit in a shifting culture.

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Xangan thoughts

The news of xanga’s impending change (hopefully not doom) has reached Australia. I guess I was unsurprised as it isn’t that popular and obviously never became a wordpress/blogger etc equivalent. It would be a loss if it ended as I still enjoy/find it enlightening to follow other people’s blogs.

Finding xanga was a lifeline for me in the mid-noughties when I was first really dealing with SSA. It was so encouraging to read stories of other Christian guys doing their best to face life with SSA. Being almost late 20s and happier and surefooted and steadfast in my life and beliefs, I sometimes forget what it was like to be 21 and facing SSA in a, then lonely world. Xanga was one of the major things that pulled me out.

And once it pulled me out it allowed me to meet (literally for many) some great guys whom I’ve loved journeying with. I’ve always personally preferred the blogging format where someone shares about their life in an extended way as opposed to something like a facebook group where sharing is more condensed. (Although many would prefer the other way.) I think it allows further reflection and  maturity.

So if xanga folds, I don’t think I will take my blog elsewhere; I hardly ever post, but I’ll remember what it was to me in dark times and miss the opportunity to read what is happening in your life.

My life at the moment is okay. It’s winter, which is depressing. But teaching is keeping me very busy. It’s not unusual to do 6 or 7 hours work on a weekend, which I don’t remember being the case last year.

This year has also been somewhat more of a challenge with a really tough Year 10 class in terms of behaviour and apathy. If I could go back to the start I’d do everything differently, as you do, haha. But, yeah, lots of emotional stress from that. When I was having a man-to-man chat with one of the boys in the class months ago I can remember saying ‘I know you’re trying to test me, but I will win and you can either give up now or it will be painful’. (I’m not sure I recommend man-to-man chats these days, haha.) I’ve won, but I think a lot of pain was on my side. I hate it when kids are just trying to see whether they can get you to overreach every class and management won’t support you with harder consequences.

Kids are also so naïve. They don’t realise that things go both ways. If they have a bunch of strategies to get a teacher to do something unedifying; the teacher also has a similar bunch of strategies to the same end for the students. I haven’t gone unedifying. They have and have been unpleasantly surprised to find that things don’t occur in a vacuum.

Don’t worry I’m trying to maintain a good attitude over all this, but it has impacted my desire and ability to really work towards a best practice learning environment.

Other things in life are going well. Paying off a home is still good and having my own space to invite friends and family over to is something I’m still enjoying very much.

My church continues to be amazing. Sermon of the year last weekend. It was just what I needed.

SSA is mild and in the background. Working at a school with young people who are young and therefore off my radar and living in a country town with few 20 somethings helps. The other day a lady asked me out. She did so because she is moving soon and wanted to see if there was any possibility. I said no and told her why. I don’t regret it, but it did prompt me to reconsider things in that area.