Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Exodus Leadership Publicly Rebukes Reparative Therapist

Something interesting is going on in the comments of Jim Phelan's blog. Jim, LCSW, BCD, ICDAC, Psy. D., who claims to be a member of NARTH's scientific advisory committee although his name does not appear on the organization's posted list of committee members, will be presenting at the upcoming NARTH conference in Dallas. In his post, Jim described a violent encounter he had last weekend while running in a local marathon. Jim became pissed off over a group of gay folks on one city block who were there "to cheer on runners" and had brought along "huge rainbow banners" that made it clear they were out and proud.
As I passed the group, I yelled over that, in my opinion, they were there just to "push their gay agenda". My opinion was they were using the large public event (which had nothing to do with homosexuality) to pollute it with gay politics.

Well, one runner, a huge muscled-type, didn't like me doing this and thought he'd teach me a lesson, unexpectedly shoved the heck out of me practically knocking me to the pavement, an act of violence and physical attack against my person. Of course, little did the fool know I was a trained fighter having served in an elite force of the US Army. So, I one-two drop kicked the hell out of him and got into a immediate fighter's stance ready to take more of him.

Naturally, the coward backed down and ran away. It's a shame that people, like me have to physically defend themselves, after being subjected to violence, based on their own opinions and use of their First Amendment rights. Unfortunately, there are many folks who are silenced by these types of cowards and unable to fight back. God have mercy.
As you might expect, Jim's actions--but mostly his self-righteous attitude, have incited quite a few comments. As you might not expect, two of the commentators are national leaders of Exodus.

Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas, president and vice-president, respectively, of the ex-gay ministry Exodus, are among the voices chastising Jim for initiating the incident for yelling instead of engaging in dialog, for responding to violence with violence (instead of "turning the other cheek"), and mostly for his unrepentant, vindictive, macho attitude.

Sez Alan:
Jim, In a recent post you encouraged your readers to remember the 'Golden Rule'. However, in this post you seemed to forget the Golden Rule. Would Jesus have 'drop kicked the hell' out of anyone? I think not. What happened to turning the other cheek?

Screaming at gay celebrants or activists is a terrible approach to dialogue, debate or evangelism. Your post is full of things we tell people NEVER to do when interacting with those with whom they disagree.

I am disturbed by your actions and seemingly celabratory post.
Sez Randy:
I think your anger over gay activists hijacking another event is righteous. I think your anger over being attacked is righteous. I even think defending yourself is pretty cool too.

It's the apparent bragging about it that I don't find in keeping with righteous anger. It's the appearance of enjoying the opportunity to dust off the gloves that I don't like. And let us not forget that we have freedom of speech unless it is used to incite a riot (I learned that in 9th grade civics class... I hope I got it right.) If I am going to get beat up for my speech...please let it be about the gospel and not about how bad gay activists are.

With regard to the gay activists, I believe a proper response would have been letters to the city, newspaper and organizers of the event (and blogging.) As for the man who attacked you, defend yourself, report his running number to the event organizers and make a report with the police (if you think it goes to that level.) "Drop kicking the hell..." out of someone at a marathon is very serious and reflects poorly on your ability to maintain a proper balance in your Christian witness and professional endeavors.
Jim responded to Alan and Randy's comments (and the comments of others--including yours truly) without remorse or contrition. At one point, he made a swipe at Randy, saying Randy is "alleged to be among the Christian elite. Sez Alan:
Your questions and points are interesting, and I will address them here, but they have an air of blame shifting about them. You seem to be focusing on the actions, reactions and perceptions of others rather than taking a deeper look at the attitude that caused you to act and then react. The stimuli is unimportant in light of the response. You, as a counselor, should know that no one can make you feel or do anything. Out of the mouth the heart speaks. Or, in this case, with the hand the heart acts.
...
I would have understood had you written about all of this and acknowledged that you overreacted. But you didn't. You held on to your hostility and brought it here in a very cavalier manner. You called the man that shoved you a 'fool' and a 'coward'. Why was that necessary? You show you’re an angry man that won't let a situation go when it is over. What was your goal in posting this story?
After another post by Randy in which he denies ever alleging to be "among the Christian elite," Alan had this to say:
In two of your replies (one to Joe and one to Randy) you have put on your "therapist" hat and been dismissive of their comments. In my opinion you have been maliscious and abusive, as well.

First, telling Joe that he might need to see a therapist because he disagrees with you and challenges you is unbelievable. Then, pulling out a Reparative Therapy syndrome (the good little boy syndrome) and pinning it on Randy is ridiculous.

You show that you have no ability to argue without using your credentials to paint everyone else as incapable of challenging you because of their unresolved issues. That is abuse.
Sez Jim:
Nothing like Exodus for a good butt chewing!
Now I'll be the first to say that I have many disagreements with and criticisms of Exodus. However, I am quite impressed with Alan and Randy rebuking this guy. For me, this exchange in the comments of one short-fused reparative therapist's blog has been very helpful in revealing to me parts of the Alan's and Randy's hearts. I like what I see, and it reminds me of the genuine good intentions of Exodus leadership I recall from my five years in the ministry. Though I think their minds and convictions are in the wrong place, I think their hearts are in the right place.

Yesterday, after his first comment on Jim's blog, I wrote Alan Chambers an email and thanked him and received a warm reply.

I'd be interested to know how the interaction between Jim and Alan goes this weekend; they both are presenters at the NARTH conference!

Hat tip: Ex-Gay Watch (check out their comments on this topic)

1 comment:

Pomoprophet said...

ewww. That guys a bozo. I'll drop kick him and see how he likes it :)