A kairos moment are those moments when the time is ‘just right’ for something new to happen, for a great change to shake us out of our sleep, to shake our foundations, and to open our eyes to a new reality before us. It seems to be that—at least for Minnesotans—we are in some sort of a kairos moment.
First, on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012, Minnesotans came out against the proposed amendment of defining marriage as between one man and one woman. On Tuesday, May 14th, 2013, Minnesota became the 12th state to approve same-sex marriage. It seems to be—at least to me—that we are joining into a larger kairos moment that is sweeping our nation: the movement of increasing acceptance and embrace of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons.
As much as I am an idealist, I am pragmatic enough to realize that there is still much work to be done, and there are many places where discrimination and persecution are rampant and inbred within the fabric of society (even here in Minnesota…). We still have a ways to go. But there are still glimpses of those kairos moments, or kairoi; and there was one big one just recently: the closing of Exodus International and the apology of Alan Chambers.
Exodus International is a ministry that works with Christians to help them “surrender their sexual struggles to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.” As part of this effort, Exodus International has worked with persons struggling with same-sex attraction (SSA), homosexual orientation, and gay identity (in future posts, I will explicate on these definitions). One method of addressing these struggles has been through the controversial technique of reparative therapy, which assumes that one can change their sexuality, their orientation, or at least remove their attractions. However, as we have come to learn through stories and controversies, this method does not work (or, at least in the way Exodus wants it to). Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, had already ‘come out’ about his “ongoing same-sex attractions,” but in an open letter to “members of the LGBTQ Community,” Alan has put forth an honest apology. Alan has apologized for the “pain and hurt” experienced, for the “shame and guilt” felt when SSA would not go away, and for the reparative therapy placed used upon and against persons. In the end, Alan has offered a promising and hopeful way forward:
“Moving forward, we will serve in our pluralistic culture by hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality, while partnering with others to reduce fear, inspire hope, and cultivate human flourishing.”
Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in-between and out-between: here is a glimpse of what part of this kairos moment will look like. We can hope for more—such as an eschatological vision of full acceptance and embrace of the LGBTQ community—but what a great starting point! We have here the hope of the end of an era of exclusion and the dawn of an era of embrace.
In light of this, I will now begin to publish my musings on queer theology. Over the last year, I have done considerable work in this area, and now I want to share it with y’all. So, in the coming weeks or months, I am looking forward to the beginning of a constructive dialog on the future of the Christian faith and the LGBTQ community. My prayer for both is that they may all be one.
I don’t expect many readers to agree with me. You may not agree that we are in a kairos moment, and you may not agree with me even using that kind of language. But you know what? That’s great! All I ask is that we can respectful conversation about this. I know you have your convictions as much as I do; I just ask that we keep our hands open rather than clenched shut.