In a blog post this afternoon, Exodus International president Alan Chambers preaches a bit more of the pious “name it and claim it” prosperity gospel that has corrupted and consumed Exodus over the past decade. Allow me first to briefly summarize Exodus’ Icarus-like attempts to rise far beyond its means:
- In good times mid-decade, Exodus hired staff instead of saving for hard times. On faith, Exodus believed that it enjoyed a special “blessing” (cash supply) from God.
- When good times turned sour, Exodus faith in mammon did not waver: The organization gave up its leased offices and bought a building with a million-dollar mortgage in early 2008, after Florida’s real estate market began to crash but long before it bottomed out.
- And when the U.S. economy lay in tatters, with no recovery in sight, Exodus last year acquired the costly Love Won Out ex-gay roadshow from Focus on the Family.
Earlier today, Exodus announced vague multiple staff reductions on its semi-private Facebook page. But on its public blog, Exodus made no mention of the payroll crisis and dismissed the apparent financial trouble as mere “lean summer months” — as if staff firings happen every summer:
Many of you who have been a part of Exodus know we often experience lean times in the summer months. This year is no exception and, combined with the economic downturn, these next couple of months will be a significant challenge for Exodus to meet all of our commitments. But in the midst of this trial, we know that God is good – all the time! His economy is not our economy!
“God is good” = “God’s economy.” Got that?
As I discussed this challenge with our staff we agreed to focus on these three simple truths that are both a blessing and a challenge.
Again, no mention of staff being sacked.
First, God owns everything. There is nothing that falls outside of His hand. Second, God is exceedingly generous. His fountain of blessing and goodness never, ever comes to an end. And, third, God wants each of us to participate in His generous nature because, when we do, we partake in His image and goodness.
We try to be cautious and give Chambers the benefit of some doubt. Maybe by “generous,” “blessing,” and “goodness” Chambers means acts of unilateral charity and self-sacrifice to bullied youths, ex-gay survivors, foreclosed homeless folks, the now-pregnant woman who was lied-to by the Christian pregnancy-prevention clinic, or the atheist or Buddhist or Muslim neighbor. He could have meant that, right?
Nope. This is what Chambers means by generosity, in the very next sentence:
Will you pray and ask if God would use YOU to extend His hand of generosity to our ministry during this challenging season?
We’ll spare you Chambers’ link to the Exodus donation form.
It’s clear (and sad) that Chambers — and his sidekick Randy Thomas — don’t affiliate with conservative Christianity for reasons of charity, self-sacrifice, justice, or truth. What draws them to conservative Christianity are the trappings of prosperity: Good times, big house, lots of political junkets to fabulous cities, cheery pious godtalk, life in Florida on someone else’s dime, and as much distance as possible from the damage that they cause to people.