Lest anyone forget, I have been where a vast majority of mainstream and Fundamentalist Christians have been with nearly every contentious issue and litmus test for being a “true” Christian. This is especially true for the topic of Homosexuality.
This thinking/belief boils down to this: You cannot be gay and a Christian. If you are gay, you cannot “practice” homosexuality. So, your options are: 1) Live a life of celibacy (which is a “gift” according to the Scriptures and not something to force on someone), or 2) Get married to someone in a heterosexual marriage (because being gay is a choice and you can change to being a heterosexual)… and a third option during the process of #1 and #2 would be some sort of ex-gay therapy. (Now, if you don’t believe the horror stories about those kinds of therapy, then you haven’t been willing to look into it. Hit me up. I can give you a plethora of people I know personally who experienced these kinds of interventions. For every one person it supposedly “worked” for, there were 1,000 others that it didn’t work. Which is why Exodus International finally had to disband after causing YEARS of harm to the LGBT community.)
One of the things that got me thinking today was this article in the NY Times, Pastor Led Son’s Gay Wedding, Revealing Fault Line in Church. It’s well written and thought provoking about how the traditional and fundamentalist church treats its pastors and the LGBT community. It made me think about how I would have reacted at one point in my life, before Devon’s Big Reveal.
Other people have the answers for gay people who are struggling with not wanting to be gay, wanting to have a relationship with God, and not wanting to hurt those they love. It’s quite a pickle for the LGBT person to be in, to put it mildly.
I had the answers. You bet I did. And I was able to let them roll off my tongue as though I had the gift of prophecy.
So, obviously, when Devon came out to me, I fell pretty hard from my pedestal. I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t change a thing… NOW. But I sure tried to change things, especially that first year and a half. I had people who loved me and supported my views that homosexuality was a sin and a choice. I began to think a little differently as time moved forward, but not enough to question my beliefs regarding homosexuality. It came down to me wanting Devon to remain my husband. The very last thing I ever wanted was a divorce. Heck, I was even willing to remain married to him if we never had sex again… as long as we were together and he did not seek a relationship or sex outside of our marriage.
I have shared a few stories on this blog and our earlier one (SameSides: Amicable Divorce) that were words and attitudes I had which hurt Devon and all LGBT people, without me intending to be that way. This was because of my worldview regarding homosexuality and Christianity. I justified my judgement as “truth in love” when truly, at its essence, it was judgement. To the well-meaning groups of ladies that I had the privilege of knowing through BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) during that year and a half in my life, I am very thankful that we weren’t allowed to get too personal in sharing prayer requests. I couldn’t ask for Devon to choose to be straight or come back home to us during prayer time because that was a boundary BSF implemented, which kept a lot of gossip from spreading (prayer circles are experts at crossing gossip lines).
But the times where homosexuality was brought up through our readings or discussions, hurtful things were said that cut me to the quick and made me bleed inside. I learned very early on how much I had hurt Devon and others through my prideful “wisdom” before Devon coming out of the closet by hearing words from other ladies lips that were the exact things I used to say and think.
This is what I call Foot-In-Mouth-Disease. All of us are prone to it, regardless of our beliefs, love, or intentions. I have accepted this about myself and feel qualified to see both sides of the divide regarding homosexuality and judgmental thinking.
Which is why I feel the need, especially lately, to simply go for it and call hypocrisy and judgement from Church dogma out in public ways. Sometimes I do this with anger, other times I have done it with gentleness, and a few times I have lost friends over it. I am learning how to balance love with truth, anger with empathy, and honesty with compassion. I don’t hit the mark very often, but I’m trying. I am thankful to those of you who don’t agree with me on things but stick around anyway. It gives me hope that we can all help make this world a better place for everyone.
So on this Sunday, while many Christians are in church, I still don’t feel comfortable walking into one. Someday I might, but today I will praise The Maker, The Universe, God… from the comfort of my computer at Devon and Felipe’s house while I recover from my last round of chemo. The people and space that represent God’s unconditional love are right here, under The Reeses and Their Pieces Headquarters, where we can be together in peace, love, acceptance of differences and in fellowship with each other, building each other up and reflecting a little bit of The Letters in Red that are so precious to me these days.
Jesus did things right. He kept his cool. He didn’t suffer from Foot-In-Mouth-Disease. Ever. So I will look to him before I look to anyone or anything else as my example of how to live and love. I am grateful for getting to a place of desiring to balance Faith with the realities of my life. I’m doing that with the very thing that my dad always said to us growing up: “Look to the Letters in Red.”
And if you aren’t religious, you won’t get judgement from me. I am thankful I have the background I have because I get it when words are spoken in judgement, which are masked as “truth in love.” Is there such a thing as “truth in love?” Sure. But if it doesn’t match with the Letters in Red, then you should be thinking twice before speaking them.
Happy Sunday to all people. Unconditional love is the bomb, and without me knowing that I suffered from Foot-In-Mouth-Disease, I would have never gotten to this place of remembering the best advice from my pops: Look to the Letters in Red.
Live Life, Love Life, Impact Others,