I am trying to get you, rather than make judgments about my gay friends, to walk in their shoes.
…You condemn them to a life of being alone. If they pursue their love you call it evil. You would prevent them from forming families of their own and growing old with the one they love. You enjoy family. You would deny what you enjoy to my gay friends.
Why did you start this blog? To work out your own questions? To spout some knowledge? I’m sure you had desires for it to do some good but your words do harm. You do not love. Please reconsider.
Icamyopinion, you bid me to “walk in the shoes” of a gay person after referencing the unique challenges facing those in the gay community. While there are areas of my life where I experience deferred hope, unfulfilled longings, rejection/condemnation, and on-going struggle with weakness, I cannot understand exactly what gay people feel exactly as they experience it.
But what I can do is walk with my gay friends and family. And that is why I have started this blog. I have sought to drop everything for a friend who is seeking holiness when she finds herself cornered by her same-sex attraction. I have crossed the world with my lesbian friends who were adopting their daughter. I have sought to be a refuge for another gay friend when he is in need. I try to be the first
one at the door when my gay Christian brother walks into church, to be protective of him and seek to minister to him if he has need. My husband and I strive to be authentic and trustworthy confidants for our friend who is seeking to be committed to his wife amidst resurfacing homosexual attraction. My role is not to convince them, withhold love if they don’t respond the way I like, or to condemn. My role is to be faithful to them. And to be sure, I have done this imperfectly.
I hear in your words the suggestion that perhaps I haven’t had enough experience with the gay community. Maybe not. Maybe not as much as you. But for much of my childhood, all of my adolescence, and all of my adulthood I have walked with my mother and her partner through life’s twists and turns. I love them fiercely. Since I was young, my world at my mother’s house was a world of women. Holidays, soccer teams, their marimba band, weekend dinners, game nights- all attended by their lesbian friends. All delightful women. My mother and her partner attended my sporting events, plays and concerts. Everyone at school knew about my mom- I didn’t try to, and wasn’t interested in, hiding their relationship. I now introduce my mom’s partner as “my friend,” because for the past 25 years she has been.
Despite this, what I hear you saying is that the only way for my words to do “no harm” and for me to really “love” those who are gay is if I change the message. But it’s not my message to change. If you have an issue with homosexual behavior not being affirmed by God, then you don’t have an issue with me. You have an issue with scripture, and the God who inspired those words. You have an issue with nearly 2000 years of saints, scholars, and priests and pastors who interpreted scripture along orthodox lines on the question of homosexuality.
You say that I “would prevent [gay people] from forming families of their own” but your opponent in that fight is not me. Your opponent is biology, which does not treat all sexual relationships the same. And, as one commentor on my blog put it, I do oppose adults (heterosexual or homosexual) who form a family by “manipulating a child into existence knowing full well that s/he will not be raised by his/her mother and father – those children have had something taken from them that was rightfully theirs.” (For more on this topic see “Chaper Next“)
And the thing about the message- that God affirms our worth but not all that we love or think or desire- is that many have received new life because of it. A friend of mine lived as a lesbian for two decades, walked away from that life three years ago and now in Christ “has lived life as it was truly meant to be in all its fullness.” I heard three other men speak about how Christ freed them from the prison of their false identity and liberated them to no longer be a slave to their old nature (though none would claim to be free of their same-sex attraction). Another man left a long, monogamous relationship with his partner because he saw that homosexual practice was not compatible with the Christian life. What began as an act of the will has produced one of the most spirit-empowered people in our church.
Steve Gershom, a Catholic gay man, puts it this way:
Would I trade in my Catholicism for a worldview where I get to marry a man? Would I trade in the Eucharist and the Mass and the rest of it? Being a Catholic means believing in a God who literally waits in the chapel for me, hoping I’ll stop by just for ten minutes so he can pour out love and healing on my heart. Which is worth more — all this, or getting to have sex with who I want? I wish everybody, straight or gay, had as beautiful a life as I have.
And, just to reiterate, God does not come to me with a message of affirmation either. He accepts me as I am but doesn’t leave me as He found me. He calls me to be willing to give up that which I hold dearest, and He makes me wait for much of what I long for- perhaps until the other side of death. This is the reality of the true Christian life (Luke 23:9, Matt 16:24, 1 Peter 4, 1 John 2:16-17). And in the midst of it all, God lavishes His love and peace on us- wondrous.
I hate the term “bigot.” I am repulsed by the images that the word brings to mind. Sometimes I think, “I should change the name of this blog and write about nice, safe, fluffy Christian things.” And then I scan the blogroll and see broad and powerful brush strokes that paint Christians or gay marriage opponents with that shame-filled word in an attempt to silence and embarrass them and I remember why I started writing:
Because we can have compassion without compromise.
Because we do not have to forsake truth for tolerance.
Because we do not have to choose between loving God and loving our gay family and friends.
We can stand on the truth that God opposes homosexual practice and reach out to our gay friends, family and neighbors. True Christianity will do both.
More on why I blog: “What is the purpose of this Blog?”
More on loving those in our life who are gay: “Why do you hate gays?”