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Original source: danoah.com

A Teen’s Brave Response to “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay”

I received the following email today in response to my post I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay. I had decided a couple months ago that it was time to let the whole thing rest, but this response was so powerful, I couldn’t not share it with you all. It was from a woman who simply called herself, “One proud mom.”


Hello Mr. Pearce,

I am the Christian mother of a 15 year old teenage boy and about a month ago he came home from school with a copy of your article “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay”. The teacher gave his class a homework assignment to read it and write a 500 word essay about “what it meant to them”.

He came home and showed me your article and asked me what I thought about it. I read just the title and became furious at his teacher and at you (even though I know you had nothing to do with her handing out the assignment). Anyway, I confiscated it from him and told him he wasn’t to do anything with it till I had a chance to read it first.

And then I got madder and madder as I read it as I felt like it was a direct attack against our beliefs and our Christian religion and that it was promoting homosexuality, a practice that around here is a huge “sin”.

I gave my son an earful about homosexuality and God and told him that he could tell his teacher that he would not be participating and if she had a problem, she could come talk to me and then I threw the article in the trash. My son didn’t say anything just walked into his room and shut the door.

Long story short, a couple hours later it was supper time and I still hadn’t seen him come out of his room. I didn’t expect it to be that big of a deal to him but I went and knocked and told him to come out, he didn’t answer so I opened his door and he wasn’t there, he had left the house and gone somewhere. Of course I got more mad and tried to call him but he sent it to voicemail. I sent him a text and told him he better get home and he was grounded.

This is the text he sent me in return: “I don’t care. I’m at my friends house writing that essay and I’m not coming home till you read it.”

I think you would have seen steam coming out of my ears if you saw me. I started preparing to go talk to the school the next day. I sent a few angry texts to my son that he didn’t answer. I got the article out of the trash so I could take it into the school and get this teacher fired. My anger got a little out of control and while I was sitting there fuming and planning what to do, I got another text from my son that said “Just emailed it. Love, Jacob.”

My son’s name is not Jacob, and it took me a minute to realize that he was talking about your friend Jacob in your article. And when I realized that I suddenly started shaking in fear and anger at what he might be telling me. I started out of control crying because I couldn’t handle having a gay son and what if that’s what he was trying to tell me? After a long time I finally got the courage to go look at my email and see what he had sent. And this is what he wrote.

 

"I am gay and only my one friend knows so far. My mom doesn’t know yet. My dad doesn’t know yet. You didn’t know it when you gave us this homework. I am only 15 years old and I have never felt so alone. My mom and dad always are being angry about gay people and talking about how they are bad and going to hell and they also always talk about how all the gays should be shipped off to their own private island or something so that the rest of us could live God’s commandments in peace.

I have been so scared of them finding out that I’m gay because I know that they would hate me and would want me out of their life and at the same time I can’t keep this secret anymore because it is not something I asked for, never in a million years would I ask to be gay in a town like this where everybody would hate me. And anyways I can’t keep this secret anymore because I’m about to do something crazy like run away or hurt myself or something. I just want to be dead sometimes.

And then you gave us the assignment to write this essay for our homework and I read it like ten times I even skipped lunch and just kept reading it in the bathroom and by the time I went home I decided that maybe I am only 15 years old but maybe this town will change if I can be honest about who I am and maybe my family will change if I can be honest about who I am with them too. I don’t see why I don’t deserve love just like everyone else. I see some crazy stuff that so many people do and people still love them but for some reason everybody around here thinks its ok to hate gays and stuff. And I don’t know really I think I just realize that I don’t want to be Jacob in ten years and still live my life in secret and scared of being hated.

So I go home and I tell my mom to read this handout you gave us and she got so mad at me and started going crazy about how evil gays are and how all of this was just the devil spreading his work and everything else she said. But this time I just got mad myself and I got so mad because I suddenly realize that this is the woman that my whole life made me go to church where they talk about love just like the writer said but she and every other person I pretty much know just hate so many people especially gay people. So I got madder and madder and madder and then I snuck out and came to my friends house to write this essay because its time to stop letting people’s hate stop me from being happy. I mean should I really have to hate my life and want to die because other people are so hating?

And I don’t know what will happen but I am done playing like I’m something I’m not and if my parents don’t love me anymore because of this then I realize that’s not my problem and it will hurt but not as much as the way I hurt right now. I feel like if my mom and dad would just think about things they’d realize that what they always say and how they always hate gays is not what Jesus would do and maybe there is a chance that they will some day love me like Jesus would. I am their kid afterall.

Tonight I am going to send this to my mom and see what she says I guess. I don’t know what will happen but I know that I deserve to be loved just like everybody else does I just hope she thinks so too."

Obviously you can imagine the emotions and thoughts that were going through my head when I read that…

 

I started crying and couldn’t stop for the longest time. I don’t know why I was crying exactly, just so many emotions came over me. I didn’t know what to do or how to respond. I finally stopped and went and read your article once more only this time I tried to read it through my son’s eyes and the whole thing was so different than it was a couple hours before. By the time I finished I felt as big as an ant and I realized just how much hatred I have in my heart toward others.

You see, Mr. Pearce, you are right. It’s not about what other people do. It’s about whether or not we are loving them. Nothing else matters at all. And it took all of this for that to finally sink in.

I texted my son back that I loved him and left it at that. He came home that night and didn’t try to talk to me about it, I just told him I loved him at least ten times that night and made sure not to talk about anything else. My love for him was the only thing I wanted him to feel and I knew he’d talk to me about it when he was ready.

That was a month ago and in the last month my son and I (his dad lives three states away and still doesn’t know) have grown much closer than we ever were before. We have both stood up against hate several times when we hear it coming from the people around us. You see, where we live people really do have problems “being Christian unless…” But no longer in this home.

I’ve shared your article now with countless people. I have made my sisters read it. I talked about its message to my parents. I sent it to my friends and neighbors. And I’ve had some people get really upset by it, but a change is starting to happen around here and it’s because one teenage boy finally had the courage to stand against what he felt was wrong. He believed he could make a change. And I’ll tell you right now, it makes me happy to see him so happy. I never knew how unhappy he was until I could finally see how happy he could be.

So thank you. I know this is long, but I thought you’d like to know what your article has done in this little town we live in. And it’s just the beginning.

Sincerely yours, one proud mom.


Whew.

If you think you can’t make a difference, you are wrong. If you think you are too old or too young to make change happen, you are wrong. If you think that somebody else will do it first, you are wrong. I think this letter is proof enough of that.

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this is the BLOG Entry the teacher was opening up to the students

 

Today I want to write about something that has bothered me for the better part of a decade. I’ve carved out no fewer than a dozen drafts of this post, all strangely unalike, all ultimately failing to accomplish the job I’ve set out to do. Truth is, I’ve been trying to write it off and on for more than a year now, and the right words have been seemingly impossible to come by.

In the end, and in order to post it, I guess I had to care more about the message than I do about potential backlash. I’m not being facetious when I say that I hope I can get this message across without offending… well… everybody.

What I really hope is that this post will spark and encourage poignant and worthwhile discussion that will lead to some poignant and worthwhile changes in the lives of at least a few people who are hurting.

That being said, I believe some strong words need to be said today.

“God hates fags.” We’ve all seen the signs being waved high in the air by members of the Westboro Baptist church. On TV. In real life. It’s hard not to take notice.

Over the years, I’ve watched seemingly never-ending disgustingness and hatred spill across the media airwaves from those who belong to the organization. For those who don’t know much about that “church,” they have made a seedy name for themselves by doing drastic things like picketing beneath atrocious signs and hosting flagrant anti-gay protests at military funerals.

Almost every person of nearly every religion has no problem loathing and condemning the Westboro Baptist Church and its members, and perhaps with reason. They take freedom of speech far beyond what our founding fathers intended when they fought to give us that right, and they laugh at the rest of the world while they do.

But today I don’t want to talk about those idiots. I want to talk about you. And me.

And my friend who I’ll call Jacob.

Jacob is 27  years old, and guess what… he’s gay.

Not a lot of people know. He lives in a community where being gay is still very “frowned upon.”

I was talking to him on the phone a few weeks ago, telling him about my failed attempts to write this post. He was trying to hold his emotions in, but he eventually became tearful as we deliberated the very problem that this post attempts to discuss.

Before I go on, I feel I must say something one time. Today’s post is not about homosexuality. It’s not about Christians. It’s not about religion. It’s not about politics. It’s about something else altogether. Something greater. Something simpler.

It’s about love.

It’s about kindness.

It’s about friendship

And love, kindness, and friendship are three things that Jacob hasn’t felt in a long time.

I’m thankful he gave me permission to share our conversation with you. It went something like this.

“Jacob, I honestly don’t know how to write it,” I said. “I know what I want to get across, but I can never find the right words.”

“Dan, you need to write it. Don’t give up. I’m telling you, it needs to be said.”

I paused. “You don’t understand. It’s too heated a subject. It’s something people are very emotional and touchy about. I’d be lynched.”

My friend hesitated. “Dan, you are the only friend I have that knows I’m gay. The only freaking one,” he said.

“What do you mean? I know you’ve told other friends.”

That’s when his voice cracked. He began crying.

“Every single person I’ve told has ditched me. They just disappear. They stop calling. They remove me on Facebook. They’re just gone,” he said. “They can’t handle knowing and being friends with a gay person.”

I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t say anything.

“You don’t know what it’s like, man. You don’t know what it’s like to live here and be gay. You don’t know what it’s like to have freaking nobody. You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”

How do you respond to that?

I wanted to tell him it was all in his head. I knew it wasn’t. I wanted to tell him it would get better and easier. The words would have been hollow and without conviction, and I knew it.

You see, I live in this community too. And I’ve heard the hate. I’ve heard the disgust. I’ve heard the disdain. I’ve heard the gossip. I’ve heard the distrust. I’ve heard the anger. I’ve heard it all, and I’ve heard it tucked and disguised neatly beneath a wrapper of self-righteousness and a blanket of “caring” or “religious” words. I’ve heard it more times than I care to number.

About gay people.

About people who dress differently.

About people who act differently.

About fat people.

About people with drug addictions.

About people who smoke.

About people with addictions to alcohol.

About people with eating disorders.

About people who fall away from their faiths.

About people who aren’t members of the dominant local religion.

About people who have non-traditional piercings.

About people who just look at you or me the wrong way.

I’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it over, and over, and over again.

Hell, in the past (and to some degree in the present) I participated in it. I propagated it. I smugly took part in it. I’ll admit that.

And I did so under the blanketing term “Christian.” I did so believing that my actions were somehow justified because of my beliefs at the time. I did so, actually believing that such appointments were done out of… love.

This isn’t just a Utah phenomenon. I’ve lived outside of this place. I’ve worked outside of this place. It was just as bad in Denver. It was just as bad in California. I see it on blogs. I hear it on television shows and radio programs. I hear it around my own family’s dinner table from time to time. Usually said so passively, so sneakily, and so “righteously.”

From Christians.

From Buddhists.

From Hindus.

From Muslims.

From Jews.

“God hates fags.” “God hates addicts.” “God hates people who shop at Salvation Army.” “God hates people that aren’t just like me.”

People may not be holding up picket signs and marching around in front of television cameras but… come on. Why is it that so many incredible people who have certain struggles, problems, or their own beliefs of what is right and wrong feel so hated? Why do they feel so judged? Why do they feel so… loathed? What undeniable truth must we all eventually admit to ourselves when such is the case?

Now, I’m not religious. I’m also not gay. But I’ll tell you right now that I’ve sought out religion. I’ve looked for what I believe truth to be. For years I studied, trying to find “it”. Every major religion had good selling points. Every major religion, if I rewound far enough, had some pretty incredible base teachings from some pretty incredible individuals.

Check this out, and feel free to correct me if I get this wrong…

According to Christians, Jesus taught a couple of interesting things. First, “love one another.” Second, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (“Her” being a woman who cheated on her man.)

According to Buddhists, Buddha taught a couple of thought-provoking things. First, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Second, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

According to Hindus, a couple of fascinating teachings come to mind. First, “Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all.” (Krishna) Second, “Love means giving selflessly, excluding none and including all.” (Rama)

According to Muslims, Muhammad taught a couple interesting things as well. First, “A true Muslim is the one who does not defame or abuse others; but the truly righteous becomes a refuge for humankind, their lives and their properties.” Second, “Do you love your creator? Love your fellow-beings first.”

According to Judaism, their scriptures teach a couple remarkable things. First, “Love your neighbor like yourself.” Second, “Examine the contents, not the bottle.”

The greatest spiritual leaders in history have all preached love for others as the basis for all happiness, and never did they accompany such mandates with a list of unlovable actions or deeds. They never said, love everybody except for the gays. Love everybody except for the homeless. Love everybody except for the drug users. Love everybody except for the gang members, or those covered in ink, or the spouse abusers. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody with the exception of the “trailer trash,” those living in poverty, or the illegal immigrants. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody except for our ex-lovers, our lovers’ ex lovers, or our ex-lovers’ lovers. The mandate was pretty damn clear, wasn’t it?

Love others.

Period.

So if this is the founding directive of all the major religions… why is it that sometimes the most “Christlike” people are they who have no religion at all?

Let me repeat that.

Why is it that sometimes the most Christlike people are they who have no religion at all?

I have known a lot of people in my life, and I can tell you this… Some of the ones who understood love better than anyone else were those who the rest of the world had long before measured as lost or gone. Some of the people who were able to look at the dirtiest, the poorest, the gays, the straights, the drug users, those in recovery, the basest of sinners, and those who were just… plain… different…

They were able to look at them all and only see strength. Beauty. Potential. Hope.

And if we boil it down, isn’t that what love actually is?

Don’t get me wrong. I know a lot of incredible Christians, too. I know some incredible Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus and Jews.  I know a lot of amazing people, devout in their various religions, who truly love the people around them.

I also know some atheist, agnostic, or religionless people who are absolutely hateful of believers. They loathe their religious counterparts. They love only those who believe (or don’t believe) the same things they do.

In truth, having a religion doesn’t make a person love or not love others. It doesn’t make a person accept or not accept others. It doesn’t make a person befriend or not befriend others.

Being without a religion doesn’t make somebody do or be any of that either.

No, what makes somebody love, accept, and befriend their fellow man is letting go of a need to be better than others.

Nothing else.

I know there are many here who believe that living a homosexual life is a sin.

Okay.

But, what does that have to do with love?

I repeat… what does that have to do with love?

Come on. Don’t we understand? Don’t we get it? To put our arm around someone who is gay, someone who has an addiction, somebody who lives a different lifestyle, someone who is not what we think they should be… doing that has nothing to do with enabling them or accepting what they do as okay by us. It has nothing to do with encouraging them in their practice of what you or I might feel or believe is wrong vs right.

It has everything to do with being a good human being. A good person. A good friend.

That’s all.

To put our arm around somebody who is different. Why is that so hard?

I’m not here to say homosexuality is a sin or isn’t a sin. To be honest, I don’t give a rip. I don’t care. I’m not here to debate whether or not it’s natural or genetic. Again, I… don’t… care. Those debates hold no encumbrance for me.

What I care about is the need so many of us have to shun and loathe others. The need so many of us have to feel better or superior to others. The need some of us have to declare ourselves right and “perfect” all the freaking time and any chance we have.

And for some of us, these are very real needs.

But I will tell you this. All it really is… All any of it really is… is bullying.

Sneaky, hurtful, duplicitous, bullying.

Well, guess what.

There are things we all do or believe that other people consider “sinful.” There are things we all do or believe that other people consider “wrong.” There are things we all do or believe that other people would be disgusted or angered by.

“Yes, but I have the truth!” most people will adamantly declare.

Okay.

Whether you do or not…

I promise you it doesn’t matter what you believe, how strongly you live your beliefs, or how true your beliefs are. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you are in the wrong. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks your beliefs are senseless or illogical. Somebody else, somewhere, thinks you have it all wrong. In fact, there are a lot of people in this world who do.

We each understand that. We already know that. It’s the world we live in and we’re not naïve. We’re not stupid. We get it.

Yet, we expect and want love anyway. We expect and want understanding. We expect and want tolerance. We expect and want humanity. We expect and want respect for our beliefs, even from those who don’t believe the same things we do. Even from those who think we’re wrong, unwise, or incorrect.

We expect all of that from the people who disagree with us and who disagree with our lifestyles and beliefs because, let’s be honest, nothing we do is actually bad enough to be worthy of disgust, anger, hatred, or cold-shouldering. Right? None of the ways in which we live our lives would warrant such behavior. Right? None of our beliefs are worthy of ugly disdain from others.

Right?

No, we’re all… perfect. Freaking, amazingly, impossibly… perfect.

But the gays… well, shoot.

[sigh]

You know what I think?

Let this sink in for a minute…

I think it doesn’t matter if you or I or anybody else thinks homosexuality is a sin. It doesn’t matter if you or I think anything is a sin. It doesn’t matter if homosexuality is a sin or not. In fact, it doesn’t matter if anything anybody else does is a sin or not.

Because sin is a very personal thing! It always has been and it always will be!

And it has nothing to do with love.

Absolutely nothing.

Disparity and difference have nothing to do with love.

We shouldn’t choose who we will love and who we won’t.

“I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.”

That’s the message we’re sending, you know.

“I’m Christian, unless I’m hotter than you.”

“I’m Christian, unless I’m uglier than you.”

“I’m Christian, unless I found out you cheated on your income taxes.”

“I’m Christian, unless you cut me off in traffic.”

“I’m Christian, unless you fall in love with the person I once fell in love with.”

“I’m Christian, unless you’re that guy who smells like crap on the subway.”

“I’m Christian, unless you’re of a different religion.”

“Oh, but you’re not gay? You’re clean, and well dressed, and you have a job? You look the way I think you should look? You act the way I think you should act? You believe the things I think you should believe? Then I’m definitely a Christian. To you, today, I’m a Christian. You’ve earned it.”

I bet you’ve heard that message coming from others. Maybe you’ve given that message to others.

Either way, I hope we all can agree that we mustn’t live that message. We just shouldn’t.

But many of us do.

And we do it all the time.

For some of us, it might as well be tattooed across our necks and foreheads.

Maybe not in those words, but the message is clear to those who hear and are listening. It’s clear to those who are watching and seeing.

The message has been very clear to my friend Jacob.

“Every single person I’ve told has ditched me. They just disappear. They stop calling. They remove me on Facebook. They’re just gone. They can’t handle knowing and being friends with a gay person.”

“You don’t know what it’s like, man. You don’t know what it’s like to live here and be gay. You don’t know what it’s like to have freaking nobody. You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.”

Jacob is a dear friend. He’s my brother. He’s a damn good human being. He’s absolutely incredible.

He’s also gay.

But why does that make any difference at all?

It doesn’t. Not to me.

And I wish with everything inside of me that it didn’t make any difference to others. I wish we didn’t all have to find ways that we’re better than others or more holy and saintly than others in order to feel better about our own messy selves. I wish people wouldn’t cluster entire groups of people together and declare the whole lot unworthy of any love and respect.

But that is the point of such thinking and action, isn’t it? I mean, it’s simpler that way. It makes it easier for us to justify our thoughts, words, and prejudices that way.

All these people become clumped together. And in the process, they all somehow become less than human.

They become unworthy of our love.

And what a great thing it is when that happens, right? I mean, it helps us to free ourselves from the very directives that have been passed down for millennia from the greatest teachers and philosophers in history. It makes our rationalization for hatred, bigotry, and abhorrence so easily justifiable; so maskable.

So right.

It gives us the golden chance to look at ourselves and not be disgusted by what the glass reflects back at us.

Then, sadly and ultimately, it pushes us to that point where we no longer have any sort of arm to put around others at all. We no longer have a hand to offer our fellow human beings. We no longer have a need to.

And why would we?

Why the hell should we?

Unless, of course, we actually want to live what we all so often claim that we “believe.”

My dear friends…

This has to stop. We have to put our ugly picket signs down. We have to be the examples that help make it happen in our own lives and in the lives of the people that surround us.

We have to be that voice. We each must be that voice.

We must tell others that we will not accept or listen to such hurtful and hateful sentiments.

We must show love where love right now doesn’t exist.

Will you please join me?

My request today is simple. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Find somebody, anybody, that’s different than you. Somebody that has made you feel ill-will or even [gulp...] hateful. Somebody whose life decisions have made you uncomfortable. Somebody who practices a different religion than you do. Somebody who has been lost to addiction. Somebody with a criminal past. Somebody who dresses “below” you. Somebody with disabilities. Somebody who lives an alternative lifestyle. Somebody without a home.

Somebody that you, until now, would always avoid, always look down on, and always be disgusted by.

Reach your arm out and put it around them.

And then, tell them they’re all right. Tell them they have a friend. Tell them you love them.

If you or I wanna make a change in this world, that’s where we’re gonna be able to do it. That’s where we’ll start.

Every. Single. Time.

Because what you’ll find, and I promise you this, is that the more you put your arm around those that you might naturally look down on, the more you will love yourself. And the more you love yourself, the less need you’ll ever have to find fault or be better than others.  And the less we all find fault or have a need to be better than others, the quicker this world becomes a far better place to live.

And don’t we all want to live in a better world? Don’t we all want our kids to grow up in a better, less hateful, more beautiful world?

I know I do.

So let’s be that voice. Let’s offer that arm to others. Because, the honest truth is… there’s gonna come a day when you or I are going to need that same courtesy. There’s going to come a day that we are desperate for that same arm to be put around us. We’ll be desperate for that same friendship. We’ll be desperate for that same love.

Life will make sure of it. For you. For me. For everyone.

It always does because… as it turns out… there’s not a damn person on earth who’s perfect.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. I would love your comments and thoughts today. More than anything, I’d really like to hear people’s individual struggles. I’d like to hear your struggles. I believe that everybody will benefit as we all share that which hurts us and haunts us.

When have you seen or experienced this? What effects has it had in your life or the lives of others that are close to you? Have you ever seen positive results as people become more loving toward those who are different? How have you felt along the way?

There are those who have struggled because they have been on the receiving end of it. And there are those who have struggled as they work to overcome it. I’ve grappled on both sides.

This message is so important to me; among the most important that this faulted blogger has ever written and because of that I have no hesitation asking you to share it. If it’s important to you, too, please share it. If you believe its message needs to be spread, please share it. Use your voice for that which it was meant.

Use your voice to embolden the world. Use your voice to say, “enough is enough.” Use your voice to stand up and declare that there is no other way besides love.

With all my heart. Please.

NOTE: Please use the like button above which will send people to page one instead of to page three. :)

Six days after publishing this, I posted a few powerful responses that I have received. Please take a moment to read them as I believe they’re 100 times more powerful than anything I could ever write.

Also, please watch an equally powerful “responses video” that I posted two weeks later. If you’re like me, the things others say and the incredible things that continue to happen will level you mentally.

 

are you ready for some spirital surgery?

Beautiful.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  God is Love.  Love is God.  God so loved the world...

" I cannot see where getting others to accept one as a gay person is such a worthy goal. In fact, it seems to me that would cause one's life to revolve around trying to help others see that one should be loved as a gay."


The issue is not the rightness or wrongness of the gay lifestyle. The issue is acceptance. "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. Ellen White in Steps to Christ says that Christ accepts sinners as they are. We do not have to change before being accepted by Christ. That mother would have accomplished a whole lot more for her sons salvation if she accepted her son as he is. That means, like Christ, she do not have to accept the sin.

I have good friends who are gay. I do not approve of their lifestyle choice in the same way that they do not approve of the sins in my life including the bad choices that I too make. Most importantly acceptance is high on the agenda. Ridding the soul of sin is another process.

I love that Bevan Hendricks I believe you complimented the author..well put

MsMS, 

I think I understand your point of view and I suspect I understand the point of departure that may be causing your confusion.  It's summed up in the word "lifestyle."  If you believe that some people are born gay, then they are not living a lifestyle, they are living lives—just as people who are born heterosexual are living lives.  A lifestyle is something one adopts at a more superficial level.

Would you want to have your deepest affiliations—to God or to family for example—written off as a lifestyle, or might that feel trivializing?  I wouldn't like it.  I'm not a dedicated daughter, sister, etc., because it's my lifestyle.  I'm not a dedicated medical care provider because it's my lifestyle.  

For me, lifestyle is about how I dress, what I choose to eat, where I life, what I do for recreation.  Sailing is a part of the style of my life.  Organic salads are part of the style of my life.  Lavender scrubs are part of the style of my life.

I know from my work that human beings need several things in order to be healthy as organisms.  Chief among them is touch.  It would never occur to me to wish on gay patients that they abstain from touching and being touched because that would be promoting something detrimental to their health.  Affection is necessary.  Sexuality is part of how God designed us.  If in His wisdom, He elects to have some humans born gay, who am I to judge this as unacceptable?  I am wholly unqualified to do so.

I realize that this is an uncommon perspective among us and, believe me, I didn't always see things this way.  But one thing has become clear to me in my years of practice: no one wants to be in pain or to have the people in their lives suffer; no one wants to be sick or injured or to have the people that they care about to be sick or injured; people pursue their health in the ways that they can and in the ways that they understand—if I'm good at my job, I help them succeed in their pursuits and expand their understanding.  

Similarly, human beings need to love and to be loved.  Our greatest Commandment is to Love.  Period.  Loving God includes not attempting micromanage Him.   

So, from my point of view, part of my job is to be diligent in redirecting myself when my urge is to judge.  Judgment leads to disapproval, leads to alienation, leads to hate.  None of those states lines up with loving God.  So, for the past many years, I've sought to choose Love as my only operating mode when viewing others.  The greatest gift of this practice is the deepening of my sense of connectedness with God.  The second greatest gift is the privilege of getting to see deep into the lives of people who feel safe to share the truth of their lives and health with me as we work together to improve the former (which always improves the latter). 

I hear and believe that you feel love for all humans.  Here is the question I have, though: can you suspend your interpretations of their lives beyond simply loving them?  Can you become less invested in naming and damning their sins?  Can you leave that to God and simply love them?  Focus on what you have in common as human beings and work within that framework?  If you can, I think that you will discover unexpected spiritual gifts in the process.  I know I have.

I'm not intending to challenge you and I hope that the words come off in reading them with as much gentleness and compassion as I feel writing them. 

Hello MsMS,

I apologize for misunderstanding you, though I think I didn't misunderstand entirely.  What is more likely, I think, is that we see some things differently.  I don't, for example, distinguish between a person being gay and a gay person having a romantic love relationship.  That's what I was trying to express when I talked about "lifestyle."  I don't believe that it's a lifestyle; I believe it's that person's life.  (It's the same as not believing that there is such a thing as a "straight lifestyle.") 

To me, any time I, or anyone else, seeks to claim what is or isn't acceptable to God beyond the Commandments, I have to bless them and agree to disagree.  None of us and no denomination of Christianity follows the teachings of the Bible literally.  There are lots of reasons why, including built-in contradictions and paradoxes.  We all cherry pick the parts that resonate for us—sometimes at the level of the personal, sometimes at the level of an entire sect or denomination.

Further, in my own study, I am not quite so convicted as you that there is an absolute message from God about homosexuality.  In fact, there are respectable scholars who know much more than I who are calling into question the very translations upon which we've relied for many years.  It's the fact that we are reading a translation that makes me cautious, in general.

In earthly life, I've got no evidence that being gay is the equivalent of being an alcoholic of drug addict.  In fact, I've seen living and loving authentically promote tremendous stability in a person and even create new families and households in which the adults and children thrive in ways that may have eluded them previously.

Finally, one part of the Bible that I do take literally is the beginning of John (emphasis mine):

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."

In other words, when I talk about God's participation in people being born gay, it is because I believe that nothing exists that was not created by God.  It is not my place to say, "Well, God created THIS, but not THAT."  I can't find Biblical support for that point of view and I can find ample support for the idea that the only God can breathe life into the collection of cells that we call a baby.  

So, when you said, "I find it very hard to understand why you would make such a statement which casts the blame on God..." I think I can understand your confusion.  It's about the idea of blame.  I don't blame God; I respect His omniscience and capacity to make decisions that are beyond my understanding.  To blame God, I would have to judge His choices—a challenge that exceeds my ability.

To me, when I parse something about another person (or myself, for that matter) as "unacceptable," I am judging it.  It is a judgment to say that x is acceptable, but y is not.  That's what I meant when I talked about releasing the need to assess what other people do in and with their lives.  In my opinion, the same thing applies when I use words like "reject."  The only way to reject something is to have assessed it and judged it.  I understand that we may not agree on this point. 

Also, I think I get a little puzzled by this use of "accept."  What does it mean?  The person who is gay and partnered is gay and partnered, whether I choose to accept it, or not.  Not "accepting" that fact doesn't change it.  And, really, resisting it seems like an odd use of time and energy.  How big a list of things we don't accept does God want us to carry around when we could be using that same energy to be carrying messages of Hope and Love?  (I'm not asking you that last question, or challenging you regarding it.  It's rhetorical, meant to illustrate my confusion.)

Another way to say it is to use this example: I find our military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan unacceptable (especially when framed as somehow Christian!); however, I accept the fact that they are occurring, because they are.  Accepting that fact makes it possible for me to take actions to express what I believe to the people in a place to do something about it (e.g., writing to or calling elected officials).  If, instead, I said, "I don't accept those wars," I could take no action at all, because I would place myself in a position of denial.  How can I act in support of something or against something if I take the position that it doesn't exist?

I want to be particularly clear about saying that I did not mean to imply that you said gay people don't deserve love.  I know you didn't.  I was only talking about my point of view, not accusing you of anything.

Regarding the idea of gay Pride, I think I do understand that.  Marginalized, persecuted, oppressed, or otherwise minority sub-populations do not tend to see themselves reflected in much of the what is portrayed as "normal."  For example, compare the risks of being attacked and beaten for appearing straight and white with the risks of being attacked and beaten if one is gay or not white.  This circumstance has profound effects on self-esteem, security, and more.  Pride, in this context, is a matter of claiming some visibility and air to breathe.  This is an over-simplification, but, ultimately, it is an issue of social justice and civil rights.  And here's the thing: not everyone who is gay wishes that he or she wasn't.  

Anyway, I appreciate your thoughtful dialogue.  We may not agree on everything, but it sounds like be both cleave to Love.  :) 

Rose P you said

To me, when I parse something about another person (or myself, for that matter) as "unacceptable," I am judging it.  It is a judgment to say that x is acceptable, but y is not.  That's what I meant when I talked about releasing the need to assess what other people do in and with their lives.  In my opinion, the same thing applies when I use words like "reject."  The only way to reject something is to have assessed it and judged it.  I understand that we may not agree on this point. 



Are you serious?

RoseP- "In earthly life, I've got no evidence that being gay is the equivalent of being an alcoholic of drug addict.  In fact, I've seen living and loving authentically promote tremendous stability in a person and even create new families and households in which the adults and children thrive in ways that may have eluded them previously."


One of the reasons why I think there are much bigger fish to fry than shooting down the gay lifestyle. I think the over reaction to the gay life style is a sign of unbalanced indignation. There are a lot more lifestyles which are far more deadlier and harmful. One being the intolerant conservative attitudes often being portrayed on this forum site.

Excellent verses, teresa.

I judge no man! I let people judge themselves. I find it quite compassionate to warn people if they have judged themselves contrary to the Word of God.

God Bless, Alex.

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