Monday, December 29, 2008

no debates

The messages continue, and people outside our family want to confront me. I guess family get-togethers at Christmas are the perfect time to discuss Ray and Carol Boltz. It's interesting how others have the time and "courage" to shoot off a critical e-mail, when they would not be able to sit face-to-face with me and have a talk.

At different times I have offered to talk to friends (and/or strangers) about having a gay husband. Some have instantly turned to the words "abomination," and "sin," and because of that I have needed to form my thoughts so that I can talk in a calm manner, and try to explain that, "it's not what you do, it's who you are." Those were words that Ray used to help me understand when, four years ago this week, I was in the same place as some of those who now are making their judgments.

I've observed that most of the messages fall into two categories: 1) Ray has chosen to become homosexual. Or 2) Ray was never saved, and he deceived us as he sang the very words that he wrote.

My responses now, and it is not my intent to be sarcastic or flippant, are: to #1 - Why would anyone CHOOSE to be gay, when others will hate you, turn from you, and say hateful things to you and about you. It will mean the end of your life and livelihood as you've known it. You will be rejected by those who professed to love you and the songs you wrote. To "choose" that just doesn't make sense.

To those who think #2, I just think you never knew Ray. And I wonder if you know God.

God, who send his son, Jesus, by way of a young unmarried girl named Mary. Mary, who could have been stoned for her supposed sin. And this baby was entrusted into the family of Joseph, who without his honor to step up and marry his fiancee', would have sent her to her death, and hence the death of God's son. And in the end, I'm sure Mary must have wondered, "why, God?", when her oldest son died on a cross for sins he didn't commit.

God, who uses ways that we don't understand, and somehow, some way, we are supposed to learn and grow from the trials in our lives. Life is not easy, and I've discovered that none of us choose our problems. That is something I'd never have known, deep down, like I think I do now, if not for what I've gone through. My wise counselor, Jane, told me, "You never grow or mature without struggle."

And despite the fact that I sometimes rail against God for where I've been placed, I still have that drawing to God, to the help that I also cannot comprehend.

So to those who wish to argue, I'm declining those offers. Maybe we can sit over coffee, and we can have a talk that will mean something. But don't assume that you and I will debate over e-mails or comments, because those will never show me, and it won't show the many changes I've had in the last four years, and it definitely won't prove anything to you. I decline the debates.


kazhmenez said...

Thanks for this, Carol. Yes, that seems to be a difficult message to get across ... "it's not what you do, it's who you are". It is difficult for those who want only to condemn to take on board this concept of our unchosen essential nature, as opposed to any actions we may - and in many cases do not - engage in. Whether or not I ever have a gay partner will not alter the fact that God has given me the capacity to appreciate the beauty of my own gender and to feel drawn towards that beauty ... as naturally as a magnet is drawn towards iron.

It is all too easy for those 'blessed' with the majority orientation to hide behind theological, doctrinal arguments in support of a position and view that they themselves happen to have by nature, and for whom the supposed 'moral' norm comes naturally and effortlessly.

Debating is unproductive unless those involved in the debate have at least an ounce of openness to seeing things in a new way, or seeing new things.

I take comfort in the way Jesus always went out of his way to speak to, relate to, befriend those whom the respectable moral majority looked down on. The woman at the well was not only the 'wrong' gender for a rabbi to be engaging in conversation, she was also a foreigner, a gentile.

My Lord is not confined by human convention when he chooses to speak and reveal himself, and as an 'outsider' myself I can say, with inside experience, that he speaks to me as a gay man, and challenges me with the same words he addressed to Peter ... "Do you love me?"

Rob said...

Hey Carol, keep up the good work. I encourage you not to get discouraged by the comments by some folks, I have delt with people like that too, and honestly most of the time it is better to just ignore them.

I will say this though. I'm always confused when someone thinks they get to judge who is "saved" and who isn't...I always thought that was what God got to do.

Anonymous said...

I think you are wise to decline the debates. It's one thing for someone to have their doubts and ask honest questions. It's another thing for someone to already have their mind made up and set out to convince you that they're right.

-- Jarred.

emily said...

Wonderful words of wisdom Carol! I have a hard enough time understanding how people (especially Christians) can be so mean spirited and judgemental toward people they know and love - but it really blows my mind that people feel the need to shoot off emails to someone they don't know and make all kinds of assumptions and judgements about their life and relationship with God.

I think it's awesome that you're choosing not to debate! I have a tendency to want to argue with people when attacked - but you're right, it accomplishes nothing.

Carol said...

Emily wrote: I have a tendency to want to argue with people when attacked

Yeah, me too! But I'm trying not to lash out. Lord, help me!

Anonymous said...

Wise choice, Carol. As the old expression goes, discretion is the better part of valor. There's no need to dignify some people's morbid desire for debate.

Somehow, hostile debaters seem to mistake the heat of contention for the light of truth. Their "wisdom" doesn't much seem to reflect James 3:17-18.

As a peace maker, you have chosen the better things to do with your time and energy. Go, Carol!


Tim Morris said...

Well, I don't lash out but I don't miss many opportunities to express my opinion.
My real desire is to reach out to those in the GLBT community that are interested in faith in Christ. I want those rejected by traditional church to know they can be reconciled with Christ the same way I am and orientation has nothing to do with it.
Being a verbal advocate for equal rights is just a natural progression when you understand the issue and accept people. Gay rights are equal rights!

Anonymous said...

Carol, You always touch my heart. I pray that 2009 will bring a change of hearts and that the dangerous gospel of Christ will touch the hearts of these condeming people. Keep up the good work. I know Ray is none of these things; he is a precious child of God just as all GLBTs are.

Anonymous said...

yes, but repeated continual patterns of actions DO reflect who we are. Refusal to see sin as such IS a reflection of "who we are". Would you say "it's not what you do, it's who you are" to a meth addict? To a child molester?? To a garden variety alcoholic?? Or would you stress that while God loves them, He does in fact care very much what one does. This is very poor logic. It is a shame that in a codependent effort to smooth things over and stay on the good side of a man who betrayed you that you have chosen to spit on God's word. It is a shame that rather than face the pain that your husband COULD have made different choices and didn't that you would rather believe the lie that he had no choice. I guess it is a lot easier to think that he was in all this psychic pain because he wasn't being "his real gay self" and you are some kind of hero to see him as beyond his own choices than it is to face the fact that he could have dealt with his homosexuality, as so many others have but instead he chose the way of the world instead of the way of God. You would rather play mind games to make this whole thing go down easier than to stand on God's word. Some day you will stand before God and account for the fact that you influenced a lot of people, and not necessarily for the better. Because let's face it: painful as it is, it would be a thousand times more painful to stand on homosexuality being sin and risk losing what friendship remains with your former husband AND have to face the fact that he put his own immediate gratification above his family and above doing what is right. Real love would not have been so quick to seek an easy way to rationalize his own sin if it meant so much pain for those he supposedly "loves so much".
You are a very codependent woman. It is sad that so many people are applauding you. And why shouldn't they??? People like you are a feather in the cap of the gay community. They can point to your supposed "selflessness" (which isn't selfless at all) and it makes them feel even more justified in their own sin.
I can no longer stomach listening to your husband's music. I deleted the couple of songs I had on my iPod. I just couldn't stand them in there defiling it. I feel less hypocritical listening to the honest musings of non Christian artists than the hypocrisy of someone who makes out like they are a victim in the Christian community because some brave souls refuse to accept their sin as perfectly reasonable behavior. I feel the same way about Amy Grant. Not so much Sandi Patti. She did repent although by the time she did, she had made some choices that she had to live with. But your husband at this point and Amy Grant are just completely unrepentent and I cannot stomach going along with their requests to look the other way on their sin and make it OK. Do not twist that around to be about being "perfect' That's not what it is (see my note on Sandi Patti), its about rationalizing sin and expecting other Christians to rationalize it too or be labelled as horrible, judgemental people.
Lest you think I know not what I speak. My husband is ex gay. He has VERY thoroughly worked thru the issues; despite what you would like to believe some people DO change. But it has been a process, a hard process. A painful process. As most of our journey's of sanctification are. I would like to think that if my husband chose to go back to a life of sin that I would not compromise what I know to be the truth just to smooth things over and minimize my own personal feelings of betrayal.

Carol said...

As I began to read your anonymous comment I knew that you have much pain, and that you probably are married to someone who is gay, or that you have a gay family member who has hurt you very much. I am so sorry for that I discovered at the end that my assumption is correct.

I can't begin to share your exact pain, but I know my own.

I post your ocmment only to reveal that many people, like your husband, have come up with a different solution than we have. Every single point that you make is a reminder that faith does not work to "solve" being gay. Jesus is never going to change the orientation of any of us. For myself, I don't want to be a runner-up for anyone's affection.

I am sorry that you don't feel you can leave us your name, because it leaves you in that closet of isolation. I know I can honestly post my complete name, and I have no secrets. Living in the fear that someone will discover your heartache is a lonely place, and I stand with you as honestly as I can. I know you are hurting, and I know how lonely that is.

For others who read this comment, I will refer you to this entry, written by Peterson Toscano:

The article is titled, "Can my gay child change?" It relates to one's child, but the point is that our attitudes have to change, because the orientation doesn't. It may help others to understand, as it helped me.

Anonymous said...

In response to the woman whose husband is ex-gay. I pray that he is. I cannot use my name for fear of being found out. I am a closeted gay clergy person who have been married for many years. I did not choose to be gay. How I got that way I do not know but I know it was not a freewill choice. I am choosing for now to remain in a relationship with a woman whom I love as Ray does Carol but I am afraid I will never love her as she deserves. It is easier for me to remain in the closet than to come out of it and lose everything I have worked so hard to accomplish. Talk about a sin how about greed and selfishness. I pray that some day I am able to share with her and free her to live life with someone who can be there one hundred percent but for now I cannot Your husband may be ex gay or living in a tightly locked closet as I do.

Sebastian said...

Carol, you should take pride in the fact that you have not stooped to the level of your mean spirited, anonymous accusers. They think that they know God. Instead, most of them act like they have become the just judge of the living and the dead themselves.

Carol said...

I also have entered this comment as a new post.

To "anonymous" - the wife of the gay man, the one who keeps writing but has no name, even one to call you: Get your own blog. Sign up anonymously, don't have your real name or your real e-mail on it. It's not hard to do. Don't link to anything that will tell who you are.

I will not use my blog to let you say anything you want, especially that change is possible, or that accountability allows your husband to have "dealt with his sin ."

But I will state some things I want to put on my blog:

There are two viewpoints that are often combined into one. There is a theological viewpoint that you are taking, and it is that being gay is a sin. I disagree.

The other viewpoint is from science. Science does not provide a value on either hetero- or homosexuality. With that I agree.

Whether or not I agree with either of those viewpoints is not at issue here, but I state them to let there be no question of where I stand. I offer hope, and maybe some kindness here - NOT to say that I agree with your theological viewpoints, but to say that there are so many disagreements that I have no idea why you insist that I'm "deceived," "co-dependent," or that "I can see where you have to tell yourself this about other people who are coming from a different place because it is very very threatening to how you have explained this situation to yourself." You have plenty to say, but your messages are not, "a crumb of truth [that] will fall on hungry ears."

Lady - I am not angry with you, but I think you are the same dingbat that posted long diatribes on Pam Ferguson's blog some time back. (for information, there are two entries with long comments in March 08.) If you aren't the same, then you are the same type. I don't want to play nice, I just don't wish to play at all. Pam went out of her way to let you (or the person like you) post, but it was of no service to any of us, except to see how kind and good Pam is. While I know it would be a juicy argument, I'm not playing the game. Maybe I'm not good at it - I have never liked competition. Confrontation is something I'm not skittish of, but I always lost at dodgeball, and I'm not going to play now. Just get your own damn blog.