Thursday, March 26, 2009

Answers that work

Writing this blog and hearing from readers gives me support that I need. However it is difficult in knowing how to share my life, my work, and who I am today. So many old phrases no longer apply to how I view the world and my faith, but I still need to relate to others who are where I was - and I keep working on how to do that.

For example, I get the e-mails. These are comments that some folks presume are unread by real humans. The writers either think that they aren't really going to be read, or they are very obnoxious and rude, saying vulgar things about gay people. It's a lot easier to type an e-mail than to say these things in person. In about one of a thousand I DO respond, not harshly, but in a way I think is assertive - as a woman, as someone trying to re-frame how to live my faith in Christ.

I get a lot of questions, even now, several months after the big hoo-hah of Ray's article being published, asking me, "Is it true that R.B. is gay?" I'm actually a little surprised that there are still those who are just finding out. Occasionally I reply and send them the original article, because that way they can read the truest report, rather than the re-hash of all the bloggers, editors, etc. (note: the other truest report is this blog!)

Today I returned a call to Angela, who called looking for a CD. She cautiously and hesitantly, asked the big question: "Is it true...?" And I honestly told her the answer, "Yes." She was "sad" like so many others have expressed. I wanted to explain more, but I just said, "I had to learn a lot myself. And I found out that there is not just one lifestyle, like we've been told in church. There are lots of gay people who live just like you and me, with lives of integrity."

Angela still didn't know what to say. Here is how she responded:

"...but that's not based on the Word, it's based on human rationality."

I knew what she meant. She does what I used to do. Angela assumes that a few verses in the Bible speak to human sexuality. But more than that, it's a view of our world that makes God into our own likeness. It's how I imagined God to be supernaturally tending my flower gardens, rather than creating the powers that do the growing. It's how I imagined God to be co-piloting my car, rather than allowing me to use the physical laws that kept it on the road. It's even how I imagined that I was using God's blueprint for raising my children, when actually I was probably more affected by MY parents' methods, and thinking that I was following the Bible.

What I'm trying to express here is that we think we know the answers when they are OUR answers. As we look at things from another point of view than our own, we do a lot of self-adjusting. And when we get answers that work for us, we (I) abandon the answers that don't work. When I thought my life was micromanaged by God, it was a superstitious thought pattern, and yes, now I use some human rationality. NOW I don't think that is wrong or skewed in any way. I think we are supposed to use our brains to figure out our lives. And I don't know how to share that with Angela or others like her.

What I can do is try to let her know that I see things differently. Different in my entire world view.


hillsideslide said...

As my understandings and beliefs shifted, changed, evolved, I was hesitant to say them out loud.

For me, a lot of it was pride. I was SO SURE of what God thought about stuff (ah, youth.... ah, fundamentalism) that I was happy to voice "how it was."

Then, I felt foolish. As things/me changed, I didn't want to admit it, or look like a flip-flopper.

However, though my silence kept me "safe," ...I lost my spark.

I don't know if you relate to this, but it wasn't till I decided to start sharing my real thoughts/beliefs that I felt Alive again.

Here is a passage from Emerson's Self-Reliance that made things *click* for me~

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. SPEAK WHAT YOU THINK NOW IN HARD WORDS, AND TO-MORROW SPEAK WHAT TO-MORROW THINKS IN HARD WORDS AGAIN, THOUGH IT CONTRADICT EVERY THINK YOU SAID TO-DAY. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."

Brittanicals said...

Well said, Carol.

As I shared with you and Peterson, I am still grieving the loss of my beloved,cantankerous, contrary, wise, and oh yeah, gay, friend Roger. It hurts me to the core when anyone implies that he was somehow less because of his sexual orientation. He was there for me when I needed someone to fill a very specific role, and I will always love him for that.

It hurts to think of what so many "christians" would have said about him. My mother even implied that it was very unlikely that a "gay" could be "saved."

I don't mean to highjack your post, though, sorry. Just wanted to say I understand.

And I feel so sorry for people like that girl who will miss out on the Roger's and Peterson's and Ray's in her path because she thinks that God would want her to pass them by.

Tim Morris said...

Anne Lamott once said that "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

Cindy Morris said...

I look forward to reading your blogs so much, Carol and appreciate your honesty in telling it like it is. Tim and I are eternally indebted to you in sharing with us the joys and sorrows on your journey. Everyone should read and learn as much as possible on this subject and not assume they already know the answers. It has completely changed our lives, our friendships and our beliefs about so many things. We love you, Ray and your family so much. Thanks for sharing from your heart.