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.