Friday, June 26, 2009

Questions for a young friend

I wrote this to a young friend today:

Hi there, ________,

You probably only have a vague memory of me, but I'm sure you know who I am. I'm still the same person who taught your brother in Sunday School, and our family was close with your Uncle (but we haven't heard from him since Ray came out).

I read your comments on a fb friend's note. She saw the video, "What was I supposed to be?", on YouTube, and she saw someone's comment: "If the fetus you save grows up to be gay, will you still fight for it's rights?"

You said:
u can defend gays all u want and i dont mean to be a complete douche i am not anti-gay if they want to do that thats their problem but the bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin and they need to take that up with God .

and then...

i am not judging anybody just reinstating what the bible has already said u want to believe that being a homosexual isnt a sin ur welcome to thats God giving us our free choice in what we want to believe but just saying the bible is complete truth and it says that Being gay is a sin so whatever i am not having this argument its a waste of my time trying to explain my reasoning

I wanted to comment, but don't want to come across as critical of YOU, so I decided to write you a personal letter/message

My friend, I hope you realize that you are hurting people with your assumptions that they are choosing to be gay. Years ago a friend of mine from church revealed that she was lesbian, and everyone I knew talked badly of her and basically discontinued contact with her. No one continued to ask her to participate in fellowship, get-togethers, in graduation celebrations, baby showers, or weddings.

Well, that didn't make sense to me. Even though I didn't understand WHY she would "come out" I knew, somehow, that she had not chosen something that would cut herself off from ALL the people she knew. She would not DECIDE to be the subject of all the gossip at the grocery store, all the hurtful comments mentioned alongside "prayer requests," or all the negative feelings put out by our little Christian church. That just didn't make sense.

So I decided to keep contact with my friend. I always accepted invitations from her, and I made sure that when there was an event at my house, I still sent her an invitation. I wanted her there! I wanted her to know that she was included, that she was important to me. (After all, we started Junior Church together, back when our girls were only 2-years-old!) Almost always we turned up at each other's events. And I wrote her a letter saying, "... although I don't understand, you are my friend, and I will always love you."

Right now, among your friends, it seems that there is a huge debate going on. Lines are being drawn, and people are saying mean things to one another, and many are lining up sides, "according to the Bible." I want to ask some questions, and I hope you will consider the answers in the longer term than just this week or this summer.

Who was Jesus talking to when he said, "by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love toward one another"?

Do you think it is more important to do what Jesus says, or to follow your beliefs, when he prays, "that you may all be one."?

In five or ten years, do you want to be remembered as someone who tried to understand people who are sharing something you don't understand, or someone who says, "I know the answers and you don't."?

Can you imagine what it feels like to be told: "You homosexuals are wrong and sinful, and there is no salvation for who you ARE."?

Do you really think that if someone is gay, that marrying a straight person will solve ANYTHING? Do you think that it is fair for that straight person to enter marriage without realizing that someone's same-sex attractions will NEVER go away? If your brother, or sister, or daughter or son, was preparing to marry someone who had "graduated" from "reparative therapy," would you trust that this person was now completely, genuinely heterosexual?

...and from a personal note...Why do you think that people like me have changed to realize that gays/lesbians are loved and accepted by God, and that they don't need to try to change something inherent in their make-up?

One more thing...I want to share with you a video that is available for rent at most stores. The title is, "For the Bible Tells Me So," and it offers a great place to evaluate what many fundamentalists think, and what is actually true about gay Christians.

You are welcome to write to me, and I'll do the best I can to share with you what I have learned, or you can read some entries on my blog. Maybe you will get a glimpse into real change of heart. I can hope it will make you insightful into why your friend brought up the questions that she did - and that you will see why we think it is so important.


Lindsay Oliveira said...

This is such a great post. I think many Christians don't even know where to start when it comes to trying to understand something that's different from what they have always believed or been taught. The information you are giving is great. Hopefully will help other Christians to open up their hearts and minds to the issue. I am so happy that you have made the choice to share this with people:) You are an amazing person. Love you!!

deb said...

I'm a broken record. "The world is a better place because of you." :)

I do believe that coming from your place in the church, you position as a very public figure, and your change of heart after you understood the truth about homosexuality, you have so much credibility.

I don't know if your 'young friend' will realize that, but if his heart and mind are open at all, he will.

You also posted this link. I had not seen it before. It has a lot of good information. It looks like a very helpful resource.

Dawn C said...

Those questions are wonderful and ones I would love to bring up with my family... but a bit too scared to broach the subject.
However, it is nice to read someone who has courage - perhaps that is my next virtue to pray for.

Nancye said...

Carol, I wish I could hug you, you write so well and from the heart. As a person who has known the back handed slap from fellow Christians and the pain of no longer belonging, I hope the young person you are addressing pauses for one moment, one nano second and reflects on their attitude and at the very least maybe just maybe asks themselves how would I feel if that was me, if I was gay. But I guess they would have to get past the belief that its a matter of choice.
Thank you again for your willingness to speak out, you will be a worthy representative on the Soulforce Board