Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When to share, when to be quiet.

When is the right time to come out? I don't know the answer for GLBTs, but for an ally, I need to use discretion when it comes to when to speak up. Although there can be times when I want to shout in the direction of those who don't understand, there is also time to soft-pedal my thoughts.

One of my goals is to influence others. I want to open the minds and hearts of fundamentalist Christians, as well as other people, to accept gay people as equals. I figure if I have been one to change my viewpoint, having been unknowingly married to a gay man who came out, perhaps others will recognize this is something worth a new evaluation. Because the fundamentalists so frequently dismiss anyone who doesn't accept their theological views, I find it important to get along, so far as I can. Seems that there is always someone who wants to debate online, or sometimes you get stand-offishness in a group, but I have to decide when and what to say.

This past Sunday I was asked by a very sweet couple from church, to go out to eat. Because I rarely get invited, I thought, why not? Conversation was polite, and these folks are genuinely concerned for both me and my family. The Mr. is an influential person in the congregation, and because I've always liked their extended family, I decided to not be confrontational. I think that was a good choice - this time. I hope for future listening and sharing with people like this.

Other times I speak up immediately, especially when I have the time to discuss issues and there is time on both parts to listen. Not just hear the words, but listen. At a 4th of July event last weekend, I was pleased to talk with another straight spouse. He had not read much on the "other side," and we could identify with each other's situation even though he comes from a fundamentalist church, and there were others nearby that probably knew that the two of us had common ground to discuss. (Both our situations are somewhat "out.") I openly expressed that I had come to know that being gay is not a choice, and that I supported GLBTs. I know he was surprised, and I recommended several resources that I thought would be interesting and/or helpful.

When there is debate going on, I can merely share my own story, my own views. I'm not good at debating theology, although I know many who are, and I cheer them on. I usually refer these opponents to gay rights to books already written, and ask them to listen to gay people's stories. That is what helped me, and it's my hope that others will tell their stories openly, when they know the time is right, and that they will be understood. Rarely do we change by making someone say, "Uncle," and, like my former mom-in-law says, "you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar."

What are effective means that others have had, in order to share and get across your viewpoints? Can you post them? I'd love to know better ways to influence others and help the cause.

6 comments:

Robert said...

Carol:

I think blogging is a fantastic tool for sharing one's viewpoint regarding same sex attraction / the GLBT community. Feel free to peruse my blog at your convenience: http://www.thearchitectsgarage.blogspot.com/. I hope all is well with you and yours. Thank you for your blog. Keep up the good work.

Rob Turner

paoguy118 said...

Sorry, but a true Bible-believing Christian is not going to fall for these lies. We all have our opinions, and I respect yours, but truth never changes.

Carol said...

Paoguy118 - you make assumptions in your comment that come across as judging the faith of others. To be clearer, it is when you use the adjective, "true" - indicating you think there are those who are false, which is your opinion.

Secondly, to believe the Bible as it is interpreted, I assume by you (and those who see it exactly the way you do), is too exclusive for me.

There are many, many denominations who hold many different views on everything from baptisms and communion, to how the pews should be arranged. These different churches have different styles within their services, sing from various hymnals or have none at all. There are ALSO different views on creation, salvation, and how we use the texts from which we got the Bible, and all these things enter into whether it is to be interpreted literally or not. Cultural times and context enters into interpretation as well, and we can't lay our culture onto the Bible and match it up to our expectations.

Thirdly, I'm not believing lies. I have not fallen for anything. And I don't think you are sorry when you say that.

Your words reveal your attitude, and it comes across that you think of yourself as more pure or more right or more Christian. What makes me a Christian is that I believe in Jesus Christ, son of God. I'm "whosoever," (John 3:16) I'm walking in the light, and I accept that others do so as well.

Anonymous said...

Truth never changes huh...? Wow, what a statement. There was a time when MEN stood up and using this same logic, demanded that women "keep silent in church". That they remain the "property" of their husbands, that they not be allowed to vote or assume positions of leadership. After all they are the weaker sex. I'm so glad those days are over for most people. Except, of course for the ones who know the "truth" that never changes. These judges can continue to be as cruel and mean spirited as ever...all in the name of GOD.

Eric said...

My thought on the matter of truth (as opposed to the subject of the post directly) is that truth is what is real, and it doesn't change. What changes is our understanding or knowledge of truth.

When people believed the world was flat, that wasn't truth, even though they may have proclaimed it as such. So to "anonymous'" point, what was changing in your example wasn't 'truth' but rather people's perception of what was true.

I believe that God reveals himself foremost in his Word, and secondarily in nature. We study the former, and our interpretation of it forms our theology. We interpret the latter using science and observation. Either our science or our theology could have errors (but the underlying subject of study does not), and hopefully the science increases with technology and the theology increases with relationship with Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit reveals the meaning of his Word to us, but as the theology and the science progress, the underlying truths do not change. We just may get closer to discovering what they are.

Is there truth? Yes. Will we always be able to define and know what is truth with respect to each topic or subject? I don't think so.

But for someone assert that it is true that there is no truth would be silly, irrational, and self contradictory, of course.

paoguy118 said...

Carol,

Matthew 7:13 says, "Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the road is spacious that leads to destruction, and many people are entering by it."

Yes, Christianity has many denominations. A lot of people view this as bad, but I see it as a testimony to the rich diversity of our faith. You can go to services in any town in America that are drastically different, yet all are equally valid as long as they preach the Bible and uplift Jesus Christ as Saviour.

I have my own failings as a Christian. I'm hardly "super Christian." (Just ask my wife.) However, there are some things you cannot compromise on and there's little room for interpretation.

I pray for you and Ray. I enjoy your blog although we disagree.

If I gave you the impression that I was questioning your salvation, I am not. I just don't want you to be deceived and thereby deceieve others.

Have a great day!