Yes, we can.

Welcome! For those of you who are stopping by for the first time, feel free to check out my about pages here and here. And just so you know, today’s post is brought to you by the letter Q and the word respect. OK? Good. Truly, welcome.

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I would consider taking part in a synchroblog with the topic being “How can we embody mutual honour and respect in our conversations and relationships with those with whom we may disagree on the topic of homosexuality?” Its being organized by http://btgproject.blogspot.com and an organization called New Direction, apparently an organization that used to be known as “one of those Christian organizations that gay, lesbian and transgendered people loved to hate.” (their words, not mine)

Now, I did not do much digging trying to find who this group was, or what they were about, I just said yes. And the reason why I said yes, is in part the same ethos that I bring to the question that is before me, before you, now. I said yes, because that is who I am. And to get at the heart of who I am, I guess you would have to look at a few of my Makers: my dad and my G-d.

My father is a hippy, through and though. His outlook on life in general could be summed up in the mantra of his hippy generation–peace, love and happiness. He is a seeker of meaning, and believes that all life has value. For me this meant I grew up knowing that I was pure possibility. He used to tell me over and over and over how much he believed in me, even and especially when I did not believe in myself. He thought that his girls–my sister and me–were unlimited potential bursting with opportunity and hope for the generation to come. Do you know what that does for a little girl? Well, I will tell you. It saves her life. Literally and metaphorically.

When I was 11, my neighbor invited me to church. I had not ever been to one, and well, I loved my neighbor (can you say Gospel foreshadowing anyone)–she and I always had fun together, so “of course I will go to church with you” friend. “Yes, I will.” That was the beginning of my walk with G-d.

One of the first things I learned, was the same thing that most kids learn in Sunday school–G-d loves me. Yes–Jesus loves me, yeeessss Jesus loves me. (No one told me about the Holy Ghost right away, and I suppose rightfully; that Holy Ghost is a frightening character if you are not ready.) So it goes then that the first impression, like most first impressions, was a lasting one when it came to my understanding of G-d. LOVE.

So, how can we embody mutual honour and respect in our conversations and relationships with those with whom we may disagree on the topic of homosexuality? Here is how I go about it. (And I do go about it. The preface to the bulletpoints below would be that you have to be willing, to want to engage, to have a posture and mind that believes that Jesus, the Gospel truly CALLS us to be in relationship with the other. We are mandated engage the stranger (the one who is strange, the one whom you do not yet know, one from who you are astranged), and to love and not judge them. I look to these destabilizing words from Jesus (from Luke 6) when I want to shy away.)

  1. I am loved: I actually buy that whole “I am loved” thing, to use a fishing metaphor (Jesus was a fan of fishing you know) hook, line and sinker. And there are a lot of reasons that I could build a good solid arguement against why I should not be loved. I am sinful, I am jealous, I have been known to gossip, I have coveted, and I have taken the Lord’s name in vain. I have worn mixed fabrics (I am wearing them right now), I have most likely broken all of the commandments and then some in my short life so far. I am not proud. I know that I am Sinful with a capitol S. And–I know that I am loved. Wildly, gracouisly, when it doesn’t make any earthly or heavenly sense–I am wholly loved by G-d. And if I am/can be loved, for all of my sh#$!@, then it only makes sense that those that are not like me, those who do not think like me, vote like me, smell like me, are loved also. I need to do my best to see, hear, and engage them as G-d might. The prayer from Psalm 19:14 comes to mind “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, OΒ Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Amen?
  2. I say yes: My first instinct is saying yes–to most things–before I say no. Yes, this has gotten me in trouble sometimes. Yes, it has hurt me, deeply. Yes, it has taken me down some roads I would never have chosen for myself or would not choose again. But, for me, I have found when I open myself, allow myself to be afraid, it is in those places that G-d smashes though my expectations and imagination. I DO believe that G-d is at work, in me, in you, in all. And for the record, ALL really does mean ALL. So I say yes.
  3. Engaging the Other: I believe that the heart of the Gospel is calling us all to engage, walk with, be in relationship with the other. And I believe that today our lepers, whores and tax collectors–are queer people. For me, my post from this past Ash Wednesday perhaps gets at it the most clearly as it relates to GLBTQI folks. Please, read it. We are to feed and be fed. We are called to be about bringing the Kingdom of G-d on earth, as it is in heaven. I believe by doing these things–the FIRST things, the Great Commandment things–the rest will work itself out.

Is this stuff hard. Yes. Is it worth it. Yes. Can we do it? Yes, we can.

G-d of our whole lives, protector of our hearts, wild lover of this–your broken people–thank you. For the fruits of the Spirit that are so clearly shown to us when You are at work, and for your most precious gift, love. Help us to not totally blow it, as we are so ding dang dong good at doing. For your love sake, Amen.

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9 thoughts on “Yes, we can.

  1. Thank you for jumping in with both feet with such an open heart – and thanks to your hippy dad for preparing you πŸ™‚

    As I’m reading through the posts as they are emerging in the synchroblog …. many are thoughtful, many are grace-filled, many are hopeful ….. for this I am profoundly grateful. I hope that you and any of your interested regular readers will take some time to read some of the other posts – and that predominantly you will be encouraged with the people willing to wade in and seek to lead with love.

  2. I’m reading Candace’s book Bulletproof Faith and it is teaching me this. I’m a vocal person and an activist at heart. I knee jerk. You say something “off color” and I’m off to the races. I forget to be slow to anger, slow to not judge and all the fruits of the Spirit.

    I recently watched the video at theooze.tv about a guy reaching out to the LGBT community. I had to make myself sit and listen, because I wanted to get to the real heart of what this guy is about. Although I still don’t know for sure what his real intention is I decided I needed to accept him for what he does want to do, which is bridge a gap between the LGBT community to the Christian one. I guess it is the gap that might be important to bridge.

    So I’m trying to learn the lessons I see people like you, Candace, and others put forth for me. I try to look to Jesus for my example and other examples set before me. All the while looking even to myself for strength because I know as you say, I’m loved beyond what I can imagine. I like to dig deep and help who ever I can because the day I “surrendered to ministry” (yes, Christinese there) was an important day in my life. Just as the night Abba helped me find peace with who I am is important. I just need to remember that passion, no matter how heart felt it is, can cut off the other.

    Amen to your prayer!

    Blessings!

    Jules

  3. Jules, you are so kind. And I know all too well what you speak of when it comes to being “knee jerk.” Part of me doing this was really and truly to live more fully into what I believe, cause’ sometimes, I fail. Big time. Thank you for your always kind words. I really need to get that book! Its been on my amazon list too long.

    Wendy, thank you so much for the invite. I really enjoyed thinking and writing. And look forward to more conversation, here and on others blogs.

  4. Your welcome! πŸ™‚

    I have to admit I followed the bunny trail to read what is being said. I found myself on the start of an anxiety attack. LOL Ok, light on the “LOL”. It is so hard to not feel that feeling of, “ok, what is your twist?” Or to not read in some kind of defense come up. When you have been hammered over and over. That you are not a christian or you have never been. So when you enter those who are entering the question or staying the question, for someone like me, you feel the anxiety come up, feel like you can’t really be at ease, and not get your back up when something is said a little wrongly (in my eyes, dumb judging eyes). I stand strongly for myself to be accept and get I forget to to give it back. *sighs* What a process. LOL

    Sorry to have another ramble on your blog. πŸ˜‰

  5. Ok, so I’ve been reading your blog all day, even before your BTG post was up, and I want to follow it because, OMG, you quoted Harvey Milk! I really appreciated reading what you had to say, even before your synchro-blog post was up. Thanks for your honesty and your willingness to see God as love, for all people. That’s something I’m trying to see every day, and it’s difficult, and it’s hard, and it makes me yell sometimes, and it makes me cry, but I keep trying.

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