It was in the parking lot of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lakeville that I have my most vivid memory of my friend. I was all of 16, sitting in the drivers seat of his 1980-something Toyota—it musta’ been a Corolla—herking and jerking this poor car and friend around. While Elton John sang “Daniel” on the stereo, my friend patiently coached me through how to find the sweet spot between the brakes, the gas and getting out of first gear without whiplash. I think it takes a certain someone to teach such valuable life lessons, and my friend just offered another one up that frankly caught me off guard in the most delightful way.
You may have gathered because I was hanging out in a church parking lot in my formative years that my friend and I were both super duper BFFs with Jesus; you’d be right. I met him because he was my co-director on a TEC weekend. This is not your classic luke-warm-Lutheran youth group event. Think evangelical passion play meets the quarterback Jesus at a junior high lock-in—eating bowl after bowl of captain crunch (I mean this in the best possible way). Now, as I grew older my relationship to the church waned, but his seemingly never did. Though I did drop out altogether for a while, I would eventually find my way back to my faith. My journey took me through twists and turns of self discovery, listening to some tell me I should never come out if I knew what was good for me. My faith was like shifting sand. His faith—from my point of view—has been like a rock: weathered, beautiful, solid and still there. Today I think we would say of ourselves that we are both deeply faithful people.
I say all of this to set up the scene for what my friend—a deeply committed, I would call evangelical, Christian posted on his facebook page yesterday. He posted:
Saying to two people that they can have a “civil union” but not a “marriage” is telling them that they are allowed to use a drinking fountain, but it cannot be your drinking fountain, because you are afraid they will contaminate the water in your drinking fountain. If you support civil unions, then have the guts to support the expansion of the definition of marriage to include all people, not just some of the people. Please do not vote yes for the marriage amendment simply because you disagree with the definition of a word. The MN Constitution is not a dictionary, and real lives will be affected by how you vote. Gay marriage strengthens the institution of marriage. The greatest threat to marriage is not gay marriage, it is the breaking of the marital vows.
My friend has taught me some of life’s most important lessons: God is love, how to move from first to second gear without hurting someone, and to NEVER, never ever, judge a book by its cover. Evangelical, loves Jesus, thoughtful, kind, Christian, VOTING NO. I love you friend.