Coming back to my story about rejection from Christian friends (see here for part 1 and here for part 2), I will share that I did decide to reply to my friend. I have no illusions that I will be changing her mind, but I believe in the power of grace — and that it operates in God’s time, or perhaps outside of time altogether — and I tried to turn the other cheek with as much grace as I could muster. Who knows what it could work on — or through — her, someday?
I don’t have much else to say about this story as it’s an old one that wearies me. I find myself rolling my eyes and saying “here I go again, talking about the ‘gay issue’,” and if I’m thinking that, others must be at least similarly tired of hearing about it. But I think of my friend Jay Bakker, who as a straight ally is relentless and unflinching and doesn’t seem to get tired of carrying the message of grace and love specifically in support of the disenfranchised LGBTQ community. If he can carry on day after day, I can complete this one small story. And I think of my partner, Sandy, who has gotten exactly the same response as I just did, from friend after friend after former friend. In some small way, by sharing this one story, I am honoring the strength and grace she showed — and continues to show — to others, though her very heart was breaking.
That’s the thing. This “biblical” response is like a script. The same words, the same phrasing, the same quotes. The same inconsistencies. (Love the sinner, but tell them their pain is a result of their disobeying God. This is love?) But knowing that about their message doesn’t make it any easier to hear, especially from someone I once called friend. Perhaps my sharing about one run-through of the script will prompt someone out there who doesn’t know to question it to start to wonder. Or perhaps it will prompt someone else who doesn’t think it’s an issue that affects them to feel moved to add their support.
Ok, that’s enough from me. Here’s my reply to my friend:
I honor the anchor you have found in your life. I’m glad you feel joy and peace and stability in your faith. I hope you continue to strive to be teachable.
I have too much respect for the meaning and depth in scripture to try to use it as ammunition in a battle of who has the more right truth. I’m weary of that battle. I have too much awe for God to limit God by scripture, much less a human’s interpretation of it (including my own).
I believe in absolute truth. I just don’t think any of us humans has the capacity to get it right.
Forgive this repetition from my first letter: I do not believe humans have a right to judge each other, and I do not believe God/Jesus calls us to do so.
I believe we are called to love God and to love each other.
I choose love.
I will pray for you, old friend.
If you stuck with me this far, thank you. And now I look forward to writing about something else!