Many years ago I was homophobic, then I began to meet people who were gay. It was easy for me to be a bigot when everything remained at a theoretical level, never placing myself in a position where I could be impacted by friends and work colleagues who were homosexual.
Once I observed up close the heartbreak people experienced from isolation and misunderstanding, I couldn’t do anything but let the discussion grip my soul and mess with me. I was the product of strict evangelical teaching that encouraged people to see things as black and white, not the colours of the rainbow – pardon the pun. These days it isn’t as simple for me anymore, some of my friends may still prefer to say there is no more to discuss and wave the bible as their last piece of commentary. I think the discussion deserves more, I respect the gay community enough to converse beyond only one view of the holy bible – I think we need to consider the humanity as well.
I know this will irritate some conservatives but I can’t see how we can really offer a constructive addition to the conversation unless we are in the lives of those who are gay. We need to be close enough to really appreciate the isolation a gay person experiences for long enough to elicit compassion. If you are anything like me, you will most likely lose the desire to proselytise a militant view and be appropriately humbled.
Currently at my place of work we are collating information from staff to hone down behaviours and beliefs in order to influence a value structure that will shape the next season. We have facilitated many group discussions to capture stories that staff recount to describe their view in order to bring the values down to short sound bytes. My place of work is 50% Christian and 50% everything else from atheist to Muslim. One story from these discussions has greatly impacted me, it was from a person anonymously sharing they are gay but were frightened to let any work mate know because they feared being sidelined or shunned by the Christian contingent. Sigh…The truth is I know most of the Christians where I work are contemporary thinkers and would welcome the friendship.
I shared in a previous blog that I once experienced a surreal moment where I heard a clergy person in a small group setting attempt to explain that gay relationships can lead to bestiality. Honestly, I wish we didn’t treat people this way! To suggest a same sex loving relationship can evolve to bestiality is fuelled by a significant deficit in understanding and supported by ignorance. It reminds me of medieval history where superstition claimed the innocent lives of people thought to be witches. It’s horrific, but sadly, it made complete sense hundreds of years ago.
I am not going to try and argue my way through this discussion because I don’t see the point… but I do feel compelled to ask my Christian community to refrain from exercising its desire to be the moral compass to the world. We lost that privilege a long time ago in the eyes of many – our toxicity of hypocrisy did a splendid job. If we ever have influence again it will be because of who Jesus is despite our past behaviour.
I don’t know why so much venom from Christians gets directed towards the gay community, yet disturbingly, we are slow to act in so many other moral issues particularly when it comes to our own behaviour. I will finish with this; Jesus never once addressed the issue of gay relationships but he was militant when it came to injustice and the poor. I think that nicely sums up our directive.