During the course of a Facebook discussion around gay marriage, a good friend of mine left an important post. He referred to a man named Sy Rogers who is a Christian speaker. Sy was a transgender on the journey to fulfil a gender reassignment, then he became a Christian and has since married a woman and has a beautiful family. I thought the Facebook conversation was helpful so I turned it into a blog. It is important to note that Sy’s journey was a different issue to gay marriage. Still, Sy’s story provokes strong emotion in the Christian community of which I am a part of.
Here is my friends comment:
“The last time I met with Sy Rogers he showed me a photo of himself with his grandchild lying on his chest. His comment to me was this, “had I believed what I was told was sociologically impossible this could never have been my experience in life.”
This was my response:
This sums up a lot of things in my mind. Your comment is not theological but rather an emotive example which is where this discussion rarely ends up. I wish the Christian conversation were more heartfelt and less intellectual because every human can relate to love, loss and pain. Most of the time it is opinion against opinion like a tennis match, we forget there are gay people observing our terse and uncaring comments. We think we are behaving like Christians because we are standing up for a certain veiw on morality, but I wonder if we really are acting like Christians?
It seems so odd to me that most of the conversation is heterosexual-to-heterosexual and theoretical. I don’t see many pastors or Christians reaching out and saying, “help me understand.” Your comment takes a particular view but it is fresh air because it is organically human and not dogmatic.
If the conversation remains strictly a theological one, it remains in our head and doesn’t cost us anything. Compassion costs us something. Without compassion we aren’t capable of addressing the core thread we all share, which is, what does it mean to be loved and what would it mean if the Christian community said you couldn’t be loved or love in return? Is it OK to come to the conclusion that one group of people are not allowed to ever know human intimacy.
Because I am heterosexual I can relate to the emotion of your comment. I am a father and immediately Sy Rogers story makes me feel a sense of relief for him because his choice to be in a heterosexual relationship is relatable, it costs me nothing. I want him to be happy, but it is only one complex story and there are many contrasting stories out there.
I may never fully understand the loss or pain a homosexual feels because when I think about romantic love, I think about women. So any homosexual/lesbian story about love is going to miss me somehow. It makes no sense to me in terms of sex drive and inherently I am a little repulsed by it, but only because I am heterosexual. What has given me compassion and understanding is coming alongside my gay friends who also long for what so many of us take for granted – love, marriage and children. This conversation isn’t about sex; it is about love.
Many heterosexual people want gays to have a ‘happy ending’ like Sy Rogers did because it is relatable. Any other story line requires us to extend ourselves way beyond what is comfortable. Sy’s story of change doesn’t require anything from heterosexuals, it doesn’t cost anything. For a heterosexual to understand a gay persons struggle it demands that we walk beyond natural instinct and that is difficult. But… to understand any new groups of people that are different to us requires empathy and a cognitive choice to go beyond instinct. This is the same when it comes to racial understanding.
Obviously the theological argument is going to go on for a long time, it will cause division and maybe even break friendships. I doubt that a pure theological view will ever settle the issue – in fact I am confident it won’t. So what do we have left? A discussion about love and the human need to be loved.