Last week a religious activist went on a syndicated Christian radio talk-show and accused me of several acts against the church and God. Their response was a negative bias-driven summation of three posts: here, here, and here. The talk-show host agreed with him, and did not stop him when he charged me from afar to “repent of apostasy” and apologize for selling out and confusing the Body of Christ.
Neither of these folks contacted me about their charges before gossiping on a national radio program about my motivations for supporting civil gay marriage equality. As a result, I feel no need to break down the show and respond to every accusation. I obviously do not agree with their judgments or conclusions.
When it comes to gay marriage as a public policy issue, I was once very outspoken on the topic. From the 2003 to 2008 I lobbied for marriage amendments in Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, California, and on other national media platforms (interviews.) I went to Washington DC more than a few times and lobbied for the Federal Marriage Amendment on Capitol Hill. I also visited the Bush White House a couple of times and sat 20 feet away from when President Bush made a statement in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Because those experiences are not something I enjoy reflecting on lately, I have avoided writing this post. However, I can’t get away from it. If I was passionately willing to lobby for banning gay marriage at one point, I feel I should speak up on the topic if my views have changed.
To be clear, my view of marriage in a spiritual context has not changed. I believe the wedding union of husband and wife bears the image of God uniquely. Individually they bear His image equally and beautifully. Together they bear His image in a way that neither can do alone. I believe marriage between a husband and wife is transcendent; that Christ refers to the church as His Bride is stunning. One of my favorite meditations is to consider Christ and His Church in the symbolism of marriage.
What I am also trying to learn is how I can state my beliefs without being a jerk about it. I don’t have to contextualize my personal belief by insulting gay couples who have married or gay people wanting to get married. The beliefs that guide and direct my life also compel me to seek to be a blessing and friend to gay couples; to see God’s presence in their lives as individuals and as a couple.
I have also come to believe that trying to make our secular government impose my spiritual beliefs in this matter is not helpful or appropriate. Let me explain …
Sunday, August 3rd 2014 was the first time I had been in a gay bar in over 23 years. I went right after church to go visit my friend George (a.k.a. Carmella Marcella Garcia) who I hadn’t seen in 27 years.
It was a trip.
Yes, it is a gay bar, it is the famous (infamous?) Parliament House (PH). It is known around the world from what I have been told. I have never been to it or even driven by it… until that Sunday.
A new reader to the blog contacted me privately with the following. It is edited slightly to maintain confidentiality and for readability:
I have a quick question to ask and would appreciate your advice. My company was invited to attend a(n) :::edit::: event to honor LGBT older adults during pride month. Everyone is going but I’m not sure if I should attend. My friends are saying if I attend, it means I’m endorsing their lifestyle, politics, propaganda, etc. Perhaps but I don’t think so and don’t mind attending. I just want to listen and I’m also curious since I used to keep my distance from these things. So what do you think? My friends are saying talking to a LGBT person is very different from attending an organized event (true). They say I should only go if I’m going to hand out tracts or share the gospel which I don’t think is appropriate. It gets complicated when all my co-workers who aren’t Christians are attending but my friends say that’s fine.
Thank you so much for your message and question.
Regardless of the purpose of an event, attending specifically themed events will always be a matter of personal conscience. I will assume that your company isn’t making this mandatory so the exercise of personal conscience won’t have as dramatic (but probably still impactful) effect. That said, the relational aspect with your co-workers could be greatly blessed when they see you’re interest, humility, and willingness to listen.
Today I am seeing a lot of pictures from my gay friends on social media of various gay pride events they are attending. Gay pride events happen throughout the year but June is kind of the launch of the yearly gay pride season (please correct me if I am wrong.) Anyway, seeing all those pictures reminded me of an article I wrote on my old blog that I want to share with you again today. I hope you find it worth the read. It’s been slightly edited from its original version.
It’s A Gay Pride Time of Year
It’s that time of year again, drag queens strolling down main street, the activists groups chanting their slogans, and gogo dancers causing parade float designers nightmares (they just won’t stand still!) Then there is the other 90% of parade people like your neighbor Sarah, or cousin Bill and his partner walking along hand in hand. They commit to completing a long parade route to show solidarity with the LGBT community and/or cause represented within that sphere of influence. Common + Unity = Community. Everyone belongs to one (a community), or several (communities), because we are wired to want to be known by others and to know others.
Martha and Mary
38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Late February, maybe early March, I went to the art store. I had created a few paintings over the holidays and absolutely loved the refuge/communion that activity provided. While creating them I kept thinking, “This is a life-giving and affirming activity. This is a major part of who God created me to be.” However, as I stood looking at the blank canvasses in the art store, I was focusing on the smaller canvasses. It occurred to me to not “settle” for limiting my artistic vision.
So, I just went all hog-wild and chose a 3×4 foot canvas!
Buying this giant of a canvas literally made my stomach nervously rumble as I took it up to the counter to purchase.
When I was a new Christian, an older Christian was trying to help me find my “place” in the Body of Christ. She went with the common practice of using the “body” as an analogy since that is directly from the scriptures.
Randy, some of us are the heart of the Body of Christ; we have passion, love, feeling … Others of us are the hands of the Body of Christ; we serve, have the gift of hospitality … Jesus is of course our Head as the scripture states but others Believers are part of the brain of the Body of Christ; helping to teach …
I interrupted and asked, “I don’t think I rate being compared to a whole organ.” She looked confused. I continued, “For example, there are billions of Christians throughout time past, present, and future. What if we as an individual in this Great Big Beautiful Body are simply a red blood cell? A nephron? Capillary? A nose hair? I actually would LOVE to be a Neuron (nerve cell) or a Leukocyte (white blood cell)!”
She looked at me quizzically. I think she was amused. I was having fun, but I was also serious.
White blood cells rock. They look like little monster blob thingys. Like mutant superheroes, they kind of do their own specialized “mission.” See, when something foreign enters the body, or hurts the body, dun Dun … DUNNNN… white blood cells rush to the scene to defeat the enemy, clean up the mess, and help with the healing process.
A few years ago I was working at home one day hoping to get some overdue tasks done. Back then, I needed to get away from the office I worked in to really focus … I was hoping to do that on this particular day.
However, God wanted me around the house for a different reason. Getting my projects done wasn’t on God’s agenda, and plans quickly changed.
As soon as I sat down to my computer, my neighbor came over. He and his wife have a cute little girl named Lilly. Lilly was about 18 months old at the time. I moved in next door to them right before she was born. She was also born two months early with a condition I can’t pronounce or even try to spell. I had never heard of it before. The condition severely attacks her muscles and bones.
Unfortunately Lilly broke her leg that week. She had a huge cast for such a little leg. That morning, her father was amusing her and as he picked her up … her cast fell off!
How does a cast fall off? And yet, there was Lilly’s Dad with her in one arm and holding the cast with the other hand.
Next month I will celebrate 22 years as a Christian. Each Good Friday has always carried with it a heaviness. It’s as if a melancholic air covers the Body of Christ (His church) as we remember and honor Jesus specifically for the crucifixion.
As believers, we can and should celebrate His resurrection every day. That said, many times Christians are uncomfortable with spending time thinking about the crucifixion; the specifics of the events and specifically how it applies personally. I honestly don’t blame them. It’s incredibly difficult to consider the depth of horror our Beloved, our Savior, experienced. Yet, that is what Good Friday invites us to do; remember, take it personally, and allow His love to speak to us through His sacrifice.
First I am going to share the dream by itself. Then after that I will share what it means to me. The reason I am separating them is that sometimes dreams are like artwork, people can extract a wide variety, and all kinds of personal meaning from them. I think that is totally cool. So, please read the dream, ponder it if you want and gather your own thoughts on it. Then read my thoughts after the second section divider.
In my dream I am sitting on my Great Granny’s porch. The porch was built by her father, my Great Great Grandfather, by hand. However, in the dream it had been carefully preserved, modified, expanded and updated. However, I knew that it had always been lovingly maintained/remodeled by The Owner. The house was simply beautiful, warm, welcoming. It actually looked like it had been decorated by one of my best friends. It was again, beautiful.