So I’ve been recharging. The portions on my plate have been growing bigger by the day and I haven’t had time to return to my beloved keyboard! I hope to reflect on this notion of what it means (at least for me) to recharge, in a post for tomorrow. But right now I want to share some of the feedback I received on Rachel Held Evans blog.
Seriously- these words have washed me away in tears.
It seems crazy now, but I once actually believed I was all by myself.
Here’s some evidence to the contrary:
This one made me feel so loved and respected,
Thank you for the courage to stand up for your father, for yourself, for our world who needs more voices of Truth when many of those who know the Truth-Giver are yet swindled by lies formed from fear.
After sharing my story with friends, she came back to post another comment:
I feel the need to come back and revisit this space, since the last 48 hours or so since I shared a link to this post on my Facebook wall have been rather faith-shattering for me personally. I’m afraid I’ve experienced the ugly side of fear and hate disguised as “sharing the truth in love” by people I actually respected and admired. Several Christian friends and family members felt it their place to let me know how wrong I was for sharing this post in a public forum (and later writing a blog post in response to the responses I got). Someone I have known closely for years said she would pray for my salvation, since I obviously didn’t know the truth, and to be careful since I was going to get cut by the double-edged sword of Scripture, while she compared gays to murderers and liars and passed it off as Christian truth.
What my gay friends saw, on a public forum, were Christians who felt that acknowledging a gay person’s story and speaking out against harmful theories like conversion therapy was sinful and wrong. They saw the greatest lovers in the world, who don’t know a thing about them personally, speak terrible things about them. The whole thing gave me quite a bit of disillusionment about the church at large, if anyone wants to know the truth. All I keep hearing in my heart is a deep desire to shout to the world, “I’m so, so, so sorry about the Christians. I’m so, so sorry for all the ways the Church hasn’t heard you, and still doesn’t.” It’s not how Jesus would have done it. Honestly, it’s people like Rachel and so many other people walking around with Jesus hearts, opening up the dialogue and addressing injustice and letting us all hear each other for a change, that are keeping me from walking away from the church entirely, in the interest of “being the change I wish to see.” I’m having a hard time finding Jesus in the Christian culture at all and it breaks my heart. If you’re reading this and you’re prone to stay quiet while our brothers and sisters are marginalized and silenced, please don’t. We cannot allow a type of hatred that is sadly acceptable in some circles to overshadow the love of Christ in our world. “They will know us by our love.”
And I really am. I’m so, so, so sorry about the Christians. That we haven’t loved like Him, listened like Him, or acted like Him, or at least that so many of us haven’t been and aren’t even willing to hear each other. I’m sorry to all the people who have been failed by a false religious rendering of Christianity. God help us.
Brian, beautifully vulnerable. This meant a lot to me:
I have a confession to make. Until this year, I was the person who would have distributed the video. I would have looked for the person to blame – and it usually would fall on the father. I have changed. What has changed me? I have had meaningful conversations and developed friendships with people who are gay and I finally see there is no room for blame where there is no fault. Thank you for writing this.
This post provided some perspective for me, from Laura:
I had a neighbor once whose son was born deaf. She had a really hard time dealing with his diagnosis. The specialist said it looked like a sex-linked genetic disorder. She told me that she couldn’t help feeling guilty, and trying to think what she might have done to cause his deafness, and she knew that was stupid, but …
What I told her was that it wasn’t stupid for her to feel guilty. Parents are supposed to do only good things for their kids, for one thing. And if she had caused it, that’s pretty bad. But what’s worse is the alternative: nothing she had done caused it, and nothing she could have done would have prevented it, and that’s worse because it means that things can happen to our children that we can’t control. We know that intellectually, but to really face it is scary as hell. Maybe feeling guilty about possibly causing his deafness was easier for her to handle than the possibility that sometimes sh-t happens and that’s all you can say? He’s a great kid, I told her, and he’s got a great family, and he’ll be fine. I know you can’t really talk people out of their irrational feelings, but it was all I knew to do.
I think registered runaway’s dad is going to have to come to terms with this in his own way. Hopefully soon he’ll be able to lay aside his guilty feelings. I’ll bet seeing rr being happy and having a good life will be the best therapy.
This one broke my heart to pieces.
Please, please, take the time to read through it.
This post had me weeping. For I understand where this person comes from, because part of my own story deals with this.
I’ve told myself over and over throughout the years that God Is Love, but it is so hard to truly believe that sometimes. There’s been so many times in my life – too numerous to count – where people who profess to be Christians would condemn me the moment they ‘discovered’ I was gay. People who claim to “love” me but then turn around and tell me I am going to hell because of who I am. Because I am gay. Because I do not conform to their idea of who I should be. People who have called me a thing, an it, and then in the next sentence talked about how awesome God is. People who will say to me: “Love the person and hate the sin,” but then they will tell me how horrible I am, how debased I am, how I just need to be cured and date a man and I would be whole again.
People who will compare my sexuality to rapists, never realizing that I am a survivor of rape, and that my sexuality is not comparable to an evil act. And it angers me to tears that anyone would ever make such a comparison when the Bible verse they take it from doesn’t even speak of my sexuality at all. My sexuality has nothing to do with an evil act, for my sexuality is an unchangeable part of who I am.
There has been times when I debated whether my own life was worth anything. My darkest moments came from the hands of Christians – people I once called brothers and sisters – all because I tried to come out and be truthful about who I was. Because I didn’t want to live in fear anymore, trying to change myself when it just didn’t work.
I know not all Christians are like those that were so hurtful and filled with hate, but that’s what I keep seeing. I see it in the news every day. I see it plastered on billboards. I see it in signs people hold in protests. I hear it from people passing in the street, and often when I enter a church. All these hurtful, hateful comments add up into a giant burden that just threatens to crush me at times.
I read posts like this and cry because to read someone’s story, helps me feel that connection with them, and to know that I’m not alone. That God Is Love, and that even though some people who profess to be Christian act in hateful ways, not all do.
Coming to this blog is one of my lifelines, for it’s a reminder that not all Christians are hateful. That wonderfully loving Christians that truly do emulate Christ do indeed exist. The light of Christ shines so incredibly bright on this blog. Posts like this, and so many of your other posts, remind me that maybe…. just maybe I can have a home in the church. That maybe there is a place for me in the Kingdom of God. That maybe, just maybe, God really Is Love.
Thank you for that hope.
What your words have shown me is the strength of our stories. They have also exposed the choice before each one of us.
We can let our stories strangle us in secret or liberate us in the light of day. We can lift each others burdens by telling the other that we’ve walked their path before or we can just hope for the best. We can build bridges of empathy or stick to our own islands. The choice really is ours.
I have never been more passionate about this blog- And I hope you’ll stick with me. I hope you will continue to share your stories, if not with me, with someone or perhaps everyone. No matter who you are- gay, straight, white, black, blonde, brunette, caribou, starbucks whatever- you have a responsibility to speak up for the speechless. To pave the way for those with still soft feet. To roll up your sleeves and deny the lie that we’re alone.
Looking forward to more community.