Speaking Up

Close up of microphone

 

 

Her knee-jerk reaction was to write an email to the pastor.  One of words laced in barb-wire to do-back what had been done to her son. That’s every mom’s knee-jerk reaction when her kid gets hurt. To get even.

 

But out of respect for herself, respect for him and respect for the God of reconciliation, she decided to call and set up a meeting. His secretary took down the message.

 

She received a response- from his secretary- one that couldn’t have been more clear. He’s just too busy. He has too much on his plate to bother with this. The secretary had given him the message and he outright refused a meeting, BUT- there is this book in the church store about homosexuality and he would like to invite her to purchase it. He tells her it’s what he bases all of his beliefs on. It’s good stuff.

 

Needless to say, she hit the keys. She punched out an upset, but respectful email, explaining exactly why we are running from his church. How hurt we were by what he said. How hurt she is that he will not meet with her. She pressed Send.

 

After a week we received a response that was pretty typical Christian, and I don’t mean that in praise. I could point to many adjectives but none of them are of virtue.

 

When I got home, my mom had the letter printed out on the counter and as I read it, I fell back in my chair. Pulling out a pen, we began picking through the words, looking at what he meant, keep ourselves in check- keeping ourselves from reading into subtext, but unable to deny that there were thick strokes of it.

 

I grew so angry so quickly. More angry than hurt. And as I reach my boiling point I slapped a hand to my forehead and said, I am done. This is too tiring, I can’t do this anymore.

 

And can I tell you what my mom said?

 

Imagine if MLK said that, if Rosa Parks did. Imagine all the oppressed, all the least of these that sat back and said they were too tired. Too beaten down to get back up.

 

She held up the letter close to my face. She flicked it as she spoke.

 

In your life, you are going to get a hundred of these. A thousand. It’s not right, but it’s reality and I worry that every time it’s going to tear you apart like this. You have to grow stronger.

 

Truth in freaking love. (I use that pejoratively because it’s something my pastor said in the email.) But if there ever was someone to successfully tell the truth in love, it was my mom, right there at the kitchen counter.

 

And right now I’d like to end this post. I’d like to tell you that I will respond to every word in that email. Noun to verb. Cliché to Cliché. I want to respond not out of a sense of getting even or publicly shaming this pastor (he will be anonymous as am I), but out of my conviction that unless I speak up, unless I advocate for myself and every other person hurt by church, nothing will ever change.

 

Because unless we speak up,

 

Pastors will continue to hurt people, without even the decency to meet with them in private.

 

Emails will continue to be thrown like grenades, ones that literally put words in the mouth of Jesus (not kidding. I’ll explain later.)

 

The closeted will curl up in the corner and hope will be all but extinguished.

 

And I’ll be regretting the fact that the whole time, I stayed silent.

 

So I’m speaking up. 

 

With absolute decision.

 

RR

  • A-freaking-men. YOU GO!!!! Thank you for speaking up; your voice is loud, clear, strong, and persuasive!!!

    • registeredrunaway

      Thank you Kevin. I always feel better with friend like you in my corner.

  • Thank you or speaking up. Thank you for speaking out. I will stand with you as a brother in Christ. I will do what I can to hold you when you are tired. Your voice needs to be heard. Thank you again.

    • registeredrunaway

      Thank you Aaron. I can’t tell you how excited I am to share your letter next week.

  • Yes! A hundred times, yes!

    • registeredrunaway

      Thanks David!

  • Ford1968

    I’m with you. We must speak up , the stakes are too high. Remember I’m by your side, and I’ll do likewise.

  • Don’t listen to the voice that says “You aren’t good enough,” “You aren’t perfect enough,” “You don’t know enough,” “You aren’t Christian enough.” You have your LOVE for others with you. KILL the ignorance and hatred with that. Such things can’t survive in the presence of love. Your words have power, man, and they’re fueled by the good stuff.

    • registeredrunaway

      Yes! Such things CANT survive in the power of love. Perfect words MEA. Thank you for that.

  • Ford1968

    Oh, and not for nothing…you mom ROCKS! Give her a big hug from this stranger who thanks her for her solidarity.

    • registeredrunaway

      She loves you back Ford! And, yes, she is the freaking best.

  • It’s the height of pastoral cowardice to refuse to meet the persons you hurt with your words. His actions strike me as irresponsible, weak, and self-righteous. Even if he genuinely believes what he preaches, that does not excuse him from dealing with the aftermath of his convictions. “Homosexuality” isn’t a theological issue: it’s a pastoral reality. If a pastor can’t meet that reality face-to-face, he should just shut up, turn in his frock, and drive a cab.

    Sorry, that’s my two cents.

    • registeredrunaway

      Don’t be sorry for your two cents because I am right there with you. I actually wrote about that in the most recent (two seconds ago) published post. I still can’t believe he won’t meet with me.

  • survivorgirl007

    RR,

    Are you familiar with Dr. Michael Westmoreland-White? A couple of weeks ago I was reading something he wrote regarding the OT purity code, but it wasn’t the usual blah-blah-blah. I want to share with you what inspired me in his words: “If we place concerns about purity ahead of matters of compassion for the outcast and ahead of dignity for all people, we will be far more unfaithful than if we risk changing the church’s sexual ethic in this area and turn out to mistake God’s will. When I stand before the Last Judge, I would rather be able to say that I erred (if I did) on the side of standing with the marginalized than I erred on the side of purity.” The second sentence just undid me. I am standing with and for my son. Your mom is standing with and for her son. The Lord of love would expect nothing less.

    Love and hugs to you –
    SG

    • registeredrunaway

      mmmm SG! Thank you. Thank you so so so much for sharing that with me. That second sentence did me in too. How powerful and true a message! I am so grateful for you. Love you SG!

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  • Bob

    Keep fighting for your rights. Not everyone is like your idiot pastor. You are a brave man and your mom is a brave woman. I wish you all the best and I hope one day soon you won’t have to fight any more, because being gay will be seen as a normal part of the variety of human experience,

  • Micah

    Really great post. One that I needed to read as I start a conversation with my Church. At times, I feel so discouraged and alone in the quest of starting conversations and perusing reconciliation, but it’s great to know there are others out there who are truly interested in it as well!

    Also, your mom sounds awesome!

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