On Reconciliation and Why I Removed (Two-Parts) of my Response to Emily Wierenga

Stained Glass Panels Depicting Life of Thomas Becket, Canterbury Cathedral

updated:

I have decided to remove two of my three- part response to Emily Wierenga’s Letter to a Gay Boy Scout because Emily, in a move of boldness and out of a desire to purse love, has removed her post and issued an apology. You can read it here.

 

While I still, very much so, disagree with the content of her original post and the comments she left below it, I know that one of my callings in this life is reconciliation. I know that many of you were deeply hurt by her words and you might view this is a cop out, or me being a chump, I want you to know that this is not true. If we want others to learn to love better, we must allow ourselves to learn to love better.

 

She received comments, maybe because of this blog or others that issued responses, that were passionate, emotional responses articulated in a respectful and honest manner. She also received some very personal, harsh, ugly, crude responses to her post and I know that this deeply, deeply hurt her, and that is not okay. Neither are many of the crude comments made by her supporters. There was ugliness, ungodliness from both corners on that thread.

 

In that sense, it was brave, because if I imagine myself in her position, with those expressing such brazen hostility, I wouldn’t want to give them the satisfaction. But she heard the stories of all of us, how we love God and love the Bible and see things differently, and decided for herself that it was better to love than to be right. I absolutely agree.

 

My hope is that in the future, we can all work our words in a way that provides safety to this new, technological age. Safety for gays, children, parents, Christians of one persuasion, Christians of another, all people. That is my hope and my prayer.

 

Can we love well while living in disagreement? I have come to the belief that it is very difficult, but we can do it. I encouraged Emily on her blog to explore the LGBT Resources page that I have put up and I am looking forward to continuing this dialogue with her.

 

Also- is this not what makes our faith so unique? That we can hash things out, speak up, get hurt, get angry, apologize, forgive, accept and reconcile? To me this is a beautiful day and true mark of our faith in the God that wants to draw us all together.

 

I encourage all of you to head over to her page and thank her for removing the post.

 

God bless,

 

RR

 

PS,

 

Emily and I had a gracious conversation last night on one of the removed posts, I was able to express exactly why I was hurt, why true apology requires meaningful action, and this morning, she decided to take the letter down.

 

I hope that in the future, we will choose to not measure our faith against another person’s faith. I love Jesus, he is my everything. I cling to his truth as best I can. He saved my life. We should not lament our apologies, then it is not an apology.

 

Let’s choose humility and not say we hold the Trump card on Truth over other people’s lives. Like homosexuality, when one says they hold the Truth on this, it is, very much so, spiritual abuse. I have my experiences as a gay man, my experiences with God, and how I’ve studied scripture. I beg, all of us, Emily and I included, that we do not bang our interpretations of scripture over the other’s head and claim that God is backing us up. We believe in a perfect God, that doesn’t mean we are perfect. Choose humility, choose grace.

 

Note: I am republishing only Part One, so, for the record, we can read the apologies as they happened. I still believe that this post is helpful to gay kids and others trying to dialogue with LGBTQ Christians.

  • Wow. Encouraged by this huge step toward reconciliation. Grateful for this.

  • survivorgirl007

    So happy to read this. Last year I came across this in a book entitled “Pharisectomy:” “You can’t antagonize and influence at the same time.” Thank you for the healthy response you’ve modeled, RR.

    Hugs,
    SG

  • Anonymous

    Amen to that. I was the anonymous responder from your first PartOne series who grew up in Neerlanida, where Emily now lives. I was really angry today and I told her that her ideologies about homosexuality are from Satan. It really, really hurt her. I don’t know if I was right or wrong in saying that (can you help clarify that for me?) I beg for forgiveness for contributing to hostility and I am encouraged by both the fragile state of acceptance that Emily and I achieved after some harsh words, as well as the reconciliation that you are building with Emily.
    I may not meet you in person here, but I have no doubt I will meet you in heaven! And then, you, I, Emily, and so many others who’ve accepted God’s forgiveness and grace can get to know each other and worship together!

  • Well, I suppose by keeping mine up I’ll just be linking to nothing, hahaha. Good for you. You’ve inspired me as well. I’ll delete mine.

  • Sheila

    I thanked her. We indeed need to be willing to forgive. Thanks for your gracious words here.

  • Laedy G

    Thank you for modeling Christ-like-ness. Grace is a precious balm.

  • Jean

    Laedy G said it so well. Thanks to both you and Emily for showing us how conflict occurs among us and how to handle it with room for true reconciliation.

  • throughthestorm

    RR, I admire you for doing this. I just went to Emily’s post to read her apology. There was no apology. There was no remorse. There was no respect, no attempt to make things right. Worse, we were in fact BLAMED for being the victim: “sometimes it’s so hard to see the heart behind the words when you’re hurting”
    The closest thing to an apology is the words, “I’m deeply sorry for wounding so many, as I was truly trying to speak in love” – the apology fails because it fails to state what she actually did that wounded others, and it fails because it is followed by defensiveness. Disappointed.