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Monday, October 04, 2004

I didn't know what the fuss was

When I was a younger man, a good friend and sister in Christ asked me to help encourage her brother and introduce him to church. I went along to become his friend. This man was going to Art School at the time. I noticed that he was soft spoken and mild mannered. I also noticed that he liked certain kinds of magazines. It did not really bother me then, and I did not really find it odd that he liked these magazines. I just thought that Cleo must appeal to the artsy folks. One evening, I stayed over at his place, and while we chatted until late into the night, he made a couple of passes at me. I politely declined his offer for sex. I continued being his friend, and stayed over his place several times more after that. I invited him to attend church with me, which he often politely declined. Later, we lost contact with each other because I moved out of that city.

Much later, another friend of mine, a brother in Christ, confessed to me that he had been really lonely of late. He recently broke off a relationship with a girl and became vulnerable and needy. He found solace in the friendship and arms of his roommate, another male. He felt distressed and guilty, but tried as he might, he could not break off his relationship with this man. He found himself drawn to him. He was distraught. He thought he ought to refrain from taking communion in church. We had long discussions about this. In the discussions I asked him to consider if he felt compelled by Christ's love, and acknowledged his need for His forgiveness, grace and mercy. I urged him to reconsider not taking communion as I said to him that communion is not for people who felt they were clean or qualified by the uprightness of their lives, but for those who are unclean and required Christ's blood to cover him or her. We continued to be close to each other, often going to have meals together and hanging out together. He continued to struggle with his same-sex relationship and although I gave him whatever Christian fellowship he needed, he eventually dropped out of church altogether and we lost contact when I again moved out of that city...

Some years later, at an evangelical college, in a writing class, the instructor put up my paper on an overhead projector as an example of a style of writing he was teaching. The class ripped my paper apart not because it was a bad paper but because of its contents. I had advocated that the church's duty was to love its neighbor -- and who is her neighbor? The homosexual community, I had written. I just didn't get their strong reaction and opposition to my opinion. The class became so agitated because somehow my views threatened their sense of balance in their world. It probably disturbed them. It was something they probably did not want to hear, nor know about. Why do we tear into a group of people so much? Why do we return their need for love and affirmation with so much rejection and condemnation? Why can't we learn from our Lord Jesus and speak those life re-affirming words, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more". Is it because we, like that other group, have to retreat silently because if we hadn't done so, we would have advocated casting the stones to condemn, ostracize and kill?

I still don't know what the fuss is.

UPDATE: But what does it really mean to love my gay neighbor? Here in this post I explore the ramification of such a commitment.

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