With A Little Help From My Homosexual Friends

My post today is part of the Bridging the Gap Synchroblog.  The purpose of this synchroblog is to share positive stories, ideas, suggestions on how we can bridge the gaps between people on the topic of faith and sexuality. Another way to put it is, “How can we embody mutual honour and respect in our conversations and relationships with those with whom we may disagree on the topic of homosexuality?” 

(After this post had been published for a few weeks I learned that the term homosexual is offensive to many in the LGBTQ community.  I was unaware of this and will know better in the future.  Please accept my sincere apologies for this faux pas.)

It may surprise you to find out that a straight, fifty something, evangelical (that label doesn’t fit so well in the last couple of years), Christian woman can be taught some valuable lessons about faith, hope and love from homosexuals – but it’s true.

I have learned a lot about love from friends of mine who are homosexual.  I have seen some of the most Christ like love and grace demonstrated by some of my friends who are homosexual.  I have seen them love their families even when they were rejected, I have seen them love their neighbors even when they were treated like they were a criminal in the neighborhood and I have seen them love their church community even when they were not allowed to serve and participate in the church after they were honest about their sexual orientation.  I have seen them show concern for those who are uncomfortable with their sexual orientation, in fact I have even seen them broken hearted for the ones that seem to be hurt by their sexual orientation and I have seen them be forgiving to those who come to their senses and sincerely express sorrow for the way they have treated homosexuals.  My love is often less Christ like.  I tend to love those who agree with me and like me; or those who look to me for help and make me feel special; or those who treat me like a first class citizen and notice that I have something valuable to contribute – but through the help of my friends who are homosexual I am learning to love better.

I think it is sad but I often see my friends who are homosexuals have very low expectations of Christians in general.  Most of the time they just hope that Christians won’t be mean to them.  You would think that Christians would be a little more in touch with the concept that everyone is valuable and should be loved and cared for and respected, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.  I personally think that Christians should be expected to demonstrate an extravagant and beautiful love that shocks the world – instead it seems that we can shock the world with a little tolerance these days.  However, even though my homosexual friends seem to have low expectations of Christians, they haven’t lost hope.  They are some of the most hopeful, resilient and persevering people I know.  They hope for a day when they won’t be judged because of their sexual orientation, a time when they can marry the person they love and don’t have to worry that they won’t be allowed to participate or be hired because they are homosexual.  They hope for a day when their character and their actions and their talents will be as important to others as the fact that they are attracted to the same sex – for a day they aren’t made to feel ashamed or guilty for the way they are naturally.  I have a tendency to stop hoping if things don’t go my way after a while, I don’t want to deal with the disappointment, I don’t want to hope for something I might not see come to fruition in my lifetime…but through the help of my friends who are homosexual I am learning to not give up so quickly, to be more resilient, to persevere when things don’t seem to be getting better – I am learning to hope more.

My friends who are homosexual have also taught me a lot about what it means to keep the faith.  I often wonder what I would have done if I was gay.  Would I be faithful to Christ or would I have just given up on the whole thing because of the way I was treated by Christians?  Would I have continued to attend church, to read the bible, to sing worship songs? knowing that so many hurtful things had been said about homosexuals and done to homosexuals in the name of Christ.  I am in awe of the way my Christian friends who are homosexuals remain faithful to following Christ and trying to live a Christ like life.  They haven’t seen that much Christ like behavior committed by Christ followers and yet they are still faithful to believe that Christ is loving and good and worthy of following.  I don’t know if my faith would have been so enduring but with a little help from my Christian friends who are homosexuals I am learning what it means to keep the faith.

With a little help from my homosexual friends I am learning to love better, to hope more and to keep the faith.

Of course I could tell you some stories of homosexuals who aren’t good examples of faith, hope and love – but I am afraid that in between the lines of those stories we would have to point out that they had some pretty good reasons for their lack of faith, hope and love – reasons like being made fun of and ridiculed, being rejected and treated like second class citizens, reasons like shame induced bible studies and people telling them that they have “chosen” wrong and should change that which they are powerless to change, reasons like not being loved or respected or cared for, reasons that would cause most of us to give up on faith, hope and love….but I think that it serves all of us much better – that it has the greatest potential to bridge the gap – if we look for the good – if we gain some humility and become people who can learn from each other – if we take a long hard look at ourselves through the eyes of others.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13

You can find the other synchroblog participants here.

106 thoughts on “With A Little Help From My Homosexual Friends

  1. Jules

    Adele I’m sure will come back and see what is being said. Right now as I understand she on vacation with her wife. A much needed one for both of them.

    Things Christians do that offend me. Well, that is a bag full of stuff. HA What I guess would be my biggest “bone” and this doesn’t even have to do with the subject of sexuality is this. They (we) feel we have the market on truth and stand rigidly with in that. Since I lean more to what you see more emerging in thought I tend to get frustrated with the Christian sub-culture and their desire to maintain we know all there is to know. Forgetting cultural context and the lens in which they look at scripture through.

    What I hate most is that the LGBT community only knows this piece of video as what Christians are. (this is the video I was trying to show you earlier)

    Reply
  2. Pastor P.W.

    Jules,

    I just want you to know we are O.K. and I would like for us to take a break from our previous topics and delve into something different like: How is Obama doing? oh! no not politics just something to divert our attention for a minute, so we can depressurize from our Christendom perspectives, what do you say or can you and grace tell me some of the things that you’ve found Christians to do that have offended you that I may learn, anything to change for a minute.

    p.s. Can someone let Adele know I would like to address her again and apologize if I in any way offended her as a person, but her and I come to an agreement to respect and my position on labels(Mutual respect) you can’t go wrong with that.

    Love,
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
  3. Jules

    PW:

    Liz expressed what I was thinking so I won’t repeat her words.

    I guess you did not see my post where I asked questions and shared a video with you. Its on one of the pages. Its before you were speaking with Sarah yesterday.

    I’m tired today. Had a long night last night. So I’m going to take a nap. Later on I’ll see if I can find what I previously wrote or you can look back. It has a video from Andrew Marin from Pride in Chicago.

    Peace!

    Jules

    Reply
  4. Pastor P.W.

    Grace,

    We are all chummy again and all is forgotten, I am still enjoying my course of trying to become more in tune with the humanity(Grace) part of my experience.

    Love,

    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
  5. Pastor P.W.

    Grace and Jules,

    If I may ask, what are you two talking about… It started taking a bad turn and boundaries? and where did we get too close that boundaries became an issue?(Plead ignorance). I know boundaries should be in place, that’s not what I am talking about.

    Love,
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
    1. gracerules Post author

      Pastor PW – What I was referring to was all the stuff about you thinking Jules was being defensive and saying she didn’t think she could be wrong and bringing up that no one had said they were changed by the conversation – it seemed to put Jules and I on the defensive and have to explain ourselves. It was an uncomfortable feeling. That all seems to be resolved now as far as I can tell. Hope all goes well in your preparation and presentation.

      Reply
  6. Pastor P.W.

    Well Hello Jules,

    I see you’re still here(LOL).
    (With my head down) Yes ma’am, I respect your position, I think young people say… “You go girl”. Jules are still a gem, so thank you for your position and I too have wrote I can’t change anyone that’s God job(If we receive), I do thank you for your experiences and what they have given you and I can’t think of anything you asked and I haven’t answered, by the way . I am asking your various reasons or a couple about the Pastor comment because if you tell me because of an experience you had with one that turned negative…. (I am screaming at this point) because I am so tired of hearing that stuff, once again labels or lumping a group together because of 1 or a few, love you Jules

    PASTOR P.W.(smiley face here)

    Reply
  7. Pastor P.W.

    Grace,

    I agree with that point, I based that upon the position of some of the words and some of the words themselves but I will humbly agree with you that I should remember the Jules I got to know, so I do apologize.
    I understand all this is via computers, etc., so I do understand, you sound like some people I would love to sit at a Applebees and eat dinner with(High Compliment) because don’t like to do that with many.
    Thanks for straightening me out.

    Love,
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
  8. Pastor P.W.

    Grace,

    Thank you, I accept what you’re saying and understand but I have expressed several times about the impact so for me to be defensive, No! but I acknowledge your point. I want you to know I did not engage in that discussion about scripture because truly that is a road that I have gone down before and I learned A LOOONNNGG time ago, if I get you down that road unless that’s something you are either a.. Learned(Scholarly) Pastor, Theologian or a Bible Scholar it would put me in the position of defending the scriptures that’s why, so please don’t get offended if I say something similar to that, I will not engage in the scriptures that deep with a reader of the text(No offense,truly)I think you have a small beam on how I am, thank you for all your Love I feel thru these blogs(Truly), I still think so wonderful of Jules(Maybe her not so much about me anymore), I am going to respond to some more post but I have to get ready to deliver a gospel teaching(Preach) out of town, so preparation is key for me,I am a Scholarly Pastor /Practicing Theologian Ordained by 2 churches plus Pastor where I am at. I am working on my Jesus side these past few years and it has been… AWESOME!, when I say Jesus side I mean Human grace and compassion.

    Love,
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
  9. Jules

    P.W.-

    I don’t use “Pastor” for various reasons. It is nothing I would want you to take offense to.

    On “blessings”, I always end something with “blessings” or “peace”. Just how I roll. 😉 LOL

    I do not see myself as “queen of all” or that I hold all knowledge. If anything I come from that point of view and stand by this view, that I do not hold ANY answers. I can speak from my point of view. I can speak for those I know and present their varying words. I can present differing opinions (which I have done). I can listen, accept (which I have done), and counter an opinion.

    I acknowledge that it had worked for Sarah. I know several who claim it has. Matter of fact I knew at one time Randy Thomas who is now the Executive V.P. of Exodus. So I know those who have claimed and own change in their lives because of these “ministries”.

    On being defensive. I haven’t felt defensive in this conversation at all. I have only, as I said above, presented my view as to help, not change anyone’s opinion. That has been to help bridge and listen. I offered you questions to help the conversation (which have not been answered). I may sound defensive right now and I understand why that would be perceived.

    I just want to state again I’m not here to change anyone or even have the thought I can. I don’t know if you are familiar with Emergent/ering but my opinions are expressed from this, I don’t believe anyone can hold the absolute truth and present any opinion knowing I could be wrong. I see and acknowledge how all of us see something through our lens. Our lens that is tinted by our culture, our background, environment and experience. So, for a lot of people that is very troubling. LOL I understand why, but I will not change that about myself. Its something where God taken me and therefore I will stand there. I don’t wish to hold answers. Answers to me take away the power of God and we pretend to know him fully.

    Ok, its time for business and ethics. I leave you with that.

    Blessings and peace. (how about that? 😉 )

    Jules

    Reply
  10. Pastor P.W.

    Grace,

    I have not been offended at all, I was just pointing out that we all should grow from our conversations whether an inch or a yard, we should always grow. I know you probably have heard some stuff before but our conversations are unique because you and I are unique. The context can be usual but we may have a heart connection which is different from any other blogs you have had, so that’s my point. I will research this Exodus and a few days from now give my opinion as well. For those out there that may be struggling, jump in here and let Grace help… Not you grace but HIS Grace(If you know who I mean). I am very discerning so I have detected some things about different people that I have not spoken out on yet but there is time.

    Love,
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
    1. gracerules Post author

      Pastor P.W. – I’m glad you were not offended and I do understand what you are saying. One caution I would offer is that it is a little more difficult to have discernment online – it is easier to misunderstand because we don’t have expressions or tone of voice or eye contact etc. to help us determine exactly what is being said. I have learned over time to try and not jump to conclusions about what I am perceiving…most of the time if someone is really being defensive or rude or demanding or any negative thing they will go out of their way with harsh words or capital letters to let you know. Just offering some of what I have learned over time – hope it is okay.

      Reply
      1. Jules

        as my friend Lydia says, yes this.

        I want to state and that I’ll only go down the “personal discussion” so far. I can take some rebuke but I’ll only go so far. Because as Liz has stated so much can be perceived on the internet. It never helps when someone says, “your being defensive” and I reply, “no I’m not” and it does down a crazy bunny trail. I’ll say this, if it does continue I’ll leave the discussion. I have no desire to go there. As long as the discussion grows from the topic I will continue. I only state this as a boundary I have had to keep on the internet. The stuff is just too tasking to prove, because it is just words.

        Blessings!

        Reply

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