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. Pastor P.W.

    Gracerules,

    You deserve such an award, you are the bridgebuilder, you sure have helped me in my humanity walk, thanks again.

    In His Service,
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
    1. gracerules Post author

      Pastor P.W. – Wow – thank you so much. I don’t know how much I deserve – I wrote the post but someone else started the synchroblog and you were the main component of this conversation and I appreciate the way you cared about the people in the conversation so much – but I appreciate you and have mentioned to many others that you have been a great example to me. Thanks again.

      Reply
    1. gracerules Post author

      Pastor P.W. – He offering for me to participate in an award program that he has started called Bridge Builder Award. I am honored and will participate later this week.

      Reply
  2. bridgeout

    I know you dropped by my blog after I commented here, and I so appreciated that. As much as I appreciate this dialog.
    If you are interested, I would like to offer you the bridge builder award.
    There are two rules for this award: The first rule is to write 3 ways you build bridges between yourself and others. The second is to nominate 3 of your favorite blogs/writers for this award.
    Here is the code for the award: if it doesn’t come through, email me and I will happily send it to you!

    Reply
  3. Pastor P.W.

    Grace, Jules and Sarah,

    It has been a genuine pleasure conversing with you on this blog, Grace thank you for explaining blogging, this is my first and my last. I don’t feel I could find a more gracious group of people and so I am sorry if I pushed Jules to an exiting point or if I did not make my points clear but I pray everyone the best and please I pray that if your son was able to see any of my post? that I would like to say there are Christians that can disagree with a position and still we can love one another, thank you, I will get back to my studies of scripture as I continue Pastoring for the Lord and teaching the gospel, you all take care.

    In His Service
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
  4. gracerules Post author

    Hello Jules, Pastor P.W. and Sarah – Just want to say thanks again to all of you for taking the time to visit the Grace Rules blog and for all the efforts you have made to have a civil conversation here. I think you all have succeeded in struggling to be humble and respectful and believe me that is not something you see a lot online – usually one of us gets so offended or so mad that it turns into an argument. It is very difficult to have this kind of conversation because most of us have something personal involved and we have some different opinions or beliefs or experiences. I think I understand why Jules has stepped out so graciously and I believe that it has something to do with that it is too uncomfortable “to not” defend her position and too uncomfortable “to” defend her position – sort of one of those “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situations.

    So to Jules I want to say: Thank you for not only what you have contributed but “how” you have contributed. You remind me a lot of my son who is gay and I have learned more about God and love and grace from him than I have in all my years of studying scripture.

    To Sarah, I want to respond first by saying that I think you have done a good job of presenting your own experience and beliefs without being condescending or condemning to others and I appreciate that. I do disagree with a lot of what you believe and would be interested in knowing how things work out for you in the years to come. I say that because there seem to be so many people who have gone through a similar expereince as you have had and it turns out to be one of the stages to them coming to the conclusion that they are naturally LGBT and either end up with peace about that or living a life of shame and misery. So my belief (and I don’t say this with any disrespect) is that I believe you will probably end up at a different place then you are today and I pray that it will be a place where you are at peace. I want to say that I realize I may be wrong – I am just sharing my thoughts with you guys.
    Sarah – I do love what you said about people not needing to be preached at (“what people need isn’t so much for people to be preached at but rather to see people walk out their faith and to balance out truth and grace in their personal lives”) – I agree with you completely there and think that is one of the places that evangelical Christians have gone so wrong and why they are so rejected by those outside (and these days many inside) their circle. As far as your questions/comments about tolerance and acceptance – I have to say that I think as Christians we are falling way short if we set our sights on being tolerant – to me tolerance is something that we should expect of nonbelievers – I think believers should be shocking the world with an outrageous kind of love and acceptance – but the world seems to expect not much more than a good dose of tolerance from us which is a sad commentary for us. For many years I believed that homosexual relations were sinful – as I have said before after studying scripture (original language and historical context being key) I find little or no evidence to promote an idea that oppresses a group of people – in fact I have been convicted that it is an unjust act that breaks the heart of God.

    Pastor P.W. – It has been a true pleasure to meet you and interact with you here. You obviously love Jesus and people. I hope your time here has been a good experience for you. The conversation has been good for me and I believe that it has contributed to the my ongoing transformation (which is one of the reasons I love blogging). On a more practical note I wanted to let you know that the term blogging really refers to the act of writing posts (or you might think of them as articles or stories) and publishing them to a site. What we have been doing is commenting on a blog. I just wanted to let you know this as you go on to enjoy your time online and interacting with others in the comment section of other blogs.

    I may or may not continue to interact in this conversation – in order to keep my blog going I need to devote some time to some new posts – and although this issue is close to my heart (I have a son who is gay) it is not the main topic of my blog. Of course any of you are welcome to continue commenting/talking as long as you continue to play nice. (I do not allow comments to be posted when people don’t play nicely – I have had to delete a few comments that tried to chime in on this conversation because they were calling people names and condemning people to hell because they disagreed with a particular point of view)

    Reply
  5. Jules

    Hey!

    I took some time to re-read and watch this discussion. I’m not one to just walk away easily. I’m going to leave this discussion as is. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some things that have gone ignored and possibly purposefully. There are also some things I can’t stand by. Out of respect for Liz who I consider as a growing dear friend I won’t address here.

    Until the next time we meet!

    Jules

    Reply
  6. Pastor P.W.

    Sarah,

    Thank you very much, I wanted to hear something like that and I could not have understood you better than how eloquently you just put that, Wow!. Sarah, my whole point was to put down my learned hat and pick up a grace and compassion crown and what you said, I would like to think, that means I am on my way, in putting aside my schooling so thank you so much, I can offer love and compassion genuinely that’s what I seek to do. I thought by me not getting into a scholarly discussion when(Provoked) that someone may get the wrong Idea, because I wanted to be more like Jesus than Ciaphus. I have not quite honestly spent the work that you have in this community, frankly I tried to avoid dealing with it until the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me to seek grace and compassion on this issue for what I don’t know truly but He is “Faithful”, I am honored to have such sisters in Christ and don’t worry I am still a “Man of God, A worker in the vineyard, a Bondservant of the Lords and a Preacher of the Gospel” but with all that my biblical doctrine has NOT and WILL NOT change for Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong according to the Word of God but I have learned Grace….thank you Sarah, to me you’re not side X JUST A CHRISTIAN!.

    Love,
    Pastor P.W.

    Reply
  7. gracerules Post author

    Hey – I don’t have too long to talk tonight as we have a guest coming over in a few minutes. Like Jules said, Adele is getting ready to leave for a vacation trip – maybe she left earlier today, I can’t remember. Oddly enough my complaint is about the same as Jules – my complaint against most Christians is the prideful way they believe. I do try to understand as I was caught up in the mindset and culture at one point. But I especially get irritated with pastors (not you – just in general) because I think they could have a lot of influence if they would speak with less certainty and make a point of explaining that what we believe is an interpretation of scripture and good Christians have done some wrong interpreting in the past and so we should always be open to the possibility that we are wrong about something now. A lot of what is taught is sort of guess work anyway – after all, who can really understand the trinity, atonement, incarnation and other mind boggling stuff like that. I have spent very, very many years studying scripture with a lot of different people – lay persons, scholars, professors, pastors – all kinds of people and scripture isn’t as easy to interpret as most pastors make out in the sermons they preach. So I think that a large dose of humility in all things would do all Christians a lot of good. That is my biggest beef. I have some others I can share at another time. What aout you? What would you like to see change in the church/christianity?

    Reply

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