Letter o’ the day:
Hi, John. Thank you for taking your time to read and maybe answer this. I’ve been following your blog for a little while and everyone here is so passionate. In light of Jamey Rodemeyer’s suicide, I have been wondering what more I can do to help with this.
I am an 18-year-old college student with no power to make anyone listen to me. Going into churches makes me very nervous at the moment. I feel like they will look at me, and all they will be able to see is my sexuality, not me; they will see me, a lesbian, only as an unrepentant sinner, and not as someone who is trying to live a Christ-like life.
My question to you is: how can I get more involved in preventing more cases like Jamey’s from happening? Should I swallow my fear of the church and begin speaking up? I’m not sure what else I should do. I appreciate your time and any suggestions that you could offer. Thank you.
Dear Sweet Young Woman Who Wrote Me This:
I deeply appreciate your sensitivity to the Rodemeyer tragedy; thanks for sharing with us the degree to which it has moved you.
Wars are won by all kinds of people contributing in all kinds of ways. Front-line soldiers are necessary, yes. But victory also takes all those who work in support of those soldiers: who sew their uniforms, feed them, construct their barracks, process their paperwork, maintain their communication systems, etc., etc. Those people are as necessary to victory as any front-line soldier or general could be.
In the fight for full religious and societal equality for gay people, serve in whatever way works best for you. I have no idea what that way might be: you, and you alone, can discern that. But you must put forth the effort to make that discernment. If you really want to help create a world in which no more gay teenagers are so trashed by low-self esteem they end up convinced the world would be a better place if they eradicated their own existence, then it is incumbent upon you to get serious about discovering how you might actually help to bring that world about.
If you’re afraid to go to church, don’t. (Or, better, find a church near you that is gay-affirming, and start going there: such churches need you at least as much as you do them.) We need you feeling positive and empowered, not frightened. Don’t ever put yourself in a position of being frightened. Challenged, yes; frightened, no. Being frightened means you’re being bullied. And the last thing we need is to give bullies another victim.
Follow Christ. Which is to say, ask where Christ is leading you: where he needs you; what he wants you do to; how he wants you to serve his purposes on earth.
I love that you’ve asked me how you might best serve the cause that so many of us these days hold so dear: it’s flattering to me, and stirs in me all kinds of desires to both protect and empower you. But I don’t know you. You don’t know you. None of us knows ourselves with anywhere near the depth that God know us. We like to think that we’re the world’s leading experts on ourselves, of course. And in a great many ways we most certainly are.
But in the ways that most matter, we tend to know billy-badoinkers about who we are, or what we’re supposed to do.
For that kind of true and steady knowledge, we need God.
So ask God! Settle yourself; close your eyes; breathe deeply, and with the most humble and purest heart you can muster (‘cuz, you know: what are we, angels?) ask God how you personally can best help fight against all that which ultimately led to the suicide of young Jamey Rodemeyer.
People say that God works in strange and mysterious ways.
I personally have most definitely not had that experience: to me, God is so overt about his desires—about what exactly he wants you to do—that he’s almost obnoxious about making that clear.
So find out for yourself how God wants you to help prevent young people from sharing Jamey Rodemeyer’s terrible fate.