Tracy over at Worship Naked has posted a really excellent – nearly perfect – piece of writing that bluntly discusses the issue of straight Christians being friends – real friends – with gays.
I know some Christians who feel that to be friendly toward gays is to “endorse their lifestyle” (nonsense) and some who SAY they “hate the sin but love the sinner” but their love seems very much “arms length.” And I know some Christians who are secure enough in their faith (and trusting enough of the Holy Spirit) to be able to be friends with folks, even as they don’t endorse the life. I think the Holy Spirit has inspired Tracey to write an important piece. Seems that way to me, anyway. Will be interested in your comments. As with the mental illness/poor post, I think this one is a dialogue well worth having.
UPDATE: Some more thoughts on this. I have had gay folk among my family or friends all my life – as have most of us, whether we knew it or not. I remember being very young and understanding that my cousin Bobby was a boy who liked other boys, and indeed, he was sadly part of that first wave to die of what they then were then calling “the Gay Cancer.”
I have other gay family members who will swear they had no idea they were gay until they were around the block a few times, age-wise. I look at some folk, like Anne Heche, who seemed to “go gay” opportunistically, and I have decided that I really have no idea – and I don’t think any science has fully agreed – that the nature/nurture question is truly and fully answered, and for all time.
Quite frankly, the Politics of Gayness has muddled that question. One one hand, the gay community has rather endorsed the “nature” idea and promoted it, but there are times when they pull back on the “it’s in the DNA, stupid” line, because of fears that, should a such a genetic marker be readily, easily identified, parents looking for that “perfect, genetically engineered” child might choose to abort a “gay baby.” As with most subjects, things SEEM so clear-cut and easy, but almost nothing in life is.
I am doubtful about those folks who say that gays can be “cured,” and I’m even more doubtful that homosexuality “needs” curing. I know gays who are fully, flamboyantly out there, and still partying hard, some who are in committed, mature relationships, and some who are celibate, having chosen simply to look at their gayness as a call to be “a necessary other.”
The reason I was so taken with Tracey’s piece was because we are currently watching an effort on the left to paint all conservative people as “homophobic, bigot, gay-haters who-want-to-round-up-all-the-gays-and-put-them-in-concentration-camps…and they won’t let ‘em get married, either!” (Go back and read some of the crap that was being written after November 2). While I admit there are some anti-gay bigots in the Christian community, particularly on the extreme right, we might as well admit that there “breeder-hating” folk in the gay community, albeit on the extreme gay left.
So let’s eliminate the whackadoo zealots on both sides from the argument. I suspect that most Christians are like Tracey…they can’t “endorse” the entire gay ticket. They get on the train and find the stop at RESPECT GAYS is fine. The stop at DO NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST GAYS is also agreeable. The train rumbles on and they’re getting pretty comfortable. The next stop, GAY NEIGHBORS ARE GOOD NEIGHBORS is discovered to be a delightful little place, but when the train begins to approach the next stop, there are rumblings and some un-ease – the name of the stop is…ACTIVE GAYS IN MINISTRY and GAY MARRIAGE…and there, many of the Christians say…”uhh, no…I can’t get off at that stop. We better turn this train around.” Remember that to most Christians, “marriage” means “Church sanctioned” or “Sacrament.” Most Christians are not thinking “Civil Unions” which are entirely less troubling to most. That actually is an important distinction to bear in mind, in this debate.
Getting back to the train and those stops…it’s not so easy to turn a train around and in any case, this train certainly should not go back. But for the Christian community, it simply can’t go forward, either. And it is not only the Christian community that has problems with those issues. As we saw in Oregon, a state that went for Kerry, the Ban on Gay Marriage also won handily.
On the other hand, we are daily considering the Incarnation and the message of the angels…”we bring news of great joy which will be for ALL the people…” Tracey’s piece was clearly thinking along similar lines. I do think it’s important to really, really talk abou this. It’s a conversation I have had with many, many Christian friends but very few gay friends. Despite the hype from the left, the truth is very few Christians are ready to be blithely dismissive of any of these issues…there is lots of dialogue at work.
I am out of time, and can’t write more at the moment – heading to visit S. But let’s keep talking on this.