I was in Portland on Friday. I had a date with The Redhead’s daughter. She finished her first year of college, so we had some celebrating to do. A bit of shopping. I tried but could not coax her into one of those new (actually old) Maxi dresses.
Too hippie, she said, choosing a pair of athletic shorts instead.
We tried on some shoes at Nordstroms.
Me the Borns.
For lunch we headed to the Noodle place downtown, around the corner from Powell’s. I had the Pad Thai. She had the Caesar salad and the What-do-you-mean-I-have-to-choose-the-noodles dish.
Okay. Then. The Japanese noodles.
It was all delish.
What’s a trip to Portland without a stop at Powell’s? She had not yet read Water for Elephants, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, or The Help. She will this summer. We got all three books, and learned that none of my books were stocked by Powell’s . Way-to-go, way-to-deflate a girl’s mojo, buddy. It’s not like I don’t live in Oregon, ya know? What’s up with that?
Oh. Well. Move along.
We crossed the street, headed for yet another store in search of a nice photo frame.
“Hello,” says the cutie-pie fella standing on the corner with some friends, a clipboard in hand.
“Hey,” I reply.
“Would you like to sign our petition in support of Gay Rights?” he asks.
“Not today,” I say, simply for no other reason than I am about other things at this moment. Sometimes I don’t want to be political. Sometimes I just want to be in the moment, enjoying an afternoon with a much-cherished friend.
His brow furrows. He scowls, literally scowls and says something curt, rude, dismissive. I can see it etched right there in his face: Disdain.
But I’m not.
I know this issue inside and out. I could stop and tell him, Hey, buddy, don’t do that. Don’t peg me like that. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I think, what I believe, what I support or what I don’t. Just because I didn’t sign your petition on this day on this corner doesn’t mean I’m one of THOSE people.
He doesn’t have a clue that not only did Powell’s not stock Where’s Your Jesus Now? but that the Christian bookstores wouldn’t carry it either. They didn’t like my saying that the church has badly mishandled this homosexuality issue. So they refused to stock my book. They treated me as if I was one of THOSE OTHER people.
My friend died of HIV. He was 25 when he found out he had it. That year our family fasted and prayed for him. On Thanksgiving Day. The kids were young yet. Not used to going without a special holiday meal but they did it willingly. We didn’t pray for his salvation. He was saved already. We prayed for his health. And for his spirit.
I could have told you when he was 8-years-old he was Gay. I knew it then. I suspect he did, too. He loved Jesus. I never questioned that. Nor did I question Jesus’s love for him.
The best book I ever read about this issue was Jerry and Stephen Arterburn’s How will I tell my mother? After I read it, I picked up the phone and called their mother. Told her what a great job she did, raising up those boys.
Here’s what I wish — I wish the Church would quit harassing Gays. Pick on somebody else for a change. Or quit picking on people at all, since when is that our job as Believers anyway?
As Andy the Editor once said to me: Good of all those Gays to make their sins so obvious, ain’t it? He was being snarky, poking fun at the Church for its hypocrisy. That’s easy enough to do.
But here’s the other thing I wish — I wish Gays would quit hating on Christians.
Just because I follow Christ does not mean I adhere to some anti-gay agenda. I don’t. I resent it when people who are gay look at me the way that guy on the corner did on Friday. Or when because I call somebody out for their exploitation of others, I get the kind of push-back I received last week on that Lady Gaga post.
Why does saying Lady Gaga’s a fake equate to hating on the gays? (Wonder does it occur to anyone in the Gay community that Lady Gaga is just exploiting the gay agenda to advance her own profile & profits????)
For the record I’m not for tolerance when it comes to this issue. Tolerating somebody implies that underneath it all you can’t stand them or their ways. That isn’t the example Jesus set for us, and it isn’t going to help anybody get along.
I don’t want to live in a world where the Church tolerates Gays and Gays tolerate the Church, because that’s just evidence that both sides are practicing hypocrisy.
Don’t cuss at me because I don’t like Lady Gaga and don’t speak rudely to me because I didn’t sign your petition. I wouldn’t have stopped to sign a petition if Don Miller was personally begging me to.
I was busy with other more important matters.
I was busy being a friend to somebody.
Instead of everybody screaming and scowling and bullying people into your point of view, y’all might instead try having a meal together sometime. I recommend the Pad Thai at the Noodle Place.
Talk to somebody who thinks differently than you do.
Practice the art of listening.
Quit calling each other names and pointing fingers all the time.
Mama always said if you want to have a friend you have to start by being one.
Seems like good wisdom to me, don’ t it to you?