As those who read this blog will know, I’m not a “jump on the latest news” kind of writer. I prefer to ponder, percolate and pray before sharing my reflections. This particular post has been in the hopper for a while – before North Carolina’s vote on Amendment 1, before Obama’s comments about gay marriage, before this great post by Rachel Held Evans, before backlash within the Exodus network, before SoulForce got to sit down with some Focus on the Family leaders ….. well you get the idea. A lot has been happening that seems to reinforce the thoughts that I’ve been distilling to put into this post. Typical for me, however, this post didn’t germinate in the headlines – but in the context of conversation and relationship. That’s where the real stuff happens, IMHO. What we see in the headlines comes long after the quiet, behind closed doors, emotionally connected, vulnerable, soul-searching sharing between human beings doing the best they can to hear God, to love him with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love their neighbour as they love themselves.
I’ve been in this conversation about how straight people can respond to gay people, particularly gay Christians in the church, for a while. Over ten years in fact. During that time I’ve encountered a lot of resistance, a lot of tearful tension, and some openness. Almost without exception, the openness I’ve encountered has come out of people’s encounters with gay people. This isn’t rocket science of course. But it bears being highlighted because it is still the most significant tipping point in this conversation. Once you move from this being a theoretical theological or moral dilemma to the reality of people’s lives, their faith, their challenges, their questions, their authentic searching, their commitments, their fears, their hope and dreams you, most often, can no longer categorize things in impersonal terms.