Dear Russell and Friends,
I’ve been thinking for the past week. In truth, longer than that. I explained in my last post why I am in favor of civil gay marriage in American society. Two of my atheist friends called me to the carpet on the relevance of my support. Why did my opinion matter? I would refer them to today’s New York Times opinion page. In civil society, we argue in public, support each other in public, for the public good. But then my friends made it personal. Or at least that is the way it seemed to me.
I needed this to be personal. I needed to consider my sons and then have the same view of other people’s sons and daughters. Then I needed to watch this in its entirety.
And so today I did. I didn’t cry through all of it like J did. I ran for 10 miles and prayed. Several things affected me deeply and personally.
- Jake was articulate, intelligent, innocent and precious – – I will defend him like I would my sons
- I’ve always grieved the southern church’s history of shame in the treatment of minorities – – is this such a time? Are the white hooded cowards sitting on the pew next to me?
- There are commenters on the youtube trailer that hate scripture and people of faith. I get that. Jake and his parents do not. Bishop Gene Robinson does not. They have studied like this man and have come to different interpretations.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu moved me – – I have admired him and Nelson Mandela for many years.
- To be honest, I did not know about these interpretations until one week ago.
- To my shame, I said that I would not read a book to explain it. Shame. I read books on so many less important things.
- To J’s college best friend – – I’m sorry and I’m willing to change.
Before I met Russell and his bride J I was praying for wisdom. In reply I would often hear a quiet whisper in my mind, “just listen.” I do love Jesus, love scripture, and love gay people. I’m willing to seek the reconciliation of those things. I will not tolerate bigotry and I will vote for equality before the law. That likely means something worse than loving gay people in my circles – – it likely means voting for a Democrat. Would I attend the wedding of a gay friend in a church that interpreted scripture to bless it? I would. I know that I’m going to be wrong on many things when all things become clear or nothing after my death (depending on your viewpoint). If I am going to err here, then let it be on the side of mercy.
For my believing friends, the exegesis of Genesis and Leviticus made more sense to me than that of Romans 1. But I’m willing to learn. To be clear, whether you care about my opinion or not: I do believe most gay people are born that way and are not mistakes. I will never hate them. I will defend these creations of a loving God with words, politics, and if necessary in cases of hateful violence – – my life.
For my atheist friends – – you can change a mind if one respects you and is willing to listen, but it is rarely in an instant. Be patient. That, after all, is my approach to you.
Pascal – – 1:16