My daughters, Clara and Ellie, sleep in the same room although Ellie does have her own room. Being ten and six, they go through the same routine. They brush their teeth, we pray and tuck them in to bed. I always forget some of the routine, and it happened again last night. As I tucked them in, I turned out the light in their bathroom, closed the door to their room and turned out the hallway light. I quickly was asked by Clara to undo everything I have just done. I tried to explain to her that nothing is there when the lights go out, but she was not buying it. She likes the light on to see for herself.
In Andrew Marin’s book Love is An Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community, Marin seems to have his own moment where the lights came on for him. He explains his story as a heterosexual Christian boy and being pretty homophobic. He thought nothing about using the words that can be deemed so hateful to the GLBT community. However, his stance changed once he had several friends come out to him. At that point, he had to grapple with the stances of his faith and the experiences he so cherished with his friends. Through this experience and many more, Marin gives us key insight and thoughtful analysis in engaging the GLBT community.
The main take away for me has been percolating in me for some time now. I could probably at one time be characterized like Marin was in high school. The issue (and I hate calling it an issue because it seems like I am trying to score political points in a debate) seemed foreign to me. It seemed so black and white. All that changed when I began to have personal experiences with people that were grappling with same-sex attraction in their own life.
I agree with Marin that we have not always dealt with this community well. During the 1980s and the AIDS crisis, the church seemed to cast more stones and discuss the judgement of God more than they tried to minister grace and display compassion. There have been organizations and ministers preach message with such inflammatory content. It really makes one wonder if the people in the church know anyone with same sex attraction.
As I stated in my previous blog, my doctrinal position has not changed. However due to personal experiences with people in my life, I have gone on a sort of vision quest in order to understand the GLBT community in hopes to have a better and more elevated conversation (If you would like my book list, ask me in the comment section).
Here is my point. Until you experience life with people who happen to have same-sex attraction, then it is easy to throw stones quickly. It is easy to quickly default to our doctrinal position. I know I do. Because I have a doctrinal position on this issue that I believe is researched and pretty solid, I often want to blow my loved ones out of the water with it thinking it will when them over. However, I do not think that is the best way to connect with the GBLT community. Grace, mercy and love will be the only thing that opens the door to the doctrine that we I so desperately want to unpack.