Monday, June 29, 2015

My Take on the Gay/God Issue

I am sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by men. I call them all by that one name, but they are as different as they are the same. One wears something on his head. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I do know that it’s meant to represent his peace, love, and compassion, save-the-world sort of soul. Computer geek is in the corner, headphones on, pile of work at his side. There’s the guy with no hair on the top of his head but plenty of it on his chin. He looks like he could talk Socrates, Plato, Kant, Locke, and Nietzsche without ever once looking at his notes. Mr. GQ sits over by the window. He’s been on his cell phone since I sat down, chatting in a voice that’s smooth and inviting, looking like he just stepped out of a movie or a much-shared Facebook meme. Hey, girl. Then there’s the guy in the quiet area. He’s a farm boy student type, first generation if I had to guess. I would say he’s all about the books, respectful to his elders, and good to his family. Never misses a Sunday of church. If I could line each of these guys up side by side, it would be quite the delicious smorgasbord of maleness. Should I be asked to choose just one to represent the gender, I would be hard pressed to cast my vote.

You know that box of mixed chocolates so popular on Valentine’s Day? I LOVE THAT BOX!!!! It’s just so filled with all sorts of surprise. It never gets boring, never gets old. Some chocolates have that squishy cream in the middle. Some have fruit or nuts. Some you like and look for first, and some you remember to never choose again. But they all have something to contribute to the whole. I always feel sad for the person who gets the box where all the chocolates are the same.

And, yet.

I feel, as a culture, this is where we find ourselves wanting to be. We DEMAND that one representative type, that box of humans that are all the same. Historically, I believe, there is precedence for this. If I remember correctly, it did not end well.

I’m not even talking solely about the God worshippers here. I am equally disgusted by the Love Wins coalition waving their rainbow flags. Can we not just all get along and play nicely, for Pete’s sake? Instead of looking at variety as opportunity for growth, we raise our shields and ready for the joust.

To you Bible bangers out there: If indeed those who like to get it on with partners who share similar private parts are going to Hell, then let it be. Frankly, I don’t give a damn WHAT Jesus thinks. That’s HIS business, NOT mine. And it sure as heck isn’t YOURS. Let Jesus return, let the “sinners” rot, let the world end. But YOU trying to step into the role of omnipotent force is like ME donning black cape and gavel and playing judge for a day.

And to those of you in the Love Wins crowd: Really? Love wins and yet you fling such vile words? Or am I misunderstanding? Is that love only for those who associate with or support the status of LGBT? Clarify for me if I’m wrong. “C’mon,” as my mother used to say, “you’re bigger than this.” I get the whole oppressed/oppressor deal, but Fundamentalist Christians have hearts, too. You catch more flies with honey, that whole sort of thing.

I think where people are getting confused is that they feel this is a gay issue or a religious issue or a conservative issue or a liberal issue. This is neither a gay issue NOR a God issue, liberal OR conservative. THIS is a people issue. We run from what we fear. We fear that which is different.

What if, instead of fearing, we looked at different as Opportunity For Growth?

Let me tell you what I’ve learned and how I have benefitted from those who are different from me. Let me show you growth. I was granted my very existence by two racist homophobes, given my rich heritage by those who killed Jews. I was welcomed into the kingdom of God by one who, in no way, would have approved of men marrying men. I was taught love and compassion at the knee of one who murdered animals for sport, taught hatred, incidentally, by a soul very much like mine. I was educated by a man who had killed other men, saved from death by one who hated the poor. I stand in front of you today only because of those who represent everything I despise. I stand in front of you because, like those guys in the coffee shop, each person who has crossed my path has had some unique contribution to bring to the table of my life. I stand in front of you because, in the end, we all go by one name. We all are flesh. We all are human. Every one of us. Different. And the same.

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