Gay Friends: Read this.

esther

“I hope they all screw themselves and burn up in hell.”

My mother’s comment came this evening after my husband read aloud a news headline stating that Ireland as a country had legalized same-sex marriage. I felt my heart’s rate and rhythm change instantly. I reprimanded my mother, but I don’t remember what I said. I know it wasn’t enough. She continued, and my husband and I remember her next words differently. I thought she said “They can believe whatever, but don’t shove it down my throat.” My husband said she was facing me when she said those words (I was looking straight ahead in shock and unaware of her non-verbal communication), and that the “they” was actually a “you,” in response to what I had said to her.

I wish my husband and I could remember what I said to her after the first comment, but so many words came to me at once that it’s not clear to me which ones I said and which ones I tried to say before my internal filters of cowardice and wisdom interfered. I think it ended up being not much more than an expression of horrified disapproval that she would say such a thing. I know I did not correct her, and after her second comment I said nothing.

There is so much I could have said—should have said. I knew that if I opened my mouth again, my entire mask would unravel and reveal all that I believe and don’t believe—my mother does not know of my broken faith or my support of the gay community. I knew that my mom would be leaving minutes later anyway to drive several hours home alone in a severe thunderstorm, and the timing felt completely wrong. It also seemed as if my words would be wasted on someone so unreasonable. I could give you more excuses, but I doubt you care to hear them. None of them are good enough. None of them assuage my guilt over my own hypocrisy. I’ve been writing here on behalf of gay friends since Thursday, mostly in opposition to my friend—a man who truly does love you, even though he and I have reached very different conclusions. I wouldn’t let a single comment of his go unanswered—but I was paralyzed tonight by the savage words of a foolish woman. The sad truth? He would have defended you with greater passion. I’m so sorry.

I’ve written 416 words so far according to the word count at the bottom of my processor, and it has taken an hour. I’ve been crying and praying and reading and mapping out my next steps. My reading found me in what was my favorite story of the Bible as a child—in the book of Esther. The story has been on my mind since Wednesday morning when I was folding a load of laundry while listening to a shuffled playlist of every song on my iPhone. A song played that I was not familiar with—I had heard it, but it was part of an album I had downloaded for the sake of other songs, and I hadn’t paid attention to it before. In these words, I found my story.

“Feels like I’ve been holding my breath,

Trying to still my restless heart.

Everything hangs on my next step,

Finding my nerve, playing my part.

I found shelter underneath his crown,

Found favor inside his eyes.

Rock this boat and I just might drown.

Honesty seems to come with a price.

There’s a time to hold your tongue,

A time to keep your head down

There’s a time—but it’s not now!

Sometimes you gotta go uninvited;

Sometimes you gotta speak when you don’t have the floor.

Sometimes you gotta move when everybody else says you should stay.

No way, no, not today.

You gotta ask if you want an answer;

Sometimes you gotta stand apart from the crowd.

Long before your heart could run the risk,

You were born for this.”

(“Born for This” by Mandisa, from Music Inspired By the Story)

I had always seen myself in Esther’s story. I wanted to be the one to boldly risk everything to take advantage of the platforms I found myself standing on with obedience to my calling. I wanted to never be ashamed of who I was or what I believed—even when my reputation or safety were on the line. I met gay people and democrats in college, and I was convinced that I had come to that place “for such a time as this” to stand against them. How many have been hurt by the force of my pride? Again—I’m sorry.

But as I sorted and folded clean clothes while this song played Wednesday morning, I realized that this is still my story—perhaps now more than ever. My mother and those like her are Haman, desiring the annihilation of people I love. The church as an institution is King Ahasuerus, blind to reality and allowing it to happen—despite having the power to change it. You are the targeted Jews, oppressed and grieving the betrayal of humans by humans. Some of you are Mordecai, urging me to do something about this. I live inside the palace gates of a perceived holiness that doesn’t include you—but I don’t really belong here. I am Esther—deeply acquainted with life outside the palace and a lover of those who live there. And I am here for such a time as this.

My mother’s words today will not go unanswered. I am preparing a banquet table in the form of a letter that I will send.

If I perish, I perish.

Image © Jodien777 | Dreamstime.com – Book Of Esther Photo

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12 thoughts on “Gay Friends: Read this.

  1. Everything has been a journey, all past thoughts, actions and feelings, and your reactions to these have all been leading you to ‘such a time as this’.
    If you perish, you perish… But if you do it will not be in vain. For it will be for the growth of all that has been coming for the last while. It will be for your family. It will be for your friends, your community.
    Hold your head high. Keep the confidence for the things you hold dear. Don’t be afraid of approaching those who need to hear your hearts voice.

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  2. I feel for you in this. I, of course, think in this case that you are right, and your mom is wrong. I have decided to remain as a Christian at this time, and hope that the United Methodist Church will in time change its position on both ordination of LGBT folks, and on the prohibition of same sex marriage in their churches, or by their clergy. I am glad for those Christians who have already moved in that direction.

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  3. If I had a nickel for every time I stifled moral outrage in the name of unwrung neck…

    I have had many a conversation with my mother about this issue (not my father; that sort of talking doesn’t quite work for us yet; maybe someday). I have been rebuffed with everything from “loving the sinner” to “you’d think differently if you had kids.” (Not sure what that last one means, but it’s insulting regardless.) In other words, I haven’t really made a dent. But I can sleep at night knowing that I’ve said what was on my heart. So best of luck to you, and courage, my friend.

    That being said, there are many other people I have NOT had that conversation with, and I feel about those missed opportunities the same way you do about yours. We’re all in the same boat there, I think.

    **Here’s to hoping this doesn’t go to spam…*

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for choosing to speak out. My sister and I were just talking about a workshop we’re doing at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference about dealing with family members who aren’t quite accepting. One of the conclusions we came to, based on dealing with my family when I came out, is that you can’t hope to find the magic words to change their minds. They will close their ears if they don’t want to hear, but it’s still worth saying things because sometimes, later on, they decide they want to reopen their ears. My advice is say what you want or need to say, then let it go. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if they don’t change their minds right away. Haman’s not quite caught up to us yet, and we’ve got a stock of glitter bombs for when he does.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for commenting, Lane. I’m so glad to have friends here who are patient with me. I’m always so afraid of offending simply because of my ignorance. Will I use the wrong term or make incorrect assumptions? That’s pretty much guaranteed. I hesitate to advocate for people who find themselves in the less populated areas of the gender identity or sexual orientation or various other continuums—simply because I’m afraid I’ll get something wrong. I do think people are naturally less “clumped” on these continuums than we think and that the distribution would be more even if society had no influence on where people place themselves.

      I watched the For the Bible Tells Me So documentary last night and cried through the whole thing. I told my husband that I have no idea why this issue means so much to me, but it feels like a calling—every bit as strong as my calling to my career. I’m very rapidly feeling a strong sense of purpose as a friend and advocate to people my circle has always oppressed and rejected, and that brings me unspeakable joy. I can’t explain all this—no one in my inner circle is gay or transgender or anything other than what fundamentalists would find acceptable. My best friend from college is gay, but I’ve only spoken to him a couple of times a year since graduation. Whatever the reason (I’ve been accused of pathological compassion), I love these people who I’ve always seen condemned.

      Please tell me if I ever say the wrong thing. I sometimes feel like I’m learning a new language here, but I’m willing to do it for my patients and friends.

      One more thing—I was honest with my mom last night and told her how I really feel. New post about that coming later—but we both survived, and I’m so glad I spoke up.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. CC, my best friend from my elementary & secondary school days & my maid of honour at our wedding has been in a monogamous long-term relationship (over 30 years) with her partner since university.

    I knew absolutely nothing about the whole gender identity thing back then and I’m not sure she did either if you know what I mean. I think she’d identify as bi-sexual but she fell in love with a woman & has been committed to her partnership as I have been with Biker Dude.

    I look forward to hearing how things went with your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My my my… you are convinced that the bible and Christians are absolutely wrong about this issue. You think you have the right and duty to speak up against those to hold a different view to yours – even against your own mother??!! But Lady, don’t you see the problem with your argument? Everyone has the right to their own views. Views don’t harm people, and everyone has the right to hold, express and defend their own views, especially when it comes under attack. It’s the Christian view, in a predominantly Christian country which is coming under attack by a small minority. In a multicultural and pluralistic society, people are bound to hold views that conflict. We often speak of tolerance, but don’t even understand what the word really means anymore. We tolerate something we disagree with. Like your Mother, she has a deep seated conviction, based on her faith and reason, that homosexuality is a sin and she speaks up against it – be it in harsh language. That ‘harsh language’ bit is the only thing that you may offer correction on, the rest of her views, is her right. You’ll however notice that she tolerates their views (even their acts). But consider this, what if the things that your mother said were true? What if they are going to burn in hell? Who is doing the injustice? You or her? If they are going to hell, would not talking about it help them more than supporting them? You are assuming that you are right… consider the outcome, should you be wrong, you are damning your close friends to hell – for eternity. YOU are condemning them to hell, not your mother! If your views turn out to be right, i.e. there is no God or that your God does not care about His creation and what they do with their sexuality even if they go against His design, then the only bad outcome would have been that some fundamental Christians held strong views against homosexual behaviour.
    Your only regret is that you did not reprimand your mother (more strongly than you did) for holding a strong view against Homosexuals? Would you like to reprimand the apostles too? Or even Christ? Your mother’s views are not half as strong as the bible’s views on homosexuality. And you hold a strong view too. Your mother has got the same motivation to be pretentiously “kind” and “accommodating”, all Christians have that worldly sinful motivation and temptation! We all have the motivation and pressure from people like you and from our own homosexual friends to be accepting of them and their sinful acts, but we choose to honour God! Do you understand the difference? We have the same pressures, but we rather be called bigot, foolish, backward and all vile language people like you can throw at us for holding a view that honours God’s Word; and you may please your friends and thereby dishonour God… but for heaven sakes, stop parading around as though you were a Christian… because your views are not Christian… in fact they are Anti-Christian.

    But why do you feel that you are on a moral high ground? You disrespect your mother by calling her a “foolish woman.” Your husband who is supposed to help you grow spiritually failed you in not restraining you from sinning against your mother. You think you have a “more informed” view and have the moral authority to curse you mother in calling her foolish woman, just to please your homosexual friends, but for some twisted reason, you think you are in the right?
    Ephesians 6:2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.

    The bible does not give a condition, when and how we may respect and honour our parents, but that we are to respect them under every circumstances, even if you, in your warped state think your mother is wrong, you ought to respect her and not call her foolish woman in a public forum. Shame on you!

    Proverbs 30:11 “There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers; 12. those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
    Leviticus 20:9 ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.

    If you have any love for the lady who carried you for 9 long and difficult months, gave birth to you in pain, went through countless sleepless nights feeding you, sacrificed her comfort so you may have yours, and cried with you when you were in pain, if you have any human decency, you will call her, weep and seek her forgiveness… Or the Word of God, against people like you, who dishonour their parents, will not return empty.

    Berean

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  7. You do not know my husband. He is an atheist, and I f he has ever failed me, I have no recollection of it.

    My time is precious to me, and I cannot conscientiously spend any of it conversing further with you on this matter.

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  8. CC,
    You are running a public forum and attacking evangelical Christianity. You have time to attack but no time to ponder over the responses?
    To start with, your husband does not have to be a Christian to know that it is wrong to dishonour one’s parents. Maybe someday, if you have children, they’ll call you a foolish woman on a public forum and with the hurt you go through, you’ll remember that it was not right for you to have called your mother that.
    CC, I get that you work as a medical professional, and that you are busy, but it’s odd for anyone to start a blog, write poorly researched and hurtful articles on it, but have to time to respond to the rebuttals. I can see, you’ve spent time answering the folks who agree with you, just seems to be the case that you don’t want to admit that you were wrong (especially about dishonouring your mother).
    Anyway, it’s possible that I am far busier than you are. Don’t assume that people who respond to blogs defending their convictions are less qualified, less busy or less successful than you are.
    You are no Esther; Esther risked her life to defend what it right. She risked her life for her people. God’s People! Do you really think that Homosexuals are God’s people? If that were so, Sodom would be a thriving nation now! You have to ask yourself, who are you people? If homosexual are your people, then you are one of them, not one of God’s people.
    If you think that it’s not right for Christians to get on people faces and give them our views, why on earth are you doing what you are doing? It really hurt me to look at your banner, i.e. the Cross in front of a LGBT flag. You are insulting Christianity. It’s not right, and I request you to remove/change it.
    Berean.

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    • I hesitate to respond at all, because although I wanted to take you seriously throughout our discourse, I now suspect you are a troll.

      I will only state the obvious one time: If you do not like what you see here, you are more than welcome to leave.

      Liked by 1 person

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