Today is a pretty special day. I’m joining several other bloggers in a “synchroblog.” We’re talking about ways to bridge the gap between the Church and the gay community (something I’m sure you know I’m pretty passionate about since I identify as both Christian and gay). Feel free to head over to New Direction Ministry’s blogging page to read other folks who are writing about similar themes . . .
Once upon a time, I was one of those “ex-gays” you read so much about. And a pretty good one too (so I thought). I was actually helping to lead an online youth ministry geared towards those “struggling with unwanted same sex attractions.” Our group was very tight-knit. To this day, some of the folks I met in the ministry are like brothers and sisters to me. We bared our souls to one another, and shared things that we had never fathomed to utter to another human being. Those years were transformative . . . we all learned so much, regardless of the paths we ultimately chose.
But there was one particular friend that I remember hurting very badly. His name was Adam. Adam was really questioning a lot of things at the time: his life, his spirituality, his sexuality. And I – his brother in Christ – did nothing to aid him. Don’t get me wrong, I thought I was being very helpful by pointing out how sinful he was to be questioning these sorts of things, and to not stand on the Word as he should.
It wasn’t until months later, however, when I gained access to an “advanced” section of that particular group that I read some discussions that Adam had about me behind my back (since he had access to the advanced boards long before I did). I can’t recount his exact words. I just remember reading them broken-hearted. He shared with some others how painful and stressful it was to be having to deal with me (and a couple of other people who were hard on him) on top of all of these other things he was questioning.
That day changed my life. That day I realized how much my words, my persuasion, could be utterly malevolent. And I was forced to inspect my own soul. How could I have done this? How could I have hurt a friend so? And in the name of Christ to boot!
It was my fear. Deep down, I was afraid of Adam and what his doubts represented. I was afraid that if he questioned those things, then I might have to question them too. That was simply too scary for me. My entire notion of the universe, God, and my whole self were wrapped up in a particular reading and understanding of Scripture. If one thing unraveled, the whole ball would fall limp to the floor – tattered shreds of yarn. Useless.
I couldn’t have my whole world crumble. So I did what so many Christians do in those times: I tried to coax Adam out of doubt, and into safe certainty. And by so doing, I nearly ruined a friendship – causing undue emotional trauma to a wonderful human being.
How much does FEAR get in the way of effective communication? How much do we need God and life to be some certain way in order for our world to make sense and feel safe? How long will we allow fear to dominate conversation, such that we prove ourselves right, and everyone to the contrary wrong? How long will we allow our rightness to exist at the expense of loving others in the way that Christ did – in that open, inclusive, messy, precarious, undaunted, unfaltering, expansive, and beautiful way?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! And please feel free to read other bloggers on this synchroblog!