Search

My Road From Damascus

My Journey as a Christian Parent of a Gay Child

Christians, Step Up

There is an amazing group of Christian young adults in Oklahoma City. They were brought together by a common bond — the LGBT community. Some are 18, some are 25, some are 45. They were brought together by rejection.

I attended one of their open meetings last weekend, and was sharing Mom hugs for anyone who wanted one. They all did, as many of them don’t get hugs from their own moms. With one exception. One young lady stood stiff as I hugged her, then slipped away. Later in the meeting, she approached me and quietly said, “You made me cry.”

“Oh I’m so sorry.” I was dismayed. “Why did you cry?”

“Because I didn’t know people like you existed.”

People like me — Christians who offered hugs, not hurt. Moms who got over themselves enough to love their own kids, regardless of … just regardless. Seriously, this beautiful young lady was truly shocked that Christian adults in our community would offer love and support.

What’s wrong with that picture?

I’ve been blogging and publicly posting on social media for about six months now. I have seen a trend that I find very telling, and extremely sad. I can post pictures of my dog or comments about my diet and I will have 50 or so likes within a few hours. But if the word LGBT in anywhere in my post, I can only expect a dozen or so likes, AND 90% of those will be from my friends who aren’t part of my church brotherhood or community.

I get that on blogs in which I’m stating my theological beliefs on homosexuality, as I am not so blind as to realize my beliefs are definitely in the minority in the religious world. But what about when I’m just talking about sharing the love of God?

I have to be completely honest and say I avoided anything LGBT myself, only two years ago, prior to being thrust into the LGBT community when my son came out. But what I saw when I got here was shocking. The overall rate of suicide in the LGBT community is 10 times higher than in the general population, and an estimated 25% of LGBT youth who come out in religious circles are immediately turned away by their families.

Every time I attend some LGBT function, I hear stories of rejection that break your heart. Comments like, “I wish I knew what it felt for my mom to love me as I am, the way you love your son,” or “My parents haven’t kicked me out, they just refuse to talk about the gay stuff and that’s nearly as bad.”

God pushed me into this world, and I went, very reluctantly. But I have gained so much. You see, I didn’t just join the world of homosexuality, but the world of transgender and pansexual, gender fluid, asexual (yes, it’s like being back in college again). Sharing love with this group opened my heart up to all marginalized people — homeless, immigrants, mental health. It’s an ever-widening circle, but each new ring just brings me closer to God and puts my feet in the footprints of Jesus.

Free Mom Hugs is a group of Christian moms of LGBT kids who have decided to publicly love the LGBT community unconditionally. It’s not a political group, nor a religious one (although really isn’t that the heart of true religion?). Several Moms in the group are still struggling with faith issues in regards to the topic. But that doesn’t matter — we recognize a community that is shunned and hurting and in desperate need of love, and we are going to give it. Even when it ostracizes us from our own Christian communities.

Sharing unconditional love.

NOTE TO CHRISTIANS: just because you show love and support to the gay community, doesn’t mean you theologically agree with homosexuality! It just means you believe God’s love is for all. Isn’t that really what Christianity is all about? Sharing God’s love with all, but especially with the broken and down trodden?

The theme of the Christian LGBT group meeting last week was how to react in a loving way when Christians toss “scriptural grenades” in non-loving ways. Did you catch that? Here is a group of Christian young people who are constantly hurt by the church communities, yet they are praying for and working towards reaching out to bridge the gap with the very people who hurt them. THAT is God shining through.

When I’m carrying my Free Mom Hugs banner down 39th Street with fellow moms and dads, I’m pretty sure Jesus is not only in our midst, but helping us hold up our banner. You should be, too.

Advertisements

Caution: Rough Road

So it’s gotten very real. As I knew it eventually would. Going public meant setting ourselves up for a lot of junk — cutting comments, being unfollowed and unfriended on Facebook, name calling (to me, not my son), cut off from long-term friends and even family. I’m a heretic. A liberal (gasp). I ignore my bible, twist my bible to justify what I want it to say, don’t love my God, am a bad parent, am a soft parent. Sigh.

UNTRUE.

I love my God more than ever, and have dug into my bible and the environment in which it was originally written to a deeper level than I ever have before. Yes, I’ve questioned everything I’ve ever known from a religious standpoint. Everything. Is there really a God?? Yes, no brainer there. Why DO I believe in my bible? Is my bible inerrant? Who wrote my bible, in what language, when, to whom? How was my bible assembled? Who assembled it? How were those decisions made? Why are there so many translations and who translated them and when and how? Are the translations inspired by God, as was the original texts? To what extent?

Asking those questions and studying the answers doesn’t make me a heretic, it makes me a Christian. If you haven’t asked yourself those same questions, and actually researched the answers, maybe you should. Going through that was scary — as it is any time you question deep truths in your life — but it didn’t make me a weaker faith follower, but a stronger one. I have experienced for the first time in my life the freedom of Christ. I thought I had felt that before, but let me tell you, I hadn’t. THIS is freedom. Freedom from slavery to law (NO, I don’t mean I’m ignoring obedience), freedom found in the blessed, all-covering love of God.

The road I’ve traveled has been fraught with pot holes and rocks, but has lead through some beautiful scenery. It’s been a hard journey, but God has blessed the path and has taken me to places I’d have never seen before. Beautiful amazing places. And He has been the driver, while I’ve just ridden shotgun.

I want to share it. I NEED to share it. I get, again for the first time in my Christian life, the yearning to share this message. His message. This journey. How He changed my life through through my struggle with the topic of homosexuality. I used to force myself to mumble about God to friends, afraid of reactions and labels. I justified my silence by claiming I was sharing God and Jesus by my actions (although really those actions weren’t all that special). Now, it’s different. I’m bubbling over with this amazing understanding of the magnanimous love and grace, and I can’t NOT share it. I don’t mean that as I’m something special, but God has used me in ways to truly affect people. That’s such an honor.

As a family, we decided to go public because my son wanted to stop hiding who he is. I started blogging because I was still raw from the smothering loneliness we felt when we first learned of our son’s homosexuality, and I wanted others that I knew were out there to know they weren’t alone, and that there is hope. I’m continuing to blog and share our story and journey because I have to. It makes a difference. I have scared moms and siblings and gay Christians reach out to me regularly, so grateful to have a rope to grasp, and I will not stop being that rope until God tells me it’s time to stop. So far, I’ve got a glaring green light.

It’s frustrating sometimes (most of the time) that I have this knowledge now that is on such a different level than it was before, and I know if I could just help others to go on this same journey with me, they would see it too. And everything would be different. But I’m inadequate. I don’t know how to give others that “bright light” moment on their own road, and open their eyes. Because I can’t. And I know that’s not up to me. I have to be content to share my story and my heart, plant the seeds, maybe water some, and let God provide the growth.

So meanwhile I pray for patience. When people share their support for my family, but do it in a whisper because their kid is in the car … patience. When people ask me if I have read my bible … patience. When my son is no longer allowed to be around certain kids unsupervised … patience. The Christian world is starting to see things differently. Slowly, very very slowly, but they are. I am honored God is letting me be a part of helping that change in my own corner of the Christian world.

I’ve been very transparent with my trip. I’ve hopefully never given the impression I am all that and a bag of chips. I have made a lot of mistakes and blunders. I’ve used some poor word choices, and reacted with looks and expressions that I know were likely offensive to my son. I was thrown into a foreign land with no manual and no mentor. Logging into an LGTB website for the first time is comparable to walking into a Starbucks for the first time — pansexual, asexual, gender fluid, what??? We had to wing it. We learned early on to rely on those gut feelings and let the Spirit lead us where we needed to go. Those early days were the Between-The-Bright-Light-And-Damascus days in which Paul was walking blind and being led to his temporary destination.

I was clueless, but I took that first step, one arm out streched and groping, and the other clasped hand-in-hand with my Savior, blind as a bat, but willing to go.

I confess — there are days I still lay in bed crying, praying earnestly for this to all be a dream. That this isn’t what I want my life to be, my son’s life to be. I sometimes wish I was still in the dark ages and ignorant and peaceful in my rose-colored former world. I think that’s normal. A 180-degree change in a long-held belief takes some time to fully adjust. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. It isn’t easy for most of the people you know and love to think you are crazy and getting crazier. To worry physically for your son and his boyfriend when they catch a late movie in an iffy part of town. It’s a hard road. But those days of regret are becoming less and less frequent as I embrace the life path God has chosen for me.

I remember in the early days of this journey hearing moms who have walked this path for years say how they were thankful God made their children gay. I didn’t think that was a possibility for me. Ever. Yet hear I am, and I’m almost there. Not quite, but close. I can honestly say I’m thankful for my son as he is — which is really the same thing — but I’m not quite able to say the words: I. Am. Thankful. My. Son. Is. Gay. Give me time.

I’m on a mission, but it’s not my own. The journey has taken me far from where I started, and the scenery just keeps getting better. I guess now, I feel like I’m in a forest and have to walk through some pretty dark shadows, but every time I do, I can see the bright beams of light just another few steps away, leading me on.

And I keep walking.

The Answer!!

After hours, days, weeks and months of in-depth research on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible, I have a very exciting announcement to make: I have the answer! For real. I’m so excited to finally be able to share what God has so clearly opened my eyes to.

Before I go there, let me be clear:

I could share with you the fact that the modern English bible versions have strongly chosen words in the passages relating to homosexuality that did not appear in ancient texts.

I could discuss the fact that Sodom and Gomorrah’s condemning sin is a lack of hospitality per Jesus.

I could mention that Leviticus is aimed at separating the Jewish nation from the foreign nation into which God injected them after their wandering was complete.

I could quote the verse in the old law that describes loaning money with interest as an abomination, and how that word didn’t mean then what it means now.

I could share that all of the new testament verses that mention homosexual behaviors are speaking to heterosexual people who have homosexual behaviors.

I could go on and on and on about how many times Jesus and Paul and other new testament writers emphasize agape love as THE commandment. How all other laws hinge on this.

I could re-examine my pages upon pages of notes and highlights and bookmarks in my bible and multiple other sources — notes that express thoughts and ideas that I believe to the absolute core of my being that God lead me to.

But I’m not going to. I’m instead going to sum it all up for you in six words … are you ready? Really? Because this just might shake your world up a bit. Here I go:

God doesn’t care what I think.

Did you get that? GOD. DOESN’T. CARE. WHAT. I. THINK. What I believe about this topic doesn’t mean squat to the creator of the universe. My opinion, no matter how educated and rational, doesn’t change one single thing. 

All of this debate, both within the church and the world, on whether or not homosexuality is a sin and gay people are condemned or saved … is all futile. God knows the truth. And God is going to do what God is going to do. He is going to extend grace to those to whom he wants to extend grace. No manner of knowledge or begging or works is going to change that.

It’s such a simple concept. But it’s not an easy one.

As humans, we value education and knowledge. We value research and study and science. And we should. But we also should always remember not to rely on our own understanding, but on faith. On grace. On love. Above all, on love. On God’s love for us, on our love for each other. That beautiful, unconditional love that glosses over all of our faults and weaknesses.

When I found out my son is gay, I threw myself into study. And still am. That’s not wrong, but I have to remind myself that the study and knowledge is for me. My knowledge doesn’t change my son, nor God, nor God’s will in my son’s life. It changes me, by giving myself over to God’s direction and calling in my life, and it HAS changed me. That’s really what study is about. About changing my heart. My spirit.

God doesn’t care what I think about homosexuality, as he already has it all figured out. But he does care very much what I think about him.

 

 

Pit Stop at the Capitol

I stood today literally on the pedestal of the Native American Woman statue that sits in front of the Oklahoma State Capitol Building holding high above my head a sign in loving support of my LGBT child.

Who’d have thunk it?

My spiritual journey since I put God in the driver’s seat has been a crazy one. Today, it took a pit stop at the state capitol building along side 15,000 of my closest friends. As part of the Women’s March on Oklahoma, several of us moms of LGBT kids wormed our way through the crowd of mostly progressive Okies holding high a banner reading “Free Mom Hugs; Moms who love LGBTQ Kids.” The reaction was crazy — kids, adults, grandparents all came to us, needing that touch. Needing a Mom hug, even from a total stranger. Many had tears flowing.

“My mom won’t hug me.”

“Both of my parents are dead.”

“I haven’t had a hug from my own mom in years.”

“I’m afraid to tell my mom I’m gay.”

Tears. Heartbreak. Loneliness. I got where I could see it in their eyes. People would look across and see our sign, and the need and longing showed clearly on their faces. I watched people literally pushing their way through to get to us, so much was that need. Some would even seek us out for another round of hugs. When my kids were younger, I read in a book once that you should hug them until they started to pull back — you shouldn’t pull back first. I did that today. I held on as long as they wanted to. That’s often when the tears started — when the hug lasted longer than a couple of seconds and they felt that connection.

My own maternal instincts were on high alert all day at the yearning these kids felt. Let me clarify — “kids” as defined as someone’s child, not by age. The woman who told us her mom won’t hug her was probably 60 years old. The hurt was palpable. I was constantly amazed by comments about how awesome the five of us moms were for being there. All we were doing was loving our kids unconditionally. Isn’t that what all moms should do? What all parents should do? What all Christians should do?

16112665_10210823102589242_8157713198203959530_o

Early afternoon, I gave my aching shoulders a break and stood in the very lengthy food truck line. While waiting, I pulled out my phone to see what was going on in Facebook world. I was proud at how many of my friends were at Women’s Marches here or in their own states, or showing their support in their own ways. And I was appalled by the comments about people boycotting the marches because of the connection with Planned Parenthood. What? I don’t get that. I am pro-life and I know many if not most of those 15,000 people there today are pro-choice, but so what?? I don’t feel the need to agree with everyone around me in order to have peace. If I did, I would never find a church home, I wouldn’t have a job, and I actually wouldn’t be married! If our country doesn’t start to understand and embrace the concept of unity despite our differences, we won’t be a country for long.

Today’s March wasn’t specific to policy. It wasn’t a Trump protest. It was a chance for people to take a positive stand for what they believe in and to make a strong statement to our local and national politicians that we are going to take our rights seriously, and we want them to as well. I stood today for the rights of my gay son and his friends. I stood asking for respect as a female. I stood for other races that I believe are being bullied. I wasn’t commenting on specific laws or policies. I was just standing for equality. Today was about solidarity and moving in a positive direction.

I stood in a large crowd of marginalized people, and I shared love. I didn’t ask anyone who wanted a hug if they were Christians, or what their political affiliation is, or what they believed about abortion. I didn’t preach or pass out fliers. I hugged them. Plain and simple. I hugged people. I hugged men, women, children. I hugged homeless people. I hugged black, hispanic, asian, native american and white people. I hugged straight, gay, trans and people who I really wasn’t sure what their gender is. I didn’t care.

And I’m confident that Jesus been alive today, he would have been right there with me. Actually, I’m confident he was.

Fighting for the Dream

“I have a dream that my four kids will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character,” Martin Luther King Jr, Aug. 28, 1963

Like most of you, I read this famous speech in history class back in high school. It struck me then as interesting, but at the time I was living in a community that was rural, white and straight (to our knowledge).  We understood economic differences, but that was the extent of diversity in our town. It was a good town, don’t get me wrong, but it was a sheltered town. So I didn’t really get it — the speech, I mean.

I had my first black friends in college, where I also dealt with the new-to-me concept of bi-racial couples. I remember that concept pushing my comfort zone, and of feeling the need to double-check for the bible’s approval. Seriously. I’m not proud of that, but in the late 1980’s, nearly 30 years after MLK Jr’s spoke of his dreams, that’s how it was. At least in my neck of the woods. It still amazes me to think that wasn’t that long ago.

My family moved to Dallas in 1999, and there we truly experienced diversity for the first time. Our neighbors on one side were Mexican, and on the other were Jewish, so we ate some seriously good backyard tamales, and my kids learned to play dreidel. My husband worked in a small office, and all three of his co-workers were gay. I know it sounds cliché, but we went to some killer Halloween parties! It was a shake up for us, but in a very positive way. We got to know them, and we loved them all, quickly learning to embrace the differences and recognize the similarities.

Back in Oklahoma now, we once again live in a bit of a bubble. So imagine my surprise, when now, more than 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech, I share his sentiments in a very personal way.

I, too, dream a dream that one day my son will live in a nation, in a world, where he will not be judged by his sexual orientation, but by the content of his character. A world in which ignorance is ended and the love of God envelops us all. I’m struggling with the realization that christianity is the main roadblock to that dream becoming reality. I am a christian. I love God, and I love my fellow Christ-followers, but I’m battling disillusionment. As a christian, when things go really wrong in your life, your community really helps get you through. So it’s staggering to realize that very same community of God-loving people is now the biggest obstacle to my son’s love and acceptance for who he is. And all in the name of God.

Racism has deep scriptural roots. The truly religious Southerners believed their slave-owning lifestyle to be completely justified by the bible. And anyone who disagreed was just ignoring verses that were obvious and weren’t real christians.

Sound familiar? Have a conversation with a christian about homosexuality, and these are the exact concepts you will hear.

I know racism isn’t dead, to our society’s great shame, but (to my knowledge) Christians no longer quote scripture to support racial bigotry. And there is plenty there to support. Both old testament and new testament speak to how slave owners should treat their slaves, and how slaves should respect their owners. The bible never condemns slavery. And yet christians today realize the insurmountable impact the culture of the times had on the various writers, and they recognize Jesus’ instructions on love are timeless. That God doesn’t support modern-day slavery or racism. Yet christians are unable to see that same love applies to homosexuality — a topic which is far less addressed in the bible than slavery. People of various races and people of various sexual orientations are all born as they are. And neither having a different color skin, nor being attracted to certain people, changes in the least what’s inside a person. What the content of their character is.

I don’t believe christians are bad or evil. My family and my son and have been shown a lot of love and support from our own christian community since he publicly came out, but it’s always with limits. And with an undertone of judgement. I know they have a sincere desire to obey the word of God to the best of their ability. I do, too. But we need to be careful not to make the current translation of the physical word of God of greater value than the eternal spiritual word of God that we have living inside of us.

So now I have a dream. My dream is that one day my son be able to legally have a happy family of his very own, and that his family will be loved and supported not just by the world, but by the christian world. By his christian family and friends. By his christian community. And they he will be able to serve his God in the manner in which God leads him to serve, with no roadblocks.

Turns out I actually grew up in a more diverse small-town community than I realized. Skin color can’t be hidden, but attractions can. Several childhood friends have reached out to me on this journey, and have shared their own homosexuality, or that of a relative. Hearing their stories, I know my son’s world is already a better place than it was 20 years ago, or even a mere decade ago. And I’m grateful for that. But it’s not enough.

“I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream — one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal,'” MLK Jr.

To that end, I’m not just going to dream. I’m going to fight.

What Did I Miss? Guest Blog Re-Post

I was invited to be a guest blogger on the website http://www.liveequal.net. I wanted to share that blog here. Hope y’all are having a great holiday season.

What Did I Miss?

Pre-Damascus Thoughts

It’s a sticking point. Truly. A make or break. Are gay people made that way or do they choose to be that way?

That’s the question of the hour. Pick a side. If you believe homosexuals are born that way, that intimates God made them that way and for those who believe the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, that can’t be. Flip the coin over, and everyone recognizes that many people seem to be gay, even from a young age, although that also intimates buying into stereotypes (which is totally a blog for another day).

I had a conversation with a friend who has a gay niece. She said she was frustrated because she loved and supported her niece, but just didn’t agree with her spiritually and didn’t understand why that was such a problem. I spent a lot of time thinking about that. Shades of gray … I believed more and more in life that things really aren’t black and white. I’m a registered republican, but have become more and more … purple? magenta? … in life as I’ve walked the scale from hard-core full-out Red back towards more Blue ideals. So I get what my friend was saying. Why can’t we just agree to disagree and love each other? It should work. It makes sense. We should be able to do that.

But here is the problem with that in this realm. Love the sinner, hate the sin translates to Love those sinners, and hate their sin. No sin is worse than another is really your sin of homosexuality is no worse than my sin of … let’s say gossip. No matter how you look at it, if as a Christian you see someone else that you believe is sinning, you condemn that behavior. You have to. It’s SIN. And from the other side, that just sucks.

Let me explain better, and from a parent’s view. Your kids are awesome. I see their flaws and love them anyway. I accept them into my home. AS LONG AS THEY STAY ALONE. If they ever date or marry or have kids, that all changes. I will always love them, but will never accept them. Will never be willing to socialize with them. Will whisper about them when my kids are around. Won’t attend their weddings, won’t throw baby showers, won’t send baby gifts, won’t like any posts on Facebook about them and their families. You see what I’m getting at?

If you haven’t yet faced homosexuality in your own family somewhere, or frankly more accurately don’t realize you have homosexuality in your family somewhere, that doesn’t get you off the hook for studying this, deeply and thoroughly. Someone you know or love is dealing directly with it. And failure to engage is perceived as failure to care.

I get it. I was there. In the days before I knew my son is gay (I refer to the day I found out as G-Day), I had a lot of friends who were gay, and I had searched my concordance for the word “homosexuality” and had read the verses it directed me to. I considered that good. I was wrong.

Back then, I still interpreted those couple of scriptures about homosexuality literally and without full context, and I totally believed homosexuality was a sin (I no longer do). And as such, I could not accept that my God would create someone who had no choice but to sin (although I admit the passages about God hardening hearts and such still gave me pause in connection to free will). But I also heard from many gay friends that they would never chose to be attracted to the same gender. Would never chose to be bullied and made fun of and beat up and rejected because of that. And I believed them, which seemed a conflict.

Of course, I had the answer. Some people are born pre-disposed towards different temptations. Take me, for example. I’ve never been tempted (as of yet anyway) towards using drugs or towards stealing. I have my own sins that I have to work daily to combat (which are none of your business), so I’d have to say I am pre-disposed towards those sins. I felt confident back then that categorizing homosexuality in those terms worked.

Let’s do a little word play with that, shall we?

“Being born pre-disposed towards certain temptations.” Let’s cut to the stop-beating-around-the-bush chase, Edwards, and say what I really meant by that. What I meant was that I’ve seen and known young kids — way younger than puberty — that nine out of 10 people would label “gay.” Yes, much of that is based stereotypes, but is it what it is. So really saying “pre-disposed toward homosexuality” is in effect saying “born gay.” Let’s face it.

But Christians have a hard time saying LGBT people are born that way, because we all know God knit us together in the womb. So how can we say homosexuality is a sin and agree that gays are born that way? We can’t … and that’s the real crux of the issue: did God make us gay in the womb, or did Satan tempt us to be gay during puberty?

3365385-what-is-the-hard-makes-it-great-quote

My own logic doubled-back on itself when I actually allowed my son’s words and conviction of how he felt — you know, actually listened to someone who IS gay as to what it’s like instead of assuming I knew what it was like — and accepted that he was born attracted to guys. Suddenly I was faced with a couple of new challenging questions. I’m sure you see them already.

First, how can someone be born attracted to the same gender, when sexual attraction doesn’t hit until puberty? The answer to that was again provided for me by my son with a simple statement that slammed me between the eyes: “Mom, (being gay) isn’t just a sex thing.” Wait, what?!?

“Ok, I want to understand this, and am trying here. Explain what you mean,” I stammered.

“I mean, sexual attraction is a part of it, but I’m just drawn to guys. Explain to me why you were drawn to dad,” he said.

“Well … I just was. I can’t explain it.”

“Exactly.” Smart kid. “I’m drawn to guys’ personalities and to the way they laugh and talk and think. I just am drawn to guys and not girls. Not in that way.”

I was dizzy from the idea, which is probably a no-brainer for many of you reading this. If SSA (same-sex attraction) is more than a sexual temptation, and I’ve already accepted that it’s something people are born feeling … hmm.

This actually eased up the moral struggle I had with God not being able to create a person who had no choice but to sin. If homosexuality is more than a sexual act, if it’s really an overall attraction to the same sex, then it’s ok to agree people are born gay. That doesn’t mean they have no choice but to sin. Being attracted to someone isn’t a sin after all, it’s only when you act on that, right?

Enter Jesus.

Jesus made a point of teaching that it’s not just actions that count, but what’s in your heart. Take a look at Matthew 5. Jesus quotes the law not to murder, and adds that anyone angry with a brother or sister is subject to judgment. He goes on to say the law says not to commit adultery, but he says even looking at another with lust has already committed adultery. His whole point is look to the heart, not just to the actions.

So now what? I was at a crossroads. I accepted that people are born drawn towards one gender or the other. I accepted that God made them that way. I understood Jesus’ concept that it’s what in your heart that matters, not just what you do with that (which also nipped in the bud the idea of celibacy). BUT that would mean if homosexuality is a sin, then it’s a sin just to have those attractions whether or not they are ever acted upon.

I had no loophole left. Either homosexuality is a sin — and I would have to accept that God created people to live that life of sin whether they wanted to or not, or …. or it’s not a sin after all, which makes more sense, but puts the literal interpretation of those scriptures into question.

It was time to do some serious studying. 

 

The Other Side of the Boat

I still believe in the divine nature of the Bible. I still am a devout Christian. I have not turned away from the teachings of my childhood. Let me just start by clearing that up.

I’ve made an amazing transformation in my Christianity. Not from non-Christian to Christian, but more from Christian to … CHRISTIAN. I don’t know really how to explain it. When I found myself in a complete tailspin at the knowledge that my son is gay, I needed something to do … somewhere to go. Growing up in the church, of course for me that was to God, both through scripture and through prayer. Yes, that means I tried very very hard to “pray it away,” and to have God “fix” my son. I prayed for a hedge of protection around him, physically and spiritually, while we sorted this “temptation” out. I’d wake up from restless sleep at 2 am and pray with sweat drops like blood for hours, until God stilled my mind back into sleep. I’d pull my car over along a busy highway and sob out wordless prayers with groans from my spirit.

I also turned to the Scripture. I quickly located the six “clobber verses” — Christians, do you know the entire LGBT world knows the six verses in the Bible that refer to homosexuality by that term, because Christians use them to clobber gays with?? — and wept in despair yet again. I searched for the creation of Adam and Eve … I looked at what Jesus said about marital relationships … I found no loopholes in what I had always been taught. And yes, I was looking for a loophole. I prayed for God to help me somehow. How, how, how?? I had no idea where to go from here nor where to look, what to do.

“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find …” But I HAD asked and I HAD sought and … nothing. I had overturned every rock and still had no solutions. And I was going crazy. Literally. I gained weight, my blood pressure sky-rocketed, my blood sugar went berserk. I had to let it go. I didn’t know how, but I knew I had to truly let it go and give it over to God. I had already done that through prayers, but this was different. I had to truly leave my son’s soul completely in God’s hands. Harder than it sounds.

That’s when God lead me to the story of the fishermen.

In John 21, Peter and a few other of Jesus’ disciples had spent a frustrating night of unsuccessful fishing. After hours of pulling up their empty nets, over and over again, a man on the shore that they didn’t recognize as Jesus, told them to throw their net on the other side of the boat. For some reason, they listened to this stranger, and when they pulled up the net this time, it was so full they couldn’t haul it into the boat.

I had been fishing on the wrong side of the boat.

I had had a few books suggested to me that I had been hesitant to start, as they were written by LGBT Christians, a term at the time that I thought was an oxymoron. But I was determined to fish in a new spot, so, loaded up with prayers of discernment of truth versus lies, I tossed my net into unknown waters. I read the books. I studied the social cultural and sexual practices of ancient Greece and Rome. When we used to read actually paper Bibles, every chapter had an intro page of who wrote the book, to whom, where and what was going on. I took this to a different level. I also read how the Bible was compiled to begin with, and how the NIV that I read was interpreted, and when, and by whom, as well as what was going on in the world at that time. I read the world history of same-gender sex (homosexuality wasn’t actually a word until the late 1800s). I buried myself in the political, religious and social histories of the LGBT community. I read not just the clobber passages, but the entire books in which the passages were written.

As all of the different pieces floated around in my very-full head, I felt a bit like a pinball machine, with thoughts and ideas bouncing around pinging into each other. But eventually, the confusion began to settle and I had a more clear picture of what the world was like when the Bible was actually penned. I saw how the hierarchy of free man, slave man, every other kind of man and eventually woman, played a part in every story I had every read in the Bible. I saw how the words “natural” and “unnatural” in the common Greek philosophy of Stoicism meant very different things then than they do now. That the scriptural references to homosexuality were all outside of marriage relationships. I realized that when my NIV was being translated in the early 1970s, the gay civil rights movement was making its early strides, and how that likely influenced the harsh word choices of the interpreters. Basically, I saw it all as a big picture, and no longer as individual words.

And my net overflowed.

My Road

I’m on a journey like no other. It’s not the journey I would have chosen — wouldn’t even have made my Top 10, truth be told. Frankly, had anyone ever suggested to me two short years ago that THIS would be my path in life, I’d have probably vehemently shaken my head, while inwardly giving a little shiver. But God sees things I don’t, and knows things I can’t, and pushed me onto this road, with me pretty much kicking and screaming.

Two years ago, I found out my teenage Christian son is gay.

I was raised conservative, traditionalist Christian, and while I had several gay friends that I loved dearly, I believed homosexuality was a sin. I didn’t WANT to believe that but I just couldn’t get around the seemingly black-and-white scriptures — even in the New Testament — that made it sound simple. Let me tell you, NOTHING about this is simple. For me, at least. And I dare say for any Christian parent of any LGBT child.
But for my son, it is simple. I asked him one day why he wasn’t struggling with the Bible on this topic and his reply pretty much blew me away: “Mom, being gay is as much a part of me as the color of my eyes, so I know it can’t be a sin or God wouldn’t have made me that way.” This he said calmly and with a confidence few experience. I actually heard inside my head echoes of Jesus’ words “unless you change and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3)

If you aren’t familiar with the Biblical story of the apostle Paul’s famous life-changing journey to Damascus, it starts in Acts 9:9 and goes from there. In a nut shell, Paul (who was called Saul until the end of this story) had spent his life actively persecuting Christians, and when he left for Damascus he was “still breathing threats and murder” against Jesus’ disciples. While traveling, God basically halted him with a beam of light and asked him the famous question: “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” He identified himself to Saul as God, and sent him to Damascus. But when Saul got off of his knees, he was blind. For three days he journeyed blindly to the city, where God sent Ananias to heal him and send him out to share his story. He left a changed man of God.

When God used my son’s sexuality to halt my winding walk through life, I didn’t literally see a bright light from heaven, but I definitely fell to my knees in despair. For the next several months, I walked around as a blind person with no vision for where I was going and how I could get there. How could we live our lives thinking our son was spiritually lost? We loved him no matter what and would never reject him from our house or our lives, but the fear was blinding. But my good, good Father didn’t forsake me. Instead he put my own Ananias into my life and she helped direct me toward a path of study that dropped the scales from my eyes and allowed me to see God in a way I never had before — a God with no borders or boundaries. A God that doesn’t need our pitiful human help to change hearts, but who does use us to share His very real love to ALL of His people.

My Blog is entitled “My Road From Damascus” because it’s not about that fateful trip getting to Damascus, although I’m sure I’ll refer to those dark and scary days, as they helped shape me. It’s about the journey after I left Damascus, with a changed heart, a compasion for the LGBT community and an open mind: open to God’s children, to His calling. A heart overflowing with His amazing love. It’s my time to share my story.

Featured post

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑