Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Orlando Loving

Every where you look on social media there is some news on the Orlando shooting.  I saw the faces of the men and women who lost their lives and my heart grieved!  It is a senseless tragedy which no one wishes on anyone.  My deepest condolences to each family and their friends.

I reflect on the fact that 11 years ago, this could have been me.  I frequented gay bars and I enjoyed meeting people, loved to drink and dance my cares away.  I read a write up on one of the victims and she loved going to the bars as she felt like she could just be herself.  I get that!

My prayers are with the families and friends who are now 'missing' those they loved!

My prayers are also with people who use this as a platform to spew ignorance and hate, and to those who use this to paint 'Christian's or people of other faiths' as bigots, homophobic, haters, etc.

I read a report by Neil McDonald, Senior Correspondent from CBC
who writes not on the issue of humanity gone wrong due to hate, but he brings in question of whether or not we need to have a conversation (which he states is overdue) regarding certain religions attitudes toward gays!

He starts the article with the story of the killing of Women in Montreal (a terrible tragedy as well)
and uses it to begin that not just the killing was bad but hatred toward women includes telling jokes about women, smiling at the jokes, or being sexist.  (I agree, but take a look at advertising, media, entertainment and we have a whole lot of growing up to do yet!)

He lays down that this too is where we are landing with gay intolerance, specifically within religions.  He quotes old testament scripture, the city of Sodom, and talks about the Muslim religion, and strongly portrays that homosexuality is an abomination, punishable by death.

He goes on to say "People of faith might ask themselves this; even if they've never so much as lifted a hand to a gay person, have they smiled at a homophobic joke?  Or overlooked mistreatment?  Or nodded during an anti-gay sermon?"

I get that too.  I lived a closeted life in the church for 20 years.  Secretly hoping no one would find out about my conflicting sense of gender and sexuality.  I heard little hope for anyone who struggled with homosexuality and transgenderism.  I eventually came out as a gay identified man (who also struggled with deep gender identity issues) and I had what I viewed as a valid chip on my shoulder.  I had a negative view of religion, and God and I was adamant that I would not be told by anyone how to live my life, and if they judged me, I wrote them off as a bigot, homophobe and a stupid ignorant $&^%#.  (I did have some good friends who identified as Christians who extended authentic love to me during this time!  They remain my dearest of friends!)

Then nearly a decade into this security that I had created for myself, I had an encounter with God, which changed my life.  It was His love, not hate, that propelled me to Jesus!  I submitted my whole life before him and he began to integrate my sexuality, identity, gender and heal and restore some deep wounds. I no longer identify as a gay man.  I continue to struggle with unwanted same sex attraction at times, but it is no longer a heavy weight of shame.  I seek to remain faithful to a God whose faithfulness is far greater than mine.  Whose love is beyond compare.

As I fearfully walked back into an evangelical community of believers, I openly talked about my journey, life, and struggles and I found others who embraced and loved me unconditionally.  I encountered others who got this thing called love.

As the world continues to talk more and more about hate, to which I have experienced first hand, lets maybe talk more about the underlying issue which is FEAR.

I have experienced hateful actions caused by peoples fears.  When you do not have answers or an understanding of something you can allow fear to rule your body, rather than love.  I encountered that within the Church and from those within the LGBT community.  What Neil McDonald is laying down in this article is actually quite scary.  He may not even see it, but he is categorizing 'all evangelical Christians and Muslims' as hateful, because their belief on homosexuality is different than the culture around them.  In this place he is fostering a posture of fear, which will only cause greater misunderstanding.  To value diversity is to say that I can have a belief which may be different than yours, yet, I will still love and care for you as a human.

In these days and during tragedies such as the Orlando shootings, let's kick fear to the curb, rather than kick one another and how about we let love win the day.


missus webster said...

Well spoken. Thank you!

kenny said...

you're welcome!