A Straight Christian Mom’s View on Homosexuality and the Church
At times like this I wish I was an eloquent writer as I am compelled to respond to the CNN blog post I just read Gay detective’s mother booted from church.
First, way to go Linda Cooper, for loving your daughter — not despite of who she is but because of who she is — and for standing by her side throughout her fight for same-sex health benefits. While I don’t attempt to categorize the reason so many gay teens and young adults commit suicide, I can’t help but think the lack of support and withdrawal of love from their own parents might have something to do with many cases.
We don’t own our children but instead are blessed to have the opportunity to raise them into adulthood. I wish more parents were grateful for the human beings with whom they are entrusted, instead of wielding judgment and intolerance so freely. This would probably help build a loving society.
Second, “the church.” Where do I even start? Allegedly, the elders of Ridgedale Church of Christ gave Linda Cooper a choice to “publicly atone for [her daughter’s and her daughter’s partner’s} transgressions or leave the church” and told her that her public support of her daughter went against the church’s teachings…. a sin of “endorsing” a lifestyle. She left.
This is where fear, judgment, and ignorance seem to come in… it feels like an easy path of clinging to certain passages of the Bible and man-made rules, traditions and cultural bullshit. Let me be very clear…. if you don’t believe that a relationship between same-sex people is natural or acceptable, I respect that. That is your belief and you have every right to it. You have the right to live in an opposite-sex relationship. What I wish you wouldn’t do is use Jesus Christ to justify your beliefs and to pervert and twist the core teachings of Christ - love one another and love the Lord - to bring down judgment on what you can’t reconcile for yourself.
I believe God wants us to be in relationship with him. To seek him, to understand him, to have a living relationship which means asking questions and growing as a human being. For me, that means I acknowledge that the Bible was written by certain men, in a certain culture, and a certain point in time. I believe Jesus is my salvation. I believe that the men that wrote the Bible did so from their point of view, with every intention of depicting Christ’s story, but naturally within the context of their times. They had a seeking, living relationship with God that they then interpreted.
As do I. The New Testament is my guide, but I believe God delights in my questions, my challenges, my seeking to know him and my evolution. I believe he delights in the love — the actionable love, the difficult love, the hard choices we make despite our fear not because of it, each day.
Jesus didn’t ask us to have church structure, to have elders or rules, to kick people out of his house, or to be in a covenant with anyone but God. He said come all of you, all who are weary and burdened. Seek me. “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and shall not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
So I’ll say this, all of you that are unsure, that are gay, lesbian, transgender, whatever — don’t give up on a personal relationship with God because of the judgment you see in people. He loves you with all of his mighty heart. He seeks you and wants you. The people and the rules and the shenanigans that go on in the name of God, may actually not be in the name of God.
I’m not a writer or a biblical scholar and I could very well be perceived to be choosing parts of the Bible that suit my beliefs just as the leaders of Ridgedale Church of Christ may be. I have no business judging. But I have to add my voice to say that not all Christians believe in judgment and exclusion. Not all Christians practice discrimination or alienation. All Christians are human. I’m definitely focusing on the parts of the Bible that Jesus seemed to spend a lot of time on and have encouraged me to seek that active relationship: Love.
Peter Stackpole was only 21 years old when he was invited by a construction crew to photograph the rising Golden Gate Bridge. Peter kept many of his images to himself, which makes the exhibition of his work at the Oakland Museum of California all the more special.
So this is it
This is what it feels like
to be drunk
To finally be beautiful
Black and white
not even 21
Stop being a glass. Become a lake
An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water, and then to drink it.
"How does it taste?" the master asked.
"Bitter," spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”
"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.
"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.
"No," said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things… Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”