Monday, June 9, 2008

After the fact - thoughts on homosexuality sermon part two

(I keep editing this, sorry in advance)
Things I appreciated:
  • The naming (multiple times) of the complexity regarding this issue especially in the church but even in general. (eg. it's not nature or nurture, you can't "find" a cause).
  • The reading of a letter from a gay christian in church which talked about how he's been shunned etc. by the church and how you can be gay and christian. It was a good letter.
  • The request that we as people in the church can/should be able to disagree with someone and stay engaged, in conversation.
  • That he named his humanity and said here's where I am, I don't know everything...
  • A long and really wonderful apology saying sorry for how the church has treated gay people.
  • Someone afterward said, "it's progressive for our denomination that he even preached on it." So for progressiveness.
Things that were confusing... mixed messages.
  • He went through poor theology, which I think could be great in a sermon like this, but it was too short to work well and it actually confused me a bit.
  • He talked about how being a gay christian isn't a contradiction, but judgmental christian should be a contradiction. That's good but, then he talked about how he thinks sex outside a marriage between a man and a woman is wrong. Which 'feels like' a mixed message.

    [side note on this: he can have his ordination taken away for saying anything other than the party line on this topic. And I was just talking with the person who wrote the letter about this and realized that I really am grateful for the risk taken and especially for the apology! Even if i see things differently than this church. Lo said last night it's likely part of him feels the incongruence or feels that you can be in a lifelong partnership but he can't say that even if he ever did think it.]
Things I did not like AT ALL:
  • The use of the word "lifestyle". Do you have a straight lifestyle?
  • The example of giving money to AIDS... giving money to AIDS is good. Putting that in a sermon on homosexuality pisses me off since it reminds me of all the preachers that have said it's "God's curse for gay people". My gay friend who wrote the letter ASSURED me that this is not what he meant but it still trigged me.
  • At the end he said "can we support gay people who are trying to be celibate? Can we be with those who are struggling with their sexual identity? Can we not shun gay couples?" And that's when I think I want better than not being shunned! Grrrr.
How can I say I appreciate the risk and want more? The more I talk to my friend who is staying the more I wish I was strong enough. But I want a place where I really am fully able to be involved.

I think I'm ready finally to sit down and chat with them. The more I talk to the other gay guy I know who is staying the more I understand the why behind this. AND it is a step towards understanding. I really do get that churches move slow and this was a step. Even while I wish there could be more.


Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

I had some major typos in that comment I deleted above!

This is a complicated journey you've been on and I really appreciate your honesty throughout this process. Thanks for sharing yourself with us here.

titration said...

Sarah - thanks for you comment. AND for being someone who is safe enough to tell!

Anonymous said...

My recently retired pastor used to say "I do not believe in toleration. Toleration means putting up with something even though you don't like it. I believe in celebration. Celebration means that I welcome the diversity that you bring. I welcome you as a reminder that the family of God always goes beyond those whom I know and with whom I agree."

I know people who can sit with toleration. I struggle with that these days. I don't want language that says, "You're welcome, regardless of whether you're bisexual." I want "You're welcome because your being bisexual makes us a better reflection of the inclusive family of God!"

I'm proud of you for having the conversation. That you sat and listened to his "side" of the conversation first shows that you really are engaged; I hope it makes the remainder of the conversation (especially the part where you get to talk!) go a bit easier.


(no subject) said...

i think that was a huge step for both you and your previous church. i agree with both you and freya, i want more than to not be shunned, i want to be invited and loved just like everyone else. i am not so far in my journey towards being out at church, but this gives me hope that when i make those steps, which i am planning on doing soon, there will hopefully be a not negative response, though a positive one would be nice.

ps-i'd love to hear about the fairs...i love fairs...=)

Random Reflections said...

I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting more. This was the first time it has been discussed like this in that church. For anyone to say "right we've done that topic, let's move on" would be wrong. It's the start of something and you want to know where it goes next, which seems fair enough.

I think his comment about being a gay Christian not being a contradiction but sex only being for married men and women was not necessarily that helpful but I took it differently to you. What he actually seems to have done by saying that (this being my interpretation of something I wasn't there to hear) is divorce sexuality from sex, which is actually an important point to draw out. Being gay is not about who you're having sex with, it just is. You can be entirely celebate and still be gay. That was probably not his point though!

Cheryl said...

I'm so glad this was the kind of sermon it was. When you first wrote about it, I thought it was going to be a "hellfire and damnation" kind of sermon...which is why I wondered why you'd put yourself through it.

Like you said, the church moves slowly. It's unfortunately, never been at the head of a social equality movement...oh, except for the Quakers, who have always been the movers and shakers (grin) of social change.

Good for you, and good for the pastor. I'm sure it was a hard step for him to take, and more than likely, he got an earfull from some.

titration said...

Hmmm. Wow. Lots of totally great comments today, thanks.

Freyasings - I even struggle with celebrating... anything sexual, gay straight, married, not-married. Sexuality seems to me private and celebration is loud and open and so I think it wigs me out a bit when people talk about celebrating it. Um. Does that make any sense?

titration said...

nosubject: thanks for the cheerleading. Coming out to ones church I think is almost as scary as coming out to one's family

O and the art and the book fair were very fun. I bought three books at the book fair and no art at the art fair but I loved looking around.

RandomReflections: Good point! It is the first time this was discussed like this in this church.
And that is good context for me to keep in mind.

I really liked your pointing out that he may have been making that comment in order to divorce sexuality from sex! I do hope so.

Cheryl: Yeah it wasn't that kind of sermon thank goodness! But I also didn't know what to expect. And yes (grin) those Quakers are movers and shakers!

I'll tell you all if I find out what other church people said.

isabella mori said...

what a great post. i really like how you walked through all of your thinking about this, and how we can, as you say, be engaged yet questioning.

all the power to your friend, as well as your pastor, who are standing strong amidst all these swirls of questions.

i don't think god wants us to be yay-sayers. he/she/it wants us to use the gift of careful and often critical thought.