I returned from my most recent camping trip to my home in Charlotte, NC and the political, religious, social and personal battle brought on by Amendment One. Following my standard MO, I had high hopes that society and religion would choose not to inflict yet another wound where healing should be the focus.
You see this is not the first wound I have taken from the hand of the enemy. The hand of the enemy being anyone or thing that is used to try and separate me from the love of my God. Notice I said the ‘hand’ of the enemy, The individuals who placed this measure on the ballot, the thousands who voted for it and the hundreds of Christians who’ve wounded me and others in the past are not the enemy. Their actions are just being used to work against God’s mission to bring all people back to him… just as I have been used to do the same thing.
My reaction the night of the vote was mild resignation. My gut had warned me it was a strong possibility, but I had held out hope for a chance at redemption for both sides. I went to bed feeling disappointment and shame. Disappointed that my Christian brothers and sisters had not been able to see the Heart of God in this matter and shame that as a gay man who identifies openly as a Christian, I would have to face my friends and colleges with this scarlet ‘C’ branded on my chest.
I woke up in the morning angry. Really angry: angry like I have not been since my teenage years. Angry enough to want to break things. Angry enough to want to hurt people. Angry enough to want to cause pain. Angry enough to want to run away. Angry enough to want to fight back. I looked at moving to states where ignorance was not enshrined into the constitution. I began researching retailers that supported Amendment One to make sure I didn’t shop there. I wrote letters my my normal retailers letting them know I would search for my needs on the internet to avoid spending money in the state. I looked into which charities supported the amendment to make sure none of my contributions went to their coffers.
Stumbling through my normal morning routine, I checked the latest updates on FaceBook. It was there I found sympathy with many friends who were doing mass ‘un-friendings’ of their Christian friends and asking anyone who voted for Amendment One to please unfriend them. I instantly sided with their desire to cut off contact with those who represented the hurt they had been dealt. It is a way of lashing out; hurt me and I will deny your my friendship.
As I showered and dressed for work, I began making a mental list of the people I might defriend in my righteous anger. Whenever I began to write a name on that list in my brain, there was something that reminded me of why they were my friend in the first place. Name after name I placed on the firing line… each time something about them stopped me from pulling the trigger. Each time, I realized that I really wasn’t angry at them specifically. They were flawed, but so the hell am I. I realized that they are not faceless, nameless bigots; they are complex, thinking, people. They are not caricatures but humans with souls, just like me.
My initial instinct was to lash out and then disengage from those who had hurt me, those who said that I was less than they were. But I will not do it. Why? Because Jesus never did. He continued to engage, He continued to confront, He continued to love, He continued to heal, He continued to reach out and He continued to forgive. I am no where near most of those places as I write this blog.
But I will not retreat and I will not lash out.
Instead, I choose to engage. I will engage because that’s how change happens. It’s how I came to be a follower of Jesus in the first place. It’s how Jesus changed the Disciples and the world. I hope I will engage with the fierce love that Jesus did… realizing we are all screwed up on some level and who am I to judge.
As I begin this journey through anger and bitterness, I have this blog. I will convert my anger and passion into digital 1’s and 0’s in cyberspace. I have been on a long journey to discover that the God of the universe has pursued me with passion. This is about where I have been and where God is taking me… ever an exciting journey on a very rambling road.