Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's in your closet?

Here's a hot topic that's been in the news of late: Kevin Naff, editor of The Washington Blade, a gay publication, recently lambasted Obama's choice to have Rick Warren give the invocation at his inauguration, stating, "His presence on the inauguration stand is a slap in the faces of the millions of GLTB (gay, lesbian, transgenedered and bisexual) voters who so enthusiastically supported him..." He went on to say, "This tone-deafness to our concerns must not be tolerated. We have just endured eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president beholden to bigoted conservative Christians. The election was supposed to have ended that era. It appears otherwise." Presumably this is a reference to President Bush's moral (and might I add Biblical) stand against homosexual marriages. I mean, last I checked, the president didn't carry a placard campaigning against homesexuals, nor did he vote in the recent California elections that opted to overturn gay marriage. Evidently whether it is Bush or Obama, as long as any president (or president-elect) does or says anything that is perceived as remotely 'offensive' to gay rights activists, they become persona non-grata.

This constant war of words back and forth between gay rights activists and conservative Christianity is a hackneyed strategy that serves no useful purpose. Clearly the freedom of speech allowed by our Constitution provides room for ideological differences rather than a sequacious following of so-called 'political correctness.' The angry diatribes proferred by both gay rights activists and 'gay-people loving' Christians further adduce to the fact that the only way to effectively win this raging 'battle' is on our knees and not through swollen, empty rhetoric. Lee Grady's, Charisma Online, recently published an article that highlighted Ray Boltz's (singer/ songwriter) "30-some years" battle with homosexuality. Married for 33-years, and with four grown children, Ray Boltz finally gave in to his personal struggle and embraced [his homosexuality], stating that he feels closer to God than he ever has. The article pointed out that the gay community is probably waiting with bated breathe, to see the response of Christians. They probably expect that we will take all of the 'heretical' Boltz's CD's and burn them in a bonfire while decrying his betrayal of true Christianity. The article rightly hints that such a reaction would be the wrong one. Sadly, there will be many-a-'Christian' who will respond in just such a manner.

My favorite part of the Charisma article is, in response to the question, "how do we react," Grady makes this simple but profound statement, "We must weep." He further opines, "It's not enough for us to preach to people. We must pray for them first. When they meet us, they need to see our moist eyes, not scowls and pointed fingers. Compassionate prayer bathes our message in God's mercy. It requires us to humbly identify with sinners as we recognize that each one of us battles some form of brokenness or addiction." Bravo Lee, well said! This 'battle' being raged in front of abortion clinics and across picket lines from 'card-carrying' homosexuals is destined to be a losing battle until we learn to weep for our nation. We must love the people enough to feel their despair and brokenness rather than point angry fingers of judgment that only serve to further alienate us and our message. The overarching message of the gospel is love. This kind of love is not found in the pages of books, nor in the lecture halls of seminaries. It is found only in an enduring and endearing personal relationship with Christ, that further demonstrates itself through an all-consuming love for others. If you're gay and you're reading this, I want you to know that I love you and welcome you with open arms at The Well, and believe me, I am not being condescending or judgmental when I say that.


Me said...

Isn't it funny how the liberal proponents of tolernace can be so , well, intolerant, even of their own? Obama, who is all over the place trying to unite everyone is going to make a lot of people mad... As the church we so need to transcend that. That was a huge lesson for me this past election...