I have posted before how I am proud of several of my Christian Facebook friends who are breaking the stereotypes that the world holds concerning Christians. Recently I read this post by a friend of mine and fellow missionary. Normally this woman cracks me up with her wit and humor, but today she made me wish I KNEW some friend from high school who came out of the closet just so I could say these kind words to them. (I actually keep in contact with so few people from then that it’s just pathetic and sad.) Catherine, you make me proud to be a Christian… the kind of Christian who can extend loving friendship to someone who is gay even though we don’t agree about everything.
Having grown up in the Twin Cities where there is a large gay community I have worked with and gone to school with many people who professed to be gay. I generally have found them to be delightful, creative and witty people (pardon my stereotyping). They always know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am indeed a Christian, but I have always tried to show that a relationship with Jesus was not a political position nor a social weapon for shunning someone. But my relationship with Jesus gave me the FREEDOM to love someone outside of my “tribe”.
Jesus ate with tax collectors, prostitutes and other shunned people from his time, much to the dismay of the religious leaders. A real follower of Jesus will do the same- reach out to those who need a friend regardless of their lifestyle. This does not mean I condone their behavior, it is still sin, but I am deliberate in extending my friendship to them by following the example of Jesus.
Dear old friend from high school that I just learned is gay,
Dude! How’s it going? So, I stalked you on facebook. The snoopy part of me sees bits of your profile, and I have pieced together that you’re gay. I have wanted to “friend” you. I want you to know I remember that nebulous cloud of high school where I was half asleep to the things that really mattered, and more focused on emotionally surviving my day. I wish I had been more bold back then, but everything in it’s time… If you look at my profile, you’ll see that I’m a Christian. A missionary, in fact. You would laugh if you knew the detours I took along the way. I hope that doesn’t bother you. You’re gay, and I love you, like you even.
We’ve all changed since school, but I think we would both fondly remember moments of being with someone and you didn’t have to try so hard. You could just be. I was grateful to you for those reprieves. We laughed a lot. Sweated a lot. (it was the desert after all.) We had acne together that the beautiful people magically avoided. We weren’t goth and we weren’t quiet grunge. What were we? We were awkward together. We dabbled in the more creative electives, and perhaps nerdy pursuits. I remember not feeling like I fit in my own skin. I wish I could go back in time and tell us we were beautiful.
So I’m a Christian and you’re gay. We won’t agree on everything, and maybe we don’t have to talk about everything. But you’re still my friend and I still treasure you. I promise not to hit you over the head with a giant Bible, (until I am overcome by love and concern for your soul, that is. I can only hold it in so long, you know.) But in the meantime, I would only say you are deeply, deeply loved by your Creator. He sang a song of delight over you as you were purposefully formed. And…I still like you. (Not like-like, just like, don’t get all vain.)
Now don’t you think that sounded just like how Jesus might sound? At least he sounds that way in MY head. Yes, Jesus says “Dude” in my imagination. But more importantly, wouldn’t Jesus be the first one to say, “I still like you.”? I think he would.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasleuthard/7186832081/”>Thomas Leuthard</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>