Monday, March 16, 2009

WTF?*

*Why Talk Fancy... About a loving God and a reconciling Jesus when what you really want is a rule-making God and an exclusive Jesus? I've about had my fill of Christian jerks, I must say. The latest among them is someone in charge of a group of orchestra students from a Midwest Christian college of some renown. This guy decided his traveling student musicians couldn't stay in the warm and open homes of members of the church hosting the group's concert because those members were homosexuals. A great friend of mine is the pastor of this church. It gives me a stomach ache to imagine the moment he realized he was going to have to call his generous gay members to give them the news that their hospitality had been rejected... Solely on the basis of who they choose to love. Do you understand this scenario? A beautiful BAPTIST congregation agrees to host student musicians for a nighttime performance, and arranges lodging in members' homes for every student. When the director of the group discovers the church has gay members, he says something like, "None of them are hosting our students, are they?" When he is told that, in fact, four homes opened for his students have been prepared by homosexual couples he says the students can't stay in those homes. I keep re-writing that, looking for a way to say it that makes it a bit more believable. I mean, at least have the decency to load the bus after the performance and take every student back to the narrow minded hallowed halls they came from. Leave town saying, "Oh, we forgot we left the water running." Do something a touch more loving than kicking sand in the faces of people who've welcomed you into their church and their families and their kitchens. What kinds of Christians do that? My pastor friend and his staff wrote a letter to the president of the college, saying:
We write simply to ask you to join us in our grief for the immeasurable and unjust pain that was inflicted upon the men and women of our church, both gay and straight, because this decision was made by (the college) representatives. People went out of their way, prepared their homes, arranged their schedules, cooked and shopped, only to be told that students would not be sent home with them because they are gay. These are men and women who have given their lives to Christ, who are a full part of our fellowship of mercy, who like many of us carry wounds from our religious past. They were left to question again if they are invited to be “for Christ and His Kingdom,” to quote (the college) motto. Regardless of whether you agree, we trust that you believe that God grieves with us at their pain from an unexplained, unwarranted rejection of their gifts.
I salute this pastoral team for taking the high road in this letter. I believe I would have asked the college president what he was hoping to teach students at his highly respected church school about the world in which they live. Is he hoping they will fear and hate people who are different from themselves? Surely there is no concern about contagious homosexuality in 2009. Certainly there is no one who believes a comfortable bed and a warm breakfast in the home of a gay person is going to affect the health/sexual preference of a college student. Surely. Certainly. Furthermore, can't we at least count on our exclusive, private, Christian institutions of higher learning to teach kids a few basic manners? Like: "Thank you for your kind hospitality?" And, if not that, how about the lessons from the life of Jesus? You remember him... The one who ate and drank and stayed with society's marginalized during the entirety of his public ministry. The one who said, go ahead, throw your stones. Just make sure you have no reason to have stones thrown at you. The one who said, sure it's easy to love those who love you - try loving someone you find a touch outside your comfort zone. Yea. That guy. It's been a week, and my pastor friend has not had a response from the president of the college. Can you believe it? Is it possible to imagine real peace in such a world?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sadly I can believe it. It is a great shame that Christians are better known for being a bunch of overbearing fusspots (and worse) than for taking up Christ's cross.

How can it not be clear to everyone who has heard Christ's story that we are called to stand for the marginalized? How can we imagine that Christianity is mainly supposed to be about rules and personal purity? Do we think they killed Christ because he prayed too much? Because he never broke the rules? Whose bible has that story in it?

The Temple establishment killed Christ because he refused to put personal purity ahead of love. Because he called the the church people who used religion to oppress people a brood of vipers. Because he said a Roman Centurion could have greater faith than anyone in Israel and a Samaritan could show greater love than the preachers and teachers from the Temple.

I swear, it is going to be easier for all the hookers, pushers and thieves (petty and Wall Street) to get into heaven than half the church (small "c" intentional).

- DC

gay said...

Insightful thoughts again, thank you.