I read a post from Deeper Story today that angered me, and rather than continually commenting on the post every time I think of something new to say, I thought this may be the better outlet since I am behind in my blogging anyway.
I first heard the song a few months ago when a friend living in Boston sent it to me. We hadn’t talked in a while, and it meant a lot to me that she thought of me when she heard it, and even more that she passed it on with a spirit of support.
I saw the video for the first time several weeks ago, and I have to confess – I wept. A lot. I watched it again with my wife, and I cried. She did too.
In the midst of all the Miley Cyrus hype involving teddy bears, weird facial expressions, and grossness, we watched the video of the VMA performance of “Same Love” – I cried again. And then again when the lovely Jennifer Hudson joined in.
Wow. What a moment. How beautiful.
A couple weeks ago, I sang at an equality event – a rally to bring awareness to the need for equal rights. The protesters were there when we were setting up.
The crowd started filling in, and we became observant.
In the midst of hateful signs saying we were “Satan’s attack on the family,” a man dressed up as the grim reaper (who later posted pictures of himself and made comments making fun of those who have died from AIDS), and others all from the same church – and no, it wasn’t Westboro – far from it…
In the middle of all that, a beautiful black woman with graying hair looked around and started singing,
“I can’t change. Even if I tried. Even if I wanted to.”
I teared up.
She was singing our anthem. In the midst of all that hatred. In the midst of my fear that someone might physically hurt us. (There had been death threats to one speaker who would be there – a brave woman who I count as a new friend.)
I watched the video to Mary Lambert’s “She Keeps Me Warm” and cried again, because until you have been gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Until you have lived your 30 something year old life seeing hardly any good representations of the love you share with your partner. Until you have been made to feel less than and told you need to change and to ask God to change you…
Until you have tried to change and have asked God to change you…
You can never know how much a song like “Same Love” means.
Teachers are getting suspended for showing it in classrooms. Kids are being told they can’t listen to it. LGBT people are crying when they hear it – because finally finally finally someone gets it.
To read of someone saying:
“This song is a lie!”… “That’s like saying you’re an alcoholic and you can’t ever change. Or you have anger issues and you can never change. You’re depressed, not good at anything, sexually addicted, fat, skinny…” Well, you get the point. I mean, our points became humorous. I began to sing, “I can’t change (insert description) my ugly hair, even if I wanted too.”
To read that… it was damaging and incredibly hurtful. It belittled a song that has helped so many people. It belittles redemption and limits God. (Not to mention, as a mental health counselor, that list does not go together!!)
And in reading it, it got me thinking…
I hate to say it, but I am growing weary of so many “progressive” Christian forums.
It is one thing to write or publish posts occasionally which are at least somewhat supportive to LGBT people on a legal or civil level (all the while, of course letting it be known that you don’t think it’s theologically “ok.”) It is one thing to sing a song or two about LGBT people and the way the church has treated them and how the church could do better,
but it is another to invite us to your table. To truly welcome us to take bread and wine. To listen to our stories and to give us a voice instead of trying to be the voice for us. To let us sing our anthems and listen to them and to listen
to truly listen to us for crying out loud! With no formulating your response. With no “yeah, but…”
To be with us and stand with us. In the middle of hate and fear and yes, threats.
To recognize that we, too, are of one body, mind and spirit, and that spirit is Christ.
I would rather you just be real and honest and let us know you really aren’t our friend instead of acting like you are because “it’s cool” or emergent and/or because you read the book on the research that says the church is viewed as anti-gay.
Recently, a close relative began dating someone who in the past has said some very hateful things about LGBT people, and directed it toward me and D. That close relative has put a wedge between us. I can’t even describe the level of hurt I have been experiencing – losing sleep, crying sporadically, aching and having terrible fibromyalgia flare ups.
It just isn’t ok. It isn’t ok to endorse hatred, or anything that belittles our experiences.
Last night, I had my first session with a new LGTB support group I started. So much pain. So many wounds. So much fear. And the origins – as always – the church, and family.
this should not be so.
I’ve often wondered if the end of “She Keeps Me Warm” and “Same Love” – the repeating of “I’m not crying on Sundays” is a resolve of healing and redemption. I know it is for me when I sing it.
This song is no lie.
It is truth.
It is my truth. It is God’s truth.
“I can’t change,” in this song, isn’t throwing up our hands and giving up, as the Deeper Story Writer said; rather, it is walking into the hands of our Maker and receiving God’s love with no walls between us for the first time in our lives.
And I would never give that up. And couldn’t. Even if I tried, even if I wanted to.