Last week, I felt like giving up. But, I didn’t. And now I am resolving not to.
We have been celebrating the joys of having full marriage equality in many areas of our lives. In some ways, it seems surreal. But, in the midst of all that joy, I have been incredibly disheartened.
I have seen friends, family, and strangers say some pretty rotten things about people like me & my wife. I have seen people say some very excluding things. I have seen people put objects and the chance to tell someone, “you are wrong, and I am right” above the feelings of others. I have seen people touting tough love as if Jesus Christ said “thou shalt be forceful in telling others how wrong they are” rather than “do not judge…”
I’ve felt like screaming when I’ve seen pictures of a duck hunting celebrity paired with a quote about “lifestyles” and loving people. So much so, I made my own response complete with a sunglasses wearing Jesus.
All tongue-in-cheek humor aside, I’ve felt pretty miserable.
I’ve really been affected by words that were said directly to me by a family member, as well as the words said on social media by other family members. I hate that I have been cut so deeply, but then I think again – why wouldn’t I?
Last week, near the end, I kept coming back to the same thought and the same image.
My family on my dad’s side does this really awesome bird call thing. I looked it up and found out it’s called an ocarina. A hand ocarina.
When they put their hands together and blow air, it makes a beautiful quail-like bird call. Then, they can manipulate the sound by moving their hands. My grandfather taught them how, because some could not whistle. It was a way for them to call out if they were lost in the woods.
No matter how much I tried, and still try today, I can’t do it.
As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be able to do it. No matter who tried to teach me, I couldn’t. As a musical person and a person who loves nature, it was incredibly hard for me to not be able to imitate this sound, so I would do my best with singing the tones.
It wasn’t the same.
The last time I remember being shown how was when my wife and I were at my grandfather’s before his health deteriorated quickly. He, my aunt, my dad, all able to do it in the room.
I couldn’t do it. Neither could my wife.
We are different from my other family.
Our wedding was bare bones. Hardly anyone related to me came or even sent a card. I remember going to elaborate weddings for my cousins.
Family doesn’t think anything of saying things which might cause us to feel excluded.
“Family” thought it was okay to tell me that I chose to be gay and split our family because I didn’t want to be lonely. That we are a house of sin and lies and that our daughter’s soul is in trouble because we are gay.
I’m in the woods of hate, spite, and prejudice, and I can’t make the sound to let everyone know that I need help. And I don’t know if they would care anyway.
Because of this and continual posts on social media, articles, etc, I want to distance myself so far from the church that there is no resemblance.
“Love the sinner. Hate the sin.” is not in the Bible.
Christ always had the harshest words for the religious people and he embraced the marginalized.
I do still believe.
My dear dear friend, Mary Ellen, makes amazing sourdough bread. She gave me some starter last week.
Yesterday, I fed the starter, and I watched it activate and come to life in a jar on my counter.
In the afternoon as I made the dough, I thought of Mary Ellen, and I thought of her making the bread “with Christ’s love for ALL.”
As I punched down the dough, separated it, and formed it last night, I thought of “This is my body – broken for you.”
God, how the body is so broken.
My body. The church body.
I saw Mary Ellen today, and she spoke words to me that I couldn’t believe – exactly what I needed someone to tell me – that my redemption and the redeeming love of Jesus does not hinge upon the views and actions of others. That the work Christ has done and is doing in me is real and valuable and will continue and will continue to affect others.
I sure hope so.
As I baked the bread this morning before work, I thought of more.
“The Kingdom of God is like yeast…”
The miracle of the feeding five thousand.
The parable about a child asking for bread, and why a good parent would never give a stone.
“I am the bread of life.”
And I choose today to believe that.
“Give us this day, our daily bread.”