Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Christian's journey

I saw this post at Fundies say the darndest things -
"I am a preacher's daughter who has raised 4 great kids... only something went
wrong the day after Christmas. My 21 year old son sat me down to tell me he is
gay. This has been the worst week of my life. I have raised all my children in
church... I just don't know what went wrong or what I did wrong. He currently
attends Saint Louis University (a very liberal university)... and although he
says he still loves the Lord and has a personal relationship with Jesus, he says
in his opinion... it ok to be a "gay Christian"... What am I suppose to do? I am
normally the one who fixes everything... I have a very influential and demanding
job... I'm always in control... but this last week, I thought about suicide and
I have to take sleeping pills at night to sleep. I can't eat, sleep... I can't even breathe... I feel like I am dieing and I think his death would have been easier on me than walking through this valley. Is there ANY hope?"
BrokenMomTina, Be Broken [Comments
] [2006-Dec-12]

-and thought about it. I suspect my post would not get a hearing at the original site, but...

Let’s see none of the ten commandments mention homosexuality, Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality, but this preacher’s daughter who has done everything right has a gay son who believes in Jesus is thinking about suicide and his death would have been easier on her than finding out he’s gay.

Is there any hope? Well, lots for him. But for her? She needs to break down her ideas of what the Bible says and actually read Scripture and pray. What’s more important, for her, in this note is all the works she has done rather than the one for whom she said she was doing them. What’s more important in this note is her image of what her son should be rather than loving him as he is. She wants to fix everything rather than trust in God.

And yes, these are very understandable attitudes and they are related to Christianity, though not of the best. But she’s forgetting that the most important thing is to love her son. Jesus boiled all of the commandments down for us. Not into a set of rules. They were love God and neighbor. Paul talked about living under the law as leading to death and that if we judge another even for the worst of things then, we too are equally guilty or worse.

The questions we should be asking are not about how sinful is the other person or where did they go wrong, but how can we love that other person. This woman hasn’t done a bad job. Her son is open and honest – clearly trying to let his mother into his life. As Galatians 3 says: “[25] But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, [26] for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” The son is faithful still and that is a gift that the mother has passed on.

The crisis of faith is because this mother has made who her son in greater than the one who is her God. And this is not an uncommon mistake. I’ve made my problems greater than God and I suspect every Christian has done so on occasion. But the most important question is not whether her son is gay, but whether she loves her son. The expressions of Jesus to the tax collectors and prostitutes started with love and care, they did not start with what have I done wrong.

And the other thing this woman has done is mistake who is in control. “I’m the always in control.” I thought God was supposed to be in control and we are supposed to trust in God. And I sympathize with the feeling as I’m a recovering perfectionist, but sympathy is not the same as believing that attitude should be allowed to go by without objection. Yes, this woman is in a crisis of faith, but that should bring about an examination of what she believes and what she should believe. Has she been getting by with quick answers and easy solutions? Does she need to return to reading scripture with the question of who is she in the stories – the believer, the Pharisee, the poor, the outcast – and what is she being called to do? Who is the one in which she actually places her trust – her own understanding or in God?

I’m not saying that this is a bad woman. She is probably a very nice person. But being nice, having a good family, being well thought of are not Christian callings. They are worldly. For all that we are called to care for family even honor our mother and father, we also have the call to make God the center of our life.

And I worry when this woman describes herself in terms of her roles as mother and daughter, but not in terms of who she is. Who is this woman that will not change with the death of her father or the growth of her children? If she is only a preacher’s daughter, that’s a life lived in the shadow of her father. If she’s only a mother, then what happens if her children die before she does? Her roles should not be the whole of her life. The roles of mother and daughter are not bad, but they shouldn’t be all that she thinks of as herself. Is she a prayer warrior, a musician, a preacher, a dancer, a golfer, a comedian, or something else? Again the question is “What is she when her father is dead and her children are gone?” I firmly believe that God gave this woman gifts that are apart from her relationships.

The problem this woman describes is not with her gay Christian son. The problem this woman should examine is her own faith and understanding. The problem this women needs to attack is how to love herself and how to lover her son. Those are the tasks which she is given – not the one of changing her son to be heterosexual or homosexual. Her son is called to be as God created him to be rather than as this mother wants him to be.

I do wish this mother and son the best and will continue to keep them in my prayers. My answers may not be the correct ones, but I suspect my questions are the start of any journey this woman needs to do.

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