Monday, August 2, 2010

Love, Acceptance and Tolerance: All Christian Traits, Right?

Call me silly, but when I found out that my parents had read my blog (ya, this one) I expected at least a phone call, or a letter, or something that would give me some hope that they still love me. What I got was an email saying that although they love me, they cannot tolerate my “homosexual lifestyle.” (Somehow this felt like a knife stabbing into my heart and nothing like love.Without the love and help from my friends, my brother Mark and his wife and my children during this extremely difficult time I am not sure how I would have been able to keep my head above the water and not want to end it all. It has been a very challenging problem to work through) Why do we hope for the impossible? Now that I think about it, what did I expect them to say?

“We love and accept you even if you are bisexual?” Or, “Even though we don’t understand how you can be an atheist, of course we love and accept you.” Or maybe “Christ teaches us to love and accept all people, so we welcome and accept you, no matter what.” Well, a girl can hope, even at age 45, that her parents love her unconditionally. But that does not seem to be the case. Is it really that hard to say that your religion has perhaps taken the wrong stance all this time and that perhaps accepting others, no matter what, is a Christian thing to do?

Tolerance- Not the best of terms!

I once read a blog written by a gay man that explained why he hates the word tolerance. I will keep looking for the link (I read it a while ago) but it went something along these lines: I pay my taxes, I volunteer as a big brother, I help older people with their groceries, I don’t steal, I live a moral and good life, I pick up my dog’s poop so others don’t step in it, I vote, I don’t drink and drive, I give to charity, I donate my time to clean up the city, I love my partner etc… (he goes on for quite a while) and then he makes a perfect point: As a gay man, why should he only receive tolerance? To be tolerant implies that you put up with something distasteful and deal with it anyway. Why should he not have equal rights as a human to receive love and acceptance and have people treat him with respect and concern, like they would expect for themselves. The word tolerant takes on a new meaning when you see things from this perspective. People deserve more than tolerance!

If you are truly a Christian and want to follow the teachings of Christ, why would you only want to tolerate a family member (or worse, shun them) simply because of whom they choose to love or care about? A great and supportive friend of mine named Amy says this: “Who cares what genitals a person has when it comes to love?” I doubt-if there really was a Jesus- he would think that rejecting another human being based on who they love was an acceptable way to live.

If you are reading this blog and you have a gay, bisexual or lesbian family member, maybe you should try to see things from what I call the “big picture perspective.” If they died tomorrow, would you still cling so tightly to your beliefs that they were a “bad” person? Or would you not go to their funeral because they were gay? You only have one life here on earth, and whether or not you believe in an afterlife, wouldn’t it be best to treat your loved ones with respect and concern while you are still here to do that? What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Do you want your grandchildren to remember you as the person who refused to love their mother/father and accept her/him for all that she/he is? Do you want your flesh and blood children to spend their life wondering why you do not accept them simply because they are gay? Or do you want to leave a legacy of love, acceptance and kindness to your fellow human beings?

I will continue to write my blog and voice my views because it has helped me to heal from a past that left me feeling repressed. I want to break out of being a victim and become someone who shows my children and loved ones that life is what we make it, and we can stay victims, or we can choose to become better people and strive to love and accept others as they are. I have decided to love and accept my parents, even though their beliefs are the polar opposite of mine. That is what love is about.

Picture: Me and my mom last Mother's Day before she read my blog. I will always love my mom.

Movie Recommendations:
Crash
Milk (With Sean Penn)
Prayers for Bobby (Please share this movie with others who do not accept their gay children)

21 comments:

  1. We can agree to disagree. That is what love is all about.

    K

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  2. Great blog, well a sad one, I guess I meant well written. Your parents are at a crossroads in my opinion. Something in which you utterly believe with all your soul and heart, no matter how ridiculous it is, they do subscribe. I do not know them, but from my perspective, I urge you Mom and Dad of Lori, see through this hurt that you are causing or feeling. Your daughter wants only your love, I am willing to bet my life that be excommunicating her from your lives is not going to bring her back to you straight and holy; only hurt. If it is Jesus you believe in, he gave you two simple commands to follow. Disowning is not one of them. #onelove action speaks louder than words...it always does!! N8wide

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  3. Hey Lori, you have my support always! Kate xx

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  4. Well stated. I'm sick to death of bigots who excuse their intolerance with that "we love the sinner but hate their sin" garbage. The Bible condemns divorce, pre-marital sex, and a whole host of other "sins", but Christians don't treat people who commit them like crap. In fact, church pews are filled with those sinners, most of whom act pious despite their own status and who in turn are rabid homophobes.

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  5. Hi there. I'm a gay ex-Pentecostal atheist, and I know I have expressed on my blog more than once my utter distaste for the concept of "tolerance", but I've never been a Big Brother, so it probably wasn't my blog you read. I still have 'issues' with some of my relatives, but I have learned that being blood-related doesn't mean you are "family". Those who hold you out at arm's length are only helping you (by keeping their ignorance and negativity away from you) while at the same time hurting themselves (by depriving themselves of your company and contribution in their lives).

    Hang in there. Ray

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  6. Hi Lori,
    It's definitely hard to deal with loved ones who would allow faith to come before family. As I told you before, I'm going through almost the exact same thing except they don't know where to find the stuff I've written. I support you. I wish I could give actual help, but I'm unable to do so.
    Peace and love,
    Anthony

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  7. I found this extremely interesting. I am a heterosexual male christian, not that I feel that affects what I am about to say.

    Firstly, Christians sometimes dont get things right. Christians and all people for that matter should not judge people, its not right so if u are being judged by Christian people be assured that the Bible says they will be judged accordingly.

    Secondly, the Bible does say we should love everyone. I can love a person (because of how they function regardless of creation or evolution), but the things that they do I can not love. And you are absolutely right about the Christians commiting sin and being hypocritical. I put this down to society, unfortunately. Sex before marriage is a sin, but society has been doing it for so long that society has become accustommed to it and let it slide. Unfortunately homosexuality is relatively newer compared to things like sex before marriage, in my opinion and so hasnt fully gained societys accustomisation (it will though I believe). in saying that, I look at the things I do where I commit sin (and I do, I have my own area of sin that I am struggling with atm) and I dont like what I do, but thats for nobody to judge.

    Thirdly, about the boy who raved on about evolution. Evolution and Christianity dont have to contradict each other in fact there are a large demonination of Christians who believe evolution too. Science and God theoretically shouldnt contradict, and if they do then either the Bible has been misinterpreted incorrectly, or science has!

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  8. When I was an evangelical I found it very hard to "love the sinner, hate the sin." I tried very hard to walk the line with a lesbian relative of mine. "Love the sinner, don't accept, but don't agree with the sin," or something like that. It didn't work, for the reasons you write about here.

    Looking back, I think I was squeezed between what I really thought (that it was OK for my aunt to marry another woman), and what I knew I was supposed to think, and fear of what my friends and spouse would think of me if I came out and said that divisively. So all that shouldn't have been a big problem, except for my caving to peer pressure and general spinelessness in the matter. Still working now to get past that.

    I don't really know what to do about all that. Because sometimes people do things we don't agree with, but we really do still love them. Maybe it is just a matter of what is more important to a person, love, or being right about something.

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  9. I can not comprehend why it is acceptable for a family to discuss their daughters genitalia and what she chooses to do or not do with said genitals. It blows my mind that a family would discuss that. I thought Christian people were supposed to have really good manners. I guess that is a very broad generalization and something I was brainwashed to think that isn't true. I should stay away from these generalizations I suppose but in my liberal-minded family no parent would dare discuss what their child does or does not choose to do with thier genitals! I can not wrap my brain around it. Homosexual sex is not new. Anal sex used to be called something like "the Greek way" because it was so common in ancient Greece for men (with wives) to have anal sex with other men just because it feels good. this isn't new and society needs to catch up and if people want to have some manners they need to stick to discussing what they do with their own genitalia if they have a strong urge to discuss genitals and what is done with them. Good luck with your family. I hope you understand that it is more that your family is unenlightened and they do not really disapprove of YOU as a human being. I think they just do not know better or have good manners it sounds like.

    hey- just a thought. what about kids born with a penis and a vagina? does Jesus hate them? Maybe they are not supposed to have sex because either way it could be considered homosexual sex? just a thought....

    Best of luck with this. I love your blog.

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  10. your post made my Mama heart hurt as well as my Daughter heart - I LOVE my kids. period. and they need and deserve to have me love them whatever/whoever they grow into through out their lives. period.

    i, too, have a really hard time w/ the word tolerance. because something i tolerant (such as bad traffic or toxic scents and chemicals) are not loved by me at all. they are tolerated because i can not avoid them entirely - people should not be tolerated - they should be loved and allowed to be themselves.

    i am sorry your parents are struggling so very hard to be the people you need and deserve them to be. staying strong in who you are is, i agree, the best you can do for yourself and if they are able/willing to move forward into a place of love and acceptance for the wonder that is their daughter than that will make staying true to your Spirit more the sweeter.

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  11. love it love it love it. I'm seeing more pushback on tolerance lately and it's about time.

    Here's my quip on tolerance: it's what you do until you can get your way. It connotes a biding of time until something changes. It suggests that if you had the power to change it you would, but you don't, so you'll put up with it. It's passive, a surrender to your own powerlessness, not active and generous like the faithful seem to think it is.

    Even the silly serenity prayer understands this distinction; I believe it reads, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change"… not tolerate.

    Tolerance is not an achievement: it's a baseline.

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  12. I was just working on a blog post sort of related to this topic--about "Christians" who take it upon themselves to judge and condemn others. I googled to try to find national groups for accepting, loving Christians and came upon your blog. I don't have long to leave this comment, but just wanted to say I'm so sorry you are going through this. It is NOT right and I wish people would stop mistreating people and claiming to do it in the name of Jesus. That is ridiculous.

    I love what you say about tolerance. I honestly hadn't thought of how horrible that term must feel, but you are right. We need to strive for a lot more than tolerance!

    I will be back to read more later!

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  13. You have decided very nice thought i like and agree.

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  14. Lori, I recently renounced Christianity for this same reason. I'm not gay, but so many good people that I love are and it doesn't seem right that God wouldn't love them and accept them just the same. When I started seeing so many hate posts on Facebook, I decided to reconsider my Christian Faith. I would recommend that your parents watch the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So". It has helped a friend of mine's parents when they were coming to terms with how they felt about homosexuality and Christianity. Good luck and I hope your parents can resolve their conflict within themselves.

    -Cardella

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  15. Hi Cardella,

    Thanks for writing. I just recently watched "For the Bible Tells me So" and I have been trying to find a way to get my parents to watch it. When I gave them some books that I bought for parents of gay people to help them, they told me that they could not read such "liberal propaganda" pshhh I was trying to help them out. I will try to suggest this movie to them. I think they are a hopeless cause. I am going to write a new blog soon and I will talk about how I have pretty much written them off as parents. The pain is too much for me to take.

    Take care!
    Lori

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  16. Sorry for your pain, but I believe you need to learn the difference between "love" and "acceptance" to the Christian, since this is the basis of your parents and other Christians beliefs and what you believe.

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  17. Dear Anonymous,

    I expect more from my parents and I expect that people who claim to be "christ-followers" would be loving AND accepting. This is exactly WHY I have turned from this horrible religion. You can believe what you want, but don't tell me what to believe. I have had enough of that all of my life.

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  18. The Apostle Paul said in the last days people would have a form of religion but deny the power. Jesus had enemies and they were the leadership of the Jewish religion of that day. That leadership thought they were serving God, but they were working against God and man. When the men dragged a woman just caught in adultery, and leaving the man out of it, they brought her to Jesus and tried to put Him on the spot. He stooped down and began writing on the ground, and told them to examine themselves to see if they were so holy they could throw the first stone. From the oldest to the youngest they all left, leaving Jesus alone with the woman. Jesus asked her, Where are your accusers? She said, There are none. Jesus said, Neither do I accuse you. Go and sin no more. This is the Jesus I know. He has forgiven me sins that in my mind were unreasonable for Him to forgive. The love of Jesus is beyond our comprehension and totally unknown except by revelation of the Lord. Knowing God is not mental knowledge of Him, or arguing theology, or living by rules.
    To know God we must submit to Him. This begins our relationship to Him. When we see His extraordinary love for us, who don't deserve spit, and we ask Him in as Savior and Lord, He accepts us and forgives us, and heals us. God so loved the world that He did not spare His only Son for our sakes, that as many as trust in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. There is no sin you can imagine that Jesus cannot forgive. Repentance is giving up our rebellion against God, and forsaking self rule and submitting to this wonderful God whose love is beyond belief. Truly if people could really see and understand the love of God they would rush to repent and come to Him, or they would rush away in horror. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But if we are honest before God and admit that we have done evil in His sight, and we are willing for Him to change our hearts, and be willing to give up our rebellion and submit to our Lord Jesus Christ, we have done well for ourselves. His great love can change us. Seek the Lord and you will find this true, if you can endure the light, if you can endure the truth, He is worth it all.

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  19. Pshdsa,

    WTF? Go to a Christian blog and rant your nonsense! I don't believe in "The Lord" therefore I am not going to "seek" him. I have never found a belief in a being that does not show himself or show mercy on humans "worth it!"

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