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