Monday, September 24, 2007

Blessed are the peacemakers

My husband points me to a recent entry on the blog of Fuller Theological Seminary President Richard Mouw:

I gave a talk to a good-sized audience on a large university campus, on the subject of civility. The folks who attended were mainly from campus ministry groups, many of them evangelical. There had been some controversy over “culture wars” issues on that campus in recent months, and they asked me to address questions about how we can best deal with public controversies in a Christian spirit. One point that I made with a special emphasis was the need to talk with our opponents face-to-face, whenever possible, before going public with our criticisms.

Afterward the leaders of one of the evangelical campus groups came up to talk with me. They told me how they had run ads in the campus newspaper, stating the evangelical understanding of sexual fidelity, with some mention of their opposition to same-sex relationships. One of the gay-lesbian groups had countered with an angry published response, and they had gone back and forth a bit, trading letters to the editor. “It has gotten a bit out of hand,” they said. “Realistically, from your point of view, how should we have handled it differently?”

Read Mouw's advice and the outcome of the situation here. If more Christians followed suit, would there even be a "culture war" raging today?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

September madness

Sorry for the slow blogging recently. All month I've had multiple projects going on, which I'm polishing off one by one. I had to prepare for a women's Bible study which I taught at church Friday of last week. I finished writing a 14 page paper and turned it in yesterday. Now I have less than two weeks to finish preparing a three-lecture series for my church's women's retreat coming up Oct. 4-6. I'm feeling surprisingly good this morning, considering. But in about ten days I'll be running on fumes.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"I've stood around too long"

Why are these two straight, high-school seniors wearing pink? To intimidate school bullies, of course. Read their story here.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

James McGreevey explains life in the closet

Former governor James McGreevey, in his Washington Post article "A Prayer for Larry Craig," describes how the secrecy and dishonesty of life in the closet destroyed his self-worth and psyche from the inside out.

Everything and everyone told me it was wrong, evil, unnatural and shameful. You decide: I'll change it, I'll fight it, I'll control it, but, simply put, I'll never accept it. You then attempt to place "it" in a metaphorical closet, keep it separate from open daily life and indulge it only in dark, secret places.

The danger of this decision is the implicit shame it carries. I was convinced I was worth less than my straight peers. I was at best inauthentic, and the longer I went without amending that dishonesty, the more ashamed I felt. And the third shame, for me, was my behavior. From the time in high school when I made up my mind to behave in public as though I were straight, I nonetheless carried on sexually with men.

How do you live with this shame? How do you accommodate your own disappointments, your own revulsion with whom you have become? You do it by splitting in two. You rescue part of yourself, the half that stands for tradition, values and America, the part that looks like the family you came from, and you walk away from the other half the way you would abandon something spoiled, something disgusting. This is a false amputation, because the other half doesn't stop existing. When I decided to closet my desire, I also denied the possibility of life as a healthy, integrated gay.

Whenever I hear Christians say that their solution for homosexuality is to "keep it in the closet,"I think about the pain and psychological contortions people like Mr. McGreevey have suffered through--which Senator Craig has apparently still not found his way out of.

Christians talk endlessly about the sinfulness and revulsion of homosexuality. But the gospel teaches that the only sin that is more repulsive than "sinning" is being dishonest about it before God and others. Whatever our views about the morality of homosexuality may be, we can surely all agree that it is spiritually unhealthy and morally wrong for people to deceive themselves--and others--about their struggles. By creating a church environment in which we castigate and ostracize people who do come out of the closet--who are merely seeking to salvage their own dignity and sanity--we are guilty of betraying the gospel of Jesus Christ himself, who calls all sinners, whether straight or gay, to come into the light of his truth.