Wednesday, June 24, 2009
This is Not You
In further "Synchro-blog" news, I feel like I didn't address this issue in my earlier post so I wanted to do that now. I wanted to share these three images with you. The first two images are of protesters who stood outside the fence at the Grand Rapids Pride festival on June 20th, 2009. The third image is of some similar protesters who stood at the end of the parade route at Lansing Pride just a week earlier. For me, seeing these signs and hearing the things these people were saying through their bullhorns was saddening. I didn't come to Pride because I have any desire to be militant or yell at anyone or "push my lifestyle" on anyone. I came because in my small town, it's hard to find other people who are like me, and sometimes I need that to remind myself that I'm not alone. My "lifestyle" is pretty boring. I go to work, some home, watch The Golden Girls, eat, sleep, play with my cat, watch movies, and read books. That's how I spend most of my time. That I also happen to be in love with a woman is something that certainly makes me stand out in a lot of ways, but when people tell me that they abhor my sinful lifestyle, I have to wonder what they think I DO all day long that's so sinful.
By the same token, I look at these pictures, and I realize that my friends may be very different from me. Some of them disagree very vehemently with the fact that I do indeed love another woman, but regardless of this, MY FRIENDS ARE NOT THE PEOPLE IN THESE PICTURES. Even though we disagree strongly about scripture and how the bible should be interpreted and how it should be applied and what it might or might not be saying, my friends are not the people standing there holding these signs. Too often when we GLBT people complain about Christians, we act as though everyone we're talking about is holding one of these signs and yelling at us through a bullhorn, when in reality, that's not true. We can't ask them to see us as normal people and cry out that they can't put us in a box while at the same time we try to put THEM into a box. It just doesn't work that way. We have to respect them, even if we can't respect some of their views. My friends do this for me. We disagree on a great many things, but I love them, and they love me, and I know this because of their actions. Like the song says, "They'll know we are Christians by our love," and I know that these people love me because they have been there to listen and support and encourage me, and I know it's hard sometimes for them to do that, because they disagree with a lot of what I say. Before I begin to run around demanding acceptance from them, I need to love them even when I disagree with what THEY say. It's difficule (for me and for them) but we have to TRY.
When I was a kid in Vacation Bible School, I learned this song. The refrain goes like this:
"You can have a big box, you can have a little box, but if your god is in the box, your god is very small. You can have a plain box, you can have a fancy box, but if you think that god is in the box, you don't know god at all. you don't know god at all."
I'm smart enough now to at least know that God is never in the box (even when we take great care to fashion a box, with bright edges and narrow definitions and scripture references to back up everything we say, God isn't in that box). I need to stop putting people into that box, too. I wouldn't want them to do that to me.
For those of you who see pictures like the ones at the beginning of this entry and you want to scream and pull your hair out and shout "That's not me!" It's ok. I know it's not you. I know these people don't represent you or your views, and I'll try very hard to keep writing and keep speaking to you with that in mind.