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.


  1. Hey Lillian, I was wondering who was going to post up those protest photos... we suck, that's not me, but they're in some ways part of me, and I know we need to be a part of somehow reaching back out the other way... somehow loving even protesters we'd rather not associate ourselves with.

  2. Hey Lon. I think my problem is that whenever the media wants "the conservative perspective on homosexuality" they run for the guy with the sign and the bullhorn, because he's loud and he's available, so people never get a view of any conservative Christians who aren't going to come at us with bullhorns and signs. We see people as "sides of an issue" sometimes and forget to see them as people. Even Fred Phelps has a family and a life and he had a lot of struggles that led him to where he is today, and when we judge him for the (often despicable) things he does, we sometimes forget to love him. I know I do. It's hard to love people when they're throwing rocks at us, but that's what Jesus did, so it's what we need to try and do, too. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I can remember this one time I had the opportunity to be on the Dr. Phil Show. I wonder what people would have thought of me if I had actually went on the show. lol

    It was an episode that I believe Dr. Phil's producers wanted some kind of drama that I wasn't up for and so in that one or two second phone call I said to the other person over the phone,

    "I'm not so sure the message I have would be accurately presented enough and so I'm not sure if this way will be as affective as I'd like it to be..."

    I probably would have looked like someone yelling into a bullhorn and that isn't what I'm about.

    I get really saddened that many people think that the pictures you posted above represent the whole Christian community and say, "see, that's the church!" but it also saddens me yet even more deeply that this is how people represent Jesus. It grieves me and I am so sorry for the abuse you've had to suffer at the hands of people who called themselves Christ followers.

  4. Hi - thanks for your comment on my blog. I enjoyed reading your posts as well. I think this synchro blog thing was a great idea, and I hope and pray christians and glbt folks can continue to find common ground, as you so eloquently state on your blog.



  5. This is a very tough topic to be blogging on. As I write my blog I often find my heart and my mind weeping because of the struggles we have. It is great that all of these people can be strong and be able to express our opinions. It is also great the God has provided us a venue that is safe and unrestricted. I think of Iran and the craziness happening there.

  6. Thank you for posting on my blog yesterday. I appreciate it!

    As for these men in these pictures, I just have to wonder if they have any openly gay friends in their life. I should think not, for if they did, they might not make such open displays of bigotry and hatred as this. These images make me sad, particularly the bottom one...

    Thanks for your words.