I have not chosen the easy way.
Following Jesus to the place where I affirm and advocate for my transgender and gay and bisexual and lesbian and queer friends has been one of the most challenging and at times painful things I have ever done. It certainly hasn’t been a “feel-good” path.
And I am not where I am because I don’t really know the arguments against same-sex marriage. A member of my family literally wrote the book on those arguments, and I made them myself for many years. Sincerely, and with a desire to be both faithful and loving.
I am also not here because I think I’m smarter than the Scriptures. I’ve sought a good education in the Bible and theology – from a highly respected conservative seminary – and my respect for the gift God has given us in the Bible has only grown. So has my awareness of the assumptions we bring to it, and I want to do my best to engage what’s been given to us on its own terms rather than mine or anyone else’s.
I do believe I know things now I didn’t know before. I’ve met people, loved them, and lived life alongside them. I’ve realized that many things I once believed are only partial truths – there’s more. And I know there’s more than I know now. The more I learn, the more aware I become of how much I don’t know.
Life was simpler before, and easier. But also smaller.
There are many people I love on the path I chose to leave, and I know they don’t understand. The thirty year old me wouldn’t have understood either. I would’ve thought I understood – that this me was rebellious or at least deceived. That this me had to have lost the faith to stay faithful. There was no other explanation. Looking at where I am now, I would have thought I must have sacrificed truth to emotion.
I get it. I do. Which doesn’t mean it hurts any less to be judged in that way.
I wish those who do not agree or understand could trust my love for Jesus and my relationship with him. I wish they (you?) could continue to trust the work of God you’ve seen in my life all along, even if you can’t understand how it’s brought me here. I wish you could trust the fruit of the Spirit in me – the increasing love, joy, peace, faith. The shalom – wholeness and integration – that has blossomed. The way that as love has grown and expanded in me, fear has diminished.
I wish you could see, but I understand why you can’t.
Just know, it wasn’t the easy way.
2 thoughts on “Taking Another Way”
I love you Jennifer since You were a babe in your mother’s arms….and I will love you even though I don’t understand why you have taken your path into a different direction. Going through my battle with the liver disease, the kidney cancer, and the debilitating arthritis that put me in a wheelchair and a walker, I have had to come to terms with my faith, doubt, but most of all my newfound comfort in God’s Word and in His every-minute reassurance. So when I hear you talking about your newfound discovery, I sort of understand your admission of turning loose from some things you once believed but have embraced new and different paths. If you have known me at all, you should know that I was not always comfortable with the Biblical truths as preached to me; however, I also know that there are some things we can disagree about and still love and accept each other. However, the older I get and the more I have gotten into the Word MYSELF (not as preached to me); I have finally learned that I get enough of the truth to serve my Lord, be a witness, a good wife, a good mother, a good friend, etc. Sometimes we can listen to so many people’s ideas about the Bible that we truly lose our perspective….I am 70 years old and I know way too little about the Word; I have the Holy Spirit within me since I was 15, but it has taken a lot of good and bad things in my life to make me realize that things I took for granted and that I needed were a gift from God…that He gave me enough strength to believe, enough wisdom to discern, and enough power to share His message and love. When I allow certain “things” into my heart and mind, I tend to lose my way….I have to come back to His Word, fall (metaphorically) at His feet and start all over again….Pentatronix has a song “Allelujah” on one of their albums that I play over and over again…its words are simple but they pentetrate my heart. I must praise God and I learn how to do that by reading His Word. You may doubt the meaning of the Word, but you cannot deny its importance in the lives of believers….even if you have chosen only to believe some things and not others. The kinds of people (and we all are sinners) that you have chosen to defend may or may not have accepted Christ’s death as payment for our sins (salvation simply stated), they have chosen a life style that I believe does not glorify God and His Word….Romans 12 is very clear about God’s view of the kind of lifestyle they live. If your concern for them is to help them find Jesus, I think God would be pleased that you have chosen to love them and help them find salvation; however, Jenn, I say this without condescension…if you have chosen to accept their lifestyles and support that lifestyle, you may come to realize you have done more harm than good….to reinforce their life style could keep them from ever finding salvation. I don’t mean you need to browbeat them or say or do awful things (Jesus ate with publicans and sinners to help them and he did it in love…just as you say you are doing….and that is quite admirable and I am sure hard). I cannot judge you, Jenn. You know your motives, your heart, your relationship with God. You are very intelligent…and that has its blessing and its curse….sometimes you can dig too deeply…it is sort of like that book “Everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten.” The simpleness of the Word is unappealing to some very smart people….God didn’t give you that blessing of intelligence to hurt you, but Satan would love for that gift to be used in the wrong way…As C. S. Lewis says in “The Screwtape Letters,” destroying a Christian’ s usefulness is so much more fun!” So, my dear Jen, I will continue to pray for you as I have been. My prayer is that you will not become a martyr for martyr’s sake; that you will search the Scripture diligently; that you get your wisdom and strength from God, and forgive those whose platitudes and beliefs you abhor…..I love you…..Aunt Pat
I love you, too, Aunt Pat, and I’m grateful for your faith and your relationship with God even as I hate the illness you’ve had to live with for so long.
While I understand how you, in reading Scripture, see it as you do, I’ve come to see it’s meaning and intentions differently. Could I be wrong? Yes, and if I am I trust the Holy Spirit’s work in the lives of these friends, just as I trust his work in your life and in mine. We all have such different journeys with him.
And I’ve see the abundant fruit of the Spirit’s work in the lives, relationships, and ministries of so many LGBTQ folk. I cannot deny his work, and had to choose not to call unclean what God has declared clean.
I love you, and am praying for strength and healing and blessing for you and Uncle Jerry!