You Won’t Believe What These Christians Did


I got up at pretty early to take mom to surgery and so my eyes are blurry and tired. I’m only going to type a few lines tonight because I want to get up and get to the hospital in the morning and I need to get some sleep.

I often take religion and religious folk to task in my blog. To my way of thinking, organized religion has played a major part in the oppression of most every group that has ever been oppressed. No matter which major world religion you mention, if I know much at all about it, I can tell you where I disagree with at least some of its tenets. I’ve especially taken to task Christianity and in particular The Church of Christ because that’s the religion I grew up in and because of that church’s teachings on homosexuality, I got damaged. My (finally) ranting about that after years being polite and respectful just so as not to offend people has actually been an important part of my healing and has made me stronger in my own faith. I’m so happy I’ve let go of having to “look spiritual” as I sort through so of the more dire issues that have (and do still) face me. And if a religion isn’t strong enough to withstand criticism and analysis, to me it’s not a very strong religion at all. I have gotten mad at religion and it has brought me closer to God. Ironic huh?

So why do I bring up religion tonight? Because I spent most of the day with some people from the Church of Christ where my parents attended up until when Dad started to decline rapidly. Actually during the weeks leading up to my dad’s death, they were often around—helping to look after him when I needed to take Mom to the doctor, bringing food without even asking, or just stopping by to check if we needed anything and offer some kind words. Today, shortly after they took Mom in for surgery, the minister, George showed up. He came in the room and hugged my neck. We had a good chat for a few minutes before he left to look in on other sick folk.  I talk openly and freely with George about my begin gay and what that has meant for me personally and spiritually. He has never made me feel unloved or unwanted because I’m gay. I believe that he can see that I am square with the Creator and that I’ve “done my work” around it all. When Adam and I were together and we would visit Alabama and go to church with my folks, George would greet Adam as warmly as he would have greeted my wife had I married a woman.

A few minutes after George left, four more friends from the church came. Ralph, Peggy, Ted, and Chuck stayed by me until new came that Mom had come through the surgery well and all looked hopeful. During the hours-long procedure, the conversation in the waiting room turned political. Since at least one of the parishioners seemed to be pretty politically conservative and I’m a little bit Left of Jesus and Karl Marx, you can imagine that we didn’t all agree on all subjects. But the conversations (even when it approached debate) were mutually respectful and courteous. Although LGBTQ rights were never the central topic of the discussion, I (as is my strict policy) did not avoid talking about my sexuality and alluded to it freely as it fit the discussion. I can tell you (especially some of the more liberal among you) that you would be surprised how forward-thinking some of these good people are and you can tell that they are constantly challenging their own faith and applying it in a practical way to important issues in the headlines today. As much as some of my city-dwelling, bohemian, revolutionary, anarchist, queer, poetic friends in the city resist being stereotyped, I can tell you that this group of Southern, Conservative, past-50, Christians did not fit all the stereotypes that are usually heaped on them either!

After the doctor came in to give us the good news about Mom’s procedure, I cried a little bit. It was only then that I realized how scared I had been deep inside. I love my mom so much and I want her with us for a long time more. Our friends from the church were an immeasurable comfort to me and to my brother Chad today.

When I’d mopped up my few tears and our friends all stood to leave. Someone suggested we all say a gratitude prayer for the good outcome to Mom’s surgery. We stood in a circle and held hands to pray there in the waiting room. There was only one other man in the waiting room who wasn’t part of our group. He was there for a loved one too. I asked him if he wanted to join our prayer. He said, “I was hoping you would ask!” As I stood there holding the hands of my sweet friend Peggy on the left and my brother Chad on the right, I could feel the love of the Creator flowing from one hand to the next and the circle was actually aglow with the power of Love. I don’t intend to stop pointing out where religion gets it wrong. Children are being hurt and that is definitely where I draw the line. But if I’m going to call out where they get it wrong, it is only fair that I point out when they get it right and let me tell you that I have spent the day with a group of people who demonstrate the very best of what it means to be a Christian.

See y’all tomorrow.

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