People Shouldn't Have to Wait for a Religion...A Facebook friend of mine describes his religion on his fb profile as, "people shouldn't have to wait for a religion to tell them to be kind to their neighbors."
Pretty earth shattering stuff, huh? Not really, obviously, but it's amazing how many "religious" people out there seem to ignore the "being kind to your neighbor" advice, even though it's a basic tenant of their faith.
I've been meaning to write for a while now about a cousin of mine. I don't want to lump her in with the quote above, because she honestly is one of the nicest, most kind people I know. But, she just can't seem to get over the gay issue.
It's palpable when she's around J--she's cordial to him, but not overly nice. Not like she is with the rest of the family. I'm not even sure she realizes she does it, but like I said, the gay thing is a real issue for her, and while we haven't spoken directly on the subject, I know where she stands. And honestly, our relationship isn't the same.
It's not that she's a bad person. She's a devout Christian (I'd hesitate to call her evangelical, because I don't know how she'd describe herself, so let's leave it at "devout" for now), and her faith and religion direct her life for herself and for her family. That's great. It's admirable. But sometimes, it's frustrating because, while admirable, it seems to limit her emotional connections to those she doesn't agree with religiously.
A few months back I posted on my Facebook page my disappointment that so-called "Christians" decided to use lies and falsehoods to fight against gay marriage. In her comment, rather than addressing the the "Christian organization" I was talking about actually did lie to deceive the public, she asked me if I still considered myself a Christian. Weird response. But, I went for it.
I said, of course, that I still am a Christian, but my frustration lies in the way in which some Christian groups (often very prominent Christian groups and leaders) will go to any lengths, including committing their own sins to fight against gay people). I went on to detail where my frustration came from and how hurtful I found the entire situation to gays in general, especially regarding how often I found it to push gay people away from Christianity. Then I linked to my blog (you know, this one you're reading ;-) and told her that if she was interested in finding out where I was coming from, she could certainly come here to see me lay out the issues I was referencing.
And a week later I got a response. It thanked me for taking the time to write it, said she was busy, and that when she got some time she would read my blog and respond to my points.
A couple of months pass and nothing. More nothing. And again, nothing.
It's hurtful, in a way. Not just because I was putting myself ou there and laying out my personal feelings to someone that I knew could respond to them negatively. Not just because I was hoping to make a connection on a deeper level than, "I love you, but...", but more because rather than take the time to read where I was coming from--how I got to the conclusions I've arrived at--she just decided that she was right and my issues weren't really worth looking into. Or maybe they were worth it if she ever found the time, and she never did. Although, I'm not sure there's really much of a difference.
And maybe that's wrong with so many Christians that I complain about. Not to imply that my cousin is one in the same or that she is using animus for gays to further her own agenda (like I said, she's a wonderful person and animus and hostility are not part of her nature). But more to say that too many Christians out there aren't interested in challenging their own perceptions. To her, it seems more important to be "right" about this whole gay thing than it does to sit down and actually really connect with a gay person (even her own family) to try and see and feel and wonder where he is coming from. Listening to my issues would mean she might have to analyze her own. Challenge herself. It's the easy way out, I'll admit that. But the easy way out isn't really what I'm looking for.