Monday, May 7, 2012
Who told you that you were naked?
These questions surface in the aftermath of a funeral for my neighbor, a sweet lady who I really didn't know very well despite living next door for my entire life. We don't always know the people who we are close to, in proximity at least. The lack of intimacy is no new thing.
And yet, perhaps the fundamental portion of a funeral, especially a funeral held in a church, is to remind us of the intimate relationship we have with our Creator - or for those who do not believe, He which the church believes created us.
As I sat in this church, the first church I've been inside in some time, perhaps since my home church - the one in which I was born, baptized as an infant, confirmed as a jr. high student - told me that I was not welcome anymore, I wondered how I could say those words, sing those songs, believe the creeds and pray the prayers being so unwelcome in God's House. For the first time in years, I'd felt again at home, and yet every word from my mouth in song, prayer, and every word to my ears in preaching and teaching and exposition all came with the taint of doubt and omissions.
Sexual orientation is more than a phase in a person's life. It is more than a portion of his or her day. It flows into the core of who we are. And so, while I knew that I was attracted to young men as a young man, I didn't fully integrate that feeling into the definition of homosexuality. It was just a portion of who I was in the mix of who I was, and I felt at home and welcome in God's House. Now, as a man who understands himself better, who has come to see that my sexual orientation is such a part of who I am, and who has heard the slings and arrows of hate delivered by those who claim to be christian, I realize that I am unable to show God my true self. I am unable to be intimate with my creator and be me. I must somehow hide my orientation, my doubt in the church's teachings, my very self. I could not be me in the one place where being who we are should never be denied.
Fundamental Christians believe it is all coming to an end, some believe soon. As a Star Trek fan, I believe in a far reaching existence of man kind. So, perhaps I am somewhat disingenuous when I believe that there is bound to be a great amount of reckoning to come when God and his most ardent "followers" come face to face. For, I am now living the painful realization that those who proclaim love have somehow managed to create in me a doubt and discomfort, seated entirely in defense of my spirit. Surely I'm not alone, and surely there will come questions from most on high for those who stand at the door and let none pass. Until then there are so many like me, raised in the church who now feel unwelcome, forced to hide who we are like Adam and Eve in the Genesis story.