"And, having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they went home another way." Matthew 2:12.
[SIDE NOTE: In my defense, when I wrote way back in 2008 that I was "as straight as humanly possible," that was intended as an inside joke for my friend Andrea, because it is something she used to say about me in college. I knew that she would read the post and she knew that I was attracted to women. I had no idea at that point that my blog would last so long or that it would reach such a wide audience!]
Since coming out, I have (also fairly quietly) been on a lot of dates with both women and men, which has been pretty fun. I am still single, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I still have things to learn from being single than my orientation. I am loved by many and I have lots of relationships that are important to me. I know that I would not have the same energy to put into those relationships if I were focused on a primary partner.
As I mentioned in my report, there was some controversy at the World Conference when the the epistle by Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns was taken down. The first time I heard about it was when it was raised in early worship. My immediate impulse was to leave the room, because I didn't want to deal with other people's emotions around the topic, but I knew that walking out could be misconstrued. Instead, I sat down on the floor for the rest of worship, trying to stay grounded.
Although the issues came up throughout the day, Friends mostly addressed them in their home groups, which I missed. But that night, as I was waiting in line for dinner, a Friend asked me if I had a good Bible verse to respond to the passages saying that homosexuality is a sin.
When people ask me this question, my immediate response is no: Proof-texting doesn't work. For anyone. Pulling out another Bible verse to respond to attacks is never going to change anyone's position.
After giving it a little more thought, I said that I only had one verse:
"By their fruits you will know them." Matthew 7:20.This is not original to me, but I am not sure where I got it (possibly Liz O?). The point is that it is only by waiting to see what kind of fruit these relationships bear that we will know whether they are good or not. The Bible also tells us that
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23.It takes a while, but relationships do bear fruit. And we can be changed by them; I know this experientially.
- It is because I had friends in high school who were out as gay and lesbian that I came to believe that their love was not a sin.
- It is because I have worshiped and worked with transgender people that I understand a little better the struggles that they face.
- It is because I had brave examples of how to live faithfully as a bisexual that I was able to be honest about my own sexuality.
- It is also because I have relationships with people who honestly believe that homosexuality is a sin that I know those people are doing their best to live Godly lives.
And then, suddenly, you see people who formerly voted for an exclusive definition of marriage at Williams-Sonoma, buying something off the registry for their friend's daughter's lesbian wedding. Not because they have changed what they believe, but because they love their friend and her daughter, and they want to celebrate with them.