Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Wrong Chord at a Christmas Party

I went to our church's women's study group's Christmas party today.  (Yes, I survived a group!)  I've not been to the study that much simply because my life has been too busy, but it was nice to go today.  We had our study and then a fancy dinner.  It was stunning, gorgeous, perfect food... I made an idea I got off Carrie's blog links - Santa Hat Brownies.  They're simple, but really cute.

What was wrong?  It was a little thing, a wrong note.  And it quietly disturbed me all afternoon.  I may be treading on thin ice here as I know I know people who are in the same boat, and I do not know how they deal with the situation, and I honestly know that I would be totally shaken and struggle to deal with it, too.  But I am either bold or stupid and have some questions... honest questions, wanting to learn with others.... we can ignore it, but it is not going away, so why don't we start talking about it?

A woman was sharing about her daughter who is a lesbian and has been for fifteen years.  This daughter had been to Bible school and all and then left it all and joined the lesbian lifestyle.  The lady shared that because of her daughter's choices, they can not support her lifestyle, so they simply do not see their daughter often.  Then she mentioned that last week, they were in the city (about an hour from us) and they phoned her daughter to meet them in a restaurant since they hadn't seen her in two years.  She arrived with an 18mo. old baby that her partner had given birth to which had both their names.

That was about all to her story.  It was just an illustration of someone they thought was a believer whose lifestyle now proves they never were.

But it disturbed me.  I sat there mulling over what she told me and I was quietly disturbed.

First let me CLEARLY state that I have an immense amount of sympathy for this lady and am heartbroken over what she must face as she grapples with this situation.  It is not easy.  There is no easy way about it.  It is awful.  Embarrassing.  Crushing disappointment of her expected dream of her daughter.  The awfulness of a child turning their back on God.  The embarrassment to say, "my child is lesbian".  I grieve for her.

But I questioned her response.  "I can not support her lifestyle, so we don't have them here and we don't see her often."  She inferred that even when they do see her daughter, they meet elsewhere and refuse to see the daughter's partner.  It was that which bothered me.  I was used to it.  I grew up in the same churches and would have been counseled to make a similar choice.  But now I question that.

Did God turn His back on us when we were sinners?  How is she to learn about God's character if we reject her?  I wonder about the effect of welcoming her daughter - as she is... partner and all - into their home.  Telling her loudly with actions that nothing she can do will change her love for her daughter.  She will break her heart, yes, but she can not stop her love.  Of letting her house be a place that is unashamedly Christian, unquestionably against the lifestyle, but whole-heartedly loving the people.  What if we showed the love God had for us?  What if her daughter and her partner and their baby felt comfortable to come and bake cookies with their mom and the little one grew up calling her "grandma" and loving to be at her house?  No one says that I have to agree with the choices of everyone I love, do they?

Can we not as Christians deeply love even people who have chosen to walk in this awful lifestyle?  Can we not hold our arms and our homes out to them too?  Isn't there a difference between accepting a lifestyle and accepting a person?  Do we best draw people to Christ by rejecting them or by love?

What do you think?  Have you had any experience in this?  I admit I have none, so I am talking without walking.  I have only a brother who has made awful choices in his life.  We battled with some of these questions with him, and in the end chose to continue to be in his life for many years.  The complication with him was that he was not safe around children, and we also had to make the decision that our children are our first priority and were worth a "zero-risk-factor", so we limited our connections with my brother to clearly defined situations.  I don't know that this is the same situation.  Perhaps if there were young children in the house and the adult child was pushy or crude - perhaps that would be different.  But this family had no young children.  No one was at risk from choosing to love.  

I'm still questioning much of how I was taught Christianity, and I am questioning this choice.  To be honest, I've never heard a class taught or a sermon preached on "How to Relate to Your Homosexual Child".  Perhaps we need one.  Maybe we need to start talking about it.  We can stick our heads in the sand and focus all our energy on reaching the lost.... but can we afford to reject the lost in our own families?

1 comment:

junglewife said...

Lots to think about. My brother-in-law is "living an alternative lifestyle" and has been for some time (one of my husband's older brothers.) My mother-in-law was heartbroken when he told her and it took her quite a lot of time to process, but out of all that came the understanding that although she does not support his lifestyle, she still loves him. He is welcome in her house, although he lives quite far away, he still comes for regular visits. I don't know if his partner would be welcome at her house, if he had a long-term partner, which he doesn't. When he is around, I do not feel any condemnation from the family towards him, only love, although he knows we all do not agree with his lifestyle.

There is another family member who has recently told her parents she is a lesbian (which I will not disclose exactly what the relationship to me is on here because I am not sure how public the knowledge is). I know that the parents have gone through a grief process but again, have expressed unconditional love towards their daughter even though they don't agree with her chosen lifestyle.

The part I struggle with a bit is acceptance of a "partner." In my mind, I might think "okay, the partner should be invited to family functions if they are in more of a "long-term" relationship. Don't just invite your boyfriend or girlfriend over unless it's more "serious." But do we draw the line at homosexual relationships? What about family members who are not walking with the Lord and invite their (heterosexual) boy/girlfriend over, when everyone knows they are living together or sleeping together? Is that okay? Even if the heterosexual couple is not necessarily "long-term" or "serious"? Hmm, lots to think about.

Sorry, I'm just kind of rambling here, I really agree with your post. Grace and love in writing is one thing. Putting into practice is another. But, it is most likely the most important thing we will do - loving others and being gracious to them! After all, where would we be if God had not shown grace to us?