On PBS Newshour last night, Jeff Chu was being interviewed about his book called “Does Jesus Really Love Me? – A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.” Chu was raised and remains a devout Baptist, but he did not want to leave the church as it is a key part of what makes him whole. Chu married his male partner, but his mother refused to attend the service and according to an article by the NY Times’ Dan Savage, “cries herself to sleep every night.” So, his book is about his pilgrimage (a fitting word) across America to find out how others feel about his right to be gay.
This was a fitting story to end the week, as two other news items supporting the LGBT populations occurred. The first is Senator Lisa Murkowski, a member of the Republican caucus, announced that she is third GOP senator to support same-sex marriage. The second is the news that Exodus International will be shutting its doors. Alan Chambers, the executive director of Exodus noted that their efforts to convert gays or people with homosexual inclinations into heterosexuals was not successful. He even offered an apology for the pain and anguish they have caused their clientele and families. Below is a link of an ABC News article on their announcement:
Chu noted in his interview that he did not feel comfortable becoming an atheist or agnostic as he loved the Lord and the bible gives him great comfort. His journey was to find out why some people are told to ostracize others who don’t fit in with their understanding of the bible. I have shared the story of overhearing a conversation between two Lesbians last spring when North Carolina voted to reiterate the state position against same-sex marriage. When one asked the other if her family had reached out to console her, she said “my family has disowned me and won’t talk with me.”
I have made these points before, but let me be crystal clear on my feelings about this topic. As a Christian, married father of three, I detest bigotry from the pulpit. Jesus said to treat others like you want to be treated. He made no caveats about whether they were LGBT. He made no caveats about whether they had a different faith, ethnicity or race. He made no caveats if they disagreed with you politically. The bible may be inspired by God, but it was written by men, imperfect men (gender intended). It was not written in English and has been reinterpreted and refined in each of its interpretations. So, men’s biases are flavored into the document. To me the Golden Rule, which appears in variations in other religious texts, trumps everything. Whether you are an Atheist, Jew, Muslim or Christian, if you follow the Golden Rule, we will live in a better place.
The other key point is this is your child. I am not perfect and neither are my children. Yet, I love them no matter what. Your child has a brain and will do things that serve his or her passions and interests. You hope your child will heed your lessons on being a good person and following the Golden Rule. But, if your child chooses to go down a different path than you did or would, that is the choice your child must make. It breaks my heart that Chu’s mother cries herself to sleep and misses the chance to love her child. I hope the two of them can find some common ground based on their love for each other. The same holds true for the young Lesbian (and her parents) I overheard last spring.
Life is too short to hold onto bigotry and hatred. It will eat at you. Recent studies have shown that folks who give more of themselves to others actually live longer. To me there is no question they live a more purposeful life. But, especially with your children, do not let your opinions cause you to lose your love for them. There is still time to make amends. You cannot change past comments or maltreatment. But, for your own sake and the sake of your child, please reach out and find that person again. You will not regret it. What would Jesus do? Jesus would reach out with open arms. That is what it says in the bible. And, yes Jeff, Jesus does really love you and me too, even with my many faults.