Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Evangelicals and Gays Part II

Last night we met with the evangelical group once more; it's a monthly thing now.

And get this: This bridge-building meeting of evangelicals and gays was held in the home of a lesbian couple, the same home in which Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the LDS church, was born and raised. He was actually born on the floor in the room adjacent to the one in which we were all sitting. I have to doubt he ever thought that a lesbian couple would ever be sleeping in his parent's bed room, or that a bunch of gays and evangelicals would be socializing in his living room, some drinking a glass of wine no less :-).

Anyway, I have to say there's a soft spot in my heart for evangelicals--there's something about their form of faith that comes off as charming and cheery in a way I don't often see. All that aside, these people we've been meeting with seem to be really good, charitable and friendly people, and I've enjoyed building these relationships both before and after we get down to moderated business.

Simply, it's a shame there's this wall between the gay community and them, and that's what we were there to feel our way around (or to find if there is a way around).

Last night actually seemed more tense than the first meeting. I think the problem was that we had such a good first meeting. There was more friendship there to break, and we were to be discussing the touchy topic of the use of the Bible and God's view of homosexuality.

The simple fact is they believe, as a matter of faith, homosexuality is a sin.

It seems at this point, though, we became three groups: 1. the evangelicals, 2. the christian gays and lesbians, and 3. the agnostic/atheist gays and lesbians. Group 1 and 2 are concerned about reconciling matters of scripture, and I can certainly see how important that could be to them. Much of the meeting was spent working through that centuries long debate.

Group 3, though, well, I'll just speak for myself. I don't much see the need in going over all that. Not that I won't with some hope; goodness knows I've weathered many arguments over Leviticus and Romans. It just seems to be a problem too big to be solved in a lifetime. It's a matter of faith, and there's no proof to be given.

I was aiming--I don't want to say lower--but elsewhere.

I told them I don't mind if they think homosexuality is a supernatural sin. I don't; I've had plenty of experience being friends (and family) with folks who think that way. The preacher there was reluctant to go where the scriptural conversation was going, knowing it could turn friendship towards hostility, but I wanted him to know his faith would not be held against him by me. I only care that doesn't translate into incivility or practical action against my family in politics or on the street. I care that he doesn't debase our family to our children, but, being adults, I'm sure we can disagree on this and still get along. I only care that the faith doesn't end in him treating me in way he'd not want to be treated.

We ran out of time, but that is the question I'm left with for next month. How do we get from A to C without agreeing on B? Is it possible?

Anyway, these are very nice people and I'm glad to get to know them. We are both minorities here, though, and both have trouble with a larger group. I wish the LDS church was open to such meetings and we could have, say, a bishop come to something like this, just as we had the head of an evangelical ministry there last night. Hey, we could even offer them a tour of Hinckly's childhood home :-).


Keri said...

After the conversation I, too, think we should focus on the "group 3" senario and just see if we can find a place where we can all "get along".
I knew this meeting with be harder than the last and maybe it was just the Hinckley energy spewing from room to room.
Maybe you should host it next time. Who was born in your house? :)

Scot said...

Hey, Keri, you found me :-).

Forgive the name, but have to avoid the threats, you know.

"Who was born in your house? :)"

Our home is completely ghost and birth free as far as I can tell. I'll ask my other half, as I think it'd could be good to mix up the territory. I was also wondering if any of them would like to have it at their home.

chosha said...
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chosha said...

I don't think the middle ground is that hard to find. You disagree with their beliefs and you're not trying to punish them for that difference in belief by curbing their civil liberties...see how easy that was? Don't enshrine religious belief in the law. Respect the right of another person to believe even the opposite of what you believe. What am I saying that can't be done?

Jesus (as portrayed in the Bible) didn't give a hard time to people who didn't believe. He only ripped into people who purported to be believers (or worse still leaders in the church) and then didn't live up to their claims. He railed on hypocrites, not 'gentiles'. Christianity should be a tolerant religion.

And naturally the respect needs to go the other way. At least these evangelicals sound willing to find middle ground. They actually sound really nice.