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 :-).