I’ve been on a mission.
And, now, I have a reeeeeeally strong desire to now say, “We’re on a mission from God”, but I won’t because it is totally off base here… It’s just that I love that line from one of the all time best comedy movies – the Blues Brothers. (See bottom of my post for details =)
But, no… my mission was definitely not “from God”… and, it was also pretty futile anyway. I found myself in an all out email war with a good friend of mine. A friend I grew up with… and we are still friends… remarkably… because we have almost nothing in common. This has always been true, but has been amplified the last couple years. She says she was always religious, but I don’t ever remember it being so frequently discussed, or her going to church regularly, until she got married and had a child a few years back. She also use to be Catholic, but has changed to a Presbyterian church. (I think that explains a lot right there. lol ;)
Now, she knows my history… and my feelings about church. We have always been very open with each other, and pride ourselves on the fact that we can agree to disagree… and be friends in spite of our many differences. I try not to get into too deep of religious type debates with any friends, because it doesn’t usually end well. But, she and I seemed to be the exception to this rule – and we frequently did debate hot topics… and we did so amicably.
Well… we did.. . until a few weeks ago, I think. It started when we went out for our birthdays, and at the end of the night ran into a guy that was the son of a co-worker of hers. She seemed to be long lost friends with this kid, and they talked and talked for some time. We walked away with her telling me what a GREAT kid he was… and then she went on to say that she felt bad because he was having some problems. Apparently, he’d had recently told his parents that “he THOUGHT he MIGHT be gay”. Then, this prompted all kinds of issues with his family – his mother disowned him… even though he was such a “GREAT kid”. My friend said she felt bad for him…
I couldn’t help myself… and, I asked her how she really felt about gay people in general. I asked because, I was curious to now how she felt since I knew how religious she was now… and, into bible-studying, etc… and because I knew what church taught ME when I was a kid. They taught me that “gay=sin”… basically… and, I wanted to know how SHE really felt. I guess, I was wondering if “they” had succeeded in “getting to her on this”, and I hoped “they” hadn’t. She always seems like a very NON-judgmental person in the past… and is one of those people that you can’t help but like. I was sort of shocked at her response… even though I half-expected it. My fears were somewhat confirmed – “They” had gotten to her. She told me how while she “had nothing against gay people, BUT that she did believe homosexuality was a sin”.
So – we wound up in a big debate that night, that resulted in my getting somewhat pissed-off/frustrated with her… and probably vice-versa. At the end of the night, I was asking her to please drop it – because it was late, and she was driving… and wouldn’t let it go. In spite of my best efforts, I was really frustrated and getting pissed off.
We apologized to each other the next day, not wanting to be disrespectful or hurtful to each other. We then agreed to have a “friendly” debate via email about this. Well, that lasted for the last month or so. ?? loletinf!
Our debate topics ran rapid. I told her once that she was changing the topic quicker than I could disagree with her! LOL
We started off debating whether being gay is a choice or if you are born that way. And, whether one can “change” being gay? Personally, I couldn’t believe she insisted that she loved this kid that we ran into and had “nothing against gay people”, but she also insisted that ACTING out on those feelings was a big sin. ? She insisted that people could simply choose NOT to be Gay and become “ex-gay” if they had already acted out on their (sinful) homosexual actions. ?? She compared it to a pedophile acting out, or an alcoholic drinking. ?! She explained she believed that it was “okay that he had the feelings – but, not okay that he acted on them”. huh?!?
From there, I think we got into the whole, “love the sinner, not the sin” type of argument. Which in turn led into many other topics that I’m sure neither of us are qualified to debate really, since neither of us ARE gay or really into politics. But that didn’t stop us, and we argued about things like:
– Gay = Sin?
– Can you really change and be “ex-gay”?
– What’s so wrong about being gay anyway?
– AIDS – is it a “gay” disease? Is it a “punishment” from God for gay people??
– Gay Marriage & Gay parents
– James Dobson and Focus on the Family
(She subscribes to his newsletters, and was sending me articles of his to show why she feels the way she does. I, however, think he’s a big jerk.. and a dangerous one at that and sent her back info to back that up.)
– What is “creditable” data?
(She kept using the Bible, and organizations like Exodus, and NARTH – which I rejected. I kept using data and articles from real life gay people telling their stories on line, and articles about how bogus Exodus and NARTH is, and instead quoting things from American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics. She, however, dismissed any data from them, saying data can be twisted and she didn’t believe them any more than I believed the bible.
So where the hell were we going? Still, we argued on…
– What constitutes discrimination?
– What about premarital sex in general and celibacy?
– and the list went on…. and on… and on… with her on the far right wing… and me either out there on the left, or usually in the middle someplace.
What’s really sad, I think…. here we are… having these debates… and on every topic… I am basically taking the stance of, “live and let live”, “who are we to judge”, “love is good, regardless of what form it’s in”…. and I was trying to be realistic, accepting, open and considerate of other human beings feelings, opinions, and rights. And here she is… one of the nicest people you will ever meet… embracing Christianity and telling me how great it is and how much God loves me and we are all his children… but, yet – she is the one believing (what I think are) unacceptable, judgmental, and hateful messages.
I don’t get how can she sit there and schmooze and hug this gay kid when she sees him, telling me what a GREAT kid he is… but, still wholeheartedly believe he is doing something terribly wrong – something he should deserve to rot an eternity in hell for… and, that he can, and SHOULD change in order to get to heaven… or to be a “good Christian”?? It’s just so contradictory to me. ?? But she doesn’t even see it. She insists that she is NOT judging. Huh?
Then… what also sort of set me off, was she kept making comments about how she was ” standing up for what she believes in”. Even if it wasn’t easy. Even if it wasn’t mainstream beliefs. And, sort of implying that she was “going against the grain” to be sticking to her beliefs… and, NOT falling prey to society and their failing standards and ethics… and basically saying that *I* AM just going along with “everyone” and doing what is “easy”. HA!
This was what I said to her regarding that:
“You keep talking about standing up for what you believe, not what everyone else thinks. Do you seriously think that *I* do not do this? Since when haven’t I held up to my own opinions, in SPITE of what others may WANT to hear or think?? Matter of fact, you of all people should know that I’m usually the one you can COUNT on to tell you what I think/believe, and not just tell you what you want to hear. I don’t see your stand on most things as going “against the norm:. On the contrary, I see it fitting in nicely with what most good Christians believe, and with what your church is teaching you, and with what I was taught my whole childhood.
I may be agreeing with some big organizations, or some common belief’s of society – and upcoming LAWS – but, this is based on my own logical conclusions, research, experiences, and gut feelings. Plus, do you think it’s easy to say I don’t really believe the bible is true? Or that I’m agnostic? God forbid, an atheist! Ha! I’m afraid to say that out loud to most people… For fear of them thinking I’m some kind of satanic hellion.. possibly hunting me down with a pitch fork. Seriously, I do not go around advertising that I am agnostic. It’s even hard to admit that we do not go to church to people. You can see the disapproval in their eyes, especially that we are not taking the kids to church. I know a lot more Christians, than I do non-Christians – both in my family, work-place, and circle of friends. So, to argue that you are standing up for what you believe, and make it sound like I am “going with the flow” bothers me, and once again I disagree.”
Well.. We wound up, after several wasted weeks of emails, once again, agreeing to disagree and calling a “truce”. We were going nowhere and just wasting time and flirting with really pissing each other off.
I will always love this friend like a sister. We have been thru a lot together, and I do believe she is a genuine and true friend. I value her and respect her, in spite of the fact that we can’t see eye to eye on almost anything… But, man, it’s tough sometimes to agree to disagree over such controversial topics! And, if all our debating was suppose to convince me in any way shape or form whatsoever that going to church, and bible studying, and being a Christian is the way to go… it didn’t work for me. At all.
And now… back to my original, totally unrelated comment about being on a mission from God… A kind of mission that I’d much rather be on… courtesy of the Blues Brothers… =):