Sunday, May 10, 2009

Even God Stayed Abraham's Hand

For obvious reasons, I don't share a lot of the specific details of the work I do, because a lot of it involves personal stories of people.  But permit me to share a composite story of couples I'll be marrying in the next several months - or, to be more precise, let me share the words I would like to share with the composite parents of these couples.

Dear moms and dads of gay and lesbian kids,

I understand that your children's coming out is difficult for you.  You have had hopes and dreams for your child that you now grieve.  Your image of your child may now be changed, even shattered, as you give in to negative media portrayals of gay men and lesbians and apply them to your beloved children - most of whom do not fit such stereotypes.  

Your own dreams for yourself have have ended.  Your hopes of being a grandparent in the "traditional" way are over, and I am not unmindful of how you see your child's former boyfriend or girlfriend (or former spouse) with children of their own, and how your heart longs for that child to have been yours.  You have had to give up a future you envisioned for your own self.  I can only imagine what this must be like, but I can well imagine your grief and sorrow.

I also know that many of you have religious views which do equate homosexuality with sin.  I could go on and on about our different theologies, but this isn't really the time or place (though if you would permit one suggestion, I'd recommend you looking at Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? by Mollenkott and Scanzoni).

Some of you assume that your gay son and his partner are only in it for the sex and physical attraction, because that's all that you know about gay men.  And since you would not permit your son to be openly affectionate with his beloved (you don't want him to "flaunt" his sin, after all), you have placed him in a catch-22 where he cannot be who he truly is when he is with you, and yet you judge him for what he presents to you because of your own limitations.  

Some of you assume that your lesbian daughters are in a "phase" that they will outgrow.  You may even like your daughter's partner, but you just hope she will be the maid of honor at your daughter's wedding to a man.  Again, you can't permit her to be her true self in front of you, so you have a distorted view of who she is and how she "lives as a lesbian."

Yet, you have raised your children to live with integrity, to live lives that are true to who God has made them to be.  You have raised them to be truthful, honest, and true.  Now, in trusting you with the truth about who they are and who they love, they have chosen truth over lies, integrity over guilt, faithfulness over deception.  So, why are you punishing them for doing exactly what you have raised them to do?

Let me ask you: is this really what you want?  Is this the kind of relationship you want with your child?  Would you truly prefer to have your children lie to you, day after day, by living in a heterosexual marriage that does not meet their needs nor the needs of their partner?  Would you prefer your child to lie to his or her spouse - is that the sort of life you want for your child-in-law?

Your child has a beloved - a wonderful companion who lights up the eyes of your child, who fills your child's heart with love, who shows grace and compassion, who tends to your child's needs and deepest longings, who above all loves your child!  Your child has a companion who shares hopes and dreams for the future, who "completes them" in the way you have always hoped for your child.  And you are missing out on seeing this life.  

I feel sorry for your children, who have parents that don't understand or accept them.  But I also feel sorry for you, because you are missing out on seeing who your child truly is, and all the joy that fills your child's life.  You are the one who is losing out.

Is this what you want?  Do you truly want to sacrifice your children on the altar of doctrinal purity, societal norms, or your own selfish dreams for their lives?  Please remember that in the story of Isaac's binding to the altar by his father, at the final moment God stayed his hand.  The point of the story was not the sacrifice itself, but the willingness to do so.  And you have already demonstrated your willingness to sacrifice your child on your self-made altars.  Perhaps, may I be so bold as to say so, perhaps this letter is the voice of God saying, "Do not lay your hand on the child, or do anything to him [her]."

And you who are Christians may say, "Okay, fine, Abraham was spared the grief of sacrificing a child, but God gave up God's own son and let him be sacrificed," let me say to you: are you God?  Are you better than Abraham?  Do you really want to go there?  Is that really what you think God is asking of you?

Please.  You are not that special, that faithful, that important.

Sorry.  That was not very nice.  What I really mean to say is, please, please, please, do not wait until the final moment to let God's hand stay your sacrifice.  Do not sacrifice any more precious time not knowing your child.  

If you could see what I see, you would know that your child is deeply in love with this chosen companion, and your child is deeply and well-loved by this same companion.  You would see eyes full of deep and true affection, hearts full of love, lives full of grace.  You would see the fruits of the Spirit alive and powerful in their relationship, God at work in their midst.  You would see your child living in truth and integrity, living in faith that God has made them and will be with them now and forever.  You would see everything you hoped for your child, save for the gender of your child's partner.  Is that really more important to you than the life of your child?

Please, for the love of God and all that God has made, for the love God gives to families and for the love you still have in your heart for your child, in the name of all that is holy to you and to me, please, see your child as I see your child, see your child as God sees your child.  And love him.  Love her.  Love them.


Lucky Fresh said...

Well Done, LG!

Are you going to mail it to them? Maybe with the tiny snarky part taken out?

With children's permission, of course.

LiturgyGeek said...

LF, no, definitely not. That's just asking for triangulation. I hope that of the folk I marry, some parents will overcome their resistance and start to see what I see.