Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The Letter I Actually Wrote
Dear Mom & Dad,
I love you. I’m sorry this separation happened last weekend. It hurt to spend my favorite holiday away from my family. I hope you are all ok.
I don’t know if you understand how much or why, but your words really hurt me on Thursday and Friday. I know you don’t approve of my relationship with Nicki, but the way you communicated that was very hurtful. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but I've tried to be as inoffensive as possible about our relationship. There are plenty of times I've asked Nicki to stay in the car when I was in your house. I don’t remember ever showing her physical affection in your house. I understand and try to respect your opinion while I’m there. I thought she was welcome with obvious conditions, and I thought I respected those conditions. Did I miss something?
Mom, you said you really wanted to discuss this with me when I first told you. I think you both should learn and talk about it, but not with me. I take every objection personally, because it’s me we’re discussing. If you were to discuss this with others, I think it would be beneficial for you and not hurt me or jeopardize our relationship so much. Have you read “Love Is An Orientation” by Andrew Marin? That book helps people understand how to love people who are different without drawing theological boundaries for them. Or Justin Lee’s statement from the Gay Christian Network about being in a relationship. Benjamin Moberg’s blog is full of helpful resources for people who are still trying to figure things out. There's even a conference for Christian parents of homosexual children. Please go read and talk with those people. I can’t answer the questions you want to ask.
You tell me that you “accept” but don’t “approve” of my relationship with Nicki. According to the Webster dictionary that you gave me, “acceptance” means “A receiving with approbation or satisfaction; favorable reception.” I would not describe your attitude as accepting. “Tolerate” is defined as “To suffer to be or be done without prohibition or hindrance.” By that definition, you don’t even tolerate me. I don’t say this to be mean or rude, I just want you to know how I feel about this. I would love to be accepted by you, but I don’t feel like I am.
Also, you keep referring to choice. Are you referring to my choice of Nicki as a partner? Then you are correct; I did choose to be in a relationship with her. But I did not choose my sexual orientation. I spent years hating it and myself for it; but I have to see it as something I was given, from God, even. And God only gives good gifts to his children. Sexuality is an essential part of every human being, and we do not all fit into a binary system. If I continued on this path of hatred, I would have harmed myself. Please don’t think of my sexual orientation as a choice. It isn’t.
You’ve brought up Bible verses that you think speak against my sexual orientation. You don’t sacrifice animals for your sins, because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. My therapist reminded me of Peter’s vision of a sheet coming from heaven that was full of animals (Acts 10). God commanded him to eat, even though the animals were unclean. She said that the cross changed everything, including my ability to love. If gender is the only reason why I shouldn’t love Nicki (or any other woman), then I think that’s ridiculous. Romans 8:1-2 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” I consider my relationship with Nicki a gift from God, possible because Jesus saved me from sin. I’m also reminded of circumcision - Galatians 5:1-3 says “For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look, I Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man why accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.” I love Nicole. I see no reason why I shouldn’t receive that love as a gift from God and act on it.
As a child, I remember struggling with the verse saying women should not braid their hair or wear gold or pearls, but the best explanation I remember hearing is “it’s a cultural difference.” Would you say this culture is changing to one of tolerance? I would say so, and I’m glad. I’m grateful to be protected against discrimination at my job. Finding a church that was tolerant of my orientation was one of the best things that has happened to me. Remember, this isn’t an “issue” in my life, it’s ME. I need to be accepted and loved.
I love you. I hope this hasn't offended you. Please, go find some help understanding this; it’s out there, you just have to ask the right people (or Person). I agree to disagree with you, but I trust that some day we will all agree. In the future, could you try to be more considerate when bringing up your concerns? Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom.