Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Holy Chicken"

Tomorrow is the infamous and ever controversial Chick-fil-A "Appreciation Day". The thought of many of my friends loading up their kids and proudly standing in line at 71st and Garnett to order their "we are right and you are wrong chicken" makes me feel frustrated and sad. Let me try to explain...

To begin with, I believe in the right to have opinions. And I appreciate the moral code in which the Chick-fil-A company conducts their business. I think it is commendable that they follow their convictions of being closed on Sunday and I am in favor of their right to send their dollars to organizations in which they believe just as I have the right to do the same.

There are things to like about Chick-fil-A. I think they make a damn good sandwich and their ice cream is delicious. I love that they give my parents a senior discount and free dessert and know them by name when they make their weekly visit. If this "Appreciation Day" had not been politically hijacked, I'd be "eatin' me some chicken" tomorrow...I am all for building strong families in America. My sister and brother-in-law have some friends who's marriage was saved by one of the organizations Dan Cathy supports. That is a good thing people! I would be fully behind a movement like that...if only that is where it stopped.

Although most likely unintentional, posts like these are hurtful. I know there are many people who stand behind this cause because they love Jesus and they think that if Jesus were here on earth that he would be in line to support marriage tomorrow. But I beg of each of you who make this assumption to rethink this.

Although not a perfect example to make my point, it at least helps show the character of Jesus - When the men stood with stones aimed at the woman caught in adultery, did Jesus have a stone in his hand? NO! Jesus cared about PEOPLE...He wasn't an issue guy. Whether it is abortion, gay rights, war, religion...I do not believe that Jesus would have ever been a sign holder claiming that his viewpoints were RIGHT. That was the Pharisees obsession and Jesus spent much effort and time trying to convince them of another way. Jesus loved people. His love, grace and compassion is what drew people in, not his opinion.

And here is where Becca's demeanor shifts and my jaw clinches a little. Again, I have to stand by my belief that people have the right to their opinions, but nonetheless, this is hard to swallow. It is very hurtful when Christians take the stance that "the gays" are responsible for the demise of America and "God's judgement on our nation". This firm stance is what makes it impossible to be a gay christian and this political stance plants fear on one side and anger on the other. Until this is dispelled, I fear the gap will not be bridged by love, compassion and understanding.

 (In attempts to not speak for the whole gay and lesbian population, I will personalize this) I have dealt with my sexuality since I was around 9 years old. I felt alone, confused, broken, and afraid. If I could change this part of me that I hid in fear, I would have...I begged and cried out for God to change me. This is my experience and anyone's attempt to convince me that I just didn't try hard enough falls on deaf ears. If you haven't walked in my shoes then you will never understand. My story as it has unfolded has been ridiculously painful but I was one of the lucky ones. I didn't get bullied or beat up. My family continues to love me and I was never disowned. I moved through my hurt and instead of clinging to a destructive addiction I was able to grasp the parts of my faith that confirmed how deeply I am loved just as I am...that my salvation is through faith, not works and that there is nothing that can separate me from the love of God.

I have already gone through so much pain and vulnerability to live my life authentically. Now I am supposed to become the scapegoat for "God's wrath". Seriously??? Give me a break!!!

On my shoulders, I am expected to carry this burden when what I really want is to be treated fairly as a human being and left alone. My days are spent trying to love people - all people - no matter their race, size, socioeconomic status, or sexuality. Each person on this planet has value and I believe if you love them enough, they may start believing it! I want to live a life of compassion, grace and kindness. And to be very honest, many of my gay and lesbian friends live with these same goals. I guess I just don't understand what is so different about us that we should be feared.

 When any individual is defined by an attribute, it is WRONG. We are all human. We are all wonderfully designed and loved by God. We all have parts of us that contribute to the good in the world and all have parts that contribute to the bad. Hopefully, we all have days when our kindness makes a difference in the life of another. And no doubt, we each have days when we pull out in front of a person or make a rude comment and it ruins someone's day. We are part of this human experience together. So why can't we stop finger pointing and start seeking kindness, compassion and understanding. I assure you, we really aren't all that scary. After all, we are just like you.

As I explain it to my boys (ages 10 and 6):
While most people find a best friend of the opposite gender that they want to grow old with, some of us for some reason find someone of the same gender that we want to spend the rest of our lives with...our goal is to love everyone and show respect that their choice is what they felt is right for them. It is not our place to judge. My boys get it. Hopefully everyone else will catch on some day too.

So if you celebrate Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day tomorrow, I hope you see things a little differently. Be part of it because you are FOR strong marriages, FOR running a business according to your conviction...FOR really good chicken. Please don't go because you are against your fellow human beings right to pursue their hopes of freedom and happiness. And please for the love of all that is good and because you love me, please stop saying that people "like me" are the reason for all the bad in this country because it just isn't true! Allow me the decency to live my own life and grapple with God as I work out my faith. I will allow you the grace and time to do the same!!!

Much love,