I will confess that on Friday, June 26, when the Supreme Court issued a decision constitutionally securing the right for same-sex marriage in all 50 states, I wasn’t sure how I felt. I’m still not sure all that I am feeling. To be honest it is taking some time to sort through it all.
And not because of same-sex marriage. And yet, because of it… 🙂
The reason there is this place in me that feels uncertain is this: We still don’t know how to dialogue. And because we don’t know how to dialogue, we are asking the wrong kinds of questions and making polarizing statements. On both sides.
Social media was flooded, of course. Both heralding the SCOTUS decision and condemning it, everybody was taking sides, it seemed. And, I think that is part of the problem – the taking of sides. But it’s what we do when we are anxious. And even the LGBT community and supporters were anxious, even if it was in a highly celebratory way.
And so most of us asked the same question in two different ways – as if life is a coin and there are only two sides. Version one of the question is something like this, “Do you support the SCOTUS decision? Will you perform a same-sex marriage?” Version two of the question is something like this, “Do you support a Biblical understanding of marriage? You wouldn’t do a same-sex marriage would you?”
Said differently, they are the same question, “Are you on my side? Do you agree with me?”
I believe the questions we are asking are designed to put people into a box (for or against), on a volatile issue, outside of the context of relationship. They are the wrong questions because they create enmity not dialog. They force us into agree/disagree thinking and talking resulting in I like you / I don’t like you behavior. They keep us stuck in a way of dealing with a part of our reality that has been in place for decades and clearly hasn’t worked.
Jesus describes a way of being in Matthew 5:43-48 where we engage in actively loving those we are in conflict with that requires personal connection, face to face interaction, where we develop a genuine love for the others in our lives. And because we really love the person in front of us, we want to listen. We want to really hear what she has to say. We want to understand his thinking and values.
But! Some will say that the most loving thing we can do is sometimes tell someone they are wrong. And, that’s true. Imagine with me, though, that because of my love for my children, all I ever did was tell them what I thought they shouldn’t do in order to keep them safe. Everyday, from birth til they leave the nest, all they hear is what they shouldn’t do. No genuine “I love you’s.” No listening deeply to their frustrations or pains. No just walking alongside them through life. Jus day after day tell them what I think they shouldn’t do… I wonder if when they leave the home they would say they felt deeply loved…?
What if both gays and those who aren’t in favor of a homosexual lifestyle, were to begin to have a different conversation. What if we moved away from throwing one-liners over the wall at a nameless third person stereotype and began to develop deep meaningful relationships with one another.
I wonder if we would treat each other differently?
I wonder if the world might see Jesus more clearly?
I wonder if we would begin practicing the wholeness we can have in Christ?
Can we have a different conversation with different questions?