Friday, June 26, 2015

Speaking of Pride

This is the first time I've sat down to write a post where I feel the need to make a disclaimer.
You know that something is lodged in my throat if that's the case, but here goes.

When I write, I write MY beliefs. My own. Not that of my employer (a church) or the organizations I represent or even my own husband or kids. I speak my own thoughts and no one else's. So, if you take issue, take issue with me. And this part is for my American friends... May cause your head to explode, your heart to expand, your blood pressure to rise...please only read on under the advisement of your own physician. My name is Shelly VanBinsbergen and I approve this message. 

So, we are. And here's the most inflammatory thing I'll probably ever say in my lifetime.


And it is not always easy to say this, particularly for a citizen of a country that is often referred to as "America's Hat" but I am inordinately proud of the Supreme Court decision today to recognize the legal union of gay couples.

And while I have already had numerous reactions to my post of the same flavour on my Facebook, I will say it here and be clear. I am a whole hearted supporter of gay marriage as a civil rights issue. I feel strongly that when two people commit to each other to be a couple, regardless of gender, that they should be afforded the same rights as other couples when it comes to speaking on behalf of their loved one in emergency and health situations, that they can be confident that they are able to remain the parent of their child even if their partner passes away and they are not biologically related. I think that even if I'm wrong about what little the Bible says about homosexuality, that the amount it speaks to about love and caring for one another and showing mercy and giving up our rights for those of others? Those are enough to convince me that love should win. Every time. Regardless. A mother's love for a child. A brother's love for his girlfriend. Or a father's love for his boyfriend. Love is love is love. And I know, some of you take issue only with the idea of this union being called marriage, because we somehow want the corner on that market? And for those of you who rattle off the indignant remarks about marriage and sanctity and biblical mandates, etc. are we doing folks? How ARE we doing in a world where the divorce rate is equal or greater in marriages that claim to be Christian?  Let's reflect on that. But, I'm not saying we should throw up our hands and give up on biblical marriage. It's just that it's not for the faint of heart and neither do we have the corner on love and marriage as Christians. Muslims marry. Agnostics marry. Hindus marry. C'mon. How many hills are you going to die on for this one?

Here's what struck me about this particular post today. I post numerous stories a week on the poor, the orphaned, the vulnerable. I constantly speak on behalf of those who have no voice. I am NOT pointing fingers or divulging names when I say this, but not one person who  questioned my stance as a Christian today, has ever asked me a single thing about how to help those who have nothing, those who are hurting, those who are living under the threat of death daily. God speaks far more about the poor and the orphaned and the widow, and how we are to care for our neighbours, than he does about our sexuality and our stance on government endorsed unions. I'm not saying that those people don't do their share for the poor, I'm just finding it an interesting observation that this is the only issue they've ever chosen to dialogue with me about. But, not mistake this...I invite the dialogue. I do. You're just going to have to be comfortable with a lot of "I don't know's" and "I'm not sure but I feel like this..."

So, I know I'm on thin ice, if not already floating out to sea on a melting iceberg of theology, but pick your battles people. Side with love, whatever that looks like. Astonishingly, it will find a way. Perfect love. Once we achieve that, then I think maybe then we can speak into what it looks like in others' lives.

Perfect love is this:

It never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut.
Doesn't have a swelled head.
Doesn't force itself on others.
Isn't always "me first"
Doesn't fly off the handle.
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others.
Doesn't revel when others grovel.
Takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth.
Puts up with anything.
Trusts God always.
Always looks for the best.
Never looks back.
But keeps going to the end.

I'm not there yet. So, I'm not going to speak into how others should define their love.
I'm always going to fight for equality and civil rights, even when it doesn't agree with me.
I'm going to risk for it. And above all, I'm going to trust God in it.

If there's one thing about perfect love that I do know, it's that only He exhibits it. So, I'll leave it in His hands. In the meantime, I'm going to celebrate on behalf of some of the most loving people I know. This, in all its imperfect theology, is for you, my gay and transgendered friends, who don't demand perfection from me.  I love you each and am better for having you in my life.

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