Saturday, December 24, 2011

Voices of Faith: An open letter to homophobic Christian parents at Christmas

I'm lucky that my parents immediately welcomed my partner (now wife) into our family life. But lots of people aren't so lucky. Here's a letter by an MCC minister:
To be Christian means to seek to be like Jesus, to follow His teachings and example, right? That's what makes your rejection of your LGBT children and their partners so richly ironic. The good news is that the upcoming holiday season provides you with a perfect opportunity to take a step toward turning things around....

Of course, my mother wanted me to come “home” for Christmas – me and my children. But my partner was not welcomed. ...I desperately searched for some kind of compromise. ...She was so genuinely convinced that she was obliged to "take a stand" about my life and my relationship -- that she would not meet me any fraction of the way. I had to choose. And the "wrong" choice would break her heart.

But here's another great irony in all of this, my partner -- the very same person that my mother refused to allow to sit and break bread at her table on Christmas Day -- insisted that I go to my Mom's house for Christmas.....She said she didn't want my mother to have a heavy heart on Christmas Day because of my absence.

"If Jesus were the head of our family, sitting there at the head of the table Christmas Day, how would He have handled this?" Based on everything I've read about Him, every encounter He had with His society's "undesirables," every word that I've read that He said and what He oh-so-conspicuously did not say -- not one word about homosexuality -- I believe that when my partner dropped me and my kids off in front of my mother's house, He would have said to my partner, "Come on in. Have some dinner."

That's what I wish my mother had been willing to do. It will never happen now because my mother has passed away. I’ve gone from spending Christmas with my mother and without my partner to spending it with my partner and without my mother. The opportunity for me to spend Christmas -- or any time -- with the two most important women in my life in one room is gone.

If you are reading this, it’s not too late for you to give your son or daughter that gift. You don't have to understand his or her intimate relationship. You don't have to approve. Just hear this: Jesus clearly never saw spending time in the company of “sinners” and “undesirables” as condoning their behavior. Even He did not see Himself as too “holy” to hang out with them. So you, too, can be kind to your gay children and their partners without “condoning” anything you believe to be wrong. You can just love your child, and be open to the possibility of growing to love someone else who loves your child. It is not too late for you to give him or her that precious gift. Christmas is coming. Invite your child -- and his or her partner -- to come on in and have some dinner. Do that, because, -- in your heart -- you must know that Jesus would. Just be like Jesus. He is, after all, the One whose birth we will celebrate.

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