Friday, February 11, 2005

Blinded by the Light

"When you are standing directly in a spotlight, you are blinded to the shadows that convey nuance around you. In order to appreciate the entire spectrum of light and shadow in a scene, you have to step out of the light and let your vision adjust to seeing the shadows around you."

Stephanie Robinson, artist, 9 February 2005

Two days ago, I was just entering into the realm of dreams and shadows within the warmth of my bed when there was a ringing of my doorbell. The dogs who had been settled around me as I drifted off, suddenly lurched out of my bed and ran, barking at the door. I made a conscious choice to stay in bed, to await the calming of the pack of critters who had become so worked up and to expect the departure of this unexpected visitor. Eventually, my heart stopped racing and I found myself experiencing a second-rate nap, but some rest, nonetheless.

When I awoke from my nap, I went to the door to find a flyer stuck between the door and its frame. It was from a local church, asking me to join them in their services. I have been approached by this particular Baptist church before and have told their members that I was brought up as a Baptist and that it was the worst thing that could have happened to my spiritual development. I had, in fact, asked them not to bother me again with their gospel. I momentarily considered calling the number of the church to give them a piece of my mind, but chose instead to throw the flyer into my recycling bin.

The following day, I retrieved my mail from the box and found a flyer from another church. This particular church was advertising a need for laughter among its membership and was inviting people to attend seminars in smiling, laughing and being jolly. It suddenly occurred to me that we are in the high-season for churches…the period for maximum soul-saving that runs from Christmas till Easter. Every year, during this period, there is a sharp increase in visitations and in bills posted to households of potential sinners who need to be saved.

Since, as many of you know, I am feeling particularly barraged by the church because I am a gay man, I decided that I needed to speak my mind. I called the number of the church that is so jolly and I spoke with a man who answered the phone. I said to him, "Hello, my name is Ron Hudson and I just received your flyer in the mail. I would like to ask you to remove my name from your mailing list." He responded with a tentative "O.K." and then began to speak again when I broke in to say "I am a gay American. The churches of this country have taken it upon themselves to work to deny me my human rights. I just can’t support any church at this time."

When the man spoke again, he said "I am sorry that you feel this way, but I understand why you would."

I was a bit surprised. We ended up having a brief conversation in which I told him that I wished he would speak to people about how gay people need love as much as the next person. I could actually hear compassion in his voice and felt that he "got it". I learned a couple of things about this conversation.

First, it is all nice for us to talk among ourselves about the failure of our leaders to step up and point out the true impact of discrimination against gay people, but we are going to find ourselves preaching to the "Amen" corner. No one is going to be swayed by our arguments if we only present them to ourselves. We have to go to the source, into the churches themselves, and tell the congregations who we are and why their opinions represent a tyranny for us. As long as a President will stand in front of the US Congress, in his white-hot spotlight of self-righteous bliss and tell the world that homosexuals and our agenda represent a great threat to the American family, he will not only be blinded by his own convictions, but his stance will prevent anyone who blindly listens to him from investigating further. There is love in the gray areas of our society, not just in the followers of the Christian right.

Secondly, there is love that expects behavior and only rewards you when the expectation is met and there is unconditional love. Christ’s message, I think, promoted unconditional love, yet somehow, it has become a mantra among many that you have to "accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior" before his love will be given freely. I do not believe that Christ would agree. I think that he would have been open to you, to me, to anyone, in fact, and would have treated us all as equals without regard to condition.

I know that Christ said that when he returns that he may not be recognizable. What if Christ were to come back as a gay man or a lesbian? Where would that leave all of those people who are so sure, so certain, so self-confident and self-righteous that they can not see the love that GLBT people share? Let’s take this a bit further….what if Christ were to return as a Moslem? A Jew? A Buddhist? A woman? A black, homeless man on the street corner asking for a nickel? Someone living with AIDS? A cripple? Are the people who lead our churches truly open to the possibility that their stranglehold on control, power and money might be swept away in the twinkling of a loving eye?

There is a tremendous risk when going after the source of self-righteousness that one can become overly zealous in the pursuit. I do not wish to do that, but may be perceived as crossing the line by many. I will state simply that I am not ruling out any possibility except for allowance of the miracle of love. My God does not frown on love of any kind. I imagine that He is joyous and laughs heartily when anyone can express selflessness and wonder and awe in the existence of another complementary being. I hope that we can all find His true love….especially the churches.



Anonymous jody said...

This is wonderful Ron! I appreciate being able to read it. Please continue it!

2/18/2005 05:19:00 PM  

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