Monday, September 19, 2005

Lunch With an Alleged Gay Man

He didn't come out and say it. He didn't verbally admit that he was gay. But there were many things pointing to it. After a funeral this week I had lunch across a table with a man that I think was a homosexual. He was a middle aged single man. He had worked for the Boston AIDS project for a while. Among other things, what really got me thinking were his comments on his church experiences. He had told me that the churches he was in before weren't that accepting (or not at all) of homosexual people. He had asked me if my church was accepting of homosexual people and asked me to elaborate a bit.

He had a problem with religious people who have all kinds of hoops to jump through for a person to be acceptable to God (and them). He made that clear. As a matter of fact, I have the same beef. Here is this man telling me of his experiences in churches among followers of Christ and it was a negative experience. When did Jesus tell his followers to go and be the judge and jury for people? When did he ever command us to be the ones to assess the morality of a person and meet out grace according to merit? He didn't!

When I read the gospels, I see Jesus spending time with what the religious people of the day called the worst, the despicable, the dregs of society. I see him talking with prostitutes, sharing meals with crooks and being the living, breathing grace of God to people who really needed it. Were these people "immoral" in God's eyes? You bet. Did they live lives of "sin"? Absolutelty. Just like all the rest of us. For those who were on their high religious horses he had the sharpest criticisms.

Christianity in America isn't going to have a voice at all unless we get to the core of what it's all about. Jesus did command us to do some things. He told us to go and preach the Good News. He told us to go into the highways and biways and compel them to come in. He told us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. I am wondering if people are seeing the reflection of the grace of God when they walk into our churches or if they are just being met at the door with a freakish stare?

Like I said, he didn't admit he was gay. He never verbally said that he was a homosexual. But I do know this. He left my presence knowing for once in his life he met a follower of Christ that accepted him just as he was and genuinely cared about him as a human being. He had lunch with a person that did his best to not condone what the Bible calls sin, while at the same time accepted him just the way he was. I didn't have to try to "fix" anyone because only the Holy Spirit can do that. All I'm supposed to do is reflect who Jesus is.

So now I wonder who he alleges me to be. I wonder what he thinks of me and what I said to him about my faith. Who knows. Perhaps he'll be telling his story some day about lunch with an alleged follower of Christ. I hope it's a good story.

No comments: