Friday, October 10, 2014

Gay Children, Their Christian Parents and a Bit of Randomness

I have yet to present the framework by which I look at the the world - how it was, why it is and what's to become of it. When the framework is explained here, I'm sure it will sadden many Christians of whom I love so deeply.  At the same time, it might brighten the outlook for others who've lived a path similar to mine. This framework post is in the works, and I keep reading and rewriting, not for the sake of craft (I have an opinion on that, too), but for the sake of making the most impact on anyone who comes to this message, whether they agree or not.

In the meantime, I am posting a few tidbits of personal insight that I've come across today. It may be a bit random.

Gays and Their Christian Parents

Today, there were a couple discussions on Facebook about same-sex marriage, gay children and their Christian parents. Two people I love and respect are on opposite sides of the issue - one, my brother, a conservative pastor who sees himself as a protector of Christ's truth and the other, my progressive Christian theology student friend who still believes in God and the authority of Scripture, but does not see homosexuality as a sin.

Over the years, I've adopted a rather secular humanist  outlook (this is always evolving) on the world. I no longer see things through the authority of the Bible, but I feel at a visceral level the struggle on both sides. I used to be that person who would fiercely uphold the "love the sinner but hate the sin" message. It would keep me up at night, and for all the cries for tolerance that I heard, though loving as they might have sounded to me, I felt fiercely protective of what I believed to  be the Truth - yes, with a capital "T" - and ultimately this personal savior I loved. But since I have adopted a more naturalistic perspective and removed myself from the emotion that surrounds Biblical content, since I have been able to see the Bible as valuable for its place in humanity's history but not as a guide to govern modern issues, I can view these conversations from a perspective of third-party objectivity - and yet feel the tremendous gravity that both sides feel. I am fascinated that my heart is capable of feeling all these things at once.

So as I read the back-and-forth discussion, one commenter proclaiming that we cannot compromise God's truth, that it is more loving to tell your gay child that his gayness is not holy and the other (my theology friend) bringing up stories of gays being rejected by their parents and churches, my heart started to be filled with a sadness I hadn't felt in years. I recognized how deeply Christian parents love their gay children, loving the best they know how, anyway, and yet I, too, felt rejected personally at such a visceral level. I remember the sadness of "coming out" to my family, not about being gay (I am not), but about my non-belief in God or any god - how hurtful it was to look in their eyes and see how sad this made them, how they questioned whether there was something wrong with me (I was weak-minded) and ... so many other desperately sad exchanges of emotion.  In the face of crushing your own child's self-esteem because of a certain belief about God's holiness, many parents will uphold what they believe to be Truth rather than question the voracity of the actual belief. You can't help this - I know this, and I know this with a kind of sad desperation. So, after much of the back and forth, I contributed to the comments this way:

Christian parents may never quite understand how deeply hurtful the beliefs they hold in their heart may be to their gay children, no matter how tenderly they speak, even with the kindest intent. And for the child to come to a point of forgiveness for that hurt is a long path and arduous journey, one that is difficult even for an adult, and for a teen ... how much more difficult? It is only after such a journey the child can understand the irony in the words of Jesus, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Living in a World that Values Specialization and Productivity

Recently, I've posted a few Facebook status updates expressing my frustration with people not valuing (or really understanding) your subtleties, your aesthetic contributions to the world - well, not valuing them enough to want to pay for it. I have so much to say on this topic, but much of it has to do with living in a world that is structured for productivity and mass consumption. I am truly saddened when people in the creative community are accused of "not having substance." The less relevant you are to the productivity structure, the more stress you might encounter trying to live in it. Businesses pay for highly specialized skills in specific areas. As for me, I just can't wrap my identity in being a specialist in any one thing in exclusion of the many passions I have - I can't even begin to think this way.

With this in mind, I am sharing a few Facebook posts that speak to this:

Is the work of artists being commoditized? Frankly, I'm seeing too many of those Fiverr-produced ads, where all the animations, voiceovers, copywriting styles and background music (especially the music, ugh) have this _similarness_ that is making my insides feel just downight ... bland. Could we as a human species find a way back to having a soul? 

Don't get me wrong - I am amazed by the work of these artists. Their voiceover work, knowing the level of my voiceover work, is quite impressive. In the same vein, I am impressed by the designers at Banana Republic and the GAP, as I, too, am a designer of clothes and bags.  But everyone is wearing BR and GAP - it is everywhere. Everyone looks the same and thinks that dressing the same as the next office worker is a good thing. Bleh. This is the result of a productivity-focused world. We are losing something here - we truly are.

And today, this notion of our world being disconnected and segmented because of productivity and linear learning made me think of another related topic:

I am becoming more and more fascinated by "intelligences" that are sensory. If you can provide any insight, please send me things to watch or read. I recently went to a workshop where the trainer was from Waianae (btw - I am proud to say this is my hometown) and explained how Hawaiians are naturally aural learners, and he expanded by saying they take in their world by seeing and feeling and hearing. I've always been drawn to this kind of intelligence, and growing up in Waianae, I loved how people just knew how do to things, like throw luau with great efficiency or make friends with complete ease at the beach or get intel from others through rather deft conversation. These days, the closest words I might have for this is being street smart or having situational awareness, but I know it goes deeper than this. I think cultures institutionalize these things, whether the learning is linear or aural, as described by the trainer. I don't want to put one over the other, but I will ask the question - how many of these qualities have I suppressed trying to operate in the dominant culture that prizes specialization and a certain kind of productivity? I am not looking for any hard answers, but just want to open up a discussion. ... And of course, I want that reading material. Hmmmm .... wonder if Dr. Suzuki's Nurtured by Love covers this to an extent ... I just started reading this.

I'll just let that one sit. Needless to say, my Facebook friends came through with flying colors. Perhaps I should return to this post later and provide their links - amazing set of resources.

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