There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down and hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you; life goes on
You keep carrin’ that anger, it’ll eat you inside
-Don Henley, The Heart of the Matter
I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to be the oddest gay man around.
Maybe it’s because of my aspergers, but I don’t tend to carry a whole lot of bitterness that some gays and lesbians that I know have. The uses of the Bible to justify homophobia didn’t leave me afraid of the Bible. I don’t doubt that God loves me and always has. I just don’t live with the anxiety that many gays and lesbians have inside of them.
Maybe that’s why it’s hard to relate to people like John Shore. For the unitiated, Shore is a gay man who leads a ministry helping gay Christians that have been kicked out of their churches. Some of his writings tend to be full of bitterness, the result of how he has been treated and seeing others treated the same way. One his most recent posts includes a letter he received from a lesbian that is trying to live out her faith holistically. She writes that at times she still feels nervous and even finds it hard to read her Bible. Shore responds in his blunt style. A lot of what he says is realistic, LGBT persons do feel a lot of anxiety when it comes to the church because of past experiences.
What bothered me was Shore’s own ambivalence about the church. He can get Jesus, but wishes he could just give up on Christianity.
Again, my Asperger’s makes me process things differently. When I faced difficulty in church for being gay, I could see that being the fault of one person or a church, but I didn’t somehow see this as a sweeping indictment of Christianity. I could see the tree in the midst of the forest.
My way is not how most deal with this. One bad experience can make people think all churches are bad and that experience lives with them for years.
I can’t really say that others are doing it wrong. But if I had magic powers, I would try to help LGBT folk only focus on the good people who care and not see all the church as rotten. I would help them know that God loves them even when the church has issues.
I think that at some point we have to let go of the anger and fear and trust God. But I also know that is easier said than done. My experience was pretty tame compared to others. But I still think we have to learn to let go of the pain, not because we should be abused, but because it does tend to be rather corrosive on our souls.
Maybe I’m speaking out of my element. Anger has its uses. But too much of a good thing can be harmful.