Thursday, August 2, 2012

Who Won?

An Excerpt from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.

(Don and his friends talk about setting up a "Confession Booth" 
at their college's wild party weekend)

"Okay, you guys."  Tony gathered everybody's attention.  "here's the catch."  He leaned in a little and collected his thoughts.  "We are not actually going to accept confessions."  We all looked at him in confusion.  He continued, "We are going to confess to them.  We are going to confess that, as followers of Jesus, we have not been very loving; we have been bitter, and for that we are sorry.  We will apologize for the Crusades, we will apologize for televangelists, we will apologize for neglecting the poor and the lonely, we will ask them to forgive us, and we will them them that in our selfishness, we have misrepresented Jesus on this campus.  We will tell people who come into the booth that Jesus loves them."

All of us sat there in silence because it was obvious that something beautiful and true had hit the table with a thud.  We all thought it was a great idea, and we could see it in each other's eyes.  It would feel so good to apologize, to apologize for the Crusades, for Columbus and the genocide he committed in the Bahamas in the name of God, apologize for the missionaries who landed in Mexico and came up through the West slaughtering Indians in the name of Christ.  I wanted so desperately to say that none of this was Jesus, and I wanted so desperately to apologize for the many ways I had misrepresented the Lord.  I could feel that I had betrayed the Lord by judging, but not being willing to love the people He had loved and only giving lip service to issues of human rights.  

For so much of my life I had been defending Christianity because I thought to admit that we had done any wrong was to discredit the religious system as a whole, but it isn't a religious system, it is people following Christ; and the important thing to do, the right thing to do, was to apologize for getting in the way of Jesus.
This Chick-fil-a thing made me feel so sad.  You probably wouldn't have guessed it b/c my facebook posts were mostly snide asides, but mostly I felt sad all day long.  This blogpost explains a lot of what I'm feeling about it.  Mostly, I thought of my gay friends and my transgender friend and I thought, "What do they feel when they see hour-long lines?"  And they probably felt like these folks: afraid, judged, depressed.

I know that many people who were in those lines were thinking that they were supporting a business and others were making a statement about political beliefs and most people probably weren't thinking about actively hurting someone else.  Some people I love were in those lines and I don't love them any less.  But I'm still thinking about my gay and transgender friends and how they saw those lines and how it probably felt devastating to see a queue of people lined up saying (whether intentionally or not): "I value this fast food restaurant more than your rights."

So this morning, as I tried to process how I was feeling after the whole chicken-debacle was over, I thought of the passage above from Blue Like Jazz.  About how I just wished I could go up to gay persons, couples, whatever and say "God loves you! I'm SORRY! We are WRONG to choose chicken over YOU.  YOU MATTER."  And I'm probably saying too much, revealing a spiritual/political conviction that could get me in trouble, but I just can't stay quiet about how SAD THIS WHOLE DAMN THING MAKES ME.  I wish I could build a confession booth on the lawn of Chick-fil-a during tomorrow's "National Same-Sex Kissing Day" counter-protest and APOLOGIZE ALL DAY LONG.

IT'S CHICKEN.  CHICKEN! And gay people? Transgender people? THEY ARE PEOPLE! Their rights MATTER.  Their lives MATTER.  They MATTER.  And I'm so TIRED of the "CHURCH" ending up on the wrong side of this issue.  I'm so tired of the "Church" being complicit in pain and injustice and being known for something OTHER than love.

Because you know how Gay people felt yesterday? NOT LOVED.   Do you have any idea how much HARDER this makes it for people like me who want to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those who feel unloved, marginalized, forgotten?  A lot harder.  Because they'll have no reason to believe what I'm saying - yesterday will be burned into their mind, a day when millions of people defended a corporation instead of a minority group and its desires to have equal rights in the eyes of the law.

So who won yesterday?  Besides a corporation who sold a helluva lot of food?

No one.  No one won yesterday.

Gay people didn't win.
The Church didn't win.
America didn't win.

We all lost.  The Church lost credibility, the gay community lost hope and America lost MORE respect from the world community that watched in incredulity as millions of Americans spent money on fast food rather than aiding the dying and persecuted in SYRIA or SUDAN or SOUTH SUDAN or anywhere else.

I'm with Don Miller on this one:
The best thing we can do now is to apologize and get out of Jesus' way.  Cause Lord, he has a lot to fix before the day is done.

I'm disabling comments on this one.