Front porch in swinging bench. Early Spring in Oregon where the weather and seasons change all the time in front of your eyes. Adventist church gardens across the street and the (unfriendly) private school family on the other side of the street, all under the watchful eye of fir covered summits.
A furtive break from the busyness stolen, the most delicious kind.
Tears, from she who seldom does.
“Baby, what is going on? What’s wrong?”
“I can’t go to camp because no one will want to be with me in the cabin because they think I am affirming.”
“What? What what? Who?”
“My friend’s parents don’t like me because they say I am affirming.”
“What? Wait a minute. Stop the bus.”
“But what if they ask me what I am? What do I say? Do I go for affirming?”
“Whoa. No. This is not like whether you are rooting for the Ducks or the Beavers, it’s a much more complex situation,”
“But they won’t like me because they think I am affirming,”
“I don’t know, are we? Maybe?”
“Look, the whole question is broken. Broken questions… It isn’t our jurisdiction to decide this.”
“Well then what do I say?”
“Do you follow the teachings of Christ?”
“Yes, I mean I think so, probably not very well… I mean I don’t know, what does Christ say about this?”
“Christ told us to love our neighbor. So…these are my marching orders. I never saw where it said that I was supposed to decide whose sins were bigger or more unpardonable.”
“So are we affirming?”
“Broken question. Are we commanded to love people? Yes.”
“So… we are affirming.”
“The answer to that depends on the individual. We love people. We do not identify them by specific characteristics of who they are,”… “See, gay folk here in the U.S. have had to identify themselves by this one little thing because they have had to hide it for so long. But fact is, they are just people. Can you imagine how awful it would be to define every person by what we thought their mistakes were? Man, I don’t want to think about that world,”
“But mom. What do I say?”
“If anyone asks you, which good grief– there is enough wrong in that question, you say ‘I don’t know how to answer that question,’ because that is honest. If you follow Christ, tell them.”
“So I don’t say whether I am affirming or not, I just tell them I follow Christ.”
“If that is the truth, that is what you tell them.”
“But will I be able to sleep in the cabin with my friends?”
Then, tears, and a call to the camp director.
This is a conversation that happened with my daughter several weeks back.
It makes my heart groan with grief.
That she is dealing with this would make my blood boil if I opted to think about it much. But since it is not helpful, I choose not to linger on this. Here I hope to remember and then forget. Perhaps not forget, but resolve; that my faith would be great enough to remain after conversations like this.
Faith community should lift our conversations. Faith community should support us in exploring the heavens & our relationship with God, not parsing sins.
Because truthfully, I really, really don’t care about that, it’s not my job.