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Celebration and Sadness: Mixed Feelings over Marriage Equality

petalsI believe that celebration is the appropriate response for what has just happened in our nation with the passing of gay marriage for the entire country. 6/26/15 was a monumental day that will go down in history for being a day of justice and equality for the LGBTQ community.

We are in exuberant celibration because of the many obstacles that we have overcome as a people to see the arrival of this day. We are also overwhelmed by the love and support of the family, friends, and members of our churches who have celebrated this victory with us.

Please continue on in your celebration, because it is more than good!

But my heart is torn. I do not wish to hinder anyone’s moments of joy, as I have also shared many moments of joy over these past few days. Maybe some of you have some mixed feelings, between joy and moments of sadness. And for some of you, you have loved ones who are LGBTQ, but you also feel overwhelmed and are not sure what to do about everything that is happening right now. Some of you celebrate, while you see your family react in fear, and maybe sadness. Others of you reading this feel like some of your friends and family who are celebrating, are not celebrating God’s best.

If you are experiencing some mixed feelings, no matter what side you are on, this is my best attempt as a gay person of faith to meet you where you are at. Some may see this is controversial — like maybe I am putting a damper on the party … and that’s ok. I must speak my thoughts right now, as I believe there are some who will connect and who need this at this very moment.

Since Friday, I have been riding this wave of joy, with moments where I find myself in tears of happiness. On Friday, as I entered the workplace, I had more bounce in my step. I walked lighter, had a bigger smile on my face, held my head a little higher, and had more cheer in my voice. I was so thrilled to see my Facebook “explode with glitter” within the first few seconds and minutes of the Supreme Court’s announcement. I felt loved as so many stood in support of our community, changing their profile pictures to all colors of the rainbow, and posting words of affirmation for us. I think back to where we have come from. We have traversed through a rough and dry land to arrive where we are today. I am so beyond thankful for those who have come before us and brought us to this place. Without them, I believe none of this would have been possible. There have been many bold and brave souls who have stood in solidarity with us, some of them being people of faith.

I have also experienced moments of sadness. I know that some of you have also experienced these moments … sadness over some of the things that LGBTQ people have experienced … sadness over the loss of lives in our community, the friends and family that we wish could have seen the arrival of this day … sadness over the hurtful words of family, friends, and the Church … sadness over fear and division … sadness over the silence of some (yes, even the silence hurts).

Some of you also stand on the other side of this. You are grieved because you feel that your loved ones have departed from the path of God. You worry because you do not know where your loved one stands, in the eyes of God. I know where you are at. It has taken me years as an embodied gay person to reconcile my faith and sexuality, and I have faced many struggles to get there. I honestly feel for you and I believe that you earnestly wish the best for those you love. (Yes, I also realize that there are  some who are very antagonistic towards us, and I am not so much talking about them. I believe that those who have genuine hate are clearly in the wrong and are doing a lot of damage to the LGBTQ community and the Church). And you who believe love does not celebrate these recent decisions by the Supreme Court, I understand where you are, even though I no longer believe as you do, since I used to also be there. There are many of you with these beliefs who I love and cherish, and I would challenge you to keep walking beside us, listening, and learning.

None of us have “arrived”, and we can all find beauty in each other, and learn from and be challenged by each other. Love does not walk away. (Yes, there are times and situations that are so toxic that separation must occur. It is tragic but sometimes necessary.) But please also know that my heart is broken that you are not joining in celebration with us. How I long for you to be at the table having a party with us!

But for each of us, on either side of the spectrum, do not panic. Do not fear. Do not react in a way that is going to hurt your family member, friend, or brother or sister in Christ. Trust that God is there and that he is working in the heart of each person. Set judgement aside.

Let us all continue to ask, “What does love look like?” … “How do I love this person better?” … “How can I affirm the beauty and image of God in this person?” … no matter where each person is in this journey. Let us continue to dialogue and challenge each other.

Let us continue to celebrate. Let us continue to love. Let us continue to see the beauty in each person, no matter where they are at. Amen.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  -1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

Lofgren-Robert2ROBERT LOFGREN is a gay Christian who wrestled with his faith and his sexuality and found peace. He strives to love Christ and to show His love for all people. Robert is an advocate for LGBT rights and building bridges between the two communities to which he belongs and is so passionate about — the LGBT community and the Church.

He lives in Orange County, CA with his boyfriend of seven years and two Boston Terriers.  Robert blogs at The Gay Post-Evangelical.

One comment

  1. Wonderfully said, Robert. And most needed. What fascinates me is that I am hearing many other voices say similar things: I have written along the same lines (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-backman/how-do-we-move-on-after-t_b_7645974.html), and quite a few others have too. In many ways this is a hard message, and many people may have been too badly hurt by the “other side” to accept it. But as a collective, I do believe we have to point ourselves in this direction.

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