In this life there's always a catch. But this time it's not a catch, it's a person. Because of Christ we can be unconditional. We love because He first loved us.
We all have them. Irritations of various kinds that cause a physical reaction. Tense muscles, a clenched jaw or any number of other things. Maybe it’s fingernails on a chalkboard or someone slurping coffee or soup. It could be chewing gum loudly or an overused expression. Any ongoing “stone in the shoe” moments that cause the muscles to tie in knots and perhaps even feeling sick to your stomach. I have several and I am going to share one of them with you that causes my jaw to clench and my muscles to tighten.
Many years ago, I would have been oblivious and maybe even argued that there was nothing wrong with taking the position that I did. At the time, I perceived the LGBT community as an attack on faith and family. I wouldn’t have understood that there was anything wrong defending a position like that.
In 2007 our world, as we knew it, changed dramatically. Discovering our son was gay fitted me with a whole new set of lenses. The shoe was on the other foot and it pinched – big time! Maybe it was more like the foot binding in old China. Painful. Irreversible once done. Nothing would ever feel or look the same again.
We knew of no one to whom we could pour out our hearts. Because Gordie did not want me talking to anyone in our community about this, I reached out to praying, nonjudgmental friends out of our area.
Interesting, isn’t it? The one place created for lifelong, supporting, like-minded relationships was not safe. The church (Gordie & I included) was not safe for our son to come and share his struggles, nor was it a safe place for two hurting parents. We are approaching the 10th anniversary of having the bottom drop out of our world as we knew it. We have met so many amazing individuals in the LGBTQ community; those who want nothing to do with the church, those who have been hurt by and left the church and those still connected with the church. Much emotional and spiritual blood has been shed in this battle. In our culture, the battle is loud and demanding. In the traditional church, the battle is silent. Twenty years ago, when our son was 10, he had no one he could pour his heart out to. Is the head in the sand mentality alive and well all these years later? Yes and yes.
My heart breaks and my blood boils. A fire has been lit in my heart for the church to be called out on this. In His love and in His way and in His time, of course. I have experienced an increased heart rate, a clenched jaw, and the stone in my shoe is producing a large hole in my flesh.
A pressure cooker builds steam, and done properly, cooks and even preserves food. Watching the gauge and adjusting the heat ensures the top won’t blow off, creating a dangerous situation and a huge mess. I am that pressure cooker in my heart and mind. The ongoing silence and avoidance in the traditional church could easily cause the top, my top, to blow off. Knowing this, I keep my eye on the gauge (Jesus) and give the Holy Spirit his rightful place to adjust the heat in his timing. My desire is for a finished work that nourishes and preserves. Left to myself, the top will blow and lives (more lives) will be broken and even more damage will be done.
Have your way Lord Jesus.
God enriches my life in so many ways and, quite often, I am totally suprised in the way He does. Ben Parman is an amazing individual I would have never met or interacted with prior to Unconditional. He is brilliant, and on a good day I cannot begin to process thoughts at the “speed of Ben”! He is eloquent, deep, hilarious and brave.
Written by Ben Parman Directed by Nicole Eggers.
A screwball comedy that’s “too Christian for the gay demographic and too gay for the Christian demographic,” Starlings perches four estranged youth group friends with different orientations and beliefs at a gay Christian conference. Can you be right and be friends, or do you have to choose? Fast, funny and profound, Starlings will make you question how we flock together.