The responses I received to my post were indicative of the rift between people on both sides of the issue. Not only did I receive comments on the blog itself (which are included at the end of that entry), but people emailed me, called me, stopped me on the street. For having such a small audience, my little blog suddenly became the crux of something very important.
Today, I received another comment on the post... this time from the instructor who led the Sunday school lesson which acted as the catalyst for my diatribe in the first place. And here, I would like to take the opportunity to thank him for taking responsibility for the bad stuff, for explaining his original intentions that Sunday morning, and for setting an example of leadership and humility by doing so publicly (albeit on my little-known blog).
To the Teacher:
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog entry regarding Proposition 8. While I do stand by everything I wrote, it is important to note that I did not mention other, more positive aspects of your lesson that day... including moments when you referenced a personal relationship with a gay friend which influences your mindset on the topic. I hope you noticed that one of those who commented on my blog was Ashley U., and that she rightly defended you on that point. Happily for me, since The Girl Behind The Red Door is MY blog, I can be as biased as I want to be about anything! However, I do try to keep myself even-handed, as often as possible practicing what I preach.
While I'm at it, I'd like to say that I appreciate your dedication to the Sunday school class. Too many folks can't seem to find the time to educate young people. Your intention to garner deep thought on the part of the students, asking "tough questions" to breed conversation and debate, is sound. But I'd like to suggest that you prepare yourself for those instances in the role of moderator rather than in the role of (what my grandfather would call) a "shit kicker." Asking questions for the sake of discussion is fine; kicking those important questions around for the sake of the kicking is dangerous.
A teacher is supposed to guide students to predecided answers. If you haven't the answers beforehand (as is so often the case in Biblical study), there must be a better way to control the environment to encourage productivity. For example, on what I am notoriously going to think of as Prop 8 Sunday, one student actually compared homosexuality to pedophillia... and I was the one stopping him. If I hadn't been there, I would hope someone else would have jumped in to regulate... but that's not always the case.
Please don't worry about offending me. I'm passionate about so many things, I flare up about stuff most people would just roll on by. This time, my best friend was squirming in her chair because her uncles are married in the state of Massachusetts, and people were calling two of the most friendly, charming, talented men she knows... sinners, pedophilles, disgusting, "Them." Naturally, I was defensive. But she's the one I'd be worried about offending.
I think it's also important to remember that, though Jesus always spoke Truth about the sins of those around him, and though God does require repentance from sinners before he can allow them an eternity by His side, in the New Testament, Jesus knew how to pull his punches. He was proactive about his ministry in a way that was gentle, consistent and strong. No one doubted His resolve, but His mercy was his most attractive quality as a bearer of Good News. Today, Christians sometimes forget to wear their mercy out in the open, choosing to snipe and condemn sinners rather than washing their feet.
We'll see you on Sundays to come,