Anyone who knows me well is aware of the fact-and I have absolutely not an iota of shame in admitting it – that team sports, be they baseball, basketball, hockey, or football which is presently in season – do absolutely nothing to interest me at all. I certainly do not possess any type of animosity against them by any means, and even though the sports fandom and revelry so many are enraptured by do not pique my own interest or enthusiasm, I do “get it.”
I understand and definitely respect the passion and the excitement, and I can relate to the mindset of being or feeling so passionate or enthusiastic about something; there are quirky things I am passionate about which are met at the least with a total lack of interest or comprehension and even at times with a raised eyebrow. Therefore, when someone can invest hours discussing their fantasy football picks or batting averages, I have a solid sense of respect and even admiration for that level of dedication.
But me? I am the person who never reads the sports section in the paper, turns off the news as soon as the weather is over and has no interest in the scores, eschews the Sports Illustrated magazines in favor of Time or People in the doctor’s office waiting rooms, and who always responds to others enthralled with the beginning of a season with a superlative and overwhelming level of indifference (albeit one expressed in polite fashion that acknowledges, respects and often celebrates their personal level of enthusiasm about the subject).
I did have a few experiences with competitive sports growing up. I never had any interest in watching events live or on television unless it was a home team that everyone was caught up in the excitement of rooting for. A good example would be Alabama College Football as I had family and friends involved in that, or when I lived in St. Louis, Missouri and the Cardinals were in the World Series – in both instances, it was difficult not to get caught up and knee deep in the hoopla and excitement. But in grade school and even junior high and high school, I thought it would be more fun to actually get in there and play rather than sit it out on the sidelines.
Football was out of the question as I am more of an ectomorph and not a really big guy, but I am tall. So I was on the basketball team for a total of one game in 3rd grade until a hand injury immediately following the said game relegated me to little more than an unofficial mascot, and I tried my hand at soccer in high school for two games until I finally determined that the right place for me was cross country because of my love of and what seemed to be a natural aptitude for running. I was in that for one year until I began to realize that I really did not care about being the winner in a competition; I just loved the adrenaline rush that is both the result and benefit of cardiovascular activity. I still enjoy it, although these days I opt for satisfying that passion via the elliptical machine or the treadmill. And every so often when vacationing in the mountains, I do engage in the sport of hiking. That would definitely not be classified as a competitive sport, I am aware, as one’s only “adversary” would be the trail itself, but striving hard and pushing to reach some destination – be it a scenic view, a waterfall or both – carries with it a profound sense of satisfaction and accomplishment for me.
I was the recipient of my fair share of ridicule and being ostracized by many in both childhood and adulthood for my lack of interest in sports. After all, in a great faction of society then and now, there seems (in my experience) to exist a certain mentality which believes that males are “supposed” to be into sports. In many social circles, men are often expected to be interested in watching the game with their friends and detailed and elaborate conversations about it in the days following, and those who are not are labeled as “not right” by others. Those who do not display at least a certain level of fanaticism for some team sports activity are automatically called into question as being flawed in some way; at least that is how it was for me. At times, depending on the company I am in, it still can be. It doesn’t bother me anymore.
Even before I acknowledged, accepted and came to a sense of peace about my own orientation as a bisexual man, and came to an understanding that I was not only not Created in a fashion that many considered to be “not traditionally masculine” and that I was definitely not only in touch with the aspects of who I am which are traditionally considered to be more aligned with feminine aspects but completely comfortable with that realization, there were unfortunately others who sensed this and disliked it. I understand now that the discomfort with these things about me which they had was neither a flaw on my part, nor was it deliberate on their part. It was merely different from the societal roles they were and are comfortable with.
A lengthy diatribe concerning and attempting to define what qualities determine what makes one masculine or feminine or what a precise meaning of those could be is possible, but beside my point of intention here. I’m not into team sports, but to me, that has very little to do what shapes my beliefs concerning the meaning of gender roles and what they could or should or could not or should not entail. I appreciate the beauty that God Created in both the masculine and the feminine and am at peace with both aspects in my own unique self. In my opinion, God is neither exclusively male nor female but both and all points in between those, and far beyond the concepts of gender or any other similar constructs we have created in an attempt to understand.
Temporarily putting that conversation aside for some other time, there was a time when someone asked me what I felt the rationale was that I did not have an interest in team sports and why they did not enthrall me: Was it because I was not comfortable in the environment of many who were? Was it due to a perceived lack of physical stamina required to compete or relate to those who did? Was it unresolved issues with my own sexuality that made me uncomfortable somehow? (On a humorous note, the same person who had made the inquiry, who is fully aware of my being an out bisexual, joked that were I to be a sports fan I would have the “added plus of being able to check out the cheerleaders and the teams,” which only served to express to me that this person had a great deal to learn about bisexuality and the fact that not every human being we see is some type of conquest or lust object). Although I knew that it was not due to any of the above reasons, I later came to a conclusion which provided me with some personal insight as to why I never got into it.
There is an old Peanuts cartoon, courtesy of the genius of the late Charles M. Schultz, that I have never forgotten and that I have always loved. It starts with Linus excitedly watching a football game and rushing out to relate it to his pal Charlie Brown. He enthusiastically relates it play by play of an amazing “comeback” and how thrilled the fans were, not to mention the team that defeated their opponent at the last minute, having beaten them against the odds. Charlie Brown responds with one sentence:
“How did the other team feel?”
I ran across this strip again not too long ago, and if seems to perfectly embody and entail how I feel when I think about competitive sports. There is the excitement of winning; but wherever one wins, that implies that there has to be a loser. Now, although I am one to state and completely agree with the old adage of “It is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game,” for those doing the playing, I cannot help but feel a sense of real and genuine empathy for the ones who do not take home the trophy. In my heart, it does not seem fair that someone has to lose for another to win. I really am that guy who wonders how the ones who are not being carried around, or showered with adulation, recognition and praise, or taking first place feel. I would pray that they get up and keep going, and learn from experience, and realize that in the grand scheme that the defeat is meaningless, but experience has taught me that there losing however temporal that state may prove to be can be accompanies by negative feelings.
But this goes much deeper than that to me on a spiritual level of my sense of it being unfair or unjust that one side has to lose and the other has to win: it illustrates and drives home to me the entire frustration I have with life at times resembling a simulated playing field, some vast cosmic stadium populated with opponents. In so many aspects of life there seems this need to created and envision different teams, a “them” to be against “us” and vice versa. There seems to exist in life some requirement for an “other” to be “defeated” with many, when to me life alone and the interaction we all have one another, the challenge to work together with one another despite whatever differences we may possess, and the challenge of life itself and fighting fear with faith are to me more than enough in and of themselves without any need for any other imagined adversaries to face and defeat among us.
It could definitely be argued that competitive sports are a healthy outlet for that type of thought process. There are definitely positive benefits to a team or group of people bonding together to help one another achieve a common goal. And there are in life an abundance of obstacles which require that type of teamwork to conquer. Sporting events to me can be a microcosm of that; a healthy competition intended to simultaneously keep us on our toes and growing better and stronger in our efforts to be our personal best and to work as a team to overcome adversity against the odds.
But in the greater picture of life, do we really and should we really need to take a side and have an “opposing team”? And if and when that situation becomes a reality, do we always strive to play fair? What exactly is justice, and fairness? And why at times do we respond to situations where things do not seem fair by not playing fair in return?
A note on fairness, as seen from my perspective: Perhaps one reason that all of us at times have an intrinsic need to always be treated fairly in our dealings with others is a result the fact that life as we know it most assuredly can seem to not be very fair at all. Why was a person’s life suddenly and tragically cut short? Why does the person who has always been inconsiderate of other people and never treats others fairly seem to always come out ahead, while the person who always does good for others and is kind in all their endeavors often seems to be a recipient of bad circumstances? Why are some things a struggle for some, and effortless for others? Why does the person who always does the right thing at times seem to have all of the wrong things happen to them? Why do the odds seem to be so stacked against us at times in our lives, often during the most challenging ones? They are all different ways of re-phrasing that age-old question addressed by so many, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
In all honesty, I have no set answers for those and a multitude of other related difficult questions. I am not suggesting that there are no explanations, or even solutions, I just don’t think that there is such a thing as a black and white, set answer to any of them. Furthermore, in my opinion, anyone who states that they assuredly do is suspect to me. Only God Knows.
However, if I return to the core of my faith that states and affirms the fact that all of us hold equal status as a child of God and that not a one of us is favored above the other, suddenly the entire concept of one person taking precedence over another is shattered. No matter how unfair life may seem, or how others treat us, Jesus Advises us that we in reality have no “enemies” or adversaries, but are all equal. This is one verse which I always return to and revisit whenever I encounter situations where “life just doesn’t seem fair:”
“God makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous” – Matthew 5:45
To me, this is Christ saying that there really are not people who are intrinsically good or bad or favored or not favored and no one is any better than anyone else; that there are no “enemies” beyond that which we perceive, and that there are no teams, just one vast one. At the same time, I feel He is not stating that everyone always does the most loving thing nor is He saying that everyone always makes the right decisions, quite the opposite, in fact. We are all equal to God, but it is ultimately our decision and what determines our quality of life is how it is that we choose to respond or to “play the game of life” so to speak. In a nutshell, I feel He is saying that no matter how fair or unfair life may seem, we are all equally loved by God and to remain mindful of that in all of our dealings with others.
He Knew we were going to need it. Especially given the diversity of God’s Creation.
A conversation of justice and fairness cannot be had, in my opinion, without relating my own experience with the above as a liberal Christian and a bisexual member of the LGBT Community.
I feel certain that most LGBT individuals, Christian or not, have had our ample helpings and then some of injustice and unfairness. For starters, let us not forget that up until 1973 that the American Psychological Association considered those who were not heterosexual to be mentally ill (and unfortunately, there is still today a small fringe attempting to have that viewpoint reinstated). For all of the wonderful Christian churches and communities of faith which welcome all including anyone in the LGBT Community into a place or worship where they are not merely tolerated but welcomed, affirmed, fully accepted and celebrated as part of God’s Creation, there are countless others (unfortunately possessing far more media influence and financial resources) which not only exclude LGBT individuals completely (unless they learn to detest their natural sexual orientation or sexuality and conform) but who have placed almost the entire core of their ministry to promoting misinformation, hatred and discrimination against anyone LGBT, to the point of attempting to legislate their beliefs upon society. (In addition, these seem to take full precedence over what Jesus actually Taught). Now there is an entirely new response to the growing acceptance of the LGBT Community surfacing among those who are holding fast to old and ancient dogma: LGBT acceptance and affirmation, including equal rights without discrimination, is somehow considered “discrimination against Christians” (when in reality, it is only an attempt to end the un-Christian practice of exclusion and discrimination) and they are playing the “we are the victim card.”
Akin to the rejection from much of organized Christianity LGBT people often experience are the political and governmental laws still in place attempting to make life difficult for LGBT individuals, legislation which is often the result of the involvement and obsession which legalistic fundamentalist Christians have invested in the process. It was only ten short years ago that Lawrence v. Texas made archaic “sodomy laws” (intended to outlaw any expression of sexuality they believed to be “unnatural”) unconstitutional and it has been less than one year since the Supreme Court has made the first bold movement towards ending the discrimination against same gender marriages. However, there is a great deal of progress which still needs to be made. And I will not even begin to discuss the absolute travesty with what is transpiring in Russia at the moment, where governmental anti-LGBT related laws are in full force.
And regardless of whether or not any of us would like to acknowledge it, the ugly specters of homophobia, as well as bi-phobia and trans-phobia are still insidiously lurking about everywhere in mainstream culture. The fear and misinformation about the LGBT Community may have originated from the way some have elected to interpret the Bible, but it has overflowed into other parts of culture as well. The level of acceptance is far better than it was, but in my opinion, it is still not acceptable. For every heartwarming story of an LGBT youth coming out to family and friends to a response of unconditional love and acceptance, there are unfortunately countless others where they are met with rejection, cold and hatred.
In other words, we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.
As a bisexual, I have at times been treated unfairly not only by the same groups which have treated the LGBT Community unfairly, but have been seen as an “other” by the LGBT Community and LGBT friendly people as well. To begin with, to briefly revisit the whole sports analogy, I did hear an old and familiar phrase used to refer to a bisexual when a few would refer to me as a “switch hitter” who “plays for both teams” (one I also heard among my heterosexual friends as well). For me, again, it is just not and has not ever been about “teams” or the creation of that type of dichotomy, although I can understand why someone would say that. All bisexuals are different, and while for some bisexuality means “able to go one way or the other,” or falling in love without regard to gender, for me it is a definite and pronounced need for intimacy with both a woman and a man. The best way to describe it as I and some other bisexuals experience it is in terms of “both/and” rather than “either/or.”
However, the term “switch hitter” as these individuals were using it as directed towards bisexuals was in a different light: my heterosexual friends viewed any interaction I had with a same gender partner as the “other” whereas my gay and lesbian friends viewed my relationship with my girlfriend as the “other”. There was apprehension among a few heterosexual friends of anything homosexual, and apprehension among my homosexual friends of anything heterosexual. While I do understand that my sexuality and sexual orientation is complicated to others at time, the comments made by some of “just pick your side” seemed a bit unfair as they were not experiencing my own life and feelings as I do. I have never felt comfortable at all with any type of absolute thinking which divides things in black and white, male or female, masculine or feminine, heterosexual or homosexual terms. Life, and God are far more Creative than that to me.
And even when I could find those who understood and accepted my being bisexual and having an attraction to both the opposite and the same sex, there were some who elected to judge me because for me, the way I experience bisexuality means the need for intimate relationships with both genders. Some perceived this as a threat to greater acceptance of the LGBT Community, others as a stumbling block to equal marriage rights, and others went so far as to state that unless I met a standard of conformity and repress a part of myself by choosing “one or the other” that I was not qualified to call myself a Christian.
Thankfully, I trusted in God and my faith in God to not allow this to create a need to see anyone in the LGBT Community, or LGBT friendly heterosexual friends as an “other.” I was Created bisexual, and my sexual orientation and sexuality are just a part of who I am. The only “choice” I made regarding my sexuality and orientation was to learn to fully accept and embrace myself for who I am, to fully find peace with God in knowing that there is nothing “wrong” or “unnatural” about my sexuality or sexual orientation, and to find a way to honestly live that truth in a way which was hurtful to no one. For me, that turned out to be honest committed relationships with both a woman and a man, and I am blessed in the fact that among my LGBT and heterosexual friends, even those who do not always understand are accepting and supportive of me; even if they don’t always “get” me, the whole “bi thing” as it has been referred to or my relationships, they appreciate my candor and honesty.
It took some time to arrive there. Initially, I played the role of victim, and indulged in some inner self-pity thinking it was not fair. But one method of being able to move past that was via being able to think about why others might have had the judgments that they did. There are some bisexuals who have been dishonest with their same and opposite gender partners and acted irresponsibly, creating animosity about bisexuals in general. There are those who might have attempted to separate themselves from the LGBT Community and the common good, not being supportive of same gender marriage and keeping their same gender relationships and attractions a secret in order to “appear” heterosexual, which in my opinion does a disservice not only to the LGBT Community and our cause as a whole but ultimately to themselves. And with all of the instances of those who purport to be “ex-gays” there are more than likely a few bisexuals who have just elected to repress their same gender attractions or desires and given a false sense of “validity” for the destructive reparative therapy bandwagon to cling to.
By simply making the effort and taking the time to trust God to enable me to view the greater picture and arrive at a place of understanding why others were either judging me unfairly, seeming unfair, or treating me unfairly, I received the gift of insight as to how I might be able to communicate and alleviate these concerns and cultivate and foster awareness, understanding and cooperation towards preventing any misunderstanding and seeming injustice, or actual injustice I might have felt. There is a definite truth in my experience to the old adage of putting yourself temporarily in the “shoes” of another and attempt to comprehend their perspective and the reason for conflict which can lead to greater understanding. While it may not always bring resolution, I have learned that it can better equip me to be less prone to focus on the sense of being treated unfairly and focus more on how I might go about breaking down the barriers of conflict in a loving way via proving negative presuppositions and assumptions to be incorrect through action, opening up doors of communication, and simply being and being fair to those who I might feel or have felt persecuted in some fashion by.
That is a small example, though. What about the injustice that the LGBT Community has and still does experience to a great extent? While many of us who are LGBT and LGBT Christians have made phenomenal strides towards a greater sense of fairness and justice, I could go for days and volumes offering examples of areas where greater progress can still be made. I have a few thoughts on some things which I think will (and a few that I think will not) better facilitate the onset of this.
Let me offer a couple of recent examples of how I think we do NOT go about achieving a greater sense of fairness and justice in the world.
Just this week there was a major controversy concerning Pat Robertson, who on his fundamentalist evangelical network made comments which were not only judgmental and condemning of the LGBT Community but which also deliberately spread false accusations and lies. Naturally, the internet was alive about this (and the network even pulled the footage offline). What shocked me even more about this were some reactions from LGBT individuals, and even some liberal Christians regarding Pat Robertson. Some actually wished him dead. Others stated they would rejoice when he died and got to Heaven and was thrown out into hell.
Even though I found Robertson’s comments – as I do with most of the other things he has said – reprehensible, irresponsible and hateful, I could not help but think to myself just how equally incorrect I felt these responses were. Had those who made the comments forgotten how it felt when someone had made a hateful comment that they thought “the only good queer is a dead queer” or how it felt when someone assured us that we were hell bound just for being LGBT? Fighting fire with fire is a losing battle, and it only serves to create a toxic and hostile environment which fosters even more injustice and hate. And so on, and so on.
Another instance which floored me: a study suggesting that fundamentalist Christianity was a “mental illness” for which there should be treatment and a cure. I am as far from a fundamentalist as you get, but it is their God given right to believe what it is that makes them happy. I may not like it. But it is not my place to judge it. While I am all for someone who is aggressively hurtful and psychologically abusive to others to seek help, I would never suggest that someone be seen as “mentally ill” for believing differently. The concept to me is as repugnant as stating that someone should be “cured” of being LGBT. The very fact that there are those who throw back the very same type of thing which they would not want done to them is not only the antithesis of the Golden Rule, it is just again setting the stage for more conflict, more anger, and no attempt at understanding, loving, and accepting one another and working together despite differences, which does not resonate to me as being in alignment with the Christ I know and what He Taught.
And finally, I have witnessed on far too many occasions a few people who are in support of the LGBT Community and some in the Community who hurl the same level of judgment back at those who are opposed to our freedoms. I have encountered far more times than I would like (and once was more than enough) those who seek to perpetuate the entire mentality of “my faith is better than yours” and the approach of “Scripture Wars” to address the issue of the rift between those with more legalistic beliefs and those with more open and loving beliefs. While I completely agree that Christ Taught that God is Love over Law, I reiterate the point that all fighting fire will do is make the fire grow. To fight back with more of the same is a futile effort towards attempting to understand and accept one another and attempt to reconcile differences and work together. It only serves to create more conflict that cannot be resolved.
What I observe when I see all of the conflict which exists related to judgment is simply cause and effect as Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:1-2:
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”
Most people in my experience – and I have been guilty of it many times in my life – tend to forget that second part where He advises of the consequences of judging. Someone judges us. We judge them. They judge us. And it never ends. It is happening on a grand scale now.
Personally, speaking of justice and fairness, I think this is very fair. It is cause and effect and I like the way God Set all of it up. Judging others is never a productive or healthy thing to invest oneself in, and we reap as we sow until we move past it. The person who ultimately pays the price is the one doing the judging; the high level of mistrust the LGBT Community has come to feel in general as a result of how we have been judged by some Christians should attest to that. Unfortunately, some in the LGBT Community have responded by judging right back, and fighting the opposition angrily rather than doing what I feel is the right thing and investing more effort in building a greater voice for those of us who are LGBT and Christian which is heard more and taken with the same level of seriousness by the mainstream media as the far right wing anti-LGBT hysteria.
Those are just a few things I thought of as far as responses to unfairness and injustice which to me are either futile and ineffective, or outright detrimental towards a solution. But on the converse, here are some examples in life which I think are positive steps towards creating an environment of justice for all.
I witnessed recently an episode of Russell Brand’s “Brand X” show where he actually invited two members of the Westboro Baptist Church on his show. Naturally, the audience was booing and hissing, but Brand told them to treat the guests with respect, even though they were being hateful, insulting and offensive before the first word they spoke. Although he ribbed them some and allowed them to point out their own hypocrisy, he was polite and respectful even when they were not. But the really impactful moment to me was when Brand brought out a group of his gay friends, including a gay Christian. One of them actually looked at one of the people who seem to live to spread hate to and about the LGBT Community and said, “I love you” with sincerity and you could actually hear the forgiveness in his voice.
That was at the end of the segment but it was extremely powerful. I thought to myself, who might be watching this who had all of these horrible stereotypes about LGBT people, who might have been one of the ones who voted unjustly against LGBT civil rights or acted in a discriminatory way in the past? What effect would it have to see this person return absolute hate (or just extremely misguided and ignorant rhetoric expressed in a hateful manner) with love? I cannot say for sure, but I can imagine it must have made at least one person think about how fair and just they were towards others and reconsider whether their continued belief that discrimination was very “Christian” might need to be rethought.
Returning hate and injustice with love is powerful. I still will never ever forget when the parents of Matthew Shepard elected to not seek revenge on their son’s murderer by seeking the death penalty, as many suggested they should or that they would have done. That level of ability for forgiveness for something so horrific made me examine my own ability to be forgiving of others who had committed utterly insignificant offenses towards me in the past.
And there is another group which is committed to challenging injustice towards the LGBT Community that I find inspiring, Mel White’s Soulforce. Part of their mission statement says that “in accordance with the nonviolent principles of Ghandi, we work to become what we also ask of our adversaries: compassionate, educated and just.” They are true to their mission statement, and from all I have seen actually engage in considerate and respectful dialogue with those with differing views, all in the name of fairness and justice and pursued with love.
I am inspired when other LGBT individuals take the courageous step to come out and let others know who they are and that they are unashamed and unafraid to take that step towards letting the world know the imperative of equality, and when anyone speaks out in support of the LGBT Community, regardless of who they are. There was an amazingly powerful spot on the gay mayor of a small West Virginia town that was making the rounds this past month, where people in the town spoke out about their lack of judgment for him; one quoted the Bible and his faith as to why he should not judge someone based on sexual orientation. It definitely opened my eyes and my false assumptions about some things, and caused me to be less defensive about some of the smaller towns I have visited.
And there have been so many occasions in my own life when I have seen others make a tremendous impact merely through the actions of being who they are without reservation while still allowing others to do the same. When confronted with the reality that the same LGBT individuals they seek to treat unjustly are the person who smiles and pays them kindness every day, the people who were there for them in times of need and value them as an equal human being and child of the same God despite differences in belief or anything else, the person who went out of their way to pay them an unexpected kindness, miracles can take place. Those who might have been protesting that their “beliefs were under attack” when wheels have begun turning to enact legislation which is intended only to prevent discrimination and secure equal rights for all people might suddenly realize that what was truly under attack, their resistance to letting go of fear, ignorance and old prejudices that only serve to separate and distance others from the Loving God, was not worth vehemently defending or saving at all.
As for me, as fond as I am of the statement I alluded earlier to about “wondering how the other team feels” when the other wins, it provides me with some insight into why I never got the entire team sports thing. In retrospect, I think it is because my own take on spirituality cannot coincide with the concept of one having to be a winner and the other a loser, or competition in general. In fact, I think that the entire idea of two opposing teams attempting to conquer one another conflicts with me because I just don’t subscribe to black and white constructs that well. I do believe that being loving and mindful is being on the correct path that leads to good and being closer to God and being unloving and thoughtless as being the incorrect path that leads to negative outcomes and distance from knowing God, but aside from that, I have always been a believer in both/and rather than either/or: male and female, homosexual and heterosexual, spirituality and sexuality, multiple colors in a rainbow of diversity, and many different paths to understanding the same Loving Creator. All of it can co-exist, even if it is a challenge at times. For God, all things are possible, as Jesus reminds us in 19:26, as He reminds us that if we maintain faith nothing will be impossible for us to accomplish in Matthew 17:20.
No matter how many might have jokingly referred to me as a “switch hitter” who “plays for both teams,” in my understanding and life there are no separate teams, just one big team that has our skirmishes, but thankfully has God as the Love that holds everything together and gives us hope if we make a decision to trust in God. And although I might not always take everything Paul said verbatim literally, I do wholeheartedly agree with his assertion in Galatians 3:28 that “..all are one in Christ Jesus.”
I believe that when we follow the Teachings of Jesus, and truly take His teachings to heart, that we cannot be divided. His Way to me is not one which leads us to create all of the human separation and divisions we create, but to seek through Love, the power of God, to shatter the barriers, to break them down and locate our common ground while simultaneously celebrating our diverse differences. He Teaches us to see everyone as they truly are, beloved children of God, rather than as an “other.” And love them unconditionally as God Loves Us, even if or when they may allow fear to create the illusion within them that they hate us. If we all work together then it can work out, if we are simply striving to do all that we can focused on that goal and trust in God to assist us on accomplishing the rest.
When there are those who might create the illusion that we are somehow separate or on a different “team,” so to speak, take a moment to think about that they might be feeling that would cause them to have some sort of opposition to us, what would cause them to not play fairly in the game of life, what gives them the imperative and critical need to “win.” In very single instance I have seen where others seek to perpetuate injustice towards the LGBT Community, the root has always been fear: fear of a concept of God that is not Loving, or Encouraging us to be the best we can be but rather keeping “score.” If we can come to the realization that those fears are not real begin to break them down with love and compassion, and take it to heart and to task that the focus should not be on “winning” or “losing” but how we play the game of life – by speaking and living our truth as LGBT Christians with love, honesty and integrity and strive to truly embody and exemplify the loving Teachings of Christ, always steadfastly and courageously treading the path of love in the face of any adversity, then I think that against the “odds” some may feel we are up against to achieve equality we will have truly “leveled the field” to the point where true fairness and justice can begin to blossom and grow even stronger. And should we have the need for some type of a “coach” in the process, God is always speaking, if we open our hearts and minds to listen. And God will not be harsh should we fail to perform to our highest potential, but loving and encouraging that we might improve.
While it may be true that life does not seem fair at times, that is no reason that we should not always strive to play fair, even when others do not elect to do so. Even if there are those who are acting in a manner which seems in opposition to us, always remember that they are doing so out of fear and will benefit from our love and compassion far more than if we elected to play dirty and return anger and fear with more of the same. God Views no one group of people, no one school of belief and no select group as the “favorite.” All of us, all of humanity in all of our diversity are all on the same vast team, and through making a sincere effort by allowing God to Guide us to work together and practice true teamwork as one Creation of the same God working together with love, there is no loser; everyone wins.
John Campbell is a native of Alabama.