Monday, June 20, 2016

A Confession...

I have a confession to make.

I have been raised in a faith community that emphasizes expressions of compassion. I am proud of this heritage. I have been formed by an understanding of Christian discipleship that prioritizes striving for peace and justice. I am deeply thankful for this modelling.

So when I learned of the horrendous massacre of gay patrons at an Orlando night club, I did what I thought was only natural. I expressed mourning. I named the pain I felt for the family and friends of victims thrust into brutal grieving
I thought such discriminatory violence must be mourned. I thought that lament must be confessed. I expected many others to be quick with expressions of solidarity.

But I found an uneasiness growing within me. I felt an urge to calculate my expressions of sorrow. As though expressing support for the suffering LGBTQ community might be suspect. To feel pain for those in sorrow should be an expected reaction - especially for the People of God. But I felt it necessary to waver. I found unholy questions invade my mind: How might this be misunderstood?
I do not want the debate of morality to stifle responses of compassion. I do not want ongoing theological discernment to create a fear in expressing sorrow. 

It is natural to weep with those who weep. It is normal to mourn with those who mourn. It should be a basic human tendency to moan and wail against injustice - especially for the People of God.

When faced with deep, intense sorrow for fellow humans there is no place for fear of being politically incorrect. It is not God who asks us to waver or reconsider.

I am shamed by my own misunderstanding of righteousness. I am humbled by my misdirected yearning "to keep the peace." I confess the desire to temper responses of compassion in favour of my desire to keep the peace. It is a sad commentary on ungodly influences on our expression of faith.

Compassion is a basic human response to suffering. To ask people to deny this basic impulse of humanity because of a need to be politically neutral is to ask people to deny the very image of God.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Massacre in Orlando

I am deeply distressed about the massacre of fellow humans in Orlando, Florida on June 12. The fact that the lives of innocent people were gunned down simply for being gay is horrifying.

I find myself in deep mourning.

I mourn the loss of life. I mourn the bitter grieving that families and friends have been thrust into.

I mourn that hatred could so control an individual.

I mourn a society that can foster such discrimination.

All of Canadian society should be weeping.  It is a sad event for the human family. 

But I also find myself weeping for my own people in particular - my family of faith.

I mourn the hateful discrimination of the LGBTQ community in our own families’ experience – and how this massacre reminds them of this.

I mourn the increased terror some of our youth will experience – already too terrified to acknowledge their sexual orientation. 

I mourn the way God will be misrepresented. No one should feel placed outside of God’s mercy and passionate love.

I don't want fear and misunderstanding to begin with feelings of hostility. God is not honoured in violence. Righteousness is not portrayed through violence.

I pray for something different. I pray that my family of faith will be something different. This is my hope.

But today I am in mourning.

There is reason to weep whenever hatred is given expression.