Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bigotry Hits Home

I think I've talked here before of the low-level anxiety I always feel at church, as inclusive as our congregation is; that I'm always waiting for the shoe to drop regarding the issue of sexual orientation.

Well...I guess that's happened.

We've always had an especially friendly relationship with one of the teenagers in our congregation; she's an animal lover who likes our dogs and hangs out by the Jeep when they're with us, and we've also worked with her on various church projects. We've encouraged her in her academics and sports activities.

In the past few weeks she's grown more distant. I had chalked this up to the sort of anti-adult adolescent sulks that I used to have at that age, when Fellow Traveler told me that the girl had finally told her that she had been instructed by her mother not to talk to FT anymore because FT was "a queer." (I didn't seem to be included in this assessment; I'm not sure if Mom simply hasn't done the math yet, or can't believe that a good Lutheran girl can also be "a queer," or if I'm bundled into the prohibition as well.)

I could be angry. I guess I'm more disappointed, and frustrated. This is a family who worships with us each week; with and for whom we've prayed, to whom I've preached and whom I've helped commune; who's been involved with us in any number of church projects; whose kids' summer camp tuition and other youth ministry activities FT and I have consistently financially supported. What is so awful about us that a parent would ban her kids from interacting with us? What is she afraid of?

I know that the best antidote for this kind of thinking is to simply keep showing up, being who we've always been and doing what we've always done. And of course that's what we're going to do. But I wish this individual would understand how hurtful her behavior is, and how foolish it is for her to bar her daughter, at such an important and vulnerable age, from interacting with other caring, supportive adults.

9 comments:

Trish said...

I am so sorry that this has happened. Sorry that you and FT have to go through being shunned for being who you are, and sorry for this young lady who is being taught to exclude people from love. Peace to you.

Songbird said...

So, so sorry to hear this.

Verdugo said...

I'm reminded of Bonhoeffer's comments about the ruthless way in which God will strip us of our "wish dream" of the perfect Christian community in order that we live out the gospel by accepting each other's sin and brokeness. This seems like a particularly ruthless death to that very small dream of yours-- not a perfect community, but just one that accepts me? Is that too much to ask? I pray God will bring some grace out of this sad death as you and FT labor to continue to live out in faith and in community the call of the gospel.

Mother Laura said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. How hurtful for you and FT and what a loss for them -- and for the whole church when these attitudes are being formed by present policies.

more cows than people said...

i'm so sorry. lord, have mercy.

don't eat alone said...

I, too' am sorry about the wedge the mother drove between you and the kid and the hurt she dealt to you as well. I pray you will find a way to find the teenager so she has a chance to move beyond the bondage of her mother's prejudice.

Peace
Milton

Cecilia said...

I add my voices to those who have already spoken. I am sorry, friend. I am grateful for your continued, loving witness in that community.

Pax, C.

jill said...

Many cures come to mind. This kind of story breaks me. But you are right--about continuing to show up and show yourselves as the rock star people that you are. The message--we have to believe--will get through.

Reverend Dona Quixote said...

Just catchin up with you and FT, LC.

I am sorry this has happened.

I hope that someone else in your church will gently remind appropriate people who you and FT really are.