by Stina Brown (first written in 2015)
Today is the day after the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. New York Times Reports. My social media feeds are full of rainbows and celebrations. My heart feels elated and proud for what this monumental ruling means for countless people in their everyday lives. History was made.
To be clear, I am an agenda designer. It’s one the things I’m best at. Yesterday liberated many, institutionalized something new, and intensified some of the polarization between far right religious groups and the rest of us. This is my momentary commentary on the play of all of that.
As an agenda designer, if I were to design a GAY AGENDA for a day, it would start with “gay rights are human rights” in the morning and move into “you are ok and it’s all going to be ok” before the break. After the break and before lunch, we’d have a world café on visibility/invisibility to enable folks to meet each other, share stories, see each other, and be heard. After lunch we’d get down to more GAY business like lowering the suicide rates among youth/people who can’t imagine living their gay lives, sharing best practices around “safe space”, health, self-care and navigating family life and coming out. The day would close with appreciations (PRIDE) – for being who we are, living in the worlds we live in.
Now, “THE GAY AGENDA” is one way certain religious groups (I’m mainly talking about far right Christians) frame “the fight” to preserve their image of how the world should be.
Back to my social media feed for a moment: one article posted on Facebook 3 hours ago by one of my dearest friends from university days sits in glaring contrast to the rainbows: “So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity.” I was someone who for many years desperately and wholeheartedly tried to reconcile being a devout Christian, and realizing I was gay.
This article reminded me of one thing: it’s hard to be a Christian sometimes. The article starts: “Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy…” It goes on to say “What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.” The word calamity rang in my mind when I read that, and I had to pause.
I work in social change circles where calamity is digested and chipped away at on a daily basis. These are calamities: chronic poverty and starvation, war and violence, traumatized nationless refugees, child and female exploitation, degradation to water and soil, climate change, sexual abuse, political corruption, continued colonization of First People, the death of the ocean, etc…
The author (John Piper) goes on to say his “reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorry of these days… Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way.” He says eventually comes “…the wrath of God, the sorrowful fruits of our own sins.”
You can see why this day, yesterday, would be hard for this kind of Christian, can’t you? But here’s the thing. This sad story about a wrathful angry exclusionary God and the GAY “assault on God” through this new law in America is a STORY. And, as I did, YOU CAN CHANGE THE STORY.
John Piper closes with this: “And in our best moments, we weep for the world, and for our own nation… “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)”.
It’s a fact that tears from crying are detoxifying – so it’s a great idea to cry. For about a decade I cried because I was terrified of being gay – that God would hate me, be ashamed of me, abandon me. So petrified of hell, losing my relationship with God, my family and facing damnation, I almost didn’t make it into my own future.
But I’m all done crying now. I’m ABSOLUTELY SWIMMING IN JOY AND CELEBRATION for all life has to offer. And I invite any Christian who is struggling with all of this to have a bloody good cry about it, and then change the story. Open up to see the love that this law recognizes. Don’t stay in fear and sorrow.
With love, Stina
“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”
~ R. Buckminster Fuller
Stina helps leaders see, study, and support themselves – in service of their visions for what the world can be. She designs and leads processes to create new human capacity and well-being, new shared awareness, new relationships, new trust, new vision, new clarity, and new plans. Read more about me here