He Loves Us, Just The Way We Are!
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
The world is changing all around us. Of that single fact there can be no doubt. In my country alone, just 150 years ago it was considered OK in some regions to own people as if they were given no more thought than we give our underwear….which, in reality….they were not! We fought a war on the land where my home now sits, to set this wrong to rights and now that I live in the heart of Dixie, I see how far we have come as I look at families who are more than white-skinned or red-skinned or yellow-skinned or black-skinned. We now live in a rainbow-hued world when it comes to skin color, which is as it should be and is pleasing to the Almighty, I am sure! And now it is time that we begin the process of growing, once more.
Sexual identity is a very difficult concept to come to grips with, especially here in my backyard, where churches line rural highways with the same frequency as do mailboxes. And within every fellowship represented, there are equally diverse opinions, about which way we need to lean when it comes to issues of sexual identity. And while there are many who embrace the “don’t ask don’t tell” mindset when it comes to this debate, avoiding it will not change the fact that as laws change and the matter becomes political fodder in our public forums, there will soon be many whose opinion of the issue at hand, becomes a matter of law and not simply doctrine of beliefs.
You who know me also know that I have members of my own family, as well as people I consider to be beloved friends, whose sexual identity is different from mine. And for us to keep our heads buried in the sand about the changing times won’t stop the times from changing. So we need to look within and examine our very own hearts as we struggle with this issue in our families, in our communities and in our world.
I am not endeavoring to sway opinion in one direction or the other, since the very core of the things we hold as absolute about our sexual identity, is really a subjective and extremely personal one. But it is something we need to think about before we become so embattled over the issue that another war is begun to rectify the matter….one way or the other! And as part of this, I want to share the story of a woman and a mother.
Janice Rhine is unprepossessing, much as am I. She is a mother, just as I am! She is a devout Christian, just as am I! In fact she could be me, except for one big difference. She is the mother of a gay son, while I am not. But sharing her words, penned by her own hand, exactly as they were sent to a local news columnist, are indeed worth sharing. And while they may or may not change any minds about the matter, there is one inescapable fact. They will make you see that sexuality and sexual preference, and coming to terms with what they both mean within the Christian family dynamic, is more difficult than it should be.
“A Different Perspective”
Issac J Bailey
The Sun News
published Sunday, June 2, 2013
“MB mom of gay son speaks out”
(URL for article is not yet available)
For Janice Rhine, the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay boys to participate in the program wasn’t about politics. It wasn’t about ideology. It brought back memories of some tough days.
She got in touch with me after last week’s column about the Boy Scouts’ decision (“Boy Scouts should have welcomed all boys long ago”, published: May 25th, 2013, http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2013/05/25/3504850/issac-j-bailey-boy-scouts-should.html).
Rhine is originally from Pennsylvania and is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach.
Here is her story, in her words, lightly edited. The word Christian is usually capitalized, but I decided to leave it the way she wrote it. Her explanation follows:
(Janice Rhine’s words:)
After reading your column today I just had to respond.
I am the mother of a gay son. I knew he was different when he was 2 years old. I didn’t understand it but prayed daily about it. Two years old, and I knew! But he was created by God and a gift to us from Him. He has grown to be a fine young man, dedicating his life to fighting social injustice.
And now the Boy Scouts have decided to include children who are gay, Horrors the churches and pastors and christians say. A pastor the other day had the audacity to say that, as a christian (I can’t capitalize this thinking), he had to stand up for what is right even if it meant christian children would have to sacrifice their involvement in the Boy Scouts and leave.
Sacrifice? How dare he use this word. Where is he when gays and lesbians of all ages are spit at, beaten, bullied, killed, commit suicide, etc., all because they were born different?
Once again, christians, who are taught to see Christ in everyone, fail and Christ weeps for those who are told again they are not worthy.
I try to see how God can be glorified in this and I am reminded of a wonderful nun, Sister Campbell, who is vilified by the male hierarchy of the Catholic Church for her wanting women to have a bigger role in the church.
She said, “The Holy Spirit is alive and well and making mischief.”
I was raised a Mennonite and married into the Baptist faith, but mostly, I was clueless about homosexuality.
When our son was growing up, he gave puppet shows in our barn loft and people would come from miles around to see his shows. My husband built his stage and my son and I made costumes.
Sure, other boys, as was his brother, were into sports and rough playing but this son was just different.
We put no label on it.
He came home from school one time beaten up but would not talk about it and the school said it just one of those things. It was my ignorance that caused me to say a very hurtful that haunts me to this day.
When my son was in junior high, he asked me one day, “Can a Christian be gay?”
I responded, “No.”
I believed this was the turning point in my life and God knew I was ready for Him to teach me the truth.
Writer Anne Lamott has a wonderful saying, “God loves me just the way I am, but too much to let me stay that way.”
So in many ways my son’s journey has been my journey as well and it has been quite a ride.
I thank God every day for my son and the wonderful relationship we now have. My heart breaks for those sons and daughters who have been tossed out of their homes by parents. May God love these children and fold them into His loving arms and may the rest of us do the same.
My story isn’t special, just a Christian mother, raised in a conservative church who went along with the thinking that gays chose to be that way.
But God had much to teach me and it wasn’t always easy. But I knew my son, the little 6-year-old, who for Show and Tell, told his classmates that he had asked Jesus into his heart.
God loves the little children, isn’t that wonderful? And He loves my son, and all like him.
For some reason God singled me out to have a gay child and He prepared the way by sending gay and lesbian people into my life.
As I look back, I marvel at His patience and His wisdom and His love.
So I no longer remain silent when I hear hurtful things and that is why I encourage you to continue to speak out and share the message of Christ’s love.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,”
Acts 17:24-27 ESV
Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry
(This copyright applies only my words, and not those written by Mr Bailey nor Janice Rhine, the woman whose story is included herein.)