Out of college and working in New York City, I lived in a walkup apartment in a restored brownstone in Chelsea. Chelsea was then in the early stages of redevelopment and those of us who chose to live there were definitely stepping outside the norm.
My next door neighbor was a guy, and we soon discovered that we shared a love for the ballet and exploring one museum or another on Sunday afternoons. Not only did we have common interests, he was quite good looking and I thanked my lucky stars for having aligned so positively.
After several weeks of being acquainted, he invited me to a party at his place. I was the first to arrive and as guests sauntered in, they were all male. I thought nothing more than again how lucky I was to meet so many attractive guys who were interesting and good conversationalists.
At some point during the evening my neighbor called me aside and said he wanted me to meet his friends as a way of letting me know who he was. Seeing my puzzled look, he simply announced that he was gay as were his friends. That was my introduction to a sexual preference that was different from mine, and because I had already established a relationship with him it made no difference to me. I only felt a slight pang of regret that he and his friends were not dating material! What they turned out to be were wonderful companions during the time I lived in New York.
Why am I telling you this story? Thanks to such a positive experience, I’ve never had any bias toward homosexuals and have looked on them only as people. Some have become friends, and their chosen lifestyle matters not a whit to me. Those who have chosen permanent relationships and have children who experience life with two dads or two moms are among those who I admire the most.
All this being said, I am heartbroken that at the just concluded Methodist conference gay clergy and same sex marriages were rejected. Like other Christian denominations, the Methodist church is founded on the teachings of Jesus who was so inclusive, especially when it came to the disenfranchised. I may be wrong, but I don’t remember him condemning anyone for their gender or sexuality. Were Jesus here today to witness what is going on among Christians, I believe his heart would be bleeding.
Thankfully, my church, St. Paul’s UMC in Houston, is open and accepting, and I don’t know what the conference decision means to its future or to that of others with differing views. As St. Paul’s and its members move forward, I hope it and they will be a shining example of love and acceptance in a world that is continually challenged.
In the ten years I have been blogging, I rarely express personal opinions or address controversial issues, but this time it’s important for me to say what I feel. We are all God’s people, created in His image, and that is how I try to view humankind even with all its warts. However our opinions may vary, I will try to be respectful of those that differ from my own and to have the courage to speak for what I believe.