Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Arrogance

I’m the quiet kid that sits in the back of the room, that everyone makes fun of, unless I speak. That’s just who I am. Those who take the time to know me seem to end up thinking I’m an ok guy, and so I have a lot of friends for an introvert. I’m not going to re-write Lenny’s rant on this, but just setting the stage for where I’m going with it. I mentioned in a comment that one of my personal pet peeves about people’s misunderstanding about me is that I’m “arrogant”. One could suggest that this bothers me so because I *am* arrogant, but I think I would have fewer friends if I really were such a jerk. Every once in a while, though, something happens to make me question myself again.

A few days ago I discovered that a close and good friend of mine that I haven’t seen in several years attends an evangelical bible college that is one of the epicenters for anti-gay propaganda and the “ex-gay” organization PFOX. They are on SoulForce’s list of colleges that discriminate against LGBT people, banning out people from enrolling, and throwing out students who come out after enrolling. SoulForce’s “Equality Ride” of LGBT Christian students has come to this school 3 years in a row to ask them to change, and been arrested for their peaceful protest and asking for dialogue. This school, Liberty University, founded by the late Jerry Falwell, is the font of such foul bigoted tripe as this publication about the “health risks of gay sex”, this pack of lies, and this entire website dedicated to spreading this poison.

What was I to do? This isn’t just a passing acquaintance, this is someone I prayed with, sang with, fought with, cried with, baby-sat children with, led worship with. The ONLY thing he didn’t know about me was that I’m gay. Could I let it go? My friend is in Youth Ministry, and is going to this school to earn a degree in that. He has, and will have, kids and teens under his care. Kids who look up to him, and whom he plays a major role in forming the religious views through which they view and act in the world, and how they feel about themselves. Statistically speaking, some of the kids he leads now are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, and many more in the future years to come will also be. And I’m his friend. So I come again to the question “What was I to do?”

If I let it go, then I resign myself not only to loosing a friend, but also failing to reach out to that friend: failing to spread the good things I know in my heart through the relationships I have; failing to be honest to myself, my God, and my friend. Beyond that, I would be failing to say something that could help that first kid who comes to my friend with tears in his eyes as he says for the first time “I think I might be gay”.

But, if I let it go, at least I wouldn’t be arrogant.

I could just live and let live, let my friend go unchallenged, untouched, uninformed about how much his views and those he is learning at this school hurt and harm me and those LGBT Christians who grow up with those thoughts in their ears. And escape pride on my part. I can just be silent, and do nothing.

Or I can do what I did: stand out on that limb and say something and risk pride, risk “arrogance” for the sake of love.

I wrote him, and confronted him about his school choice, challenging him to think and talk. I first asked him to contact me about it, with out getting into it right away; basically giving him the opportunity to set the tone of the discussion. Then when he didn’t respond at all, I wrote him. I came out to him, and tried to show him what this meant to me, having a friend at this un-Christian, un-loving, school.

Is that arrogance? Integrity? Principles? Not wanting your friend to hang on his wall a diploma that might as well say “Gays are serving Satan”?

Or is it arrogance to think that the world will be a better place without my needing to do anything? Oh right, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” It might be arrogance to think that I fall into the category of “good men”, but it certainly *is* arrogance to think that I don’t need to do things if we’re all going to fix this planet, to expect everyone else to work, talk, change, grow, etc., but not me. Arrogant to think that “God will take care of everything”, while ignoring God’s call to action in relationship.

He hasn't written me back.

The quiet kid speaks… but is he just an arrogant dick, or a good man trying to make a difference?

You tell me.


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