When the team at Level Ground asked me to contribute to their blog, I was really excited. Partly because I have several opinions that clearly need to be heard and commented on by the masses, but mostly because today (10.27.14) is the day that Taylor Swift's new album comes out. There is something about sitting down to pen this blog on the day Taylor Swift's new album drops that makes me feel like a much better writer than I probably am.
Normally this blog post would have been pretty easy for me to write. Remember all those opinions I mentioned wanting to share? Like I said, I have several of them, especially when it comes to the bridge between homosexuality and Christianity. Usually I'd just write down said opinions and explain why I thought they were essential to the mental growth of readers everywhere. But this post feels different. Rather than regurgitate the conclusions I've already reached during years past, or turn a group of bulleted how to's into a humorously titled list reminiscent of something the hilariously dry Mindy Kaling might leave behind on the cutting room floor, today I've been asked to talk questions. So naturally, I'm going to tell a story.
A few nights ago, my friend Missi and I had the opportunity to perform at Level Ground's Fall Party. A night full of visual art, musical acts, and comedy, the purpose was simple: to have fun and to raise money for Level Ground. While we were singing, a girl in the back of the room caught my attention. She wasn't so far in the back that I assumed she was an outcast or anything, but she was still far enough from the front for me to think she avoided being the center of attention. Part of me was judging her because this girl was dressed to impress. She wore a dress that was far too formal for the evening (in my very humble opinion) and a scarf that let everyone know she was hipster enough to be the poster child for Urban Outfitters. I also noticed she talked through every performance. (Normally I would be pretty mad about this, but I forgot several of my lyrics that night, so I guess we'll call it even.)
Anyways, after we sang, Missi and I spoke briefly about what Level Ground means to us and why we are involved in the organization. I mentioned growing up in a minister's home and how difficult it is to balance my faith with my budding sexuality. Missi spoke about being personally tied to the organization through friends like me and her roommate Nick (who works for Level Ground).
Cut to the event's end and I see the girl with the dress and the scarf beelining to talk to me from across the room. It was one of those weird moments where you look everywhere but that person's direction for fear of eye contact and you still somehow make eye contact and then all of a sudden there she was, right in front of me.
Let's call her Sara (for the sake of this story). Sara skipped the small talk and immediately launched into a hard inquiry: "Why would you agree to sing such meaningful songs with someone who clearly doesn't support the lifestyle you've chosen to live."
My first inclination was to turn and walk away but instead I asked a few questions. Why do you think the life I'm living is a life I chose? Why would I change my mind about performing alongside someone who doesn't believe exactly what I believe? Is it wrong of me to foster a friendship with someone who doesn't agree with such a big aspect of my daily life?
I inquired hard at first because she'd come at me so negatively, but soon found out that Sara was so emotional about her curiosities because she'd lost most of her close friends when she told them of her decision to live as an "out of the closet" homosexual female who still desires to serve the Lord. Her mother decided not to stand on her side, same with her grandparents. She was envious of the friendship that Missi spoke of sharing with Nick and me because she lost those relationships so abruptly when she chose to come out. It boggles my mind, really.
I guess I say all of that here to ask a few other questions I've been thinking about a lot since this, dare I say, leveling ground encounter. Will there ever be a time when friends and loved ones won't be so rocked by someone's sexuality that lost relational time is not an issue? Will the work of organizations like Level Ground be a waste of time and effort? Or will it finally prevail? While my mind is still boggled, I do have huge faith. And until any of us knows any answers to these questions, I suggest we all rest in the emotion of that weird owl from those old school tootsie pop commercials: "The world may never know," but we can (and should) certainly keep trying.