Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Compassion & Controversy: A Message for Unconditional Love

--by Mike Adams

The past few days have seen a swirl of activity and discussion regarding homosexuality, same sex marriage and morality. We have seen myriad responses calling for tolerance or alternately for "tough love", we have continued to be assaulted by people, whose message is closer to that of Fred Phelps than a loving and compassionate Christian. We have seen Glennon over at Momastery publish some beautiful prose, eloquently showing the depth of her introspection and her devotion to a Christian doctrine of love over intolerance. We have seen Josh Weed publish a "Club Unicorn" post, in which he announced to the world that he is a homosexual man, who has chosen to marry a woman, to have children and to live a prescribed Mormon life. His message and that of his wife is a profound expression of love and it earned them a warm and supportive response from thousands.

We have seen comments aimed at Glennon questioning or denouncing her Christianity, while others have claimed that Josh Weed can't possibly not gay. Stones are being whetted and axes are being sharpened, but out of it all, what I'm left with is a message of love, a message of tolerance, and a message of hope for humanity's future. I stand in awe at the beauty of what these people are promoting. I am inspired by my wife's post "Something is Changing," and the incredible responses she has received from her readers. I am humbled by the ever louder affirmation and promotion of every human being's inherent worth and dignity, by the incredible message that all of these beautiful authors have articulated it so eloquently.

They have set a high bar and one, which I am unlikely to clear, but I am going to add my voice to this conversation anyway. I am going to try and stretch myself to meet the level and quality of discourse already taking place. Though I am articulate and loving, compassionate and caring, I am also arrogant and self righteous. I am a deeply flawed person, who tries to be good and to do good in this world, but often I fall short. I keep trying anyway and sometimes I succeed, despite myself.

So for anyone who reads my posts here or my comments on Momastery, my conversation on TED, my responses on Faith in Ambiguity or my challenges on the Huffington Post, I know that what I say often occurs as "in your face," or "righteous indignation." And for that I apologize. For those, who need an able and convincing ally; I apologize, because though my heart is in the right place, my passion and sense of justice may harden my words and sharpen my tongue, leaving my message hard to hear for people who disagree.

I am an imperfect messenger, with a small audience; however, all of my readers are incredible people. They are better than I am. I believe they reflect the potential of who I might become. My hope is that despite my obvious limitations, despite my arrogance and indignant nature, I can inspire them to shout this message of love to the world from their pulpits and blogs and personal conversations. I am going to try, and as Glennon once said, this is a mountain I am willing to die on. It is a cause I am willing to fail at over and over again, until I get it right.

I will not give up, because I love YOU so much, because I love my children so much and I love humanity so much.

To start, I want to address anyone I have personally known who is gay and who has suffered this society's intolerance. I want you to know that I LOVE YOU. Maybe I failed to stand up for you when you were being bullied and later, I tried or perhaps I failed to offer comfort. If either is the case, I apologize for letting my fear paralyze me when you needed me. But know this, you are my brothers and sisters and I Love You! I am imperfect and ineffective, but I promise to do what I can to transform this world such that you feel valued.

To anyone who is secretly gay and hiding, because your family and friends have made it clear that they think being gay is vile. If you feel alone and frightened, if you feel depressed or suicidal, if you feel like no one cares. If you fall into any of these categories, I hope that you may find message, because you need to know that I LOVE YOU! I think you are beautiful and important and valuable. Though we haven't met, you are my brother or my sister and you are deserving of love and support. Please leave a comment or send an email. I'll be happy and honored to be your friend. mla_ca520 at hotmail dot com.

To anyone who is struggling with your faith and your personal sense of morality. Perhaps your church believes and tells you that homosexuality is wrong and that YOU need to condemn it. Perhaps you disagree, but choose to stay quiet, and wish you could stand tall and openly speak your mind. I want you to know that I Love you too. I have lived with that kind of fear, the fear that kept me from telling people to stop being cruel when someone was suffering. The fear that prevented me from stopping bullies as they tormented my friends. You are in a difficult place and I know you will find your power if you keep searching. In the mean time, please remember that I Love you!

To anyone whose heart becomes cold to this message, who is tempted to leave a comment condemning me or those who agree with me. We may disagree, I may say harsh things to you as my passions get stirred, but on a fundamental level, you should know that I Love you too. You should know that I will fight with the same passion and tenacity for you to have your personal and religious freedoms as I fight now for our gay brothers and sisters. I know that you are a human miracle, the unlikely transitory product of a marvelous and intricate evolution, which has unfolded for billions of years. You are my brothers and my sisters and I love you. I know you believe you are trying to save my soul and the souls of others whom you condemn and though I think you are misguided, I am grateful that you care enough to try and I love you.

Finally, to my brothers and sisters, who stand with me on this side of the controversy. To my beautiful and talented wife, to Glennon and to Josh Weed, to the UUA and the UCC. To anyone who has taken up this cause and decided that you will stand on the side of love. Thank you and I Love you too. I thank you for helping me to find my courage and my voice. I thank you for helping me as I strive to join your ranks and become an effective advocate for what is good and right in humanity. I thank you, not for your tolerance, but rather for your unconditional love and your compassion. You are my heroes!

30 comments:

  1. Excellent take on these posts. I'm still absorbing and trying to figure out what I think and how I feel about all I've seen Tara share lately. I'm impressed, though, no doubts.

    And I love you too! :-)

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    1. Thank you Margi! I really appreciate your chiming in and especially that you are participating in the inquiry! Thank you! :-)

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    2. Dear Mike,

      What comes to mind after reading your thoughts...."Go now in peace, go now in peace. May the spirit of love surround you, everywhere, everywhere you may go.".....the end of our UU services holding hands and singing together. I strive to feel and relate to others from this place...of the spirit of love... It is a big challenge often. Your words and ideas are inspiring. Thank you for sharing them.

      lOVE, hEATHER

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    3. Thanks for stopping by and especially for your kind comments Heather! I'm glad you liked the post and that you brought UU values into the discussion.

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  2. Great post Michael. Everyone deserves love and acceptance.

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    1. ABSOLUTELY! Everyone does deserve those two things on some level. I really appreciate your participation in this dialogue and I send you warm wishes!

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  3. Your wife is amazing. I am glad I found her. I am now glad that I have found you too. This post touched my heart. If everyone would stop and read this and realize that EVERYONE needs to be loved and valued, the world would be a better place. PS...Love you too!!

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    1. Thank you! Tara is incredible. I wish that I had half of her ability with writing. She is a fantastic and loving mother, an incredible writer and a beautiful person.

      Thank you also Winnie, for your comments and for your stand on this issue. I very much appreciate it!

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  4. "I am a deeply flawed person, who tries to be and do good in this world, but often I fall short. I keep trying anyway and sometimes I succeed, despite myself."

    That's so me, too. For the record, I think you're pretty awesome. You put your heart right out there and let your kindness lead you. I love that. I love YOU.

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    1. Thanks WN! I was just telling Tara earlier today, that even though we've never met, you are quickly becoming one of my favorite people! <3

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  5. Have confidence in your own ability that was very beautifully put and a message that needs spreading far and wide.

    Glad to have found you.

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    1. Thank you Sleepy Joe. Somehow your name makes me think of coffee :-)

      I am grateful for your kind comments!

      BTW, congratulations on hitting 1000 blog views! :-)

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  6. Sort of a love-storm brewing in your corner of the world. When I was younger and would hear someone (usually a church leader) say, "I love all of you." I'd think, Whatever, you don't know me. I can honestly say, I can feel the genuine love that you are sending out. It's a very good thing.

    "You are my brothers and my sisters and I love you. I know you believe you are trying to save my soul and the souls of others whom you condemn and though I think you are misguided, I am grateful that you care enough to try and I love you." This is the kind of attitude we all need to adopt. I get tired of all the name calling and finger pointing. I have my beliefs and you have yours. And in the end, we're all humans. If we could just love each other and show a little kindness, our world would be a shinier place.

    Big Love being sent your way. (hehe, that was a little polygamist joke.)

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    1. Jewels, you are fantastic! Thanks so much.

      Somehow, this community of bloggers (GBE2 and such) humbles me. You are all so thoughtful and caring. I feel fortunate to have such a wonderful community! Thank you Jewels for participating and for being such a beautiful person.

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    2. BTW, I really enjoyed Big Love. That was a very engaging show! And your joke made me giggle!

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  7. Well done, Mike. You have cut right to the heart of this whole issue, and really any other issue. There will be disagreements, there will be conflicting convictions of faith, there will be people on every part of the spectrum - that much is a given. What should also be a given is that people be decent, kind and loving. Sadly, it is not.

    Thanks for this message of love. It's a comfort to know that there are other folks out there doing their best to understand, to accept; rather than just adding more flammable vitriol to the debate.

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    1. Thank you TL! I always appreciate how you think about things! I've been ruminating on this topic for several days now and landed on this message. Previous ones were undoubtedly more contentious! I'm glad I wanted to publish.

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    1. I love you too! You are my favorite sister! :-)

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  9. Michael, never think that you are not up to par with eloquent and articulate writers. Your voice is powerful, my friend, and more importantly, it has heart. As I read this post, I was immediately aware of the of conviction of your words, of your passion to stand up and defend what you believe in, of your desire to create awareness to such an important topic. It's hard to believe that in this day and age society continues to condemn and pass judgement the way they do. It's shameful and offensive. I can only wonder when a person's sexual orientation became more important than his or her sense of compassion, of kindness. I weep at the thought that people think sexual orientation defines us as humans; that this dictates our ability to function as productive members of society. I have a dream that one day we shall be accepted and embraced; that love and respect will take center stage and that hate and discrimination will be grotesque monsters of the past. Thank you for this post!:)

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    1. Thank you Bella! I always appreciate your comments and I love your blog!

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    1. Thank you! It means a lot to hear that (or specifically, to read that!). I had to write two or three versions of this, because I kept writing some righteously indignant piece and I don't think that is whats needed right now. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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  11. I have one concern about Josh coming out of the closet with this Unicorn Club as he states clearly and he writes clearly in #8 that there is no incorrect path for gay religious to live out their lives, although Josh choose to marry. According to God there is only one straight narrow path if you know what I mean. The Weed's will be harming many gay and homosexuals if they don't understand that clearly sex was meant only in marriage with a man and woman. Outside of God’s plan for marriage sex is very destructive, including fortification, polygamy, homosexual activity etc... I praise God Josh has controlled his same sex attraction feelings and has married, but telling others there is no incorrect path for gay religious to live, is going to harm his family and the world. May God bless Josh and his wife to guide others to the one and only narrow path paved by God.

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    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping to comment. I think yours may be the first comment I've received, which expressed a direct disagreement or departure from the point of my post!

      Congratulations!
      :-)

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    2. I don't mean just this post! I mean ever. I've been waiting for a conflicting opinion for years now, thanks!

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  12. You must trust in your voice. Keep writing, don't stop and don't look back. Your passion will guide you.

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    1. Thanks Brenda! Message received, noted and appreciated! :-)

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  13. Thanks for sharing the link, Michael, it is so great to hear from people who err on the side of love!! Love the blog!!

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    1. Thanks Zoey! I really like your blogs too! Are you going to finish that story about the song?

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Thanks for your comments! :-)
My wife says comments save fairies. I mostly just want to know that the traffic hits I get on my statistics aren't Russian Spam-Bots!