Andyouinvitedmein’s Weblog

Would You Take a Bullet for Them?

Posted on: February 17, 2008

me-blog-pic.jpgThis is a picture of my youngest daughter and of course I’d take a bullet for her. But that wasn’t what God asked me. I was sitting in a church with a group of gay people, where if a gunman had come in and asked for all the straight people to leave I could have left. BUT as I sat there thinking about being vulnerable to outside irrational people (and this was in 2000, before so many of the recent, senseless shootings) I realized that this was my epiphany–my moment about what unconditional love truly means. Then I thought: Would I refuse to leave or would I walk away to be safe?

Back to 1992 when the landlord died and the months thereafter when I pondered the issues of the conservative church when it comes to being more than a talking head, I sent out a questionaire for persons in the gay community to complete. The questionaire was sent to the local AIDS clinic and the Metropolitan Community Church. I asked numerous questions about who Jesus was to them. I expected all kinds of far-out answers. I had been taught that gay people worked outside the realm of truly knowing God. To my utter shock I got back scores of replies of solid salvation experiences, as well as stories of deep hurt from their childhood churches. More than one said that when their former pastor saw them walk down the sidewalk, he crossed the street to avoid them.

After 1993 something would periodically come into my life to teach me more about absolute grace. I can’t say everyone on the face of the earth has my undying love. I can’t honestly say I’d take a bullet for Charles Manson–I haven’t been in that position to even consider it, but who knows I might be some day.

Yet in our individual lives there’s someone that makes them totally unlovable. Maybe it is a child who refused to submit to a family rule and was asked to leave home. Maybe it is that son-in-law who is a violent man with his wife and children. That new boss who is an ogre, or the people next door who leave their dog outside in the middle of an ice storm with no place to go for shelter. You know the type of situation that makes you so angry that you want to grab them by the collar and ram them against the wall.

Then there are other situations where someone has caused deep hurt: A friend who betrayed you, or worse that spouse you left you with nothing but bills and a broken heart. And while they are living the grand life, you’re having to work three jobs just to keep the lights on for you and your children. Those are the tough places. Those are the places that many times the church isn’t there for you and your heart feels more pain.

It is at this place of deep pain that Jesus is waiting for us. He’s there and is doing all he can, but where are those people in shoe leather who have the arms, hands, legs and feet to accomplish the task? Many times they are absent. And this is the place where my story begins…a cry for those people to wake up and attend to the pain around them. Pain that is present within their group of friends. It’s easy to run to Africa to have a ministry, but what about the gay couple across the street? Can you be a plain friend without any sort of conditions?

I sat in that church that evening, and thought about how vulnerable I was. I was in a conservative city with a group of gay people. Would there be a rogue village idiot who wanted to make a name for himself and “kill all of those people”?

Frankly, I’m a majority member of most classifications like white, female, etc. I don’t have to worry about crazy people who want to “pick off” a certain sect. I can travel quietly, and really lead a simple, unseen life if I wanted. But on that day, I realize that the question in my heart wasn’t a question of my own making but a question that God had placed there for me to consider.

The gay pastor of this church had never had custody of his son because the judge wasn’t going to “take this child from a legal home and put him in an illegal home.” The judge never appointed a guardian ad litem for this 16-year-old (yes, at 16 he was never given a choice as to where he wanted to live). And in his “legal” home he was seriously abused. Here is the kicker: a fellow conservative said to me “Are you sure he isn’t better in his home with two real parents?” WHAT? How can someone even suggest this? I was appalled. That reaction was a mild in comparison to my disgust when a pastor friend said that he couldn’t talk with a mutual friend because he was gay and his “sin was too great.”

There are many other stories. However, God used this and other situations to show me what it looked like “from the other side.” I don’t mean from a non-Christian standpoint, but what it looks like from the gay world when conservatives mount a political attack. (Hint: they don’t see Jesus in us, because we’re being political and not spiritual). As well, what does it look like to the woman who is being abused and you look the other way because church doctrine calls for “no divorce except in the case of adultery.” What does it look like to your child who knows you’re dedicated Christians and you’ve told her she can’t come home until she changes? Are you taking the bullet for these people?

So, yes, I knew I had no choice but to take the bullet for them. I (the one who wouldn’t have dinner with a gay guy because it went against all I believed) decided that day I would sit along side of them if a shooter came in. My love wasn’t conditional on acceptance by anyone other than God. 

“A bullet” might not be the one from a revolver, but instead a social bullet that will isolate you from your friends who really don’t agree with your decision. Several quotes come to mind at this point….Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail: “I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustic anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Mother Teresa said: We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwated, unloved and uncoared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

And You Invited Me In is a novel about how to heal the impoverished soul that has been deeply hurt, and “take that bullet” to let them know just how much we care. 


1 Response to "Would You Take a Bullet for Them?"

I read “It’s easy to run to Africa to have a ministry, but what about the gay couple across the street?” and thought how true it is! Your book is inspirational in its theme. We can all say grace but to show it will often cost us on this earth and in this country.

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