musings of a lover… of … yes… that, too…

Several people sent me inbox messages chiding me about my postings on Facebook regarding same-sex marriage and “gay special interests” questions. The gist of what they said: “you’re not interested in a debate, you’re just advancing an ungodly gay agenda.”

Hmmmmm… where to start?

First: How right you are that I am not interested in a debate. While I posted the words of learned biblical scholars (Renita Weems comes to mind), I don’t feel like trotting out the bible badminton where we just volley scriptures back and forth between one another. I find it particularly offensive for youngsters to quote scriptures at me like I (Hebrew bible scholar with a cognate degree in NT) have never read them. Really? Your mind is set. Frankly, so is mine. I didn’t just arrive here 53 years later. So, no. I’m not interested in a debate. I would be interested in a conversation, but I’m not even sure that’s productive. You think being gay is like having to lose weight (all you need is a good diet and will power). I think it’s like being 4’10 (I can’t get taller no matter how hard I try) [nod to OT scholar Julia M. O’Brien for this example].

Second: yes, I am pushing the “special interest” agenda of my LGBTQ friends, family, Christian members. You insist on calling it “special interest” as if  civil rights for people are not of special interest ( and as if “Civil Rights” = Black American Rights and no other rights). I’ll join you in calling them “special interests.” I am especially interested in us doing civically right by a minority portion of our population. Our constitution presumably is designed to protect the rights of people the majority would deny. And the question about same-sex marriage is a civil question, even if it is a religious one for some people as well.

Screaming that there is a conspiracy to take down “traditional marriage” is so unconvincing to me. If you want “traditional marriage” to be protected, protect yours and keep the vows you made to your friends when you stood with them at their wedding and said you would uphold them and support them in their vows. It’s not my fault that you can’t see the same “scriptural” argumentation (not even argument, just the way the bible is used) that was used by white slavers against freedom for slaves, by men against rights for women, by white people against marriage between people from different ethnic/racial backgrounds, for example, is the same argumentation you have employed. I heard a black pastor say, “I would vote with the klan if it means putting down this ‘gay agenda.'” I thought, “Well you just did.”

Third: we will just disagree about whether my stance is ungodly. That’s all. I find it interesting that we can disagree on the nature of salvation, on baptism, on what happens at the Table, and you’ll still believe I’m Christian, invite me to preach, etc. Salvation, Baptism, Communion–we can disagree. But not about this question…. Pause. Consider.

It is not that I believe thinking religious people cannot disagree. We do it all the time. It’s called the marketplace of ideas. And, presumably, up here on “Mars Hill,” the ideas with the most theological, ethical, political capital will win the day. I “evolved” to my position. I really did. (Bishop Yvette Flunder is right. People get here through relationships with others, not through debating). And, I think I’m on the right side of this “special interest” in every way, and on the right side of history. And while it may not seem like it to you, I do respect your right to disagree with me. The difference between us is I won’t relegate YOU to hell, to heresy, to… whatever. I will reiterate my own strongly-held conviction: If I am wrong, I will gladly go to hell loving God and loving people.


Comments on: "Answering Facebook Inboxes: Me, God, and Same-Sex Anything…" (8)

  1. I love this comment for the first time in all this mess (besides President Obama, just sharing his view) I am hearing some real talk here. You go Pastor speak truth with love; now this is what I call being a peace maker, not peace lover (I hope who is debating do know the diffence)! As always you have hit the nail on the head!

  2. Every point is well taken, Valerie. Thank you! The time for debating over because folks who can’t agree to disagree and give LGBTQ folks the same fundamental human rights they have really aren’t interested in debate, or in conversation, or knowing the experience of LGBT folks, just their own.

  3. Bob Palmer said:

    I’m not sure the constitution is designed to protect the minority against the majority. I think it is the other way around. The colonies wanted to prevent a few (King, Parliament, etc.) from stepping on the rights of the many. Balance of powers does this. The right to keep and bear arms is protection against a police state, as are many of the other rights in the Bill of Rights.

    It might be possible that you overlooked this because it did not support your beliefs or agenda. Wonder what else you are overlooking?

    • Marco Spenale said:

      Bob: I don’t think you’ve got the right answer. The history of the development of our constitution is filled with concerns about protecting the rights of the minority. The reason each state, regardless of land size or population has 2 U. S. Senators is to put a check on the House of Representatives as states with larger populations also have higher numbers of representatives in the House. Smaller states were very concerned that their interests would always be secondary to those of the larger states. Inasmuch as the US Congress “represents” the people of the US, so too does the Parliament of England represent the nation of England. We were not separating from Parliament, but from the nation which Parliament represents. IN fact, we were the minority based on our limited numbers vs. the total population at that time of the United Kingdom. In terms of discrimination, the American colonies had no representation in England’s Parliament. As for protection of minorities within the US, that is what the Civil Rights legislation is. Without it, African Americans in particular would still be subject to Jim Crow laws in the South and discrimination in the North.

    • The MINORITY moved to the “New World” from England. The MAJORITY stayed back.

      Unfortunately, you are wrong. The constitution was meant to give people who did not have rights in England, rights in their new land. However, since they were the one’s writing out who these rights extended to and who the did not, they made sure it was only people similar to them. No different than what England was doing to them.

      It is our duty as fellow citizens to make sure that all other law-abiding citizens have the same and equal rights as we do. This is not a matter of Christian or Pagans. This is a matter of US citizen or not. If they are, they should have the full benefit as a citizen as anyone else. PERIOD.

  4. Michelle Freeman said:

    Powerful words, Dr. Bridgeman. Thank you for being our fierce, fierce ally in this fight for equality.

  5. Bob, they’ve already said it. What we call “Democracy” emphasizes majority rule, and the word “Republic” emphasizes the protection of minority groups from the whims of the majority.

    Dr. Bridgeman, I’m growing weary of “doing battle” with my conservative brothers and sisters. Different people do have different callings, and right now I’m feeling called to do what I do well, and doing it where I’m welcome.

    Those people whose temperament and culture make change and growth extremely difficult to change? I need to leave them with God and the experiences of life. Every once in a while it is time to move on.


    • Bob, I do understand the idea of “doing it where I’m welcome.” I have a lot of friends across the spectra in all categories. But, it can be wearying. I thank you for “coming by” my blog and for your ministry.

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