Whitey Tighties, Hugs, and Gay Pride
*** Disclaimer you should read before the post. I have absolutely no wish for this conversation to deteriorate into whether or not Homosexuality is a sin. I honestly do not care whether we agree or not. That is not the point of this post. Thank you! ***
Yes, what you are viewing is not a mirage, that is a man in his underwear hugging another (buckle to buckle I might add). Honestly, this is a pretty touching moment when you read why this happened. Let me give you the story. The clothed man’s name is Nathan and here are some of excerpts from his blog (the Pride Parade outreach) on why and how this happened.
“What I loved most about the day is when people “got it.” I loved watching people’s faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you. A couple ladies walked up and said we were the best thing they had seen all day.
Watching people recognize our apology brought me to tears many times. It was reconciliation personified.
My favorite though was a gentleman who was dancing on a float. He was dressed solely in white underwear and had a pack of abs like no one else. As he was dancing on the float, he noticed us and jokingly yelled, “What are you sorry for? It’s pride!” I pointed to our signs and watched him read them.
Then it clicked.
Then he got it.
He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. He hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”
I think a lot of people would stop at the whole “man in his underwear dancing” part. That seems to be the most controversial. It’s what makes the evening news. It’s the stereotype most people have in their minds about Pride.
Sadly, most Christians want to run from such a sight rather than engage it. Most Christian won’t even learn if that person dancing in his underwear has a name. Well, he does. His name is Tristan.
However, I think Jesus would have hugged him too. It’s exactly what I read throughout scripture: Jesus hanging out with people that religious people would flee from. Correlation between then and now? I think so.
Acceptance is one thing. Reconciliation is another. Sure at Pride, everyone is accepted (except perhaps the protestors). There are churches that say they accept all. There are business that say the accept everyone. But acceptance isn’t enough. Reconciliation is.
Reconciliation forces one to remember the wrongs committed and relive constant pain. Yet it’s more powerful and transformational because two parties that should not be together and have every right to hate one another come together for the good of one another, for forgiveness, reconciliation, unity.
What I saw and experienced at Pride 2010 was the beginning of reconciliation. It was in the shocked faces of gay men and women who did not ever think Christians would apologize to them.
I hugged a man in his underwear. I hugged him tightly. And I am proud.”
This event happened a few weekends ago at a Chicago Pride parade, along with many other US cities, celebrated Gay Pride with a parade. As a part of the weekend, Nathan and a group of over 30 Christians from various Chicago churches went to demonstrate at the Gay Pride Parade with the Marin Foundation. Obviously, their demonstration was much different, though. Our friends (sarcasm included) Fred Phelps and the crew were, by far, the most vocal “Christian” (and I use this word loosely) presence at the parade with their now [in]famous “God Hates Fags” signs, a team from the Marin Foundation took a different approach, they chose to apologize.
To be completely honest I am both happy and saddened by this event, here’s what I mean. I think that precision in words is needed within this context. Signs like “I’m sorry how the church has treated you”, “Im sorry for how the church has hurt you” and simply “I’m sorry” are pretty wide open for interpretation.
How have they hurt?
What did they do?
I’ve not been to a church (that I know off) that physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually hurts people, let alone homosexuals. I’ve been involved in their counseling, recovery, and outreach programs and not seen discrimination. Just for the record I have been apart of Southern Baptist Churches and attend a Southern Baptist Seminary(supposedly the worst of them all). I also realize that I can only speak for those churches that I have been involved with and not every church. It seems that the apology is for the Phelps crew or someone on TV. How does [Phelps and crew] represent “the Church”?
As I have said before I have absolutely no wish for this conversation to deteriorate into whether or not Homosexuality is a sin. I honestly do not care whether we agree or not. The positions of the “Marin Foundation” and my own are different, but this does not lead me to question their individual lives in Christ. Again, this is not the point of this post.
The Marin Foundation’s [short] Mission statement is “… to build a bridge between the religious and GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) communities through scientific research, and Biblical and social education.”
This honestly intrigues me that a group of believers are choosing to intentionally engage a community that seems so far from most Christians. So this begs the question, in your [honest] opinion, is this [interaction] effective? Positive or negative? Why?
I am looking forward to the conversation.