Why LGBT People May Not Find Your Protestations of “Love” Convincing


My six-year-old is in training to be a ninja. Part of that training requires hitting me. A lot.

One of the problems with his hitting me, though—you know, apart from the fact that wayward blows strategically placed, even from a six-year-old, hurt like hell—is he misses sometimes and hits something hard, like my elbow or my watch instead. So, then obviously he gets mad at me because . . . screw you! That hurt.

All of which means that I have to apologize to him for hurting himself on me, when my biggest offense is just trying to watch a little Sportscenter after a long day at the office, which, in a just world doesn’t seem like too much to ask, given the fact that I generally don’t ask for that much, maybe a little peace and quiet now and then, which, as I say, seems like an entirely reasonable request in a world where six year-old ninjas can hone their craft on the unsuspecting with an impunity normally reserved for Wall Street Bankers and small town high school football stars . . .

Where was I? Oh yeah, I have to tell him I’m sorry for being the anvil he bruises his hand on.

And if I say, “Ha! Serves you right!” if I don’t say “Sorry” right away, I only compound the original offense of not being conveniently soft enough a target by heaping on the added indignity of not being sufficiently sensitive to his need to find someone else to blame for his pain.

And right now I see the bruised hand thing in the church. You know what I’m talking about, right? The company of the aggrieved is alive and well in the church when it comes to the whole LGBT thing.

It starts with someone objecting: “But we hate the sin, not the sinner.”

Indignant that this isn’t as persuasive as they believe it should be, they explain:

“We love gay people—especially when you all agree to quit being gay and become normal the way God intended you to be. You’re welcome in our church. In fact, we’ve had you in churches for years, and never told you you had to leave. (It was only when you came out of the closet that we said anything about leaving. But it’s hard to blame us for that, right? I mean, we’ve got little kids and everything around here.)

“We’ve said from the pulpit that everybody’s welcome, and we mean it. Gay people are welcome—as long as you admit you’re reprobates who will occupy the hottest chambers of hell if you don’t start making it with normal people. That’s love, my friends. We love you too much to let you ruin the church, the culture, and the NBA.

“Just because we call you ‘deviants’ and ‘potential child molesters’ doesn’t mean we don’t love you.

“Just because we liken your relationships to bestiality and pederasty doesn’t mean you’re not welcome in our churches.

“Just because we torture your young people with Medieval quackery like ‘Reparative Therapy’ doesn’t mean we don’t care about you.

“So we’re baffled (and not a little bit peeved) when people call us ‘bigoted’ and ‘homophobic.’ We find it offensive when people say our dearly held theological convictions come across as harmful and unloving. It hurts our feelings to be told that, as much as we talk about the Bible, maybe our interpretation doesn’t make sense of the world we live in anymore.

“How could you be so divisive and insensitive to our needs, when all we’re trying to do is help folks quit being degenerate minions of perdition? Please say you’re sorry.”

Elbows and watches are occupational hazards for aspiring ninjas.

[A version of this article first appeared in the Huffington Post.]

This entry was posted in Christianity, LGBTQ, sexuality and tagged , , , , by Derek Penwell. Bookmark the permalink.

About Derek Penwell

Derek Penwell is an author, editor, speaker, and activist. He is the senior minister of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Louisville, Kentucky and a former lecturer at the University of Louisville in Religious Studies and Humanities. He has a Ph.D. in humanities from the University of Louisville. He is the author of The Mainliner’s Survival Guide to the Post-Denominational World, from Chalice Press, about how mainline denominations can avoid despair in an emerging world. He currently edits a blog on emergence Christianity, dmergent.org, and blogs at his own site at derekpenwell.net.

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