Monday, September 25, 2006

76. Joe

Okay, so it has been ages since I posted.  Long enough that the last post was during my last vacation in the Philippines, and this one is coming just prior to my next vacation to the Philippines!  

My time there kind of shook me up a bit, made me think about what I’m doing with my life and what I want to do with my life.  Just to reassure you all, I do think I’m doing the right thing being here right now.  It is the financially responsible, adult thing to do… and I do think I need to do it for a little while longer (until I’m out of debt).  But I have to say that even thinking about teaching in the Philippines, or a place like it, makes me ridiculously happy for the few seconds that I’m thinking about it so I am fairly certain that that is what I am going to end up doing… I almost finished that off with the phrase “with my life”, but I’m leery of making committal statements like that.  I have trouble planning ahead.  

That having been said, I have a lot of blog-relevant thoughts to share, and I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things blog-wise.  Today I was writing a dear friend a letter explaining a minor ‘revelation’ I had yesterday.  I don’t quite know if ‘revelation’ is the right word… it’s just that yesterday I figured out how to explain something I’ve often tried to explain and never could.  It came on the heels of realizing that I’m pulling away from my neighbour S., not because of any conflict or problems in our friendship… I still think she’s awesome and love hanging out with her… it’s just that while we were in the Philippines (along with my other coworker – “Lick-my-boob-girl”, who I’m going to call A. from now on because it’s much shorter) I discovered that I don’t really like hanging out with A. at all… she’s not a bad person, but you can’t like everyone… and she sort of chafes me.  While I was discovering this, S. was discovering how much she likes A. and now whenever I hang out with S. it almost always has to involve A. and I’ve recently noticed myself pulling away from that.  Because I’m rather introspective (hello, I have a blog for crying out loud!), I thought about this for a while and realized that as much as I like S., I guess I don’t value our relationship enough to put up with spending time with A.  (I should point out that it’s not like S. has a lot of free time anyway, between her now fully flourishing dating relationship with D. and work, and her tutoring, her spare time is rather minimal… and I understand her wanting to cram all her friends in at once.) As I was thinking I suddenly realized I had an answer to a question I get all the time.  “Did you hear what Jerry Falwell/James Dobson/Exodus/Your mother just said about gays?  How can you still be a Christian?”

I’m sure the savvy among you can see where I’m going with this, but here it is (basically transcribed from the letter I wrote today).

Let’s say I’m friends with Joe.  Joe is an awesome guy who enriches my life.  He challenges me, he helps me grow as a person.  He helps me understand myself and the world around me.  I really enjoy my time with him and feel my life is better with him in it.  Let’s say that Joe, being this awesome guy, has lots of other friends – and the vast majority of them treat me like shit – as less than, as unworthy, as a threat… I will now have a decision to make.  Is my relationship with Joe worth the aggravation I will have to endure when I am forced to interact with his other friends?

I’m sure this analogy is easy to see through.  Joe, is of course, Jesus… and I have decided that He is worth it.  The analogy works on other levels though… In my little story, Joe’s friends treat me badly, lie about me and make ridiculous demands of me that they wouldn’t even consider making of each other… and I can’t help but have questions about Joe because… well… aren’t your friends a sort of reflection of you?  If I can’t trust many of the people around Joe, it’s going to be more difficult for me to trust Joe himself, because why on earth would he surround himself with such people?

Of course, here is where the analogy breaks down… because I don’t want Jesus excluding people from His “group of friends” because of character flaws… because then I’m out, and despite what many of His ‘friends’ may think, I really don’t want to be out.

So, what do I do?  I continue to relate to (and with) Christ despite all the crap that is spewed out by groups like Focus on the Family or Exodus… or, for that matter, my mother.  Christ is worth it.


Michelle said...

Good to see you back! And a good point that you make. Renee Altson of has written more than once about wondering why God allows people to misrepresent Him. Ghandi is said to have remarked once, "I like their Christ; I don't like their Christians."

I've known of Christians who have considered or have even decided to leave Christianity behind because of the way fellow believers treated them. Your statement that Jesus is worth it, I think, shows the depth of your relationship with Him.

I think He's worth it, too.

Anonymous said...

I am curious...
Why do you combine the two words "Christian" and "Gay"? Have you explored this?
What does the phrase "Christian Gay" mean to you... or what would you have it mean for another person who sees it? Is is a kind of shield? Why? How?

Have you really met Christ?
Why? How? So?

Why define yourself with a label at all unless you really know who/what you are?

JJ said...

Thanks Michelle,

It's nice to know I didn't lose everyone during my long absence!

and Anonymous,

Why are you questioning my identity without revealing your own?

Okay, that was trite. But from your comment I have deduced that you have read very little of my blog. You read the title, and are someone who probably sees being gay as mutually exclusive with being Christian. I also am fairly certain that you won't be back as people like you rarely do anything more than question my faith and sincerity and then leave. But I will answer briefly just in case. What do I mean by the phrase "Christian and gay"? Exactly what it sounds like. I am a Christian, I believe in Christ and Him crucified, that He died for our sins, decended into hell and on the third day rose again and ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes on our behalf. I have a personal relationship with the King of Kings... and I'm gay. I'm a female who is attracted to other females. It's actually all pretty simple.

I'm not qute sure what you mean by a 'shield'. I think that other people who read this will see that I am a person who is working out their faith with fear and trembling.

I have met Christ. Why? Um... now that is a big question... because He has the words of eternal life? He is the way, the truth and the life? He is my Lord, my Savior and my Friend? Does that answer your question? How? By asking Him. There is no other way. So? What? I don't get that part.

Believe me, I know what label I have given myself, I know what it means. I'm not the one who's unclear on that front.

TransatlanticGirl said...

JJ! Welcome back! I was starting to worry a bit.

Another great post, here. I've also spent a lot of time wondering whether Joe is worth all the crazy stunts his friends keep pulling (and not just on the gay front either--there's also the contempt for non-believers, the crappy art, and the re-election of Bush.) And, like you, I have to admit at the end of the day that Joe is worth it, and one of the main reason he's worth it is that he *doesn't* cut those nutty friends out, or anyone else.

But sometimes I find myself bothered by another question: Why can't Joe just tell his friends what asses they're being? Why doesn't he make his disapproval clear? Isn't that what a good friend should do?

I guess I believe Joe's trying to, but some of his friends plain don't want to listen, and maybe some of them have so many other issues it's not even worth trying to bring it up right now. (And if I'm perfectly honest with myself--maybe I haven't always been listening so well to what Joe says either.)

William said...

Hey JJ -

So happy to see how simply and effectively you put it..."CHRIST is WORTH IT." He certainly is. You're an inspiration.