It was a pleasure to be a participant, and not a ringleader, for such an event.
I headed back off the campus on my Honda Ruckus, and then found myself behind a car from Killearn United Methodist Church. I know because the sticker proclaimed the church name and that this particular driver was "living" their faith. I thought, "Oh, that's nice." And then my eyes traveled to the other side of the back bumper. And there was a sticker proclaiming that the couple who rides in this American-made sedan has a rock-solid marriage because their "marriage is fireproof". The two "O's" in "fireproof" were in the design of interlocking rings, one with a diamond stud. And the flames looked like those often used to depict the fires of Hell. And in an instant, I felt my initial charity toward somebody "living their faith" chill as I contemplated what they meant by living their faith.
Experience has taught me that someone "living their faith" in their supposedly"fireproof marriage" is a person who believes they have an obligation, according to the Gospel of Matthew, to tell me that I am a sinner because I am a lesbian. And they won't stop repeating the idea that I must "repent" my God-given gift of my sexuality until it looks exactly like their's. You might imagine, such talk makes me go cold. I have not mastered yet the ability to remain open, in any real sense, to a person like that. Perhaps I could if we were blind-folded and made to interact with each other in a bodywork session, and then--surprise--the queer and the fundementalist are interacting!
Actually, that doesn't always work. I remember one such experiential exercise in massage school where we were all blind-folded and then the teachers placed us in pairs and we had to (carefully) reach out and place our hand on our partner's heart. This one time I was paired with a person who was a fundementalist Christian. Her contact with me felt strange, and strained, almost as if she was trying to push me away. And I felt a deep sense of rejection and couldn't understand why I was being pushed away. When the reveal came, it was a moment of "Wow!" A therapist's hands can communicate A LOT about the person making the contact! And then we had to do a massage session with each other. It was hard.
It still is difficult for me to know how to respond, or not, to people who refuse to see me as a fellow member of the Body of Christ. How do you deal with the person who will not return your smile, and "Good morning!"? Or the person who will not go to the altar rail with you, or shake your hand at the passing of the peace?
I have no answers for these questions. I just trust that God is holding us all in the eternal hope and love that one day we will serve Christ in one another and love as He loves.