My Ongoing Arguments with Christianity and Myself

Persons of Sacred Worth

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2009 at 12:36 am

One of the great joys of being a youth director was watching new middle school relationships enfold.  Each week brought news of who liked who and who was “going with” who.  They were consumed with sharing the news.

It was as though each new relationship was a discovery, a discovery that Jeff could be interested in Tracy, even though Jeff was interested in Lisa last week, and Tracy had never been interested in anyone at all, at least not that anyone knew.  It was gossip, but it was harmless gossip, if not joyful.  It was like watching a baby take its first steps. You couldn’t help but be proud of them as they stumbled along.

Not all of them walked at the same pace.  Some of them were always in the gossip and seemed to understand that they were the talk of the group.  Others kept their crushes to themselves, keeping to a role of keepers of gossip, not subjects.

There was one girl in particular who was never the subject of the gossip.  She was popular enough, in spite of her odd haircut and wardrobe of homemade bell bottoms and Beatles tshirts.  But there were never any gossip about who she liked or who she was going with.  She was one of the sharers of gossip, not its subject.

We had lock ins from time to time, and a lot of the kids would bring friends who went to other churches, or to no church at all.  I remember one time in particular when she brought a friend with her, the only time I remember her bringing a friend to anything.

Her friend was a cute blond girl whose preppiness couldn’t have been more in contrast to her own social awkwardness.  How was it that she was friends with a cheerleader? How would they have even met?

What stood out more was her nervous energy.  She always played her cards close to her chest, playing straight man to the more animated kids in the group.  But that night she was visibly excited her friend came to the lock in.  It wasn’t  “my friend came to the lock in” excitement.  It was more like first date excitement.

And then I knew.  It might actually be a first date.

I hoped for her sake either that her friend knew it too or that her friend never figured it out at all.  The last thing I wanted for her was for her friend to figure it out and make a scene; she’d never come back if she was outed.  Or worse, that her parents would force her to come back to a place of ridicule.

Of course there was no way to find out either way, and really it was none of my business.  But it made me sad to know that this girl who just might be gay could never have a frank and honest conversation with me about her sexual orientation where I could be honest myself about what I thought God was doing in her life.  We would either have to have an off-the-record conversation where I ministered to her as a person of inherent worth and dignity who experienced her sexual orientation the way God created her to or have a conversation where I toed the “love the sinner, hate the sin” line and lied about the God I believed in for the sake of orthodoxy and keeping my job.  It was an early step away from Christianity.

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