Thursday, July 1, 2010

I Hugged a Man in His Underwear

Ok - this isn't my typical post but I LOVED this article. It has grieved my spirit for a long time - how the church treats the issue of homosexuality. I vividly remember a conversation with a dear friend who has gay family members. During the conversation she shared how she cringes every time someone at church makes a gay joke or parody. She knows how much it has hurt her cause in trying to demonstrate the Father's love to her family member. We certainly don't treat other sin like this! Ok, I could go on and on. But, the point is - I love this guys heart. It's challenging to me b/c while I've thought "wow, the church in general doesn't do this very well" - I certainly haven't done anything to change it. :-( Read it - let me know your thoughts.

I Hugged a Man in His Underwear. And I Am Proud.

By, Nathan Albert ( @nathanalbert )

Photo Credit: Michelle at maladjustedmedia.com

I hugged a man in his underwear. I think Jesus would have too.

I spent the day at Chicago’s Pride Parade. Some friends and I, with The Marin Foundation, wore shirts with “I’m Sorry” written on it. We had signs that said, “I’m sorry that Christians judge you,” “I’m sorry the way churches have treated you,” “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, sorry.” We wanted to be an alternative Christian voice from the protestors that were there speaking hate into megaphones.

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. I wish I had counted how many people hugged me. One guy in particular softly said, “Well, I forgive you.”

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. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”

Before I had even let go, another guy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I almost had the wind knocked out of me; it was one of those hugs.

This is why I do what I do. This is why I will continue to do what I do. Reconciliation was personified.

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.

But there isn’t always reconciliation. And when there isn’t reconciliation, there isn’t full acceptance. Reconciliation is more painful; it’s more difficult. 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.

What I saw and experienced at Pride 2010 was the personification of reconciliation. It was in the hugs and kisses I received, in the “thank you’s” and waves, in the smiles and kisses blown.

I hugged a man in his underwear. I hugged him tightly. And I am proud.

10 comments:

His Hands His Feet Today said...

GREAT article!!!!

Melissa said...

Brandi, I am so glad you posted this. I saw this pic linked to this guy's article earlier today and tried to view it on my phone and when it wouldn't let me I forgot about it. i am so glad I got to find out what it's about. the issue of homosexuality and how the Church deals with it has bothered me for a while cause I have a good friend who i consider a God-brother who is gay. I love that dude and I feel so torn about how I'm "supposed to" view that sin. I know what the Bible says but I also know real people who live in every day and I can't bring myself to look at them like the rest of the Church seems to. If I'm being honest, I hate how the We (the Church) are supposed to be opposed to gay marriage, maybe I don't agree with their lifestyle but who am I to say two people can't make a commitment to each other. Their lifestyle should be between them and God. I don't know, maybe I'm fence straddler on the whole "gay issue" but I'm praying about it. one thing I do know is I am called to LOVE not hate and unfortunately I see a lot of the Church hating on those who are gay, instead of loving. Makes me sad :(

Ok, gettin off my soap-box. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing. It brought tears to my eyes. Wish I could have been there to witness it.

Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

Wow, what a powerful image! I love the idea of attention being brought to how the church can love the homosexual community better-or at the very least stop hurting it.

Jaime And Drew said...

Awesome article love it!! Jaime

Julie said...

That totally made me cry! I once had two gay employees that worked for me and we had so many awesome conversations about this very subject. I hope that through me they saw the TRUE love of Christ.

It's true that sometimes Christians become more known for what they are AGAINST, than what they are FOR. And that is sad!

Angel said...

Precious and POWERFUL! I love it. Really. Angel

Rachel said...

I LOVED this article. Thank you for posting it and bringing attention to an issue that we often sweep under the rug.

Andrea said...

That was great Brandi...I loved it....it doesn't really matter whether or not we agree with it...it's about the person behind the "label"
I miss you...glad to hear you are so happy out there...love you!

Melanie said...

So glad you posted this. Love it SO MUCH! Yes!!!

Melodie Monberg said...

Good piece Brandi...so glad I read it today. thanks for posting.