Saturday, 19 August 2017

Truth, Love, And The Australian Plebiscite

Dear Lyle,

As we Australians find ourselves living with the unhappy consequences of the push for a plebiscite, I couldn't help but notice your recent, impassioned plea to "let truth be spoken in love".

It's a really great sentiment, but as I read the letter you addressed to your "friends in the LGBTIQ community" it seemed to me that you might be having some trouble putting that into action.

I'm not sure that anyone has told you this, but creating a long list of the sins of your opponents, and then implying that you are better than they are because you don't act like them, is not really likely to make anyone feel loved.

You see, I know what it's like to have someone tell me about all the wrong, bad, nasty things they think I've done, and then tell me that they love me. It didn't actually make me feel loved. In fact, I didn't believe they loved me at all. (And even if they'd told me that they meant it with all their heart, their protestations of love would have remained meaningless words to me.)

So I thought I might offer you my valuable experience to help you convey your message of love. Please find attached my suggested alternative to your current offering.

Yours sincerely,
An Australian Christian.

To the LGBTIQ community, 
I know I have no right to call you friends, because you have made it clear my sincere attempts to be friendly have completely failed. I am sorry about that, and I want you to know I hope to do better in the future. Would you be willing to forgive me, and help me learn how to really be your friend? 
I know I can't compel you to comply with my way of thinking, but I'm hoping that taking the risk of sharing my heart, and showing my good will by owning my own failings, might help to repair the bridges between us that have been all but destroyed. 
So to begin, there's this ancient collection of books I read quite a lot, called the bible. (I suspect you've heard me mention it once or twice!) I know there's a bunch of other people who read this book too. Like them, I am on a journey of understanding it, but the way I currently understand what this text says is the only way I can at the moment. (Please bear with me, I'm a work in progress, just like you.) 
I know that none of us can claim to have the "correct" interpretation of what it says, but sometimes we forget that. Mostly we do try to hold on to our "truth" with humility and express it with love. (We often fail in that, but we do try.) 
Anyway, my current understanding of this religious text means I am unable to agree that SSM would be good for our society. I know you want me to, but I just can't do it. If I'm being honest, I'd really prefer you saw things the way I do, because I believe that God sees it that way too. But I guess that's not likely to happen, is it? 
So I can only suggest that we try to learn how to disagree without demonising each other. I know I've been guilty of that, but I really do want to change. To prove that to you, I'm going to stop telling everyone that you have a secret agenda to corrupt our children. (I must admit, it's only just occurred to me how much I'd hate it if you went around saying we had a "religious agenda", and acted like we were really trying to pervert your children. Wow! Sorry about that!) 
And I'm sorry that my words and actions have inadvertently sent you the message that you are somehow a lesser human being than me. The bible says that everyone is made in the image of God - so in future, I'll try to do better at seeing the image of my God in you. 
It also seems that I've been so busy talking about protecting children from you and your friends, that I've failed to see how hypocritical I must sound to you. When there is so much awful history in my religion of children suffering unspeakable abuse at the hands of its leaders, my apparent silence on that topic is indefensible. 
I've know I've complained a lot about the really disrespectful behaviour I've been subjected to by people from 'your side' - and implied that you are all the same - but I don't think I've ever acknowledged there has been some incredibly unloving behaviour from our 'side' too. That was wrong of me. I'm sorry. I don't like being judged by the horrible behaviour of some of my supporters, so I promise I'll stop doing that to you, too. 
I can't change what I sincerely believe, and I know you shouldn't have to either. So do you think we can learn how to do this better? I'd really like to try.
Hoping to show more love with my truth in future, Lyle. 

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