By Jaci Schneider, Copy Editor
Much Ado About Something
Monday a lesbian I was interviewing asked me: “Do you think I have to change? Am I not OK the way I am?”
I hadn’t known this woman very long, but the short time I had spent with her had already begun to challenge some of my ideas about homosexuality.
I wished she hadn’t asked me because I didn’t know how to answer. I knew what many people I looked up to would expect me to answer, but I couldn’t lie.
The truth is, I didn’t know how to respond. And I haven’t known for quite some time. Sure, as a young teenager I thought I had all the answers, most of them handed down to me from my family and church with some of my own ideas thrown in there, too. But time and new experiences have taught me that I am far from having any of the answers.
Life isn’t so simple as I once thought it was. Life isn’t black and white -a truth I always admitted, but it seems as I grow older, the gray area grows wider and more important.
I began college hoping to find the answers to life’s tough questions. I hoped to sort out my theology, my doctrines and my ethics. And I tried. I joined in discussions about social justice, unity among believers, politics, righteous wars and the existence of heaven and hell. But although the topic of homosexuality came up from time to time, I preferred to avoid the subject.
Sure, I had questions, doubts about things I had been told, and I wondered how in so many visible ways Christianity has come to represent anti-homosexuality, family values and conservative politics. I wanted to seriously study what the Bible and Christ say about homosexuality; I wanted to talk to smart people on all sides of the issue, so I could make an informed opinion, not one based on other people’s views.
But I didn’t. And I just hoped I could get through life without confronting the issue.
The topic of homosexuality, especially in Christian circles, is so volatile it’s hard to discuss without fear of misunderstanding and anger. I was afraid that if I asked questions, I would be somehow admitting that I didn’t believe the Bible, and I would start to slide down the slippery slope of relativism.
My avoidance of the issue didn’t work though. And I’m grateful the confrontation came when it did – on a Christian campus filled with people willing to engage in open discussion. I hope I can explore the arguments and someday come to my own conclusion about what I believe and how I should answer questions like the one Pam asked me. I might never have a definitive answer, and I’ll probably always have more questions, but I hope that I will at least always be open to discussion and willing to learn more about difficult topics.
Monday, I didn’t know what to tell Pam. So I told her the truth: that I didn’t know what I thought, but I was glad she came and made me seriously consider what I believe, what culture says, what the church says and what the Bible says.
I hope the discussion will continue, and one day I can respond to that challenging question with an informed response based on more than just what other people have told me.