(This is the 12th dialogue in this series. It’s an edited and reconstructed version of the actual talk, but it accurately represents the essence of what was said. This is done with his permission, provided all personal references are omitted. I pick it up as usual after the opening chit-chat.)
Him: I wanted to let you know about what happened last weekend. It was totally unexpected.
Me: So what happened?
Him: Well, I went home to see my family because my mom really gets sad if I stay away too long. But I dread seeing my dad because of the way he treats me since I told them about my same-sex attraction. So I was expecting more of the same. But you won’t believe this…
Me: I’ve seen enough now to believe just about anything. So tell me…
Him: So I walked into the house and my mom hugged and kissed me as usual. But then my dad came up to me and I was expecting the cold handshake, but instead he put his arms around me and hugged me like he used to. I hugged him back and then he said he had something to say. My mom was standing there crying, and then my dad had me sit on the couch so we could talk.
Me: So what did you talk about?
Him: Well, to make it short, you know those two books you recommended for me to read?
Me: You mean ‘Is God Anti-Gay?’ by Sam Allberry and ‘The Plausibility Problem’ by Ed Shaw?
Him: Yes, those are the ones. Well, a while back I gave them to my dad and asked him if he would please read them. I told him they would help explain a lot about where I’m at. And I hoped they would help him rethink the whole gay issue. But I really didn’t think he would actually read them. But guess what?
Me: He read them?
Him: YES! He read them and he told me that they helped him a lot to think about these things from the perspective of a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction. He actually called it that instead of ‘homosexuality’ like he usually does to rub it in. He said that he still has a lot to struggle through in coming to grips with having a gay son, but at least now he didn’t feel so afraid of it.
Me: So it was fear of the unknown he was reacting against! He just didn’t know how to deal with it. That’s very common in these situations.
Him: Yes. And I did say to him when he called me his ‘gay son’ that I don’t really refer to myself as gay. That’s because of what you said to me a while back about not referring to ourselves as gay Christians, but as Christians who experience and battle same-sex attraction. And he heard me, I mean, REALLY heard me. And he said he liked that perspective because it really helped clarify things for him.
Me: Wow! What a switch from just a week ago. Sometimes God moves very quickly.
Him: It’s been like a dream all week. I am just so thankful to God!
Me: So did you two talk about anything more?
Him: Oh, yes. He asked me to forgive him for his harsh reaction and for his coldness towards me. And then I asked him to forgive me for not understanding how difficult this must be for him and for being so self-centered about how I thought he should treat me. Then I assured him that I was not in agreement with the gay christian movement and had no intention of coming out as one. He was afraid I was heading that way.
Me: So where are you heading?
Him: Well, nowhere much different than where I’ve been. Especially since things have been patched up with my dad. I guess I’m sort of where I’ve always been, but with one big difference. Now I’m open about being a same-sex attracted Christian. I know for some people that’s going to be a problem, and I’ll probably lose some friends over it. But I feel like I don’t have to play anymore at being something I’m not and can be open about what I struggle with as a Christian.
Me: So how is your dad going to approach the church with this? As a pastor, he’s probably going to get some pushback over his change of mind about homosexuality.
Him: We talked about that very thing. He’s kind of thinking about calling a church meeting and explaining where he’s at and seeing where it all goes. And he’d like to teach some Sunday School lessons on what he learned from those two books. He’s mostly just thinking about what he should do right now. But if the church gets all worked up because of me and turns against him, I would feel just awful. I’m not sure he really has to say anything.
Me: Sooner or later it will probably have to be addressed, since the church knows how he felt before. I don’t know for sure. But I’m happy for you. You probably won’t need to be talking to me anymore, now that things have been resolved between you and your dad.
Him: I was kind of hoping that maybe you could talk to my dad sometime. I think it would help him with questions I know he has. I don’t want him to hear just the standard stuff you get about this issue from evangelicals.
Me: Well, if he read those books, he’s already a long way past the standard stuff. HA! But I’d be glad to talk if he ever wants to. And I hope you’ll stay in touch. It’s been a real pleasure talking to you.
Him: It’s been a life-saver for me. Funny how God works, isn’t it?
Me: Unexpected and mysterious is the way he works…if that’s what you mean by funny.
Him: Yeah, kind of that exactly. Thanks for all you’ve done.
Me: It hasn’t been all that much. But you are very welcome.