Thursday, October 12, 2017

Space at the Table

Write what you're scared to write.

That's what I always tell people. If you're scared to write about something, then chances are, that's exactly what you should write about.

Fear is a great place to begin art.

So it's no surprise that I'm typing this in total trepidation. But if I'm taking my own advice, that's a pretty good sign I'm on the right track.

Recently, a publicist sent me a book to review.

A book that almost didn't make it to press. Not because it wasn't deserving, but because it raised too many eyebrows at Christian publishing houses.

No. Not another 50 Shades of Grey sequel.

It's called Space at the Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son, co-written by Brad and Drew Harper. But really, it's a love story.

It's a love story about a father and son who refuse to give up on each other. They drag each other through hell, and what they are left with in the end is an unbreakable bond forged in those flames.

This book invites Christians and the LGBQT community to pull up a chair and make time for a long-overdue and ongoing conversation. Not to convert the other to what we believe, but to learn how to love each other even though we disagree.

(That IS one of the most important commandments according to Jesus, after all.)

Thankfully, one man believed in this book so much, he started his own publishing company just to get it published. He thought it was that important. And I do, too. A deep chasm exists between most evangelical Christians and homosexuals. And when that rift exists within a family, it feels like the Continental Divide.

For me, this book hits close to home.

My nephew is gay. He lived with us when he was a little boy, and just like the author of this book, he grew up going to church every Sunday. However, as he grew into a man and came out of the proverbial closet, we slowly drifted apart. I'm not sure if I distanced myself from him or if he distanced himself from me. Perhaps both. But this book drew us back together.

It miraculously bridged the Great Divide.

He explained to me what it was like for him growing up gay in the Bible Belt. I explained that I've never had a conversation like this before. We both agreed that these kinds of conversations should be happening a lot more often in households all over the world. I said he might end up in my blog. He said that was okay by him.

What I do know is this: My nephew and I may disagree about what sin is, but we don't disagree about who God is. God is love. He's a total romantic. He wants to woo us back to Himself. He constantly pursues us. He fights for us.

He wants a relationship with us above all things.

And that's exactly what I want with my nephew. Because being in a relationship is more important than being right. That's what love does.

It sacrifices itself on the altar of self-righteousness.

I hope my nephew knows how much he is loved. I hope he knows I regret all those years when we didn't speak and I thought I was doing the right thing.

And I hope he knows there will always be space for him at the table.