Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Brokeback Mountain, King Kong, and the Faith Community

So I haven't been around much lately - My head has been full, but I haven't had the heart to write about it. I'll see if I can catch up.

First off, we rented King Kong last night - and loved it. Very sad - very human movie... We hate Carl Denham. Dave noted that he doesn't even like the name Carl. I especially liked the part after Kong fought three t-rexes, then tossed Anne Darrow onto his shoulder. Poor old Kong. He was a big old ape with no family and no one who wasn't afraid of him. His home was littered with the bones of his dead relatives, and he was even attacked at home. Poor old guy just wanted someone who understood him.

Last week, something so truly awful happened, it's hard to talk about it. Suffice it to say that something was said in church that so offended a gay man in the congregation, that he left.... I'm watching him exit the sanctuary (it's a large room - so it was a long walk to the exit) and thinking, "No one, no one, no one... Ok, I'll go." I followed him out - and had a long discussion about why gays and church never seem to get along - Suffice it to say that I believe that if God has enough grace for me, he's got enough grace for everyone. Let me try to summarize what my pastor said that upset my friend - and what my pastor really MEANT to talk about.

In trying to discuss how the media should be more responsible for what it portrays - and the consequences of what it portrays, he used a current example that was based on a few phone calls he'd received - because of the movie "Brokeback Mountain." - Apparently, it incited a few gay-yet-married-to-women men he knew to ponder wether or not they should leave their wives.

The point my pastor was trying to make was about the marital commitment these men made... (- this is so difficult to explain - he just focused on what responsibility he felt the media has - and the far-reaching impact it has) It wasn't really about gay men, gays, or the church's stance on sexuality. - It was about the things in life that influence us. However, it really sounded like a gay bash.

It was a good example, in context. It's just that it wasn't spoken particularly clearly - The trouble was - the pastor's statement was finished sometime after the gay man and I left the sanctuary. I mentioned to my friend that we weren't sure where he was going. He acknowledged that - and continued.

"But Kelly," he retorted. This is the kind of crap that makes kids in church think there's no place for them - I can guarantee that there are at least 10 or 20 kids or adults in there who are gay." (my congregation consists of about 500 people). - It's serious. Kids commit suicide over this kind of thing."

I told him he had a very valid point - and then went out on a big limb... (halfway between my church and the pack of cigarettes my friend needed). I asked him to talk to my pastor about it. He, going out on an equally tenuous limb, said he would consider it- because it might save someone's life.

"Look." I explained, "The church needs to understand THEIR responsibility - and if Christ died for me - he certainly died for you too, and if you recognize your desire for God/Spirituality/Church in your life, you deserve to be able to sit in there too..." That's what I think. I'm not saying we can't be challenged - I'm saying we all deserve to feel safe in church. (Again - this is hard to write about - it's kind of complicated, isn't it?)

After I left him, I went back into the sanctuary and expressed this to my pastor. I knew he felt badly. He immediately offered to call the guy. I'm pretty satisfied with that. I know he meant it because the next day, he called me at work for a phone number. I called my friend and asked if it was okay.

"Did you tell him what I said?"

"Barring the part where you called him a bigot, yes... And I'm excited that you're willing to go this distance. It needs to be done."

"Ok. Then you can give him my number." What brave guys, eh? I'm so proud of both of them... mostly because In my experience, it hasn't happened before.

Look - I know there will always be a huge schism between the gay community and the mainstream faith community (I'm even embarassed by writing this... It's not how I feel - but it seems to be true.) It angers me that my church has actively sought out dialogue with the interfaith community, people of different races/languages, addicts, third world neighborhoods in Haiti, Spain, Guatemala and Africa - and even (gasp!) those of less popular political persuasions (that's another post for another day, but suffice it to say that the Democratic Mayor of a local city finds he can tolerate going to church here!!!)..., but hasn't really made a lot of room for gays. I'm hoping that this discussion will at least open some doors. It can't possibly be this scary. It can't be that gays are so like Kong - so foreign and misunderstood that there's no place for them... I think it's ridiculous, I think it leaves God conspicously out of the picture, and it needs to stop.

I had no intention, btw, of writing about this - it feels like a big 'ol can of worms - but someone has to say it.

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  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger Sarabeth said…

    Kell-I'm so anti-religion that I'm going to stay out of this.

  • At 4:27 AM, Blogger Kell said…

    It's a pretty touchy subject wrapped in in apretty touchy subject, isn't is?

  • At 5:33 AM, Anonymous DF said…

    Thanks for this. It's a perfect blog piece-- personal, linking to something bigger than yourself, and honest.

  • At 6:11 AM, Anonymous DF said…

    Just had an enjoyable surf around your blog. You are a highly talented person. Much continued success in all you do.

  • At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Katie said…

    Thanks Kelly for writing about the things that are difficult to discuss. It's all about starting the dialogue and sounds like you facilitated that between your pastor and friend.

  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger sass said…

    don't EVEN get me started on this.

    not EVEN.

    you're friend has the most poignant point, which is that a lot of young people commit suicide over this. and those are senseless deaths, mes amis.

    how many of my friends older sisters have had their husbands come to them and tell them that they're gay after gawd knows how many years of unhappy (and gross sex) marriage? three.

    and how many of my gay guy friends are screwing men in unhappy marriages? oh, at least five.

    so yeah, let's air out this nasty laundry.

    and KUDOS to you kelly for walking out after your friend. i'm proud of you.

    i woulda done the same, but maybe kicked a pew on the way out.


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