As soon as I saw the trailer for the movie, "The Star," I knew that I wanted to see it with the kids. We set a time, on a school night, for us to pick the kids up at school and meet their mother at the movie theatre. We got them there early enough to go to the arcade and thereafter ensured two very vigorous games of air hockey. My neck got a work out just from trying to follow the puck. But soon it was time to pickup popcorn and pizza and head into see the show.
The movie started and the kids were engrossed. The animation was charming, the story was safe for a diabetic, and Mary and Joseph were presented as people in a situation. They were much more human than I expected, there wasn't a symphony playing every time Mary moved. She was young and scared. He was young and scared. And because of all that, I was pulled right back into the story.
I am a Christian.
Ever since I was a child, a bullied and teased child, I found respite in the idea of a loving God, and the proclamation 'Jesus loves me, this I know ...' I felt safe harbour in my heart. I felt less alone. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this but when walking home from downtown at night, alone of course, my path would take me by the church I attended. The United Church of Canada. If it was dark out, which it often was, I would stop and do the cub salute that I had learned. I'd been attending the cubs for awhile and felt that that salute had a lot of meaning and respect in it. So I would stand there, and salute the church. The church, the place that I believed that God lived. I wanted to show thanks for the everydayness of my faith and for the promise made that I was loved. It was a message that slipped through the 'fatsos' and the 'lardasses' of my everyday existence. I loved God. I loved his son Jesus. I was grateful for the sense of otherworldly loving that I had when I prayed to them.
But that little boy has grown up. He is now a gay man. He is now a disabled man. He lives in very different times. In the last months, I have heard that I am responsible for wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes. I have heard that I am part of a community that wants to tear down society and uplift sin. I am told that the kiss Joe gives me when I leave for work is a kick at the very foundation of society. I have heard that I should be stoned to death, that there is no redemption for me, that my life is an offense to God himself.
It's like every day I hear something said, by someone pronouncing their own faith, that tears mine down. I didn't realize it but they have slowly been placing boulders and stones that bar the path back to that God that I knew, that Jesus who befriended me. I became fearful of anyone who called themselves Christians. They say that they are under attack, but they have no idea how frightening they are.
I live at the intersection of sexuality, disability and faith. I'm not sure what's on the other corner and frankly I'm afraid to look. So I also experience those Christians who believe that my disability is evidence of my sin. This is without knowing that I am also gay. They want to pray for my healing. I don't want their prayers. I am on the path that God set for me, something that almost no one understands.
Who God made.
Maybe it was a bad day for him.
But maybe not.
I watched the movie, the simple powerful story of Christmas, and I didn't realize it at the time but that story and its reminder of my faith, my very young faith. It's reminder of a boy standing saluting and showing respect for a church and a God that he loved, mattered. I left the movie and found, as I thought about it, that the boulders and stones had been pushed away. That the pure faith I had as a child was momentarily, just momentarily, available to me. And I felt so free.
But then the morrow comes.
And the news.
And the continued banging on the drum of hatred for me and mine and behind those drums I can hear the pathway being slowly rebuilt.
God is not for me.
His Son turns his face.
I hear. I understand. I fear.
But in my heart I had made room for God. And I await his next visit. Because I believe. I am His. Even if I'm told he can't be mine.