Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Pain of Enlightenment

Last night community members packed Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids to view the film "For the Bible Tells Me So" which was followed by a panel discussion. Our panel members included

· Rev. Doug Van Doren, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ
· Mary DeRidder, PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
· Rev. Jim Lucas, Gays in Faith Together (GIFT)

This morning I received an email from one of my volunteers relating the following story:

“After the movie, there was an older man in the lobby crying because he was ashamed of his church and of his Christian friends and how they have treated members of the LGBT community. I was able to talk with him for a little while and gave him a couple of numbers and websites to check out. Needless to say, he walked away from the movie with some new convictions and support contacts.

He was feeling torn between his upbringing and church and his devotion/acceptance of a couple of his gay friends. He left feeling much more confident and secure about his friends and the LGBT community in general. What a wonderful thing Triangle Foundation, Wealthy Theater, and all involved gave to this elderly man!”

This is a wonderful story and exactly the reason we do the work we do! Speaking from experience, I can say that the price of enlightenment is often – as the gentleman last night experienced – PAIN.

After my son came out to me, I gave him a card and said to him,

“Your coming out IS a crisis for our family. But the crisis is not that you are gay. The crisis is that we have to ask ourselves why our lives have not been more supportive of the gay community and that is very painful.”

Taking a hard look at yourself is difficult stuff. We often don't like the reflection staring back at us from the mirror. But KUDOS to this gentleman and others who are willing to move from enjoying the comfort of opinion to doing the work of thought!


At June 6, 2008 at 3:18 PM , Blogger Dr. David G. Beighley said...

"But KUDOS to this gentleman and others who are willing to move from enjoying the COMFORT of opinion to doing the WORK of thought!" It was a strange phenomenon to not only visualize what it must have been like for this brave gentleman...but to additionally have experienced those same feelings. Mixed in with the "pulling" from the old traditions and the new insights there was also the anger at myself for having taken so long to reach those insights out of an unawareness or unwillingness to actually DO the work that both insight and compassion require. Thanks for this blog...the pain of enlightenment is very real, and, if navigated well, can only enhance our compassion toward all beings.

At June 6, 2008 at 7:12 PM , Blogger Mike said...

BRAVO! I regret missing this event, but it is so amazing to see how it has changed even one life and one perspective. There is no doubt it changed many more that night and the movie and dialogue will continue the revolution.

At June 6, 2008 at 11:01 PM , Blogger Julie Nemecek said...

A powerful film with a powerful message. Truth is often painful to absorb especially when it requires a paradigm shift. Kep blogging . . .you rock!


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