My father is an amazing man and I love him very much. Like the rest of us, my father has made mistakes and learned from them, fallen in and out of love, risen and fallen, and over time has become an example of humility and Christlike love. Through his ministries at the Springs Rescue Mission where he works with the homeless and needy, he gives people hope for their futures and a firm foundation to build their lives upon. He empathizes with the plights of others and is ever compassionate.
I still remember how nervous and scared I was when I sat on the floor of my shared room, arms wrapped around my knees as my trembling fingers pushed the buttons to call my father and tell him I was gay. Just like a tiny grenade can unleash a powerful explosion, I knew that a little sentence--"I'm gay"--could have an equal effect on a father. Fathers want their sons to be strong, to be manly, to be tough. Fathers don't want gay sons. And with his strong Christian faith, I knew that my words could invite a hailstorm of righteous anger and biblical reprimands.
But instead, my father gave me the greatest gift he could ever give. He gave me love. It was hard for him to handle at first, as is change of any kind, but ultimately he has given me unconditional love and support. He sees the good in me, and for that, I will be forever grateful.
Recently my dad wrote a comment on one of my other blog posts, but seeing that most people don't read the comments, I decided to quote him here. This is what he had to say on my "coming out" and what he believes should be the Christian response:
When Jack came out that he was gay, I have to admit that my world was rocked with 100 magnitude earthquake. My initial response was to appeal to his love for God with passages from Romans. I prayed incessantly for God to change my son and make him straight. God made changes all right. He changed me. Though I still struggle with a lot of the theology around this issue, I am certain that God has spoken to me and revealed that I don't know everything. I have come to realize that God looks past our gender and directly to our hearts. Jack's heart is beautiful. Jack loves God. Jack seeks to bless others. I am proud of my son, Jack. I can only hope that my heart will be as beautiful as Jack's.
Christians like to say that the United States is a Christian nation, then go full steam into a biased rhetoric. The Judeo-Christian values we find in our society can be found in other societies, as well. The truth of the matter is that this is a free nation, which allows me to be a Christian, and everyone else to follow whatever religion they choose, to believe in God or not. It is also a nation that should view all of her citizens as equal with regard to rights. This is the basic question of the gay marriage issue. When I look at Jack and Brian, a couple who love each other and want to express that love through marriage, I don't see two gay people asking for something I have but they shouldn't even dare to request; rather, I see two American citizens who want the same rights as I. How in the world can I allow my preference to be superior to theirs? How can we as a free people prevent others the same benefits of citizenship because they love someone of the same gender?
I pray that Christians will learn that the most taught lesson in the Bible is to love one another. God is teaching me what that looks like. He is also showing me that He will truly be more inclusive regarding those who will live eternally with Him than we are.
I love you, Jack. I am proud to be the father of such a wonderful human being as you!!!!!
I love you too, Dad. I thank God for blessing me with a father like you.
And while my father mentions gay marriage, I think it's as good a time as any to make an announcement. As I'm sure everyone knows, Brian and I have been engaged for almost four years now with no wedding date in mind. That has changed. We have decided to get married on November 2, 2013 which will be our five-year anniversary! I look forward to having my father--and the rest of my family and friends--in attendance.
Happy Father's Day!