A couple of months ago I was contemplating taking my kids to church. Not to their church, but to the church I mentioned in this blog post. I knew it would be a major stretch for them, and I wasn’t sure they were ready. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was ready either. Their dad was going out of town on the Sunday I would have them so I mentioned it to him to see what he thought. I told him that the church was a reconciled Methodist Church. He doesn’t think there is a way to reconcile homosexuality, but he was willing to let them go. He figures they’ll take one look around and know that things aren’t right there. I think they might actually learn a few things.
Since I was having trouble making up my mind about it all I decided to ask them what they thought. Now keep in mind that I still haven’t told them that I’m gay. I’m sure they’ve got a pretty good idea, but it hasn’t been something I’ve been ready to talk about yet. I told them about the church. That it was different than what they were used to. That in and of itself scared them some.
They are pretty sure that the only good church is the one they attend. It has everything to do with where they’re comfortable and what they’re used to, and nothing to do with what’s being taught. We visited a few different churches when we first moved back to the states and they didn’t like any of them. They were basically cookie cutters of the one we already belonged to, but the people were different and their friends weren’t there.
I decided to tell them about some of the people they might see there. They were wide-eyed and giggled some. They said they didn’t want to go. I told them that their reasons couldn’t be because it wasn’t their church. The boys said they thought they might laugh at some of the people they saw. I thought that was interesting, because they aren’t mean kids. I guess when they see a person who was obviously born male wearing women’s clothing it could seem funny to them. The only other time they’ve seen something like that is on kids’ TV shows. Hannah Montana’s brother, Jackson, dressed up like her Nana and was hilarious. Eddie on That’s So Raven wore dresses on a couple of occasions and provided great comic relief. Those people are funny. The point of the show is to make people laugh, and it works.
I tried to explain that to this person there was nothing funny about what she was doing. She dressed that way because that’s how she felt. That if she happened to be there I would not expect them to sit by her and engage her in conversation. I knew that would be a lot to expect from them on their first day.
Ultimately I decided not to attend church that Sunday. I just wasn’t ready.
Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. The church was having a clean-up day. They had painting, gardening, and general cleaning projects that needed to be done. I decided that it was the perfect time to introduce them to the church. Since it wasn’t a formal service they didn’t need to worry about the liturgical nature of the meeting. They were put to work doing odd jobs around the building. On the way home one of my sons said that he didn’t see a straight guy there except the security guard. He said that it weirded him out a little. I hate that. He was nice and friendly to whoever talked to him, but he was uncomfortable. The other kids didn’t seem to have a problem with anyone they met. They were all aware that most of the people they met that day were gay, but working alongside them wasn’t a big deal. I wonder if worshiping with them would be.
I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to take them to an actual service. It might be a while. And I might decide to do it gradually. Take one or two kids at a time. I’m not brave enough to handle their feelings all at once.