Recap of the I’m Sorry Campaign/Gay Pride Parade in Chicago 2012

This was the first year I commuted primarily by “L” to the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago. Blue Line Oak Park to Jackson, to Red Line Addison. It was very obviously very crowded, but there was a sense of bonhomie in the air for different reasons, and my reason was to join up with The Marin Foundation and their I’m Sorry Campaign for a third year.

It was my intention this year to be the eyes, heart, and ears of Jesus; eyes to watch people to see their reaction that an I’m Sorry t-shirt has and draw them into conversation about what we’re sorry about, a heart of love to those around us and whomever I was in contact with, and ears to hear people share their stories with me. I would have to say this approach was personally successful, thanks be to God. πŸ™‚

Due to a route change/extension the parade went the other way and we were half a block from the IHOP in Boystown, but the manyΒ I’m Sorry shirts made it noticeable where we were going to be. I said my hi’s and met some new people, I asked them from their perspective why they were sorry and for some it was because of once being homophobic to a point where the individual was worried that being Gay was transmittable, for another it was engaging the LGBT Community in a tangible and dynamic way of love, for another his journey was very similar to mine; years of struggling to figure out a personal stance as to if being a follower of Christ is compatible with being LGBT…
I liked that conversation, because the struggle to get away from “well my mom says/my father says/my pastor says” blanket statements is a worthy one, and I recognize in my life that if a person struggles through this and still thinks the same way at the end of the struggle, I’m more accepting of someone who does the legwork to come up with their own thoughts & ideas on this topic.

Then there was P* and D*; two guys, two moments of expressing I’m sorry for the way Christians have treated the LGBT community, two moments where they got what we were about, two good times and God times. I don’t want to give away their story simply because this moment was ours and ours alone.
I will say that it is a breath of fresh air in these God moments where there’s restoration and reconciliation, where perfect shalom seems closer and closer to coming to fruition. Itwill happen, and I want to do my part to be a part of it!

I had work in the evening so I left earlier, but in a way it was a blessing in disguise particularly with standstill foot traffic. People noticed the shirt and thought at first I was saying I’m Sorry for the pushing to move forward as it was very much the bottle neck at times, but I allowed those inquires to be addressed, to say I’m sorry for the way some Christians have treated the LGBT community by telling them that God doesn’t love them when in fact he does! It was received well, and I thank God for those moments when I couldn’t move forward because of the crowds.

All in all it was a good Pride Parade in Chicago yesterday. I wish I could have stayed there longer but I had responsibilities and I was blessed to have five hours off. The work of Andrew Marin and The Marin Foundation and for those who associate with them isn’t a well worn path, it has been traversed by a few but there’s still work to be done. I take the matters of building bridges seriously, intentionally and incarnationally, that is to say I want to be in the same setting where my ministry is.
Jesus exemplified incarnational ministry best, he was with the people, he lived with them, he ate with them, he went through good times and bad times with them. If I call myself a follower of Christ I feel obligated out of love and discipleship to “go and do likewise”. The Gay Pride Parade comes only once a year, but there are still ways for me to engage and build bridges, and you know what? I’m going to do that! πŸ™‚

P.S.Β  brought my camera, but alas I didn’t take any photos 😦 Oh well, here are some from our event through the lens of others;

I wasn’t angry or pissed, just rather hot…pay no attention to me, I’m better behind the camera lens than in front of it!

Be blessed and continue to bless others,
Nathanael

28/31 – My biggest dream in life (one great thing I want to accomplish)

 

My biggest dream in life (one great thing I want to accomplish)

This question has a two part answer to it, so I’ll just say that two of my biggest dreams in life are to be a good husband and a good father to my kids.

A good husband…

Reading the Bible I have a basic understanding of what it takes to be a good husband, which is submitting out of love for my wife and hopefully she submits to me out of love as well. If both people are giving of themselves to the other, there isn’t room for the patriarchal or even matriarchal authority mindset to take place. I’m looking for a girl who believes in the egalitarian pattern for having a relationship, the mutual nature of giving and receiving.
My parents had their 31st wedding anniversary, I say had instead of celebrated because there’s a severe disconnect between the two of them. I won’t air their dirty laundry, all I will say is that the road to getting on the right track to being a good husband is a good one, because I haven’t seen a good example of what a healthy marriage looks like via my parents.
I will do better than them, and these aren’t empty words of promises or my future wife-to-be, I will do whatever it takes to be a good husband to my wife because she deserves it.

A good father…

My life has an empty gap in it; my father’s there but not there, work takes precedence now and it always has. What he put my sisters and I through has been a generations old problem. He said he’d be there for my mom and us kids, but he didn’t, so it’s up to me to do better next time around. I desire so much to do better than he because it hurts to have a father who is there but isn’t there. Just the other day I was hanging out with my bro, we planned a night of drinking beer, eating pizza and watching Lost. His father was at the table talking to him and he engaged me in dialogue, I talked, listened and then I offered him a beer. I wish I had that dynamic with my father… Little things like this I never had, and knowing how much it hurts I want to do better for my future kids. The generational curse has to end with me, otherwise I don’t see the point of having a wife and kids if I’m not going to do any better than generations before me.

I recognize that what it will take to get me there is Godly men and women who will hold me accountable, individuals who’ll speak into my life and help me make better choices if needed be. I am willing to be held accountable where needed be for the my sake, my wife’s sake and also my kids’ sake. I don’t want there to come a time where my wife or kids feel like they aren’t loved or feel like they can’t approach me about something difficult.

Here’s to making a difference in the lives of others for the better! πŸ™‚

~Nathanael~

 

The kingdom of Heaven is like…(a God moment at today’s Gay Pride Parade in Chicago)

*This took place near the end of the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago…*

He walked by with the intent to leave the parade because it just ended, but he stopped cold in his tracks when he saw our I’m Sorry t shirts.

(Andrew Marin and I!)
I could see in his eyes fear at possible rejection if our shirts meant something hurtful and hateful. I caught on to his fears early and engaged him in dialogue as to what we were saying we’re sorry about; sorry about how Christians might have directly or indirectly told him they’re not loved by God and there’s no place for the LGBT community in the church, and that in fact God loves them and we do too and there IS a place for you in the church – this is my response to what I’m sorry about

His fears subsided, his frown became a smile, “So you’re saying you are sorry for what Christians have said? That you truly love me?” By now his smile was a full blown grin and he (by now he revealed his name – Nathan) told my friends and I “you guys are REAL Christians! That is bombass!”
Nathan shared how his Christian parents threw him out when he came out to them, his hurt visibly noted as he through up a shrug and referenced John 3:16, I get that and I get the passage when it says “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish by have ever lasting life.”

I pulled Nathan into my circle of friends even closer and I asked him if I could pray for him, “I have a better idea” he said, “let’s pray for one another.” My friends and I proceeded to lift Nathan up in prayer; for a good day, for a good week and I closed by praying for reconciliation and restoration between him and his parents. We finished the prayer, talked a little more and gave hugs and then he was on his way with a smile on his face for getting to meet us.
This time, this moment, was definitely a God moment. He put us then and there to engage Nathan in conversation, to share what we sorry about and to lift him up in prayer. May God reconcile and restore the rift between him and his parents, and since reconciliation and restoration is kingdom stuff this left me smiling and crying a little, because in this God moment this is what the kingdom of God is like.

~Nathanael~