Dear Mr. Burgess:
I am writing you regarding your daughter Brandi’s recent disclosures of both her sexuality and your interactions about it.
I realize this is probably not a discussion you would have preferred to have in public. However, it’s where we are, and it may ultimately be a blessing.
We’ve walked a lot of the same roads, you and I. I was a few years behind you at Oxford High School, but I was there. We surely had common teachers. We may have had common friends. It’s even possible we shared a service or two together, as my time at Oxford coincided with my attendance at Southern Baptist churches. I spent most of my time at Greenbrier Road, but found myself at Meadowbrook or Trinity from time to time too.
Like you, I heard truly good men denounce homosexuality. Like you, I heard and felt their sincerity. Like you, I received their scriptural justifications.
What if they were wrong? I mean, that’s certainly possible, isn’t it? Think about what our faith has to offer. Consider all of the wonderful things Christians all over the world do in His name, in an effort to be His hands and feet. Think of His grace. Think of His compassion.
Jesus is pretty good at telling us what’s important to Him. He tells us a lot about helping others for its own sake. He tells us of service with no expectation of reciprocation. He tells us of giving. He tells us of modesty. I cannot document anywhere that He had a single word to say about homosexuality. Please, take that into your heart. Think about it. Pray about it.
I’ll play devil’s advocate as well, though. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that it is a sin. A woman taking a woman as her spouse, or a man taking a man, is sinning just by doing that.
So what? If it is a sin, it’s just another one. Are any of us without it?
Mr. Burgess, from time to time, a representative of this evangelical church or that will knock on my door. Almost all of them open their spiel with hell. “If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would go?” is common. They like to say “hellfire” and “damnation,” and sometimes I’ll even get one who’s fond of “brimstone.”
And my first thought is always the same. “You and I share this incredible faith—this faith of kindness, grace, and service—and you’re leading with this?”
I feel exactly the same way about Christians, purporting to act in the name of Jesus, who lead with anti-homosexuality. Even if you believe the Bible tells you God disapproves of homosexuality, is that really one of the most interesting things about the Bible?
Is this a hill worth dying on? What makes homosexuality worth the disproportionate attention it receives?
Mr. Burgess, Brandi is still your sweet baby girl. Her sexuality is no more separable from her than her sense of humor, or her eye color.
Please consider—prayerfully and at length—that your love for Brandi may well be entirely consistent with her sexuality. Please consider that Jesus told us to love the Lord, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that this is a complete list of the “greatest commandments.”
Please consider—prayerfully and at length—that the eventual epiphany here may be yours, not hers.
I hold you and Brandi both up in prayer as you navigate these difficult seas. May God be with you, sir, and thank you for reading.