Jan 132017

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.

In Christ,
Bo Williams

 Posted by at 10:42 pm
Jan 112017

Mom used to tell of how Gran’ma laughed and laughed the first time I made cupcakes with her. I was two. This might have been the time. Gran’ma really loved that I thought I had to lick the cake decorations to make them stick on the cupcakes.

This is the kitchen in the house where I grew up. I don’t have many photos of its interior. I’m so thankful for the ones I do have. Most of the time that I lived here, my parents were married. Between that fact and what I believe is the human tendency for past unpleasantries to fall much more readily from memory than their opposites, I’ve made my childhood home quite an idyll. My mom hung that towel on that drawer. My mom picked that wallpaper.

I was barely ten years old, and Jenny was seven, when Mom and Dad told us they were divorcing (at that very table). It surprised me as much as anything possibly could have. At such an age I certainly had no great insight into human relations, and can I really say anything reliable about the fidelity of my recollections?

But it didn’t seem to me we lived in a household of particular strain. And, though I certainly noted idiosyncrasies in my mother and father as I grew and matured, neither seemed incapable of relationship maintenance and mechanics. Our home fractured and split in early 1982 anyway.

I remember one night gazing at mine and Lea’s children when they were just about the same ages and considering that’s where Jenny and I were when it happened. Even now I tend to measure the timelines occasionally: my 15 years old vs. Nathan’s 15 years old; my two years into having a stepmother vs. Nathan’s…not.

I think we—the four of us—are doing all right. I think Lea and I are providing responsibly for the human beings we chose to make exist—physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. But, as I’ve said before, relativity can be quite seductive.

“Better than my parents” isn’t necessarily good enough.

 Posted by at 1:57 am
Jan 072017

Dad’s coming over tomorrow after church to help me assess the boys’ bathroom damage. I suspect part of that will be taking a reciprocating saw to the old tub so we can a) see all of the damaged floor; and b) get it out easily. Once it’s all torn up I’ll feel like I’m underway […]

 Posted by at 2:45 pm
Jan 032017

I was born in Decatur, but my family moved to Anniston before I was a year old. So it’s the first home I can remember. I took some time last month to drive around and look. Here are a few through-the-windshield shots of some innocuous-looking locations that are full of memories for me. (Click image […]

 Posted by at 11:13 pm

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