Meeting with the adversary…

[A quick note on language: The word “adversary” is used because my adversary is not my “enemy.” I am not “fighting” my adversary, but rather I am resisting what my adversary may believe or contending what my adversary teaches. My adversary is my friend and brother or sister and not one to be fought, but one to be respected even if we disagree and even if we find ourselves on opposite ends of a particular subject or issue.]

Last night, I was honored to be able to make a small, laid-back presentation on the Soulforce Equality Ride to a small group of folks at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Winston-Salem. Many of the folks there were my good friends, colleagues and mentors. I was fortunate enough, however, to have in attendance a man, who I will call “Bobby” in order to protect his privacy, who is a congregant at a local, more conservative-leaning Baptist congregation.

Bobby mentioned he had read some of my writings, for which I thanked him, and that he had kept up with many of things I have done. Before the presentation began he made sure to be fully honest, letting me know that we probably would not agree on all issues, but that he was there to meet me and to hear what I had to say about the Ride and other topics.

After my presentation, I spoke again briefly with Bobby. He said he thought it was a good thing that he had had the chance to attend the presentation and that while we still may disagree it was good to hear my perspectives, along with the perspectives of others. One special comment I will never forget is when he mentioned that he realized that gay people were no different from other people: We have the same wants, needs and desires and that we are human, too.

If Bobby is reading, I want to thank you, once again, for attending the presentation last night and for showing so much kindness. While we still may not agree on my complete assertion that being gay is not a sin and in need of no cure and that gay people do not need to be “saved” from anything (except for, of course, the same short-comings for which we must all be saved), I believe that our connection last night was truly one of humanity and love. We both presented our “human face” to each other, letting down our guard and allowing true conversation to take place.

At the end of our short conversation, I asked Bobby which church he attended and he graciously informed me. I again thanked him for being so willing to come to the presentation and, since he had come all the way out to see me, I told him that I would most definitely be honored to attend worship at his church sometime in the near future. I hope that I may be able to do that soon, although I doubt my schedule will allow it.

If I cannot attend worship with Bobby before I leave for the Ride, I will, without question, make a point to remember my promise upon my return to North Carolina in May.

If you are reading Bobby… please email me (I gave you my card, but again, my email is matt ‘at’ interstateq ‘dot’ com or matt.hill.comer ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com) so that I can have your contact information (which I should have gotten last night), so that I may have the chance to let you know when I will be attending worship with you.

2 Responses to “Meeting with the adversary…”
  1. Tyler says:

    I think this is a great post and should be an encouragement for everyone on both sides. While I hold opinions similar to “Bobby” regarding homosexuality, I think it’s wonderful that you guys were both able to dialogue with “the adversary.” There’s too much hype surrounding this issue, this blog was a breath of fresh air.

  2. Matt says:

    Thank you Tyler for your kind and thoughtful response. Indeed, if more people approached these issues showing only their “human face” letting down their prejudiced guards, our world would be better off… and reconciliation could begin.

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