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I am tired

frustrationOver the weekend I spent some time reading about the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage. I combed through the many responses that can be found on the web regarding this. There were those, both Christian and non, that praised this decision as an expression of God’s divine will. There were also those, both Christian and non, whose vitriol against same-sex couples was horrific and disturbing. In the midst of all of this, I have come to a conclusion.

I am tired.

I am tired of the constant bickering and the not so subtle charge that the authenticity of faith is somehow dependent upon what one believes about human sexuality. When the bedroom becomes the main symbol of the faith, as opposed to the cross, then I fear we have gone desperately off course regardless of where we stand on this issue.

I have an old friend who is a devout atheist. Despite our differences I believe we both enjoy the tete-a-tete that we sometimes engage in. But always, in every conversation, the trump card he plays is human sexuality, as if it is the litmus test of all righteousness, all love, all faith.

I am tired of the insinuation that conservative Christians cannot be righteous, loving, or peaceful, and that Liberal Christians cannot be dogmatic, hurtful, or judgemental. I am tired of hearing someone who opposes the marriage of same-sex couples referred to as ‘bigoted,’ ‘homophobic’, ‘unloving’, or ‘unchristian.’ I am tired of the claims that someone who supports same-sex marriage is, in some way, not a ‘real’ Christian.

Jesus is not a club with which we beat people into agreement with our point of view.

I am have known righteous, godly, loving individuals who have modelled Christian charity and grace more deeply and more profoundly than anyone I have ever met. Oh yea, they happened to be against same-sex marriages. I have also known righteous, godly, loving individuals, modelling Christian charity and grace deeply and profoundly, who happen to be homosexual. I am tired of having one person discounted and the other person praised.

I am tired of  living in a time when the opposing side of the debate is continually referred to as ‘them’ or ‘those people’. I am tired of the complete lack of respect toward each other, wherein, despite the hailing of Christian values, there can be a complete denigration of the other person as a child of God simply because they view sexuality differently.

I am tired of the labels and the constant twisting of such labels – when ‘Evangelical’ means Angry, ‘Conservative’ means Fundamentalist, and ‘Liberal’ means Unintelligent.

I am tired of the scriptural mudslinging. “The Bible says ‘for this reason a man will leave his mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh!” The Bible says “Love one another and Do not Judge!” The explanation points make such statements more loving, right? We get it. Your side reads the Bible better than the other.  Guess what? You’re both right.

I am tired of the church being hijacked by sexuality, where what someone does in the bedroom is seen as a bigger justice issue than the millions who don’t have bedrooms to speak of, or food to eat, or clean water to drink.

I am tired of the ranking of churches, where the main question that a seeker of a potential community of faith asks is ‘Are you affirming?’  or ‘Are you ‘inclusive?’ Is the blessing of God dependant upon the presence or absence of a rainbow flag? Why can’t churches on both sides of the spectrum be seen as warm, friendly, caring communities? Why can’t we support our neighbouring churches, our fellow pastors, and our brothers and sisters in Christ simply because they are those for whom Christ died.

I must confess that I hesitate to post this blog. Whenever you post something evenly remotely linked to the topic of sexuality, you open yourself up to the vitriolic and hateful words (from both sides of the spectrum) that I spoke of at the beginning. I hope and pray that will not be the response here. While I hesitate to post this, I will indeed post it  because I want you to know that I am tired, and I hope that you are too.

Kyle Norman

About Kyle Norman

I am a Priest in the Diocese of Calgary, serving the wonderful people of Holy Cross, Calgary. I watch reality television, I drink Starbucks coffee, and I read celebrity gossip columns. I am also a magician and often use magic tricks to teach the children at church the lessons of the Bible. I believe that God is present in the intricacy of our lives, and thus I believe that Pop Culture can provide intriguing lessons, examples, and challenges for our lives of faith. Connect with Kyle on
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41 Responses to I am tired

  1. Pingback: I am re-energised | The Community

  2. I’m tired too. Thanks for this good word. Well said.

    • I’m sorry you are tired Kyle, however this is an issue that is of a defining nature in Christianity today – just as the civil rights movement was so many years ago. You being tired is nothing compared to LGTBQ people who live outside of what others call community. I know plenty of people who are tired of being denied their human rights and who are actually in danger on a daily basis because of the homophobic society we live in. Sure, there are nice people who are homophobic and use the bible to deny these rights to their brothers and sisters, but there were probably some ‘nice’ people in the day who would have fought to keep black kids out of white schools. For you to say that your tired of the authenticity of faith coming down to what people believe about human sexuality is a pretty watered down view of what is really going on. We are talking about the spirit of Christianity, the direction of faith, the future of the church and how it must come to terms with the acceptance – not tolerance – but acceptance of all people. To deny any group human rights, to deny any group access to a loving church, to deny any group the truth of Christ that is to shine from the Christian soul – that is what we need to be tired of…but not tired enough to stop working in that direction.

  3. yes. Jesus seems to be lost in the politics

  4. Amazing . You read my mind

  5. Marriage is a word. It does not matter what modifiers you use. Common-law, do people get upset? Maybe. Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Baha’i? Doubt it. Same sex? Turn the other cheek. Live and let live.

    Our back yards are a mess and our front yards may just be a facade. Just be nice to one another.

  6. Marriage is not a word. It’s a sacrament of the church. It has meaning and value. Homophobia is not an opinion, it is hatefulness. It’s time to stop allowing space for it in our church. We don’t regard racism as an acceptable opinion just as we don’t regard sexism as an acceptable position in the Anglican Church of Canada. It is time to put an end to the hateful, dehumanizing treatment of the LGBTQ community in the church. Those of the ‘opinion’ that some people do not deserve the same care and treatment as others in our community have had decades to become more comfortable with full inclusion. It’s time to stop allowing for it and to move forward.

  7. Amen, amen, AMEN!
    I too am tired of this.
    Can’t we just move on to the really important issues Jesus called us to handle?

  8. I can relate. I’m tired of the need of LGBT seekers to ask whether a parish is affirming and inclusive or risk being badly hurt or abused. I’m tired of the refusal same-sex couples endure when they want to commit themselves to each other in married love within their Anglican community. I’m tired of the censure clergy face for daring to treat gay and straight couples with equal dignity. I’m tired of the tiredness of those who think that ending discrimination against LGBT people by the church is a distraction from ‘real’ ministry. Yeah, I’m tired too.

  9. Besides the fact that this is poorly written, it is poorly thought out as well. What exactly is his point about the starving around the world? That it is ok to discriminate against queer folks because people are starving? As if social justice issues are in silos. This is beyond baffling. And this is exactly what is wrong with the Anglican communion, its inability to move into the 21 century. This isn’t a “sexuality” issue, it is a social justice issue. Having “affirming” churches is extremely important. I’ve sat in Anglican churches and had to endure hate filled sermons against gay people. Who needs that? The fact that the question even needs to be asked in many of our churches just speaks to how much work we have left to do. If you’re “tired” of social justice perhaps it is time to find another occupation.

    • Kyle Norman

      Hi Elliott, Thanks for your reply and comments. Let me explain a bit about where I am coming from.

      Firstly, my point about people starving around the world is that sometimes I feel our we only focus on the social justice issues that effect us in the first world. I would argue that sometimes we DO view social justice in silos. We continually hear horrifying statistics about children dying of poverty around the world, even the child homeless in our own country, and the church is relatively silent on these matters. My point wasn’t a denial of social justice regarding discrimination against LGBTQ – but that we need to reclaim social justice in the widest and global perspective.

      Secondly, I kind of feel that you proved my point regarding being ‘affirming’. Your very own rhetoric implies that if one is not a ‘Affirming’ church (herein defined by acceptance of Same sex unions), parishioners are therefore condemned to hate-filled sermons and horrific diatribes against the gay community. And you’re right, who needs that. But that assumption in itself is woefully inaccurate and damages any sense of unity in faith. I don’t dismiss that many may have heard hate filled sermons – and for that a join my voice amid the apology – but just because a priest and/or parish does classify itself as ‘affirming’ or ‘inclusive’, doesn’t mean they are a body of vengeful and hate fueled people.

      Lastly, I’m not tired of social justice. The fact that I am tired means that I am passionate about my church and I care about how it lives out the Gospel of Christ. In many ways I don’t think we have been doing that. And it’s not just about ‘the position’ of the church, it is also about how talk about each other and to each other. So no . .I wont get a new occupation.

      By no means are you wrong in your comments -except that it was poorly written, I may disagree on that one 🙂 – I just thought a bit of clarification my help you understand my points. Blessings.

  10. A major problem is our issues with sacramentality. We discriminate all time in the church and nothing is said. When was the last time you saw a person with an intellectual disability ordained a deacon, priest or bishop? Holy Orders is a Sacrament and it is restricted to those “of sound mind”. We needn’t even start to talk about pregnancies terminated due to a detection of disability and discrimination and dignity. I am supportive of same sex blessings. I feel that it may be a calling of the Anglican Church to witness to the wider Church that there is grace to be discovered in committed same sex relations. However, the Sacrament of Marriage rests on the difference in bodies between a man and a women. I spend quite a bit of time with people with disabilities and I often have moments of a feeling of grace-a sacramental feeling where they reveal in their presence and their relationship the presence of God. But that is not the same as the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It’s wonderful, mysterious, joyous which is why the Church needs to welcome people with disabilities no matter what size they are.

  11. Amen, amen, AMEN!
    I too am tired of this.
    Can’t we just move on to the really important issues Jesus called us to handle?

  12. I can relate. I’m tired of the need of LGBT seekers to ask whether a parish is affirming and inclusive or risk being badly hurt or abused. I’m tired of the refusal same-sex couples endure when they want to commit themselves to each other in married love within their Anglican community. I’m tired of the censure clergy face for daring to treat gay and straight couples with equal dignity. I’m tired of the tiredness of those who think that ending discrimination against LGBT people by the church is a distraction from ‘real’ ministry. Yeah, I’m tired too.

  13. This subject is a hard one to reconcile for individuals. Keeping the old covenant is hard enough among believers, and a lot of wrong was done in that vein. Thus a new covenant. The U.S. Supreme Court was not concerned at all with religious implications. It is concerned about matters of pension sharing, income taxes, custody of children, inheritance etc. These are really important issues between the state and its citizens. The justices do not pretend to represent the Anglican or any other church, or even God himself, for that matter. “Civil” “Secular” Look them up.

  14. ” I am tired of hearing someone who opposes the marriage of same-sex couples referred to as ‘bigoted,’ ‘homophobic’, ‘unloving’, or ‘unchristian.’ ” If the English language is so wearisome, learn another. The false equation here of the pain of LGBT Christians and the ire of those who reject them is outrageous. Exactly how would you go about “lovingly opposing” the marriage of one of your family members?

  15. Amen!! We are all God’s children so time to move on & love one another & treat them with the respect that you would want someone to show to you.

  16. Tks for sharing Cathy!

  17. I’m sorry you are tired Kyle, however this is an issue that is of a defining nature in Christianity today – just as the civil rights movement was so many years ago. You being tired is nothing compared to LGTBQ people who live outside of what others call community. I know plenty of people who are tired of being denied their human rights and who are actually in danger on a daily basis because of the homophobic society we live in. Sure, there are nice people who are homophobic and use the bible to deny these rights to their brothers and sisters, but there were probably some ‘nice’ people in the day who would have fought to keep black kids out of white schools. For you to say that your tired of the authenticity of faith coming down to what people believe about human sexuality is a pretty watered down view of what is really going on. We are talking about the spirit of Christianity, the direction of faith, the future of the church and how it must come to terms with the acceptance – not tolerance – but acceptance of all people.

  18. why focus on the USA DECISION – Canada had it since 2005 – get off your Butt’s and start perfoming the Marriages. – can’t pick and choose as the Bible -FROWNS on Divoces ,but yuo still allow them to remarry. SO LET WE BI/GAY/LES/TRANS MARRY –

  19. I, too, am tired. I am tired of people smugly, smilingly declaring some others lesser humans and then tut-tutting those who are outraged. I am tired of defending Christianity when many of its most vocal exponents propound a callous, smug, smiling dehumanization and do so little to ease others’ pain. I am tired of seeing the loving spirit of Christ ignored in favour of the spirit of keeping things as fit someone’s unnecessary invented restrictions. I am tired of seeing people who decry “relativism” suddenly wanting to make clear that all views should be calmly respected whether they bring love or death. I am tired of seeing wonderful people treated like trash. I am tired of people like the Rev. Kyle Norman, and if he is going to be the voice of the Anglican Church, then I can see why so many people are so tired of it.

    Paradoxically, one of the best antidotes to tiredness is exercise. I suggest that Kyle Norman exercise his heart and spirit and his ability to listen truly and to see the effects of actions. Perhaps once he gives up this laziness he propounds he will suddenly find himself energized.

    • You have made my day with this opinion, James…perhaps even my whole week. Undoubtedly, you have voiced my feelings and I am grateful for you having done so so eloquently. Bless you, brother.

  20. I’m sorry you are tired Kyle, however this is an issue that is of a defining nature in Christianity today – just as the civil rights movement was so many years ago. You being tired is nothing compared to LGTBQ people who live outside of what others call community. I know plenty of people who are tired of being denied their human rights and who are actually in danger on a daily basis because of the homophobic society we live in. Sure, there are nice people who are homophobic and use the bible to deny these rights to their brothers and sisters, but there were probably some ‘nice’ people in the day who would have fought to keep black kids out of white schools. For you to say that your tired of the authenticity of faith coming down to what people believe about human sexuality is a pretty watered down view of what is really going on. We are talking about the spirit of Christianity, the direction of faith, the future of the church and how it must come to terms with the acceptance – not tolerance – but acceptance of all people. To deny any group human rights, to deny any group access to a loving church, to deny any group the truth of Christ that is to shine from the Christian soul – that is what we need to be tired of…but not tired enough to stop working in that direction.

  21. I am tired of everyone talking about LGBT people like they are a horrible problem to be solved, but that at the same time are a distraction from doing real ministry.

    I am tired of LGBT people being called disgusting, demon ridden, inherently sinful, abominations because some version of God says that that is God’s own truth.

    I am tired of being expected to tithe to a church that does not treat me as a full member.

    I am tired of Christians denying the humanity of LGBT people and calling that love.

    I am tired of having to justify being both Christian and gay.

    I am tired of the pussyfooting around some people’s potentially hurt feelings with the result that an injustice is maintained.

    I am tired of the war I have to keep having with myself about maintaining my commitment to the church I love when the church I love refuses to commit to me.

  22. I’m tired too. I’m tired of having to explain to the lgbt community why I’m a Christian, and I’m tired of having to be on the defensive in my churches when people find out I’m gay. I’m tired of wondering if, when I’m ordained, I’ll find a church that will accept me as their priest, not to mention any partner I would eventually hope to have. I’m tired of knowing that I’ll never be able to see most of the world because I’m not wanted there, even to the point of death. I’m tired of fearing that this wonderful sense of progress is just the pendulum swinging one way, only foe it to swing back like it has so many times in the past. I’m tired of having to defend my faith and my church to the people who only hear the louder voices of anger and hate. I’m tired of being rejected by countless people just for being religious (now a dirty word). I’m tired of people assuming I’m a relic and a bigot for what I do on Sunday mornings.
    I’m a person who fits into both worlds, yet is fully accepted in neither. And this is just me speaking as a 20-something gay man. Let alone the bi, lesbian, and especially trans community. I may be tired, but how can I sleep knowing there is still so much work to do?

  23. I am tired of this issue being , seemingly the only problem that the church needs to be dealing with. We have got to this position because we have continually ignored the standard the bible has set for God’s people but adopted the ever changing standard of the world. There was a letter written around the second century called the letter to Diognetus where the writer points out that Christians were noticeably different by they way they lived ,here is one chapter in the letter “For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.” Unfortunately one can not use the same example for the present day church.We are no different from the world and in fact in some ways worse. The bible says God says “I hate divorce” yet we turn a blind eye to the problem, we also turn a blind eye to pornography, lying ,cheating .ignoring the poor and the widows.We write it off by saying “we’re all sinner” which is true but we are comfortable in our sin and have no desire to change. We honour God with our lips but our hearts are far from God in vain do we worship Him. It is time our walk matched our talk

  24. This article echoes my sentiments. As both gay and Christian, I am tired too. But that’s where all the beauty of being both comes from.

  25. Brandon Hindle Kaitlyn Dandridge – may be of interest to you as well

  26. Preston Davies I believe you would appreciate this view.

  27. I am sure God and St Paul are tired of being call misogynist and homophobic

  28. Scroll through the replies to this posting. Find Emily Carr’s post! Thanks Emily.

  29. I’m tired of being tied to ordination vows that force me to be a homophobic bigot. Where the hell is MY “conscience clause”, so that I can opt out of our discriminatory marriage canon? A bishop stole my marriage license years ago, but until ALL persons can get married in our church, I don’t want it back. I’ll be doing handfastings in the backyard, thank you very much. I’m so tired of discrimination, oppression, and violence in the name of Christ … somebody make it stop.

  30. I’m tired of being tied to ordination vows that force me to be a homophobic bigot. Where the hell is MY “conscience clause”, so that I can opt out of our discriminatory marriage canon? A bishop stole my marriage license years ago, but until ALL persons can get married in our church, I don’t want it back. I’ll be doing handfastings in the backyard, thank you very much. I’m so tired of discrimination, oppression, and violence in the name of Christ … somebody make it stop.

    • Since God in is the one who set the parameters for marriage ,does that make him a homophobic bigot?

      • Kyle Norman

        Hi Tony
        The only comment I will make is that such comments do not really help the conversation – or extend grace to people who may differ from us. The point of the article was that we need to stop the ‘mudslinging’ and the rhetoric which amounts to ‘We are right and you are wrong.’ I understand what you are trying to say, but surely there is a more respectful and grace-filled way to say it.

        Thanks for being an active part on The Community. Blessings to you.

        • You are probably right but Jesus said if you love me you will keep my commandments . We want to meet God on our own terms and almost telling God this is the way I am ,like it or lump it. Either God alone has the authority to constrain our lives or He is not really our Lord

  31. Thanks, Kyle, for your post, although I see from the comments that you’ve suffered the common fate of moderates (being run over by traffic going both ways). I did have a couple of observations.

    First, your post and, especially, the comments underscore for me how deep the pain of this issue goes. I already knew that as I spent a fair amount of time in the 2000s on internet bulletin boards discussing this issue, but the vehemence of the responses on both sides indicate that the hurt, the anger and the fear of those debates continue and flare up, despite our attempts as Anglicans to move on. That makes me think that what we could best do as a church is to find a way to hear each other grieve, no matter what side we find ourselves on. Yes, we can impose a solution on this issue, but the healing will, nonetheless, take a long time- longer if we don’t acknowledge the suffering of both sides. We’re not there yet. But, sooner or later, we’ll need to be.

    Second, one of the most important things I learned in the online debates I engaged in is the realization that I have to stop treating people like they are theological abstractions. Yes, it is important to know what one believes and to be able to say it, but, all too often, the rhetoric of either side (pick one, at random, I don’t care which), at its most cutting, creates an image of the opposition which, usually, doesn’t reflect the reality. We distance each other from the other side and, then, we can say a lot of things about what they are like without contradiction. But, if we stop to listen, we may discover things which may challenge us or, more importantly, move us to empathy and make us watch how we are saying things. It may not change our opinion, but it might make us better able to deal with disagreement and conflict in a constructive manner. That is hard in this issue where the opinions are so polarized, but I would argue it is more necessary, if we are to find our way out of this conflict.

    Just some thoughts,
    Phil

  32. This is a belated comment, but as someone who has (had?) been considering Holy Cross as a church home, I’d like to leave my mark.

    I think being tired is a privilege.

    If you don’t want to “deal with” the issues of gender and sexuality anymore, that is your prerogative. But because I am a gay woman of faith, I don’t have that choice. I can’t be tired. This is who God made me, and if I want to have a relationship with Him, I don’t get to walk away.

    I ask if a church is affirming because – and I’m sorry you don’t see this – it matters. When I sit among my fellow Christians, and a sermon strikes me uniquely and hurtfully (no matter the intent), it is disruptive in the highest. I’m no longer thinking about God. I have been thrown out of the present, back into a swamp of hateful memories that make me question my right to serve Him. And in a church that does not pointedly affirm the personhood of LGBT individuals, silence can be as damning as sharp words.

    You are tired? I am exhausted. I cannot sit in the pews and safely assume that my time to worship will not be disrupted. I cannot know whether a community will embrace me as it would anyone else. When I ask if a church is affirming, I am asking if I can come and sit quietly and give glory to God without being singled out (accidentally or otherwise). I am asking if I can bring my partner to a picnic without being stared at. I am wondering what my someday-children will hear about their family in Sunday School.

    It’s not about being hateful, it’s about being careless – or careful. With only a few well-chosen words, you can ensure that your sermons are open to all. You can make your church safe for those who have experienced harassment and sometimes even violence in the church. If you aren’t affirming, then the people to whom it matters should know so that they can go elsewhere. Not because you are a bad Christian, but because an affirming experience means so much more than you could ever know.

    Refusing to engage with the issue out of tiredness is something I will never be given the chance to do. The only choice I have, in this case, is where I show up on Sunday. If you don’t want to affirm, at least respect those of us to whom it’s important. I’m tired of being scared of church.

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