Thrive Newsletter - Issue #34 - There are no "Sides" To Take Edition
When asked, “Are you Side A or Side B?” I say, “Neither. Whether we agree or not, I am at your side.”
The building bridges metaphor fell apart for me a long time ago.
In 1996-1997, I was involved in an online forum called Bridges Across the Divide (B.A.). I was incredibly passionate about it until I wasn’t. The B.A. mission statement says:
Bridges-Across is a cyberspace initiative providing models and resources for building respectful relationships among those who disagree about moral issues surrounding homosexuality, bisexuality and gender variance.
Twenty-five years later (OMG! How old am I!?), there isn’t much to say about the project except for one miraculous outcome: personal relationships.
Another outcome that has lasted all these years is the definitions of Side A and Side B:
SideA: There are people from many backgrounds who for religious or other reasons believe that homosexual relationships have the same value as heterosexual relationships.
SideB: And there are those of many faiths who disgree, believing that only a male/female relationship in marriage is the Creator's intent for our sexuality.
Justin Lee, who was a young man (teen, I think) at the time, took those definitions to build the core of his organization, the Gay Christian Network, which is now known as Q Christian Fellowship.
The ex-gay lite ver. 117.10 known as ReVoice, claims to be Side B. However, I believe they are just using that to glom on Justin’s success in adopting that language. The problem is the “sides” might provide a safe space for some to enter into the cultural debate over LGBTQ+ people in the church, but in my experience, taking a “side” is not a sustainable way to view or be in a relationship with other people.
Today, as a group, Side B looks wholly different but believes the same toxic ideology as the O.G. Side B. Side A? Looks the same. Toxic theology destroys and burns out. Whereas the authenticity of Side A has grown deep roots, flourishes, and brings about more joy and life.
As a part of B.A., I made friends with Steve (in the photo above), Michael, Ken, and others. We weren’t and aren’t best friends, and we did NOT get along when I worked for Exodus. However, something was forged during B.A. that no “bridge” can take credit for, the sacrifice personal relationship can often require.
So when I came back out, these friends were there for me even though I promoted horrible things for years. They saw the self-loathing and indoctrination I refused to allow myself to see twenty-five years ago. They welcomed me out of the closet when they didn’t have to give me any kindness.
They have shown themselves to be trustworthy. I can turn to any of them for opinions and advice if needed. Side B of any flavor ghosted me a long time ago.
Bridges look great and are great for moving people from one place to another, but the bridge means nothing unless you engage in personal relationships to walk with anyone unconditionally. You can build bridges all day long, but journeying with others as peers is where the miracles happen.
When asked, “Are you Side A or Side B?”
I say, “Neither. Whether we agree or not, I am at your side.”
I have strong opinions and beliefs about various issues, but I don’t take sides at the expense of knowing someone as a person beyond one point. People are fascinating, and when I learned not to immediately reject someone because of their beliefs and see the much broader picture of their humanity, it was humbling. However, I now believe that is the center where relational wisdom is born.
So, what “side” are you on?
Thank you for reading!
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