Saturday Symposium: Family, Morality, and Gaps in Understanding

Good morning, all. Thanks for the thoughtful engagement this week. We’ve enjoyed connecting with readers from all over the world within the past seven days. This has been one of our best weeks on the blog to date. We are looking forward to another great week of learning and sharing stories.

Let’s get to our new Saturday Symposium question:

How this works: It’s very simple. We ask a multi-part question related to a topic we’ve blogged about during the past week or are considering blogging about in the near future, and you, our readers, share your responses in the comments section. Feel free to be open, reflective, and vulnerable…and to challenge us. But as always, be mindful of the comment policy that ends each of our posts. Usually, we respond fairly quickly to each comment, but in order to give you time to think, come back, add more later if you want, and discuss with other readers, we will wait until after Monday to respond to comments on Saturday Symposium questions.

This week’s Saturday Symposium question: This week, our most viewed post was Sarah’s open letter to Cardinal Burke. In this letter, Sarah asked several questions regarding the way straight Christians ought to respond to LGBT people, particularly LGBT family members. We’re wondering about our readers’ thoughts on morality and areas of disagreement with family members. If you experience disagreement with a family member in some area of morality, how do you communicate with and show love to that family member? We’re also interested in knowing how you talk with family members about gaps in understanding each other’s viewpoints on moral issues. Perhaps you and a certain family member don’t disagree per se, but view issues from different angles. How do you initiate these conversations within your family, and how does this impact your relationships?

We look forward to reading your responses. If you’re concerned about having your comment publicly associated with your name, please consider using the Contact Us page to submit your comment. We can post it under a pseudonym (i.e. John says, “your comment”) or summarize your comment in our own words (i.e. One person observed…). Participating in this kind of public dialogue can be risky, and we want to do what we can to protect you even if that means we preserve your anonymity. Have a wonderful weekend!


Sarah and Lindsey

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

4 thoughts on “Saturday Symposium: Family, Morality, and Gaps in Understanding

  1. I really appreciate the questions you are raising! I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family, and my father always made it very clear to us that sin was sin, and that *being* homosexual was not a sin. He taught me toleration and love comes first, period, because Jesus’ mercy is wider than any ocean. Unless we have the power to forgive sin, we cannot throw any stones.

    That being said, I’ve had a really hard time writing about or discussing this topic with family members who disagree with the Church. I would say my husband’s uncles (uncle and his partner) have always been welcoming and loving of us, and nothing but supportive in our marriage and, now, raising our children Catholic. I have found less support from my husband’s sister, who is no longer practicing, and I have found that my dearest cousin, a liberal Protestant, has made consistent comments concerning the fact that she believes that Catholics do not accept their children for who they really are. I understand that many Catholics do struggle with the line between following Church teaching and truly loving, but it still hurts.

    I suppose, in the vein of St. Francis, I show my love in an area of disagreement by not making it a constant source of contention. I do more than say. I pray for my family, and I pray that the Holy Spirit works deeply in all of our hearts. I cannot change Church teaching, and I abide by Church teaching. And I love my family, which is how I communicate. If anyone *wants* to have a [civil, loving] conversation with me, I am always open to that too.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      As we’ve experienced disagreement, we can’t help but reflect on how important spirituality is. Our spirituality is often at the core of who we are. Having conversations about such an important aspect of ourselves can be tricky.

  2. This is my first comment, I stumbled across your blog today and I am so thankful for it. And Sarah and Lindsey, you both write so eloquently, please forgive me if this feels scattered. I have been a Christian for 7 years, married for 6 to my husband. I grew up in a house that did not know Christ, and also one that was very accepting and affirming of the LGBT community. My father practiced Buddhism most of my life and my mother was undecided.

    My mother and father divorced 6 years ago, and my mother married her new partner in Massachusetts later that year, they have children together as well. The day my mother was going to tell me about her new significant other, she first asked me “what I thought about gay people now that I’m a Christian.” I didn’t really know and I’ve become so weary about that question, as if it is the most important aspect of my faith, what I am against. (I don’t even like the word “against,” it feels unloving and cold.) I believe I told her I didn’t really know, or maybe shrugged it off at the time. Since then we have skirted around the issue, and have avoided ever having another conversation about beliefs, and I am beginning to fear that we have assumptions about each other’s beliefs and that these assumptions are causing a growing tension between us.

    From reading some of your other blog posts I think the term I’d be considered is non-affirming? But I love my LGBT family and friends, and I want to know how to do that better. Obviously I have my personal beliefs and I think they are right, otherwise they wouldn’t be my beliefs. I also am humbly aware that I may be wrong, or that other people don’t share my beliefs, and that the experience of my mother and my LGBT friends is very real and often painful, and often joyful, and I don’t ever want to dismiss their beliefs, experiences, or feelings. I have feared rejection if I were to clarify my beliefs. Is it necessary? I just want to love my mom and friends well. I think the case is similar with my friends, we have never had a discussion about what my beliefs were on this particular issue, and I wonder if they assume I am against them or if they just haven’t thought about it.

    I wish I had more insight as a Christian daughter of my LGBT mother, but I suppose I’m asking the same question you have asked here, and would welcome any advice.

    Thank you both!

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