Wednesday, November 15, 2006

'Twas a good day.

Yetserday was a day of all positive and no negative letters. Here's hoping I won't see the reversal of that tonight. The meeting to discuss "the issue" will not be for another two weeks. The minister wanted to be sure that nobody in the church could claim they didn't know about it. I have mixed feelings on waiting so long.

Work calls, so here are the letters. They should be a nice pick-me-up after some of the negative stuff from the previous days.

-Brett


*****

November 12, 2006

Dear [The Minister],

I want to write in support of Brett in the current controversy. I will start by saying that Brett asked my opinion on the content of the letter and whether he should send it at all. Because Brett was careful to use his own paper, money, and home address and because he never identified himself with [The Church], he was clearly exercising his right as a citizen to advocate for a position that is important to him. I felt so comfortable with the letter that I helped stuff, stamp, and seal the letters that Brett sent.

In this morning’s sermon, you spoke eloquently about the freedoms that we enjoy in our country and the sacrifice that thousands have made to preserve that freedom. I fear that there are those that believe in freedom for only those with whom they agree. This would amount to a disavowal of the commitment by the veterans whom we just honored.

Beyond the church’s duty to uphold Brett’s right to express his opinion, the church is also facing an important decision. Will the church accept the truths we have learned over the last several decades and understand homosexuality as a biological reality rather than a sin, or will the church cling to cultural and historical biases that found their way into our religious tradition? As is apparent from the way I framed the question, I think the church must select the first option.

Therefore, I hope that [The Church] will stand firmly behind Brett—not because it is pragmatic or easy, but because it is right.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of these matters.

Sincerely,


*****

November 14, 2006


Dear [Head of the Staff Parish Committee],

Over the past six months it has been my pleasure to gain the friendship of Brett. What a joy it has been to become acquainted with this fine young man. Knowing him has been like a breath of fresh air in my life. What a unique and gifted individual he is. I am so grateful that he is my friend.

His musicianship is absolutely amazing, as I’m sure you realize. Seldom do we encounter anyone of his caliber in the… area. [The Church] is truly fortunate to have a person of his capabilities as their music director. His dedication to producing the finest music possible for weekly worship goes without saying. What joy and inspiration it must be to hear him play each week.

It was my pleasure to hear the sermon he delivered to your congregation back in September. What a thought provoking and well-crafted message it was. This was yet another demonstration of his depth and wealth of gifts. Not only can he play like you seldom hear but also he can do the same thing in the pulpit. How extraordinary he is.

I know that there is controversy in the church because of a position he took on the marriage amendment which Virginians recently voted on. While I know it might be a bit unusual for a church music director to take such an open stand, I honor and defend his right to do so. He felt very strongly about the matter and as an American decided to state his views. His letter clearly demonstrated the depth of his convictions and how deeply he felt personally on the issue. Reading it is a moving experience.

I am so sorry that some have taken offense at what was only intended as a statement about love. Brett has a remarkable respect for life and would not intentionally harm or offend any person on purpose.

In his sermon namaste, “I bow to the divine in you,” was the theme. That certainly is Brett’s attitude toward life and his fellow human beings. I have seen nothing but kindness in his treatment of others. He deserves the same in return.

It is my hope that [The Church] will be able to embrace Brett with love, compassion and understanding. Let your powerful proclamation of “Open hearts, Open minds, Open doors” be uppermost in your minds and in your decision-making. Use this event as an opportunity for dialogue and a time for a clear demonstration of the love the church professes.

It is my hope and prayer that [The Church] will be able to work its way through this matter to a positive conclusion for all concerned and that the wonderful work Brett has begun will continue without interruption.

Sincerely,

*****

November 12, 2006

Dear [The Minister],

Living in a town like [The City], one can never be immune from “hearing things.” I have heard that you are hearing much negative response to Brett’s letter encouraging people to vote against the “marriage amendment.”

I want you to know that [The Church]’s response to this is pivotal for me. I not only believe, but I know based on the best scientific evidence, that homosexuality is not a choice people make. Therefore, the church should be welcoming, supporting and nurturing gay people and be thankful for the loving, committed relationships they form. The church of Jesus Christ must celebrate love always and everywhere.

Brett chose to write a letter to people he knows to try to persuade them to vote against the marriage amendment to the Virginia constitution. As it happens, because he has only lived in [the city] for about a year, most of the people he knows are members of [The Church]. He was not targeting church members nor speaking to them as a staff person of the church.

People who think their children are not safe with Brett are confusing homosexuality with pedophilia. The latter is always wrong, no matter the sexual orientation of the perpetrator. Brett is a professional and will behave professionally with the children and adults he works with. Parents seem not to be concerned to have their children work with heterosexual adults, but I would wager that situation would be the more fraught with danger of inappropriate behavior.

In addition, there is some talk of [The Church]’s standing in the community if Brett stays - that its reputation will be tarnished somehow. [The Church] should stand strong for the people Jesus would have stood strong for – the outcasts and marginalized in our society.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

*****

Nov 12, 2006

Dear Brett,

I just want you to know that I support not only the position you took in your letter regarding the “marriage amendment,” but also the fact that you wrote it at all. As a concerned citizen, it is your right to try to persuade others to see the rationality of your cause. I hope the people to whom you sent the letter have been at the least open to your position and at best swayed by your prose. It is deeply lamentable that in the 21st century your sexual identity and the right to legal protection within committed, loving relationships are issues at all.

Your friend,

*****

November 12, 2006

Dear [Head of the Staff Parish Committee],

I received a letter from Brett recently concerning the marriage amendment.

What a courageous young man! He is an idealistic, wonderful human being as well as a brilliant musician. What a treasure for [The Church] and our community! We are blessed to have him in our midst.

How I pray that the church won’t penalize him for his stance. Perhaps it could be an opportunity for growth and education for all of us.

Wishing for your church and our community patience, tolerance, love and compassion.

Sincerely,

*****

November 10, 2006

Dear Brett,

I appreciated your very courageous October letter, and meant to respond sooner – but here I am, “after the fact”!! I certainly voted against the marriage amendment, and was disappointed, yet not surprised, when it was approved by the voters. I do believe that eventually this will come before the Supreme Court, and will be solved in favor of ALL citizens of our nation living the lives of their choice.

Thank you for sharing your excellent talents with us, through the beautiful outstanding music we are fortunate to enjoy each Sunday.

Sincerely,

*****

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