Drew Payne’s Website
Keeping the Faith (Part 1)
Michael had followed James outside, into the garden. James stood at the end of the garden, hands in his pockets, staring off into nowhere. Michael wanted to go to James and say something, some words of knowledge and comfort, but he didn’t know what words to say.
He stood there, watching James. He felt awkward but concerned. He kept turning over the events of only half an hour ago. It had been shocking, embracing and disturbing. Michael wished James hadn’t done it but it was too late now.
It was Easter Monday and, as always, all the family had come back to their parents’ home for a big family meal. Michael was there, so were his sisters, Sarah and Ruth with their respective husbands and children. James, his older brother, like him, had come alone. Even their grandmother had been brought along for the day. Michael always came to these family gatherings; being back with his family gave him a feeling of belonging to something.
As they were sat around the table eating their big meal, their father had begun quizzing James about when was he going to get married and settle down. James had snapped back: “Only when they change the law!” Answering back at others’ comments James told them that he was gay and that his flatmate Rick was more then his flatmate, he was his lover.
The whole table had erupted into life, everyone shouting at James in, and James snapping his replies. Michael had sat throughout it all in shocked silence, the food turning cold in his mouth.
The row had abruptly ended when James stormed out of the room, after their father told James he was talking nonsense and wasn’t really gay.
In embarrassed silence they all finished eating.
After the meal, at a suitable moment, Michael went in search of James. He owed it to him as his brother and as a Christian. He found him in the garden.
Slowly Michael walked down the garden towards James. He tried to walk silently but his feet made too much noise on the gravel path.
James turned towards him.
“What do you want?” James’ voice was flat and cold.
“To see if you’re all right,” Michael replied.
“Can’t you see I’m not!”
“Sorry,” Michael mumbled.
“Michael what do you really want. I know I’ve blown it back there,” James nodded his head towards the house. “It wasn’t what I planned to do.”
“Are you still a Christian?” Michael felt sure James had turned his back on Christianity and everything.
“Yes. Why shouldn’t I be?”
“But you’re a practising homosexual.”
“That sounds so 1980’s. My partner’s another man, so what? It doesn’t make me a Satanist.”
“But the bible says that homosexuality is a sin. God loves even the homosexual but he hates the sin of homosexual sex.”
“Shut-up Michael! You don’t know what you’re talking about,” James snapped.
“But God can heal you, cure you. You can be normal and heterosexual. You don’t have to be the way you are. All you have to do is ask God’s forgiveness and…”
“I said ‘Shut-up’, Michael!” James’ voice sounded cold with anger. “You know nothing. I met Rick at church, our vicar introduced us. We are as committed as any marriage. Being gay is no more a sin then being straight. Meeting Rick was an answer to prayer; he’s the most important person in my life. So stop your prejudice and homophobic crap. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that crap.”
“Please James, don’t close your heart to God’s Word,” Michael felt himself beginning to plead.
“I knew staying here was a stupid idea. I’m going home, my real home with Rick. You can tell mum and dad whatever you like.”
James turned away and walked out of the garden, through the gate at the end
“James, please?… James?… James?…” Michael called out but James didn’t answer him, just walked straight through the gate.
Michael just stood there. He felt hurt by James. He’d only wanted to help him by sharing his beliefs and showing James the right path. Instead, James had rejected him. Why hadn’t he listened to the truth?