I posted a blog on Monday titled “Why a (yet another) White, Straight, Male Decided to Write Book about Homosexuality.” The blog was a response to some buzz created online regarding the release of my two books being published on homosexuality. Eliel Cruz also published a blog responding to my blog, and I have considered his words carefully. I’m writing this blog to apologize for several things I’ve said and the tone in which I have said them, both in my previous blog and in some flippant Twitter conversations I engaged in. I’m continually amazed at how insensitive and ignorant (and arrogant) I can be and I continue to pray that God would reveal to me, through His Spirit and through other people, how I can be more like Jesus in all areas of life—especially in areas that affect the beautiful people created in His image.
One thing I can’t stand is vague, Christianeze notions of repentance that’s abstract, self-serving, and lacks authenticity. So let me be as specific and concrete as I can. I want to apologize and repent from the following.
First, the tone of my last blog was self-righteous and egotistical. I assumed I knew way more than I do, especially when it comes to matters of intersectionality, race, oppression, and sexuality. I’ve been in dialogue with several people (off-line, Skype, phone conversations, FB exchanges, etc.) about these matters, and the one thing I’ve learned is that I have so much to learn! The tone of my last blog came off like I really understood the nature of systemic injustice and racism, and now, after talking to several people who have experienced such injustice and racism first-hand, I’ve learned that I need to close my mouth more often and listen. I’ve aired my ignorance online and it’s super embarrassing. Most of all, it’s hurt some people and I’m truly sorry for the pain that my arrogance has caused.
Second, I’m also sorry for snarky comments I made on Twitter over the last few days. For instance, in response to the announcement of my books, Eliel Cruz Tweeted: “seriously, that’s what we need more of! Straight white men weighting in…” to which I responded: “Hey man, I was born this way; therefore, it must be okay :)”
I intended this to be a joke, but in reality, it was snarky and unhelpful. And I’m sorry, both to Eliel and to anyone else that read this comment (and others like it) who were offended. There is a discussion that needs to be had about the relationship of nature, nurture, and sexual orientation, but snarky comments like the one I made do not help this conversation at all. So I’m sorry Eliel (and others) for arrogantly making light of something that’s deeply personal and complex.
Third, I’m sorry for the general defensive tone that the blog bleeds. I had several people whom I know and trust who generally like the stuff I write, yet who told me in a very gracious manner: “This blog just didn’t sound like the Preston that I know.” In reading it again, it does feel like I’m trying to defend myself, which is something I never want to do. And that title! Ugh. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Fourth, ignorance about the lack of diversity in the discussion. Specifically, I need to consider and think more deeply about the fact that the discussion about homosexuality and the church has been dominated by white, straight, males. I'm still trying to figure out what this means: What role white, straight, males should have in the discussion (some would say none, but I don't agree with this), why queer persons of color have not been given a voice, how they can be given a voice in a way that does not perpetuate colonialism (i.e. the white savior complex), etc. Anyway, the point is, while I'm still sorting through all of this, I should keep my mouth shut in the meantime and not act like I'm the authority on stuff that I know very little about. And I thank the many queer persons of color who have helped me understand where they are coming from and why my blog displayed a lot of ignorance.
One last note to my conservative, non-affirming friends. We need to do a better job of listening. Listening doesn’t mean that you agree with everything you listen to. But the only way we can understand and empathize with other people—especially people who are of a different ethnic, social, economic, and gender context—is to listen.
To listen is to love, and to love is to live like Jesus. I’ll end with that. Again, I’m sorry for the pain I caused with my previous blog.