John Pavlovitz: Somewhere After The Rainbow

John Pavlovitz: Somewhere After The Rainbow

rainbow-flag-gay-rights-007Originally published on

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Marriage finally came down last week—and both Hell and Heaven broke loose, depending on your perspective.

Exhilaration soon followed for those seeing this as a long overdue victory for civil marital equality, while outrage reigned for religious folks believing it to be the final nail in the coffin of Biblical Matrimony.

And there was of course, a flurry of sentiments from both sides on social media; effusive celebration and grief-laden hand wringing flying in as fast as your browser could refresh.

Yet nothing in all of those eloquent words from either side spoke as clearly and loudly as the brilliant prismatic display of love and affirmation found in the rainbow profile photos now dominating timelines worldwide. That’s been the most visible, most revelatory element of the past week, with over 26 million people already choosing to “Amen” the Supreme Court’s decision using their own images.

Perhaps the most telling aspect is that these multicolored flags haven’t just been flown by the LGBT community but by family members, friends, allies, and by people from all walks of life and all faith traditions, many emboldened by the SCOTUS and finally feeling consent to come out publicly in support.

The question for all of those whose spectrum-spanning photos have made this bold opening statement is: What now?

Now that the knee-jerk responses from opposite poles have come, how do we move forward; respectfully, lovingly, productively with those who feel differently?

How do we who find the inherent value of all people reflected this week, not a denial of our faith but a declaration of it, respond when that very faith is questioned?

How do we acknowledge and affirm the sacred worth of our detractors? This has always been what has distinguished those whose religion was authentic and not merely spiritual window dressing.

The path ahead will be difficult and painful.

Whenever there is social change, there will always be a group who dig in their heels; who more loudly, more violently, more vehemently resist it. This is certainly on display now. And yet it is into this frantic, passionate, very desperate fear, that we who seek dialogue and progress are called to move toward.

What does the olive branch look like for us?

How can we make a tenuous peace with those who still use war rhetoric?

Whatever it is and however we do it, it has to be bigger than a profile photo. It will require far more than 140 characters; more than a clever meme or a well-written blog or the most carefully worded status update.

What happens now needs to happen person-to-person, eye-to-eye, in real-time, across a table. Laws and amendments and judicial rulings can change policy, but only relationships can alter people. And that’s really what we’re talking about here: individually renovated hearts.

It is a hand-crafted treaty made between two people who seek to bridge the gap between them.

I know for many of my LGBT friends and those who love them, this is asking a great deal. It is asking you to expose yourselves to further potential damage and ridicule and rejection, and you’ve certainly had more than your fair share of this. But there’s no other way to true equality than through the jagged, rugged stones of personal prejudice and into the soft places we all keep well-guarded.

So I’m inviting those with rainbow profile photos (and those who echo their sentiments) to engage those of differing opinions, who are willing to have a conversation; not a public, passive-aggressive volleying of Scripture quotes and personal jabs and article shares, but an honest, open, fully vulnerable exchange.

That’s the only way we move forward from here, the only way we can fashion something deeper and more lasting and more worthy of co-owning.

And for those who feel angry or hurt or who have great disagreements with the events of the past week, I invite you do the same; to set aside issues and ideologies, and to seek out flesh and blood people who don’t share your views but who are willing to share space and a meal with you. Be listeners. Be learners.

Depending on our faith perspective, we all are charged with finding the humanity and the Divinity uniquely reflected in each person we cross paths with, and responding in love. Regardless of what the effect of the last few days have been on us, we will be more personally defined and our nation more directly shaped by what we all do next.

Choose well.

Next JAMES’ JOURNAL (Entry 42)

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  1. pete
    July 05, 06:12 Reply

    our people are stuck in their ways. Pinky, what the good pastor is suggesting is better in theory than practice. like Francis said, when it comes to spiritual matters, people tend to lose their analytical minds. that your update on Facebook is a nice example.

  2. Sinnex
    July 05, 06:45 Reply

    Spot on!

    Why don’t you guys take it a notch higher by doing the needful. Changing your facebook profile picture and whatsapp dp doesn’t really make a difference….but trust Nigerians to just ‘follow-follow’.

    • pete
      July 05, 06:51 Reply

      sinnex, what’s the needful? did you just say that changing your profile pictures us just ‘follow follow’?

    • Max
      July 05, 16:13 Reply

      @Sinnex, don’t even let me start with you today, just dont. At least some of us have the balls to do so, instead of looking for cheap boys to fuck in secrecy. With people like you, LGBT would never have a movement, ever.
      You’re such a confused fellow and it baffles me sometimes that a gay person(or whatever you are) can open their food hole to spew such. You’re no different from the homophobes I deleted from my FB acc.
      The only difference between you and them is that you love gulping dicks and pressing men’s ass. Which actually makes you worse than them in comparison, at least they aren’t out on 2go looking for unsuspecting innocent boys who’ll meet their silly fantasies.

      • Tiercel de Claron
        July 05, 20:56 Reply

        Let me ask you something,is there really a lgbt movement in Nigeria?.And if such exist,how have someone like you,the guy behind the Max pseudo,contributed in moving its goals forward aside “passive-aggressive volleying of Scripture quotes and personal jabs and article shares”,as John so aptly put it?.
        I would have added being bitter and ultra-bitchy,but that might detract from the message.

  3. GOld
    July 05, 08:12 Reply

    The America we see today wasn’t always a gay-loving or gay-supporting country. They have won the war because of dedicated people who fought gallantly and relentlessly for this without fear of being mobbed, exiled or being killed. How many Nigerians can stand up to fight for this cause.we all don’t want to die.we all wanna live in our ‘comfortable’and peaceful closet.

    Christians say ‘your lifestyle will preach for u’.how many of us,gays,live a lifestyle worthy of emulation?? How many of us practice peace, love,goodness, patience many people can say ‘Ah,because this man is gay,then there’s nothing wrong in being gay,’ just because of our lifestyle.

    That change we desire begins with us.

    God bless Nigeria.

    • Francis
      July 05, 08:21 Reply

      @Gold: Gbam! This is how I’ve been trying to live my life should in case I vex one day waka commot closet.

      • Absalom
        July 05, 09:12 Reply

        Please do. You are the one we’ve been waiting for.

        • Francis
          July 05, 09:21 Reply

          @Absalom Tah! I resemble crusader. lol

  4. Max
    July 05, 16:22 Reply

    I’m shocked (even though I’m not supposed to be) that posts like this don’t get many comments. KD is just a reflection of the outside world on a smaller scale.
    People are scared to death, I get it
    But nothing has ever been achieved with fear
    50 years ago, America wasn’t here, they were more or less like Nigeria
    Its just saddening…

    • Chuck
      July 05, 19:40 Reply

      I wish there was a bbm forum or something to discuss this. People are more interested in what happened to the guy with athsma that DM fucked than with how their society is stigmatizing or punishing their homosexuality.

      In the end I think it’s homophobia. I’ve read this blog since it started, and most of the people here don’t think being gay is legitimate. If they didn’t happen to fuck a man or be fucked by a man, they’d be on FB now (some of them are, nevertheless), protesting that end time is coming since the US has legalized abomination.

      • Francis
        July 05, 20:10 Reply

        @Chuck: everybody with him own way of keeping the closet shut tight. It’s just sad as fuck. No wonder some people were bemused at the thought of gays being tolerant due to what they face.

  5. Francis
    July 05, 21:26 Reply

    @Keredim69 ehen? Eziokwu? Abeg drop small details …coded if need be

  6. Francis
    July 06, 12:16 Reply

    @Keredim69 thanks man. Will check him out now.

  7. Francis
    July 06, 13:21 Reply

    @Keredim69: seen. I suspected as much when I asked you for gist last night. Once money dey involved anuff nonsense goes down. SMH.

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