Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We are the Unseen Outcasts within the Church

Written by Jose Ortiz, Dubai International Airport, July 1, 2011

Edited by Rev. Steve Parelli, Classic Ave. Hotel, Trivandrum, India, July 4, 2011

Our Other Sheep 2011 work in India actually began while in flight from New York to Dubai where we made a connecting flight to Trivandrum, India. Our seating – in a row of three-seats – placed me right next to a middle-aged Indian who I will call Deepak. Deepak, who has lived in America for 16 years, is a nationalized American citizen originally from Chennai, India. He was returning home to India to attend a wedding. His wife and children had returned earlier for the special event. He was happy to be joining them.

Jose Ortiz, left, and Steve Parelli
Jose typing out his composition from his handwritten notes
Dubai International Airport
July 2, 1011
Deepak had noticed the Bible Steve had passed to me to place in his seat pouch. He soon asked if we were Christians. When we answered “yes,” he responded with a broad smile (reminding me of that joy I would feel upon discovering a stranger to be a Christian) and said, “I am, too.” His spontaneous smile communicated to me his sense of enthusiasm in finding another Christian. I told him Steve had been a Baptist pastor and I . . . , but, as if on cue, he interrupted and immediately told us about the Baptist Church he attends in Florida where he lives. He asked if we had heard of his pastor, giving the pastor’s name and ministry.

At some point he asked us why we were traveling to India. After learning that we did human rights work for gays and lesbians in religious contexts and that we were a gay Christian couple, he politely said he would have plenty of questions for us during our flight. We welcomed this and said we would be glad to discuss anything he desired.

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