Learnings from Emily Chase’s book, “What do I say to a friend who’s gay?”

I have finished reading this book lately, although it was published in 2006. Although I may not agree with everything she said in this book, I have learned a lot from her about holding friendships in a Christian way, and now I like to share some of them with you:

  1. “Stay committed to each other. Love each other unconditionally. Be with each other through the rough (even very rough) times and see it through. Christ-centered relationships are supposed to last. Don’t turn your back on those who need you the most. You don’t have to understand homosexuality in order to love someone.”
  2. “Then this is still the person you’ve always known. You’re just learning a new dimension of who that person is.”
  3. “Just being the same sex as your gay friend does not mean that he or she will come on to you. Because a guy is gay, it doesn’t mean that every male turns him on.”
  4. “When a friend tells you he or she is gay, you’re at a ‘turning point’ in your relationship. Will you abandon ship or will you stay around?”
  5. “Gays need friends just as you and I need friends. They need people who’ll support them, pray for them, and help them sort through the tangle of their thoughts.”
  6. “Who were the people tossed aside by society when Jensu walked on earth? The tax collectors, the lame, the prostitutes, the lepers, the orphans, the widows. All were pushed to the margins of the social register. How did Jesus respond to these people? He reached out to them and drew them in.”
  7. “…when two people work through their differences, the final bond becomes stronger than ever. Those friends can be gay or straight.”
  8. “It hurts when people make assumptions about you without getting to know you.”
  9. “The more people who pass along a rumor, the more that rumor is likely to be believed…The simplest way to stop a rumor is to shut your mouth. Don’t pass it on. Let it die….”
  10. “A key warning sign of an unhealthy friendship is a ‘just us’ mentality…When a relationship becomes possessive, and your friend demands that you separate from other people, something is wrong…Another warning sign appears when one person becomes consumed with making the other feel happy…”
  11. “…In our world, society allows women greater degrees of physical intimacy than it allows men. Such allowances, though, instead of making life simpler for women, make it harder. A woman can slide into a lesbian relationship more easily than a man can slip unintentionally into a gay one…”
  12. “God’s first concern is not whether a person is attracted to males or females but whether that person is attracted to HIM! Physical purity is important, but spiritual purity is essential.”
  13. “Another thing you can do is allow your friend to talk. Don’t jump in with answers. Listen. When you do talk, remember that even if you don’t have same-sex desires, you have areas where you’re weak.”
  14. “If your friend has rejected his or her gender role for years, it probably will take years to rethink that identity. In the meantime, hand in there.”
  15. “I ache for the love of Christ and his gospel to be taken to the gay community. I want them to know, to truly feel and believe that no matter what, God loves them and died for them. They don’t have to change their orientation before God will love them and save them. They don’t have to change anything about themselves to earn love, or perform to get his approval. But before this message can be carried to the gay community and be in any way convincing, Christians must learn it themselves.”
  16. “…whether your friend is interested in change or not. You can offer friendship, foster a safe environment for communication, be trustworthy, learn about gay issues, and pray on your own – all without any effort at all on your friend’s part.”
  17. “Same-sex attraction is not contagious like the flu. You can’t catch it just by being around someone who’s gay.”
  18. “If it’s wrong to impose our culture’s interpretations on evens in Bible times, it’s equally wrong to assume that cultural behaviors in the period the Bible automatically remain the same in our times.”
  19. “Instead, point your friends toward Christ. Teach them to depend on God. Too many people speak only of God’s condemnation of sin. You can be the one to introduce them to Christ’s love, his forgiveness, and his power to help. Then, when a friend asks you a question and you don’t know what to say, your friend can turn to Someone bigger than you, to Someone who has a lot more experience than you. That Someone is God.”
  20. “Human friendships are always a gift from God, but never forget that your best friend is God himself”.

Even if you may not affirm their interpretations about sexuality, orientation, gender, and identity, you may relate and reach out to the LGBTQ+ community in the ways Emily has offered here. I also found that her insights can applied to other areas of our Christian living.


A talented Chinese Canadian poet, Kavan Yao wrote a poem called “hands” (from his bilingual book called “China Feeling” translated by his mom, Dr. Hongyun Chen) bringing me back to when I started to have a crush on my wife many years ago:

“I wish I could speak with my hands and let you touch this life I have wrapped in my feeling. Meaning, always, seems a struggle; all my sincerity gets lost in those centimeters between my mind and my tongue. Somewhere in all the heartache of language living between this misery and the next – there was someone I wanted, and to her, there was so much I would have said. When I look at my hands, shy and upspeaking, and I think about all the people who I never reach and have forgotten: I worry that one day after all these words my mouth could not create I might forget her as well.”

I do not know what happened to Kavan later, but I took the courage to tell her about my feeling & love for her.

My friends, do not wait for the touch of your life wrapped in your feeling. But speak and invite, let your feeling touch your lover’s life!

A mindful way to deal with our perceptions in relationship

Perception refers to our sensory experience of the world. Through this experience, we gain information about the environment around us. Perception molds, shapes, and influences our experience of our personal reality. Dr. Linda Humphreys believes that “Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things.”

For Buddhism, we have the following six perceptions: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, and mind. In her book “Small Bites: Mindfulness For Everyday Use”, she wrote:

“The Buddha points out that wherever there are perceptions, there will be deceptions, which will eventually lead to suffering. When you ask fifteen people the same question about the same situation, you’ll probably end up with fifteen different stories…So many arguments in relationships are caused by different perceptions. Instead of insisting on being right – an attitude that leads to suffering on both sides – you can simply smile at each other and say, ‘Oh we obviously have very different perceptions.’ Thich Nhat advises that you should always ask two questions about your perceptions: “Can I be sure that my perception is correct?’ and ‘Can I really be sure?’…Only mindfulness of your perceptions and an ongoing exchange with others will help you see how many different perceptions may actually exist in one situation.”

The way to handle negative people

We may need to cope with negative people in our daily life. In his book “The Tao of Daily Life”, Derek Lin has offered us the way to handle negative people:

“Criticizing others while being unaware of their own faults is something that many people do. We can even say that it is something we all do from time to time…when people lash out at us with venomous criticism, we should not accept it passively. We should certainly protect ourselves by putting some distance between us and them if at all possible; protect ourselves in other ways if not. The crucial point is that we can do so without feeling offended or insulted because these people are simply being themselves. It is their nature to be critical and judgmental, so it would be absurd for us to take offense, It would be pointless to get angry.”

The question for you and I to ask ourselves at first is if we have recognized and accepted our negative nature. We have to keep ourselves away from being negative toward ourselves and others.

Holding the hand(s) of the one you love even though …

When I got out of my car, I saw the gentleman coming in my direction with the lady. They are living in my neighborhood. The man takes the lady’s hand and walks with her several times each day. The man looks like he is in his 70s, and the lady looks like his mom. The man greeted me and asked me if I am a priest. I told him I am an Anglican priest. He told me that he’s Catholic and asked me to pray for the lady. The lady’s his wife and has been suffering from dementia for years. I told him it is a blessing for his wife to have such a caring husband. The husband replied that he has been trying his best with smiles and tears. I prayed with/for them and blessed them. The husband again holds her hand and left with peace. I was touched by their love, and I am going to hold my wife’s hand when we see each other this evening.