A Let-Downton Abbey finale with a Redemptive Jimmy

Well Downton Abbey’s third season came and left us. But I wouldn’t say too soon. The last episode was a bit of a letdown, with some extremely sappy (not expecting this from the Brits) dialog, perhaps some over-acting, and a few too many story-lines. I actually am not looking forward to the 4th season now because of it, but will probably give it a go the way I did The Office after Steve Carell left-though that proved to be a monumental mistake and waste of time. If you do like Downton Abbey, definitely check out North and South, which features a fiery Mr. Bates as a union leader. Good stuff.

Even despite the dramatic last “Let-Downton” episode, there were a few fairly redemptive moments. Thomas the gay lad who has the hots for Jimmy, ends up with a golden opportunity to win his affection. Instead of another “Jimmy’s down” (a la the Jimmy in Seinfeld) in a fight, Thomas breaks up the scuffle and for some reason gets beat up instead. I guess those guys, who clearly wanted revenge on Jimmy for taking their money during a tug-of-war battle, were happy simply to beat up somebody. Didn’t make a lot of sense. Thomas offered himself in Jimmy’s place, as a substitutionary atonement, and as a result was beaten like the 1977 and most of 1978 Bucs (literally winless during that stretch). I know that’s a bit theological, but that was the gist. Again, I didn’t buy what they were selling.

Unfortunately for poor Thomas, now bloodied and left for dead, Jimmy still didn’t turn gay. I guess Thomas had hoped a good old country whoopin’ (his whoopin’) would have changed Jimmy’s orientation. It didn’t and in a rare, fairly powerful scene, Jimmy admitted, “I can’t ever give you what you are seeking.” Then later, “What is it that you want from me?”

Thomas responded, “Simply for you to be my friend.”

Jimmy comes back with, “Yes, I could be your friend.”

I fudged the lines a bit, but that was the short of it. Simple but actually rather brilliant.

From what I’ve read, particularly in Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting, as well as from counselors, that this was exactly the kind of response someone in Thomas’ britches needed to hear. The knee-jerk heterosexual reaction of “get away from me” that probably is far more common, is exactly what someone struggling (or has already accepted gay as an indentity) with same-sex attraction doesn’t need to hear.

Again, I’m not an expert in such studies, and I didn’t stay at Holiday Inn Express, but I have read some, studied, and dialogued with those more knowledgeable. What such men need is not for guys to say, “Ooooohhhhhh gross, get away.” Instead they need more male friendships.

So remember that the best (or rather the first) thing you can do to someone of the same sex who has the hots for you or others of the same sex is not to run. Should they still want to be your friend despite your commitment to the biblical sexual ethic, stay and love them as a friend. This is powerful. Powerful enough to begin the slow redemptive process of a professor of gay and lesbian studies becoming a Christian. Powerful enough for gay leaders to become friends with those firm on their stance on homosexuality. The truth is we just never know what will happen if we stay. But regardless of the result, Jesus stayed with all kinds of sinners like you and me, and refused to run. Thankfully.

One thought on “A Let-Downton Abbey finale with a Redemptive Jimmy

  1. Geoff,I'm going to be blunt here because beating around the bush isn't really my style, and I trust that we know each other well enough that you won't take this the wrong way.I don't doubt that your heart is in the right place, but the way that this comes across is like you're treating LGBT people as projects and befriending them with an agenda in mind. The reason the Downton Abbey scene was powerful was because Jimmy was offering his friendship to Thomas with no agenda and no strings attached. It wasn't befriending Thomas with the hope that his friendship would gradually change Thomas, there was no agenda, just one person reaching out to another. Believe me when I say, LGBT people know when someone has befriended them with the agenda of trying to love them into the kingdom–when you spend years being guarded because you don't know whether it's safe to open up to those around you, you get a well-developed BS detector and can tell whether someone is genuine or sees you as a project from a mile away. I nearly quit being involved in the Christian student org at UF Law my first year because I could tell that the club leaders were trying to hard to be friendly and turn me into a project. By all means, be friends with LGBT people, but don't do it with an agenda or with strings attached, thinking that your friendship is going to change a person. Be friends for the same reason you're friends with anyone–because you have things in common and enjoy each other's company. Nothing more, nothing less.Anyway, this has gotten to be way too long, if you want to discuss this outside of your blog wall, shoot me an email. Also, I'd highly recommend this book: Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

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