Saturday, August 10, 2013

Beyond the crude facts of homosexuality

This more or less dovetails a post that DB recently pasted; I’ve only now managed to organize my thoughts enough to post them, plus I have a new perspective on them.

I don’t often divulge details of my personal life, but I’ll be painfully candid in this case for illustrative purposes.  For a host of reasons that I cannot get into, I do not like most people.  (Notice that I did not say that I dislike most people, but rather that I do not like most people, at least not as much as most people like other people.)  Now, there is a girl at work whom I do like, perhaps both platonically and otherwise; this person is also physically well-endowed, flaunts it, flirts...and already has a BF.  So, faced with the choice of either leading a tortured existence every day at work or making the problem go away, what’s a guy to do?  Whether figuratively or literally, the easiest thing to do is to just hurry up, get a hotel room and be done with it; or the easiest thing is to attempt to just push the other guy completely out of the picture in a way that brings about unnecessary strife or rifts between the boyfriend and this girl who still likes him anyhow.  However, what I know of Christ’s teachings on sexuality (cf. John 14.25-26, John 16.12-15, 2 Peter 3.15-16, 1 Corinthians 7.8-9, Mark 7.20-23) and what I know of the Golden Rule both have an impact on my decision-making processes: thus I choose the tortured existence.

Where there is fuel there is fire, which is why a day at work can be miserable in ways to which I already alluded.  But where there is not fuel there is also trouble.  In the absence of this person, or of a significant other in general, I am left to realize my solitary existence and what a solitary existence means.  I’m not a part of one of these happy couples that you see at the restaurant, theater, park, club, or whatever.  Instead, whenever I see these couples I am sadly made aware of that which I do not have but others do have.  (Sadness of this kind is only intensified in those cases where one realizes that his odds at finding someone with whom they have chemistry and a shot at becoming part of a lasting couple are one in a billion; because those who are not easy on the eyes or are unlikable are by definition unattrative.  With that said, there is also a word that denotes what is experienced when he or she deals with such a thing, and that word is “grief.”)

As if it were not enough to have sadness and grief piled upon pain of other sorts, let’s also throw loneliness into the mix.  If someone is used to a solitary existence then they can, in God’s grace, adapt or otherwise erstwhile have the fortitude to flourish to some degree in their solitary existence.  However, if one is forced to taste of what life is like for most people on this earth, but later has that respite from solitude taken away, one must now deal with a new problem and a new sorrow: loneliness.

So there it is: a continual, daily, or weekly grind of loneliness piled upon grief piled upon sadness piled upon the experience of being teased.  Sounds great, right?  But this is exactly the sort of thing that Christians who hold fast to biblical teachings expect of gays and lesbians who either profess or do not profess to be disciples of Christ, is it not?  Of course, I do not criticize Christians on this matter, because they rightly acknowledge the fact that the Creator himself expects all people to be on the winning side of the war between the will of God vs. the desires of fallen, post-Edenic human nature (cf. 1 Peter 2.11); nonetheless, I think that people would do well to consider some of the pastoral and existential implications of contemporary culture wars as they pertain to homosexuality.  Why do I think that people should consider such things?  This is because if we as Christians counsel sinners with the words “Go and sin no more” or “Take up your cross daily and follow,” then both parties should know what they are getting themselves into in the entire process.

Unregenerate man, in large part, hasn’t the will or the interest to follow the exhortation “Take up your cross daily and follow.”  In fact, unless the meaning of the phrase and the means by which the phrase can be obeyed are explained, the person who attempts to counsel others with these words runs the serious risk of appearing to have no grip on reality or on what kinds of issues people actually deal with in life.  So I claim that such a would-be counselor should carefully consider and analyze his actions in advance, because Christianity ought not be more offensive than it already is, as one can glean from Titus 2.9-10, 1 Timothy 6.1-2, and 1 Peter 2.12.

Likewise, the phrase “Go and sin no more” does not strike me, for one, as a comforting set of words or the sort of things that good pep talks are made of: simple words and advice probably won’t be very useful to those people who are called upon to leave their same-sex significant others along with their incorrect sexual desires.  Keep in mind that in daily struggles against the flesh sometimes even the best of us apparently just give up and decide to stop fighting, which not too long ago seemed to be the case with Amy Grant and Gary Chapman ( vis-à-vis the Difficult Teachings of Matthew 5, 19 and 1 Corinthians 7.  So I claim that any would-be biblical counselor should carefully consider and analyze his actions in advance and act accordingly, because sheer head knowledge of moral rights and wrongs is no guarantee that any of us will do the right thing and continue to do the right thing.

So any believer who is ready to stand up and begin to push back against the contemporary social forces that are encouraging everyone and every institution to sanction homosexuality should consider the pastoral and existential implications of their own deeds in advance; they should consider them and act accordingly for moral reasons and reasons of practicality.  Meanwhile, of course, I state the above not merely as a matter of brute facts and logic but also as a matter of someone who to some degree can begin to relate to what others might be going through.  With that said, I would urge any would-be counselor on this issue to choose his words wisely according to the time, place, person and circumstance.  For example, I think that Christ proves himself worldly-wise with regard to his words about eunuchs and the Difficult Teaching in Matthew 19 and I also find concepts and biblical teaching about theodical character-building to be somewhat comforting: these are the sorts of things that I would like to hear, somewhat, if someone were exhorting me not to choose the easy/evil solution to my own problems.  Of course, other people may respond differently to such words on an emotional or rational level, so other appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos may be helpful with other people.

But just as one’s own heterosexual affects and emotions are not activated and deactivated as easily as the flick of switch, so it is with gays and lesbians who need to leave behind whatever sin they need to leave behind but, yes, may still have to lead their lives in the meantime amid the same temptations and same strong urges, desires and drives of the flesh which they had before, because struggles in life do not necessarily go away when someone repents.  Let everyone remember this.

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