A gay guy gets up in the morning, does something, and nobody writes about it. Now that would be news.
Will we ever see that day when we as a culture do not stare slack-jawed and unblinking—so as not to miss a single thing—at all things gay?
There’s an old joke about how many lesbians it takes to screw in a light bulb. Five. One to screw it in and four to write about it. That’s pretty much where we are now and there’s no relief in sight. A society of 300,000,000 force-fed the nanosecond by nanosecond trials, tribulations, triumphs and television kisses of a comparatively scant few.
We are running out of “first woman this” and “first woman that” but we’ve only just started with the “first gay this, that and the other.”So, there will be decades of reading about the “first trans this and that.”And since there are 58 genders and counting presumably we will have the first gender-questioning county supervisor” and the “first cisgender-female mayor in a city with a population of 1 million at or near a major body of water.” I know I can’t wait.
A writer at something called “Letters to Christopher” explores a variant of this enforced obsession and that is the insistent obsession of “gay Christians”on, well, themselves, how we see them and deal with them and speak to them and minister to them and everything about them.
In “My Cross Isn’t Greater Than Yours, or, Enough with the Whining” this anonymous blogger says, “Show me a man who doesn’t suffer, and I’ll show you a dead man. One of the more irksome aspects in the current conversation of LGBT issues and Christianity is the remarkable amount of dreary and droopy writing I hear from folks like me who grew up in the Church and realized they had an attraction to men.” He calls it the “we’re gay and Christian and you should listen to us about how to minister to us blogosphere.”
He quotes one such blogger:
“It would be beneficial for Christians and Christian traditions as a whole to consider [the] question: are we imposing sexual abstinence as an unfunded mandate with dire consequences for LGBT people who do not succeed? Especially as more people are coming to awareness of their sexual orientations and gender identities at a younger age (emphasis mine), it is irresponsible and cruel for churches to repeat ‘You can’t have sex!’and refuse to offer any additional support.”He says there are only two options, forced abstinence and a life of suffering, or sex and excommunication from Church, and family. He says “numerous young LGBT Christians find themselves crushed by the pressure from priests, pastors, parents and faith communities.”
“Letters from Christopher” hates “that sort of portrayal of what my life must have been like back when I was a teenager in the eighties, or how that must be what the life is today for a 15 year old. How fatalistic. How could that ever inspire a teenager to fight the good fight of chastity if they were to ever read that?”
He says, “Sure, it’s hard. But we are made of the stuff of God. We are made in the image of a God who willingly went to the Cross. That’s the building block of our humanity. Boys and girls with same sex attraction aren’t witless victims of the vagaries of fate if they find themselves attracted to the same sex—they have a choice, and God has promised that He will always provide his children the grace to live out the most difficult of demands.”
One word describes this column from this anonymous blogger—manly—something quite distinct from the “oh woe is me” school of “gay Christians.” He calls them back to the “buck up” school. Get on with it. Stop whining, he says.
There are plenty of folks who have complaints about feeling isolated in the Church. The typical Catholic Church is not exactly a warm and welcoming place. If a greeter ever appeared at a Catholic parish, he might get slugged. Many can barely manage the sign of peace. Father George Rutler talks about how the Church allows for anonymity, that you can walk in, walk around, check things out, look at the statues, and no one bothers you.
And don’t we all know lots of single people struggling with the fact they have not found a mate, are basically alone and probably will be for life? Twenty turns to thirty turns to forty and beyond and they have to come to the same conclusions those with same-sex attraction have to come to: no sexual expression, perhaps no affection.
The same-sex attracted say the Church doesn’t do enough for them, does not recognize them, does not help them. And, let’s face it the teaching is rather paltry. But it is hard to believe the Church will conclude anything other than what it has already concluded; that the attraction is disordered and the act is intrinsically disordered and, well, evil.
So, what are they to do?
I think of a woman I will not name. She spent years as a chastity educator. She is beautiful and funny and never married. She is full of life, and humor, family and friends. She is not moping her life away, disgruntled, and as far as I can tell not boring folks with her unmarried plight.
I am quite sure this is not the life she envisioned. She no doubt envisioned marriage and children, probably lots of them. But that’s not what she’s been dealt. She has gotten on with a life rich in service to others. She bears their burdens and does not force her burden on others. And she knows this. Chastity is not a consolation prize.
Letters to Christopher says, “I don’t really care very much to hear about what the celibate ‘gay’ Christians have to say to me, or to the Church about how the Church should minister to people like us. Sometimes the sheep can help point out their needs to the shepherds in their care, but rarely. Most writing on the subject of same sex attraction and Christianity today seems to be the sheep shouting to the shepherds: ‘you’re idiots when it comes to this flock. Oh, and we’re the ones who can point your shepherds crooks in the right direction.’ ”
He’d rather assume your cross is heavier than his and offer to help you shoulder it.
Only one word for this guy. Manly. May his tribe increase.
Editor’s note: The image above titled “Christ Carrying the Cross” was painted by Titian in 1565.