Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What I Would Say If My Child Were Gay

We are treading on controversial ground here, and I cannot go there without a disclaimer that I realize this is heavy. And also, I must say that I am not all-knowing, so always with controversy, I accept the humility that my opinions, facts, and ability to reason are subject to flaw, because of my nature (fallen, that is). You don't have to agree with me. In fact, I welcome open-minded thoughts here. I wouldn't be writing this if I thought we all thought the same thing.

 As usual I am adding my link to the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers.

If your child decided that he were gay, what would you do? Would you go into full-on, freak-out mode? Recently, I read a post on Glennon Melton Doyle's very popular blog Momastery, in which she writes an imaginary letter, in the event that her son Chase hypothetically turned out to be gay.  She states, as the title suggests, that it's "a mountain she is willing to die on." While it was a lot of good food for thought- I recommend reading it, just so you know what is out there- I felt like she has gotten a few things wrong. I appreciate the mission of the Momastery blog. I know that I've read a few great posts there, over the years. But somehow, I missed this post.

Ever wonder what you would do or say in the same situation? If it happened to me,  if my child decided that he were gay, honestly, I don't know for sure what I would do. I would probably throw a temper tantrum, out of fear and love for my child.

Doyle says:  "Chase, we don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin. Your parents are Christians who believe that the Bible is inspired by God, just like people are. And since the Bible is a living thing, it is in its very nature to evolve toward becoming more loving."

The issue of homosexuality being is sin, in my mind, is Theology 101. It's on the same page with: Did Jericho burn to the ground because we can scientifically prove that a fire consumed it, without the aid of God's power or his miracles... or was it destroyed by fire because a loving, merciful God found sin and depravity there- of such a nature that it was beyond hope, and beyond repair, and therefore, his justice had to prevail? Miracles happen; they still happen. The resurrection happened; we are still people of Easter and of the Resurrection.

She also states that, "People are sensitive. People are heart-breakingly sensitive. If enough people tell someone over and over that he is not okay, he will believe it. And one way or another, he will die.
So how is any of this surprising? It’s quite predictable, actually. It’s trickle-down cruelty."
Wow. That's tough. But we need honest answers. We need right and wrong. And we need it in a spirit of love.  I don't know the mind of God, but I do know that he is loving, but also just. Although the truth is heavy, and even though the truth really sometimes hurts, or at least stings a little bit, we need to face it. He is a loving God, who also has the power to condemn.  We don't know his ways, but we should be treading this ground with holy fear.

The Tent Stakes of the Church: Three Things to Think About

When something really sad and hard happened to someone I know a few years ago (and no, it was not homosexuality), it was just hard. There was no tidy bow.  No one made good sense of it. It was just hard for everyone.  And sad. People sin, and sin messes up the trajectory of people's lives. I've seen it. God still keeps us safe in his beauty and in his peace. He gives us hope in the midst of disaster. In our family, he gives us the hope of tomorrow, even though today we're hurting deeply. Why is being gay a wrong lifestyle choice, even though you might be hurting right now? First, I want you to know that bullying doesn't make something ok. Second of all, it is wrong because it is wrong. There is no cultural bandaid that makes it all ok.  Third, you can't take your cues from a culture that is devoid of the foundation of the Church. You must seek out and search out what the Church says about it, and go from there.

First, I know-- bullying and hatred makes it worse.  I've seen it, too. If people had bullied my friend in the situation he was going through, it would have made it much more painful. And in the case of bullying for homosexuality, that's very sticky. Right? Bullying is never ok.  But, shame and bitterness about bullying aside, there is a right, and there is a wrong. And from this foundation, springs our salvation. A tent without stakes has no firm foundation.  Just because you are bullied for something, doesn't mean it is therefore wrong. Plenty of people have been bullied for doing the right thing, too- take standing up for right and wrong.  As you can see, you could stand up for the anti-abortion movement, and get bullied for that. That's actually a good thing that you could be bullied for.

Second, it is wrong because it is wrong. Isn't it true that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us?  And to accept Christ's help when things are hard? Isn't that the measure and the definition of salvation, because all other ground is sinking sand? Recently I heard a conversation between two Mom's at the playground. A woman said, "My friend is Gay, but he thinks he'll go to hell if he practices it. I just think that's no way to live!" I pray peace over people who get on the GLTB bandwagon, brainwashed by the nastier elements of our culture. Homosexuality will never be a healthy lifestyle, even if it is a condoned lifestyle. Drugs don't make us healthy, even if they make us happy. Take promiscuity. It will never be a healthy lifestyle. To quote the well-known Sheryl Crow song, If it makes you happy, then why the H** are you so sad? Within marriage there is no risk of sexually transmitted diseases.  Married couples are reportedly happier, healthier, and better off financially. Marriage is intended by God for a husband and wife, to produce children and a heritage, from the Lord. A heritage of adoption can be beautiful and from the Lord, if it is the blessing on two married people- a man and a woman. If we are toeing the line of quenching the Holy Spirit (in this case, living in sin) it is a serious and dangerous thing; it is not one a thing to be messed with.

Third, you can't take your cues from a culture devoid of the foundation of the church. The Church is the rock of St. Peter. A church without a foundation is like a tent without stakes. It will float away when the wind blows it adrift. If you disagree, I pray peace and redemption over you. Because it's not the practicing of homosexuality that is going to make you happy. Just as promiscuity and drugs won't, either. This is what God says, in the Bible. Remember, in his great love- his endless love, still I don't think that Jesus would support tolerance toward gays. We need the tent-stakes of the Church, and of Confession. And it's not cultural, like wearing a necklace or a head covering.  I could go into the statistics, but right now, I just want you to know that it's in our catechism, and it matters. Just like the Resurrection cannot be denied because your culture tells you it can. Easter is real, Easter is still here. Easter is a present reality. He is risen. Keep your head clear.

This is what my priest would say.
This is what my church would say.

There are so many recovery stories. Fight. Keep fighting. Even when it makes you unpopular. Even when too many issues of a certain magazine or the newspaper have got you feeling clueless... seriously. Even when people want to slam a door in your face. Even when people say nasty things about you. Even when they bully you for believing in right and wrong.   Even when you are thinking... Really? Everyone disagrees with you. No one is that backwards anymore, I'll say this. We still love you. And we still believe it is wrong.

We don't just love you; we will also not discriminate against you. But this is how people train dragons: We tell them it's a war. And we tell them to fight.
And if anyone tells you otherwise? Try to fight it.

Did you know that Same Sex Marriage is currently legal in 37 states in the U.S., and banned in 13 states? Read the statistics here. Read more: @ Catholic Answers and Crisis Magazine


Lydia Carr said...

This was very thoughtful, Tacy - thank you. You might be interested in this article on a similar subject, which I just read: http://myocn.net/transgender-reissue-of-birth-certificate/
Hope you are all well.

Reconciled To You said...

I admire your boldness in proclaiming the truth.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you whole heartedly. It is never right to bully, and it is not helpful, but the truth must be proclaimed. Persons who are SSA are loved by God, and called to carry a cross that is unique, and therefore come with unique demands and challenges. Christ, the Church, and the Bible are very clear on these teachings. A person who struggles with SSA is called to celibacy, just as those in consecrated religious life are called to it. By denying the sins and lusts of the flesh, and aligning themselves with the loving will of God, a person who has SSA feelings can live a life devoted to God. While progressing on their path to sanctification, through celibacy, they honour God, and stay true to the teachings of Christ.

Tacy said...

Lydia, thank you! I read the article. I think the transgender issue is another matter, but I would be curious to hear why you think it is so closely linked to homosexuality. I do think it is somewhat a reflection of the culture surrounding a person, and if that culture rejects right and wrong, confusion will ultimately follow. In that way, the issues are linked. I have more that I might say, but I will start there. I'm sorry I didn't (wasn't able) to respond sooner!

Anonymous said...

This is a very thoughtful post. I can see you are trying to proclaim the truth in love, which is rare to see.

Tacy said...

Thank you, Leslie and @reconciled to you!

@myforeverandaday- I agree with your comment. I think many people who struggle with Same Sex Attraction do not have the resources, support, or guidance to know what to do. Then they end up feeling slighted if a Church rejects them Communion. Better RCIA classes would help this problem, in my opinion and based on my experience.

WSquared said...

"And since the Bible is a living thing, it is in its very nature to evolve toward becoming more loving.""

That part made me do a double-take.

Scripture is God's living Word, but Scripture is not "only" the Word of God, since Jesus is the Word Made Flesh, and cannot and has never been contained by words on a page.

Jesus is God, born of the Father before all ages, and does not change, so the Word of God does not "evolve." Jesus is also the One Who is Love, and the lens through which we read Scripture at all.

But Jesus is also someone specific-- the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Mentioning Him immediately begs the question of the other two Divine Persons. Jesus is not to be pitted against God the Father (as in "the OT God is 'nasty,' whereas Jesus is 'nice," since "I and the Father are One"), and He is not to be pitted against His Own Holy Spirit, and against His Own Body (as in "forget the Church, follow Jesus").

Moreover, it's important as Christians in general, and as Catholics in particular to remember that the Church's teaching on human sexuality, of which what she says about homosexuality is a part, is about Love.

But Love is not just a feeling or an emotion, even though both are involved. Love is a rightly-ordered act of the will. It also reasonable, logical, and therefore coherent, and cannot be "whatever we want it to mean"-- God is Love, and Christ is the Logos.

The Eucharist makes a difference: what the Eucharist says is that gay people can have the ultimate in Love and have it right now, just like everybody else, no more, no less, should they choose to accept it. The Eucharist means that God is with them in their struggles, and the Church is with them-- even if individual Catholics aren't "there" yet, since the Church is a field hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. Salvation is thus possible for gay people, no more or less than for anyone else, and it is sanctifying grace that allows any of us at all to live what the culture tells us is "too hard." In fact, what Christ offers us all by feeding us His very self is the ability to live through, with, and in Love.

That can be difficult to understand in a culture that walks by sight, not by faith, but the Catholic faith speaks through materiality, also, and not just what is vaguely "spiritual." Also, human beings are both matter and spirit, and not either/or.

These things are worth remembering-- especially if we are married, where we can easily forget that our vocation is to reflect that Love for the world. Moreover, marriage is not the "default" societal position for Catholics: celibate priests and nuns also love and are loved in a highly radical-- and nuptial-- way, while not being married in the more conventional sense. What Catholicism is saying, therefore, is that those who aren't married aren't "weird," miserable, unloved, or "left out."

Gay people want love. Moreover, I often hear married gay-marriage supporters say that they want gays to have what they have. Fair enough. But if we look at the average examples of marriage, they're not what any Catholic should want or have, anyway. What we should be saying is that gays can have something better: in the Eucharist, gays CAN have what we have, all of which is not contingent on marriage, regardless of our sexual orientation. Moreover, Christ will enable them as He enables us, because His grace is sufficient.

Tacy said...

It sounds like you may be mixed up in regards to the ability of Gays to receive Eucharist. We don't have an open table . That is the Church's official teaching and part of her catechism. Gay/Lesbian couples must renounce their lifestyle, turn to Christ for mercy, and live in celibacy to be in a proper state to receive Christ's body and blood.

Wendy Williams said...

Thank you Tacy for writing this view point Through Harvest I have met several people who were thankful for a similar message in their lives. Read The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,by Rosaria Butterfield, an excellent book written by a lesbian professor who becomes the wife of a pastor and homeschool mother of 4!

Unknown said...

This honestly makes me really sad