zenglican

Anglican, Zen Meditating, Trade Unionist, Liberal, Left Wing, Foodie

Gay therefore Celibate – The evangelicals answer to the homosexuality debate

on October 3, 2012

https://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2012/sep/30/church-england-homosexuality-liberals-won

A great article in the Guardian has sparked yet another debate among the various factions of the Anglican church of my acquaintance.

At the heart of the debate over sexual orientation and the ordination of Homosexuals (among other things) is the fact that the conservatives and the liberals simply see scripture in a totally different way.  Whilst your average Evangelical looks at the bible and says “God said it, I believe  it, that settles it”, your average liberal looks at the bible as a collection of holy writings, written in a historical context with great truths but not necessarily facts. The conservatives cry Inerrant!  The liberals cry Context!

Having concluded that according to divinely inspired, inerrant scripture homosexuality is sinful, or in that great old cliche ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’; the answer as far as the evangelicals are concerned is if you can’t pray the gay away then you must be celibate.

Now lets leave aside the conversation about whether this has worked for the Roman Catholic church (in my opinion it has not).  I want to shine a light on this so that there is no doubt to  these conservatives about what they are actually expecting of their GLBT brothers and sisters.

Modern psychology and sociology has come to the conclusion that the fastest way to a miserable, repressed, disordered sexuality is to regard sex as inherently dirty, shameful, unclean and wrong.  Back in the old days in the church they used the words sinful.

The vast majority of modern Christians,  be they conservative or liberal, now acknowledge that sex, sexual intimacy and sexuality is a beautiful God given gift and is part of who we are as humans.  We all agree that expressing our sexuality appropriately is all about context and consent.  Sex between two loving consenting adults = great!  Sex between one person and another non-consenting person for example = not acceptable.

So having agreed that sex is a God given expression of who we are, the evangelicals are now saying, well because the bible says that you can’t have sex with the same gender, then in order not to commit sin you must simply give it up all together.

Is this a massive step backwards or what?

Against all modern knowledge and understanding about how our psyches, and minds, and spirits work you are asking a large group of people to give up the chance of ever experiencing joyful intimacy with another person because their sexuality is wrong?

Now I don’t want to knock celibacy.  At the right time in your life singleness and chastity can be a great gift and a life giving one at that.  I have experienced this in my own life and I know that having embraced my solitude, and my celibacy, I came to know myself better than I could have, had I been obsessed with needing to be in a relationship.  I bring in to my current relationship the great gift of knowing that I do not need my partner to complete or fulfill me, I am complete and fulfilled with or without him.  Our love enriches my life but it does not define me.

But insisting on removing the opportunity for that kind of love and intimacy from another group of people is in my opinion a recipe for misery, psychological distress and at the very worst in a few cases dangerous and damaging behavior (See the RC church abuse scandals for that one).

Lets be clear, you are not simply advising chastity and self control in order to grow and develop into a human being who is ready for either a life of intimacy with another person, or as a happy fulfilled single person who chooses that for them self.   You are taking away the possibility of them ever having that. That loneliness?  Sorry its permanent!  Intimacy is never going to happen for you!

There is a world of difference between choosing not to have sex because at this time in your life for whatever reason you decide not to, and knowing that you will have to be celibate for the rest of your life because your sexual orientation is some how disordered or sinful. There is a difference between experiencing your celibacy as a gift for a particular stage of your life (something that I experienced for many years) and as knowing that it is a permanent state of being because your inherent wiring and desires are wrong and therefore that form of intimacy is forbidden to you.

Be warned, down that path lies a world of misery and destruction, in the name of all that is holy, don’t go there!

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