Lessons We Learn from the Homosexual: Complexity
There are many things the church at large can learn from those dealing with homosexuality. In this, the first of a proposed series on these lessons, I will talk a bit about complexity.
By simply interacting with the idea of (or person of) homosexuality, we are accepting the fact that our lives, selves, and sexualities are more complex than we have hereto thought. To the Christian, this can be simply a question along the lines of "If homosexuality is wrong, why are there gay Christians?" When studied in depth, the complexity becomes more evident.
The homosexual neurosis (the best term I've come across, though still not satisfactory) is almost invariably the symptom of a number of infant, childhood, and adult events. The very fact that my life as an infant can affect me now, let alone that my childhood experiences can shape my sexuality in such seemingly strong and tenacious ways, is proof of the unsettling complexity of our identity and its construction.
Add to this neurosis the Christian faith, and you have an even more complex dynamic. How does one live in Christ while dealing with these issues? What is going on through the paradoxical but crucial process of surrender or the idea of the now and not yet (both will be elucidated later in this series), such complex notions? The homosexual Christian cannot help but face these questions.
I postulate as well that the way in which we are to act toward the homosexual is equally complex. We must "love the sinner, hate the sin" - well, isn't that a bumper sticker and a half! Sounds easy, eh? We know that we cannot expect people to "fix" their lives as a prerequisite to the family of God. We accept people as they are (as did Christ), but what does this mean when the people are a lesbian couple holding hands in the front row? At what point does compassion and bearing with one another give way to admonition or church discipline? These questions are Huge!
Lucky for us, we have a paraclete. We need not crumble or dogmatize in the face of such complexity. We need only do that which ought to characterize our lives: listen and receive from the Holy Spirit. Only He can tell us what to do in each situation. (responses to timely needs) We are all just as complex.
I believe strongly that one of the biggest battles the Christian faces today (and maybe always) is regarding complexity. The world is constantly trying to steal our complexity! They wish to label us, reduce us, tell us who we are, what we want, what we should do. The world wants us to fit a type, or a category at the very least. They balk and edit when we contradict, expect deception or denial when we defy categories. They talk to us of "human nature" and "the way I am." Brothers and sisters, let me suggest to you the way we are.
This summer, God gave me a beautiful epiphany on this subject. As I walked up Casterline Hill near my house in Pennsylvania, I cried out to God, saying "It's no use, this is just who I am!" He stopped me in my tracks. He bade me look up, and I saw the most beautiful sight. Above me, a wiry and robust tree spread its arching and intertwining branches against the blueblackgrey twilight sky. Each branch bristled with buds and shot off other smaller branches which did the same. The entire kaleidoscope seemed to proliferate and delineate endlessly while remaining stable-ly still, beautifully rooted against the colour-shifting sky. "You are as complex as this sight," God said to me. I was struck as if in the face by these words, and tears sprang instantly. "Turn around." I did. Behind me stretched the rolling shapefulness of Casterline Hill, stretching up and out in both directions, melding with other hills and almost with the sky. On this hill, grew hundreds (thousands) of trees just like the one I had recently devoured. "I," spoke God, "am infinitely more complex than that."
Thank God. Praise God. Allelujah.