• RSS Queering the Church

    • “God and the Gay Christian”: Religious Conservatives Are Running Scared. April 24, 2014
      Within days of its publication, Matthew Vines’ “God and the Gay Christian” has evoked a flurry of angry denunciation from a wide range of Christian bloggers and scholars, with news headlines like “Pro-gay book ‘exceedingly dangerous’”, “Pro-gay book departs from…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
    • “Embodied Ministry” Conference 2014: Speakers April 22, 2014
      Speakers and workshop leaders Adrian Thatcher, Redeeming Gender  The churches have forgotten that, until the 17th century, the dominant understanding of sex and gender was of a single humanity, ‘man’, within which women were imperfect, malformed men. Later, a two-sex…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • Where Are You? October 26, 2011
      Greetings to all others who grace these pages! Thank you for stopping by. If you still have a reader pointed here, this blog no longer publishes in this location, but can be found at this new link. Please subscribe to the new feed, get the new blog via email or read us by liking us on Facebook or by following me on Twitter.If you want more, please feel free […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Fran)
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • It's Time for Archbishop Nienstedt to Resign April 23, 2014
      UPDATED: 4/24/14Yesterday, Minnesota Public Radio released video and transcripts of testimony given by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt during a sworn deposition on April 2, 2014. (To read the full transcript of the Archbishop's deposition, click either here or here.)A spokesperson for Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told MPR News that investigators and pr […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Something to Think About . . . April 23, 2014
      Related Off-site Links:On Earth Day, an Economics for People and Planet – Helena Norberg-Hodge (Common Dreams, April 22, 2014). The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External – Naomi Klein (The Nation, April 21, 2014).How Silent Spring Ignited the Environmental Movement – Eliza Griswold (New York Times, September 21, 2012).See also the previo […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

    • Pope Francis On The Possibility of Married Priests April 12, 2014
      For some reason when discussing the priest shortage, one rarely hears that one big reason is the increase in lay Catholics.  That the increase in Catholic laity is mirrored by the decrease in Catholic priests makes for an interesting statistical picture....... and in a not good kind of way.   Pope Francis has been in office for just over a year and finally h […]
      colkoch
  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • He is Risen and I am Moving April 20, 2014
      Beautiful lithograph drawing of Kutna Hora by Czech artist, Marie BrožováA glorious Easter day today in Prague, sunny, crisp, clear and a little cool (ooops it just started to rain). Yesterday, I took a bus ride to one of my favorite spots  nearby, the historic town of Kutna Hora, a Unesco World Heritage Site. It's a one hour and forty minute bumpy ride […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron)
    • The Great Tribulation April 17, 2014
      Holy Thursday  EveThanks to William Lindsey at Bilgrimage for the link to a profound meditation by Waldemar Boff,  the brother of Liberation Theologian, Leonardo Boff, entitledWhen the Great Tribulation Arrives, the Earth will at last have her well deserved rest. As we enter into the sacred triduum of Holy Week, remembering the paschal mystery of the Lord, w […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • 埼玉のプロミス、詳細を教えて! January 22, 2014
      埼玉には自動契約機の店舗だけではなく店頭窓口もあります。店頭窓口というのはお客様サービスプラザのこと。そこでは相談することもできますし、さまざまな疑問点を解消することもできます。金利や返済方法などはプロミスの公式ホームページにも記載されていますので自分の目で確認することができます。そして返済方式も残高スライド元利定額返済方式という記載がありますので確認することができるでしょう。しかし。残高スライド元利定額返済方式とはどんなものなのかご存知でしょうか。金利は比較するまでもなくほぼ一律。実は返済総額に大きく影響するのは一律となる金利よりも返済方式になるものです。残高スライド元利定額返済方式。非常に長い名称にはなっていますが理解しておいた方がよいでしょう。これは返済時にある残元金、これに定率となる割合を掛けて返済額を […]
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Happy Earth Day April 22, 2014
      San Francisco is what comes to mind when I think of Earth Day ... don't know why :) ...
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Of human bondage

What motivates us as human beings?  Why do we do what we do?

I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 

Of human bondageThese words of Paul the apostle from the 7th chapter of his letter to the Romans serve as the epigraph to my novel and the source of the title, A Wretched Man, a novel of Paul the apostle.  As these verses from Paul suggest, we have long wrestled with the problem of the human will.  The wonderings of philosophers such as Schopenhauer & Nietzsche; psychoanalysts such as Freud & Jung; and literary figures such as Somerset Maugham & Thomas Mann suggest it’s complicated and self-awareness is difficult.

What about homophobia?  What is the source of this phenomenon?  Let’s start with a definition–this one is Merriam-Webster’s online version:

irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals

and Wikipedia’s description:

Homophobia is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality and people identified or perceived as being homosexual. Definitions refer variably to antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear. Homophobia is observable in critical and hostile behavior such as discrimination and violence on the basis of a perceived non-heterosexual orientation. In a 1998 address, author, activist, and civil rights leader Coretta Scott King stated that “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.”

Let’s take it a step further; what is “internalized homophobia”?  Here’s the opening paragraph from a UC-Davis Psychology Department study:

Among lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals, internalized sexual stigma (also called internalized homophobia) refers to the personal acceptance and endorsement of sexual stigma as part of the individual’s value system and self-concept. It is the counterpart to sexual prejudice among heterosexuals.

In other words, it is gay folks accepting negative societal, cultural, or religious stigma and applying such negative values toward oneself.  Self-condemnation.  Self-doubt and low self esteem en extremis.  It doesn’t take deep psychological insight to recognize that internalized homophobia is not healthy.  High incidence of suicide.  Drug and alcohol abuse.  Inability to have meaningful relationships. 

And sometimes, the internalized homophobia results in outrageous behavior toward other gays.  An extreme example is Andrew Cunanan, the murderer of Gianni Versace; political examples include US Senator Larry Craig & California State Senator Ray Ashburn; and religious examples include Ted Haggard and now Minnesota pastor and outspoken opponent of the ELCA gay friendly policies, Pastor Tom Brock of Hope Lutheran Church of Minneapolis (Hope Church is not ELCA but AFLC—Association of Free Lutheran Churches–a small and conservative Lutheran denomination). 

The “outing” of Pastor Brock was a journalistic abomination for which there is no excuse, and the offending magazine has received appropriate condemnation.  Yet, the exposure of Pastor Brock raises the question of other outspoken anti-gay religious leaders.  Let me be perfectly clear, I make no suggestion that this is the sole or even the primary motivation for those religious leaders in various denominations that oppose gay inclusive policies.  Yet, one wonders whether Pastor Brock is merely an isolated and atypical example or merely the tip of the iceberg.  What is it about human sexuality that makes some squirm?  How often does sexual angst undergird homophobia?

Whatever the motivation, religious leaders who bash gay folks over the head with their Bibles need to seriously question themselves—are they really offering a solution to gay suicide, gay drug and alcohol abuse, and gay casual relationships or are they part of the problem?  Are they advancing the kingdom of God or stalling it?  Are they truly seeking God’s will or merely proof texting the Bible to justify their own biases, prejudices and even their own homophobia? 

Don’t, please don’t, respond with the horrific notion that you hate the sin but love the sinner, a self-justifying excuse for murky motivations behind hurtful behavior.

Cross posted at Spirit of a Liberal.

2 Responses

  1. Obie, a powerful statement. I like how you frame this discussion in Pauline terms. There is, deep within us all, the mystery of both sin and grace, and profound depths of heart and spirit that only God can fully fathom.

    Even so, I think you’re right: the continuing revelations that some of the most outrageously anti-gay Christian crusaders struggle with same-sex attraction deserves serious attention. After the revelations about Dr. Rekers, I heard a comic say something like this: If you spend most of your time hating and hunting gays, thinking about gays and their lives, you’re likely to be gay!

    Empirical studies in a number of places show that men who are most vocally homophobic are also more likely than non-homophobic men to experience erotic arousal when shown gay pornography.

    We often rail against what is most stigmatized and hidden inside ourselves.

  2. Obie,

    When you say don’t respond with hate the sin, but love the sinner, are you referring to the parable of the adulterous woman or did you have another part of the Bible in mind?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers

%d bloggers like this: