Thoughts on Being Christian

One of the (many) things I have grappled with since I started attending is the meaning of Christianity --- and the meaning of Christ. Do I still consider myself a Christian?

I am gay, you see. (Already I can hear my putative audience cry out, "So what'?) I don't want to belabour the point, but the edifices of Christianity, in all its flavours and denominations, has not been terribly kind to me or people like me. Large segments of very respectable denominations want me stripped of my civil rights, imprisoned, or in extreme cases, put to death. Against no other section of society does Christianity make this argument, and against no other section of society is this language tolerated.* Well, life is tough and I'm not complaining: I live in a tolerant region of a very tolerant province and country. Some people have it much worse.

But still, I take it personally. How can I not? I read recently that an Anglican bishop described homosexuals as being "lower than dogs", the implication being that homosexuals are subhuman. Hardly created in God's image, eh? The Roman Catholic Church demands that gays be treated with respect and love, yet labels me "intrinsically disordered" and "inclined to evil": hardly worthy, I suspect, in the eyes of some Vatican prelate, of the dignity and worth God gives me as human being. And so on: I don't want to even start with the fundamentalists. (An aside: this language is often couched in terms of "strong medicine for the sinner", which I suppose is both a rationalization and a justification: curious it's not used for more egregious sins. "What crawling villain" says Blake, "preaches abstinence & wraps himself/In fat of lambs? no more I follow, no more obedience pay!" )

It's violent language and violating. It's deliberately exclusionary. So fairly or unfairly, when I hear Christian language (Christianspeak?) --- the language of salvation and sin, of restoring the Bible, of creating the Gospel Order --- I have an internal cringe. It's almost reflexive. It's part of a rejection of Christianity itself. It's a wound that won't heal, a mote in my eye. Is my vision so obstructed I can't see the Jesus of the Gospel who did heal the blind? I don't know. It may be that I never know.

But I know this: to trust in the love of my friends and my new Friends, and to trust in the Light. I won't pray for healing but I will pray to do God's will. If this leads me to Christ, it will be, I think, joyfully and light of heart.

*"Love the sinner, hate the sin", arguments for "religious freedom" and other such nostrums, are, in my opinion, meretricious and a crock. But that's another post, probably for another place.

No comments: