DISCUSSION THREAD: “Good Theology Should Guide the Heart. Not Replace It.”

MAN, I thought.  That’s it.  That’s the problem and the solution that I’ve been grappling with down to the freakin’ BONE.

I kept thinking of that as I got involved in an online conversation this last week.  Somehow the topic of homosexuality came up.  Now sometimes I like to sit back and listen to conversations about homosexuality that straight people have to see if we’ve come any distance at all.  The person, in this instance a deacon, who responded to the “cause” of homosexuality gave a very detailed, thorough list of what a person does for God to turn him or her over to “unnatural lusts.”

It wasn’t that the response was necessarily wrong, just grievously incomplete and handed over with the certainty that this is the answer and if you think there’s more, well, then, you’re someone who thinks they’re wise, but acting like a fool.  I read the response and just shook my head.  He was being just as hardheaded, wrong, insensitive and foolish as those who challenged the thoughts that began this conversation.  I still said nothing.

Then I wondered, do we, as Christians who deal with SSA, have a responsibility here?  Since straight people don’t often seem to understand the nature of our struggles, do we need to explain it to them?  How do we do that if we often don’t understand it ourselves?  (Do we receive from the process of explaining?)  Is it just something that we’re in a better position to explain to unknowing straight people who wish to learn?  Or is the witness to what Christ has done and is doing in our lives a responsibility we should not ignore?

What do you think?


~ by WriterRand on August 9, 2008.

4 Responses to “DISCUSSION THREAD: “Good Theology Should Guide the Heart. Not Replace It.””

  1. Personally, I’ve been thinking for awhile now that it IS our responsibility. Who knows more about this struggle than people who have actually went through it? And who better to explain it to people who don’t have a clue about it? I mean, if we do explain it, perhaps more people will be helped because of that.

    A friend at work was recently discussing her thoughts on homosexuality, and so much of what she was announcing as fact, I personally thought was balogna. Once she had said her piece, I then told her my view of things. She thought it was certain that a person is born gay and that there was undisputed fact of a gay gene, for instance. I refuted that, letting her know that actually no such gene has yet to be found, and told her I thought experiences had something to do with it. Maybe not completely, but to a large degree. After I explained why I felt that way, she still didn’t get it. My explanation apparently made no sense to her. But my goal was really just to get her to thinking about the issue and not just buy into what liberal media had proclaimed as fact. If anything, I hope I got her to thinking more about the internal struggles a lot of gay people go through. The conversation may not have ammounted to anything, but I just couldn’t be silent and let her tell everybody things about homosexuality which I didn’t quite feel was completely accurate. I wanted her and everyone else in the conversation to know that there was more to the story.

  2. I hope you don’t mind me addressing this subject from a transsexual perspective instead of a GLB perspective. I think the two situations are complementary, rather than explicitly symmetric.

    I take considerable exception to the ‘blame-driven’ approach that seems to be so common among theological explanations/interpretations of the transsexual experience. It is overly simplistic, in my experience, to describe subjects of either gender identity or sexual identity as “temptation” moments to be resisted.

    Among other things, such approaches ignore an interesting and important aspect of the transsexual narrative. It is all too common among transsexuals to trace their understanding back to their earliest childhood memories – memories that are earlier than the age at which most children begin to understand that boys and girls are physically different. (I have a very hard time accepting the “blame the sinner” view in light of this, because it strikes me as unreasonable to claim that the adult manifestation of transsexuality is merely “succumbing to temptation” – it just feels wrong.

    I will agree with Brandon that there is in all probability no such thing as a ‘gay gene’ – or in my own context – a ‘trans gene’. However, as we are learning, the body is a surprisingly complex collection of systems that interact with each other, and with the expression of attributes supported by the contents of an individual’s DNA. What are the critical combinations of interactions – and their triggers to reveal either homosexual or transsexual inclinations is hard to say at this time.

    There have been some interesting studies recently that suggest that brain structure among MTF transsexual women is consistent with biological females in some very fundamental aspects. an aside – I’m not referring to the BSTc study of the 1990s, but some MRI studies published in the last year or two.

    The inner struggle subject (one that I am all too familiar with), is important, and exceedingly difficult to convey to others who are not “in your head”. One of my problems with presenting the inner narrative is that it’s acceptance by those I am sharing it with is directly proportional to their willingness to accept that dialog as valid. Unfortunately, there is a strong tendency to claim that any narrative that conflicts with the truth assigned to scripture is invalid.

    The challenge then becomes one of persuading the other party that your narrative is in fact valid, in spite of the problems it introduces with respect to interpreting scripture.

    Transsexualism in particular causes a great deal of consternation in terms of scripture. There have been numerous attempts to interpret scripture with respect to transsexuals. The common approaches are to either assume that an MTF transsexual is simply a form of homosexual looking to be socially acceptable; or they attempt to interpret the sections of scripture that talk about eunuchs.

    In those situations, I gently point out the problems I have reconciling my own experience of things with the expressed interpretation. If I am lucky, the individual is a reasoning person and will take my comments into consideration. Others, are less willing to have their assumptions challenged, and simply try to shout me down, rather than actually address the points raised.

    The human experience of the world is a complex and difficult thing to pin down, and in my view it is important not to accept any narrative that declares someone else’s invalid by simply remaining silent. (even if that means challenging long held doctrine of some sort)

    I hope I’m not too far off base here – but your post provoked some thoughts, and I tend to ramble a bit when I start writing.

  3. Michelle, I always welcome conversation here that brings things forward in a new light.

    I have holds on the books you mentioned at our Seattle Library system and should be getting them soon.

    I’d like to address transsexual issues along with SSA issues simply because I think there is so much in common and some major, major differences as well. I think we might be able to learn something from each other.

    The other thing I wanted to mention is that I, too, hold scripture in high regard. Where you and I differ on specific scripture and specific interpretation, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Regardless, I generally don’t hold x or y or z against scripture until and unless (1) I’ve researched the situation to my satisfaction and (2) researched the scripture with equal vigor.

    I feel somedays, especially with challenging situations like this one, where all I can do is look at my life before Jesus and after Him, and can say yes, He has been the best thing about my life. That may be the only conclusion I can offer people some days.

    Again, I extend a happy welcome to you and want you to feel as comfortable as possible in sharing your thoughts and experiences here.

    For His Joy,

  4. I have holds on the books you mentioned at our Seattle Library system and should be getting them soon.

    Then I am appropriately impressed. Few seem willing to take the time to study a subject that is both alien and potentially deeply unsettling. (It shouldn’t be, but transsexuals in particular are fairly uncommon, and it often seems that our narrative often troubles non-transsexuals because it shakes some common assumptions)

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