Monday, June 29, 2009

Living, Struggling, Believing in the Face of the Mystery of Being Gay

From a journal entry in March 1990:

How does one live in the face of mystery? Without seeking to control or manipulate . . . . This was the sin of Adam and Eve, in the view of neo-orthodox thinkers like Barth—they could not rest content with the sheer giftedness of the existence that had been handed to them; they wanted to penetrate behind this giftedness in order to wrest it to their own ends.

I feel lately as if I’m in the presence of a huge energy cell, as I keep struggling to integrate my identity as a gay person with my vocation as a believer and as a theology. On the one hand, the energy cell that emerges through this struggle charges me with new and deep recognitions, with an upwelling of hope and anguish. On the other hand, it burns and consumes and scars.

Part of the mystery of existence—a key to it—is to live in recognition of our sinfulness, as a prelude to opening our hands to all the undeserved gifts God sheds on us. For me, the narrow door—both mystery of evil and gift/grace—through which I must come to God is the door of my sexual orientation. My life will never be whole until I accept, celebrate, integrate that—and doing so seems to kill me, too, because the integrating and celebrating process brings me face to face with the evil that has long told gay persons that we should apologize for and hide ourselves, as God has made us. And that evil enters into our own psyche in a society saturated with homophobic messages.

The sinfulness I encounter in this struggle is not where the church keeps telling me to look for sin, inside myself and my gay human nature. It's in those who want me to understand my very nature, the nature God has given me, the source of my gifts, joy, and ability to love, as sinful. My sin is actually the temptation to hate myself because the church tells me who I am in my very nature is sinful.

Who will deliver us from the body of death? We need grace to walk through that door.