Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gay Believers and the Cloud of Witnesses

From a journal entry dated January 1991:

In a sense, the silent testimony of gay and lesbian believers all around me is like the cloud of witnesses mentioned in the book of Hebrews, those who have gone before, the communio sanctorum. We cannot see the saints, but we know their strength—we draw on it—nonetheless. It is, strangely, their hiddenness from us that makes their testimony so alluring, persuasive, effective. The prophet is never accepted among his own . . . . Human flesh veils spiritual power because we see reflected in the other our own weaknesses and shortcomings. To transcend this condition by the purity of one’s conviction (I’m not speaking in a Platonic body-spirit dualistic mode here) gives one a freedom to be everywhere and always accessible—absolutely given to others, bread for the eating.

Ironically, what society and church do to gay people produces something akin to this. Gay people are denied embodiment. We are prevented from testifying. We are as if dead among the living. And it is from this that our strength arises. As with the saints, we are everywhere—and because church and society demand that it be so, our testimony transcends the limitations of our particularity, our embodiment.