Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Under the Weather . . . .

I'm here, dear hearts and gentle people, and haven't forgotten this blog.  The bug I mentioned several days ago seems to have settled into my chest now, and I have been feeling pretty washed out for a number of days, that washed-out feeling in which one's thoughts seem to move in slow motion while the world spins around too fast.

Meanwhile, such energy as I have had the past few days, I've been spending trying to contribute to the conversation at David Gibson's latest thread at Commonweal about New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and his recent homophobic speech to an Orthodox Jewish community.   I also highly recommend this outstanding posting by Michael O'Loughlin at America's "In All Things" blog.

I don't have much more to say this evening, except that I do find it increasingly enervating to encounter the toxic views of some of my brother and sister Catholics re: their brothers and sisters who happen to be gay.  I'm growing tired of the fight for clarity and decency in the Catholic context, and wondering if it's really worthwhile, when folks like Carl Paladino can (rightly) claim to represent Catholic moral teaching while many others who are far more admirable exemplars of any morality that makes sense to me are driven away.

As one of my last postings at the Commonweal thread to which I link above notes, I think the fact that Catholic teaching about homosexuality is coming to be represented by the likes of Carl Paladino and Newt Gingrich (or David Vitter and Maggie Gallagher) is creating an increasingly huge cognitive dissonance for many people of good will outside the Catholic church and for many Catholics themselves.  No tradition that wants to have a viable future as a teacher of moral principles allows people who have had three wives and cheated on two of them to occupy the center of the tradition as a defender of the sanctity of marriage, or a man who has fathered a child out of wedlock and then refused for years to acknowledge this to posture as the defender of marriage and family values.

Not while it drives away people with far more compelling insight, and silences theologians who try to address the cognitive dissonance.

As I thought about all of this yesterday, it occurred to me that I really don't care any longer whether I can convince my Catholic brothers and sisters to reconsider what they're doing in the name of God today, when they keep supporting and promoting magisterial teaching about gays and lesbians as disordered.  What I do care about is living my own life with integrity, joy, and peace.

None of the venom some people of faith keep spewing forth really can or does touch my soul.  There, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that claiming and celebrating my God-given identity as a gay man, and living in a loving, committed relationship with another gay man has been my path to the life that the church identifies as a life of virtue.  I am saving my soul (in cooperation with God's grace) precisely by claiming the very thing about me that elicits such poisonous rhetoric from many of my brother and sister Catholics.

And so to find what the church holds up as the ideal of the life of believers--love, joy, and peace--I actively have to distance myself from the very church that holds that ideal up to me.  I have to do that as long as the church permits those using its teaching about the category of human beings to which I belong by divine creation to use it in such a maleficent way.  And, frankly, I'm happy to be away from my church if that's the price I have to pay in order to find the very things the church tells me to search for in life, these characteristics in which God's presence resides in my life.  I'm happy because I much prefer to live with love, joy, and peace filling my soul than to live the tortured existence that the church holds up to gays and lesbians and wants us to call holy.  Holy it's not.

I do worry about those gay and lesbian younger folks who encounter the kind of poison that some Catholics spread in the name of God on Catholic blogs and other blogs.  I'm old and have a tough hide, and even so, the barbs still stick into my own skin and smart.  I can't imagine what all of this discourse does to young people seeking a healthy understanding of themselves.  Particularly when those who promote the discourse of disorder claim to be representing God as they do so.

If I'm silent for a time now, please know I'm nursing the sore throat and chest congestion.  And that I'm just plain tired and needing rest.  And as I recuperate, needing some distance from some of the representatives of my own faith community, such as the blogger who censored me at her blog site a few days ago, an employee of a Catholic institution who had asked me earlier this year to do a favor for her and to protect her in a negotiation, which I did--only to be repaid in a surprisingly ugly way now.

But she's the church and she stands with it and has all its institutional authority behind her back, and I don't.
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