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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A little 'family chat'

Yesterday, someone over on HOB/D (House of Bishops/Deputies Listserv) wrote something absolutely hateful about homosexuality being a 'disorder'.

He later tried to back paddle by saying that he believed 'all of creation was disordered' after The Fall.

Yeah, that's a really helpful dodge. Take a swing even farther to the Right until you move right out of the traditional Spirit of Anglicanism and run smack-dab into Calvinism.

A few polite-white liberals then tried to rationalize reasons for this behavior.

You know me. I had to speak up.  A few folk wrote to tell me they thought what I wrote was important enough to have a wider audience.

Given the defeat of Marriage Equality yesterday in New York State Senate, I suspect they might be right. 

When will people get over the fact that this is not an 'issue', it is about people's lives?  Men, women and children? American citizens.  Taxpayers.  People from all walks of life? 

Here's what I said:

It's not that I don't appreciate the irenic tone of the posts here regarding the "disorder" of creation with regards to homosexuality. I do.

It's just that, when you talk about that "disorder" you are talking about me. Me. Elizabeth. Elizabeth Kaeton. And, hundreds of thousands of Episcopalians. And, millions and millions of LGBT people around the world.

It's not just a theo-cultural, political construct, see? There is a human face in the box with the label you have applied.

Behind that face beats the heart and mind and soul of a child of God.

You can't see that if you keep us carefully wrapped up in a box with a nice, important sounding label.

You can't hear that if you fill up the air space with theo-political rhetoric.

You can neither see nor hear the fullness of the human condition or the enterprise of being human if you continue to put yourself above it all (and others) while standing safely in your theological pulpit or cultural, political soap box.

We are told by St. Paul that, in baptism, Christ is alive in us. You can't see the Christ in me - and it's hard to see the Christ in you - if you don't let the Light of Christ shine past labels and language and rhetoric.

Whenever I find myself running to my head and using Very Big, Important Sounding words, or labeling people in order not to deal with something that is distressing to me, it's usually an indication that my heart is afraid.

There's a saying in 12-Step Programs that if you run into more than two "idiots" (well, that's not the exact word, but we're in polite company) in the course of a day, it's time to look in the mirror.

Actually, and sadly, I think all your labels, your persistent, antiquated and incorrect correlation between homosexuality and addiction, and your rhetorical/theological flourishes say more about you than anything I know God believes about me.

I would remind you of this: In the words of the great collect in the BCP (p. 214) for the Second Sunday after Christmas Day, we pray:
"O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature, Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity . . . ."
Think about those words before you next pray them.

If there is any truth to your words that "my understanding of the doctrine of the fall is that all creation was and continues to be disordered," then I suggest you skip this prayer on that day.

Maybe Calvin has written one that better expresses your theology. Then again, he wasn't Anglican, was he? Ah, more's the pity for you, I suppose.

You may believe that 'The Fall' permanently tarnished the wonderful creation and creatures of God. I believe that, whatever it was that happened in The Garden, the dignity of ALL human nature was 'yet more wonderfully restored' by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

No matter. We believe differently. As Anglicans, we have the glorious freedom to use our intellect and reason in the living out of our religious and spiritual lives, and yet still be one in Christ.

Just remember that there is a person - a 'wonderfully created' child of God who has been 'even more wonderfully restored' in Christ - with a heart and soul and mind that is deeply offended and hurt by your language.

Well, there it is. For whatever it's worth. I personally think that New York State Senator, Diane Sovino, said it much better.

Here, have a listen. It's a seven minute video, but she really starts to rock about a minute and a half into it.

Somebody cue Peter, Paul and Mary and ask them to sing, "Where have all the flowers gone?"

When will they ever learn?


PseudoPiskie said...

The fixation these men (primarily) have on homosexuality seems to have some underlying cause that they can't or won't admit or recognize. As you say, there is nothing that can be written that will help them change. I doubt that face to face discussions with some of them would be useful since they seem to have a script from which they dare not deviate. They can rationalize away every bit of scripture except those few verses which, taken in context, may very well have nothing to do with homosexuality. They can't even rely on Jesus for guidance. Sad, sick and possibly much more sinful than that which they blindly condemn.

ROBERTA said...

thank you for the link to that video. it was superb!

Doorman-Priest said...

Beautifully put while still not taking prisoners.


C. Andiron said...

He later tried to back paddle by saying that he believed 'all of creation was disordered' after The Fall.

Yeah, that's a really helpful dodge.

How is that a dodge? Has Christ returned and created the new heavens and the new earth? I must have missed that...

It's just that, when you talk about that "disorder" you are talking about me.

Is this a mature, sensible attitude to take? Let's say you scold one of your kids for misbehaving and they say, "Hey! That's ME you're calling a spoiled brat!"

What do a persons subjective feelings have to do with whether their behavior is objectively immoral.

And it's not about you. From my point of view your movement is trying to mislead other people, which is especially unacceptable when you are trying to mislead those who want to repent of the sin which you commit. You already have all the freedom you could desire. So please allow orthodox Christians their God given freedom to proclaim the Gospel and freedom from sin by repentance and faith in Christ.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, C, you are obviously not an Anglican. If you understood the prayer I included, it might help you get a window into an explanation.

The lament "it's about me" is designed to remind us all that behind every "issue" is a person - a child of God. LGBT people are not naughty, misbehaving children. We are adult human beings with minds and hearts and souls.

Alas, you are quite wrong. LGBT people do not have "all the freedom I need." If we did, there would not be a movement to amendmend the constitution to TAKE AWAY rights from people - something that must make the original architects roll over in their graves, no matter what they may have thought about LGBT people.

You have all the freedom and rights you need - for example, to swing your arms as wildly as you wish. That freedom and that right, however, stop at the end of my nose.

Kay & Sarah said...

Tell it ALL, sisters!! Tell it all!

Brad Evans said...

I don't believe in god.
I don't care whom you sleep with.
I do think that you, and other Mainline Protestants, have become a declining (though still over-represented)club for middle/upper middle class whites.
And I still haven't heard why clergy are disproportionately gay.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Clergy are not disproportionaly gay. Not in my experience in TEC, anyway, and I'm in one of the more liberal dioceses in TEC.

I appreciate that you don't care who I sleep with. I don't care who you sleep with either. Or, if you sleep alone.

I think mainline Protestant churches, and the RC churches, as well, need a "dinosaur heart transplant."

If you don't believe in God, why do you come here? I'm happy for your visit, but, unless you're just looking for reasons not to believe in God and/or become a Christian and/or be part of any organized religion, I mean, why bother?

I'm just curious, is all.

Caminante said...

Oh preach it sistah!!!!

June Butler said...

Tell 'em, Elizabeth! I must say that it takes a stronger stomach than mine to wade through some of the crap on Listserv. I had to bow out. To folks like you who defend our honor there, I say, "Thank you!"

MarkBrunson said...

The stupidity of the "disordered universe" argument needs to be constantly called. It is a negation of faith, a negation of personal responsibility, and a negation of God's ongoing redeeming work. It is the most infantile and self-absorbed of "theologies" in a long list of theologies that embittered, elderly men have pulled out from recesses deep and dark - it is a way of seeing all the pitch-dark sludge of one's own vilest products of ego and selfishness and responding with a great, cosmological "It's all their fault!"

As for what is fair or unfair, I'm convinced that it is beyond the right-wing Calvinist "christians," as those concepts, along with justice, are solely the domain of rational, adult human beings.

Anonymous said...

Although I often disagree with many of your opinions I have always appreciated the vigor, depth, and honesty of your writings; I certainly appreciate your introduction of the works of Kazuya Akimoto.

MadPriest said...

Brilliant, Lisbeth.
And I must say (and please forgive my stereotypical behaviour) I find New York State Senator, Diane Sovino, rather wonderfully created as well.

MadPriest said...

But, I feel I must defend my sex against my old mate, PseudoPiskie's stereotypical attack. It may be that it just appears that men are more homophobic than women because far more men are in the position to be heard than women. Certainly, when women do break through the glass ceiling into positions of power they can be just as homophobic (I remember a young lady called Sarah Palin who was in the news quite a lot a while ago) and there are plenty of women heading up those associations of unenlightened thinking that tend to go by the name "Family Values This and That."

If you flip the coin over, those attacking homophobia in the Church and in the media are very much evenly divided between men and women.

Erika Baker said...

I agree that most who simply throw Scripture at us cannot be convinced. But that doesn't invalidate the fact that the only feasible way of convincing people is to show up and live openly and let people see who you are. And to talk openly about your humanity, however vulnerable it makes you.

Those who have hearts to see will eventually discover the truth, and once hearts are changing, thinking changes too.

It's never thought that changes minds, but only ever changed hearts that allow new thoughts to make an impact.

MarkBrunson said...

Oh, and Andiron,

You're free to preach. We tolerate even the depths of insanity.

You are not free to interfere with our lives or to harm and deceive - which you most definitely are doing - decent people to satisfy your own perverted urge to demonstrate personal righteousness. If you want to embrace ignorance and superstition as your own lifestyle, feel free, and keep out of other peoples' lives.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

She is rather babelicious, ain't she?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, Pseudo?

I'll say this much: You may be right, Jonathan, it may even out, in the end, to be equally divided, but it sure does seem like men are more heavily influenced by the "ick" factor than women.

Maybe it's just because the dominant social paradigm is men in power.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Anonymous - Thanks. I'm not a big fan of Abstract but I find Akimoto's work deeply compelling. A real genius.

MadPriest said...

Oh, I expect that men are more subject to the ick factor than women. But the ick factor is not the only cause of homophobia. In fact, it is probably the one that can be got over the easiest (I mean, if you really don't like the thought of it then just stop thinking about it all the while). Deep grained religious and cultural prejudices will be the main cause of the hatred and that, as we know, is a real bugger to shift.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You're right, Jonanthan, of course, but I think the "ick" factor, beyond the physical revulsion, also has to do with the revolting possibility that a man should be "like a woman". You know "on the bottom". For some men, that is an even more nauseating fantasy. And, let us not forget who's really "on top" in the cultural paradigm.

MadPriest said...

Some of us are quite happy being underneath, of course :-)

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I can always rely on your brilliance, Jonathan.

June Butler said...

It may be that it just appears that men are more homophobic than women because far more men are in the position to be heard than women.

MadPriest, in my experience, the ick factor, when it's to do with man/man sex, is much more powerful in men than in women. The source of the ick factor in men is probably cultural prejudices, along with fear that they may not be as masculine as they believe themselves to be. How to say it? - the fear that they might like it if they try it.

I think the "ick" factor, beyond the physical revulsion, also has to do with the revolting possibility that a man should be "like a woman". You know "on the bottom".

Elizabeth, I doubt that physical position has much to do with the revulsion that certain men feel about man/man sex, except amongst a few cave man types.

Most men seem to feel no revulsion whatsoever about woman/woman sex, although with certain men, it seems that their fragile egos take offense at the idea that a woman may be more attracted to another woman than to a man.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh dear, Mimi, now you'll get Jonathan all riled up.

Oh hell, while we're at it: I said what I did about "assuming the position" b/c I think at the bottom" (as it were) of homophobia is misogyny.

June Butler said...

...homophobia is misogyny.

Elizabeth, I agree.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, okay, Mimi. Now we're both in trouble with Jonathan. At least we have each other's company. And, we've been here before. Several times, as I recall.

June Butler said...

Indeed! Sisters standing together.

MadPriest said...

There would be far more equality among the sexes if there were fewer misogynist women around. I reckon if there was a league of misogyny, gay men would be at the top, then women and then men. Of course, if we got rid of all the whinging lesbians there would be far less cause for misogyny all round.

But seriously, Lisbeth, I think you confuse the male desire to be in charge of everything and the male tendency to belittle women with misogyny. But they are not the same thing. True misogyny is rare. Far rarer than homophobia and the hatred that exists between the various non-standard sexual groupings.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Jonathan - Sorry, mate. Translation please: what's a 'whinging lesbian'?

I have no doubt you believe what you say about misogyny. I suspect most men would agree with you. The thing of it is that misogyny is experienced by women. And, I know for sure most women would disagree with you.

Ultimately, it all comes down to 'perception being reality and reality being truth'.

MadPriest said...

People not letting you get your own way all the time doesn't mean they hate you, Lisbeth.

Honestly you are far more anti-man than any man I have ever met has been anti-women (with the definite exception of quite a few of my Anglo-Catholic male friends).

And I have only ever received the level of verbal abuse, that I would count as violence, from women, during my life. I have been physically assaulted by more women than men, as well (which is unfair because if you hit back you get labelled a misogynist).

Life, girlfriend, is a lot more complicated than your very simplistic view of it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

We can agree on this statement, Jonathan: "Life is far more complicated than your very simplistic view on it."

What is a 'whinging lesbian'?

Mimi? Where are you when I need you?

June Butler said...

I'm trying to think of a woman misogynist, and the only example that comes to mind at the moment is the fundamentalist type who agrees that her inferior status is perfectly proper.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, there you are, Mimi.

I would say Sarah Palin has "internalized sexism" but even she is not misogynist. Dumber than a door post but not misogynist.

June Butler said...

There would be far more equality among the sexes if there were fewer misogynist women around.

No persuasive argument has yet been made here that the above statement is true. In fact, hardly an argument at all has been put forth.

MadPriest said...

Well, you are going to say it is all down to those horrible men and there demands of women, and I think you would be right to, but from where I stand it certainly seems that most of the physical and mental problems facing women today are resultant from their self-hatred and hatred of being woman.

Get rid of female self-loathing and women would achieve more through self-confidence and disinterest than they will ever achieve through the anger and resentment that comes out of their self-loathing.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No, I wouldn't say that, Jonathan, because, in my experience at least, that's not true.

And, I'm the one in the choir who is singing loudly, "I enjoy being a girl."

June Butler said...

...from where I stand it certainly seems that most of the physical and mental problems facing women today are resultant from their self-hatred and hatred of being woman.

Perhaps you're standing in the wrong place, luv. From where I stand what you just stated sounds like BS to me. Of course, I could be wrong.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, Mimi, you are a brave soul. Blessed are you among women.

June Butler said...

Elizabeth, I'm not brave. I'm only asking Jonathan to make his case.

Jonathan, just because you say it doesn't make it true. Persuade me.

MadPriest said...

Jonathan, just because you say it doesn't make it true. Persuade me.

Well, if we're going to start challenging sweeping statements you better start with the persuasion. You've been sweeping those statements here, there and everywhere, for a quarter of century longer than I have and, so, have a lot more persuading to do.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Nice dodge, Jonathan. Brilliant, in fact.

IT said...

Back to the subject of the post, for a moment. not to continue blog-whoring TOO much (which means, I am, but I want to quote myself)...
I wrote a piece a bit ago called Curing the variant in which I said,

[H]ow [do] we define "normal" and when [do] we pathologize it. For example, most of us consider left-handedness "normal" and unremarkable, a minor human variant that doesn't affect the predominant right-handed culture. Most hearing people consider congenital deafness a defect to be treated (e.g., by cochlear implants); however, Deaf people often resent their deafness being pathologized, and many forcibly resist being absorbed into a dominant hearing culture. Or consider cleft palate: this is a "naturally occurring" birth defect that we do our best to treat surgically and heal. All of these conditions are "natural" to the human condition. So how do we decided what to pathologize as a defect to be treated, as opposed to a variant to be accepted?....

Consider also that for centuries, left-handedness was pathologized on religious grounds (and still is in some cultures), with citation of relevant Biblical verses; however, the efforts to "convert" the left handed led to serious psychological trauma in some cases. We know better now.

Or do we?

Let's consider our GLBT brothers and sisters. Western medicine and science accepts homosexuality as a natural variant, not a pathology, that occurs across cultures and ethnic groups at a fairly consistent rate. Some people are closer to viewing the GLBT community as the Deaf community: one that rejects being identified as a pathology that is imposed upon it by a dominant culture. And, finally, there are those who, as the parents using the Bible to reject antibiotics, similarly use the Bible to reject their gay children in the face of knowledge and science. I argue that there is a distinct parallel between the parents who point to a few texts in the Bible about promiscuous sex, and those who point to the Bible to justify killing their child by withholding treatment. We reject the one. We should reject both.

MadPriest said...

Thanks. And, of course, like all my bitchy responses, it came straight out of my inner female.

June Butler said...

To which sweeping statements of mine do you refer, Jonathan?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

No blog whoring, IT. I call it "edification" - and brilliant stuff, as per your usual.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, Jonathan, but wielding the knife like that is clearly influenced by testosterone.

MadPriest said...

To which sweeping statements of mine do you refer, Jonathan?

Well, all of them darling. All of them.

June Butler said...

Oh dear, Jonathan. I was soooo looking forward to a Friday logical argument, but I see that it is not to be.

MadPriest said...

Men - fists
Women - mouth
Proof - you

MadPriest said...

Ah, but we're not allowed to base our arguments on experience. If we were then I would have won this argument ages ago when I said from my experience men are not misogynists.

Arguments are won at this blog by the person who can insist that they are the most victimised the most vehemently. And that is why you always win.

MadPriest said...

I was soooo looking forward to a Friday logical argument

If I wanted a logical argument I would have picked it with another bloke.

But today I was in the mood for contradiction.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, Jonathan, I can count on one thing: a visit from you when you are in a contrary mood.

See you again soon.

MadPriest said...

No you won't.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

You are always welcome here, Jonathan. Let me know when you're coming. I'll be sure to put the tea on and have a few biscuits out.

June Butler said...

Ah, but we're not allowed to base our arguments on experience.

Just one further thought: If it's my experience against your experience, then we're pretty much at a standstill, aren't we, Jonathan? And, as I see it, no one "wins".

MadPriest said...

It was a competition?
Now you tell me!
I was just passing on my superior* knowledge to a couple of foreign ladies that I discerned were in need of it.

* I'm an English priest.