Saturday, October 08, 2005

Fall, Fresh Air and Buck Naked.

I got to tell ya, I LOVE the fall. The leaves are starting to turn here...a bit later than last year I think. The smell of the air, the return of the rain, pulling out the old winter clothes.

I love the fact that people in the Northwest hardly ever bother with jackets or umbrellas because our rain is so light and temporary and frequent. Umbrellas dont really keep you dry here at all, and you just lose them.

Tommorrow I will go pruning the bushes and trees, cutting back the flowers and probably move the lavendar by the mailbox to some other location. I will also get to use my new-used 6 dollar weedeater.

Plus our grass will go back to being green. I didn't bother to water this summer. I said it was a statement on social responsibility, but really it was cos I was too lazy to move the stupid sprinkler all over the place and then pay a big water bill. Ha, any attempt at activism/conservation on my part is too often just a thinly veiled exercise in laziness/poverty. I'm ok with that.

I listen to NPR. I don't agree with everything I hear, but I like yelling at the radio when I detect their bias. Here in Portland, I feel that the OPB stuff is much less slanted than the stuff I hear in Seattle or California. I was listening to Fresh Air the other day, Wednesday actually. They were talking to a gay priest about the Vatican decision to ban gays from the priesthood. I was not expecting that the anonymous gay priest they spoke to would have anything that could change a person's mind about what seemed like a no brainer following the pedophilia scandals, but I was very wrong. Heres's the link

I was glued to the radio as this fellow spoke. He was well spoken and had alot of important things to say about the the subject....and I am referring broadly to the subject of homosexuality and religion. It is a subject that I wrestle with, for personal reasons and for reasons of faith. I will summarize what he said about the subject of gay priests.

  • He said that gays, by necessity of profession are called to a life of total celibacy. He said that the "don't ask, don't tell policy" couldn't work with priests. Reason being that it doesn't work to cover up your sin with lies, and that it is not consistent with the level of spiritual relationship with God that they are called to have. Additionally, covering up is basically a form of lying about it, and it makes it that much harder to maintain a life of celibacy when you have not been honest about this one powerful part of your is stunted if they try to go this route, stunted spiritually, stunted in an attempt to maintain just doesn't work

I am paraphrasing here because they don't offer the transcripts online for this one interview.

  • He also asserted that gay men were uniquely suited for the priesthood. Because the suffering inherent in being gay, going against societal expectations, parental expectations and living pretty much all your life knowing that you didn't really fit in in this way, gays are uniquely acquainted with suffering in a way that a person who has lived a life relatively untested cannot relate to. This gives them an ability to relate to parishioners on a deeper level. There is not much they can't handle because their own lives have already exposed them to so much more hardship in terms of personal issues.
  • And because of their celibate gay status, he said it was amazing how much people would open up to him and how intimately they would share their difficulties because there was no sexual issue.
  • Also because his attentions to his parisioners weren't divided by the needs of a wife and children. He said that if a parishioner woke him up at 2 in the morning with a catastrophy, he could respond if it was necessary without worrying about his personal life, because effectually, his parishioners were his personal life.
  • And that, as well as his celibacy, allowed him to build incredible relationship with people to help advance them spiritually and show them Christ's love.
  • Another point he brought up was that gay men are often attracted to the priesthood because they want an escape from their own sexual selves. The priesthood allows them to focus on a higher calling, access the power of God to give in to their own sinful nature. He said for this reason, there were more gay priests than probably what people would estimate.
  • He said that he sometimes wonders if God didn't give him this because he had plans that would require a higher level of closeness with Him that he could potentially find as a priest.
The main reason why I loved what this guy was talking about so much was because it was the first time I heard any sensible talk about this subject. I hear so much garbage from Christians and from homosexuals. It's as though everyone is too blinded by their agenda or ego or something to actually think about this subject to really understand it. Homosexuals seem to want their lifestyle validated as an alternative and Christians are just too busy half the time running around condemning people to hell (or saying things like "love the sinner, hate the sin" which goes over like a turd in the punchbowl). Knock knock knock, anybody home??

I will make enemies with everyone: we're all wrong. Christians are wrong for judging, for hatefulness and hypocrisy. Homosexuals are wrong to expect validation from Christians. Do I have the answers? No, I wrestle too.

That's why I appreciated Mr. Anonymous Gay Priest. He had clearly spent some time thinking about the subject clearly, praying about it and had some wisdom and clarity to impart.

On to Buck Naked. Buck Naked Faith that is. I put this book down and picked it up and put it down and picked it up and now I realize what is going on here. He has some good points, very good points, but his fatal flaw is where he talks about us having a friendship with God. Perhaps he has qualified this, but I contend that the relationship with God is not one so much of friendship but one of a Parent and a child. A friendship implies an equal footing, equal power type of relationship. We can never have that with God. period. He also keeps going on about this Bonsai tree religion thing which is a huge stretch. I can't believe he thought it was so good that he would put it in the book. It's confusing and strange and distracting. He makes other points that are very good though. And if I could get past God is my buddy or "don't be a bonsai tree" I could read more about them, but for now, I am too irritated by these things.

Did I mention that I tend to be a bit critical by nature? As if you couldn't tell.

And if you read this far, you deserve some eye candy.

Good and colorful and something to get lost in for a bit.

I didn't take it, but in finding it, take credit. Duane in Ecuador took it. I am jealous of his being able to live down there and be a photographer.

Hopper is one of my favorite artists because of his colors, his shadows and his solitude.

Peace out. Maybe since I posted about something controversial I will get lots of nasty comments?


Heather said...

I had to do a double take thinking about your grass turning green now... how odd, ours is just starting to yellow a bit.

Hmm, no nasty comments from me; I think I would have liked to hear that interview though, sounds interesting.

I haven't read that Dr. Seuss book, but I might have to look it up now.

I like the colorful picture. We had to paint optical illusions in one of my art classes in high school. That was one of my favorite projects ever, mine is huge, and it's still hanging on my wall.

RunningWheel said...

I used to be very judgemental toward homosexuals. I saw it as oh so very wrong, and never really listened. Of course, within my own life I was doing things which were even more reprehensible. How very disturbing is that. It does, however, seem to be a terrible human be so appalled by something, but meanwhile doing something at the same level of depravity or worse.

I too listened to the NPR interview with the gay priest. Everyone where I work listens to it, and I never miss a beat as I walk from room to room. He did do an amazing job at getting to the root of it all. I wonder, though, if he believed that his own homosexual desires were sinful or not.

I do not believe God sets us up to be sinful. Sin is in our nature and sinning is our choice. Someone who has an anger problem can not say that God made them that way. Nor a thief, nor a liar. So if the priest agreed with the Bible and felt that homosexuality was a sin, then I sure hope that he didn't think God set him up.

I do believe that God allows us to make certain decisions in life that, over time, leads to us having certain tendencies. And I do think that God is loving enough and wise enough to use those tendencies, as wrong or distructive as they are, to bring about some kind of good. And so I agree that homosexual priests may have an "in" with certain parishioners. So would others who went through seriously difficult times: someone of a minority living under racism, someone with a major physical deformity, someone who was physically or sexually abused. I believe that God allows us all to have our own piece of the pain, and through that we have a bond with each other. By denying our piece we put up a wall between ourselves and the rest of humanity.

That gay priest seems to have embraced his piece and is probably helping many as a result.