Edgar Noble’s piece Yes to Gay Identity, No to Gay Sex? The Concept Shaking the Foundations of the ACNA is a thought-provoking piece on a subject that, to be honest, I didn’t think would come up this quickly in the ACNA’s life. As I noted in the last post, we have TEC, why do people feel compelled to bring this into the ACNA? I’ll come back to that later.
I look at this as a “meaning of life issue.” What is life all about? What is our real purpose and goal? What are we trying to accomplish along the way? I grew up in a world–upper class and progressive at that–which put forth the idea that life was all about getting laid, high or drunk (in that order,) and that there is something basically wrong with people who didn’t subscribe to that. That’s really the core of the conflict between the “arbiters of taste” in our society and Christians who uphold the traditional sexual ethic.
If you look at the culture wars the last fifty years or so, that’s pretty much the essence of the matter. But it predates that: the ancient world was filled with fertility deities and all of the “wide open” practices that went with that. Christianity (and before that Judaism) came and and opposed that, and the pagan world has hated us for it ever since. The issue at its crudest is simple: is our God the creator of the universe, or does this deity reside between our legs?
Under these circumstances, the whole concept of celibacy is a form of secular blasphemy. If life is defined by our sexual activity, then how is it possible for us to abstain and be human? Part of the core of Christian belief and practice is that all of us have to practice celibacy at some point in our lives. The fact that such periods exist for anyone is deeply offensive to those who make sexual activity the centre of their existence.
The whole course of the current LGBT movement needs to be seen in that context. We have a group of people who are defined by their sexual activity, whose identity is bound up in that activity. How is it possible for people to be celibate and yet claim this identity? That’s a question the ACNA needs to find an answer for and not get lost in the post-modern mushiness that surrounds most of our cultural debates.
Noble mentions that people have been conditioned to view their sexual orientation as immutable. That’s being challenged by the “T” part of LGBT, that not only should our lives be determined by our sexual activity, but that domination extends up to and including changing the tools out. It’s a conflict that has led to the “TERF wars” of which J.K. Rowling is the most famous general.
And now we should consider a question we started with: why fight this battle in the ACNA and not simply move to TEC, which has embraced the LGBT community for many years. One thing the left in this country is obsessed with is existing institutions. They seldom think of starting their own; they work hard to take over ones that are already there. Evidently the ACNA, in spite of its relative youth, is an “existing institution” of sufficient prestige to warrant such demands from the left. Personally I think that the ACNA, like TEC, is a victim of its own privileged demographics. Largely white and well off, it’s a natural target for movements like this.
That being what it may, the ACNA was born in the defence of basic Christian doctrine and life. It either needs to stand for it or fold and admit that all of the money, pain and litigation were simply a waste of time. American Christianity has for too long been a popularity contest. Real Christianity has never been popular, and that simple fact needs to be understood completely.