A scattered “reader’s response” from a “New Homophile”

Austin Ruse has published  a piece on us in Crisis Magazine. While he has critiques, the main point of the piece is to just say, “Here, look at this strange phenomenon! Check out the eccentric and often brilliant Eve Tushnet, progenitor of the whole crew! [Eve, the Mother of All…?] Check out the Momma Bear, Elizabeth Scalia! Here’s a kinda weird, kinda wonderful bunch of people to look at!”

I must admit, I’m a bit amused by the piece. It almost makes us seem like some exotic tribe, with Ruse as the diligent anthropologist setting out to record and explain our practices. Of course, it is old school anthropology, the kind where you didn’t ask the people you were studying what they were on about, but just developed your own explanations, which you relayed to people who were more distant than you, and coined names for them yourself (though “New Homophiles” does roll off the tongue nicely!). As a result, he misses some things, like Ron Belgau and Wesley Hill, the editors of this blog, whose contributions to the First Thoughts blog at First Things are significantly more prolific than my contributions to On the Square over there. He also tends to portray us as much more homogeneous than we are. Still, I appreciate his basic interest in our project, and  look forward with interest to his promised forthcoming piece on our gay critics.

In the mean time, when the anthropologist relays the practices of the indigenous populations, something is invariably lost. Let me speak as one of the natives (and only one of them, not a definitive spokesman for the whole tribe) and try to articulate some of the nuance which, it seems to me, is missing.

He writes of us:

They believe the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and certainly the way it is often talked about by Christians is highly limiting, often insulting, hardly ever welcoming, and in desperate need of development.

I would want to really say “the way it is talked about,” and also, perhaps, “the way it is received.” The teaching of the Church, if we are frank, is limiting, for the Church defines the proper use of the sexual faculty, and to define is necessarily to limit. But the teaching of the Church, in and of itself, is not insulting, or unwelcoming. It may, perhaps (to employ “a columnist’s way of taking something off the fastball but throwing a strike nonetheless”), be true that the language of disorder tends to do more damage than good, but this is because of the way it is discussed and received, not because of what it means, for what it means is essentially the same as the basic sexual ethical teaching.

Again, he writes:

The New Homophiles believe because of their gayness they have a unique ability to build close friendships, something that is lacking in our modern age.

I do not think that I would say “unique,” strictly speaking. For to be “uniquely thus” is to be thus like nothing else can be. Anselm’s quo nil maius cogitari possit is unique. I don’t think the gay genius for friendship is. It does seem to me that there tends to be, on average, a greater depth to the friendships a gay person cultivates, especially the same-sex friendships. It also seems to me that the value of friendship tends, on average, to resonate more deeply with gay people than with straight people. But this is not to say that it is unique. Certainly, some straight people have greater strength of friendship than some gay people. Indeed, for I know, it may very well  be that the person who is friendliest in the world is straight, or for that matter, lives in one of the many cultural spheres where gay/straight is not a part of people’s self-understanding. But the general pattern, which I have observed anecdotally, and which sociologists have observed more scientifically, is a broad tendency for friendship to be more affectively significant to gay people.

Their ideal is that you can draw close to someone of the same-sex, love them intimately and intensely, yet never cross the line into sexual activity. They point to the relationship between Jesus and young John as a model. Recall John was the “one whom Jesus loved” and who laid his head on Jesus’ chest, something if done today would clearly be considered gay.

But here they are playing with the hottest of fires. Perhaps this is possible for Christ and for saints like Newman but for others it could be a serious problem. This is why married men should avoid intimate friendships with women and why priests should also. This is why married men and priests who form intimate friendships with women often lose their way and ruin their vocations.

There are two points I want to make here.

First, this native must confess that he does not keep up with everything which is written by a member of his tribe; it may be that one or two of them have appealed to the example of Jesus and John; it may even be that, in a given moment, I too made such an appeal somewhere, though I don’t remember doing so. When my head is sitting soundly on my shoulders, however, I would tend to avoid such an appeal, for two reasons. The first reason, and the one I would tend to emphasize, is that this appeal is fraught with misunderstanding. It has been suggested too often by more stridently liberationist types that Jesus and John were a couple, an example for a gay relationship. Such a narrative is, obviously, very much to be avoided.  The adjacent narrative, presenting them as a model for celibate gay folk, is too close to this liberationist narrative for me to be comfortable with it. The second reason is that, quite simply, we don’t know as much about their relationship as we would need to. The snippets we have are just not enough to present a helpful model, even barring my first and deeper concern.

The second point that I want to make, is regarding the analogue between same-sex friendship and opposite-sex friendship. In the first place, it must be noted that the great majority of people with whom we might be friends are not gay. My closest friends are straight men. In that situation, there is not even the possibility for temptation on the level that he is making analogous to it. In the second place, there is a decidedly different dynamic at play. Most people, to a greater or lesser degree, are accustomed to being socialized with those of the same sex, and separately from those of the opposite sex from an early age. Though the phrasing “Familiarity breeds contempt” is not what I want, it is true that familiarity with the same sex which all of us grow up with, and which is in fact innate, even from the basic fact that we are the same sex, creates a dynamic where we are often better trained in behaving ourselves around members of the same sex than heterosexuals are trained in behaving themselves around members of the opposite sex. When these factors, 1) the bare fact that some 97% of members of our sex simply are not going to be interested in us, 2) the a sort of instinctive assumption that “He couldn’t be interested in me” which arises from it, and 3) greater familiarity inclining away from allure are combined, it seems to me that the notion of intimate same-sex friendship is playing less with fire than, perhaps, with embers.

He also writes:

There is also something at least a little bit narcissistic about this claim of gay-exceptionalism, that they are experiencing things no others have ever experienced, or that they have unique gifts given to them by dint of their sexual orientation.

Perhaps; I can see where his concern comes from. But I wonder if Ruse sees where we are coming from. I may, perhaps, be prone to over-emphasizing gay as gift. But this is an example of what Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics,  calls bending the stick; when the basic assumption in a dialectic is too strongly in one direction, it is often necessary to push too far in the other direction to achieve equilibrium. Again, I am not talking about the teaching; but in the ways it has been talked about, and the ways in which it has been expressed, the tendency has been rather too much to emphasize disability and disorder. Allow me to offer two examples here. Michael Voris is certainly a character of the Catholic fringe right, but his video on the a homosexual spirituality is both far more humane than most of his material, and (consequently) far closer to standard perspectives in orthodox Catholicism.

I would also offer a passage from James Alison’s 2001 book, Faith Beyond Resentment. Alison is a dissident gay Catholic, whose narrative ability is crushingly powerful; this ability is used to undermine the Church’s teaching, and its power is often a danger for us. But in this passage, it seems to me that he has captured, not the teaching, but the reception of the teaching exceedingly well. Where often his rhetoric crushes us as an enemy, here, if we are crushed, it provides us with the ability to take shape in a new and more vital form, as well as an opportunity to respond to one who rejects the teaching of the Church. Here, he speaks in the person of the Church (at least, the Church he envisions) to a gay person, and thus powerfully illustrates the reception of the teaching:

As you are, you are not really part of creation. While it is true that for heterosexual people their longings, desiring, seeking after flourishing and sense of what is natural really do correspond to the order of creation, however much they may need pruning and refining on the path of salvation, this is not true for you. Your longings, desiring, seeking after flourishing and sense of what is natural, however they be pruned in a find through experiences of partnership and love, have absolutely no relationship with creation. There is no analogy between them and creation. For you creation is a word whose meaning you simply cannot and do not know from experience. Since everything most heartfelt that you take to be natural is intrinsically disordered, it is only by a complete rejection of your very hearts that you may come to know something of what is meant by creation. Until such a time as this happens, limp along, holding fast with your minds to the objective truth about a creation which can have no subjective resonance for you, and when you are dead, you will enter into the Creator’s glory.

While wrong, Alison’s framing is not as wrong as it should be, when it comes to the reception of the teaching. When we couple this with Voris, trying to offer comfort to homosexuals by telling them, “You are a sacrificial victim who through your victimhood brings grace to people,” we clearly have an over-emphasis on the trials of the gay person. It is quite clear that the stick has been pushed too far in the direction of “trial.” While we may hope that, eventually, a happy median will be attained, I and those like me may perhaps be forgiven, if we have sometimes pushed the stick too far in the other direction, toward “gift.” The correction of this balance away from trial, I think, is absolutely imperative to the re-habilitation of the image of the Catholic Church, so that she can be seen less as an oppressive enemy of gay people, and more as a place where they can find a spiritual home.

This, really, has been one of the underlying concerns driving all of my writing on this topic. As things stand, very few in the gay community imagine that they can find a home in the Church, for they and the Church have tended to adopt antagonistic stances toward each other. This is why I wrote my piece for First Things on Dan Savage; to attempt to bridge the gap between the Church and the gay community. The setting has too much tended to be of “Catholics against Gays.” They have been cast as enemies who scream at each other, rather than as interlocutors who can truly listen to each other. The first step in advancing the discussions on marriage, and on gay people, is to enable the parties to listen to each other, which they have long been unable to do. The situation is now a bit better than it is, as shown by the shocking decision of the Advocate to name Pope Francis “Person of the Year“; yet it is far from ideal, as shown by the vitriolic responses to that decision.

The conversation is fascinating and I must admit I started out annoyed. After all, there are good men and women trying to be faithful but who reject the gay identity, and others who are trying to deal with the underlying psychological genesis of unwanted same-sex attraction, a process the New Homophiles largely dismiss.

I have, in the past, been deeply critical of conversion therapy; but I have tried, and I think I have succeeded, at least to a limited degree, to avoid being dismissive of those who in some sense live with attractions to the same-sex, but do not identify as gay. One of the few pieces written against me to which I directly responded was that published by Michael Hannon at Ethika Politika, and as my comments show, one of the main reasons I responded to it was a concern to not dismiss this demographic (or, as they may prefer, non-demographic) of people. For myself, he is right that I am suspicious of the claims of reparative therapists; but this must be distinguished from the phenomenon of people who, while living with some manner of attraction to the same sex, do not identify as gay. While I reject the claim that no Catholic can identify as gay, I do not want to diminish the realities of those people who do not themselves wish to be identified as gay; if I have unintentionally diminished them, then for that, I whole-heartedly repent.

So, what are we left with in the end? It seems to me that we are left with an article which, I think, is basically sympathetic, albeit without a bit of suspicion, an article which sees the necessity for the Church to be a better home than, perhaps, it has been, but is not quite ready to agree with proposed I, and those like me, propose. I hope that the reflections I have offered here may, at least, begin to diminish the concern, even if not to eliminate it altogether.

Joshua GonnermanJoshua Gonnerman lives in Washington, DC, where he is pursuing a doctorate in historical theology. His main focus is on Augustine, and he hopes to dissertate on Augustine’s doctrine of grace. He has also occasionally published in First ThingsSpiritual Friendship, and PRISM Magazine, where he makes small attempts to help re-orient the way the Church relates to gay peopleHe can be followed on Twitter: @JoshuaGonnerman.

42 thoughts on “A scattered “reader’s response” from a “New Homophile”

  1. “Their ideal is that you can draw close to someone of the same-sex, love them intimately and intensely, yet never cross the line into sexual activity.”

    I think it is telling that he frames things this way, and betrays his own concerns and some basic premises of his paradigm.

    I’m not sure “never crossing the line” is the most important thing. The idea is that same-sex romantic love can be chaste or tend towards chastity.

    If I had to choose between risking sin by an “excess” of love (as it were) and sinning by a deficit, I’d think any Christian would prefer the former. But apparently not; his stripe have no notion of “spiritual risk taking” as part of the process of spiritual growth (which makes one wonder about how far, exactly, they have grown on their own).

    I think a heart stopped up and shriveled and a compartmentalized and repressed emotional life is by far the greater spiritual disaster than crossing a line of moderation in an inordinate fervor of positive regard for someone.

    The latter may still be inordinate, but “too much” food is easy enough to solve by subsequent moderation. Starving on a desert island may have no solution…

    • ***The idea is that same-sex romantic love can be chaste or tend towards chastity.****

      Hi, Mark–am I correct that you are asserting that two men (or two women) are capable of loving each other “romantically” while preserving the virtue of chastity? I just want to make sure I’ve understood what you’re saying before making any other comment. Thanks, JR

      • This thread is a discussion thread for Joshua Gonnerman’s response to Austin Ruse. Joshua did not raise the subject of chaste-but-romantic same-sex relationships in his post, so we’re not going to go off on that tangent. I will not approve any further comments on this subject on this post.

  2. Frankly, I think the article was mostly made up from the author’s imagination.

    1) I see nothing on any of the blogs I read nor from any of the authors about “gay exceptionalism.” Unless, of course, one presumes to believe that asking to be treated the same as other Christians is an exceptional thing for a gay person to ask.

    2) It may be that many gay Christians do make closer non-sexual friendships than many straight people. But if so, it is not because of innate abilities given by being gay but because the gay person is denied the normal connections of family.

    3) I have not seen a single author claim that God “made” people gay. Permitted, yes. Use it as he uses all things, even sins, to His glory and our good, yes. Made – no.

    I think his imaginings are likely to do far more harm than any good his “sympathy” may accomplish.

    In fact, from the comments resulting from that article, I see some of the worst examples of gay bashing beginning to emerge and this scares me, especially since it is being directed at people who are trying faithfully to follow God.

  3. Ugh… why did I read the comment section of that article?! I knew better than to look, but found myself reading it. Once again I end up asking myself… “WHY did I become Catholic?!” I have to remind myself of the reason because the bigoted BS I read on many Catholic blogs/comment sections is anything but welcoming.

  4. Kelley:

    1) As a friend of mine once said, “If you ever want to know why so many saints were convinced that the overwhelming majority of the human race will go to hell, just read internet comboxes.”

    2) on a related note, as I imagine you know, the basic rule to Staying Sane on the Internet is: DON’T REAL COMBOXES!

    Of course, I largely tease. It is true, the combox is simply awful on that article. If it’s any consolation, the comments on the FB page of Crisis are much more sane. This, I think, speaks to the basic difference between those two realms. FB has become part of people’s LIVES, but in comboxes, there is still a quality, or at least an imagined quality of being un-known. I’m not convinced that this indicates reality; I think people are at their most real when they are in relation with others, and at their least real when they are not, or imagine that they are not in relation with others. Anyway, all that mess, as an attempt to calm the eminently understandable and reasonable concern. Hopefully, some of it hits home.

  5. I’m sorely tempted to angrily call out Ruse on certain matters, but I shouldn’t, not this far into Advent. I should focus on trying to find the presence of God and preparing to receive Christ with joy.

  6. I would say Ruse is a perfect example of why the Church is utterly unable to reach out to same sex attracted people. It’s a bunch of straight people talking about gay people, giving advice to gay people, making assumptions and guesses about what gay people think without even asking them. More and more I am coming to see that same sex attracted people are not, in fact, real people in the minds of the large majority of straight Christians.

    Frankly, it was easier being a same sex attracted teen in the 70s (even when another kid actually tried to kill me) than it is to be same sex attracted in the Church today. It seems like no matter what we do to obey God and remain faithful, straight people call us perverts out of one side of their mouths then turn right around and tell us we should not “identify ourselves by our temptations.” How in the world are we supposed to be able to do that when they are constantly throwing it in our face?

    I’m sorry to be so angry but I can accept statements like Phil Robertson’s (at least he included the desire to love us) better than I can the blatant misunderstandings in Ruse’s article and the open hate in the responses.

    • I couldn’t agree more. we’re in a tough position. on one side people want to be accepting of us but reject our faith. on the other side they affirm our faith but reject our existence. I can understand why so many gays leave church and have such animosity. It sometimes feels like ‘ sleeping with the enemy’.

    • Are you truly listening to straight Catholics? However you express it, however you fold the gay persona into the original creation of Man, they are simply befuddled by how the homosexual condition reflects the Image of God: in short, unlike the heterosexual union reflecting (communing) the Divine image, how does the homosexual non-union communicate the God/Man union privledged to heterosexuality? It is an honest question. Of course, it may be put more crudely, yet you owe them an explanation – if there is one.

      Heterosexuals tend to reason very simply and confidently regarding this issue. If the homosexual condition is truly disordered and sinful, they reason, yow can it do any reflecting? How can it reflect anything but it’s own disorder? Faithful Catholic gays must be able to answer that question.

      There is nothing disrespectful or heartless in raising the question.

      I was once a hustler in Hollywwood. I never understood why the johns usually said thank you; I never quite understood what I gave them. What was made anew just by turning a trick; what came to be that was not there before? I knew in my gut that the promise of newness (however much squelched) was integral to heterosexual unions – however poorly done, and outside the bounds of God’s law. Even within the midst of sin the heterosexual act reflects, however dimly, God’s image. That is the surety of Man’s Original Solitude (Standing) before God. The homosexual relation, however lovely, can never do that work of reflecting. Yes, even as I manned my corner of Hollywood and Vine, took a prowl down Santa Monica Blvd, I knew.

      Certainly the johns understood. The deed that was just done was more kin to idolatry than communion.

      One can only get around this if one severs the nourishing cord between the homosexual condition (the persona) and the homosexual act. I cannot do that. The Thomist Laws of Creation do not permit that. They allow homosexuality no purchase of ruggedness, no claim to exceptionalism. They allow homosexuality no manifestation of God’s love to me.

      • Steve, it doesn’t seem to me that you understand what is going on here. The authors on this blog are all committed to a traditional sexual ethic, believe that same-sex intercourse is against God’s law, and lead their lives accordingly. No one is arguing in favor of “homosexual non-unions.”

  7. If you ever need a reason to re-consider being open with your militantly orthodox Catholic friends all you need to do is to look at the combox for the Crisis article. These are the people who make it difficult to want to be open with others. They are so smug. It really put me down. Sometimes I’m glad I’m gay because I fear that if I were straight I’d be a self-righteous a-hole like most of them. I guess it makes them forget their blatant disregard for the Church’s teachings on contraception to focus on us poor narcissists. I honestly think God has a particular kind of mercy for those who really tried and out of conscience had to just live their lives outside the Church. How can you be a serious Catholic when the more hard-core ones see you as an enemy? Even if you’re faithful?

    Gee, straight folk, sorry I labeled myself as gay! Actually, when I think about it, YOU labeled me! You labeled me when I didn’t have any interest in looking at your Penthouses in High School, YOU labeled me when you made fun of me for being friendlier than most and just a little too stylish, YOU labeled me when I was 17 and still had no girlfriend, YOU labeled me when I was 16 and you yelled ‘queer’ at me for an apparently too flamboyant messenger bag (I have never felt worse in my life, I never used that thing again, thanks GAP!).

    So, when you get on your Christian high horse of machohood and pure sexual morality, remember who labeled who. Sorry that I don’t fit neatly into your perfect world of boys who like girls and girls who like boys. Sometimes I wish I did. But not today. Today I’m happy as God created me.

  8. Kelly, I fell into the same trap. I knew better but scrolled down anyway… mea culpa. And Matt, I agree with you 100% when you say that the article came out of the author’s imagination. I am sort of in shock, actually. The article was like something that came out of the major news networks while following the election of Pope Francis; just a bizarre and incorrect account of something it was clear they knew absolutely nothing about. On a positive note, I have been following this blog for a little while now and have found such peace, clarity, and positive, holy encouragement to keep taking up my cross to follow Jesus. Thank you to the contributors and thoughtful commentators on this blog for being faithful to the cross and faithful to the Church.

  9. I think SF is the only combox I read 🙂

    Anyway, the place in Ruse’s article where my brow furrowed was where he cautions against intimate friendships for celibates. I am a member of a lay community and have taken a promise of celibacy. Close friendships with both men and women are an important part of my life. What can be a problem is an exclusive friendship where others are not welcome in. Part of living out chastity is learning to experience intimacy in a non-sexual way. This kind of love I have never found, in my own life, to be an occasion of sin or an obstacle on my way to God. Ruse says, “perhaps this is possible for Christ and for saints like Newman but for others it could be a serious problem.” No! We are to imitate Christ and the saints and learn from them how to live.

    • I want to ask Ruse: How can anyone live without close friendships?
      And in my opinion, if there was anything that could push someone into sexual-relationships-that-are displeasing-to-God, it might be the loneliness that would come from a life with no close friendships.

  10. But you have it exactly right! Your school is pretty new and it is quite foreign to most of us. It is also interesting. At least I found it so, and it seems lot of others. I regret Iwas not able to talk about more of you, Wesley Hill, certainly, and others. But there are limitations in short columns.

    So, you do get it right…I did feel like an anthropologist!

    About exceptionalism. It seems you rather proved it in your post. First you denied it, adn then gave us a list of things that gays are better at than straights. I found these types of assertions in most of the New Homophiles i read.

    Anyway, I trust no one took offense.

    All the best,

    Austin

    • I, for one, was not really offended; just amused, as I say!

      A lot of other people took more offense, though I wonder to what extent their replies were impacted by the deeply unfortunate comboxes.

      Re: exceptionalism. I did not mean to deny it; my intent was to say that I saw where you were coming from in that charge, but to then contextualize. When the narrative in Catholicism has tended overwhelmingly, even crushingly (as illustrated by the heartbreaking passage from Alison) one of disability, affliction, and trial, It does not seem to me to be beyond the realm of reasonability to try to bend the Aristotelian stick, to the point of perhaps talking too much of the gifts that can be associated with being gay. I do think Aristotle is right, not only on the level of individual virtue, but on the level of cultures and discourses; it seems to me, that when there has been too strong an inclination in one direction, we need to incline too strongly in the other direction to achieve equilibrium.

      I hope that helps explain how I did not really mean to deny the charge, but to contextualize it, and to show why I think what you are charging, is precisely what we should be doing.

      • I thought my piece was darned fair particularly since I’m a skeptic. If folks are upset with my piece, the I’d say they have a long way to go. I mean, to be upset with someone who’s trying to give a fair shake, well, your allies need to learn how to cultivate a bit better. Save fire for real enemies.

      • ” disability, affliction, and trial,”

        What Austin Ruse has articulated in his article is that the “new homphiles” deny, either explicitly or by implication, that the temptation to homosexual act is, indeed a “disability, afflication and trial.”

        But it is. That is the root of Catholic teaching here and to deny it to take steps away from that teaching. The ideal of human existence is laid out in Genesis: male and female, building community with each other and with God, their coupling being an embodied expression of that communion.

        For a man to seek this with another man, and to find the idea of that intimate, full-bodied, life-generating communion with a woman eilther repulsive, strange or foreign, *is* a disability. It’s a disordered attraction *just like the Church teaches.” It may be deep rooted, but so are most disabilities and disordered ways of relating to the world.

        Ruse is spot on.

      • Marty, yours is a misreading of the piece. Blanchard talks about it being like sickle cell. Someone else, maybe Damian, talks about it being a thorn.

    • They are writers. Happy to talk to anyone but writers should understand that they will also be examined through their writings. This is a school of writers and interesting, too.

  11. Mr. Ruse, your article was not a critique of writers, it was about a group of people and their way of life. And if you think this group is only about writing, then you have entirely missed the point. You would have done yourself a journalistic favor by interviewing at least one person in the group, if they fascinate you as much as you say they do. The time it took to write your comments here could have been used to actually talk to one of these people.

    • Sure it was, Francis. I spent many hours reading their published work. I don’t believe for a second they don’t stand behind their published work. More than that they’re a group of thinkers asking the church to develope her doctrine. I am sure they expect engagement just as they are engaging in the public debate.

      • Mr. Ruse, if your article was intended to be nothing more than a writing critique, then I apologize for assuming otherwise. I think the same clarification is necessary for the many readers who have left comments over at your page who were also under the impression that you were writing about the actual lives of people.

    • Mr. Ruse, after sleeping on it last night, I realize now that in my previous posts I came off as angry and annoyed and I apologize for that. That was certainly not my intention. And I did not mean to imply that you made anything up. I did not question the intellectual integrity of your article. But as someone who very much relates to the ideas and people of this community, I had a difficult time relating to your article. Take that for what it is. I think I lack the skill necessary to further articulate what I am thinking and so I will not waste any more of your time. I encourage you to think about a follow up article with an interview from one of the contributors from this site. I think it would help show your readers how the ideas presented here are expressed in material reality, i.e. in everyday lives. I thank you for your interest in this (growing) demographic and for your time. Many blessings to you this Christmas.

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  15. ” It does seem to me that there tends to be, on average, a greater depth to the friendships a gay person cultivates, especially the same-sex friendships. It also seems to me that the value of friendship tends, on average, to resonate more deeply with gay people than with straight people. … But the general pattern, which I have observed anecdotally, and which sociologists have observed more scientifically, is a broad tendency for friendship to be more affectively significant to gay people.”

    I am speaking as an outsider on this issue, but I have to wonder about the causal relationship. Is it that gay people have a greater depth of friendship, or is it that people with a great capacity for friendship are more vulnerable to this set of temptations, especially in the sex-saturated culture of the Nearly Apostate West?

  16. You are being kind Josh. It seems to me this type of piece comes from a culture over exposed to pornography whereby people are reduced to objects and exploited for other purposes. The human person is never to be reduced to an object and is never a means. I hope the author actually interacts with you and the others before his next piece and frees you from the confines of being words on a computer screen. Just saying…

    • Funny, Alex…you have only read my “words” but have already concluded it comes from turning these folks into objects and that I am exploiting them, and this comes from my exposure to a pornified culture. So, am I more than my words? Or is that just them? Just asking…

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  18. Can I just say as a “newcomer” to this blogs conversation to the issue, as a straight man, husband, father, lover of the Church, and searcher for ways to reconcile all groups, I am appreciative and fascinated by this conversation. I didn’t know such a place of safety existed. Thanks.

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  20. I agree with Mark Holcomb.

    Finding this community has been a blessing. It not only allows me to understand more the sexuality of homosexual/gay people but my own sexuality. It also helps me understand my own struggles with chastity. There is huge ignorance within the ranks of the church. There is also a lot of hypocrisy. I myself, being heterosexual, struggle with chastity. And I assure you I see temptation as a disability that robs me of my peace.

    Heterosexual people that are judgmental or self righteous will do well to be humble and compassionate.

    Homosexual/Gay people who are self serving and do not understand or want to live chastity as it is taught by the Church should also abstain from passing judgment on SF.

    Thank you all, the Holy Spirit is working through you.

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