Melinda Selmys has a new book out. Sexual Authenticity: More Reflections is a wonderful collection of reflections on sexuality, Christianity, mental disability, fiction writing, conversion, and much much more. It’s an incredibly rich work. Her love for her readers really shines through in this deeply personal and reflective book. You should order it here.
In a section on “12 Things Every Catholic Should Know About Homosexuality” she seeks to convey that “Truth told without affective love is not true love.” She writes, “Truth is not an abstraction. It’s a person.”
It seems to me that the near total inability of Christians to minister to gay men and women comes from a failure to understand this fact, this all-important fact that also reveals the utter failure of almost every philosophy department in America, especially in Christian universities.
But this is a problem for Christian preaching in general. Christians often preach the apocalyptic consequences of turning away from the truth, because we fail to understand that people might desire the truth as they desire a person: unfailingly, persistently, and so moved by beauty that they are willing to do and give up almost anything to get it.
I’ve always believed that if people saw the truth, they would desire it. The problem is that we too often present the truth in a way that doesn’t enable them to see it. If they don’t desire it, we haven’t shown it. The failure on the part of most Christians to present the Church’s teachings on homosexuality in a desirable way suggests that most Christians don’t understand these teachings. I must admit that, for me, living out the Church’s teachings is hard. I couldn’t imagine following them if I didn’t desire them.
And I couldn’t imagine another person truly converting without desiring. A priest in his homily today noted that a conversion is not the same thing as an aversion. One does not truly convert if he is only turning away from a sin or an evil. Conversion is a turning to something. The problem with Christians is that we often present people with much more to turn away from than we present them with something to turn to.
Chris Damian recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame and is currently pursuing degrees in Law and Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas. He can be found on Twitter @UniversityIdeas.