Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Our house is almost fixed up and just about everything's boxed up for the move this Friday. All was going well until I had a bad fall on Monday and spent ten hours at the ER trying to get an x-ray. They finally got around to doing the x-ray--at 4 am. Nothing's broken, but a night of sleep was lost. I can get around okay, as long as I get around slowly. Also, one of the kids came down with a high fever last night. Not good timing since the local appliance recycling program came today to take away our old refrigerator, so we'll be living out of a cooler for two days.


The good news is that the earth will keep turning and the sun will keep rising and setting until we get past all this.

Oh, and by the way the blogging will be light, very light, over the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lust or love?

I was talking to some friends last night who would consider themselves to be more liberal-minded than most Christians with regard to social issues. Sure enough when they spoke of homosexuality, they were quick to acknowledge that it is no different than any of the other sins out there. But I was surprised to learn that their reasoning was that they characterized homosexuality as essentially "lust." One of my friends, a passionate Democrat, said, "It would be unfair to single out homosexual lust as if it were a special kind of sin, since heterosexuals lust too. Lust is lust."

Now, I'm glad that people are coming around to the idea that it's wrong to vilify homosexual people as some special category of sinner. But my understanding of gay and lesbian people is that their experience of homosexuality is not about being caught up in a continual state of lust. To say so is to characterize their homosexual feelings as fundamentally sordid and self-serving. It leaves no room for any of the feelings or impulses that belong to the higher order of human sexual experience such as emotional and spiritual bonding, mutual respect and admiration, the urge to give oneself to another, the desire to sacrifice oneself for another, or the conviction that you have found a "soul mate."

To say that homosexual people are all about the baser impulses of sexual attraction, minus any of the nobler feelings, is essentially saying they are less human than the rest of us. In other words, it is saying they are incapable of human love.

I think the reason the idea of homosexual love makes some Christians uncomfortable is that it doesn't provide much basis for their negative reaction to homosexuality. It would seem more justified if homosexuality were about people who are of a fundamentally lower moral quality. But to say that there are people who are capable of the exact same kind of sexual attraction as everyone else, except that they find themselves attracted to people of the same sex for reasons even they can't explain, is a more disturbing idea. It turns a part of your universe upside down. How can something as sacred and sublime as love take on this orientation? How could God allow this to happen? What is he doing? What does it mean? Why am I feeling so freaked out by it?

As much as Christians like to talk about "the homosexual agenda" and their righteous anger over "perversion," at its root this is really about the deep issues regarding our own personal faith, isn't it? As Christians we know we're not supposed to despise people. Everyone knows that. So we look for reasons to justify our uncomfortable feelings instead of just admitting we have them. Maybe that's why we make up stuff about how homosexuality is "lust" and "sex addiction" instead of just listening to what gay people have been telling us plainly about themselves until they are sick of saying it. Believing the made-up stuff is easier than having to accept the truth of the matter, than having to confront our own fears and phobias and doubts and questionings of God. We want to believe this is about "them" when it is really about us.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Super Tuesday and beyond

We have closed primaries in the state of California. As a registered Republican voting by absentee ballot, I mailed in my vote for John McCain this past Tuesday. I should add that way back in October I'd already decided to cast my vote for McCain in this primary, feeling a trifle foolish since he was barely on the media radar screen at the time. Now with this latest surge of success, I feel a lot less embarrassed about supporting him.

But that's in a closed primary. What about this November? As a moderate Republican, this is where my cold, rational self stands with regard to the November elections at the present moment:

Clinton vs. McCain -- McCain
Obama vs. Romney -- Obama
Clinton vs. Romney -- Clinton (ouch! ouch!)
Obama vs. McCain -- Obama (by a hair)

My reasoning is that what this country needs right now is a Democrat for president. People are sick of the Republicans right now (and I think for good reason). But what we also need is a leader who can begin to move us beyond the culture war, the red state-blue state divide, and this whole divisive mess we've gotten ourselves into. In my opinion, Obama and McCain move us closer to that goal, whereas Clinton and Romney move us farther away.

If it were Obama vs. McCain I'd have to (painfully, because I really like McCain) choose the Democrat because I think that's better for our country. If it were Clinton vs. Romney I'd have to (even more painfully, because I really can't stand Clinton) choose the Democrat once again. But if it were Clinton vs. McCain, McCain gets my vote because he will be much less divisive than Clinton.

If John McCain wins the Republican ticket, I personally think the only Democratic candidate who can beat him is Obama. Obama is the first Democratic candidate who has appealed to me in a long time. I take interest in watching the drama of whether Democrats will take this golden opportunity of voting him in, or whether they will again jeopardize their chance at the presidency by going with the more partisan choice.