Interesting that, in a week where the word ‘gay’ was polled by UK teachers as by far the most used term of casual abuse in the playgrounds of Britain in 2008, I found a rather interesting comment on a BBC web article.
I couldn’t sleep lastnight for some reason. Ended up getting up to write down some ideas that came to mind, unhindered by the normal daytime crap. Haven’t looked back this morning to see if they will turn out to be the usual night time crap. But before the ol’ bean turned to creative matters, I had been randomly thinking about this little post, left by someone called ‘Sam, a Brit abroad’, in answer to a piece about the Bible’s attitude to homosexuality. It was a neat summation of the two views held by believers on the subject – a subject otherwise seen as absurdly moot by most people in the country.
This morning, in a not-surprising late starter for us, we were listening to the Radio 4 joy that is In Our Time and they were discussing the philosopher, Kierkegaard. And jeepers, we even understood it. More than that, it even appeared to make sense to us. But this ‘father of existentialism’ actually had a very personal view of Christianity… no, I’m not about to reveal he was gay. He saw the need to sometimes embrace opposing ideas if we are to attempt to understand things beyond ourselves. A necessary tension.
Trying not to behave like too much of a smug arse because, after all, I have no study to back this up at all, it did make me think how much I’ve thought over the years that faith is a long succession of impossible balances. That, if you feel impelled to make a declaration of faith in something – atheist or believer – the road you’ll have to walk is a daily one of tension. Of holding a long series of impossible balances in tension. If you care. In simple terms, could be desire/duty. Fulfillment/sacrifice. Certainty/Open-mindedness. Hope/Reality. Responsibility/Submission to events. Trust/likelyhood. That’s the high-wire act of faith. ..It rather comes down to what you’re choosing to put your faith in, but when that distinctly un-impirical idea starts to make a bonkers kind of sense, you’re beginning to get it. I think.
I can only measure to the end of my nose. Beyond it, I need to accept things may sometimes look contradictory in plebby human language, that aren’t in the bigger cosmos. We surely have to keep measuring what we can, to enlarge the world of certainty as wisely as possible – Duh. I want to know what the hell a graviton really is, baby; we might finally get proper flying cars and stuff. But accepting that even a long-awaited Theory Of Everything, will in no way tell us everything, is just honest. What we choose to think beyond the nose ruler is another, very personal, matter… Oop – there I go again, holding my impossible philosophical tensions with casual diffidence.
..Yep, I agree. Impressively deep stuff. I think I thought a lot of other deep stuff at three AM too, about how the spectrum of sexuality is not simply about desire but identity, of course. Interesting how our desires can be our labels, outwardly and inwardly. “Hi, I’m Bob. I’m a transexual Star Trekker. That’s me. What I want is who I am. And it demands a LOT of wardrobe space, let me tell you…”
I think I also came up with some clever analogy about how that sexual spectrum could be seen as a circular colour wheel – but a cylinder of brightness as well as a flat rotation of inclination.
See? Smart-sounding at three in the morning. I suspect it’s as helpful to daily life as a pair of men’s jeans three sizes too small – all bollocks – but there we are. Not about to devote a lifetime of study to it. But I did go back to this comment here and think, after reading the usual cartoon like responses to a religious article, this one somehow had the tone of voice of someone who in some way actually got what a God attitude might be to being gay:
“I’m 37 years old, an evangelical Christian(the kind who that believe you can “know” God personally/for real), and a struggling celibate. I knew for sure I was gay at 13. Unmistakable gay feelings etc when still a pre-pubescent junior. I became a Christian at uni, and then two very real worlds collided. No doubts about the person or reality of God. Nor of his love for me. Nor of my sexuality. My spirit (and mind)has always leaned towards my staying celibate – but my heart and emotions want what most do, a settled, loving relationship. I read the Bible several times – all of it,and as a student too – none of the points raised are new to me. Following that collision c20 yrs ago, daily I try to work through the reality of my own personal ‘collateral damage’.” Sam, Brit abroad.
You might have no idea where Sam is coming from here, but to my mind, there’s nothing playground gay about it.