One of the ways Christians get duped is by not listening to non-Christians. Parents sometimes fail in the same way with their children. This is the sin of not being cynical enough. This is the sin of optimism. Now of course love hopes all things and believes all things. Faith, hope, and love truly are optimistic in Christ. But that doesn’t mean that love is stupid or naive or foolish. Love is wise. Otherwise, God might have just hoped the human race would pull out of its death spiral rather than send His beloved Son.
As my friend, Joshua Appel has pointed out in wedding homilies from time to time, 1 Corinthians 13 is about God’s love, the way God loves. His love believes all things and hopes all things, but His love also sent His only Son to be beaten to a bloody pulp for our sin. God’s love accurately diagnoses the problem of sin. If at had been any one of us, we’d have called off the Romans and Jews. Surely this is enough. Surely the world will get the point. But it wasn’t enough, it didn’t get to the heart of the matter until Jesus said, “It is finished.”
All of this by way of introduction to a theme I hope to write more on and that is the modern creation of “gay culture.” There’s a good deal about this topic that is unsavory and appalling to say the least, but Christians will not be able to understand the plays being run on them or truly love those ensnared in homosexual perversion unless they have some understanding of what the militant sodomites have been thinking and planning over the last century.
Just as one small sample, I give you Bryan Lowder’s article in Slate from May 12 2015 entitled What Was Gay? The article is an overview of the last 100+ years of the homosexual movement, specifically focused on the creation of “gay culture.” Lowder, himself a practicing homosexual, recognizes and cites other homosexuals and homosexual historians who note that one of the unique elements of the last century is the creation of this new culture. He writes: “What changed? As historians of sexuality, most influentially Michel Foucault, have argued, it’s in the mid-to-late 1800s that medical, psychiatric, and legal authorities elaborate sex between men, encounters that would have previously been viewed as discrete acts of ‘sodomy,’ into a type of person: the homosexual.” He continues:
“But how do you establish traditions for an ethnic group that has just been invented?… it’s not surprising that the then-contemporaneous sensibilities and cultural movements like aestheticism and dandyism were appropriated and refined by many homosexuals with gusto. These were considered by much of the conservative mainstream to be transgressive, awry, unnatural, and utterly modern — all adjectives equally applicable to homosexuals. Like attracts alike. And it helped that these and other qualities were embodied by early homosexual icons like Oscar Wilde… while it’s an exaggeration to attribute all of gayness to Wilde and his demimonde, it’s undeniable that certain tropes — attention to detail, an embrace of decadence, attentiveness to self-presentation, a critical pose toward the mainstream both serious and playful — crystalized under his cool gaze.”
Lowder goes on to chronicle the self-conscious cultivation of “gay culture” in the West, ultimately giving a four-point outline of the most essential aspects of this “new ethnicity.”
There is much to say about all of this, but for now it merely bears pointing out that this distinction between “discrete acts of sodomy” and “gayness” is an ongoing point of discussion and (often) controversy within the homosexual community. Some have taken the label “queer” in order to avoid the now cliche valley-girl sodomite flamer. This is related to why Nate Silver says he is “sexually gay but ethnically straight.” And the point of underlining this is that Bible-believing Christians really must understand this as part of the play being run on us. The whole “pride” movement is bound up in this idea of “gay” as an ethnicity, a culture. But secondly, if Nate Silver can opt out of gay culture, while practicing sodomy, then Christians can foolishly, naively, and sinfully “opt in to” gay culture, while studiously avoiding homosexual acts. Of course, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. Just as the meat sacrificed to Aphrodite was still just a hamburger for a Christian to enjoy with a clean conscience, Christians must nevertheless be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
This is because culture is social gravity. Culture is the accumulation of social significance and meaning and carries with it a teleology. Sinful cultures accumulate sin and are taking you to Hell. Godly cultures accumulate godliness and are intended by God to be an enormous blessing in taking you to Heaven. Thus, sinful appropriation of gay culture (even minus the “discrete acts of sodomy”) is dangerous for your own soul as well as the souls of those around you. What are you encouraging your own soul to be? Where are you tempting your soul to go? And what are you cultivating in the souls of those around you? The name of this sin is “softness” or “effeminacy.” As Paul writes in 1 Cor. 6:9: the effeminate will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Let me give just one example from Lowder’s article of what effeminacy looks like. He begins his outline of “gay culture” with the first essential element he calls “cruising” and explains:
“It’s a stereotype that gay men are detail-oriented. We attend to texture, we get the importance of garnish, we advise on etiquette — that sort of thing. But stereotypes are often founded in reality, and in this case, the reputation is well earned. If I had to reduce gayness to its most fundamental aspect, its most unadorned truth, it would be this: Gayness begins in the practice of paying attention, deeply and with great skill… In his work, queer critic Wayne Koestenbaum has elaborated cruising, which he defines as ‘readerly readiness… a willingness to pick up codes,’ into a sort of ethical position in which paying tribute to nuance is a holy act. I would add that camp, which I’ve defined in the past as something like a joyously overzealous pleasure taken in noticing the ‘wrong’ detail, is really just cruising applied to the culture at large.”
Paying tribute to nuance as a holy act. Now, it’s of course important that Christians not merely react. There’s a kind of thuggish obliviousness that understandably caricatures some pseudo forms of masculinity. On the other hand, the reason why God made men to be warriors (and not women) is because war requires that men not think about many nuances. In war, men must be able to give and take orders and remain focused on the goal despite the many obstacles, barriers, and difficulties. All of those details are what tempt men to be fearful in battle. And this is why the Bible says that when men become fearful in battle they become like women (e.g. Is. 19:16, Jer. 50:37, 51:30, Nah. 3:13). It is a distinctively feminine glory to care for the details, to pay tribute to nuance. Yes, of course, in the same way that the occasional Jael will need to put the kibosh on some Caananite thug, this is no excuse for men to be devoid of all manners. But the point stands. It is effeminate for men to give excessive care to details, especially the details of appearances, and most especially their own appearances.
This happens in studied appropriations of rock culture, grunge culture, culinary culture, fashion culture, hipster culture, hip hop culture, cross fit culture, you name it. Where men spend their energy paying tribute to nuance as a holy act, they are sinning against their own masculinity, the God who made them male, and tragically leaving the walls of Christendom completely unmanned. No wonder the hordes of barbarians stream into our midst. We are letting them. We are too busy choreographing next Sunday’s guitar solo. We are planning to prance down the aisle in our liturgical drag. We are nuancing the Hell out of some Greek word with overzealous pleasure in order that we may safely avoid coming into any real conflict with sin, Satan, or the flesh.
But that is not love. Love sees where the enemy has dug in and goes to work with the truth and grace of the gospel there. There are many Christians who (rightly) recoil at the Pride parades and rainbows everywhere, but they can’t see their own complicity with sodomite culture in their own churches, in their own homes, in their own hearts. We will not be able to rid ourselves of this curse until we repent of our effeminacy, our softness, our gayness. We need men willing to go to war, which means we need men who are unafraid. We need men who are willing to cultivate a sanctified obliviousness to details. We need men like Jesus who fix their eyes on the joy set before them and refuse to pay attention to the many distractions.