Good morning from a drizzling London!
Yesterday I was in Soho. I visited two of my favourite churches there, Warwick Street and Notre Dame de France.
I’m also friends with the priests in these churches and it is so nice to be in a warm and welcoming environment.
In the afternoon I went for a coffee and there was a french family in front of me. Maman, Papa and 2 enfants (kids).
The parents looked younger than me and there it was in front of me, “catholic perfection”.
It reminded me of my time in France and the pressure to be “normal” and by normal I mean heterosexual, married and with kids.
It also reminded me of my time in Australia and again the pressure to be straight and the ‘success stories’ of gay conversion therapy who were now married with kids.
The fact that they were still attracted to their own sex was no longer mentioned. They now had a family and were normal.
Part of me felt lonely, I wondered if I was straight and married with kids if my family would be closer to me, if they’d be more proud of me, if they’d be more interested in me. My heart knew the answer.
And then looking around Soho I found consolation in all the other gays and reminded myself that I’m only one of many.
Talking to Jesus I couldn’t help but feel how the church can really narrow down the people of God to an ‘acceptable few’ when in fact God is far more broad minded and diverse.
In France they’d teach endlessly about “natural law” quoting Thomas of Aquanus whom at times I felt like strangling. Where was there any mention of LGBTQ people in his “summa theologica” and why were these people constantly forcing this natural law concept into saying that everyone is straight?
Is there any more to being a catholic than reproduction?
Are gay people null and void because they don’t reproduce?
Why did God bother to make angels if reproduction is so important?!
Are a few gays that don’t reproduce such a threat to humanity?
I guess Jesus was allowing me once again to see and share his pain at how his church rejects and misunderstandings so many of her children even if it’s with the very best of intentions and once again the danger of over generalizing when it comes to theology and thinking we are all the same.
We simply can’t force gay people to be straight people like driving a square peg into a round hole. It doesn’t work and causes untold damage.
Instead we must be humble and ask the question “what does a holy gay person look like?” and how can we bring gay people to holiness rather than straight ness?
And how can we not see gayness as second best or the silver medal so to speak because God doesn’t see gay people as second best?
The answer might be very simple and starts with you and I!
Do we treat gay people with the same dignity as straight people?
If you are a parent, do you treat your gay child in the same way or are you ashamed or embarrassed before your neighbours?
In your local church and schools, have you any outreach to gay people and their families to educate and explain and break the cycle of pain?
And are you perhaps gay or confused yourself and have you spent a lifetime in shame hiding it and trying to fit in?
And so you see, holiness is about love whether we are gay or straight and while one very beautiful expression of this love is a family with kids, it is not the only expression of this love and we must continually move forward to make our church a place of love and holiness for all!