In my early twenties, I was lost and trying to find my way. I went down many roads, some of them not so good ones, trying to figure things out. One of the roads I went down for a while was the LGBT one–in theory. I fell prey to the lure of the lifestyle, that is. I had many friends involved in the lesbo life. My social life was tied to theirs, which was centered around the gay subculture. When I was a young and idealistic young woman trying to figure out who I was and how I was going to live, I felt drawn to this lifestyle for several reasons. When I told them I was gay (at the time, I believed I might be), they told me “you are family”. They revealed to me hidden things like who else was gay, where everyone was getting together, and community literature to read. It was like being admitted to a private club. I really liked belonging because I didn’t feel all that close to my actual family. Since I was “family”, I now had a lifestyle and a people to defend. I had a purpose. I had a social life. There were role models to aspire to be like and others to try to avoid becoming like. It was a way of having community and identity and purpose, and it was centered around loving–what could be wrong with that?
While involved with the LGBT community, I met a lot of caring and fun people. But, unfortunately, what I often found, too, was a lot of unresolved childhood issues being played out in adult life–relationship problems, drug problems, narcissism, and a fleshly lifestyle. Ultimately, I was dissatisfied and I didn’t settle down to become a “family member”. I felt drawn to God and I did not see a lifestyle of Godliness being lived out there. I was not inspired, so I kept looking. The grace of God led me by way of a Buddhist monk’s books to a Catholic monk’s books which resonated with me (another story for another day). In reading about his life, I got a glimpse of the kingdom of God and the real Jesus who I never saw before and really liked. I saw that the things I really longed for were in God and in his Church. I believe that there are some folks who are truly born with some physical differences and have homosexual tendencies (and the Church calls them to celibacy like any other unmarried person), but the vast majority take on the homosexual lifestyle either because of some childhood abuse they haven’t recovered fully from (God bless them–there but for the grace of God go I) or to fulfill that human need (as I did) to belong and to have a purpose. God brought me to him and showed me that I did belong to him and his family and he had a purpose for me as well.
I was born into a “Christian” family–like most other suburban American families I know of. When we were young, for a little while, my parents went to church (probably for us kids, because it was the right thing to do), but we mostly lived the lukewarm life like most other folks did, and later my parents divorced, etc… I had seen people in church, I had heard of Jesus, but I never saw anything but a social club I didn’t want to join. I did not see the life of real love, relationship, sacrifice, and redemption. I saw and heard judgment, hypocrisy, exclusion, and lots of bad music. Perhaps I just wasn’t ready to receive the Truth in those earlier days of my life, but perhaps I also didn’t feel drawn to Jesus and the church because I didn’t see the real Jesus or see anyone really living out his teachings. Maybe what we who worry about our culture and the future of our country need to be thinking about is not shouting down the bad “gay agenda” people, and also not watering down the truths of our Christian faith, but the opposite. Maybe what we should be doing is being Christian people.
Bishop Robert Barron was recently giving a talk on evangelization. Here is a link to an article about it: Bishop Barron on Evangelization In the talk, he mentions 3 challenges and 3 opportunities for evangelization. The opportunities he talks about include learning and sharing intelligent arguments for the truths of our faith (there are many), letting the world see the goodness of the radical Christians (the ones who are actually taking their faith seriously–people like Mother Teresa, St. Francis, hopefully us too), and showing them authentic beauty because that is something that speaks to us all. Pope Benedict XVI said, “I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth…are the saints and the beauty that the faith has generated.”
If we focus on becoming truly converted ourselves and living the Christian life, learning and speaking the truth, living the good we are called to, and creating and sharing real beauty, maybe we will have an easier time convincing others that this God we claim to believe in is all he is cracked up to be. Maybe they will see the joy and peace we have and take a look at what we believe and be drawn to the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness that is God. God created us with a longing for him–sometimes we have a hard time figuring out how to fulfill that longing, especially when we who claim to speak for him are lukewarm hypocrites. God help all of us to live out our holy calling in this world to continue your work of salvation. St. Francis, joyful preacher and live-er of the Gospel, pray for us!
“PREACH THE GOSPEL AT ALL TIMES, IF NECESSARY, USE WORDS”
(often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but apparently he never said it–still, he could have!)