Sunday, May 13, 2012

Love is a Masquerade

I soak my dental guard in Hydrogen Peroxide to sterilize it a couple times a week (on the days I don't take a toothbrush to it).  Before I drop the bit of plastic in, covered with all my friendly little mouth germs, the cup could easily be mistaken for a cup filled with water.

What if I left it on the dining table by mistake and a guest in my home thought it was their glass of water?

Would it be loving to let them take a long drink from the cup, to drain it?  Say my guest is remarkably thirsty and doesn't like the taste of my filtered tap water?  Shall I let him drink because he sincerely believes it's water, a life giving fluid?  It looks like water, clear and remarkably wet.  Like water, it has no smell. But no matter how sincere my guest's mistake, the cup contains poison.

Letting my thirsty guest drink down a glass of poisonous liquid that merely looks like water is nor more loving than the supposedly loving approach to homosexual identity offered by Andrew Marin in, "Love is an Orientation" or than the approach to the end of sexual identity offered by Jenell Williams Paris in, "The End of Sexual Identity".

The two books have already been the subject of excellent reviews:

Truncated Love is Robert Gagnon's excellent and thorough treatment of Marin
Evangelical Author: Heterosexuality is an Abomination is Peter Jones' review of Paris

Because these and other responses are far more comprehensive and in-depth than anything I would write my purpose here is to add just a few notes.

The common flaw to both books is that they get the cart before the horse.  Both authors read Scripture and biblical theology through human experience, rather than the other way around.

Paris claims celibacy can be damaging (135) and that a sexual relationship outside of marriage can be a good thing (136).  Her approach has more to do with a Maslovian view of self-actualization than it does with  Christian morality, spiritual discipline and anything like taking up your cross daily or praying to God for the grace to deal with a thorn in the flesh as St. Paul did.  Paris also quotes queer theorist Judith Butler approvingly (33) and can't quite make up her mind whether or not homosexuality is, "a thing about which valid moral judgments can be made ..." (34).

Where Paris is an anthropologist and tends to take the findings of anthropology and sociologist as normative rather than descriptive, Marin takes a more openly narrative approach, saying we need to listen to stories to understand. Both authors, rather embarrassingly, quote "authorities" such as Kinsey (Paris) and Boswell (Marin), without being aware that both have been thoroughly and repeatedly discredited.

Because neither can quite manage to call sexual activity between persons of the same sex sin, both misunderstand holiness and utterly neglect to make any call to repentance.  In fact, Marin ups the ante and reduces God's moral law to an avuncular suggestion, designed for the individual:

"God meets them, speaks to them and hears them, personally and individually telling each of his beloved children what he feels is best for their life." (129) (emphasis mine)

That's not even avuncular - it's more like Joel Osteen on a saccharine high.

In the end, what is offered by both Paris and Marin is deadlier than that cup of Hydrogen Peroxide.  Because here, we are not simply talking about a poison that can kill the body.  We are talking about a life given over to soul-destroying sin.

I don't recommend you read either book.

Note:  As a result of an email exchange with an executive of IVP in which I was included, I asked for and received a review copy of Marin. Later, when I read about the book by Paris, I asked for and received a copy of it as well since it would make sense to review them together.

1 comment:

Lavender Luck said...

Dear Kamilla,
Thank you for your blog which has a lot of moral clarity. One thing that frustrates me so much is that everyone seems to take for granted that we are indeed discussing LOVE here. Not! How many men live only for the happiness of their male sodomy partners such that they would give their lives for them? Zero. Or would stand by them if they fell into a coma, foresaking all others? Zero. The media is feeding us this LOVE lie, swallowed easily by gullible women,while the homosexualist view of relations creeps into the world of marriage, which is being transformed from a sacrament into a partnership of ´meeting needs,´very selfish materialist view. Male/male couples might be pals and um ´lovers´ who are infatuated with each other but I dare anyone to find an exmaple of pure self-sacrifice and tenderness.