Thursday, May 14, 2009

Church and Mate

“If we say our God is an all-loving god,” he said, “how do you explain that at any given time probably 400 million living on the planet at one time would be gay? Are the religions of the world, as does Catholicism, saying to those hundreds of millions of people, you have to pass your whole life without any physical, genital expression of that love?”

from the New York Times


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"Deirdre Finney and I were wed in 1988 at the National Cathedral in Washington. In 2000, I started the long and complex process of changing from male to female. Deedie stood by me, deciding that her life was better with me than without me. Maybe she was crazy for doing so; lots of people have generously offered her this unsolicited opinion over the years. But what she would tell you, were you to ask, is that the things that she loved in me have mostly remained the same, and that our marriage, in the end, is about a lot more than what genders we are, or were."

Jennifer Finney-Boylan's Op-Ed in the New York Times


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I bring the above articles to light for a few reasons, none of them being that I have any grand political or ideological statement to make, but they both strike very personal chords for me. The first, because I'm the son of two ministers. My father was the chaplain at Cornell University for 20 years, and my mother was the chaplain at a nearby all-women's college. She left him for a woman around 1998, which the church largely turned a blind eye to, as my mother and this woman didn't live together. They kept their relationship clandestine (despite the fact that we all ate virtually every meal together, took trips as a family) and "respectable." Years later, my mother left this woman for another. They moved in together. At this point the church let her contract expire and forced us to leave the pastor's manse in which we were living. They said her relationship had nothing to do with it. My mother lost her home and her health insurance about 2 months after being diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. The church knew this. All of this as a long-winded way of saying that despite my reverence for what I believe to be the ideals of Christianity, for the beauty of so much of the Bible, I'm very familiar with the Church as an institution, with as much capacity for callousness and ignorance as any institution. A lot of this explains why I still love to read passages from the Bible, but rarely attend service.

The second article is a bit easier to explain. It was written by my Aunt Jenny. Well, I guess she's my aunt-in-law. Deedie is my mother's youngest sister. I just think everyone should read this one as it presents yet another tilt on marriage, how silly so much of this debate is.

Like I said, I have no grand statement to make. I grew up in a house in which sexuality was always an issue, but an easily resolved issue. It was never very complicated. It's actually simple, cheesy even. We love the people we love, not because they fit a certain template of human behavior, but because they make us happy. Because we would be lost without them.

And here I am, straight-as-an-arrow, white-bread eating, banjo-playing, American boy, raised by lesbians, ministers, and transgenders. Somehow I came out okay, despite all this corruption of the American ideal. But then again, I do write poems...

8 comments:

L I N D S E Y said...

Loved this posting Luke! lots of interesting stuff I never knew about you that no doubt shaped your life. sexuality has always been a struggle for some close people in my life, funny those American ideals aern't they....

L I N D S E Y said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L I N D S E Y said...

wrote a little entry about your blog on my blog! www.burnsesh.blogspot.com - check it out :)

LBeezee said...

This post has stayed with me since I first read it.

"We love the people we love...": a simple yet true statement.

Thank you for sharing each tick of information in this post. It's empowering and lovely to read something so positive, something so good.

sh Lohmann said...

Hey Luke-- ran across our blog and am pleased the top post happened to be a subject very close to my heart. Amen, friend. (And congrats on graduating!)

Denis said...

Talk about coincidence - I read the second article recently. Very interesting post Luke.

Luke said...

Thanks for the encouragement, all. Nice to see so many level-minded folks reading.

noraconnor said...

Wow, I never made the connection that Jennifer Finney-Boylan was your aunt! Of course! I'll have to tell you stories sometime about playing on the trans-friendly women's rugby team in college - your aunt was very much a celebrity in that circle of people. :) See you this weekend!