Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Musings: Characters and real-world ethics

 I'm a woman of varied interests. I write historical romance, but I also have a legion of contemporary characters living in my head. Most have been there, in one form or another, half my life.

They range from soldiers to doctors to Thoroughbred horse trainers to professional football players. Yes, you read that right. This self-proclaimed history nut is also nursing a fascination with professional football that rivals my history obsessions. The central one is, of course, an NFL quarterback, and the positions around him have slowly been filling themselves in since Tebowmania hit full stride last fall.

When I'm tired or stressed (like I've been the last month), these guys come out to play. Recently, a new character went from a name and a position to a fully fleshed out person. What shocked me the most about him is his background. I'm from a traditional nuclear family, homeschooled and proud of it, very conservative, a Reformed evangelical in my theology, and very very traditional in my outlook on life. I don't even personally know anyone whose parents have divorced.

This character told me when he was eleven, he ran away from his mother to live with his dad. He considers himself raised by his gay father, and his father's boyfriend. Could have pushed me over with a feather. This character becomes a committed Christian in college, after the death of his high school sweetheart, and eventually goes to seminary.

He struggles a great deal with how to pray for the two most important people in his life. Who fear he will disown them some day. The thought of their son getting married in a church scares them, but they find the family of his wife-to-be open and willing to accept them as their new son-in-law's parents.

It occurred to me last week that his background is illustrating something that's happening in modern society. Something which many Christians are ill-equipped to handle, or simply afraid to think about. I've long been fascinated with the psychology of homosexual behavior, in part because I do have friends who are gay and I enjoy spending time with on the rare occasions I get to see them.

Yesterday afternoon I was reading an article by Wheaton College psychology professor Stanton L. Jones, about the various methodologies in research of homosexual behavior and how those methodologies and bad science are being used to craft public policy and the law of the land. The quote below is from the very end of the article, and I found it very striking in its truth and simplicity.
As moral and religious traditionalists face this profound polarization, it is important that we confess our own culpability in creating the mess we are in. We were complicit, even if ignorantly and passively so, in the cultural embrace of the disease conceptualization of homosexuality. We offloaded responsibility for the articulation of a thoughtful, caring, theologically rich and pastorally sensitive understanding of sexual brokenness onto the disease conceptualization, and thus were unprepared for the vacuum created by its timely demise. We have failed to articulate thoughtful understandings of human sexuality in light of evolving scientific findings and cultural developments. Perhaps most importantly, we failed and continue to fail to engage individuals who embrace homosexual identity with compassion, understanding, and love, and to seek to defend them against unjust discrimination and violence.
Sticking to the truth of the Bible is not an easy thing to do in this day and age. And our approach should never be one that causes another human being unjust distress.

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