Monday, June 19, 2006

Eve Tushnet, Catholic Blogger, Struggling with Same Sex Attraction, Shared Some of Her Thoughts Last Week

Eve Tushnet
one of the best of the Catholic Bloggers, someone who has been struggling for a long time with "same sex attraction", shared some of her thoughts in a series of posts last week. Pray for her. Share her thoughts with someone you love!

THE ROSES AND RAPTURES OF VIRTUE: And finally, I think it's 100% right to ask anyone who takes my position, So okay--I'm same-sex attracted, what do you think I should do? Are you just gonna do the whole "embrace the Cross, pray harder, read the Bible" routine?

Well, obviously, none of those are bad things to do, and all of them are necessary. (Although I think the better image would be "be more open in prayer" rather than "pray harder"; but maybe that's because I'm all about femme-y imagery, heh.) But I do think other things can be said that might illuminate how a Christian, chaste, same-sex attracted life can be sublime: joyful and fruitful as well as obedient. [Snip] June 15-1

ALL THIS USELESS BEAUTY: One of the reasons the family-dynamics origin stories (and the gender-dysfunction/salvation-through-pantyhose ones) don't really work for me is that they reduce what I experienced as an existential alienation into a psychological one. First off, I didn't feel "different from all the other girls"; I felt different from all the other humans. (I suspect boys' reactions are more likely to be gender-linked, though.) More importantly, in some respects my sexual orientation turned out to be the key that unlocked the world for me--the thing that made things make sense. I'll try to explain by posting what I had initially intended to be the last section of the NRO piece (but it was already way too long). I think this can serve as one possible Christian alternative to the ex-gay worldview. I would never claim this is the only possible alternative. But it responds to my sense that my experiences weren't just pointless, something to be overcome and forgotten as quickly as possible. So here it is (with links to earlier posts where I expand on some of this stuff):

If I had grown up heterosexual, I don't know if I would be Catholic today. There are two reasons for this: beauty, and alienation. [Snip] June 15 - 2

PULL APART THE DOUBLE HELIX LIKE A WISHBONE: I should say right now that I do believe there are "origin stories" for homosexuality, and that it might make sense to introspect and consider which aspects of your life may have influenced your sexual orientation. I wrote a short story inspired by the idea of a kaleidoscope of different possible origin stories or types of homosexuality. Some of them even have elements in common with Nicolosi's view; yeah, I have known some gay guys where it seemed that there might be Father Issues going on, perceptions of unwantedness, etc. [Snip] June 15 - 3

PLUS A SURPRISING NUMBER OF FOXY CHICKS: In case people are wondering what the June 10 Love Won Out conference was actually like (since I didn't really have space to describe it in the NRO piece), here are my general impressions.

The conference was held in Immanuel's Church; I got the impression, though I could be wrong, that this is a predominantly black church. The crowd seemed to be about 1/3 Immanuel's members. The rest of us were a big old mix: ex-gays, parents of gay children, neutral-to-hostile observers, and same-sex attracted teens or young adults with their moms. [Snip] June 15 - 4

CLOSER TO HEAVEN: I'm mulling over something that might be a major underlying problem with ex-gay theology (as vs. spiritual practice, psychological theories, or what have you). I know I'm coming at this from an outsider's perspective, so I don't want to assume that I know what's what; but I figured I'd post this in case it is illuminating to anyone.

The possible insight is this: Ex-gay theology/ideology seeks to immanentize the eschaton. [Snip] June 15 - 5

LINKS AND LAMENESS: Lameness first: I'm really, really tired, so I won't be posting mail from you all until tomorrow. Sorry....

Now, links:

Camassia says stuff about minority status and group standards. I find myself oddly defensive about this post; I'm not sure if I'm overreading or what. I feel like I'm being implicitly criticized (in the section on original sin) for being self-indulgent, which I think is inaccurate in this particular instance. She also combines different kinds of difference in ways that, at least from my perspective, obscure a lot more than they illuminate. But like I said, possibly this is my misreading (or a result of our wanting to discuss different things, and my getting irked because she doesn't want to discuss my things!--I suspect that's what's going on with the "different kinds of difference" stuff, especially), and I've always found Camassia to be a thoughtful writer, so please do check out her post.

Ex-Gay Watch: Dave Rattigan on rhetoric vs. reality in the ex-gay movement.

Noli Irritare Leones makes a lot of fun points; here is a sampler:
...What I mean is, sometimes people who are in the struggling-with-same-sex-attraction camp seem to wind up shutting out friendships with their own sex, lest they get too attached, and I can't think how it's possible to sanely live that way. ... [Snip] June 16
CAMASSIA replies to me. Yeah, I think I was overreading her initial post, which is what I was afraid of. Sigh. Anyway, I apologize for the minor kerfuffle; at least it did prompt this nice line: "One of the odd things about the Christian narrative is that it affirms the worst-case scenario, and at the same time says everything is going to work out wonderfully anyway. It's that paradox that makes it the most hopeful of all religions, in my view at least." [Snip] June 18

There will probably be more posts and I will add them as they appear.
Thanks and a Tip O' The Hat to Dave Hartline of the the excellent Catholic Report news blog

Some additional comments to Eve's Posts

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