Blog » Are we getting used to gay?
Over the weekend I had an email conversation about how social change can seem to be going backwards sometimes. I blogged about it a while back and there are several models that describe the phenomenon, like 'The Hero's Journey' or 'Monomyth' and 'Panarchy'.
Seth Godin's book 'The Dip' is food for thought on the subject too, from a different lens.
It's easy to notice the decay in social progress. The six o'clock news revels in it and, in circles of people trying to promote awareness and tolerance, we can easily fall into what's-the-point conversations with our peers, as we use sado-massochistic flagellation to keep ourselves in the struggle.
Meanwhile we miss the little shoots of growth that show us, yes, the world is in fact changing. Let me share two such instances that revealed themselves to me in the last few days, on the subject of sexual orientation.
First, in an article in the Guardian, entitled 'Was Jesus Gay? Probably', Paul Oestreicher, chaplain at the University of Sussex has written, "I preached on Good Friday that Jesus's intimacy with John suggested he was gay as I felt deeply it had to be addressed."
Was that divisive issue a subject for Good Friday? For the first time in my ministry I felt it had to be. Those last words of Jesus would not let me escape. "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple. 'Behold your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home."
...After much reflection and with certainly no wish to shock, I felt I was left with no option but to suggest, for the first time in half a century of my Anglican priesthood, that Jesus may well have been homosexual. Had he been devoid of sexuality, he would not have been truly human. To believe that would be heretical.
For a Church Minister to be making such a liberal suggestion, we have to recognise a profound shift in the human psyche. Of course, some of the congregation would disagree, but, as Oestreicher says, "to suggest otherwise is to buy into a kind of puritanism that has long tainted the churches."
At the very least, we have to notice that some of the puritanism has been diluted.
The second evidence of change was less profound but as much an indication of the impact of changing tolerance to sexual diversity. I'll leave you to watch the unusual twist at the end of this music video of the song 'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepson.
(Spoiler warning: for those who can't see it, the boy that Carly likes gives his phone number to a guy in her band as she goes to give hers to him.)