I was interested this morning in an article in the English, left-leaning publication Christian Today entitled "Church of England Synod Passes Compromise Resolution on Homosexuality". In addition to the normal media activity concerning the ongoing culture clash between the Church and homosexuality, I have the added excitement of being romantically involved with someone who is much "friendlier" to homosexuals than I am myself. Even choosing that word (friendlier) is a delicate activity. It takes a lot of intellectual flexibility to stand between well-meaning ideologies and to remain true to the truth, as seen in the light of Christian revelation and tradition.
What is the best way to communicate the Christian teaching on homosexuality to the world today? I often think of Lot before the destruction of Sodom. My visual image of Sodom was kind of like a public sexual free-for-all. Lot's neighbors wanted to have their way with the two travellers who were coming to visit him. When your neighbors are actively pursuing the violation of your house guests with little or no embarassment, you know sexual liberation has reached its lower limits. But the thing was, that Lot didn't even think of moving (that we know of) until the angels told him to go. I imagine Lot walking by the most depraved scenes every day, carrying water or tools to and from work. Lot was a "righteous man", but he lived everyday in the place that has become, literally, synonymous with sexual depravity.
Why do I think that homosexuality is wrong? Because it ruins lives. Are people ready to hear that? Does it mean anything to them? Sometimes, but often times it doesn't. In order for people to listen to anything you have to say, they have to have some respect for you as an authority. And authority is having a rough time of it these days. It's kind of like compound ignorance: you don't know, and you don't really want to listen to anyone either. So what do you do? I think what Lot was doing was becoming a physical sign of what living a "righteous" life meant.
If you read the article linked above, you'll read some interesting things. The strategy that the homosexual lobby is taking in the Anglican Church is probably going to work. Listen to the language: “respect the patterns of holy living which lesbians and gay Christians aspire”, “welcome and affirm lesbian and gay Christians, lay and ordained, valuing their contribution at every level of the Church”, create a "safe space", welcome “the opportunities offered ... for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality”. Listen, against language like that, you don't stand a chance. If you're not engaging in "fruitful and open dialogue" then you're not "welcoming and affirming".
Here's the fact: no one is really listening. A great philosopher once said that the mass of people are convinced by polemics, not dialectics. Their polemics sound better than ours. What is left for us? Benedict XVI said that people are converted by "beauty and holiness". That is what we have left. Show them something beautiful. Whether you like it or not, you have become Lot living in the midst of Sodom. As far as we can tell, Lot was not engaged in polemics. He wasn't evidently evangelizing much at all. But I'm sure Lot knew that those with a good heart would turn to him. It's hard to turn down the volume on a life well lived.