"In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." – Judges 21:25
It was approximately 35 years ago when Ruth and I took our little firstborn child (Sarah) along with us to visit Washington, D.C. As part of that visit we went antiquing in Georgetown. At lunchtime we stopped in at a restaurant. After sitting there for fifteen minutes or so we came to the realization that we were at a "gay" restaurant. As a mixed couple we were an anomaly and as a mixed couple with a child a likely rarity. The food was good and all was fine. On the way out, for some reason we needed to take an elevator. It was while on that elevator that I, for the first time in my life, was consciously in the presence of someone whom I knew was not who they were suggesting they were. For with us on the elevator was a man, dressed as a woman. This was no Halloween get-up, no dressing for a skit or event. It was a man in a dress, trying to act and as much as possible be a woman.
A lot has changed since that day 35 years ago: the growing awareness and acceptance of those within the LGBTQ+ community, gay marriage, gays and now transgenders in the military. If we could somehow wind back the clock and tell the people of 1986 what they would see in 35 years, would they even believe it? Many would not.
Over these many years, like all of you who are older, I have had plenty of time to think on this. As a pastor I have additionally had the experience of counseling with several (men) who have questioned their sexuality, their "sexual orientation." I am convinced that there is probably nothing as basic to who we are as our sexuality. Some might suggest that the color of our skin is even more basic, and maybe they are right. But who we are sexually is still very basic. And to be confused about that – to daily question oneself as to one's identity, one's role, one's desires – call it what you like, but to me it is a very sad thing. That man dressed as a woman 35 years ago in the elevator – I don't despise him, I'm not angry with him (even if he had an agenda). I feel sorry for him.
Years ago, all of these sort of issues were dealt with by psychologists under "abnormal psychology." In any other species, such behavior would be and still is considered abnormal. What would a horse breeder even think of a champion stallion racehorse that only showed interest in other stallions? But in humans, this confusion is now being heralded: a confusion that, logically, if carried to extremes, dooms the future of the species.
Whether or not Pope Francis is totally on board with what he said this past week, I personally thank God that the Roman Catholic Church has held its stance against gay marriage. Some may think the Church as being "out of sync" with the times, but it is the world that has been drifting away from order and common sense, not the church. Having thrown off the bonds (Psalm 2) of God and his revealed truth, a confused and lost humanity is now barreling towards its own destruction at an incredible rate of speed. We can try and be "salt and light" (Matthew 5) to it – offering hope and direction – but if no one is listening we are just preaching to the choir. Truly we live in confused times.