I know sex is part of homosexuality. It's right there in the middle of the word and in the middle of our thoughts. But it doesn't belong in the middle of our conversation.
|Photo Credit: Nick Sherman|
Our global culture tends to make desire our highest good - specifically fulfilling our desires. 17th century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza would be right at home in postmodernism: "Desire is the very essence of man."
David Fitch (a leading missional theologian) recently argued that world has a universal underlying paradigm that "desire is innate, not shaped, cannot be changed, and is who I am." He continues: "This ... is so much part of the water we swim in, it is rarely if ever challenged. It plays deep into the psyches of the sexually charged cultures of the young. It drives the sexual controversies in society at large and in the church." He proceeds to challenge and to break apart that paradigm. I'd like to echo and reframe his arguments here.
First of all, despite our cultural expectations, desire ≠ right.
We believe desire = right (as in good).
Elvis started it out: "It feels so right, so right. How can it be wrong? ... I know that nothing can't be wrong that feels so right." But recent singers have carried forward this philosophy: Ne-Yo ("How can something that feels so right be so wrong?") and Carly Rae Jepsen ("Wrong feels so right").
We have a basic cultural belief that whatever we desire is right. If we want it bad enough, it must be inherently good - or at least good for us. Even if it's normally bad for others, it must be good for us.
However, we know that desire is a fickle thing and not a faithful barometer for ethics. My desire for five bratwursts in two days during was not a good thing. One of the essential elements of criminal prosecution is proving that the accused had sufficient motive (desire) for the crime. We know that desire can easily lead us astray.
We also believe that desire = right (as in having a right to something).
If I really desire it, then I have a right to it. The US Declaration of Independence has enshrined our right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in our national documents, but the entire world has this motto etched on our minds. Do not stand in the way between humans and our desires. That is a good way to get yourself killed.