Blog Template Theology of the Body: Charity or "Sodomy"?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Charity or "Sodomy"?

I stumbled into a conversation with some remarkably ardent, fellow young Fundamentalists yesterday; the issue was the propriety of (gay) Chad Allen depicting the Protestant Saint mentioned below in the new film "End of the Spear." Apart from disregarding the impropriety of adopting the Dontatist heresy's assumption that the efficacy of God's work depends on the sanctity of the agent, these able interlocutors insisted that faithful Christian dialogue about homosexual practices requires the designation of "Sodomite" when referencing the homosexual practitioner. Uggghh, I said. Why do I recoil this way from such language? Im not sure. Two possible explanations:

1. Assuming the Church's designation of homosexual activity as a sin, I would note that "sinner" is a term which properly designates people on both sides of regeneration; the unbaptized unregenerate is a sinner, but so am I. I am ALWAYS repenting of some sin or another, sadly. So was St. Paul, as I remember. One particular sin does not adequately describe me- I am both robber, murderer, adulterer, etc., frequently, if only in my poor sin-ridden heart. So why should the particular sin of a sexual "offender" describe him, point blank? Especially when he still stands on this side of God's judgment seat? Which particular sin ultimately defines YOU, dear reader? Again, ugghh. Being "in Christ" seems to allow for so much more, even for those who are only potentially in Christ.

2. Such pejoratives delimit the nature of the discourse automotically to one of censure, rather than one of charity; and the last time I looked at the New Testament's order of discourse, charity seemed to be the order of the day...

"We pity the person while detesting the deed or the crime, and the more the vice displeases us, the less do we want the culprit to die unrepentant... in one and the same person we disapprove the guilt and approve the nature, and we thereby hate the guilt with a more just reason because by it the nature which we love is defiled..."
(Augustine, Letter 153, Ad Macedonius)