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I know that homeschool parents can't shelter too much, but I am really struggling with this right now. My oldest is 9, and she is an innocent and sweet child. She plays with random kids we meet at the park, and kids at church--plenty of kids there since the average member family has 4-6 kids. I keep trying to figure out some other "socialization" opportunity for her, but it's hard to find anything that seems worth the money and hassle. The city we are in and the environment we are in feels hostile and honestly disgusting to me, and I am a grown-up who lived a too-adventurous life before converting. So much disgusting coarseness and awfulness. The kids from the local schools get on the city bus and the conversations I overhear shock me--and by now I really should be nearly unshockable. The Girl Scouts here made a point of admitting "trans girls" and are in the lap of PP, and you'd be surprised how many GLBT permutations I see playing out in the flocks coming down the hill from the middle school. It is weird and alarming to me, and I am really not that old or far removed from this generation. I mention the girl scouts and such because it seems like everything that used to be the neutral commons has been completely turned into a way to spread propaganda. There's no such thing, here at least, as a program that is JUST about kids from all walks of life learning to sew and build camp fires together, anymore. It's no longer reasonable to expect that if you send your child to public school, when they discuss current events the teacher will keep tightly zipped at the lip about their own partisan status. (I remember my 5th grade teacher and my junior year history teacher, for two, inspiring passionate debates but NEVER yielding a clue about their party affiliations or political feelings!) You can no longer expect that the people around you in public will refrain from talking graphically about sex in front of children (this happened to us just today!) or otherwise being inappropriate. The neutral common ground is gone. You either become comfortable to some degree with the propaganda and the crass status quo, or you retreat to your "special" secluded commune. In our case the little parish world. I know at some point we're going to have to teach them to engage but how? It's not that I don't want to discuss the "birds and the bees" it's that half the stuff you encounter in a pop song or a middle school classroom these days is stuff *I* avoid subjecting *myself* to! I don't know where to start.
Toggle Commented Jul 14, 2015 on What Is Actually Happening at Light On Dark Water
I am so grateful that this space exists. I know I don't comment regularly, but I do read. And lately it has been a great comfort knowing you all are out there. I wasn't surprised by the ruling, but I have felt like I am in a kind of mourning since it came down. I have been surprised by the finality and violence of many of the personal reactions of people on the left. They got their way and knowing them, I expected smugness and gloating. But I did not expect to hear, for instance, so many people talk of cutting off contact with relatives who fall on the "conservative" side, for instance. I don't mean gay people shunning traditionalists because they feel personally attacked. I mean straight people who are the kind of casual liberals who changed their facebook picture to an equal sign, cutting off their mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers for holding in any way to the proper definition of marriage. Since this is not personal for them, where did that rage come from? I have seen, on parenting boards where I read to get support for pregnancy issues, women talking about banning anyone in their family who has traditional beliefs from having contact with their children. Why now? Why does this court decision mean it's time for them to banish and condemn loved ones who disagree, when they could tolerate us a month ago? It is very strange and feels ominous and oddly apocalyptic. Rebecca Hamilton at Patheos wrote a very good blog entry about how this is turning "brother against brother." As a former "progressive" who used to wave the rainbow flag and was brutalized, stalked, and harassed by "friends" when I had my conversion, I can't emphasize enough how true every one of her observations is. There is such evil and such darkness wrapped up under the fluffy bunny "love wins" surface. I am haunted still by what I saw and heard in my days "inside" and yet I guess I have reclaimed enough innocence that I am still shocked by the rage and the violence when it lashes out. What I am struggling with now is how to be loving, or even to fake it, when I feel such sadness and honestly disgust and anger. I am in the position of knowing too much. When I see the latest HuffPost type campaign about a "gay 8 year old" or whatever, my maternal instinct is raring to rip a predator to shreds. They paint it as so cute, like being gay just means liking pastels a lot and crying at movies, but it's not, it's just so much that an 8 year old should have no idea about, the idea of this being forced on our children, so they can learn to "accept" it and identify with it at an early age, just makes me sick. The overtness of the propaganda and the totalitarian streak means me feel both angry and panicky. I keep hearing that we shouldn't be afraid and we should be loving and not angry, but I don't know how one does that, at this point.
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2015 on Is it "marriage"? at Light On Dark Water
Ack sorry that became a novel. I should have just written "Eliot means so much to me, don't get me started!"
I also encountered Prufrock as a teenager, in an essay by Leonard Bernstein, of all people. I was reading that because I was working myself to death trying to get into music conservatory on a violin and viola scholarship, with the end goal of becoming a conductor. Ideally symphony, but I was realistic, and admitted that as a female I would be beyond lucky if I could secure an appointment in opera or ballet in a third-tier city. I would have taken that, back before that too vanished off the menu of the conceivable. I was fascinated by the excerpts and went and bought myself a Dover edition of some Eliot, a kind of "best of" compilation, I think. I knew about Dover editions because of their scores. It was less than a dollar, and I skimmed the funds for it from my bus fare allowance, probably. I was fascinated, and dazzled by it. From high school English classes, I had assumed that literature of the 20th century was all about ugliness, dreariness, violence, politics, and sex, brash and crass and painful. But there was transcendent beauty in these poems, and I wanted more. About the same time, I had a class project about American religious diversity, and I visited a Russian Orthodox church. I wasn't raised religious, but was inherently religious and searching by nature. I still remember everything about that church, the colors, the sounds, the prayers I sounded out from cyrillic script, the dress I wore, the gold blessing cross, the antidoron, the little baby next to me and her mother. And how much I wanted to be there again, how I longed to go back, always, how I wished there was another excuse to return. In my mind now, all these things are connected in a shimmering web, a rapturous time when the heavens opened for me: My teacher loaned me a book on St. Hildgarde, the bus trip to find the Eliot, the morning I went to the Russian church, the nights I stayed up late studying the Mahler 2, trying to get it all into my memory. O Röschen Rot... I couldn't have known where it was going. Of course I thought I knew. I got the scholarships, and got ready to go to conservatory across the country. On the last day of school, my English teacher gave us all a xeroxed sheet with CP Cavafy's Ithaka and a stanza from the end of the Four Quartets. I still have this somewhere. I went back and spent a princely $5 on a nice edition of the Four Quartets, a little book that I can reach out and touch right now, today, and it has followed me everywhere, as have the contents. I was supposed to be working around the clock towards greatness, overcoming everything I was to achieve something and be significant and earn my keep in the universe, prove that I was more than a mistake or a burden or a thing in the way. Did I dare to eat a peach? It was not so much a hypothetical question as a constant dilemma, for me. Everything was always at stake, and the pressure was unbearable. Meanwhile, I heard another call but could not place it. Like a pilgrim without a pilgrimage, I wandered, aimless, through a Brahms allegretto, through the middle of Little Gidding, looking at the moon. In college I found that my fascination with this radiant beauty was not profitable and was apt to make me an object of ridicule. I found some solace in the Classics department, where I was lead by Eliot's footnotes. I learned Greek and read the Quartets again and again, trudging through the snow on a sunny day thinking midwinter spring. I wrote a paper about the Quartets for English but was scoffingly told I didn't get it, that it wasn't about beauty or faith but something edgier, I can't recall what, and that Eliot was an antisemite. I probably didn't get it, and I still don't buy the latter, really, but it was humiliating, still, to be scoffed at for my gushing appreciation for something I loved so much. I was striving to be important, cosmopolitan, well-read and worldly, erudite and respectable. But here I had just revealed myself again, a naive, sentimental buffoon. Eventually had to leave that school when my body collapsed under the strain of all that striving and the music dried up, and my chances were gone. I worked the deli counter with that book in my backpack, rode the bus, went to work in the telemarketing office--selling subscriptions to the Symphony where I had interned, some years before. That slim little book of poetry was always a beacon of hope, those words always new and ancient to me at the same time, pointing to something ever-present but mysterious and of unfathomable depth, the memory of the garden and the roses... After many years of hell, I showed up at church. And after more years of wrestling and agony in the most classical sense, I began to really believe. After I was baptized, after I was confirmed, finally, after everything, I really was changed. And every week in the life-giving mystery celebrated in the Byzantine Catholic Church, I am changed a little more again. I remember in a flash the calligraphy banner with 1 Cor 15:51-2 in my music teacher's musty garage studio and I see that God was there, all along, and that the story is not a series of disconnected moments but each stitch in its place. And I go back to that little volume of Quartets and see every note and every stanza, every moment between the lines. And now I have some inkling of what it means that all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
Climate change soured my cow's milk, made my goat barren, and withered my crops! At least this superstitious explanation for every inopportune circumstance doesn't require a smear campaign against the local eccentric spinster. OTOH it appears to require some kind of guilt sacrifice from the population and that's not good either.
Toggle Commented Mar 14, 2015 on Climate Change Strikes Again at Light On Dark Water
I enjoyed "The Threefold Garland" a lot. (It's about the rosary, I guess that's obvious, but in case anyone didn't know.) But I couldn't really tell you any of the main points. I know I underlined a lot, and I kept my copy so I can go back and look at my favorite passages. I remember it being eye-opening...I should probably re-read. I have several others that friends have urged me to read over the last few years, including "Engagement with God," "Heart of the World," and especially "Dare We Hope?" but haven't gotten to them yet. I have a favorable impression of von Balthasar but not my own intellect I guess.
I live in a very liberal city (probably second only to SF for this stuff) and periodically I get very overwhelmed by the immensity of what is going on. We are homeschoolers and generally keep to ourselves, but it still is inescapable. My oldest is not quite 9 and already we've been in situations my parents never would have encountered when I was a child. A mom trying to get my daughter to play with her tween son at the park, and the son is dolled up like a little Miley Cyrus and nagging my daughter to engage him in some "girl talk." Disturbing on multiple levels...we left, but I was too cowardly to come out and say why. 14 year old girls making out with each other at the bus stop, glaring around daring anyone to notice and disapprove. Many, many middle aged men dressed as women using women's facilities who we are supposed to accept as "women just like me" without so much as a shrug. The gender thing is very aggressively moving forward right now. It's very obvious that redefining marriage was only the very beginning. Even as hermit-like as we are, we can't escape it, and I honestly don't know how to face it.
I'm disappointed in your comment, Daniel. I've lived "among the poor" my whole life, mostly because I've been either in the qualifying for public assistance bracket or one or at most two notches above it. I've never had a friend who was a felon, and I'm insulted that you think that's an integral part of being lower income. Also, apparently poor folks aren't allowed to have different personality types, by your estimate. We must be vibrant and loud, to do otherwise is apparently to invite victimization by being uppity. Being quiet, shy, having an ASD, makes one a snooty rich white person or wannabe and makes "understandable" any harassment from the colorful local felons that may occur. Women who live in "bad neighborhoods" whether by necessity or by choice do, in fact, have a lot to worry about that a group of strapping young men--even if they are seminarians and thus perhaps more bookish--do.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2014 on The Ferguson Verdict at Light On Dark Water
The woman mobbed for her tweet was also a leftie, though the attackers were way too thick to figure that out at first, and her inadvisable comment was a bit of ironic humor. Something about going to Africa but she wasn't worried about getting HIV, since she's white. (I got what she meant because that kind of unfunny snarky irony is so common among young lefties who I have spent so much time with. "Haha, I'm not worried because I know my privilege saves me, and I feel suitably guilty about it of course.") I just looked it up, her name is Justine Sacco, you can google and try to make sense of the insanity.
Toggle Commented Nov 28, 2014 on The Ferguson Verdict at Light On Dark Water
Like Janet, I wish I wasn't so afraid to share this post, because it is good. I was really surprised by a couple of friends who I consider pretty level-headed and not excessively dogmatic in their leftism posting some very over-the-top stuff about this. They do indeed seem to believe that there is a conspiracy involved, and that the black jurors are perhaps suffering "internalized racism." I find that assumption so much more racist than the thought that they are rational, level-headed people who made a decision according to evidence not according to tribe. But then of course, I am informed I have no right to an opinion on this subject. Unlike my white leftist friends, that is. And the hagiography getting passed around about Brown...really? If it was wrong to shoot him, it was wrong even if he was a terrible person. Why the need to exaggerate his youth and innocence? I am terrified by mob mentality. Obviously this is not the first time I have seen it at play, but it is much more powerful and frightening right now than many of the other instances I can think of. Many people really and truly do think that the mob should be allowed to overturn the judgment of "twelve men, good and true." They really do think that they have that right, and they want to live in a society that is ruled by this kind of might makes right. That completely petrifies me. I know I would be crushed by such a system. I am not strong, I am not charismatic, I am not rich or influential. Less of a large example, but still a terrifying one: remember that woman who wrote an inadvisable tweet then boarded an international flight, only to find when she landed that the mob had gotten her sacked, paparazzi were stalking her, and the news media was trashing her character, calling her family, and destroying her life? I made a point of cutting ties with anyone in my life who thought that was "just comeuppance" for exercising her right to free speech. It's terrifying. She was nobody, and the mob crushed her for sport.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2014 on The Ferguson Verdict at Light On Dark Water
It bothered me intensely that in all those Jane Austen movies from the 90s they always had the musicians at dances and whatever play completely anachronistic music. One I remember was Vivaldi's 4 Seasons. That would be roughly like attending a formal ball today only for the band to break out into obscure Russian academic compositions of the 1840s.
I haven't, but I do have an ad blocker. I saw some kind of google ad at the bottom of the page a few times though, seemingly at random.
I don't really read that stuff much anymore, I'm just prepared to discuss it when it comes up. For a time I read a lot of it as I was trying to find some way to negotiate between the remaining friends and attachments from my old life and the new life I am making. I didn't find it very helpful in that regard, obviously. But in general I have tried to stay informed about these issues because unfortunately I care. Mac, yes. I thought the comment about being "unsuited to family life" or whatever particularly cruel. There's something me about a bunch of professional, published authors descending upon some mom's personal journal and tearing her apart because she dared to criticize their ideals. That level of insecurity points to the same fatal flaw I have seen all too many times in such advocacy groups.
It definitely does turn into a demand, I think. There's a very obvious overtone, if you keep reading and listening, of "you are privileged, we are deprived, you owe us." It's very one-sided. And whenever there is pushback, from other bloggers or commenters, the smug entitlement really comes out. Along with the claws and sarcastic, misdirected pity:
Agreed, Teresa. Here's one post in that vein picked pretty much at random from the archives: spiritual friendship dot org /2014/06/22/a-love-that-fills-and-a-love-that-opens/ I find the sentiments expressed in that post pretty problematic and a bit inadvertently insulting, but I am also a grouch and an introvert so take that for what it's worth. I see the vocation of marriage needing to be fruitful and not focused inwardly on the satisfaction of the couple, yes...but in the form primarily of childbearing and -rearing. The sleight of hand at work in changing "be fruitful and multiply" into "be fruitful and host" seems born directly of the cultural baggage that casts children as options and disruptions rather than the expected blessing of marriage. And Teresa, also, I meant to say earlier, I very much relate to your feelings about the "young adult groups" in bars and the general lack of anyplace to connect in that phase of life. I don't get the impression any other phase is a whole lot better, but I remember that as being particularly miserable for exactly the reasons you describe.
Well the Spiritual Friendship people are a group of authors whose writings are fairly widely dispersed within Christian circles. Published books, talking at conferences, teaching seminars, etc. And they all have slightly different POVs but they do seem to see themselves as a movement with some "planks" to advance, as it were. Getting rid of the "intrinsic disorder" language, for instance, or advocating this intentional hospitality as a solution to the loneliness of celibacy. In circles of "thoughtful young Catholics" as I said, they seem to be very influential. But that is a pretty limited audience. In daily life, I don't know how influential they have been. I live, in contrast to you, in a very liberal area. In many parishes, same sex couples are already around as a kind of open secret. At the Cathedral, I felt very old-fashioned when a gay male couple announced their surrogate-born child was going to be baptized and I was actually shocked. No one else seemed to be, though. So with that level of "look the other way" going on, it doesn't seem like there's even a need for the intentional hospitality bit that the Spiritual Friendship school of thinkers would advocate. It's those of us who still object who know to stay shut up and avoid socializing in certain parishes, or hide out in various liturgically conservative outposts. But the thing that worries me is that from talking to people mostly online about this stuff, the SF "woe is me" stuff is a skipping stone not over to orthodoxy but away from it. "Why shouldn't I get to call myself gay even though I am Catholic and celibate? Isn't there something special about being gay, after all? And why don't parishes make sure gay singles are taken care of?" among my friends quickly turns into "well screw what the Church teaches, I've found a girlfriend!" very quickly.
Mac, yes, that's about it. The melodrama is a bit much to take. The other fellow protested about being told "life is pain, princess" but well, it kind of is. I don't see what grounds there are to pick out this particular pain of celibate gays as an emergency unlike any other. Your analogy to the feminist coddling in the 80s resonates a lot too. Again, I remember my experience in the mainlines, where the bones have been picked bare by such catering and coddling and censoring, until not only is there no new generation but a smugness about the barrenness. The church I left for Catholicism, the particular congregation where I had worshiped for years and was baptized as an adult, boasts now that they don't really need or want families, because they are "inclusive." Trying to get programming for kids or parents was not just met with indifference but hostility. One woman (a lesbian activist with a big chip) actually said that if we tried to be more inviting to families she would feel "less welcome." Being smacked in the face with the admission that these things are indeed mutually exclusive to those who move and shake was quite the eye-opener.
"I wonder how much of the respectability thing has to do with the majority of church-goers being middle class?" I think it's a self-perpetuating cycle. The atmosphere in the church adapts to the sensibilities of the middle class, who then feel more comfortable there than anyone else, who then reinforce the standards and make sure they remain in place, etc. It's very obvious in mainline Prot churches where people of certain means are treated like symphony subscribers, people above those means are treated like benefactors, and people below are treated like ruffian charity cases who you can openly boot from the sanctuary without raising anyone's open ire. Fortunately most Catholic parishes I have visited are at least somewhat better in this regard, but it's still an issue.
""I can't help thinking that clutter and screaming children make for a more rather than a less inclusive experience. Surely?" :) Well, I would think so, but then I'm not the kind of person who minds clutter and screaming children! But as a hostess, both of these would stress me out severely with guests I don't know well or who have very high standards in such matters." Yeah, same here. In fact, expecting to have access to my home and family "unplugged" would be an even greater imposition. As much as some would like to socially engineer it so that my family home is a kind of kibbutz where anyone who needs a family life experience can be assigned to mine for refuge, I'm not at all fond of the idea.
"Visit the sick, the elderly, take communion to the shut ins, join Vinnies, help out at a pregnancy support centre. Help mothers of young children and try to understand that since we are not aristocrats who employ a nanny to do all the hard yards, we probably won't be able to help you much or even just have an uninterrupted conversation. Quit bitching about how we are not meeting your neeeeeds." Yes, exactly, again. I don't understand the demand for some kind of special role. No one asks about your proclivities or history before you volunteer for choir or ushering or doing sick visits. The need for more hands on deck is so great in most parishes and nonprofits these days, they will barely let you hang up your hat before they have you running the newsletter or doing some other central and miserable task. In my experience, quite a few very eccentric and possibly slightly demented people are volunteering in the church on any given day. There's no popularity contest or admission process, here, so what's stopping folks who want to help and have "such gifts" from just plunging in? And why assume that whatever is stopping them has to do with sexuality or "identity" and thus in need of some kind of special encouragement?
"Has anyone here ever gone to Mass with the intention or expectation of getting to know new people?" I certainly don't. Honestly I think it's unrealistic to expect much socially out of a parish beyond people bringing casseroles when you're very sick (that's nothing to sneeze at!) and a good round of I-can't-believe-this-weather-the-Seahawks-are-dreadful-this-year around the doughnut table. For me that certainly is sufficient. The key is keeping your expectations appropriately modest. If you need the people you pray with to be your BFFs, monastic life or some kind of commune may be in order. Or maybe a small study group.
"And where is the the "safe" place where an abandoned spouse can discuss their trauma, material and spiritual needs etc without being told to just get an annulment and "move on"? Honestly, homosexuals are not the only people with problems, or even sex-related problems." Exactly. This is at the very core of what bothers me so much about this. There are so many who have sorrows like this--or hey, how about women who have difficulty with pregnancy or couples for whom NFP is an unfunny joke?--but these problems are apparently too commonplace and mundane to be worth special attention, or any attention at all. They're not glamorous, they're not fabulous, and it's assumed the people burdened with such cares should be able to tough it out using their vast, well frankly I think the social leftist language of "privilege" is implicit. Yes, yes, you were abandoned, but you have straight privilege so it's nothing compared to the loneliness of a gay man of 28! And the whine comes, "at least you get to have seeeeeex! What about meeeeee?"
I don't mean to be American-centric however I can only speak to what I am able to directly observe. I apologize if my comment was incoherent. I have trouble putting my finger on exactly why the "hospitality to gays" formulation rubs me the wrong way. I just don't trust a lot of the people formulating it, to start with. I think that insisting on hospitality that singles someone out according to identity politics is a stealthy way of getting me to accept the terms and conditions of the identity politics. And I also feel like there's some further dishonesty, where people are not admitting that they have made a choice--not to have the attraction, perhaps, but to prioritize certain things and arrange their lives in a specific way. People with SSA marry (the opposite sex) and have children quite often, and have, through history. To opt out of this is to make a choice, even if it is so expected now that it doesn't seem like a choice. In refusing to acknowledge that a choice has been made, there is some dishonesty or at least disingenuity at play. And I detect a kind of entitlement that mimicks the secular equivalent. Secular gays feel entitled to my reproductive capacity, as a working class woman, to provide them with the children they biologically will not produce. On the religious, celibate side, with the Spiritual Friendship crowd, it seems they will leave my uterus alone but they want me to act as a surrogate wife or a surrogate maternal figure, adopting lone adults into my home as though they were my second husband or my adult child. The reasoning--"you owe us this because you are privileged and we cannot manage it ourselves!"--is the same, either way.
I don't know where to start, godescalc. I've certainly had this conversation before, though. There's always certain preconceptions that I try to debunk but I guess I just don't know how. Like the idea that anyone who somehow manages to find a person of the opposite sex to marry and procreate with is automatically "inside," a cool kid, welcomed and embraced and "included." It just is not so. Louise said a lot that I would echo. But I'm still frustrated. I don't know how to make it clear that this imaginary "welcoming" you picture happening to families is just not a real thing at all. I've been on both sides of the divide, and I know. It isn't real, but the belief that it is real is very important to people who shape their identities around being "different" and needing everyone to notice, acknowledge, and validate that difference. The idea that people with children have some kind of emotional wealth we are neglecting to share with gay people out of bigotry and fear is based on so many false assumptions, I don't know where to start deconstructing. But let me assure you, we walk in, have a seat, receive the Eucharist, and walk out without being noticed too. Through thick and thin, good health and ill, very few people are getting any kind of emotional "support" from the Church these days. But it irks me because it seems like this is only seen as a horrible crime against humanity in "special cases," not in a general sense. And those of us also starving are meant to give and give and give even more, even as we starve, to prove some sort of point about "inclusivity." It's tackling the problem from exactly the wrong end. It's also going to be more women's work, which I will quite readily admit I resent. My job to pretty things up to the aesthetic standards of a single gay man, invite over, cook, clean, entertain, while the many children of course behave charmingly to make one feel optimally "welcomed." To make an artificial family for someone who has opted out of family life oddly enough falls on the one who sacrificed and chose to sustain a real family life. Yes, I do resent that imposition. It's not organic, it feels forced upon me, so I resent and reject that ideal with which the Spiritual Friendship crowd seems so enamored. It boils down to this: when so many are outside, so many are lonely, struggling, rejected in some way, adrift, why are gay people a special case? I don't like the threatening sounds that come with this yearning. The "well you ask a lot of us, so you better give us support, or we'll be more likely to sin!" Isn't that true for everyone? Everyone is tempted, everyone is fragile and apt to fall short. Why is the gay single in the parish so special as to need a special pulling together of resources that isn't needed for anyone else? On the other hand, you know who else is not "welcomed" or "included" in many, many parishes in the West? Poor folks. Working class folks. Oh, try being a working class family at the Catholic homeschooler gathering. You'd think that these folks with one income and 9 kids would "get it" but I haven't found that to be the case. Part of it is the unholy muddling together of Catholicism and the GOP. Part of it is the confusing of wealth and virtue, respectability and morality. Try admitting that you work for an hourly wage and not as a "contractor" or "IT consultant" in those circles. Try admitting you can only sustain your abundant family on food stamps. Having to either sit out potluck after potluck as a non-contributor or make uncomfortable sacrifices to bring something for the materially well-off to pick at. There are a great deal more poor folks than gay folks. One reason I appreciate our current Holy Father is because he keeps steering, with great force at times, the craft back on course. The poor have always been a central concern of the Church. All this sex and culture war stuff should not subsume it or drown it out. I converted into the Church from mainline Protestantism and over there, it has been a sure and gradual process where "inclusive" and "welcoming" now mean, quite exclusively, "GAY." People of various racial backgrounds, people who are poor, people who are disabled, single mothers, small and unborn children, all thrown quite eagerly under the bus. It is an ugly thing and I am thankful that our current pope at least wants to save the Church from that same error.
Once upon a time I had a good friend who was a gay man who similarly believed he was damned. His family was unquestioningly supportive of him and he had many caring friends who were all of the more "alternative' state of mind. It all seemed to be within him, not coming from any obvious source. He was fascinated with dark imagery and art, horror movies, death, gory stuff, demons, that sort of thing too. Looking back at what happened to him--the trajectory of his life was truly senselessly tragic--I really started wondering if there was something supernatural going on. He really seemed, well, oppressed. He certainly never seemed joyful in his identity, even for all his "pride," and his boyfriends always seemed to bring trouble and danger rather than comfort. And I've always been one to roll my eyes when people reach for that kind of explanation, when other factors could account for the same things happening. But sometimes it really seems the most obvious. I was very young then and had little to offer. Now I wonder, what can we do for people in that state? If they won't accept being dragged to church for a laying on of hands, naturally.