“Youngest Son is the musical project of Steve Slagg. His song Corpus Christi, from the album Pigshit & Glowing, was inspired by and dedicated to Eve Tushnet (the celibate, Lesbian, Catholic, writer who was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “Nothing is quite as great as getting up…” -withruemyheartisladen
I’m primarily reblogging this because Steve Slagg is helping me to respond to several questions I’ve received here on tumblr that I’ve as of yet been unable/unwilling to answer. These questions largely boil down to one: ”If you’re no longer convinced that participating in a monogamous same-sex relationship is wrong, why reblog and reference people who do?” My response comes in two parts, I guess. The first part is a quote directly from Slagg about Tushnet:
I like her because she pisses nearly everyone off: gay people are appalled by her rejection of gay sex; Catholics chastise her for embracing gay identity and desire. I don’t even really agree with her, and I’m one of her biggest fans. Outside her blog’s niche readership of a few hundred, there’s little fertile ground for ideas like hers. In the culture war, she’s defending turf nobody really seems to want.
Which is a shame, because I think there’s something incredibly important about what she’s saying—that the desires of our bodies are good and important, that they point to something bigger than us, and that we have agency over them. There’s something there that’s more traditional than many of Eve’s conservative peers, and is miles more progressive than her gay activist opponents.
Eve embodies something I want to be as a follower of Christ: more traditional and more progressive. That’s what Jesus was, after all. And even though I don’t believe I have to adopt Eve’s position on the expression of same sex attraction to do that, I still see her presence in the church body as invaluable.
Which leads me to the second part of my response.
I continue to enjoy Christians like Eve, because they strive to enact what Church is meant to be. In almost every other relational context, we get to choose who we associate with based on comfort and on natural inclination. But Church is so frustratingly, infuriatingly and beautifully not like that. Church is the place where we come together, joined by the gut-wrenching, soul-shifting, finished work of Christ, only to look around and say, “Shit, all these people were seduced by Jesus too, and now we all have to live together!” We have to confront the reality that this diverse body somehow all saw something in Christ, and that that something is supposed to sustain continuing, earnest relationship among us—relationship we’re supposed to strive, sacrifice, and stretch to maintain!
I admit, I sometimes long to join people with the exact same beliefs, the exact same lifestyle, the exact same perspectives and pretend—just for a little while! Please!—that that’s church. And when I don’t get to partake in that community, I like to imagine that all my Christian friends and loved ones pretty much agree with most things I believe. I feed that illusion by side-stepping the tenser issues in the name of “peacekeeping.” But peace is not avoiding conflict, friends. Peace is sitting in the tension, inviting dialogue with the tension, and refusing to respond with either hostility or retreat.
Romance is natural. Friendships of convenience and commonalty are natural.
Church is not natural, though. It’s supernatural. And passionate. And completely ridiculous. and a million other overused paradoxical combinations that honestly I’ve started to glaze over when I read about Church these days but can still kick me in the face sometimes—if they catch me at the right moment, in the right light.
Church is going to disappoint me. I know. Church is going to hurt my feelings. And if I choose to commit my life in monogamous sexual bond to another man one day, Church is, largely, not going to be my best man or my flower girl. It probably won’t officiate, sign my guest book, or take my engagement pictures. But Church is where I’m going to stay, because, like it or not, Church is where Jesus keeps happening. He insists on throwing all of his parties there, and I can’t seem to stay away.