Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homosexuality and the Most Basic Double Standard

I need to start with a critical disclaimer:

I have no problem with the LDS Church's position opposing gay marriage. This post is not about that issue; it is about what I see as a more fundamental issue.  Please, if anyone comments on this post, do NOT try to make it about anything but the point of the post.

With that out of the way:

My most fundamental, foundational issue when it comes to the way homosexuality is addressed in the Church is that there really is a double standard in place right now - NOT the one that many people assume, but a real and important one, nonetheless.

First, based on the way that the Church addresses "fornication" in all its forms, I think it is a HUGE stretch for the leadership to accept homosexual sexual intercourse and the other old terms they use when talking about "things like unto it". (petting, necking, etc.) I don't want that traditional standard changed - although I wouldn't cry if "necking" disappeared from the published works. Frankly, if they are asking unmarried heterosexual members to abstain from that type of activity, I have no problem with them asking unmarried homosexual members to do likewise.

The issue for me is that the Church's current position, while MUCH better than it has been in the past (especially since it openly admits that sexual orientation often is not a choice but rather is biological and strong), still contains a double standard. Single, heterosexual members are allowed to develop an intimate relationship with someone of the opposite sex in many ways - as long as specific lines are not crossed. Those lines are drawn so narrowly for homosexual members, however, that developing an intimate relationship with a member of the same sex is next to impossible - even if the "heterosexual lines" are never crossed. (I know that it is not a bright line, obvious standard that is published and enforced everywhere, but it is the common view in most units of the Church, imo.)

For example, I was able to hold hands with my girlfriend, kiss her, sit arm in arm, gaze into her eyes, etc. - all in public AND privately, without any fear of punishment. Iow, I was able to show my affection and love for her in various ways without ever crossing into any inappropriate activity. That simply is not true for homosexual members. They are asked to avoid that type of loving, intimate bond - even if they never cross the lines that would be considered inappropriate for single, heterosexual members.

I believe that it is this discrepancy that lies at the heart of the issue for the Church - and that if we simply eliminated that double standard, the discussion would change in fundamental and important ways.

33 comments:

Paul said...

"especially since it openly admits that sexual orientation often is not a choice but rather is biological and strong"

Please share the source of this open admission. I thought I read something to that effect two(?) years ago, but when it came up recently I couldn't place it.

There have been several counter-examples, however, so even with a few high ranking statements in support, I don't know that I'm comfortable saying "it" (the church) openly admits anything of the sort.

Steven B said...

Seems like there was a little incident on Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City a year or so ago that vividly demonstrates how determined the church is to keep that double standard in place.

ji said...

I'm trying to understand, but I'm having a hard time getting there. If we divide intimacy into two steps (STEP ONE for intimacy short of intercourse and STEP TWO for intimacy with intercourse), we want to allow STEP ONE for hetero- and homosexual members but reserve STEP TWO for only heterosexual members? I'm having a hard time reaching this far.

You write, "They are asked to avoid that type of loving, intimate bond." Yes. We encourage a general rule where men seek out, marry, and remain committed to women.

Michelle said...

I disagree with you on this, Ray. I see no way for the Church to relax the standard on this. The reason you were "able to show [your] affection and love for her in various ways without ever crossing into any inappropriate activity" is because it was a means to an end, the end being a relationship that could last and is consistent with our doctrine. In concept, heterosexual members should not be engaging in such behaviors just cuz. It's all supposed to be part of heading toward marriage.

Homosexual expressions of affection would have no potential end that could be supported by our doctrine.

I totally get the real need for intimacy and closeness that homosexuals may have, and I know I can't comprehend how hard it must but I don't see this as a double-standard at all. I see it all as being very consistent with the doctrine of marriage and the purpose of physical affection in the bigger picture of the plan.

R. Gary said...

I agree with Michelle.

I also think comparing unmarried homosexual versus unmarried heterosexual courtship is superficial. Like Michelle points out, the real question is whether or not the romance can ever lead to a gospel sanctioned marriage. If you factor that in, the double standard vanishes.

Consider: What if your girlfriend (in your example) had been the wife of your elders quorum president? Can you or any other unmarried heterosexual member cultivate an acceptable romance in that situation? Of course not. As an unmarried heterosexual member, you would certainly NOT have been able to hold hands, kiss her, sit arm in arm, etc. "in public [i.e. in Church] and privately, without any fear of punishment."

When the romance cannot lead to a gospel sanctioned marriage, "developing an intimate [public] relationship with a member of the same [or opposite] sex is next to impossible." In the LDS Church, another man's wife presents the same social problems to an unmarried heterosexual male as does a member of the same sex.

Sorry, I don't see the double standard.

Papa D said...

ji, Ask anyone in the LDS Church to define the Law of Chastity, without mentioning sexual orientation, and the answer you will get will be based on what someone can and can't do that is sexual in nature. What I'm saying is that I have NO problem with that, except that we tend to conflate "sexual" with "intimate" - and we tend only to limit the ability of heterosexual members to have an intimate relationship with members of the same sex IF they include a sexual component, while we deny homosexual members the ability to have any intimate relationships with people of the same sex ("just in case"). We even tell them not to be friends with openly homosexual members - just in case they end up attracted to them and acting on it. By that standard, we shouldn't allow heterosexual members to be friends with other heterosexual people of the opposite sex - just in case they end up attracted and acting on it.

Iow, we focus on one person's attraction and set different limits than we do for someone else - even if those two people actually act exactly the same way. In practical terms, we set up rules to "protect" some people that we don't enforce for others.

To me, that's a double standard.

Papa D said...

Michelle, you said:

"it was a means to an end, the end being a relationship that could last and is consistent with our doctrine"

No, it didn't have to be. I could be a serial dater with absolutely no desire to get married, and my actions would not have been forbidden. In fact, I could be a sexual predator and my actions short of violating the Law of Chastity still wouldn't have been forbidden.

Like I said to ji, I believe we conflate things and start making some really bad arguments and establishing doubles standards as a result.

Papa D said...

R. Gary, I think you just illustrated the heart of the double standard I am addressing - and I will try to say it as concisely as possible:

I, as a heterosexual member, had, in practical terms, innumerable women with whom I could have developed an emotional attachment, with whom I could have become intimate to some degree, and whom I could have "dumped" in the end - while a homosexual man in the Church is counseled, essentially, to have ZERO close, personal, intimate (to any degree) male, homosexual friends.

Papa D said...

To everyone,

Let me ask these simple questions, with a request for an explanation if the answers are different:

If a man and a woman live together all their lives and are completely celibate (developing non-sexual intimacy), have they "sinned" or violated the Law of Chastity?

If two men or women live together all their lives and are completely celibate (developing non-sexual intimacy), have they "sinned" or violated the Law of Chastity?

Papa D said...

For the source of my statement quoted by Paul, I take it from the Church's most recent pamphlet about homosexuality entitled, "God Loveth His Children". (It can be found at lds.org - by searching for the title.) A few quotes that address my statement:

"Many questions, however, including some related to same-gender attractions, must await a future answer, even in the next life."

"others may not be free of this challenge in this life." ("regardless of how hard they try and the level of their faith" is the unstated part, based on what else is said in the sentence).

"Same-gender attractions include deep emotional, social, and physical feelings."

I think it's indisputable that the LDS Church no longer teaches that all homosexual feelings are void of biological causes and are a result solely of choice.

Papa D said...

Steven B, that incident was caused intentionally by the couple involved, based on what I read from them directly. It is not a good example to use, imo.

Papa D said...

One more question, for everyone who is heterosexual who reads this post:

Would your feelings be any different if the standard was reversed - if homosexual members could act like heterosexual members are allowed to act (NOT including actual intercourse and things "like unto it" but limited to the types of things I mentioned in the post) and you were not allowed to develop any close relationship with someone of the opposite sex who might be attracted to you?

My main point is that we are establishing a degree of loneliness and emptiness for homosexual members that we just aren't establishing for heterosexual members - and we're doing it even for those who aren't violating the Law of Chastity in any way but simply are acting exactly as we are acting outside of marriage.

Turin Turambar said...

Wow! This is a big question. I'd like to respond as a man who is attracted to other men, but has chosen to be celibate and stay in the church.

I think this issue has "layers"(sorry for the trite concept!).

1. Americans seem to conflate physical affection and sexuality--touching, holding hands, and kisses are not necessarily sexual, and may be an expression of love between parents and children, brothers, sisters, and friends. (sexual kissing, touching, intercourse, etc., are a different story.)

2. The Mormon philosophy of sex is very goal oriented--and integrates ideas about the eternal nature of male and female, their physical and sexual compatibility and interdependence for exaltation, the emotional bond between eternal companions, and the centrality of "fertility" in the plan of salvation. There doesn't seem to be much room for sexuality to be expressed outside of these bounds, and that would include homosexual relations.

3. Same sex attraction and homosexuality are conflated by most people. You can be attracted to people of the same sex and not have sex with them--and the reverse is also true.

4. My personal opinion is that same-sex attraction is a form of opposition allowed by God, along with other forms of opposition. There are different ideas out there about the nature of same-sex attraction. Is it simply the reverse of heterosexual attraction? I'm not convinced. I have come to think it is a sexualization of legitimate but unmet homosocial love needs. If that's the case, the drive to find love through same sex sexual activity is futile--and thus sexual kissing, and more intimate sexual activities seem to heading down a dead end path. This isn't to say that much heterosexual PDA isn't heading down the wrong path, either.

So where does all of this leave me? Everyone has legitimate needs for love and physical closeness. I have learned over the years to have close emotional relationships with other men as a big brother, little brother, mentor, and protege. I have found joy in the physical closeness I have received from these men--smiles, pats on the back, hugs, squeezes on the shoulder, arms around the shoulder, etc. I think these forms of affection are pretty much the limit of what is acceptable in America between men.

I realize this analysis doesn't leave room for man/man, woman/woman forms of PDA like the heterosexual forms that we see in church society. I think there are a lot of Mormons who are naturally repulsed by it may be "homophobic"; I think may aren't really able to articulate a philosophical reason for this--and they need to act with greater charity. However, just because they can't articulate a good reason for the double-standard doesn't mean there isn't one.

I'm sure I've stirred the pot... I appreciate the opportunity to comment.

Michelle said...

"No, it didn't have to be. I could be a serial dater with absolutely no desire to get married, and my actions would not have been forbidden."

Your church membership would not have been in question, but this kind of behavior is not supported by our doctrine, either. Our prophets have spoken out on this kind of behavior, in fact.

Maybe part of the problem is that there is a casualness about intimacy in heterosexual relationships in our culture.

Again, I'm not trying to minimize this very difficult facet of those who deal with SSA, but I think it's important to get to the core of what is going on, and I don't think that allowing or encouraging or allowing PDA between gays is going to help things any.

I also think we have to have more dialogue about having a fulfilled life even with unfulfilled dreams. There are plenty of heterosexuals who never get to gaze into someone's eyes or hold hands for one reason or another. It's not the Church's job to take away all pain, but rather to point us to Christ to help us bear our pain. I think the more we can help homosexuals realize that they are not alone in having struggles in life, the better things will be. We can be compassionate to their unique pain without giving too much power to that pain, and standing by them through it.

And I agree with this wholeheartedly: "My personal opinion is that same-sex attraction is a form of opposition allowed by God, along with other forms of opposition. There are different ideas out there about the nature of same-sex attraction. Is it simply the reverse of heterosexual attraction? I'm not convinced. I have come to think it is a sexualization of legitimate but unmet homosocial love needs. If that's the case, the drive to find love through same sex sexual activity is futile--and thus sexual kissing, and more intimate sexual activities seem to heading down a dead end path. This isn't to say that much heterosexual PDA isn't heading down the wrong path, either."

Michelle said...

I also think you are misrepresenting the counsel about friendships. The Church's pamphlet says this: "In addition to filling your garden with positive influences, you must also avoid any influence that can harm your spirituality."

Is this not similar to what we all hear?

"One of these adverse influences is obsession with or concentration on same-gender thoughts and feelings."

I think principles for heterosexuals is similar. Too much focus on one's sexuality leads to distortion of truth and missing the breadth and depth of life that extends beyond sexual drives.

"It is not helpful to flaunt homosexual tendencies or make them the subject of unnecessary observation or discussion. It is better to choose as friends those who do not publicly display their homosexual feelings. The careful selection of friends and mentors who lead constructive, righteous lives is one of the most important steps to being productive and virtuous. Association with those of the same gender is natural and desirable, so long as you set wise boundaries to avoid improper and unhealthy emotional dependency, which may eventually result in physical and sexual intimacy."

I've read articles and talks that warn of heterosexuals getting into compromising situations where inappropriate emotional intimacy could lead to sexual temptation. Again, is the standard really that different? (I think we should expect some differences, but I don't think they are really as pronounced as you make them sound.)

I think the main point is if your goal is to keep your covenants, find people who support that goal and live their lives in ways that build on faith in those covenants, rather than those who want to test the lines or dismiss prophetic counsel. I see that as fundamentally consistent with prophetic counsel for all of us. And to me, that has the potential to unify and help gays realize that they are not special cases isolated or picked on because of their SSA. They are being pointed, imo, to the same kinds of fundamental principles of faith, repentance, covenants, agency, and the Atonement as all of us. They are part of the fold, not somehow so marked and different that there isn't a place for them.

In fact, while I realize our culture still has a way to go, I think the doctrine is there. And I think continuing to reinforce that "the Church" somehow is failing gays only implies that the gospel really doesn't have room for them. I believe this is false. (I know I'm being blunt here, but I'm honestly surprised by this post, Ray. You are usually the champion of the Atonement, and I am a bit befuddled by the focus on standards as the solution to the challenge here.)

Michelle said...

"If a man and a woman live together all their lives and are completely celibate (developing non-sexual intimacy), have they "sinned" or violated the Law of Chastity?

If two men or women live together all their lives and are completely celibate (developing non-sexual intimacy), have they "sinned" or violated the Law of Chastity? "

I think BYU's housing standards show that there are concerns on the heterosexual side about avoiding potentially risky situations. And there are a bazillion examples of those of the same sex living in the same place.

But we are all counseled to be wise and careful when it comes to sexual temptation.

I think you are setting up a straw man here.

Michelle said...

(Or maybe I'm missing your point of the questions...if anything, I think there is more caution exhibited for heterosexuals in the living-together scenario.)

??

Michelle said...

[what if] " you were not allowed to develop any close relationship with someone of the opposite sex who might be attracted to you? "

Ray, just because I haven't already said enough {grin}, I wanted to respond to this as well.

As a married woman, I think it is wise and prudent for me to take precautionary measures, including avoiding contact with someone, if I felt enough sexual tension with someone of the opposite sex that it could be a temptation for either party. I would also be very wary of someone who I felt was trying to get too 'intimate' even not in a sexual way with married women. (Think of warnings about social media, for example.) I happily have friendships with those of the opposite sex, but it is not without boundaries and caution and discernment.

e.g., Consider the standards and expectations of the spirit of the law of chastity in this article: http://lds.org/ensign/2009/09/fidelity-in-marriage-its-more-than-you-think?lang=eng

Stan Beale said...

H.L. Mencken once wrote that "Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy." I am afraid, in that sense, we have a lot of puritans in our midst.

Steven B said...

If we want to get foundational, I'd say the double standard is that Mormon theology was developed and built on the model of heterosexuality, something to which homosexuals are fundamentally unsuited.

Gay people were essentially written out of the great Plan of Happiness (formerly the Plan of Salvation). And it was probably simply by omission. The idea of homosexuality as an orientation that is innate and fundamental to a person, probably wasn't on Joseph's radar nor that of later church leaders as the doctrine and theology of the church developed.

Ultimately the church needs to make a place for gay people in its worldview and perhaps consider the words spoken through Joseph Smith that what may be wrong in one situation may not be wrong in another situation.

Papa D said...

Turin, thank you for your comment. I was hoping someone in your situation would add their perspective, since there is an important element that only can be expressed and understood from personal experience.

Too many things are merely academic to those who simply can't know fully the effects of our beliefs and practices, so I appreciate deeply when someone who does know more fully than I contributes to the discussion. I especially appreciate the following:

"However, just because they can't articulate a good reason for the double-standard doesn't mean there isn't one."

Papa D said...

"I think the more we can help homosexuals realize that they are not alone in having struggles in life, the better things will be."

Michelle, as gently as I can say this, I doubt that thought has ever crossed the mind of any homosexual person I know - and I think it is a really, really, really twisted statement, frankly. You know I love and respect you - greatly, but that sentence . . . I just can't fathom why you think it is accurate as written. I can't imagine why you would think homosexual people feel like they are "alone in having struggles". Seriously, it baffles me.

Lastly, I think you SERIOUSLY mis-read my post if you think it denies the power of the Atonement in ANY way. I didn't say word one about my own view of homosexuality itself or of it relative to the after-life or with regard to the Atonement. All I said is that the Church still has a double standard when it comes to this issue, and my believing that has NOTHING to do with my view of the universality of the reach of the Atonement.

Of everything written in these comments, that statement surprises, puzzles and hurts the most.

Papa D said...

"I am a bit befuddled by the focus on standards as the solution to the challenge here."

To be more specific, I never said or even intimated that the removal of the double standard would solve the problem. My exact quote was:

"if we simply eliminated that double standard, the discussion would change in fundamental and important ways."

This is my biggest issue with regard to discussing this topic - and it's why I almost didn't publish this post after I wrote it. I knew, based on previous experience, that people would read things into the post that just aren't there. I knew it would be difficult for some people to understand what I was trying to say, but that's fine; it's common, especially with a topic as complex and emotionally charged as this one. However, as you should know by now, I don't write anything that requires reading between the lines - and I choose my words slowly and carefully.

Given a few of the things you wrote in your last few comments, Michelle, I hope you go back and re-read the post - focusing strictly on what I actually wrote. You still might not agree that there is a double standard (even though a celibate, active gay member who commented here sees it clearly), but, at least, I hope you can see how some of your characterization of the post has been inaccurate.

I say that with no rancor, but I mean it sincerely.

Michelle said...

Ray,

I knew when I made that statement about the Atonement, that I was wrong, and I'm sorry I didn't go back and edit my comment. I'm sorry for hurting you.

I feel like you are misreading me as well, so maybe we need to back up a little, or at least let me start by trying to clarify. Please help me understand more of where you are coming from on this.

"I just can't fathom why you think it is accurate as written. I can't imagine why you would think homosexual people feel like they are "alone in having struggles". Seriously, it baffles me."

Let me try to rephrase what I mean. I know that we all know that everyone struggles. I think that there are currents of thought, though, that insist that want to insist that homosexuals cannot have a place in the Church unless the Church changes, that somehow their struggles are perhaps more unreachable by the Church and its doctrine than others' struggles. I feel like some of that kind of dialogue actually contributes to them feeling isolated.

Let me not be misunderstood here. Do I think the *culture* has a way to go? Yes, absolutely -- too often, painfully so. But I don't believe the *doctrine* or the *standards* need to be shifted to make that place for them. I believe those with SSA have a heavy cross to bear (!) and I never want to be misunderstood as minimizing that (!!). I realize, for example, that there are unique needs for intimacy that homosexuals simply can't have met given our standards, and that is something we need to acknowledge and sympathize with (although I do still think that you have overstated the "double" of our standards.

But once again, I don't believe the solution lies in changing "the Church." Rather, I believe it lies in us as members being more changed, more sympathetic, and more open about our own heart-rending, isolating struggles. I hope for more talking and testifying more about the Atonement among ourselves as brothers and sisters (the doctrine is there aplenty!), thuse allowing those with SSA to feel like they can talk about their struggles openly and find love and support in our midst, thus helping them feel less isolated, forgotten, different. That kind of sharing and compassion to me comprises one of the purest and most powerful forms of intimacy there is.

That is the way I process this post. I see it more along the lines of making gays victims of the Church, rather than facilitating dialogue about how the Atonement and covenants and doctrine can help them. Because I know how passionate you are about the Atonement, I felt confused and surprised by it (again, because of how I process what you have talked about).

But I know this medium is limited, so help me understand more of where you are coming from. I fear that we have talked past each other. I hope this helps you understand a little more where I am coming from. If not, please ask me to clarify. (Or, perhaps we may just disagree on some things, and that is ok, too.)

Michelle said...

Ray,

Here's another follow-up question. As I have thought more about what I may be missing in what you are saying, if it's simply that we ought not cry 'breaking the law of chastity' if those with SSA do engage in some form of physical displays of affection, I'm on board with that.

What I can't read into your post is if you are suggesting that the Church ought to relax the standards for gays so as to enable them not to feel so isolated, or that people in the Church should hold back from labeling physical affection as akin to breaking the law of chastity.

And maybe neither of those is it; I fear that you want me to be able to read something in this post that I'm missing, so help me.

Michelle said...

p.s. "if it's simply that we ought not cry 'breaking the law of chastity' if those with SSA do engage in some form of physical displays of affection, I'm on board with that"

But I also think there is wisdom in counsel to avoid behavior that can lead to serious sin. I see counsel given to heterosexuals to avoid any behavior that sexually arouses similar in principle.

p.s.s. This is what happens when I don't feel good. I blog. Maybe it will give you motivation to pray specifically for me to feel better?

Papa D said...

Thanks for your clarifying comments, Michelle. I will try to hone in on where I think our disagreements are:

"But I don't believe the *doctrine* or the *standards* need to be shifted to make that place for them."

I agree - but I'm saying the "doctrine" and "standards" simply need to be applied in the same way to both heterosexual AND homosexual members and that they aren't currently.

For example, I write off and on about how modern Mormon prophets are judged differently by many non-Mormons than ancient prophets - by a different "standard" - and how I think that isn't right. If ancient prophets are allowed to have MAJOR flaws and still be prophets, we shouldn't require modern prophets to be squeaky clean and darn near perfect. It's a "double standard" - requiring of some what isn't required of others.

That's really all I'm saying - and, if I didn't make it clear in the post, I believe it is the "culture" that needs to change - not eternal doctrine or standards. I just want homosexual members to be treated like heterosexual members in every way - to have one "standard" (or "set of requirements", if that makes it easier to understand what I'm saying) that applies to all.

"if it's simply that we ought not cry 'breaking the law of chastity' if those with SSA do engage in some form of physical displays of affection, I'm on board with that"

That, in a nutshell, is the heart of this post.

I need to say this carefully, but it's . . . condescending . . . to say that I, as a heterosexual member can do things that my friend, as a homosexual member, can't do - even though the "temptation" or "possibility of future sin" is exactly the same. I'm sure it's not conscious, but it's almost like I can be an adult and avoid giving in to temptation but my homosexual friend is a child who can't and needs to have a different line drawn and enforced. It's brutally hard for someone who never has experienced it to understand, but too many of my gay friends have expressed such an impression for me to dismiss or reject it.

Bottom line:

If there is a line that constitutes violating the Law of Chastity, that line should be the same for every member of the Church - regardless of their sex or sexual orientation. In that, we agree completely.

Michelle said...

Ray, thanks to you for the clarification. My only thought at this point is this:

"I need to say this carefully, but it's . . . condescending . . . to say that I, as a heterosexual member can do things that my friend, as a homosexual member, can't do - even though the "temptation" or "possibility of future sin" is exactly the same."

I don't see this as comparing apples to apples; I don't see the situations as 'exactly the same' and so here I go back to my original comments. With some of this, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.

To be honest, it feels a little condescending to have those opinions dismissed as condescending, but I can understand it's because you care about those who have talked to you about this. But then to have the implication sort of be that I do not...well, I am not sure what to say to that.

Thanks for your patience with all my commenting on this one.

Papa D said...

"To be honest, it feels a little condescending to have those opinions dismissed as condescending,"

I understand that - and all I can say is that it's impossble to understand how someone perceives something until you've been in their shoes and seen it through their eyes. That means I still can't see it as my gay friends see it, but I've had enough of them express it that way that I've come to believe their perspective is valid and should be addressed.

One thing I really appreciate is how civil you are in this sort of situation. Thank you.

Michelle said...

I totally get what you are saying, and I think I understand more than you think I do about your point and your motivations. But isn't it possible for someone to understand the pain and have a different opinion? I feel as though you have already decided that the only way to really show love to our brothers and sisters in this situation is to agree with your proposed solution. That sort of shuts down discussion out the chute, doesn't it?

But then it's my bad for jumping in in the first place, because it wasn't like that wasn't clear from the outset. So, once again, thanks for your patience with my verbosity here.

Michelle said...

That last paragraph sounded more snarky than I wanted it to. Sorry.

I wanted to also try to put my other thoughts another way. I think it's possible to understand and sympathize things with how things may be perceived, but disagree with what to do about that (and to realize the limitations of what we actually have stewardship over).

That said, I think it's really important to understand and talk about how people are feeling and be sure that we are listening to that. I hope my perspective is not misunderstood as not wanting to listen, not caring, not understanding how hard this all is.

Papa D said...

It's cool, Michelle.

"I think it's possible to understand and sympathize with how things may be perceived, but disagree with what to do about that (and to realize the limitations of what we actually have stewardship over)."

I agree with that completely. I know my decades of thinking about and dealing with this basic issue color my view substantially, as does my basic, fundamental personality. I get that. I also have NO illusions whatsoever about my ability to make or influence change outside my stewardship. I don't agitate publicly massive change, but I also believe there are plenty of things about which I can express my opinion in such a way that others realize there are some things we tend to accept at face value and take for granted that, perhaps, can be changed in some way that doesn't involve doctrinal change in any way.

Fixing what I perceive to be double standards are in that last category of things - even if I have no power whatsoever to impact it on a broad scale.

Lastly, I write here, more than anything else, just so my kids and their kids and their kids will have a record of my thoughts and beliefs - and I fully expect them to be mortified, embarrassed and incredulous in years to come that I could see some things the way I do. I just hope that, occasionally, they also think:

"Wow, that old man had some cool insights - and they've been validated since he died."

I sincerely hope this is one of those insights.

Michelle said...

Thanks, Ray. I appreciate being able to have a back-and-forth about this. It's a topic I, too, have thought about for a long time and I appreciate chances to have dialogue about it.