[Editor’s Note: This article uses some colorful adjectives in the description of Nate Collins’ Q&A with Christianity Today. We might be wise to give it a PG rating.]
According to the Center on Addiction, homosexuals have twice the rate of drug addiction than their heterosexual peers. If Nate Collins’ Q&A at Christianity Today is any indication, these figures may be true. You know, because Collins is smoking something.
No, I get it. I’m supposed to see Collins’ viewpoint and expressed opinions as intellectually nuanced, curiously winsome, compellingly cerebral, academically highbrow.
But, it is none of those things. The emperor is naked. He is gratuitously, unceremoniously, grotesquely naked. Collins’ views, as cited in Christianity Today, is insanely nonsensical, unbridled gibberish. The reason you – the reader – do not understand what he says is not because you’re not smart and it’s not because you’re straight; it’s because what he said is poppycock twaddle and a boondoggle of balderdash.
I am a polemicist. I wake up and receive in my various inboxes a virtual buffet of hot, steaming links fresh off the cyber-press to some of the dumbest, most insanely idiotic things you have ever laid your eyes upon. I have seen, heard, and read a lot of idiotic, absent-minded, clearly delusional things. Heck, I woke up and saw the tweet from Beth Moore just this morning about God waking her up at 4 AM to talk (on account of his divine insomnia). That’s the kind of crazy-as-a-bat, wide-eyed lunacy I’m used to seeing on a regular, daily basis. And yet, what Collins just said in Christianity Today takes the cake. Heck, it takes the gay wedding cake (with rainbow sprinkles).
I’m not trying to throw random insults at the guy. I am trying to use my vocabulary to convey the length, depth, width and height of the stupidity, insanity, and/or intoxication with which Collins formulated his thoughts into words. Anyone – and I do mean anyone – who credits Collins with any lucidity, perspicuity or limpidity is either disingenuous or suffers from the same malady.
Here’s a list of the claptrap codswallop that dripped out of Colllins’ mouth and wound up at the publication we affectionately call Christianity Astray.
Collins: Sexual desire for someone of the same sex is sinful and something that I should repent from. But in this regard, some people are being too Freudian. They are basically saying that orientation can be boiled down to a desire for sex.
Okay, so desiring to have sex with someone of the same sex is sinful, but in this regard, some are being too “Freudian.” What? I know what “Freudian” means and how it references the Austrian neuroscientist and psychoanalyst. I understand Freud’s teaching on human sexuality, as any college graduate should, and how it’s premised upon his flawed invention of the id, ego and super-ego (and that he was kind of pervy). But how acknowledging what Collins himself acknowledged is “Freudian” I have no idea. And neither does anyone else, because the two ideas aren’t in any way connected.
As for those who are “basically saying that orientation can be boiled down to a desire for sex,” I’ll remind you that the full term is (drumroll unnecessary) “sexual orientation.” That’s the term. That’s the stinking term. The desire for sex is implied in the term “sexual orientation.” The term was invented by the American Psychological Association in 1975 to lobby the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. It is defined as, “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions to men, women or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.”
According to the LGBTQ lobby since basically forever, “orientation” (shorthand for sexual orientation) deals specifically with sexual desire. It is not exclusively about sexual desire but it is about sexual desire. For crying out loud, why do I need to spell this out?
And I don’t think that’s a biblical anthropology. I think a biblical anthropology should reflect something that’s more basic to the human experience, like God created us.
What is not a biblical anthropology? Being queer? No kidding. But I think what Collins is trying to say is that understanding “orientation” as inherently dealing with sexual attraction (which he claims is Freudian) is not a biblical anthropology. Well, for starters, God made them both male and female (Genesis 5:2) and told us this in the context of explaining sexual reproduction and the procreation of the species. That’s not Freudian; that’s Adamic. To say that a biblical anthropology should reflect “God created us” is to leave out how God created us. And hint; he made us male and female, with a natural and healthy orientation toward members of the opposite sex and in our fallen state we get all wonky and weird with it.
Even the phrase “sexual orientation” can be unhelpful because it puts sexuality at the center of orientation. We are sexual beings; God created us to have sexuality; we will inevitably at some point experience our orientation as sexual. But that doesn’t mean that the orientation itself is a sexual orientation. Now what it is exactly I don’t know—that is something that we Christians have a vested interest in thinking about theologically. But to take our cues from Freud and to consistently boil down orientation to a desire for sex—I don’t think that is helpful, particularly for LGBTQ people who are trying to make sense of their sexuality in a cultural Christianity where their sexuality is taboo, where there is a history of stereotyping, mistreatment, and gay jokes in the pulpit—that kind of thing.
I don’t want to beat the big, gay, dead horse, but “orientation” has never been a category unto itself. “Orientation” has always had a descriptor in front of it and that word is “sexual.” The LGBTQ lexicon establishes this. The American Psychological Association establishes this. While Collins is onto a truth nugget by acknowledging that we have a vested interest in thinking theologically (ostensibly, in juxtaposition from operating from a queer lexicon), he is wrong in that he’s trying to just reinvent terms. Reinventing and redefining established terms does not better facilitate “discussion;” it makes discussion impossible. I put that it in bold because you can’t hear me screaming it in my best Lewis Back voice.
Furthermore, we (that is, orthodox Christians) do not want LGBTQ people to make sense of their sexuality. Their sexuality doesn’t make any sense. The rectum is an exit; it is not an entrance. The very idea of anal sex is nonsense. You can’t make sense of nonsense. What we want is LGBTQ people to repent of their sinful weirdness and grossities (that term is as real as any made up by Collins), not make sense of it.
Likewise, LGBTQ sexuality is not “taboo” in orthodox Christianity. It is considered wickedness, perversion, abhorrent, and abominable. One wonders if Collins can cite the “mistreatment” of gays at the hands of the Christian Church in a dispensation of time in which anything short of Mosaic penology (which would be death) should be considered charity. Of course, we are not under Mosaic penology in the New Covenant, but Collins must surely think that the Sinaitic Covenant requiring death for such a sin to have been ghastly. I suggest that God didn’t mind it. And whoever is making “gay jokes” in the church should stop; it is no laughing matter.
Q. When a person considers himself gay, we tend to understand that he means he is sexually attracted to people of the same sex. But you’re saying that’s not necessarily the case?
Collins: That’s exactly right. I think that there’s a lot of the ways that we experience intimacy and desires for intimacy. So the desire to not be alone in your life, the desire to have companionship, to have close, intimate, emotional companionship—these are all things that we experience in relation to orientation that are not intrinsically sexual. To the extent that those desires are neglected or that we fail to integrate those into a theological understanding of orientation—we’re going to have unhelpful pastoral responses in trying to explain how Christianity can still meet the real relationship needs of gay and lesbian.
Okay, let me lay this out in my typically unsophisticated but straight-forward fashion. First, calling platonic friendships between men “intimacy” is pretty gay. Stahp it. Secondly, if you only desire platonic friendships with members of the same sex, you are not gay. Stahp it. Third, by telling men you can be gay only for desiring non-sexual, platonic relationships with other men you’re going to make dudes not want to have non-sexual, platonic relationships with other men (because you’re making it icky). Stahp it. Fourth, if you’re telling yourself that you’re gay because all you want are non-sexual, platonic relationships with other men, you don’t only want non-sexual platonic relationships with other men (you’re lying to yourself) and you’re pretty gay. Straight people don’t call that gay.
And what is this “theological understanding of orientation” business? The theological understanding of sodomy would be that God hates it and has commanded sodomites to repent of sodomy and come to Christ. The notion of “orientation” (IE sexual orientation, the only kind of orientation up until five minutes ago that anybody discussed) is (to Collins’ credit and Albert Mohler’s shame) an extra-Biblical extrapolation. The Bible speaks of the Fall of Adam and the long line of things it messed up under the curse, and a proclivity for sodomy fits within that category. Homosexuality is a curse, and Christ conquers the curse. That’s a theological understanding of “orientation.”
It’s important to distinguish, though, between the way that a straight person would experience that desire and the way that a non-straight person would experience that desire. Because when gay people experience a desire for intimate relationships, they do it in the context of their orientation. Which, again, I want to say is not intrinsically sexual.
Yeah, well I see your obfuscation and raise you a parade of dancing men in rainbow-colored banana hammocks that say you’re wrong about the orientation of gay people not being intrinsically sexual. Nate Collins may be able to fool somebody who’s not ever been exposed to real Queer Culture, but for the rest of us, we see free condoms and HIV screenings offered at LGBTQ events and not at Tea Party rallies. To quote noted theologian and cultural anthropologist, Paris Hilton, “Gay guys are the horniest people in the world.” Claiming that being gay is not primarily about sexual relationship is so intellectually dishonest it’s insulting.
God created us to recognize beauty in other image bearers. When we notice that beauty and when there’s a pattern for that beauty then I think that raises the level of orientation.
Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay.
Collins’ comment has all the credibility as of a teenage boy who’s smacked about the back of the head for staring slack-jawed at a young woman’s hindquarters who responds, “I’m just admiring God’s handiwork.” It’s an absurd attempt at coating lasciviousness with a veneer of religious piety. It’s a candy bar of carnality with a shellac of godliness on the outside with a gooey, sinful nougat center.
Listen, I’d love to sit here and continue with my critique of this steaming feculence, but I think you get the point. Nothing Collins said in the Christianity Today piece was intellectually compelling. Rather, it was intellectually embarrassing. Saying stupid things with a lisp and your pinky sticking out, even if said with a monocle and a top hat does not make stupid things into smart things or gay things into straight things. And this article was as gay as it was intellectually uncompelling.
[Contributed by JD Hall]