Monday, October 06, 2008

Misjudging healthy relationships as homosexual

Tim Challies looks at the postmodern error of viewing close male relationships. He basically says that these days, any form of intimacy between two men is now considered to be homosexual in nature. And this creates a stigma among men to stay away from healthy, biblical friendships with each other.

Consider these verses that speak of the friendship between David and Jonathan: "As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." (1 Samuel 18:1) "And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul." (1 Samuel 20:17) "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women." (2 Samuel 1:26)

Here's a couple paragraphs from Challies.
"Here is where it gets even more interesting and important. Says Esolen 'Open homosexuality, loudly and defiantly celebrated, changes the language for everyone. ...If a man throws his arm around another man's waist, it is now a sign--whether he is on the political right or the left, whether he believes in biblical proscriptions of homosexuality or not. ...If a man cradles the head of his weeping friend, the shadow of suspicion must cross your mind." Gone is the innocence that would allow us to see a man love another man without assuming that their relationship involved sex or at least the desire for sex. Men and boys, including Christian men and boys, are suffering the fallout. 'The sexual revolution has also nearly killed male friendship as devoted to anything beyond drinking and watching sports. ...The prominence of male homosexuality changes the language for teenage boys. It is absurd and cruel to say that the boy can ignore it. Even if he would, his classmates will not let him. All boys need to prove that they are not failures. They need to prove that they are on the way to becoming men--that they are not going to relapse into the need to be protected by, and therefore identified with, their mothers.' And so boys feel that they need to prove to their peers that they are not homosexual. They do so by recklessly pursuing sexual experience with girls and by distancing themselves from meaningful friendships with other boys. Those who fail in both accounts are labeled as 'fags' and subjected to the torment that follows. Boys have always had a lot to prove, but added to their burden today is proof of their sexual identify.

My mother has often remarked that men, and Christian men in particular, go through life lonely--forsaken by other men who should be their friends. And I think she is right. I wonder if we, too, bear the burden of perverse assumptions. Maybe we, too, from our early days feel the need to prove that we are not homosexual. And we do this by fleeing emotional or spiritual intimacy with other men, assuming that such relationships are unworthy of men--real men.

The societal prevalence of homosexuality is not going to lessen anytime soon. While Christians must continue to insist that homosexuality cannot be reconciled with Scripture (and you may like to read Dr. Mohler's book to learn more about why this is the case) we must also not allow it to usurp friendship and to reframe the way we, as Christians, and Christian men, view and understand friendship. We have far too much to lose."
Read the whole thing


  1. Do you think this article is an indirect commentary on Christian prejudice more than our inability as men to form close, meaningful relationships with other men? It seems, well at least to me, that the article is a misdiagnosis of a more severe issue—our bigotry.

    The finger in this article points to blatant expressions of homosexuality as the issue. I read it as exposing our attitude toward homosexuals; that they are a group we don’t particularly care to deal with or resemble, even if the trade off is a life lived in shallow end when it comes to our relationship with other men. I think one step towards intimacy with other men, if the fear is being mistaken as a homosexual, is a re-focus on how we view homosexuals.

  2. Good insight Bailey. Thanks for commenting. I think you're mostly right. I do think there is a massive problem in the church, wherein we are bigots and are afraid to engage with those who identify themselves as being gay.