Monday, August 28, 2006

Losing Friendship

"There was at the table reclining in Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved."
John 13:23.

Does not this image make us red-blooded so-called conservatives a bit uncomfortable? I know I'm not very comfortable with the idea of placing my head on the chest of another man while eating. Why is this?

Of course, there is the culture difference. I worked in the Middle East years ago as a farm consultant. Once I was invited to a tea gathering by some of the laborers. One of the men there sat next to me and put my hand in his and routinely patted me on the shoulder with affection. I was not comfortable, but I didn't let anyone know that. Later, I asked an Arab friend, who knew the man, about it. He told me that the affectionate man was not at all queer or odd. Rather, he considered me a "nearest dearest friend" for two reasons: (1) I defended him against unjust abuse from the farm manager on some occasion, and (2) I honored him with my presence at his humble tea gathering. A nearest dearest friend expresses his pleasure and is willing to sacrifice everything he has to defend and support his friend. I realized that I should have been the one humbled.

Yet there is another thing at work. If you look at pictures of soldiers from WWI or WWII, you will often see buddies with their arms around each other, walking down the street or joyfully posing before the next deadly mission. Even in my youth this was common. It was camaraderie, symbolizing friends for life, and friends even in death.

In my life this all suddenly stopped in the mid-70s. My closest friends said, "hey, I don't want anybody to think I'm homo." We made doubly sure not to express affection for our friends because we were afraid of being labeled queer. Abandoning any expression of deep friendship, we became isolated and shallow.

This is the legacy of "tolerating" homosexuality. Tolerance for sin has trashed the beauty of friendship. In this day, David and Jonathan's friendship-- that knitting of their souls -- would be considered a sure sign that they are just as dirty as the inhabitants of Sodom. This, of course, is the goal of tolerance. It seeks to drag virtue, goodness, and honor down into the gutter. It is the only way the sinful have, absent grace, to feel vindicated.

We should not let them win. They need to be called on it.


Mrs. B said...

A well-considered thought, and one more sad testimonial on the wages of collective sin. All sin is personal of course, but sin is now earning vindication by the commandeering of majority status. When a majority cannot be collected, tolerance becomes the battle cry to enforce the tyranny of the sinning minority. God's law is out; individual responsibility is out; collective sin has displaced them both. We're called to remember not to weave our wool with our linen: to separate from worldly chaff. We may have lost friendship, but we retain abiding friends.

Mrs. B said...

I had another thought pursuant to the above: God ordained civil government "to keep the rational world in bounds and order, to draw circles about the sons of men, and to keep them from passing their allotted bounds and limits, to the mutual disturbance and destruction of each other." (The Works of John Owen: Vol. II, Communion With God, p. 115, Banner of Truth edition) But the world has misappropriated the institutions of government to sanction sin: Legalized drugs and prostitution, the idea of equating marriage and homosexuality, and redistribution of wealth that results in the destruction of charity--these exemplify the attempted nullification of God's law by appropriation of the pseudo-principles of tolerance and equity but are nothing but vindication of sin poorly disguised.

HZ said...

Tolerance is an interesting idea. But I am wondering if it can ever be extended on the side of righteousness and sin at the same time. Certainly the sinners have not extended it to the righteous.

I think Lewis had something about this in The Four Loves.

There is a man at church who hugs Ruben around the ribs fiercely every Sunday. At first this was difficult to adjust to and we still laugh about it, but he is the most beautiful Christian and the feeling he is expressing is very sincere.

Zack said...

I embrace the male dog next door all the time.

Victorbravo said...

Zack, dogs get to do that. But only as friends.

Zack said...

That is what the female tells me.

I bit her.

Victorbravo said...

Bad dog. No bite.

Ruben said...

Good points, Victor. Whatever else one might think of Wilson, his habit of calling the tolerance police the "Intoleristas" has something going for it.