The same thing can take different forms for so many of us. It can affect each of us in such a different way that it's difficult to believe that it can be the same thing. I'm still debating whether this post is going to be philosophical or about my testimony, the latter being a subject I've touched on only extremely briefly and passingly in this blog. I guess that's partially because of the weakness of it, but I don't know for sure why I haven't talked about it much.
What I want to talk about today is the church, and the way it affects each of us. This is a kind of touchy issue for some, but I shan't conceal my feelings. By their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:16-20.
I suppose I'll start things off with all the good that the church does. For many, the church is a source of power. It gives us what we need to make it through the day. It gives us something to hold on to. I love the church for that, for the power that gives me to do good in the world.
For some, the church is a source of pleasure. When we live the gospel, we (usually) feel happy, and things (usually) go well for us. How could anybody argue with such a proposition? All you have to do is neglect all your earthly desires, or fulfill them, depending on the person, and eternal happiness is yours. This deal is effective immediately, although there might be some minor interruptions to the service occasionally.
And then, for a select few of us, the church is a source of pain. I think that most of us have felt this side of the church before. That agony associated with it. The pain that comes when we try to reconcile both our homosexuality and our membership in the church. The pain that we feel when we hear people who are members in good standing say such horrible things about us, or about any minority. The pain that we feel when we read "The Miracle of Forgiveness."
We know the church by it's fruits, and we know that a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Yet the fruit of the church seems to be both. The church produces both humanitarians and warlords, both men of love and men of cruelty, both love and hatred come as a result of the church. How then can we judge it? If not by the test provided in Matthew, then by what means are we to know? How can we act with any degree of certainty?
We all just want to do what's right. I just want to do what's right. I only wish that I knew what it was that was right. If I knew, it would all be easy. If I knew for a fact that the church was true, I could let go of my earthly desires. I really could. Conversely, if I knew for a fact that it wasn't, I would go and get myself into a big gay relationship right now. I probably wouldn't even wait until morning.
It's the lack of knowledge that paralyzes me, as it paralyzes so many others, and leaves us wondering... "what if?" Whichever choice we make, we'll always wonder "what if?"