I’ve noticed something about the word “queer” lately. Queer people aren’t – that is, they aren’t queer. They’re pretty normal, maybe a different shade of normal; but normal enough. For decades, from the modern invention of “homosexuality” in the 18th/19th century, it was genuinely strange to have same-sex attractions and to act on them. But now? It isn’t. It’s becoming positively bourgeois.
So who, I wonder, is really queer? Let me offer some suggestions:
(1) The girl who falls in love with another girl in her class, but demurs, not out of shyness or a fear that the girl won’t reciprocate, but because she doesn’t believe that it’s good for the other girl to be in a romantic relationship with her.
(2) The boy who discovers gay pornography at a young age, and finds it deeply alluring, but seeks help by talking to a trusted older man in his Church about it.
(3) The college student who knows that she will be welcomed into the gay community with open arms, but seeks the open arms of Jesus instead.
(4) The 40-year-old who grew up in a gay-hostile environment, repressing his feelings for other men, and now – on suddenly finding himself thrust into an environment where his feelings are acceptable, even glorified – learns to both accept his feelings for other men, but nevertheless does not cave into pressure to suddenly consider gay sexuality a gift or a calling.
In our modern culture, it just doesn’t get any queerer than that.
But can’t this be a selling point? In 100 AD, Christian was the new counterculture – a culture that said that your desire for the opposite sex was good, but singleness was better. A culture that said to the Gentiles that there was one god, and to the Jews that the Law brought death. In Jesus, there was lots for everyone to hate.
But for those who accept him, he gave them the power to become children of God!
So I suppose this is my challenge to my fellow Christians, my fellow children of the Living God: how queer can we get?