Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A "Holy Ghost" Post

This is Post Number One Hundred for Born on 9-11. Woo-hoo...yipee-skipee!!!

I thought it might be fitting to celebrate this milestone with a post about the desired driving force for every Christian's blog: the Holy Spirit.

It would be vain to claim that the Spirit is always working through this Blog, but I do believe we have seen the Holy Spirit's presence here on occasion. New friends have met, ideas have been discovered and eyes have been opened.

I've also royally pissed at least a few people off. That's not necessarily evidence of Holy Spirit activity, although it certainly can be.

After He had risen from the dead, and before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus promised His followers that He'd send the Holy Spirit to guide the Church. This is a promise we commemorate every Pentecost -- and then, all too often, promptly forget.

Especially with regard to important debates now raging between believers, it is crucial to remember Jesus's promise, and to pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance.

It is as important to believe in the Holy Spirit as it is to believe in Jesus and in God the Father. As a matter of fact, this belief is crucial in determining whether someone who claims to be a Christian really is or is not.

There are people on both sides of the gay rights debate that make me wonder whether they have any faith in the Holy Spirit or not.

Those who are content to play on the ignorance of the general public, letting them go on thinking that "Christian" and "gay or lesbian person" must be diametrically opposed concepts, display a marked lack of faith in the Holy Spirit. Not only because they're liars (surely most of these people have kept up with the news at least enough to know that there are gays and lesbians fighting for inclusion in the churches), and liars have no part of the Holy Spirit, but because they show not a single shred of faith that the Third Person of the Trinity guards and works within the Church today.

If gays are wrong, then ultimately the Spirit will prove it. If gays are right, the Spirit will prove that, too. In twenty centuries, the Holy Spirit has stood unfailingly by the Church no matter how many in it were wrong. A good many disgusting and disgracefully erroneous things have happened in the Body of Christ over that time, but true to Jesus's promise, the gates of Hell have never prevailed.

Funny thing. Most gay Christians are willing to trust the Holy Spirit -- and most anti-gay Christians are not. All the spin-doctoring, the obfuscation, the willingness to leave ignorant people in the dark, the stereotyping, and the hornets-in-the-pants rage when somebody like me dares -- dares!!! -- to publicly suggest gays can be Christians, displays a shameful lack of faith in the Holy Spirit.

If anti-gay Christians retain any faith at all in the Holy Spirit, they sure have some very odd ways of showing it.

This brings me to why I have elected not to return to the Catholic Church after all. All the latest news regarding the hierarchy's doings suggest a vote of no-confidence in the Holy Spirit. They show little interest in what God wants -- only in what THEY want. And in shutting down the dialogue on the subject of gay rights, they are, in effect, telling the Holy Spirit to shut up.

Well, nobody shuts God up. This is hardly the first time the Catholic Church has attempted this feat, and, sadly, it probably won't be the last. But they will not succeed. Jesus will keep His promise 'til the very end. The Spirit will abide with Jesus's followers until Our Lord makes His glorious return.

The dialogue will go on. The debate will continue. I believe that the pro-gay forces are right -- but one way or another, the Holy Spirit will eventually make the truth clear to us all.

Now if we could just get all the liberal Christians who say they support us to stop running after every loony new theory that floats down the pike! I keep my distance from these people. Just as they once so staunchly supported African-Americans in their struggle for freedom and civil rights, the liberal churches are on the side of right once again. But theologically, they are -- how shall I put this -- quite confused. Gays and lesbians need to have the pride and the gumption to stand on our own feet and tell our liberal friends "thanks so much for supporting us, but we have the right to our beliefs."

African-Americans refused to compromise on matters of theology. Gays and lesbians need to stand our ground on this, as well. The fact that many of us swoon and thrall after every one of our liberal benefactors' latest theories might have something to do with why so many African-American Christians still regard us with suspicion.

You can't effectively argue against the conservatives who've forsaken the Holy Spirit if you're going to do the same darned thing. And as I have already made clear, if the history of the Church is about nothing more than mean people squabbling over power -- and the biggest and strongest of them prevailing -- then the Holy Spirit is either AWOL or dead.

I take no stock in the "lost gospels," or the "alternative Christianities" theories now swirling around. I believe the Holy Spirit has protected the Church from any error so serious that it would have destroyed it.

If we're going to fall for the fallacy that in the Body of Christ, all spoils go to the strongest, and that those with the biggest wallets can simply suppress God's truth at will, then we will have succumbed to the fantasy in which so many conservative "Christians" place their faith.

Given the bully-boy, strong-arm, just-shut-up-if-you-disagree-with-us attitudes of so many on the so-called Christian Right, it is tragically obvious that many who call themselves Christians have no faith in the Holy Spirit at all.

It is not yet clear which side will win in the gay rights debate within the Church. But given the anti-gay forces' lack of willingness to entrust the matter to the Holy Spirit, a pretty good indication is already emerging.

Many of the strongest gains in the understanding of gay rights are coming from the Pentecostalist camp. This speaks volumes, in and of itself. And in tongues that will, one day -- I truly believe -- inform the whole world.

Veni Sancti Spiritus!


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