Does the Church Kill ‘Gay’ People?
Part 3: Integration This is the third blog of our three-part series. If you haven’t already, please read part 1 here
and part 2 here.
‘Though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.’- C.S. Lewis
Simon Kent Fung surmises in his podcast Dear Alana that Alana Chen killed herself due to the fear, self-hatred, and shame she experienced over her same-sex desires. Further, he assumes Church teaching and praxis widened this divide between her sexual struggles and spiritual aspirations.
Alana’s disintegration is apparent. Perhaps this resulted from a crippling scrupulosity, more than the normal moral tensions most of us experience. I surmise that Alana’s greatest challenge wasn’t same-sex desires or an unloving Church but an irrational moral perfectionism (i.e., scrupulosity).
Throughout the podcast, Alana seems to combat the temptation to control anxiety by holding things together; she coped with early childhood fears through over functioning, the relentless drive for perfection. Efforts at fixing others and herself failed. She couldn’t do it. Neither Jesus, nor Church, nor her surrounding faith community asked this of her. Our common enemy, employing scrupulosity, demanded otherwise.
Scrupulosity is a psychological struggle born of temperament and early family experiences. It isn’t related to a particular moral struggle. Yet it fuels the greatest temptation to self-harm by turning one against herself in areas of greatest need. Scrupulosity kills; the devil delights in it.
Our main task at DSM/LW is to help people dealing with a range of disordered desires to welcome Jesus’ love for them, not despite their struggles, but in them, right there, ground zero. Our weakness becomes a magnet for His superabounding love for us. Instead of attracting accusation, temptation invites affirmation: the love of Father through the Son in the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit. We are the Beloved’s, He is ours. Our imperfections remind us of this, and prompt Him who comes running to close the gap, over and over.
We overcome scrupulosity by foregoing our haggard efforts ‘to be good.’ Rather, we entrust ourselves to the One who is only good and active in proving His claim that Divine Mercy is deeper than our divides. His love bridges the gap and unites us, integrates us, makes us whole.
Of course, we may, like Alana, hear familiar voices and feel persistent emotions to the contrary. Scrupulosity demands community that reminds us over and over of who we are, what our disordered desires mean, and how to offer ourselves responsibly and healthfully to each other. We work out our human conflicts in community united in the One. That is my freedom. That is Living Waters.
We rout scrupulosity by integrating our dishonorable parts (1 Cor. 12:22). Like St. Paul, we secure strength in weakness (2 Cor. 12) and discover the depth of Mercy in what could be miserable self-concern. In that ‘little place of absolute poverty’ glimmers ‘the pure glory of God’ (Thomas Merton).
For the saving of many lives, we identify and renounce scrupulosity, while continuing to name disordered desires for what they are. In turn, we invite Mercy together as we seek further integration through Christian community.
Join Andrew Comiskey, Marco Casanova and Katie Comiskey as they discuss this further on their third and final podcast addressing the Dear Alana Podcast. This episode will be releasted Friday, Sept. 29. Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or YouTube.