Monday, July 27, 2009

The Simple Story

Sorry for taking so long to respond to all of your wonderful comments -- I've been very busy the past week writing a series for the National Catholic Register about Post-modernism, and canning cucumbers, corn, plums, and anything else that I can find growing about. There is a beautiful fermenting strawberry creature sitting on my table, but that is probably neither here nor there.
I should have been clearer. I don't have a problem with simplicity per se, when there is genuine simplicity, wed to genuine humility, it is exceedingly beautiful, like light flashing out through the clouds, and people react to it accordingly. Our jaded, "Oh, well, it could never be that easy..." reaction falls away, and we stop critiquing according to all of these ideas of sophistication, because it is absolutely real and undeniable. The problem is with the falsification of this. Because simplicity is such a beautiful ideal, and also because the simple version of the story is always easier to tell than the messy one, people who are in fact not simple will put on a simple facade when they are giving their testimonies. This is a particular problem in terms of the gay/lesbian conversion, because the reality is that simple people are not generally drawn to gay culture in the first place. That's not to say that simple people never experience same sex attraction, but that when they do they don't tend to go and hang out with the radical feminists, leather fetishists, Warholesque sophisticates, etc.
False simplicity, like false humility, false sanctity, and other false virtues, is invariably transparent. It sits in the stomach like rotten milk. That's why gays and lesbians have such a strong reaction against the standard ex-gay testimony -- not because they would react against genuine simplicity if they were to encounter it, but because those of us who labour under the disadvantage of complexity must be honest about the complications of our conversions.

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