Tom Gilson

Stand To Reason Interview on Critical Conversations

My conversation with Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason has been posted here now.

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13 thoughts on “Stand To Reason Interview on Critical Conversations

  1. Tom.

    At about 37:30 in this interview, I believe you are referencing my interaction with you in the comments section on a blog post dated December 20, 2014.

    While I take your larger point that there are certainly gay-activists in the world who would “stereotype” you, and (honestly believe you to be a monster/hater in conventional understandings of the word), that wasn’t the point of my exchange with you–which was significantly more subtle than that.

    In that regard, in my exchange with you I specifically said that you aren’t a “hater,” (and I wasn’t stereotyping you as any sort of traditional “hater”), rather I pointed to a blog post that sheds light on this issue for me. As I said the blog post “helped move me from my thinking that “Christians are really just good, decent people and it is wrong to call them bigots [due to SSM]” to thinking, “Christians are good, decent people, who happen to be bigots [due to SSM].”

    This is the blog post I was talking about:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/06/11/you-cant-deny-people-their-rights-and-be-nice-about-it/

    The status of “bigot” has nothing to do with screaming/protesting/overt hatred, but (here) with wanting policies enacted in law that are fundamentally unfair. (As an analogy (although not a perfect one)–imagine the most friendly, kind Christian who thinks that miscegenation is wrong because “God put different races on different continents because He 1) didn’t want them to marry each other and 2) the Bible is against it. This person would never dream of being overtly racist to a black person, and thinks Blacks should have full equality under the law–they can marry anyone they want, so long as that person is the same race–this even applies to White people. Nothing unfair about it. Are they still a bigot? I’d say so.)

    With regard to the stereotyping, I don’t believe I was doing that, for reasons I explained (to wit: the position you hold; not your mere membership in a group.)

    (ps. Please note that here I am using very specific understandings of the words bigot and hater.)

    (pps. I don’t have any more time to devote to this at the moment, as I’ve got other stuff I’ve got to get done.)

  2. Correction:

    I wrote in #1 above: In that regard, in my exchange with you I specifically said that you aren’t a “hater,”

    What I should have said is In that regard, in my exchange with you I specifically said that you “probably aren’t a hater,”

    I now know (based on subsequent exchanges) that you aren’t any sort of anti-gay “hater.”

  3. Another approach vis-à-vis our Teenagers:

    Many of our teens have lived through the harm of the absence of their father, just as, many of our teens have lived through the harm of the absence of their mother. For those who have, the emotional and intellectual impact of our humanity’s essence is, simply, painful and immediate and tangible. In short: it’s real. In the same way, many teens have had to suffer through the absence of people’s grace in their own journey should they themselves or perhaps one of their parents have struggled with same-sex attractions. This dichotomy is informative for our teens – who will and do encounter these sorts of experiences. And if they have not experienced such, they will have friends who have and perhaps are right now walking through such experiences.

    Therefore, for our Teens who have had to live through any of the above, or have friends who have had to live through such, recall that in all of our interfaces with each other there are the unavoidable realities of Essence and of Grace and we must honor both if we are to mature into the image of Christ – Himself full of Truth, full of Grace. As we will see, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. appealed to our humanity’s essence (one can read about “essentialism”) and informed the world stage that ignoring the fundamental truths of our human essences led some to claim a “difference” between Blacks/ Whites, between African Americans and Caucasians. We cannot expect to fully actualize Mankind’s Good when we thusly ignore, out of fear, out of an uninformed mindset, out of a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or out of all of the above, the elementary truths of Mankind’s essence, and that is why Pastor MLK got it right – his essentialism finally out-distancing such misguided thinking.

    But there is also this: Pastor King lived in and by Grace towards all – Hard Stop – even to his own hurt.

    What does this all “look like” in the real world? Here’s a bit of “unpacking” with respect to such contours amid Essence and Grace:

    I visited a grade school (1st and 2nd grade) in an impoverished area and recall the (all women) teachers essentially pleading with me to return. That felt good until I learned why the request came. The children in that class were, for the most part, fatherless and me, as a male, had, these teachers felt, a certain “some-thing” which their young impressions painfully needed, but were lacking. They didn’t need me to be a rocket scientist. They needed something far more expensive – they knew their young students needed a generator, an image, a model of appropriate and consistent male-impressions, as it were. And the community in question in this impoverished area knew all too well the unfortunate reality of gambling away the greater for the lesser. It still “felt good” to be asked to return as often as possible – though for unexpected reasons.

    We’re forever seeing hints of this leaking onto the floor in all sorts of places.

    Not long ago while watching the BET awards there was, buried in the midst of the pageantry, a comment on the (factual) problem of the absent father – which (apparently) seemed important enough to drop into the mix of a live recording. Everyone understands or gets that reality – as it’s just palpable, measurable. All the affairs of our children’s masculinization and of our children’s feminization carry us unavoidably into the inescapable problem of the absent father over there and the absent mother over here, and so on. All of that is clear, observable, and all of that is so unfortunate that communities champion those who fight to untie such painful knots in the next generation of young parents. All of these are robust lines of hard data in an arena which is championed by all sides here and such (unfortunate) data presents us with something from which nearly no one dissents.

    For intelligent, data-driven reasons.

    Because it’s true.

    The social sciences consistently echo that data when we look at other combinations and permutations.

    The child’s potential need not be fully actualized as it is painfully and unfortunately obvious that we all enter our world already in possession of potential which our world, the world we enter, is, quite often, unsuccessful in fully actualizing. When it comes to the maximal potential of a child’s plasticity as such relates to the fullest actualization of the child’s emotional intelligence amid the sexes, we come to an uncanny observation:

    Early submersion within an ongoing, stable, and emotionally perceptive environment insightfully exhibiting that which is fully human inside of the robustly feminine milieu amalgamated with the robustly masculine milieu measurably provides the sort of stimuli and personal interfaces which are in the end necessary to maximally elicit the child’s embryonic (plasticity) intuitiveness. Mechanistically speaking, such caring reciprocity recurrently interfacing amid those distinct milieus (feminine/masculine) are then applied to, or impact upon, the child’s highly plastic potential and that (as it relates to the child’s future capacity for emotionally intelligent adult interfacing amid the sexes) houses our most credible, repeatable, and balanced consistency.

    It seems that we have two approaches which allow us to arrive at that location – that of final causes (the God paradigm) and that of the latent potentiality of an already-present and deeply embedded neuro-biological network (reductionist, no-god paradigm) as the “end of the line”, as it were. In both we find an uncanny degree of convergence. The reductionist (no-God paradigm) who appeals to neurobiology as the end of line where our humanity’s employable substrate is concerned finds all the evidence of his stimuli-outcome trajectories converging in all of the same locations as those trajectories predicted by final causes (the God paradigm).

    We find no effective difference in what provides the child’s plasticity the greatest opportunity of fullness in a robust development of the child’s emotional intelligence across the full range of the robustly feminine to the robustly masculine as the child progresses to a fully functional adult. The relational landscape which provides that early childhood plasticity with the highest degree of actualization is the stable, ongoing, emotionally intelligent, and caring environment of submersion in the singular atmosphere which is itself constituted of the fully feminine milieu amalgamated with the fully masculine milieu.

    That singularity sums to the relational milieu which is the factual some-thing found in the real world as granting our children the most predictable degree of success. As already noted, none of this is to say that other combinations or permutations don’t get by, often quite well – they do – but we are speaking here of the fullness of range of what just is our humanity’s fundamental essence as it relates to childhood’s early plasticity and a robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes.

    The data on children raised with one parent is relevant in a few ways here. Children raised by the single father are found to be less aware of, and more likely to possess some degree of maladroitness in, many relational contexts where the feminine is concerned. And the reverse is seen in those raised by the single mother. This of course does not amount to simple dysfunction, but rather to degrees of awareness, to degrees of ability to fully interact in and with and by our humanity’s full range of potential, of capacity as all the affairs of masculinization and of feminization come to the forefront. Obviously this can be in part overcome by emersion – from day one – with a wider circle of close – daily – contacts (it takes a village, so to speak). However, we still, even there, do not seem able to find that which factually equals that which is yielded by the daily intimacy of the home submerged in the masculine/feminine of father/mother as our own humanity’s fully feminine to fully masculine range weighs in on childhood plasticity.

    This is why everybody champions those in this generation who make real efforts to spare the next generation from that fragmentation of the whole. Ignoring the fundamental truths of our human essences led some to claim a “difference” between Blacks/ Whites, between African Americans and Caucasians. We cannot expect to fully actualize Mankind’s Good when we thusly ignore, out of fear, out of an uninformed mindset, out of a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or out of all of the above, the elementary truths of Mankind’s essence, and that is why Pastor MLK got it right – his essentialism finally out-distancing such misguided thinking. We cannot evade reality and expect to find something worth having and Pastor MLK Jr. pressed in on that fact. It is a peculiar danger that (perhaps) of late that same intentional shunning of, willful neglect of, even disenfranchising of, key fundamental essences of our humanity where our children are concerned may be evolving, and the price there can only sum to those which Pastor MLK taught us so well. Such a repeat of yesterday’s unfortunate approach to Mankind can, and ultimately must, bring equal forms of genuine psychological harm and human misguidedness and those then must in return bring some new layer of emotional harm, and those then must bring yet some new layer of….. and so on. Such is the danger of ignoring what we’ve learned from our past mistakes if and when we claim “sameness” among a collection of different milieus found in-play atop early childhood plasticity. Ignoring the essence of our humanity didn’t help mankind amid “Black / White” issues and, in fact, it ended in the actualization of the antithesis of the Good – that is to say – it was ultimately unloving. Repeating now with our children that very same fear-driven mistake, that very same dis-invitation of yet another key slice of our elementary essence, cannot, ultimately, end in that which sums to loving our children.

    Not factually, that is.

    Disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in a degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the same emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity.

    As already noted, adoption is wonderful, and two parents there seems to be more promising than one. *Any* stability is better than none, and so on in said degrees and where there are degrees there are, painfully for our children should we repeat the mistakes of the past, the grave potential of wasted opportunities – opportunities excluded or disinvited or marginalized merely out of fear, out of an uninformed mindset, out of a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or out of all of the above. The early plasticity specifically under review is with nearly across the board consensus most fully actualized by the early submersion within an ongoing, stable, and emotionally perceptive environment insightfully exhibiting that which is fully human inside of the robustly feminine milieu amalgamated with the robustly masculine milieu measurably provides the sort of stimuli and personal interfaces which are in the end necessary to maximally elicit the child’s embryonic (plasticity) intuitiveness. Mechanistically speaking, such caring reciprocity recurrently interfacing amid those distinct milieus (feminine/masculine) are then applied to, or impact upon, the child’s highly plastic potential and that (as it relates to the child’s future capacity for emotionally intelligent adult interfacing amid the sexes) houses our most credible, repeatable, and balanced consistency. There are (unquestionably) *degrees*, that is to say, there is so-so, there is okay, there is better, and then there is the “best chance for the highest degree of actualization” or the ideal milieu relative to the child’s plasticity and his or her future emotional intelligence amid the sexes as a functional adult.

    Of course, just because “X” for various reasons offers the highest possible chance for actualization of that robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes does *not* mean that good functionality is not obtainable with “X-minus-some-thing”. We all get by with various levels of discomfort or unawareness or uneasiness, or what have you, amid something less than fully healthy interfaces as adults. But being functional has gradations, or layers, or degrees, as it were. We find here an unfortunate reality on the part of one certain narrative in the denial of such layering in our humanity as it develops. Where that narrative of late is (perhaps) concerned, as Pastor MLK taught us all so well, disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in some degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity. The very essence of what makes us fully human was ignored and that made-up-reality was used to show a supposed “difference” amid Black and White human beings. Just the same, genuine opportunity for the child’s best shot at actualizing the full range of masculine/feminine emotional intelligence is always awaiting the child upon his or her entry into the world and, for all the same reasons which Pastor MLK taught us, disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in some degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity. The very essence of what makes us fully human cannot be ignored as we just cannot seek a reality that is “as we wish it were” and attempt to (thereby) show “sameness” amid factually different milieus of robust emotional opportunity in-play atop early childhood plasticity.

    As already noted, where the child’s future is concerned, *any* stability is better than no stability, and that less/more merges unavoidably into palpable degrees of opportunity for the child. But similarity is not sameness and (unfortunately for all of us) we have a wide array of converging data from which very few dissent which affirms what every teacher and single parent know, which is that we simply cannot find elsewhere that which factually equals to the daily intimacy of the home submerged in the masculine/feminine milieu afforded by the singularity of father/mother as our own humanity’s fully feminine to fully masculine range weigh in on childhood plasticity and future emotional intelligence amid the sexes.

    As noted, other combinations or permutations do well enough – but we are speaking here of a sort of identity claim – that A and B are identical realities where early childhood plasticity amid the full range of masculine/feminine emotional intelligence weighs in vis-à-vis the child’s opportunity. Observational reality seems to be declaring such to be (in at least some vectors of crucial import) a factually flawed identity claim. We must proceed slowly, with eyes wide open, if and when we make appeals to childhood stability vis-à-vis the family.

    Marriage is one thing, and, indeed, Thomas Aquinas on “Tolerance and Law” may apply. But marriage is not “the whole show” – that is to say that marriage is not the whole show if and when we mean to invoke the essence of early childhood plasticity. That essence has (unfortunately for all of us) eons of data which are simply unavoidable.

    Essence yes, but, still, we must be moving towards Grace:

    The crimes against African Americans which were fueled by our own willful dis-invitation of the fundamental realities of our own human essence created a painful, genuine, and preventable shortfall in the very substance of our humanity and, fortunately, we were gifted with the likes of Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. to brilliantly help lead us out of such error as he, thankfully, got it right. That is to say, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. taught us with unmistakable clarity that when false narratives built atop fear, an uninformed mindset, a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or all of the above, begin to succeed they are themselves fated to come down on the wrong side of history – time and truth just do have that peculiar sort of relationship. History is both our teacher and a kind of proof in this arena. Narratives built atop our own self-deception or our own hope to have reality live up to what we wish it to be, rather than what it actually is, just cannot endure over time. Eventually the truth of our humanity rises and we’ve seen these principles of Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. play out over and over again on the world stage – for millennia.

    Perhaps that is one of the reasons many of us find ourselves embracing the metaphysical paradigm which converges in Christ – simply on the grounds of grace’s embrace of every last one of us – and – simply on the grounds that reality does in fact have a true narrative, perhaps up ahead of us, perhaps within us, or perhaps both – and – simply on the grounds of reason’s categorical imperative to embrace reality’s true narrative – to experience His unquenchable instantiation.

    Many of us need to beware here, lest we offend grace, and, for all the same reasons, others of us need to beware here, lest we offend various truths of our own human essence. On whatever topic may arise we press – it’s difficult – to use caution in our own interior navigations of our own tendencies both towards and away from grace, and, just the same, in our own tendencies both towards and away from truth. We cannot offend grace towards our own selves and towards one another and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. We cannot offend truth towards our own selves and towards one another and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. Such shortsightedness has been found wanting upon the world stage – over and over again. History seems to reveal our final causes vis-à-vis our humanity’s essence surfacing – ever spying somewhere within us – ever spying somewhere up ahead of us – the unquenchable instantiation of the God Who is love. On such navigations amid grace and truth I’ve proven to be an inept sailor. Fortunately though, He holds all things and outdistances me. We are, it seems, not on the side of any Will-To-Power in any ipso facto sense, nor are we on the side of any Temporal Brand per se, but rather we are on the side of reality’s singular metanarrative, that is to say, we are on the side of Grace in all directions – towards all – Hard Stop – and – in the same sense – we are on the side of Truth in all directions – towards all – Hard Stop. Grace and Truth as an actual singularity. That is the Narrative Whose Name is The-Real as we find all such lines seamlessly converging in Christ.

    This need not be, and indeed is not, at all, a statement on legality, rather, this is merely an observation of our own human essence and of the contours of grace.

  4. Hmmm…….

    3 typos and three copy/paste errors while getting it all into one document left several mistakes.

    So…….. the next post will be with those mistakes fixed (and a new sentence at the start).

    (Apologies for the mess Tom)

  5. Another “avenue” by which to approach the landscape of loving both all that is Every-Man and loving all that is humanity’s elemental Essence is (in some respects) through the broader topic’s overlap found in helping our Teens navigate their way through these conversations.

    Perhaps this then: Another approach with respect to our Teenagers:

    Many of our teens have lived through the harm of the absence of their father, just as, many of our teens have lived through the harm of the absence of their mother. For those who have, the emotional and intellectual impact of our humanity’s essence is, simply, painful and immediate and tangible. In short: it’s real. In the same way, many teens have had to suffer through the absence of people’s grace in their own journey should they themselves or perhaps one of their parents have struggled with same-sex attractions. This dichotomy is informative for our teens – who will and do encounter these sorts of experiences. And if they have not experienced such, they will have friends who have and perhaps are right now walking through such experiences.

    Therefore, for our Teens who have had to live through any of the above, or have friends who have had to live through such, recall that in all of our interfaces with each other there are the unavoidable realities of Essence and of Grace and we must honor both if we are to mature into the image of Christ – Himself full of Truth, full of Grace. As we will see, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. appealed to our humanity’s essence (one can read about “essentialism”) and informed the world stage that ignoring the fundamental truths of our human essences led some to claim a “difference” between Blacks/ Whites, between African Americans and Caucasians. We cannot expect to fully actualize Mankind’s Good when we thusly ignore, out of fear, out of an uninformed mindset, out of a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or out of all of the above, the elementary truths of Mankind’s essence, and that is why Pastor MLK got it right – his essentialism finally out-distancing such misguided thinking.

    But there is also this: Pastor King lived in and by Grace towards all – Hard Stop – even to his own hurt.

    What does this all “look like” in the real world? Here’s a bit of “unpacking” with respect to such contours amid Essence and Grace:

    I visited a grade school (1st and 2nd grade) in an impoverished area and recall the (all women) teachers essentially pleading with me to return. That felt good until I learned why the request came. The children in that class were, for the most part, fatherless and me, as a male, had, these teachers felt, a certain “some-thing” which their young impressions painfully needed, but were lacking. They didn’t need me to be a rocket scientist. They needed something far more expensive – they knew their young students needed a generator, an image, a model of appropriate and consistent male-impressions, as it were. And the community in question in this impoverished area knew all too well the unfortunate reality of gambling away the greater for the lesser. It still “felt good” to be asked to return as often as possible – though for unexpected reasons.

    We’re forever seeing hints of this leaking onto the floor in all sorts of places.

    Not long ago while watching the BET awards there was, buried in the midst of the pageantry, a comment on the (factual) problem of the absent father – which (apparently) seemed important enough to drop into the mix of a live recording. Everyone understands or gets that reality – as it’s just palpable, measurable. All the affairs of our children’s masculinization and of our children’s feminization carry us unavoidably into the inescapable problem of the absent father over there and the absent mother over here, and so on. All of that is clear, observable, and all of that is so unfortunate that communities champion those who fight to untie such painful knots in the next generation of young parents. All of these are robust lines of hard data in an arena which is championed by all sides here and such (unfortunate) data presents us with something from which nearly no one dissents.

    For intelligent, data-driven reasons.

    Because it’s true.

    The social sciences consistently echo that data when we look at other combinations and permutations.

    The child’s potential need not be fully actualized as it is painfully and unfortunately obvious that we all enter our world already in possession of potential which our world, the world we enter, is, quite often, unsuccessful in fully actualizing. When it comes to the maximal potential of a child’s plasticity as such relates to the fullest actualization of the child’s emotional intelligence amid the sexes, we come to an uncanny observation:

    Early submersion within an ongoing, stable, and emotionally perceptive environment insightfully exhibiting that which is fully human inside of the robustly feminine milieu amalgamated with the robustly masculine milieu measurably provides the sort of stimuli and personal interfaces which are in the end necessary to maximally elicit the child’s embryonic (plasticity) intuitiveness. Mechanistically speaking, such caring reciprocity recurrently interfacing amid those distinct milieus (feminine/masculine) are then applied to, or impact upon, the child’s highly plastic potential and that (as it relates to the child’s future capacity for emotionally intelligent adult interfacing amid the sexes) houses our most credible, repeatable, and balanced consistency.

    It seems that we have two approaches which allow us to arrive at that location – that of final causes (the God paradigm) and that of the latent potentiality of an already-present and deeply embedded neuro-biological network (reductionist, no-god paradigm) as the “end of the line”, as it were. In both we find an uncanny degree of convergence. The reductionist (no-God paradigm) who appeals to neurobiology as the end of line where our humanity’s employable substrate is concerned finds all the evidence of his stimuli-outcome trajectories converging in all of the same locations as those trajectories predicted by final causes (the God paradigm).

    We find no effective difference in what provides the child’s plasticity the greatest opportunity of fullness in a robust development of the child’s emotional intelligence across the full range of the robustly feminine to the robustly masculine as the child progresses to a fully functional adult. The relational landscape which provides that early childhood plasticity with the highest degree of actualization is the stable, ongoing, emotionally intelligent, and caring environment of submersion in the singular atmosphere which is itself constituted of the fully feminine milieu amalgamated with the fully masculine milieu.

    That singularity sums to the relational milieu which is the factual some-thing found in the real world as granting our children the most predictable degree of success. As already noted, none of this is to say that other combinations or permutations don’t get by, often quite well – they do – but we are speaking here of the fullness of range of what just is our humanity’s fundamental essence as it relates to childhood’s early plasticity and a robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes.

    The data on children raised with one parent is relevant in a few ways here. Children raised by the single father are found to be less aware of, and more likely to possess some degree of maladroitness in, many relational contexts where the feminine is concerned. And the reverse is seen in those raised by the single mother. This of course does not amount to simple dysfunction, but rather to degrees of awareness, to degrees of ability to fully interact in and with and by our humanity’s full range of potential, of capacity as all the affairs of masculinization and of feminization come to the forefront. Obviously this can be in part overcome by emersion – from day one – with a wider circle of close – daily – contacts (it takes a village, so to speak). However, we still, even there, do not seem able to find that which factually equals that which is yielded by the daily intimacy of the home submerged in the masculine/feminine of father/mother as our own humanity’s fully feminine to fully masculine range weighs in on childhood plasticity.

    This is why everybody champions those in this generation who make real efforts to spare the next generation from that fragmentation of the whole. Ignoring the fundamental truths of our human essences led some to claim a “difference” between Blacks/ Whites, between African Americans and Caucasians. We cannot expect to fully actualize Mankind’s Good when we thusly ignore, out of fear, out of an uninformed mindset, out of a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or out of all of the above, the elementary truths of Mankind’s essence, and that is why Pastor MLK got it right – his essentialism finally out-distancing such misguided thinking. We cannot evade reality and expect to find something worth having and Pastor MLK Jr. pressed in on that fact. It is a peculiar danger that (perhaps) of late that same intentional shunning of, willful neglect of, even disenfranchising of, key fundamental essences of our humanity where our children are concerned may be evolving, and the price there can only sum to those which Pastor MLK taught us so well. Such a repeat of yesterday’s unfortunate approach to Mankind can, and ultimately must, bring equal forms of genuine psychological harm and human misguidedness and those then must in return bring some new layer of emotional harm, and those then must bring yet some new layer of….. and so on. Such is the danger of ignoring what we’ve learned from our past mistakes if and when we claim “sameness” among a collection of different milieus found in-play atop early childhood plasticity. Ignoring the essence of our humanity didn’t help mankind amid “Black / White” issues and, in fact, it ended in the actualization of the antithesis of the Good – that is to say – it was ultimately unloving. Repeating now with our children that very same fear-driven mistake, that very same dis-invitation of yet another key slice of our elementary essence, cannot, ultimately, end in that which sums to loving our children.

    Not factually, that is.

    Disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in a degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the same emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity.

    As already noted, adoption is wonderful, and two parents there seems to be more promising than one. *Any* stability is better than none, and so on in said degrees and where there are degrees there are, painfully for our children should we repeat the mistakes of the past, the grave potential of wasted opportunities – opportunities excluded or disinvited or marginalized merely out of fear, out of an uninformed mindset, out of a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or out of all of the above. Once again, the early plasticity specifically under review is with nearly across the board consensus most fully actualized by the early submersion within an ongoing, stable, and emotionally perceptive environment insightfully exhibiting that which is fully human inside of the robustly feminine milieu amalgamated with the robustly masculine milieu because such measurably provides the sort of stimuli and personal interfaces which are in the end necessary to maximally elicit the child’s embryonic (early plasticity) intuitiveness. Mechanistically speaking, such caring reciprocity recurrently interfacing amid those distinct milieus (feminine/masculine) are then applied to, or impact upon, the child’s highly plastic potential and that (as it relates to the child’s future capacity for emotionally intelligent adult interfacing amid the sexes) houses our most credible, repeatable, and balanced consistency. There are (unquestionably) *degrees*, that is to say, there is so-so, there is okay, there is better, and then there is the “best chance for the highest degree of actualization” or the ideal milieu relative to the child’s plasticity and his or her future emotional intelligence amid the sexes as a functional adult.

    Of course, just because “X” for various reasons offers the highest possible chance for actualization of that robust emotional intelligence amid the sexes does *not* mean that good functionality is not obtainable with “X-minus-some-thing”. We all get by with various levels of discomfort or unawareness or uneasiness, or what have you, amid something less than fully healthy interfaces as adults. But being functional has gradations, or layers, or degrees, as it were. We find here an unfortunate reality on the part of one certain narrative in the denial of such layering in our humanity as it develops. Where that narrative of late is (perhaps) concerned, as Pastor MLK taught us all so well, disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in some degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity. The very essence of what makes us fully human was ignored and that made-up-reality was used to show a supposed “difference” amid Black and White human beings. Just the same, genuine opportunity for the child’s best shot at actualizing the full range of masculine/feminine emotional intelligence is always awaiting the child upon his or her entry into the world and, for all the same reasons which Pastor MLK taught us, disinviting truths about our humanity from the assembly cannot serve humanity in the long run. No one, none of us, can move forward in some degree of autohypnosis or in some degree of wish-fulfillment and expect to succeed. We simply cannot commit the emotional and intellectual crimes of the past and expect to find our fullest humanity. The very essence of what makes us fully human cannot be ignored as we just cannot seek a reality that is “as we wish it were” and attempt to (thereby) show “sameness” amid factually different milieus of robust emotional opportunity in-play atop early childhood plasticity.

    As noted elsewhere, where the child’s future is concerned, *any* stability is better than no stability, and that less/more merges unavoidably into palpable degrees of opportunity for the child. But similarity is not sameness and (unfortunately for all of us) we have a wide array of converging data from which very few dissent which affirms what every school teacher and single parent know, which is that we simply cannot find elsewhere that which factually equates to the daily intimacy of the home submerged in the masculine/feminine milieu afforded by the singularity of father/mother as our own humanity’s fully feminine to fully masculine range weigh in on childhood plasticity and future emotional intelligence amid the sexes.

    As noted, other combinations or permutations do well enough – but we are speaking here of a sort of identity claim – that A and B are identical realities where early childhood plasticity amid the full range of masculine/feminine emotional intelligence weighs in vis-à-vis the child’s opportunity. Observational reality seems to be declaring such to be (in at least some vectors of crucial import) a factually flawed identity claim. We must proceed slowly, with eyes wide open, if and when we make appeals to childhood stability vis-à-vis the family.

    Marriage is one thing, and, indeed, Thomas Aquinas on “Tolerance and Law” may apply. But marriage is not “the whole show” – that is to say that marriage is not the whole show if and when we mean to invoke the essence of early childhood plasticity. That essence has (unfortunately for all of us) eons of data which are simply unavoidable.

    Essence yes, but, still, we must be moving towards Grace:

    The crimes against African Americans which were fueled by our own willful dis-invitation of the fundamental realities of our own human essence created a painful, genuine, and preventable shortfall in the very substance of our humanity and, fortunately, we were gifted with the likes of Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. to brilliantly help lead us out of such error as he, thankfully, got it right. That is to say, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. taught us with unmistakable clarity that when false narratives built atop fear, an uninformed mindset, a felt-degree of anger or hatred, or all of the above, begin to succeed they are themselves fated to come down on the wrong side of history – time and truth just do have that peculiar sort of relationship. History is both our teacher and a kind of proof in this arena. Narratives built atop our own self-deception or our own hope to have reality live up to what we wish it to be, rather than what it actually is vis-à-vis humanity’s essence just cannot endure over time. Eventually the truth of our humanity rises and we’ve seen these principles of Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. play out over and over again on the world stage – for millennia.

    Perhaps that is one of the reasons many of us find ourselves embracing the metaphysical paradigm which converges in Christ – simply on the grounds of grace’s embrace of every last one of us – and – simply on the grounds that reality does in fact have a true narrative, perhaps up ahead of us, perhaps within us, or perhaps both – and – simply on the grounds of reason’s categorical imperative to embrace reality’s true narrative – to experience His unquenchable instantiation.

    Many of us need to beware here, lest we offend grace, and, for all the same reasons, others of us need to beware here, lest we offend various truths of our own human essence. On whatever topic may arise we press – it’s difficult – to use caution in our own interior navigations of our own tendencies both towards and away from grace, and, just the same, in our own tendencies both towards and away from truth. We cannot offend grace towards our own selves and towards one another and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. We cannot offend truth towards our own selves and towards one another and think our narrative will – ultimately – flourish. Such shortsightedness has been found wanting upon the world stage – over and over again. History seems to reveal our final causes vis-à-vis our humanity’s essence surfacing – ever spying somewhere within us – ever spying somewhere up ahead of us – the unquenchable instantiation of the God Who is love. On such navigations amid grace and truth I’ve proven to be an inept sailor. Fortunately though, He holds all things and outdistances me. We are, it seems, not on the side of any Will-To-Power in any ipso facto sense, nor are we on the side of any Temporal Brand per se, but rather we are on the side of reality’s singular metanarrative, that is to say, we are on the side of Grace in all directions – towards all – Hard Stop – and – in the same sense – we are on the side of Truth in all directions – towards all – Hard Stop. Grace and Truth as an actual singularity. That is the Narrative Whose Name is The-Real as we find all such lines seamlessly converging in Christ.

    This need not be, and indeed is not, at all, a statement on legality, rather, this is merely an observation of our own human essence and of the contours of grace.

  6. Tom,

    Have you given any more thought (I brought this up months and months ago), to the proposition that, with regard to Same Sex Marriage, that the Government do away with all forms of the word “marriage,” and instead only recognize “civil unions?’

    If one wanted a Marriage, one could still get married in your Church, but the state would only recognize Civil Unions.

    That is, you’d have a separation of Civil Unions and Marriages, with one being purely a religious ceremony, and the other being the legal recognition of the union.

    The state would then recognize Civil Unions, and all of the issues of inheritance/etc, would follow from the civil union.

    Would you support such a thing (in theory?–in practice, it’s impossible.)

  7. In practice what gay activists wanted was to denude marriage of its meaning. If they would have stopped at civil unions of the sort you describe I might have supported it. I wouldn’t have believed they would have stopped there, though, so for that reason I would not have supported it.

    That’s not the only reason, though. Here’s another. Although marriage has always had religious connections for those who recognized those connections, it was never a specifically religious institution, but rather a social one. Why make it a religious institution now? Why strip it of its social connotations?

    Part of our objection to gay marriage has always been the violence it does to the definition and meaning of marriage, which we have reason to believe is bad for couples, families, children, and society. Your proposal would still do it violence, albeit of a different sort.

  8. In practice what gay activists wanted was to denude marriage of its meaning.

    No, they wanted their marriages recognized by the law, as heterosexual marriages were.

    If they would have stopped at civil unions of the sort you describe I might have supported it. I wouldn’t have believed they would have stopped there, though, so for that reason I would not have supported it.

    My proposal was a hypothetical thought experiment. No one, I believe, was ever seriously proposing that the State abandon the word “marriage” all together. No one was proposing it because it is practically impossible (given our legal system).

    In my hypothetical thought experiment, your statement “I wouldn’t have believed they would have stopped there” is meaningless. Because there is no “more” for them to want. That is, they can head down to their local progressive Christian Church, and get “married” too.

    That’s not the only reason, though. Here’s another. Although marriage has always had religious connections for those who recognized those connections, it was never a specifically religious institution, but rather a social one. Why make it a religious institution now? Why strip it of its social connotations?

    I’m not following you. Civil unions would be the social function. Marriage would be the religious connection (for those who want it).

    Part of our objection to gay marriage has always been the violence it does to the definition and meaning of marriage, which we have reason to believe is bad for couples, families, children, and society. Your proposal would still do it violence, albeit of a different sort.

    Again, I’m not following you. This proposal would allow your church to use it’s own definition/understanding of marriage.

  9. Philmonomer, you can disagree with me on what gay marriage advocates wanted. You would be right in the case of some of those advocates, and wrong about others. The problem is that those others were the ones pushing the hardest, and they would have kept on pushing just as I said. (You can disagree with me about that, too, but if you did you would simply be wrong.)

    I’m not following why you’re not following me, considering that in the sentence you began, “I’m not following you,” you restated my point. Marriage has always been a social and not merely a religious function. Your proposal would alter that I said that, you repeated it, and you really ought to be able to get it.

    For my church to be allowed its own definition/understanding of marriage would be to change the entire global definition of marriage. Whereas once it meant mostly/essentially one thing, now it means whatever each local body prefers it to mean, even if those local meanings contradict each other. How can you not see that this changes the meaning of marriage?

    This is not hard. If you do not see it, please try again.

  10. I wrote this: My proposal was a hypothetical thought experiment. No one, I believe, was ever seriously proposing that the State abandon the word “marriage” all together. No one was proposing it because it is practically impossible (given our legal system).

    In my hypothetical thought experiment, your statement “I wouldn’t have believed they would have stopped there” is meaningless. Because there is no “more” for them to want. That is, they can head down to their local progressive Christian Church, and get “married” too.

    You responded with this:

    Philmonomer, you can disagree with me on what gay marriage advocates wanted. You would be right in the case of some of those advocates, and wrong about others. The problem is that those others were the ones pushing the hardest, and they would have kept on pushing just as I said. (You can disagree with me about that, too, but if you did you would simply be wrong.)

    The only way I can make sense of your response is to think that you believe that “the gay rights activists pushing the hardest” and that “[the gay rights activists] would have kept on pushing” means that those activists want Churches to be forced to perform same sex marriages.

    That is tin-foil hat territory.

    I’m not following why you’re not following me, considering that in the sentence you began, “I’m not following you,” you restated my point. Marriage has always been a social and not merely a religious function. Your proposal would alter that I said that, you repeated it, and you really ought to be able to get it.

    Ah, I see you think it’s “good and right” that marriage has a dual function (social and religious), and you want the State to continue that . My proposal to separate the two was thus unacceptable. I thought it would be an acceptable compromise (and read your response with that understanding. I was wrong.)

    For my church to be allowed its own definition/understanding of marriage would be to change the entire global definition of marriage.

    No, your church (and all those who thought similarly) would be using the “one true definition of marriage”–you’d be free to think everyone else is using the wrong definition. But this would allow us to coexist peacefully.

    For my church to be allowed its own definition/understanding of marriage would be to change the entire global definition of marriage. Whereas once it meant mostly/essentially one thing, now it means whatever each local body prefers it to mean, even if those local meanings contradict each other. How can you not see that this changes the meaning of marriage?

    Ah, I see. You think your one true understanding of marriage should be the law of the land (I cannot fault you for that–I think the same thing. Actually, that’s not entirely true–I support the separation of Civil Unions and Marriage.) But that said, your one true understanding of marriage specifically discriminates against homosexuals. I see this blog post as all the more apt.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/06/11/you-cant-deny-people-their-rights-and-be-nice-about-it/

  11. I don’t think it’s possible to be nice while denying people their rights either.

    Nor do I think it’s sensible to think you can rationally equate gay rights with civil rights. So your link here refers to an irrelevancy, in my considered opinion.

    The only way I can make sense of your response is to think that you believe that “the gay rights activists pushing the hardest” and that “[the gay rights activists] would have kept on pushing” means that those activists want Churches to be forced to perform same sex marriages.

    No. They’d keep pushing to make marriage mean something that it never meant before. Just as you are doing here. Did you notice?

    I don’t see any problem with marriage having that dual function. I just see a problem with it having split and mutually contradictory definitions. Did you think I was committing a contradiction there?

    No, your church (and all those who thought similarly) would be using the “one true definition of marriage”–you’d be free to think everyone else is using the wrong definition. But this would allow us to coexist peacefully.

    We would also be free to campaign for you to drop your foolishness in persisting to follow your false definitions, which we are in fact doing. Would you deny us that freedom? Or does peaceful coexistence only work if we wear duct tape across our mouths? Is that what you call peace? Is it?

    I do not think my understanding should be considered the one true understanding of marriage. I do think that there are reasons to believe that the definition I’ve adopted is true, and that it is exclusive in the sense that if it is true then SSM is false.

    Your understanding of my view is that it should be sarcastically and demeaningly labeled “your one true understanding”. But all that means is (a) you and I disagree, and (b) you think you gain moral points by pointing out that I have a particular understanding — which is really quite silly, since we both have particular understandings.

    You softened that sarcasm with “I think the same thing,” but if you hadn’t really meant to deliver the sarcasm, you probably wouldn’t have. You didn’t have to, after all.

  12. I don’t think it’s possible to be nice while denying people their rights either.

    Nor do I think it’s sensible to think you can rationally equate gay rights with civil rights. So your link here refers to an irrelevancy, in my considered opinion.

    ? The link doesn’t talk about civil rights.

    No. They’d keep pushing to make marriage mean something that it never meant before. Just as you are doing here. Did you notice?

    How would they keep pushing? They’d have 100 percent legal equality. The law wouldn’t use the word “marriage,” but use “civil unions.” Sure, gay rights activists may talk about their marriages in public, but I don’t see the “pushing” aspect of it. (In this regard, I mean “pushing” to mean pushing for legal recognition. I guess you mean “pushing” to mean something else?)

    No, I hadn’t noticed that I was “pushing” marriage to mean something that it’s never meant before. I was just using my understanding of the word. You are free to use your own understanding.

    I don’t see any problem with marriage having that dual function. I just see a problem with it having split and mutually contradictory definitions.

    Huh? People use their own definitions of words now. My proposal is much cleaner, and would do away with any potential confusion. (I think.)

    Did you think I was committing a contradiction there?

    No.

    We would also be free to campaign for you to drop your foolishness in persisting to follow your false definitions, which we are in fact doing. Would you deny us that freedom? Or does peaceful coexistence only work if we wear duct tape across our mouths? Is that what you call peace? Is it?

    Of course you are free to campaign to change things. I doubt you’ll be successful. But you absolutely have the right to try. Indeed, I fully support that right.

    If you think we have peaceful coexistence now, that’s great. I thought my proposed solution, was a better solution, and more agreeable to you, than either the current solution (or a solution where gays neither have marriages nor civil unions). Obviously, I was wrong.

    I do not think my understanding should be considered the one true understanding of marriage. I do think that there are reasons to believe that the definition I’ve adopted is true, and that it is exclusive in the sense that if it is true then SSM is false.

    Sure. I think the definition that I’ve adopted is true, too.

    Your understanding of my view is that it should be sarcastically and demeaningly labeled “your one true understanding”. But all that means is (a) you and I disagree, and (b) you think you gain moral points by pointing out that I have a particular understanding — which is really quite silly, since we both have particular understandings.

    I agree with both (a) and (b)–that is, not that I gain moral points (b), but that we both have particular understandings.

    Again, though I’d move “marriage” out of the civil area altogether.

    You softened that sarcasm with “I think the same thing,” but if you hadn’t really meant to deliver the sarcasm, you probably wouldn’t have. You didn’t have to, after all.

    I think I probably did mean a measure of sarcasm. I think it’s tied up with your understanding that you aren’t a”bigot” at all, and if you could just sit down with someone (who calls you that) for a couple hours, and really talk to them, they would see that you aren’t that too.

    I think that, at the end of the day, that isn’t true. That is, you are still those things (I know those are strong words, and the reality is that they are so strong my point gets lost, but I’ll try anyway). That is, you are a bigot. (Actually, I don’t think you are a hater.)

    Why are you a bigot? Because you believe in lesser rights for gays. They aren’t equal to heterosexuals, and thus don’t deserve the same institutions/rights/recognitions under the law. (Again, see the link.)

    (In this regard, if you had supported full equality under the law–that is, my proposal for civil unions–I’d think otherwise.)

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