Not Their Kind of Homosexual

Recently a prelate asked me if I’d be willing to write something in article form. He had seen the as-yet unedited and unpublished autobiographical/topical book I had already written contextualizing this subject (at the time of this writing, I am still in prayer and discernment for a publisher). For five years that book project had gone from a seed idea to full fruition—and it wasn’t easy. It went at an ultra-careful, uphill, in the rain snail’s-pace. It finally got to the point of getting myself to a quiet location and finishing it “on retreat”, so to speak, in August 2015. I felt compelled and dragged my feet all at once, if that makes paradoxical sense. 

It’s not that I couldn’t do it, but it meant that I had to press in and hunker down. Our Lord Jesus was very generous, comforting, and patient with me through the entire book process, as processes like that are like orange squeezing, bringing all manner of things to the surface. I can say the same for my as-yet unreleased art exhibition on related subject matter that I mostly completed back in 2013. It was an interior roller-coaster as well. 

The kindly prelate I mentioned above, one of my greatest supporters, wanted to see the book happen, suggesting it might be time to go ahead and take the leap with a smaller preliminary piece. This immediately made sense and felt right, as much as it scared me. Getting some of the general concepts into an article, aiming them to a current event, making it work forced me to become an amateur editor—not my strong suit. It is quite obvious I am not a professional writer. Incidentally, the book is much broader -- not as pointed as this article. Even if I tick you off in the latter, you may still like the former and find it encouraging and useful. I am actually quite sweet and non-ogre.

So, why all this inner drama to get to the point? Why did the book, the art exhibition, this article, and other projects require so much emotional energy and feet-dragging? Why was I so secretive and careful the whole time? Because this is my life experience, distilled into words. I am a sexually continent and maritally celibate 37 year-old man, finally sharing publicly that I am attracted to men. This is essentially my “coming out article”, if you will. Once it’s out there, there is no going back. I can never go back to keeping this mostly private in the age of social media. Everyone has an opinion, whether they want to or not. But, don’t let the subject matter put you off. I want to bring a nuance to the conversation. I do understand that it cannot be helped if readers may unfairly project what they think this article is going to say and mean. We have been conditioned by a click-bait, sound-bite media to do this. I often have to be careful not to do that myself. And if you are Anglican like myself, you know what it is to see “homosexuality” in an article and think, “Oh good grief, what now?!” 

In the Western world right now, in church and state, homosexuality is part of an obsession. It is on the clipboard list of the ever-evolving intersectional LGBTQIRSTUVWXYZ political grievance industry. I have seen when opinions and beliefs go against most media narrative, which throws in with the former, and it is a bloodbath. This especially goes for “bad little homosexuals” that stray from the progressive path of enlightenment. Radicals don’t like wrenches being thrown into the wheels and gears of their machines. Nobody is safe anymore—there is usually hell to pay, one way or another. The libertarian artist streak in me detests censorship; so when I see these so-called “hate-speech” laws making it into courtrooms across the Western world, it makes me want to vomit. 

This goes for Machiavellian “codes of practice” and kangaroo courts in private arenas, as well. We know these rules are often subjective and have the potential to be tyrannical—the weapons of crybullies. And if you don’t possess any of a recommended list of “oppression points”(ironically and actually privileges in this system), you are treated with no mercy and thrown to the wolves. The soft-tyranny of gloved iron-handed feelings takes no prisoners in an age where conscience clauses don’t protect you anymore, where everyone gets a trophy, and where adults have apoplectic tantrums to secure their echo chamber of “hug boxes” and “safe spaces”. 

Now, in my case, there is the nuance and difference I rarely ever see discussed anywhere: Ask me if I am gay and I will honestly tell you no. Ask me if I am homosexual in orientation and I will tell you yes. Confused? Most people are. “Gay” is actually a social-political identity that one may embrace and purport, along with the baggage that that identity usually entails. I do not identify with that social-political sphere—and never did. If one claims to be gay, one is almost certainly going to be homosexual. But one may be attracted to the same sex, and NOT be gay at all. 

That’s right; you heard me. The latter is my case. It befuddles me why so many conservatives in my situation still cling to that word “gay”, even if that is not where they align socially or politically. (I can sort-of understand why some might, but it doesn’t make sense for me.) I will go even further and say that “homosexual” is not the greatest descriptor in the world. For lack of simpler and more succinct terms, we will just go with that for now. I am really not interested in adding to the lugubriously inane lexicon and pronoun charts of identity politics. You’re reading the words of a dissident. Incidentally, I do go into much more detail in the book about this journey of discovery, and what I see to be a subtle but important difference in my approach vs. how a myriad of others in the marketplace of ideas are continuing to approach it. I have been deeply dissatisfied with how a great many Christian writers and ministries have handled homosexuality, from both sides.

Here comes the stern part, some Anglican housekeeping. For those of you not keeping up with events in the Anglican world -- my condolences, but it is still very relevant to the larger Christian conversation. I understand that this article will not be published by the time the Primates (archbishops and presiding prelates of the Anglican Communion provinces) meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury in January 2016 -- for what could amount to a make or break time of decision. It will be a “kairos moment”. 

I did not grow up Anglican, but in an ultra-protestant evangelical tradition. I brought with me a confident belief in the truth of Sacred Scripture--from cover to cover. That remains intact. As with some on the so-called “Canterbury Trail”, I was drawn to the Catholic Faith and capital “T” Tradition that gives us the Bible as we know it, the Ecumenical Councils, the Church Fathers, the Liturgy, and Church Order. Incense and candles are never enough, unless all one wants is to ‘feel nice’, which is where too many evangelicals end up exiting the Trail. That scenic turnout is where a lot stagnate or become “open and affirming”, some of the most ridiculous misnomers in Anglicanism. I’m infinitely grateful that I initially got to know Anglicanism in a traditional Anglican-Catholic diocese within The Episcopal Church (TEC). 

In the end I actually came into TEC through a neighboring diocese (another story) with what I thought were open eyes. I wanted to be a part of the orthodox wing of the Anglican Communion. I wanted to be a part of the active movement to reform the Communion away from the zeitgeist under which it had suffered for so long. Ironically, I was confirmed the year AFTER the infamous TEC General Convention in 2003, when many were already leaving. But it only took about three years of intensive observation to learn how things actually worked. I can honestly say that TEC gave me the best intensive education in how progressivism (actually regressive) and identity politics work. The leadership and establishment in TEC ended up giving me a crash course in just how hypocritical the “generous, inclusive, open, affirming, welcoming, equality” movement of change-agents really is. 

From the time I first heard the words “conversation” and “listening process” in 2005-2006, I quickly discerned them to be tools of delay, shaming, isolation, and wearing down of conservatives and traditionalists. The leadership left me deeply disappointed and disillusioned. Leaders often have their price for peace. To avoid intimidation and public shaming tactics, otherwise good leaders, lay and ordained, seemed to pull back and say “Well, we will stay since it’s not in MY diocese, not in my parish… well, not at OUR 8AM Eucharist anyway,” and so on. For a great many others, that was and is an untenable proposition. There is a potential cost, make no mistake, when one commits to putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. 

My parish at the time eventually and overwhelmingly voted to leave TEC. In the end, we had to leave all property behind, and in very short order. Keeping it did not work out for us. Before and since, I have seen endless and unnecessary lawsuits and punitive measures multiply across North America, for people that, unlike that parish, tried more assertively to come to arrangement (I think fairly) to exit with their church property intact. Tens of millions of dollars are still being spent a decade later—including suits against others that left—including my present diocese, and by extension, my parish. It is wretched, sinful, and a scandal how much money has been wasted and how many lives ruined. It is a horrid witness.

It does not stop there. I saw the same tactics operating from the other wealthy progressivist and “moderate” Western provinces of the Anglican Communion. It was as if the Communion Establishment all had one another on speed dial, comparing notes for a common playbook—to keep people “at the table” as long as possible, only to open the trap door. It isn’t surprising at all, and they definitely do not represent me. I am deeply ashamed of them and find their lack of repentance and reparation for shredding the Communion disgusting. 

How is marginalization of traditionalists “generous”? How is this “inclusive”? It is dirty politics and goalpost shifting. Identity politics and “intersectionality” are basically meant to categorize people into groups, a proven way to divide and conquer. The leaders of the more conservative Global South provinces, which represent the vast majority of Anglicans around the world, have been very patient with these games, even when Western leaders deserved to be taken to the woodshed, so to speak. The Global South has taken the constant patronizing colonial insults and offensive money-dangling strategies from their supposedly liberal brothers and sisters with grace. Yet they remain much more orthodox than their Western counterparts, despite all that—despite the financial pressures in many of their own troubled lands, which can leave them vulnerable. 

Thankfully they have become savvier about these subtle deceptions by progressivists. Interminable meetings with worthless statement after worthless statement gave them nothing in return and got us as a Communion nowhere. This Primates Meeting in January 2016 should be unlike anything we have seen so far, at least I hope so. 

The West needs to be disciplined. The Western leaders deserve it. I don’t feel sorry for the discomfort the West is having, because it brought it on itself by unilaterally imposing bad behavior and its consequences on everyone else—with no willingness to truly take steps of repentance. The non-aggression principle of classical liberalism does not play well in the present West, as Western provinces are not truly liberal. They are progressivist. There is a difference. Lambeth Palace has a lot of explaining to do. The US, Canadian, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, English, Australian, Brazilian, Mexican, Southern African, New Zealand and European jurisdictions, for example, have a lot of explaining to do as well.
 Why would parishioners bother with churches that pander to the soft bigotry of low expectations? If it is just warmed-over populist self-esteem-massage moralism coming from the pulpit and vicarage -- the same way that a mainstream talk show, social media PSA video, or solipsistic meme would -- then I don’t blame folks for subconsciously rejecting it by staying home and skipping the Offertory that pays for the Establishment’s beautifully polished thinning veneer of viability. 

Why pay for excuses and the softball moralistic therapeutic deism that you can get from your very own “Church of the Bedside”? I would even contend that GAFCON provinces need to reevaluate some their own potentially problematic innovations and policies borrowed from that same failing system and past mistakes, innovations and mistakes that fall flat in face of the cumulative Conciliar wisdom of the Church. 

In my own way, on a personal level, I am rebelling against the progressivist/mushy-moderate ruling class in the minority that has had a death grip on the Anglican Communion. I do not trust them. From what I can tell, they do not care about people like me. I am not their kind of homosexual. I don’t reinforce their narrative or parrot their talking points. I am still a virgin (have never even been kissed, believe it or not). I have no same-sex partner that I want to marry secularly or in church—so I am of no political use to them in their noisy, angry, crocodile-tear-stained campaigns. 

I don’t want free condoms, dissident government agents fired, or punitive measures against clergy and leaders that refuse to go the next step beyond the secular—solemnizing those secular unions with sacred rites. I don’t want to live outside the bounds of Holy Mother Church’s teachings on the Sacrament of Matrimony and sexual intercourse. Since I don’t recognize that the Sacrament of Matrimony is ontologically possible with same-sex relationships, one won’t see me with placards going on a protest with the local ecumenical lavender velvet mafia chapter –or adorning myself with victim sashes, ribbons, patches, and bracelets -- to whine at the local Roman Catholic cathedral about how “mean” and “problematic” the Vatican is. 

I think that traditional, fundamental, Church Order is integral, too -- it affects things in a trickle-down way. Countless persons in the more sapphically-inclined communities, for example, so I have heard, may be finding people such as I to be intolerable and unnecessary. I don’t rank high enough on their “progressive stack” to have voice and vote. Homosexual isn’t enough, a Y chromosome is a privilege point too far and cancels the other out, unless I vote lock-step with them and do as I am told. Social Justice Warriors in church leadership do not want to hear what people like me have to say at their Crab-Cake and Pinot Gris cocktail parties. It’s inconvenient. It is safe to say that the gospel of good taste and feigned niceness, which has held sway for longer than we care to admit, has gone full stupid. It is not a substitute for the Gospel of Jesus Christ or for Sacred Tradition. 

What I see are a lot of leaders that flit around trying to earn “social justice points” with platitudes and trendy task forces. It’s called “virtue signaling”. They model and suffer from this sanctimonious, holier-than-thou desire to appear morally superior. They encourage the endless Oppression Olympics: “My three oppression cards trump your two!” Woe be unto you if you don’t have the assigned Progressive Stack of Cards to give you speaking cred permissions. But fear not—their captains are all too happy to graph your intersectional slot and allowances on a chart. These folks truly avoid the unpleasant earthiness of the silent majority, or of common sense, in favor of the luxuriousness of social engineering from on-high. It’s smug, it’s condescending, and it stinks. 

Only spoiled societies have the time and money to sit around and gender-theorize all day in thick-rimmed “problem glasses”, “inner complexity” hair colors, and hipster lumbersexual trends for the guys -- uniforms of choice on college campuses. Spoiled societies are the type that strategize about how to sue bakeries and photographers into financial ruin by absurd damseling and faux tears over wedding cakes and albums. Shame on them. Those people truly bore me with their illiberality and cause nothing but pity in my heart for them. 

I will not become a tool or photo-op for Social Justice Hierarchs and their lawyers. It is just sad that many of these revisionist bishops and leaders that trade in the victimhood grievance industry, intersectional politics, and heresy constantly get away with it. Many deserve to be disciplined canonically and/or excommunicated. It is expected that those who propose to teach are to be judged more harshly, so I don’t know why they go for their smelling salts when that is suggested, except for show. I think it’s a willful agenda on their part to continue as wolves in fluffy sheep’s clothing. A lot of our heresy problems started from the top-down. Many so-called reforms happened that way—to “educate the common people” in the hope that they would eventually “come around”. 

We as laity have been too patient with this snobbery. We have got to stop with this pretended “above the fray” attitude we sometimes have—that it is somehow an exalted virtue to stick our heads in the sand. We are responsible for our permissive part in all this.

As a traditional Anglican-Catholic, I am deeply suspicious of where our Anglican churchmanship “parties” have gone in the West. I outright reject the so-called “Affirming Catholicism” that has taken over some of the once venerable “Catholic Societies” along with many cardinal historic parish churches and seminaries. Every few months I hear of another of those institutions falling in a series of dominoes. I am not foolish enough to believe that Anglican-Catholicism didn’t have its share of “preciousness”. It always did. That is obvious. Many with homosexual inclinations were desperate for places of safety, and Mother Church provided it.

But, it is now enshrined, over-validated, and institutionalized. The question is: are you being shaped by the Faith or are you projecting your own stuff on the Faith? Like many men with same-sex attraction, I thoroughly enjoy being on the Altar and Flower Guild—but will only serve where a robust traditional faith and catechesis is taught. Mere window-dressing is tedious to me. I am disheartened by a movement that now revels in the “sugar” of Anglicanism—the “pretty-pretty”—but does not uphold the Faith Once Delivered. It is a shortcoming of Anglo-Catholic and High Church circles that is lamentable. 

Evangelicalism isn’t immune, either. I am constantly disappointed by “Open Evangelical” friends lured into orbit by Mainline Protestant nebulousness. Lots fell for the “Emergent” fad, are still upset with the things said by the preacher at their “Meemaw and Pawpaw’s church”, or are looking desperately for more permissive denominations that will excuse their pet issues under the misnomer of “generosity”. I have otherwise thoughtful evangelical friends that totally gloss over how TEC and Mainlines have treated conservative dissidents. They pass the buck and say, “Well, it’s not my tribe.” or “We don’t have a dog in that fight.” Well, how convenient; to ignore how the events of one part of Christendom massively affects the others. 

That is not a catholic way of thinking. I am convinced it is because they want to take the same battles to their own churches that TEC and other Mainlines already fought in the past 30 years--exporting and rehashing those strategies in their own communities in the name of being “change-agents for justice”. GenX/Millenial clergy and church leaders are especially prone to this misplaced need to appear as magnanimous virtue trumpeters. I see progressivist Roman Catholics and Orthodox wanting to do that as well. I am often tempted to ask them: “How are you people not Episcopalians?” 

It is obvious. They also see themselves as those same “change-agents for justice”. They don’t know how to build, but only how to tear down. It is a very iconoclastic, deconstructionist, and puritanical tendency. Change-agents that go on “Patriarchal Tradition” hunts seem very unhappy. I believe there is an addiction to anger and unhappiness that permeates these Social Justice Warrior communities. I am convinced they do not wish to be happy. When people do not wish to be happy, they dismiss, for example, the wrong kind of homosexuals, as purveyors of “wrong think”. Apparently, we don’t vote right, feel right, or do right. We are just “self-haters” and “self-loathers” suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. We couldn’t possibly be fair-minded or have the agency to desire to persevere in the traditional Catholic Faith. That’s “crazy talk”! 

In the end, the onus and burden of proof is on the innovator. The innovators have not convinced me of their case for these “new revelations” or for their “clearance of suffocating hindrances and roadblocks to progress” in the past decades. I won’t be thanking them for that. I choose the unchanging Creeds, Councils, Church Fathers, Traditional Liturgy, and Church Order received for eons. I choose the substantive safety and lasting comfort of the cumulative Wisdom of the Church. I can depend on that. Stuff like, “Well…muh feelins.” and “Well… because… you know… reasons.” are not good enough. 

On a high note after all of this consternation, I do hope that some positive things come from this article. I hope someone is encouraged. I am sure there are persons like myself with same-sex attraction that have also come to a place of serenity with it. While our sexual leanings may not have changed or might never (some do experience levels of movement on that scale over time for various reasons), we understand that the direction we face is the most important thing, rather than how we feel. Constant freaking out about how we feel is not necessarily productive.  Our Lord Jesus Christ wants our hearts. 

If our directionality is not “to the left or to the right” -- but toward His Altar and His Blessed Sacrament, if we seek the unchanging wisdom of His Church and Sacred Scripture, if we take comfort in the Communion of Saints, if we avail ourselves of the Sacraments, if we seek to be joyful more than to be made “happy”, if we seek to be Jesus’ hands and feet in service to others, then other cares will fall into place in their own good time. This may not happen how we think it ought. That white-picket fence may not happen.

Conversely, we may not get to have the kind of sexual intimacy we’d like. Sometimes Mother Church says ‘No.’ to us like any good mom. That is okay. I have had to be told ‘no’, too—on some very important occasions. I didn’t have to like it. My counsel to others and to myself is not to allow those boundaries to give birth to bitterness, which leads us away from perseverance and our own highest good. Welcome the boundaries. Mess-ups and falls will also happen, to be sure. I don’t promise that they will never happen to me. That would be foolish hubris. But, our Catholic Faith is earthy and robust; it anticipates rises and falls… getting dirty… skinning our knees, so to speak; it can handle it. There is nothing new under the sun. We’re not that unique.

If this has been of service or use to anyone, good. If any of this makes a difference, great! Lay or ordained, whatever my circumstances, in a book, at a lectern, on a canvas; whatever the Lord ultimately clears the path for me to do specifically, I hope to serve in some way. It sounds a bit grandiose—but for those that are treated by the Progressivist Movement as “Not Their Kind of Homosexual” (they may not say that, but it’s truly what their actions say), or for those that the Conservative movement has let fall through the cracks (a whole other article) for their friends, families, churches, and anybody that needs encouragement, I hope I can be of help in some way. Pray for me, as well. I definitely need the grace of God every day. Grace to you and yours. Blessed, praise, hallowed, worshiped, and adored be Our Lord Jesus Christ unto Ages of Ages. 


Since the above article written in December is being published in April, I believed it was necessary to include a codicil to the piece. The conversation in the Anglican Communion (and the other parts of Christendom observing us) continues, albeit in with some new twists and turns. Since the above was written, the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion has come and gone. I will briefly offer a few thoughts. I chose to walk in cautious optimism and to give benefit of the doubt, as I have tried to do over and over in my dozen years as an Anglican Christian. The Primates, for the most part, came to some strong conclusions. Censure and measures were supposed to be exercised against the erring parties in the Communion, and others on the precipice of stepping all the way over the line were warned. 

Unfortunately, the history of the Western Establishment in the Anglican Communion in recent decades has not been very generous to orthodoxy, and it appears that the same narrative continues. On the immediate heels of the meeting—even in the initial media press conferences—the signs were not good. A phalanx of bishops and clergy from mostly Western provinces immediately treated the vast majority of Anglicans with an attitude of unrepentant defiance. Others more subtly, and I’d say more problematically, served a platter of “Anglican Fudge”. 

One after the other, they droned on with the same playbook, employing intersectional political shaming tactics. I will note that a handful of valiant and loyal bishops and clergy have been in the thick of this and are swimming upstream against the odds. They are to be commended. We shall see what happens with them. Conversely, some are saying the Western Establishment could be using select leaders with Global South origins for their own convenient use. Things are not sounding pretty. The Anglican Consultative Council—one of the Four Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion -- has now been resurrected. 

In the eyes of many, this is to sidestep the Primates and the mind of the vast majority of the Communion. This seems like yet another episode of what I mentioned above—keeping people “at the table” at all costs, to delay, to play games, to goalpost shift, to concern troll, to wear down, and to come up with interminable statements that don’t end up being worth the paper they are written upon. The Western-centric Establishment has a lot of explaining to do. I pray that the Global South leaders, GAFCON leaders, and other various conservative leaders in the West and across the world take note, see through deceptions, and walk in discernment. 

May they be granted wisdom from the Holy Spirit as this saga continues. May those in error cease leading people astray, come to repentance, and be reconciled to the Great Tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, Sacred Scripture, and the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints. Christendom needs to be strong and unified in love and Truth as much than ever. To facilitate this, Holy Mother Church is generous, but she has boundaries for the highest good of everyone. 

Brian Pickard is a layman in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas.

Forward in Christ

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