God Doesn’t Know
May 31, 2023
“Torch Song Trilogy,” written by Harvey Firestein in the 1970s, is a collection of three one-act plays in which the main character, Arnold Beckoff, wrestles with how to live his life, as a gay man, in a post-Stonewall New York City. Central to the plot of the story, later turned into a movie, are Arnold’s relationships with boyfriends, co-workers, his adopted son, and his mother. Arnold’s mother has a difficult time accepting her son’s homosexuality, and questions why he can’t just settle down and marry a “nice Jewish girl”. Arnold is frequently agitated and unhappy with his mother’s refusal to believe that he was “made this way”, in other words, made gay, by God. In one very funny scene, Mrs. Beckoff, “Ma”, in exasperation that her son thinks he knows more about his life than she does, states, “God, doesn’t know, my son knows.”
Of course, what Arnold and numerous other LGBTQ know and believe, is that God indeed does know how He created us. We may not know about ourselves, we question ourselves and wrestle with how we were created, and some of us even wish we were created as heterosexuals. But ultimately, despite the numerous attempts by many LGBTQ individuals to “pray away the gay”, to change (including this writer), the efforts fail. Ultimately, we come to the realization that we were truly created by God, in His image, as gay or lesbian and we can no more change our sexual orientation than we can change our birth order.
Often, I wonder why it is so difficult for many people, and in particular people who are part of the Orthodox Church, to accept the beauty of the diversity of God’s creation: tall, short, thin, fat, white, black, brown, and especially gay, bisexual, transgendered people. To deny the fullness and resplendence of God’s creation, even the parts we do not fully understand, (I for one would have preferred that God did not create snakes) is to deny God and in turn, deny those same people we do not understand, a place in the Church of Christ, and to feast at His table. And while many in the hierarchy of the Orthodox Church continue to deny LGBTQ full entrance into the Church, Christ will have the final word on who “enters into the joy” of the Lord. (Matthew 25:21)
Fairly recently this website received an email message, similar to others received in the past. Here is the email: “You made yourself gay by your free will to do so. The Lord gave us free will to make righteous or unrighteousness [sic] choices.
I am never sure how to answer such definitive statements as “you made yourself gay of your free will.” Of course, it assumes the erroneous idea that the person writing CHOSE his/her sexual orientation, presumably heterosexuality as well as their gender. The truth of the matter is that God, our Creator, knows how and why He created us. Why do we waste our precious time on Earth questioning Him? So, I would say to Mrs. Beckoff and to those who hold her views, especially those in the Church, “God does know” and He loves us completely, just as He made us. When will we start to believe that God loves us as He made us, gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered? Also, when will the leaders of the Orthodox Church start to believe that and act as the shepherds they are called to be?