Why there is no one gay lifestyle, Justin Lee
I appreciate your point here. It reminds me of Peter Brown’s review of Kyle Harper’s book. Pastors make a lot of noise but is anyone really listening? The same pre-occupation might also be felt by singles. By the time someone becomes a church leader they are usually a heterosexual parent of teens or adult children. Sexual partners have a way of becoming sons and daughters in law and parents of grandchildren. Not as often of course with SS couples. Sex is an area where parents quickly lose control of their children and anxiety is a great breeding ground for anger and anguish.
Here’s the quote. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/dec/19/rome-sex-freedom/
In Constantinople, in the 540s and again in 559, edicts designed to “cure the disease” of same-sex love circulated in a city burned out by the bubonic plague, along with grim processions of mutilated offenders. Away from the solemn tread of the laws, the battle for a new sexual code was fought out “parish by parish,” aided by “the megaphone of public preaching.” When we go down “into the trenches of Christianization” with a preacher such as John Chrysostom, in late-fourth-century Antioch and Constantinople, what we hear is the voice of a bruiser, denouncing same-sex love in an unparalleled “spasm of hatred.” Faced by outbursts such as these, we are tempted to think that, when it came to issues of sexual morality, the revolution in popular communication that we associate with the rise of the Christian sermon in late antiquity all too often placed the megaphone in the hands of bullies and loudmouths.
But it may be more complicated than this. How were such sermons heard? Here I am less convinced than Harper that the effects of so much public hectoring were as instant and as chilling as the speakers might have wished. We study the messages that went out over the megaphone. Volume after volume, the collected sermons of the Fathers of the Church line the shelves of our libraries. But we know next to nothing of the earphones through which average Christians listened to these messages. It is quite possible that the good Christian mothers and fathers of Antioch and Constantinople left the basilica unpersuaded, or that they scrambled the message to fit their own views.
They were like the good bourgeois of fifteenth-century Siena, who would listen for hours to San Bernardino of Siena as he preached against homosexuals (with even more vehemence and circumstantiality than did Chrysostom) but remained convinced that, whatever the preacher said, it was still better for their boys to chase boys than to mess with the virginity of girls of their own class. Chrysostom was a man of great humanity when it came to preaching on the care of the poor and the reception of repentant sinners. Perhaps he had to shout so loud on sexual issues in order to be heard at all.