Arguing the Bible
Serena, the Jehovah’s Witness evangelist, pushed a note through my door:
It’s Serena, the Jehovah’s Witness you met the other week. After our brief discussion, I realised that I had misunderstood your situation. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way. However, I’ve thought of another Scripture which can bring much comfort when it comes to internal feelings and struggles. I John 3:19-20. Sometimes our hearts condemn us, but God knows our hearts better than we do. I hope that you find this to be of comfort to you. I wish you a pleasant day and week ahead.
So I went to look up that passage:
19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
I am little the wiser. Even the context does not assure me of what she is getting at, and Neil Peart runs in my mind
He’s not afraid of your judgment
He knows of horrors worse than your Hell
He’s a little bit afraid of dying
And he’s a lot more afraid of your lying
And the things that he fears
are a weapon to be used against him.
So these are the verses I would use to claim God’s blessings on LGBT folk. First, Psalm 139
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
God has not made a mistake. I still take the Bible seriously, and those two verses were a useful tool in my self-acceptance. And finally, Ecclesiastes passim:
8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.”
And grasping for the wind. What is the point about debating what the Jews thought two thousand years ago, anyway? I know the arguments about the story of Sodom, and Paul’s condemnation of idolaters. Jesus accepts me:
28 Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Why should I care what anyone hostile thinks?
I do care. It matters to me. I think this is because I want to fit in, and because I have not fitted in naturally and happily, that has become very important to me. So I look out the rules, and seek to conform to them, because my spontaneous reactions have not fitted in, and I have found that threatening. Or-
I want to seem to fit in. I want to be entirely under the radar. I hate being told what to do- the Evangelicals’ price, and reward, of giving clear rules to live by, but a lot of social togetherness, really does not appeal. This is why I see myself as a harlot, doing good for what I can get from it. Proust:
When we converse with someone, it is not we who are speaking, but at such times we try to take on the semblance of other people, rather than be the self which differs from them.
I want to survive, just to Exist.
What do I want, more than that? Crivvens, I don’t know. Well, I wanted to express myself female, and after a huge amount of soul-searching, and then eighteen months’ planning and creeping towards it, I started to do so all the time: and that made no sense to me, other than it made me happier. I wrote this in 2007:
I want to do the right thing.
So I will be safe.
I want there to be a right thing to do.
I want to know what it is.
I want to be able to do it.
I want to be able to work out the right thing to do.
So I will be safe.
I get the sense, rationally, that there is no terrible social consensus policing what I do, or caring particularly much what I do. I think my desires, what makes me happy, are actually constructive and creative and will not bring out anyone’s wrath, certainly not wrath which can really hurt me. And yet I have this terrible fear.
8 February: Now, I would put it more clearly. I think my basic desires are constructive and creative. However, a lot of my desire to be good comes from my desire not to be noticed- the teacher’s pet does not get shouted at- and also, feeling worthless, I wanted external validation. I feel a great deal more self-respect and self-valuing than before, and seeking external validation never worked for me, I needed my own. But the desire to be good in order not to be noticed is still strong in me. If I can free myself from that, then I may pursue my own desires. So, freeing myself from the need to be a good person, I become one.