The Importance of Rebellion

I just saw an excellent video by evangelist Matthew Kelly which has direct application to the question of sexual identity. In it, he asks, “do you want to be a child of God, or a slave to our culture?”

Rather than being guided by today’s culture, he urges us instead to rebel against its thinking. He challenges us to follow the example of Jesus Christ, the most counter cultural radical who ever lived. His thinking is reminiscent of St. Paul in Romans 12:2, who wrote, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In other words, he tells us, “don’t be a conformist!”

lemmings_jumping_off_a_cliffIn just a few decades, the world has fashioned a notion of sexual identities that is completely novel in the history of mankind. As emissaries of Christ, we need to reject them and help others to reject them too. We need to shout from the mountain tops the truth of our sexual identity with the passion a man yells “fire” to people who don’t know they’re in a burning building.

When he preached on Romans 12:2, St. John Chyrsostom said the world’s thinking “is a fashion only, not reality, a show and a mask,” without “any abiding substance.” It is  “groveling and worthless,” with no “durability or fixedness.” He adds if “you throw the fashion aside, you will speedily come to the form.”

What is the form of man? What sexual identity has any abiding substance? What sexual identity is reality, not merely a show or a mask?

The form of man is the beautiful binary of male and female. All other sexual identities man might conceive of are false.

As Christians, we must reject the fashions of this passing age and instead grasp the truth of who man is, and communicate that to a world turned upside down. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind to embrace the form, not the unreality of the ever growing litany of sexual identities–and then share that liberation with the world.

When we choose a sexual identity other than being male or female, we have become cultural lemmings, jumping off the cliff of a passing fashion. St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:31, “the fashion of the world is soon to pass away.” Chrysostom adds that “all these things, even before they come to light, are dissolving.” The cliff the world is standing on is already crumbling under our feet. Who will point the way to safety, if not the Church?

This Easter Octave culminates in the canonization of Blessed Pope John XXIII and Blessed Pope John Paul II. These words of freedom from the latter’s Veritatis Splendor provide liberation to a world caught in the trap of sexual identities. We must focus on the reality of the form of man, not the fashion and masks of unreality:

It must certainly be admitted that man always exists in a particular culture, but it must also be admitted that man is not exhaustively defined by that same culture. Moreover, the very progress of cultures demonstrates that there is something in man which transcends those cultures. This “something” is precisely human nature: this nature is itself the measure of culture and the condition ensuring that man does not become the prisoner of any of his cultures, but asserts his personal dignity by living in accordance with the profound truth of his being.

Let’s choose to set the world free, and be radicals like Christ. Please watch the video–it’s terrific.


6 thoughts on “The Importance of Rebellion

  1. Pingback: Daniel Mattson: 'Shout from the Mountaintops' Church Teaching on Sexual Identity | Catholic Bandita

  2. Pingback: | Daniel Mattson: ‘Shout from the Mountaintops’ Church Teaching on Sexual Identity

  3. This is so Platonic it’s scary. What’s the biblical vision man and sexuality? It’s easy to say heternormativity is the essential form of man and human sexuality but why is the abstract, idealistic, “form of man” more human then the man sitting next to me who may be gay, straight or in drag?

    • Hi there, and thanks for stopping by. I’m not following your question to me, completely. But for the record, I would point out that I don’t argue that “heteronarmativity” is the essential form of man, primarily because I think “heterosexuality,” as a concept of man, is a woefully inadequate way of conceiving of man’s sexuality.

      • What is an adequate way then? Sorry if my question was confusing. Also, I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you I just notice how Platonic many of the arguments are and I wonder if they’re really rooted in a biblical worldview.

      • I would say that this way of thinking is rooted in a Catholic worldview, informed by the Biblical worldview. This is definitely a Natural Law view, and that’s the primary way that Catholics view sexuality. St. Thomas Aquinas took the Natural Law theory of the Greeks and built upon it from a Catholic viewpoint, so there certainly is a connection with the Greeks, though he leaned more heavily on Aristotle than Plato.

        My confusion in your original question was what you were asking about the form of the “straight,” or “gay” man, or “the man in drag.” I wasn’t clear on what you were asking there, that’s all.

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