Christians: God is love. (It says so right there in 1 John 4:8: "God is love.")
As Christians, we love God.
Thus do we love love. And we would love love even if we weren't Christian. All people love love.
Christians do not love love, though, when it's being evinced between two people of the same gender. Or not when the expression of that love becomes sexual, anyway. Many Christians just hate it when that happens.
Man platonically loving his best friend? Good.
Man going Brokeback Mountain with his best friend? Bad.
Christians don't at all mind love between two men; Christians really mind sexual love between two men.
All of which points to a question: What if two men love each other, and want to spend their lives living and being together -- but also agree to remain celibate? What if they agree to remain like church and state is supposed to be: together, but separate. Would that be okay with us?
Is it the love itself that Christians condemn? Or is it strictly the physical expression of that love that so profoundly distresses us?
I figure it's got to be the latter -- or Christians would be be anti-brotherly love, which of course we're not. (Does the YMCA facilitate more men's groups than do churches?) And, God knows, we're always encouraging gay men to choose celibacy, in the hopes that before long they'll straighten up and fly right.
So on what grounds could we possibly object to two men in love living together, as long as they remain celibate?
But then that gets weird, doesn't it? Because how in the world would we judge when acceptable brotherly affection between two men living together has crossed the line into unacceptable sexual relations between them? The only way to do that would be to set up some kind of actual, clearly defined, behaviorally specific no-no criteria. Such as:
Looking at each other? Such an evaluative system would have to look something like:
Looking at each other quickly, and then softly smiling and averting the eyes? Well ... okay.
Gazing at one another for three seconds? Questionable.
Gazing at one another for five seconds? Really pushing it.
Gazing deep into each others' eyes? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!
Holding hands? Someone get a garden hose.
Forget it. It's a fail. There's just no applicable system of assessment, no way of clearly determining when acceptable, wholesome platonic love becomes unacceptable man-on-man action.
Well, okay, man-on-man action we might recognize as such. But there sure is a lot of gray area between that and, you know: giving someone a bite of your croissant.
I'm no theologian. I'm just a regular, everyday Christian who, like any Christian, seeks only to better understand and more wholly affiliate myself with the glorious love of God. Which is a process that sometimes naturally raises a question or two. But sometimes asking tough questions is necessary in order to stay the right course, to properly adjust, to radically change, even, if that's what a fuller understanding of God's love demands.
Follow John Shore on Twitter: www.twitter.com/johnshore