For generations, it has been accepted that men and women can have intimate same-gender friendships without engaging in homosexual behavior.
But as of the last several decades, really since the sexual revolution of the 60’s, this notion has been attacked by those needed to rewrite the narratives of the past so as to legitimize their life choices (Schlesinger). Ever since the long-standing practice of intimate friendship among those of the same gender has been sexualized so as to promote the belief that intimacy and sexuality are one in the same. A great example of this can be found in the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes series, or more specifically in the seeming need of some of the fans to force homosexuality upon the two main characters.
Historically neither Holmes or Watson was ever written with a bent toward such a thing and up until now, that is not even remotely close to what the stories have portrayed. Instead this desire among some fans to see Holmes and Watson portrayed as a homosexual couple is nothing more than another symptom of the fact that our postmodern society knows nothing of true love and friendship… we know only sensuality and sexuality.
For the Follower of the Way of the Cross, this is problematic on two fronts. First, as I have written about elsewhere, Homosexuality there is no scientific evidence that it is either an inborn trait or an all-defining identity – yet this attempt to sexualize the friendship of Holmes and Watson furthers these false narratives, something that is symptomatic of an over-sexualized perpetually adolescent culture. Second, it is problematic because it means that the People of God have done a horrible job of teaching people what real love looks like.
Perhaps this is because real intimacy, (as opposed to sexuality), is only possible with maturity and most self-professing Christians are not. We have learned the vocabulary of spirituality and faith, but we lack the substance of these things. We are perpetual adolescents, propelled by our immaturity – seeking to satisfy our appetites at the expense of those around us, justifying our rebellion with clichés about freedom and love.
Friendship is about the giving of one’s self to another; carrying the other’s burdens, extending grace when the idiosyncratic makes you want to scream, never giving up on the one that is loved even when they hurt you.
It is of no small consequence or concern that when friendship is divorced from love and true intimacy, all expressions of real friendship are then relocated to the sexual because society ceases to have a capacity for understanding it otherwise. Thus sexuality is elevated from its rightful place, friendship is devalued, and we are left isolated without any ability to forge truly meaningful relationships.
From this vantage point, the imperative to recapture true friendship becomes glaringly obvious. For without real love there is no hope for any of us.