Tuesday, 18 October 2011
I'm going to be honest -- I hate the word "bromance". What does it mean, anyway? I know it refers to two guys who are friends and who are not afraid to express their love and devotion to each other with words, platonic physical affection, and general comfort around each other, often in very intense, outspoken ways. It refers to guys who are close and love each other and want to spend a lot of time together bonding. It refers to guys who want to be intimate with each other.
And just so we're clear here.... No homo!
Do we really need to identify this kind of love by naming it something in reference to what it isn't? If you go out some place and order a cup of coffee, but you don't want it to have caffeine, you need to say so. You need to say, "I'll have a cup of coffee, caffeine-free." If you just order "coffee", you'll get a cup of caffeine. You need to identify what you want by stating that it's different from what is expected, common, or normal. And this is what is happening with behavior and relationships among men in society. We identify their behavior, desires, and relationships based on what they aren't.
Which means people expect something that we need to explicitly state it isn't.
When we say things like "bromance" and "no homo", we say them out of fear because we know that, because what we just said or how we behave with our best friend, people could easily assume we are in a homosexual relationship or that we have homosexual desires. We feel the need to identify -- even justify -- our desires, behavior, and relationships by saying what they aren't.
I don't think love or humanity need to be explained or justified this way. Why can't we just love somebody without people's minds automatically thinking we're gay? Is love gay? Do we need to say, "I'd like to be loved, gay-free"? Is heterosexuality no longer the expected norm?
And this is all fine for a godless society! We can't expect anything else from a culture that actively trades in God for materialism, wealth, power, and the belief that humans are god and humans' ways are best. That kind of society is warped and perverted by sin anyway and is enslaved to its own brokenness. But this is not fine for Christians because Christians are set apart from the world! When Christians feel the need to justify their love for one another by making clear that they aren't gay, we show that we are no more secure or loved or confident and no more different than anyone in the world.
I can't bring myself to say, "Jesus loves you... no homo!" Jesus and Paul and others said again and again to love one another, to give ourselves in sacrifice for the good of others, to embrace, even to greet each other with a kiss. They never said to do those things but don't look gay. They put love ahead of what other people think of us. They put actions of love in a higher place than fear of man.
When we start saying this is gay or that is gay, that guy's queer, they're in a bromance, no homo, and this or that is bromantic, we confuse what is actually heterosexual and pure with what is homosexual and perverted. And if we're constantly connecting them like this, it becomes easier to blur the lines between what is heterosexual and what is homosexual. And if those lines are blurred, Christians will fight against everything that is remotely related to homosexuality, even if it isn't really gay.
You're holding hands? GAY! You want to cuddle with your friend? SINNER! You feel a need to open up your heart and grow closer with a man on a deeper level? Hmm... Suspicious! When I went to India and to the Philippines, and I saw how men held hands there and embraced each other and even cuddled together, I came back to the USA and told people about it. Some people expressed extreme discomfort with the idea, and one guy even said those actions are a result of a sinful culture. Any bit of loving affection between men is met in the USA with extreme suspicion, even among Christians.
How is the world supposed to know us by our love for one another if we're always expressing fear and insecurity and condemnation about it? God cannot love through us if we are enslaved to fear.
Let the world say we are bromantic. Let them say we are gay. Let them try to explain our love by incessently saying, "no homo" after they say anything about us. Let the people who live by the world's standards, even people in the church, call us queers and fags, perverts, and sinners. And let the lost and hungry be drawn to us and to the love of the Lord because they know we are his disciples by our true, fearless, unashamed, unrestrained love for one another.What do you think of phrases like "bromance" or "no homo"? Do you think they are a symptom of a larger insecurity? Can we be free to love each other the way we feel called to love without having to call it what it isn't?