Tag Archives: same-sex marriage

Love in the Time of SARS and War

We grew up only 20-minutes away by car.  Los Angeles was and still is big enough that we would have never met except for a pandemic super-flu and a civil war.  The fact that we met and married goes to show that God can make good out of evil.

Logo of the United States Peace Corps.
Logo of the United States Peace Corps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was set to graduate in 2002 and be a Peace Corps volunteer in Xian, China.  Two weeks before I would leave to DC for Staging, I received a disappointing call: the Peace Corps program in China was canceled indefinitely due to SARS.  All current volunteers were being evacuated immediately.  My goal to get into a Tier 1 MBA school and then work in a prestigious investment bank was based on getting this work experience in China.  China was where the money will be in the future and the only way I could afford two years’ worth of experience in China was through the Peace Corps.  I didn’t think about the poor people getting sick in China from SARS, or the fear people felt from this super-flu.  I only cared about my own dreams.  Even to this day, I associate SARS to how my roadmap to become a high-flying investment banker was burned.

I tried to find new meaning in my life for two years, working in the private sector, before I decided to sign up for the Peace Corps, again.  This time, it’d be a two-for-one: I’ll get both an MBA and Peace Corps’ experience at the same time via the Master’s International Program:

While I was getting ready for my Peace Corps assignment, my future wife was getting ready to evacuate from hers.  Anne Marie and her fellow volunteers were in Nepal for less than a year before the Nepalese Civil War intensified.  The Maoists bombed a U.S. facility in Nepal on September 10th; exactly six years later, our first daughter, Maya, was born.  Three days before my 25th birthday, Anne Marie left Nepal.  She didn’t quit the Peace Corps.  Instead, she signed up again and was given two years in Guatemala.  The threads God were weaving in His Tapestry brought the patterns of our lives closer together.

God weaving threads of our lives into a tapestry

Continue reading Love in the Time of SARS and War

What If My Children were Gay?

An old friend found my reflection about gay marriage and Satan ridiculous and challenged me to consider what I would do if I found out my children were gay.  My eldest daughter is now two years old and the other is just four months.  I have about six years or so before their sexual awareness.  So, I have time.

Nevertheless, it’s a very good question to explore, now.

Same-sex attraction is as natural as concupiscence.  It doesn’t make them bad people just as my tendency towards sexual immorality doesn’t make me a bad person.  We’re just broken in different ways.  What will bother me the most is the vitriol thrown at homosexuals by self-righteous people.

Moral Insiders Treating Others Without Dignity

Moral insiders often do not treat homosexuals with human dignity; I’d be even more sensitive to that if my girls were gay.  I think it is an injustice, the way we moral insiders treat moral outsiders.  I’ve been reflecting on the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  As the elder brothers, we should be going out to find our wayward younger brothers who are squandering our Father’s inheritance.  We should not be brooding in our Father’s house, objecting to His mercy.

My girls, if they are imperfect, need to be confident of my love for them – just as I am confident of Our Heavenly Father’s love for me, as imperfect as I am.  They need to understand the true meaning of free will, and the reality of God’s prodigal mercy.  Our goal in life is to become the best-version-of-ourselves.  If my girls discover that they are gay, then my job as their father is to help them become the best version of themselves, despite the heaviness of that Cross.  I am to be like Simon of Cyrene and help them carry their burden, not like the Pharisees who are ready to cast the first stone.

Maya drinks a bottle of milk and then a bottle of water or two before bed.  So, she needs to go to the bathroom three to five times before falling asleep.  My wife finds going potty that many times is excessive and that Maya is merely trying to avoid sleep.  When Maya sneaks out of her room and finds mommy, she cries while being told “it’s the last time.”  When she finds daddy, she gives a sheepish grin, takes his hand and skips to the bathroom.

Maya learns discipline from mommy, forgiveness from daddy (what Anne Marie terms “spoiling.”)  In matters of the Spirit, our Mother Church teaches me what is right and wrong, and our Heavenly Father teaches me about His abundant mercy.  Our home is our daughters’ first experience of the Trinity; if they cannot be accepted in our family for being gay, then we would have failed as parents to live out the Gospel message of love.

My love as a parent, though, doesn’t give me the right to define what is moral.  If my daughters choose to live a sinful life, then I will continue to love and bless them as God even now continues to love and bless me in my broken, sinful state.  How is their father any better as a Christian, any less of a sinner?  How is their sexual sin any worse than mine?  The sun will continue to shine on them as it does on me.

If they insist on gay marriage and children from that marriage, I will tell them that this is not what God wants.  There will be consequences, but I will be there for them.   I will continue to love, pray, fast and sacrifice myself for their sake.  I will care for their spouse, when she is sick.  I will babysit and cook for them so that they can have a break.  I will love them and the new community they’ll bring into my life, even though they are living a life of sin because God loves me even though I myself live a life of sin.  How can I do any less than my own Father?  Christ surrounded himself with moral outcasts and gave them hope.  Perhaps I am called to do the same with the help of my daughters?

Being a Christ-like example of love and mercy may not be enough to inspire my children to a life of conversion.  They may harden their hearts against any religious message because it contradicts the life they’ve chosen.  If that’s the case, then I will offer up my own life in exchange for their immortal souls.  There will be consequences to their actions, but I will pay those consequences myself if, in the end, they do not repent.  For God so loved the world that He gave up His only son for the expiation of their sins.  For I so love my daughters, I will give up my life for them.  What will my Passion be?  That’s for God to decide.  In the meantime, fatherhood is a training ground for that ultimate sacrifice.

So, to answer my friend’s challenge, while I cannot change God’s definition of marriage, I am willing to pay the price for His forgiveness of their sins.

Harry Potter, Gay Marriage, and Social Media

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ...
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (soundtrack) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of my friends recently have come out on Facebook in support of gay marriage.  I suspect that my friends, like myself, are appalled by the persecution, demonization and condemnation of homosexuals in modern history.  It is our strong sense of justice and love of our neighbors, families, friends and co-workers who happen to be homosexual that stir us to stand by them as California’s Proposition 8 is being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Lord Voldemort uses Harry and other people’s sense of justice and love against each other.  Lord Voldemort is the epitome of

evil and a genius at warfare.  Voldemort successfully convinced the magical world that he did not exist.  In the meantime, Voldemort quietly infiltrated all the institutions designed to protect the world from his return.  When the magical community realized that Voldemort indeed was alive, it was too late.  He was too powerful, and all the good wizards and witches went into hiding.

What if Satan was real?  Then, Satan would be our real-world equivalent of Rowling’s fictional Voldemort.  Satan would do well to convince the whole world that he doesn’t exist, that he is just a superstition of a bygone era while he quietly infiltrates all our public institutions designed to hold our society together.  What better way to destroy the fabric of society than by unraveling the very basic unit of community: the family?  What better way for Satan to get good people to fight for his cause than by appealing to their sense of justice, equality, and love of neighbor?

Satan_at_the_Holy_Land_Experience

Back in high school, I competed at the National Championships in forensics by playing a homosexual character.  It was Harvey Fierstein’s Torchsong Trilogy, and I played the part of Arnold Beckoff and my partner played Ma Beckoff, Arnold’s mother.  It’s funny now that I think about it: a Chinese-American teenager play-acting as a gay, adult Jewish man arguing at the gravesite of his murdered lover with a Latina from Alhambra who is supposed to be a typical Jewish mother.  We were good enough to go to Nationals, though, and I really got into the part.  From that point forward, I was always sensitive to the persecution of homosexuals.  Why can’t two committed gay men or lesbians get married?  Who are you to tell others whom they can love?  Promiscuous heterosexuals are no less immoral than promiscuous homosexuals, but if two people want to be in a life-long commitment, why should we stop them?  A child growing up in a loving household of two gay men or two lesbian women is just as good as a loving household with a father and mother.  Studies that show differently probably can find cause from the child being bullied for growing up in a different type of household.

I was so convinced by my sense of justice, so disgusted by religious people violently condemning homosexuals like the Pharisees who were ready to cast the first stone.  Even if homosexuality was a sin, where was their compassion for the sinner?

Fast forward, I became a Catholic.  I never even tried to reconcile what the Church and God teaches about homosexuality, until recently.  My friends on Facebook forced me to look at my internal contradictions.  Why did I have a change of heart?  The most compassionate explanation of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality came from this segment produced by Catholic Answers.  Still, it wasn’t enough to explain why I so quickly adopted God’s teaching on homosexuality.  Even the non-religious arguments against gay marriage, although compelling, did not explain my change of heart.

After much reflection and a meaningful conversation with my wife, I’ve come to understand my change of heart is because of Lord Voldemort — Satan.  I believe that the devil exists and that he is actively trying to unravel the very fabric of our society.  It’s crazy, I know: how can any person in this day and age still believe that the devil exists?  It was easier for the Ministry of Magic to refuse to believe the return of Voldemort than to acknowledge the existence of someone so evil and so powerful.  Just as Harry’s sacrifice at the end of the book protected his friends at Hogwarts, so Christ’s sacrifice on the cross inoculated us from the worse effects of Satan’s powers.  But, we’re not completely immune.  Just as I know the Harry Potter series ends happily, I know the war ends in Christ’s victory, but all the battles in-between are undetermined; my soul and those of my friends and family are still up for grabs.

How does changing the definition of marriage affect society?  I’m not smart enough to foresee the consequences.  I just get the stinking feeling that our real-world Voldemort is trying to use our love for each other against us.

Rebuttals to arguments for same-sex marriage

This article provided non-religious arguments against same-sex marriage.  There’s been a lot of activity on my Facebook page from friends who are supporting California’s Prop. 8 that is currently under debate at the Supreme Court.  It’s forcing me to look at my reasonings for believing in what I believe.

http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/10339/Rebuttals-to-arguments-for-samesex-marriage.aspx

Rebuttals to arguments for same-sex marriage

Examining the most common arguments for redefining marital unions …and understanding why they are flawed

By Brandon Vogt – OSV Newsweekly, 1/13/2013

Perhaps no issue is more nerve-wracking today than same-sex marriage. It’s a magnet for controversy, evoking strong reactions from those on either side of the debate. But beneath all the fiery passion and rhetoric, there are real arguments to evaluate. In this article, we’ll examine the 10 most common ones made in favor of same-sex marriage, many of which you’ve probably heard before. By pointing out the flaws, we’ll show how each argument ultimately comes up short.

Continue reading Rebuttals to arguments for same-sex marriage

Forgetting Sex is Sacred

It’s easy for me to forget that sex is sacred.  Twenty-first century U.S. society has redefined sex: at best, it’s the culmination of a unrequited romantic courtship; at worst, it’s a commodity to be traded, a tool for violence.  The messages that surround me is that sex is a normal biological process, a form of recreation, and a right to happiness that needs to be protected/defended.  I rarely hear that sex is sacred.

I forget that sex is sacred, but I’m reminded of this truth today through the birth of my second daughter.  God, thank you.  You blessed me with an awareness that I pray I can articulate here in this journal entry.

[instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/SrZP2bTCfo/ width=400]

I love my wife.  She is a saint and she is helping me become one.  In marriage, I learned that self-giving is the inner life of the Trinity.  The self-giving needed to make a marriage work is a mystery to outsiders.  The self-giving in our marriage creates a loving bubble, protecting us from the world.  This loving bubble is a living cell within the Body of Christ.

Similar to the 40 days of Advent leading to Easter, my wife and I prepared for 40 weeks for the birth of our new child.  My wife and I were joined together as “one flesh” through marriage.  Our self-giving to each other is united and led by the love God has for each of us as individuals.  It is because God is forgiving, self-sacrificing and generous to me that I am forgiving, self-sacrificing and generous to my wife.  Our love for each other (wife, husband, God) form a triune body for the Holy Spirit.  The invisible reality of our love is made visible with the birth of another immortal soul: Hana Therese.

The invisible reality of the love between Christ and His Bride (the Church), is made visible through new Baptisms, Confirmations and First Communions.  As Hana takes to her mother’s breast for milk, so I take to the Church’s altar for the Eucharist.  As Maya (Hana’s older sister) has grown these past two years in a loving household, so has my soul grown within the loving household of God’s Church these past three years.

Sex is sacred because “it is the only door by which God himself regularly enters our world to do the miraculous deed he alone can do: creating new images of himself.  Sex images God because it makes new images of God.”

Families are the basic building blocks of Christ’s body, not the individual.  I cannot create immortal souls on my own.  My wife and I cannot create immortal souls together.  Only with God.

If I push you out of the bedroom, God, it’s because I’ve fallen victim to the world’s redefinition of sex as something profane, something vulgar… something I should be ashamed to let you see. Help me accept the presence of the Holy Spirit during sex because the act is sacred. We are creating immortal souls with you.