Jesus is the answer for the world today
Above him there’s no other, Jesus is the way…
If you have some questions in the corners of your mind
And traces of discouragement and peace you can not find
Reflection of the old past, They seem to face you every day
There’s one thing I know for sure that Jesus is the way
These are some of the lyrics to a song other youth in my church and I sang back in the 70’s. My smart aleck brother Mark* asked a question regarding the lyrics, saying “So what’s the question?”
Perhaps we can say, much like St. Augustine, that “intelligence is the gift of God.” Many of us doubt what we are told to believe in blind faith, and want to know why or how each grain of information we are fed is either truth or untruth. Mark was asking serious questions, masked as jokes — What is the question Jesus is the answer to? Is there more than one question that Jesus is the answer to? The word “the” — why did any question need to be phrased not to receive “a” correct answer, but needed to be phrased to get “the” correct answer?
I’d internalized the doubt my sibling Mark expressed, and I kept asking the questions internally long after Mark stopped being the smart aleck that jokingly vocalized his doubt.
Mike Ensley now turns that “Jesus is the answer” question completely around in his Exodus Youth article How Can Homosexuality Not Be The Answer? The piece is subtitled Homosexuality Isn’t The Answer.
“The answer” again.
The bulk of Ensley’s article is an essay on why homosexuality and homosexual relationships aren’t the spiritual answer to the meaning of life. A key line in his piece states:
Many researchers have studied how gay-identified people live. The research has convinced me that embracing homosexuality is not the satisfying dream-come-true that society makes it out to be, even for those who are exclusively attracted to the same sex.
The. Could the problem with the answer to Ensley’s question that he was looking for gay relationships to be the answer to his spiritual hollowness? If Ensley had somewhat separated his sexual needs from spiritual needs into related entities instead of the same entity, or completely entwined entities, would there need to be a “the answer” to the question regarding the spiritual void in his soul?
I don’t know.
Where Ensley sees his own homosexuality as the non-answer to his spiritual question, I see my transsexuality within a framework of being a gender-identity / natal sex mismatch, and not being a completely spiritual issue. Where Ensley was looking for solutions to all his life’s problems in relationships with other men, transitioning for me was never “the answer” to all of my life’s problems; transitioning was the solution to one of my life’s problems.
Outside of the hard sciences, there are rarely black-and-white answers to complex sets of problems — and living life definitely isn’t a hard science. Life isn’t a single, simple math problem that has but one correct answer. Trying to boil life down to “the answer” seems an attempt to apply a too simplistic model to those who experience God’s gift of intelligence.
*Paraphrasing a Dragnet tag line, “Mark’s name was changed to protect the innocent.”