It tenuously remains today that Leonard’s path towards a homosexual lifestyle is more controversial than Sidney’s emotionally romantic relationship with Amanda who married someone else (end of Grantchester Season 2). What if our notion that romantic relationships that lead to sexual relationships being the necessary glue to sustainable relationships is a Matrix construct?
pro: other cultures don’t operate on the same premise. Example: arranged marriages and marriages of convenience. They seem less spoiled on the idea of only deserving the heights of romantic and sexual bliss.
con: Kierkegaard says people who don’t have erotic monogamous love aren’t really married in Either Or Part 2. That this is the necessary ingredient.
pro: I think he is too dismissive of other arrangements. Perhaps because he legitimately sees that some, probably in the west, are trying to talk themselves into believing they have it or are trying to have it when they don’t.
Con: Leonard seems truly to be a lonely man without a country. Loneliness leads one to compromise their morals. It also seems the Church failed him by not providing a monastic alternative with a community of invested brothers and intimate leadership. Sidney is always very distracted and uncommitted to Leonard’s nurture. He thinks Leonard should be true to himself as well, apparently at the end of season 2. Their bishop is also corrupt and enabling of pedophilic relationships.
pro: The conversation between the pedophilic vicar and Sydney is the crux of the issue. He is devastated by his loss of the 15 year old girl. He felt deep romantic love for her, but Sydney can’t accept that that is enough of a basis for their relationship, though it does make him pause regarding if he should feel “compassion”* for him. The anti-gay marriage people point to pedophilia as the next step if this type love is accepted in “sinful”* arrangements. The gay marriage lobby is pretty quiet about it. But an argument can be made that minors are too vulnerable and immature to handle an adult’s romantic and sexual attention. But aren’t minors too young to handle romantic and sexual attention from each other as well? Again we get to the legitimate basis for marriage. The Bible says that only in the instance of adultery and unequally yoked abandonment is the dissolution of marriage allowed. That implies that faithful commitment is the necessary ingredient, not feelings. Of course it’s easier to be faithfully committed if one is hopelessly in love with the other, but other cultures and examples show us that this is not the only condition. In our culture, it seems to take willpower if we don’t have it, because we believe so firmly in romantic love. In other cultures where there is not that emphasis, flirtations have a less lofty place in their hearts. It would be more like watching the Great Gatsby where wealthy people’s problems are real only to themselves as other people don’t have the luxury to spend their lives that way. Nor are they convinced they deserve to, or that it is healthy. These cultures are also more community minded. They spend their leisure time sitting around the fire, so to speak, in groups. Couples don’t have the freedom to go off so much by themselves in vain persuits.
*compassion literally means to have similar passion. What if romantic love is a passion? Duh, but I mean in the Orthodox since of an illicit attachment. It can be like sugar – something one can have an idolizing attachment to and craving for that leads them to make very unhealthy choices. We are generally though more cautious about eating cake than throwing ourselves into romantic relationships. Women my age start watching detective shows instead of romances because murder is often between people who believed that romantic love provided the only legitimate basis for relationship.
*sinful. I don’t think they use that category except to describe intolerant people. I love that the show gives equal credence to conservative, but non-religious, Geordi’s traditional point of view regarding perpetrators. “[Crime] needs to mean something.”
con: But just like the abortion argument, it can be said that couples sneak off even in those places and the punishments are severe if not to the young girl especially, but also to the resulting child. It’s all so hush hush.
pro: One can accept this reality and still think that just because it happens, we don’t have to legitimize it. Legitimization feeds and sells the Matrix illusion.
con: people have needs for love and touch. Vulnerable people may have actually been done wrong either by nature or nurture. Therefore illegitimate options are the only ones they see.
pro: but isn’t this heightened by the idea that romantic love and sex are a necessary right? Couldn’t it also be said that these people have a narcissistic need to be loved the way they want to be loved? That they don’t want to love legitimately the seemingly unattractive people who are also within their options? Jane Austen likes to make them ridiculous, such as Mr. Collins. SNL likes to call it settling. But even the motivations to settle in this way, say the guy legitimately has serious flaws, could be narcissistic. The settler can be impatient, desperate, and too narrowly focused on outcomes. But I wonder if more often than not, the person who feels like settling has too inflated a view of themself and what they deserve, and are too condescending to those who don’t fit their romantic ideal. They also would be better served by getting a more constructive hobby. Such as praying in a monastery. And if they are counseled that they are better suited to married life, then with prayer God can give them peace about who to take up with. Obedience is a better motivator than passion.
con: Isn’t marriage suppose to mirror Christ’s passionate love for the Church?
pro: his love also required obedience and painful sacrifice.
con: but true lovers are very willing to sacrifice to the object of their affection
pro: the hallmark of Christianity is loving our enemies. In Orthodox Christianity enemies are more humbly regarded as those I might be personally mistaken about or misunderstand in a more global sense or even victims of my selfishness.
What’s interesting about Sidney and Amanda in Grantchester is that Amanda’s husband stops just short of being abusive and neglectful. He showed her affection, just not Sidney’s affection, and she got lost in her dreamworld of the type of affection she, let me say deludedly and selfishly thinks she needs.
The anti-romanticist would say that she should shun and disregard Sidney. I think there is a third option. Compassionately understand that romantic love is a powerful thing and that people don’t understand where it fits in the scheme of things and that they are playing with a most likely destructive and distracting fire by entertaining it. With this mindset they wont so defensively and blindly fall into it’s control.