Forced from their cabin seclusion by a mountain storm, Dana and young Alice must accept help from a man Dana had hoped to never see again, a man she no longer trusts—because she knows what darkness calls to him and to what depths he might fall.
Except, let's be blunt—that's not what this book is really about. For too long the world has claimed that attraction is who we are, neglecting to consider the consequences that such logic invites. And society shifts, backs turned against the virtue of resistance, the world afraid to even imagine a man from whom restraint could be expected.
And so, the pleasant wisdom of the past rejected, it's time to use a less comfortable approach. It's time to meet a man the world has been ignoring, time to face him and his story. It's time for us to realize that everyone, absolutely everyone, can choose to resist.
Shall I be less cryptic? Very well. This novel was written to shatter the man-made concept of sexual identity, the morality-destroying construct which claims that our sexual desires are who we are, that they should form the core of our identity, and that because sexual desires form the core of our identity it is therefore wrong to believe that a sexual desire is wrong.
But there is more than one way to look at a situation, and this novel is my attempt to help you see things a different way. I want you to see the separation between a person and their desires. I want you to understand they are two different things.
The strategy is simple: I show you a good man, and I give him a horrible desire. Why did I choose this particular desire? Because I am confident you will want him to resist it. I want you to see—I want you to understand—that he doesn't have to let his wrong desire define him. His attraction is not who he is. I want to show you that sexual identity is a lie. It is not the only way to look at the world. It is not the only way to look at each other. Because here is the truth: It is not our desires that define us, it is our choices that do.
Just a large rain drop hitting off rhythm, just a harmless drop of water—Alice knew that—but alone in a cabin, high in the mountains, surrounded by darkness, reading "The Screwtape Letters", she saw the same image each time the tap struck—a devil, prowling across the dark roof, striking the shingles with a cold, bare knuckle, searching for a weak spot to get through, to get her. TAP!
"It’s just these dumb labels we stick on people, you know? They’re so pointless. We’re so stupid about sexual desire. We use the same word for attraction as we do for action, mixing them together, making it seem like there is nothing separating the two, no thought, no choice, like we’re just slaves to our desires, just machines, incapable of deciding whether to follow our attractions or reject them."
But Dana wondered what those who disagreed with Simon would say about his opinions. Trying to force his religion onto others, that’s what many would probably claim, she thought. Except that accusation seemed strange now, unfair, unbalanced. Because it’s not the presence of same-sex attraction that’s in question, Dana realized. It’s whether we should accept it or resist it. And how do we answer that question? How do we decide ‘should’?
Then she remembered what Simon had said about values. Should we resist? People answer that question based on their values, she thought, and those values are not all the same. But isn’t the source of our values always religion in one way or another? Not necessarily a formal religion—complete with churches, rites, and scripture—but often an informal one instead, an informal religion whose core can never be proven through science or reason, an informal religion whose beliefs are no less subjective than anything taught from a pulpit.
Which means there are two competing religious beliefs, she thought: the one preaching acceptance of our attractions being imposed now over the one recommending resistance. And why? Is it because the idea that we should accept our same-sex attraction is any more objective than the idea that we should resist it? No, that isn’t why, she said to herself, remembering more of Simon’s words from the day before. No, it’s just more fashionable, that’s all. It’s conquering the other point of view because it’s more popular, because it’s being pushed by prettier people, more powerful people. And the impact is everywhere. Who would agree with Simon today? Who would dare? Dana didn’t know.
Age? That is just a number, Simon. When biology itself has been ruled to provide no rational basis, do you actually expect an arbitrary number to be compelling enough to stand? No, Simon, do not be so naive. The future will judge that tradition to be nothing but an artifact of a time—a time that has passed. Why follow a standard you know will be crushed by the stampede of future progress?
Because doing that is wrong!
Who are you to say it is wrong, Simon? When history marches away from you, will you claim it is moving in the wrong direction? What arrogance. When millions stand against you, will you insist it is you who is right and the millions who are wrong? What arrogance indeed! Do not pretend to be so wise, Simon. You are no smarter than those who will disagree with you. Let go of your arrogance and accept what is coming. Accept what you can have, Simon. Accept it in the little time you have left!
Simon shook his head, dismissing the twisted logic, but he had turned to look [...]
Image of canyon flash flood is copyrighted by Jacob Meldrum.
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