Monday, February 14, 2011

For the Love of Christ

Thanks to Cindy Hadden for priming the pump on this. facebook.com/artistcindy

From the beginning — gays have been pushed to the outside of the gates in every culture (with the exception of a few). They WERE very well KNOWN in Jesus's day. In fact, it may be entirely possible that the Centurion who came to Jesus, asking him to "heal" his "servant" at "home" may have been the soldier's "partner."

Homosexuality was widespread in the Roman army; in fact, soldiers away from wives and homes for long periods of time used their servants to relieve themselves sexually. And yet — Jesus treated them equally, and DID NOT single them out as an example of sin, nor did he do that to prostitutes and women of ill repute. There is also speculation that the convert Paul (who is credited with writing three of the six clobber verses in the Bible that are used to justify anti-gay theology) was very "in tune" with gay culture of his time, maybe he too had experienced "partners" — and that his own homophobia troubled him enough to write something. But that something was NOT from Jesus. Paul's writings came a minimum of 50 years after Christ.

By comparison, Jesus never said anything prohibiting intimate, committed and loving relationships between two persons of the same sex and he never said anything about homosexuality. Rather, he alluded to a much more encompassing definition of marriage when he talked about eunuchs in the context of divorce and marriage (Matt: 19:11-12). He prefaced his comments by stating that not everyone would be able to accept his comments. This was a teaching device instead of an exclusionary proclamation. It was as if he was inviting his disciples to wrap their brains around what he was about to say (and not say). In that context, he was stating that marriage was to be taken seriously, because God took it seriously too. Therefore, divorce was not to be taken casually. When he interjects eunuchs into the discussion, he includes persons with a different sexuality into the equation. Significantly, he did not set up any delineations as to who a eunuch might be allowed to marry. IF that is the case, then a eunuch was free to marry.

The question then is, who should a eunuch marry, a man or a woman? Intersexed persons, those who according to Jesus are born eunuchs from their mother's womb, are not always 50/50 male and female. They could be more male than female, or more female than male—the possibilities are endless. Consequently, there is the possibility that what may appear as two men, though one is a eunuch, have every right to make a lifetime commitment to each other. Jesus uttered no prohibitions, did not define the allowable "pairings," nor did he say that eunuchs would be condemned or go to hell if they married. Jesus' point is that marriage is all about fidelity and commitment between two persons. He was not hung up about sexuality, why then are Christians so preoccupied with what is between our legs?

How does this relate to sexual orientation and attraction to the same sex? Doctors and the parents of an intersex child have a difficult time deciding how to best raise that child. They will often make a decision one way or another, to raise a girl or a boy. The deciding factor might simply be a cultural preference or what the parents feel they want in terms of gender. Unfortunately, studies show that in fifty percent of the cases, as that child gets older and becomes more sexually self aware, the sex chosen for the child is at odds with the child’s gender identity. If this is the case for a person born with “ambiguous” genitalia, that their gender identity is not directly related to their biological sexual characteristics, then who has the right to draw any lines of delineation as to which gender and sex pairings are correct?

Jesus invited ALL to the table — he meant ALL. He pointed out to love God first (God is love), and others AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF (or LOVE the gift of life given to you, no matter what your particular human characteristics. Being gay is NO choice, Being heterosexual is no choice. We do not wake up one day and make those inclinations and decisions. We may "act" on either for numerous reasons, but we do not choose.

As the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations have told us for 40 years – "Being gay is simply another(complex) human characteristic, such as being left handed or the fact that eyes have ANY color at all, no genes known yet for those either.

As Christians and as a civil society, we must stop allowing the unknown history, the mis-information/untruth of previous long standing "self interpretations" and the "Corporate Religious views" (often made for more dubious reasons; i.e. to support slavery in past, women as second class citizens, women and children as property of men, and a long list) to prevent us from doing God's will and the progressive work of understanding God/Love more each day.