Not surprisingly, perhaps, few writers seem to have turned to the doctrine of the Trinity in an attempt to think through this difficult question; and yet, trinitarian theology may enable us to move this discussion forward in creative ways.. . . the doctrine of the Trinity can help us to understand and evaluate the nature of the relationships among bodies, including relationships that involve sexual desire. The question which remains, is whether it necessarily limits those forms to opposite-sex relationships. And as far as I can see, there is nothing in trinitarian doctrine that has a word to say, in any prima facie sense, against monogamous gay or lesbian relationships. In such relationships, mutual participation is clearly possible, just as it is in opposite-sex relationships. The same-sex partner is still an "other," and fully capable of embodying the trinitarian virtue of particularity. The doctrine of the Trinity does not seem to address anatomical features of the desired body; God manifests yearning, desire, and love for the otherness of the other, but this otherness is not limited to - nor does it necessarily even involve - questions of sexual differentiation.However, this should not be taken as suggesting that the triune God is not involved with bodies. God is involved, most obviously, with the Body of Christ . . .. . . if we are to think in trinitarian ways about the body, we need to say something like the following: the triune God is always about the business of giving and loving, of "proceeding" in such a way that the divine "body" (however we may understand that term) is always placed at risk, given over to the other, put at the disposition of the other; it thus also experiences the love of the other - the gift of the other - in return.. . . Our political and cultural apparatus leads us to assume that sexual, biological, and other primarily physical features of a relationship are its most important features. Trinitarian doctrine leads us in a different direction: the body that really matters is the Body of Christ, and the bodily features of a relationship are relevant only with respect to whether they can be taken up into that Body. . . . As is so often the case, the Church has allowed itself to be conformed to this world and its judgments about what is important, rather than being transformed by the will of God. What is needed . . . is a trinitarian theology of human embodiment, in which the virtues and practices operative in a relationship are the focal point, and the bodily specificity of persons is understood strictly in light of their membership in the Body of Christ.A theology of embodiment that was truly attentive to the doctrine of the Trinity could also teach us how to analyze the arguments of those who seek to specify legitimate and illegitimate bodily relationships without attention to the triune life of God - whether they derive their results from "natural law" or "tradition" or a claims about "what the Bible says." This is not to argue that all ethical claims must flow directly from the doctrine of the Trinity; nevertheless, this doctrine is central for the Christian understanding of God and of the God-world relationship. If we can derive from this doctrine nothing at all about ethical norms with respect to the relationships among bodies, then we may discover that the "traditional" positions on these issues are as ideological and non-theological as were the "traditional" positions, held across the centuries, on gender, and race, and slavery.(pp. 300-302)(pic. is from cover design by Raven Design)
The unwillingness of the Bush administration to publish photographs of the return of fallen servicemen from Iraq, far from protecting the families, dishonors those who have died. The stark simplicity of photos like this, far from being in bad taste, quietly reminds us of the cost of war - though we ought not need reminding.
Send someone to love me
|Go easy on my conscience|
'Cause it's not my fault
I know I've been taught
To take the blameRest assured my angels
Will catch my tears
Walk me out of here
I'm in painAs my soul heals the shame
I will grow through this pain
Lord I'm doing all I can
To be a better man
In the Nuremburg War-crime trials a witness appeared who had lived for a time in a grave in a Jewish graveyard, in Wilna, Poland. It was the only place he - and many others - could live, when in hiding after they had escaped the gas chamber. During this time he wrote poetry, and one of the poems was a description of a birth. In a grave nearby a young woman gave birth to a boy. The eighty-year-old gravedigger, wrapped in a linen shroud, assisted. When the newborn child uttered his first cry, the old man prayed: 'Great God, hast Thou finally sent the Messiah to us? For who else than the Messiah Himself can be born in a grave?' But after three days the poet saw the child sucking his mother's tears because she had no milk for him.(Tillich's point in this sermon is that, " the answer of Easter has become possible precisely because the Christ has been buried. The new life would not really be new life if it did not come from the complete end of the old life. . . . But if the new life has come out of the grave, then the Messiah Himself has appeared.")What surprised and interested me was to I experience at the same time the joy of last night's homecoming and the empty devastation of this story. It dawned on me that, in his death and burial, Jesus is one with us in our devastation and emptiness while, at the very same time, in his resurrection and new life, he is with us in our joys and hopes.
PauseYou are late coming home
Down vista'd years
Cherished but blank
To the leap of fearsThe mind concedes
That all beginnings
Have their endsWhat if that past
Is all our past?
Our last argument
Was our last?Wheels in the driveway
Squeak of a gate
A touch, with groceries,
Sorry I'm late.
I watched the fascinating documentary Much ado about something last night. Among the ideas supporting the contention that Christopher Marlowe ghost-wrote for Shakespeare is that some sonnets lament the writer's exile and separation from his beloved. I read the sonnets with separation from my beloved rather on my mind, sonnet 42, for example:
Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,
And each doth good turns now unto the other:
When that mine eye is famish'd for a look,
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother,
With my love's picture then my eye doth feast
And to the painted banquet bids my heart;
Another time mine eye is my heart's guest,
And in his thoughts of love doth share a part:
So, either by thy picture or my love,
Thyself away art present still with me;
For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move,
And I am still with them and they with thee;
Or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight
Awakes my heart to heart's and eyes' delight.
I was lucky with the timing of my life. My life has coincided with the great advance of science in the study of human sexuality. . . . My generation had complete confidence that science would reveal more truths. One of them concerned a minority of human beings with a sexual attraction to their own sex. We knew that if this reality existed everywhere in nature it could not be "evil". It had a purpose. Ultimately, as in the past, the most Sacred Scriptures would need to be re-examined. New interpretations would need to be found. Lawyers know that this has to be done all the time with ancient words. New generations see the words in a new light.Truth is a tremendous weapon. It is the truth that sets us free. First, a small group, then more, and eventually most citizens came to know the truth that some people are homosexual. To deny them love and companionship is just plain cruel. To deny them equality as citizens is unjust. To punish them for private adult conduct is oppressive. I was fortunate to live through a time when these truths became gradually, increasingly and overwhelmingly accepted in Australia and other civilised countries. Remnants of the old disordered view linger on, including in God's churches. Doubtless in some places they will last longer than others. But in the end, scientific truth will prevail.. . . I have never been cut off from God. Never in the darkest days of secrets, fear and alienation have I felt removed from the loving presence of God. Not for an instant did I feel cast out of the temple. It may be a presumption, but I never felt myself "intrinsically evil". I never felt guilty of "grave depravity". Never. I knew that this was just the way that God and nature meant me to be. It had a purpose. Perhaps it can be seen tonight.. . . To be brought up in a spiritual belief with a personal God is a mighty comfort. It helps you get through the problems of life. God was with me in bereavement and in moments of pain and of success. To be brought up in a Church of Jesus is specially comforting for minorities. As Bishop Spong said from this pulpit, Jesus was actually a revolutionary. The universality of his church was a new message for religion to that time. His instruction to love one another, to forgive enemies and to seek reconciliation is one specially relevant to the dangerous contemporary world. His New Covenant undoubtedly extends to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, intersex and all queer minorities. In fact, it extends to everyone. But many in the world, including many still in error in his Church, are not listening.. . . I honour those in all churches and faiths who reach out in love and inclusiveness to all people. Tonight I specially honour those who reach out to sexual minorities. Those minorities have been cruelly and wrongly abused in the name of God and often still are.In the millennial year 2000, the Pope prayed: "Let us ask pardon ... for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitude sometimes taken towards the followers of other religions". To that prayer, I would say Amen.But I would add "Let us ask pardon ... for the violence some have used in the service of the truth and for the distrustful and hostile attitudes sometimes taken towards women, towards people who are different from ourselves and towards sexual minorities" who are a full part of God's creation.That prayer will come one day. Of that there can be no doubt. And when it comes, let us all be ready to say, Amen.
The churches are full of debate about homosexuality. This quotation sums up my attitude better than I could myself.
Afterword from: Homosexuality and Christian faith: questions of conscience for the churches, edited by Walter Wink. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999, p. 133.
In the final analysis, Jesus is the model for Christians. Jesus' silence on homosexuality is not so significant; he was silent on many things. But he was not silent regarding compassion toward those who had been marginalized and rejected as a class, or group, or occupation. If we attempt to enter the mind of Jesus, we can scarcely conclude otherwise than that he would have sided with the humanity and dignity of those whose sexual orientation was same-sexed.Wherever we come out on this issue, however, that same spirit of Jesus surely calls us to respect, honor, and be civil toward those with whom we differ. No moral matter should be regarded as so urgent as to permit dehumanizing and demonizing our opponents. Jesus did not speak out on homosexuality, but he did command us, openly and unequivocally, to love our enemies - even when they choose to behave unlovingly toward us. [...] we can act Christianly toward one another while still holding to our convictions.There is no room for lovelessness, hatred, or intolerance. God is confronting both sides of this controversy with an opportunity to transcend our verbal violence and putdowns, and to learn how to love, cherish, and value those whose positions are different from our own. We can treat this controversy, not as a sign of the church's decadence or its disobedience, but as a marvelous opportunity to learn to love as Jesus commanded us to love.
When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, 'Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here . . . (Mark 16.4-6)It may happen slowly or it may come quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the realization that you are entombed but you need not be, the realization that you are accepted and loved as you are, the realization that what you thought was evil, corrupting, life-denying is in fact good, liberating and life-giving. We unwind the grave clothes of socialization and of Church teaching recognizing them for what they are, bonds to keep us dead, to keep us lying down, to keep us out of the way and powerless. And our 'angels', our friends and lovers, help us to roll away the stone of fear and we burst out of the tomb of self-hatred into new life. We emerge as liberated people lit up with the light of self-love. Only our friends can recognize us as resurrected and liberated. Our foes continually try to push us back into the darkness, into the tomb, not understanding that the darkness can no longer overcome the light. We travel through the world lighting it up with our love but still bearing the scars of our crucifixion and entombment in order to call the world to repentance for failing to recognize the image of God in us and also to be signs of hope to those still locked away.from a piece by Elizabeth Stuart in Daring to speak love's name: a gay and lesbian prayer book also edited by her (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1992, p. 92).
Interesting . . . they do look a bit like the man I'm really attracted to most. But is that because they look like him or because he looks like them? Anyway, my man is gorgeous, that's all I can say.
Dear Vasco, In response to your question "what is worth doing and what is worth having?" I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest; in spite of all the difficulty it may cause, you must rest Vasco - otherwise you will become RESTLESS! I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness. While it is true that periods of weariness help the Spirit to grow, the prolonged, ongoing state of fatigue to which the world seems to be rapidly adapting is ultimately soul destroying as well as earth destroying. The ecology of evil flourishes and love cannot take root in this sad situation. Tiredness is one of our strongest, most noble and instructive feelings. It is an important aspect of our CONSCIENCE and must be heeded or else we will not survive. When you are tired you must HAVE that feeling and you must act upon it sensibly - you MUST rest like the trees and animals do.Yet tiredness has become a matter of shame! This is a dangerous development. Tiredness has become the most suppressed feeling in the world. Everywhere we see people overcoming their exhaustion and pushing on with intensity - cultivating the great mass mania which all round is making life so hard and so ugly - so cruel and eaningless - so utterly graceless - and being congratulated for overcoming it and pushing it deep down inside themselves as if it were a virtue to do this. And of course Vasco, you know what happens when such strong and natural feelings are denied - they turn into the most powerful and bitter poisons with dreadful consequences. We live in a world of these consequences and then wonder why we are so unhappy.So I gently urge you Vasco, do as we do in Curly Flat - learn to curl up and rest - feel your noble tiredness - learn about it and make a generous place for it in your life and enjoyment will surely follow. I repeat: it's worth doing nothing and having a rest. yours sleepily,Mr. Curly X X X