My friend Leonardo Ricardo and I have struck up a dialogue from my previous post below.
I keep thinking about… hey, what IS acceptable for people like us…am I missing some new information? Am I out of the loop? Am I innocently pursing traditional moral values that don’t really exist? What’s the marriage covenant, for people like us, REALLY about? Is there some kind of a movement to relgiously validate something other than monogomous relationships? Is there a “wink/wink” that I’m unaware of?
I don’t think you’re missing any new info, Leonardo, or that there’s a wink/wink thing going on. I’m not aware of any push to bless “open” relationships, Gay or Straight. Instead my sense is that only now, at this time in history, are LGBT people of faith beginning to face some of these questions because of civil unions and legal marriages, especially after the California Supreme Court so clearly ruled that unions lacking the term marriage are seriously discriminatory.
In TEC’s heterosexual marriage rites, “faithfulness” still occupies an important place in the giving and receiving of vows. As we look at adapting the traditional rites, we start to face the questions; what does faithfulness mean? Can one be faithful and committed but not monogamous? I think that’s how most LGBT Christians have defined it up to now in their own living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Many have straddled the Gay world and the Christian world, taking some from both. But now for the first time we have to/get to wrestle with all the meanings of fidelity—which is what led me to ask some of the questions.
I don’t think we’re ever going to get Gay men (as a category) to give up hot sex—not when there are whole industries and millions of individuals eager to provide their version of hot sex. In this sense, porn is often the enemy of love and relationships, if only in how most porn videos set up the hot encounter (or orgy, ugh). Very seldom does one encounter a scene where two guys who live together and love each other get naked in the privacy of their own home, or say I love you. Sometimes real tenderness is depicted, but not too often. The far more likely setup is “Wow, look at that!” and drop your pants. Or sometimes you’ll see infidelity depicted as a positive thing, natural and common. (Not that we should live our lives according to the dictates of pornography, but media do convey messages about standards, and porn producers profit most when “anything goes” is the norm.)
But none of this is particularly Christian, some of it is anti-Christian, and the issue for committed Christian lovers may become, How do we have hot sex here at home, just you and me? How do we get honest enough to say and show each other what we really want? How do we handle sexual incompatibility (two tops or two bottoms, or one’s kinky and the other’s vanilla)?
How do we combat the secular Gay norm that monogamy is A) boring and B) mimicking Straight people (and therefore homophobic and not hot)?
How do we promote and enable real intimacy based on love? If it’s not loving, it’s probably not from God.
Just the mention of God in this conversation sends lots of guys, including Christian Gay guys, running for the exits; “God has nothing to do with my sex life!” They maintain a separation between God and normal life which God seeks to integrate and bless.
The really big shocker I think is that God gave you your lover, knowing exactly what your inclinations are and everything the two of you might do. God did that because God loves you both so much!
It’s a mistake to separate God, love, sex and marriage; they’re all one thing. And our spiritual practice (if not our religion) teaches us that God lives inside each one of us—so yes, God’s in the room while you’re getting nasty.
We’ve been so mis-programmed for so long that we want to lock God outside, while the theology of hetero married sexuality is fairly well-developed. As Gay people we’ve never heard or said the message, “Within marriage, you can do anything safe that makes you hard!”
The Church hasn’t been sex-positive with us (or publicly with Straight couples either), and LGBT church groups have been so busy lobbying that they seldom or never get to this message either, in case it would be used against them by anti-Gay bigots.
Here’s a fantasy for integrating God, love, sex and Gay marriage: maybe we should teach each couple to devise their own little rituals before and after Doing The Deed. It could be as simple as holding hands in front of the crucifix, making the sign of the Cross and kissing. No words need to be said, but the Divine One who gives us love and made our bodies ought to be acknowledged and thanked and blessed. Do it naked if you want, but do it.
Afterwards you can’t help but have sex AND make love.
When you’re finally lying happily exhausted in each other’s arms, one can whisper, “Thank you, God, for giving me this man.” And the other can say, “Amen.”++
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