Mark Dukes: Wedding Icon, St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, San Francisco
This post is going to be the most experimental yet, because I’m writing about something I barely know. And yet I do know it, it’s just hard to pull together facts to cite to back up my claim.
God approves of Gay sexuality, exactly like God approves of Straight sexuality: wholeheartedly.
This isn’t to say we all don’t have to have high ethics, because we do. Don’t say you love God and then treat yourself and others like dirt; do unto others. (And do well unto yourself as you do well unto them.)
Every time a bride and bride, or groom and bride, or groom and groom say “I do” and mean it, God is there saying, “I do too.”
Sexuality is of the essence of humanity—and of the essence of God too, right at the core.
This is a major part of the Revelations of Julian of Norwich. If you can read her and not believe every word she says, you’re a better man than I am.
God is Mother and Father, she says. So is Jesus, an obvious man in his mortal self. So is the Holy Spirit.
(A little digression: I don’t think Julian understands the Holy Spirit very much. The Spirit’s always an afterthought to her, included simply to invoke the Trinity and affirm the Church’s teaching. In my view, the Holy Spirit is the leader in our relationship with God; that’s her job description. Creator, Redeemer and Here-With-Us-Right-Now. When we perceive God’s presence and activity, that’s the Spirit inside and among us. She has a much more central role in our lives than anyone but Pentecostals gives her credit for—not that I do the holy roller jibber-jabber, it’s not my style. Which is fine with her, she doesn’t need it anymore than I do.)
What God has done through Julian is to open up the sexuality of humanity and God in all its central glory. God is our Lover, simple as that. And yes, that means lover as Gay people use that term.
The human being we love sexually and emotionally is a partial figure of the God we love those same ways.
This is not to “sexualize” God, to invent some pervy way of looking at the Divine so that people can say, “Hey, we can do anything we want!” Not at all. We must never do anything we want, it’s not good for us.
Julian was celibate, an anchorite. But she was intensely, overwhelmingly sexual, which may be why God chose her to reveal himself. He found/created a woman who was fully open and out of the closet to herself. So she became the vehicle for expressing God’s divine sexuality.
It’s the total uniting of self to God that is the point and climax of our salvation. We are to be resurrected in our bodies; those are sexual now and they will be then. Truly, we are the Bride of Christ.
That church in San Francisco gets it, better than any other in the United States.
(They also have some practices that are theologically controversial, but that may be their charism. It’s not for me to say God’s not doing something new with them when it’s obvious She already has.)
It’s all about the Wedding Dance.
Now how this complete spiritual-physical union with God takes place in heaven, I do not know and won’t speculate. But in some fashion I believe it does occur. The Creed says, “We believe in the resurrection of the body.” Jesus was resurrected that way; if he hadn’t been none of the apostles would have believed it.
What we don’t know is what God means by the resurrection of the body, what the Plan is “from without beginning,” in Julian’s phrase. We don’t know how this takes place—but I believe it does take place in heaven right now, that we don’t just all wake up on the Last Day. Why should God wait when he loves us now? Heaven is the uniting of all with God, body and soul. I can’t picture it, but that’s how it is. The how is a mystery.
But here’s the central implication perhaps for Gay guys: you know how you feel when you make love, when you hold your lover in your arms and are held by him? That is the smallest taste of heaven. God is your Lover. And the feeling to come is everything you already feel—tenderness, joy, passion, excitement, orgasm too. Orgasm especially, in some way we cannot imagine.
Self-destructive guys: you’ve got it all bass-ackwards. Me especially. (Leonardo’s been trying to tell us on his blog and this one.)
Heaven is ecstasy in ways we can’t imagine. But we have some experiences of ecstasy already in this life; we’re experts in ecstasy.
I hope my friend Rob will get what I’m telling him in his nakedness. He’s A-OK right now.
Fantasy is holy. Just do it right, that’s all.
Our best evidence is that Mary Magdalene was never a whore, but even if she was, Jesus didn’t care. He loved her; she loved him.
The man Jesus had sexual feelings for many of the people he met; his dear Mary, his beloved disciple John, the Centurion and doubtless many others. Jesus was a man, and he was doubtless packed with hormones. He couldn’t experience humanity any other way. As God he couldn’t show partiality, but he knows exactly what we go through. All of it.
In my theological speculation I have to draw boundaries, as we all must do in human relationships as well. It ain’t one great big fuckfest in the sky. We have no idea what to expect, it’s beyond our imagining.
But physical intimacy that we already know here and now is part of it, even the essence of it with all its spiritual and emotional aspects. God gave us sexuality not simply to reproduce; as high a priority as that is, it’s only equal to sexuality as a foretaste of the Divine.
In my previous post I wrote about my dream of the Blue Cave; it’s published below. What is a cave, fellas?
It’s an opening. It’s a hole.++