There are spiritual traditions that teach that sexual abstinence leads to a purity of spirit that is an excellent basis for communion with the divine. The Christian spiritual tradition from the earliest times has adopted this spiritual way. When the Christian tradition adds an interpretation to this tradition that implies that sex is in some way bad and to be avoided as the great enemy of all asceticism and spiritual discipline, this seems to me to be negative, fear-filled, thinking and by that very fact less solid as a foundational thought. There are other traditions that embrace erotic ecstasy as a basis for spiritual experience.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Patrick drew our attention in his comment on yesterday’s blog, to the text of the book of Malachi: “And now, priests, this warning is for you….You have caused many to stumble by your teaching…..you have not kept to my paths but have shown partiality in your administration.” We hear the Word of God rebuking the Church’s teaching tradition where it has distorted the truth about homosexuality and laid unbearable burdens on men. The next sentence in Malachi is also relevant, in my opinion. “Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why then do we break faith with one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?” The covenant of our ancestors is to acknowledge God as our Creator and Lord. If we follow later interpretations concerning homosexuality we kind of say that God did not create us homosexual.
But God created us male and it is far fetched to say that he did not put within us also that exuberant joy in our masculinity, our own and that of all those guys around us, that we are calling Enhanced Masculinity. It is also very profaning to try and acknowledge that God put within us that exuberance but did not want us to put it into act by playing together. That, ultimately, is keeping faith with each other as enhanced males in a sublime way.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I like the principles that Jack Scott (see his picture blog on my blog list) presents about porn. His view is that pornography is like almost everything else we deal with in our lives. It is not inherently evil. It is not inherently good. Personally, I am inclined to think that anything that is not inherently evil is inherently good, because God created all things good. Jack also makes the point that without visual stimulation one of the major precursors to sexual interest and activity would be missing for men, and perhaps it is in recognition of that truth that many disapprove of both pornography and sex. Thereby, of course lies the problem, the Catholic Church has a lot of difficulty in approving of sex in any form and, therefore, roundly condemns all sex’s peripheral paraphernalia.
Friday, October 28, 2011
We need to look around us and venerate, reverence and enjoy erotic attraction and beauty in other people as it speaks to us. We need to venerate our own being and body as erotic, and experience it through self-eroticism. We need to enjoy pornography as a way of encountering the beauty and power of sex. We need to be open to playing erotically with people of the same sex in a manner filled with reverence and respect, as the occasion shall arise. We need to respect all loving and covenanted erotic and sexual relationships, especially marriage, and never allow our appetites to lead us to destructive action in their regard. We need to respect the good of using sex for the begetting of children, in the right circumstances, in the context of a stable marital union.
You will notice that the traditional teaching on chastity in the Christian Church has been in denial of most of this. Nobody was thought to be homosexual, so nothing was ever said. But a guy was not supposed to look at a girl going down the street, if he was going to be really virtuous. Pornography has been hounded as an evil as destructive of the human race as nuclear warfare. People using sex in marriage were counselled to do so with extreme caution and the idea of seeing your partner naked was largely frowned upon. Let us live now in veneration of our whole human sexual make-up and release the world from the tensions created by the negativism of the past.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Chastity has to be re-thought in terms of venerating our sexuality. But it has to take in the dimension of venerating human sexuality in a universal sense, my sexuality and the sexuality of all those around me. The traditional abstinence-promoting teachings on chastity are really saying that human sexuality is a nuisance, an enemy of spirituality. We have tried long enough to live in an asexual world and found it both wanting and impossible. Living in veneration of our sexuality means allowing ourselves and everyone else all that they need for the expression and realization of our sexual being and, in particular, fostering the sexual development of others as we foster their spiritual and human development. As always in human affairs there will be moments when one person’s needs conflict with the needs and rights of others. We must work these out with mutual respect and acknowledgment of the truth of the other. Here we touch the application to sexuality of the gospel message.