In the comments on my post “Following the Spirit” the discussion has been intense about how to make our enhanced masculine play truly Christian. 8 comments so far. Never had that many on a single post before! It is gratifying to know that I am giving guys a place and a space to air their questions and attempts at solutions to the problems and pressures we all feel.
I hope everybody will read these comments for themselves. However, the summary of my thought on the points raised would be as follows.The crucial thing is to keep faithful to Jesus’ command to “Love on another.” The practical application of this all the way down the tradition and underlined by St. Benedict is: “Do not do to another what you would not have done to yourself.” Our man to man play must therefore be sensitive to all the dimensions and issues raised in the comments, especially by Sebastianus. Our man to man play must always be perfectly consensual and between adults. There must be no abuse of minors or vulnerable adults, nor must there be any taking advantage of positions of professional trust. In any of that we fail in the commandment of love, we put our self-interest before the good of the other. Similarly we must not intrude uninvited on an established and possibly closed relationship. We need, as Christians to respect the other, his fidelities and his commitments. The context of life in a religious community that Sebastianus raised specifically is very particular. I would see no problem with man to man play between religious provided it could be done without upsetting the balance of community relationships, and that might not be easy to achieve. You would kind of need the whole community to accept the possibility of such behaviour within its framework, and that is not very likely at the present time, given the prevailing thinking within the Churches on homosexuality.
Dave touches on the thorny problem of the Catholic position, shared by the Muslims, incidentally, that there is nothing wrong with the homosexual orientation, but the acts are big-time sin. I cannot see how this is supposed to work. If a guy has a gratuitous and good natural propensity, what is he meant to do with it except put it into act? So, guys, get on with your erotic play, consider it good, enjoy it freely, provided you respect the limiting circumstances outlined above. Fucking, sucking, jacking man to man, like so many things that are good in themselves, are not good in all circumstances, but, all things being equal, can be channels of Christ’s command to love one another. It can be just as respectful of Christ’s law of love, to do these things with a casual buddy as within a deeply loving relationship.