Saturday, March 30, 2013

Psalm 117 (118)

It is Easter and this is the Easter psalm, par excellence.  It starts with a great burst of praise.  “Alleluia.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love endures for ever.”  Just a thought for the homosexual, if he calls himself “gay”, to be faithful to that name praise, joy, thanksgiving should be ever present in his life.  As Christians we will always accept that our life is dedicated to joy, because the Lord wished us his joy and that his joy be full in us.  That joy is based on the knowledge that Jesus is God, one of us and always with us.  That is the meaning of his Resurrection.  He is Risen and is still with us.  The very meaning of Jesus’s being is that God is human, which means that he is good.  God could have no greater outgoing goodness than to make himself human.  Our commitment as Christians is to make this goodness, the compassion, service and helpfulness to others that made God become man present in our lives and in our whole world.  Giving ourselves to each other as men can be a vehicle of this goodness.

The psalm continues requiring that all the people and people in all types of responsibility acknowledge and proclaim the love, or more correctly, the faithfulness of the Lord.  The Lord can be counted on, he will not abandon us.  He went through death and is still with us.  But to be like the Lord we have to be able to stand by one another.  Let us thank the Lord who has built into us the gift of enhanced masculinity that enables us to identify with and stand by other men in a most remarkable way.

This is a longish psalm.  I shall try and continue my commentary on it in the next few days, always Easter days.  And, meantime, I wish you all a very joyful Easter.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Cross

It’s Good Friday and Rus’ further reply underlines the hurt that nearly all of us gay men feel.  For many it has been imposed by a Christian upbringing, for some just by the norms of a society very influenced, though, by Christian thinking.  The net result was that we were made to feel burdened and guilty about desires and urges towards men, as though they were wrong, shameful and displeasing to God.  Waking up out of this brain-washing to the plain truth of reality is a long process and long after we think we have got free of it all niggling doubts come creeping back in.  

 When you think about it, this idea that sex can somehow be displeasing to God is the most difficult to understand.  It seems to have been based on the idea that pleasure, man’s pleasure, is somehow displeasing to God.  How this squares with a God of love and joy is difficult to explain.  But, nonetheless, we absorbed the idea.  But there is a second stage of the process of getting out of the guilt-ridden prison.  We have first to recognize that the desires and urges are good and beautiful, even spiritual.  But, then, we have to take the bull by the horns and adopt the attitude that those good desires are meant to go somewhere.  We have to put them into practice and make mansex action part of our life-style.  To some extent this is to create a new set of spiritual and ascetic values.  But we have to accept them as just as good as the values that we learned as befitting our spiritual Christian status.  Life has changed, our understanding of things has changed.   

History repeats itself in showing us that humanity can come round to doing the exact opposite of what it thought was right and proper in centuries gone by and understanding it as way more correct than what it did before.  Think of attitudes to the slave trade, class distinctions, segregation, women’s rights, capital punishment, violent conflict.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

God's Temple

Rus in a comment raised the question: “Clarify for me where you draw the line in regards to our body being the temple of God; thus, are our gay acts being disrespectful to God's temple?”  The reference is to St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.”  St. Paul puts it another way in 1 Corinthians 3:16: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 

From the moment we are baptised we are indwelt by God, so his Temple.  This is not anything we can subsequently efface.  Sin, as our turning away from God, causes a kind of conflict. We are not what we are supposed to be, or we are trying to get away from what we are in relationship to God.  God, at this point, continues to love us and be with us.  He understands our mistakes, weaknesses and he waits for us to come back to him, or he excuses us and all is still right with him even though our guilt feelings might deceive us.
That is something like the nature of sin.  But our wholedebate is whether mansex constitutes sin at all.  It is my conviction that a man having sex with another man is giving glory to God.  Just the opposite of sin.  Two men are giving glory to God for the wonder of the being they have received from him, for the gift of masculinity and all its wonder and beauty.  It is for this act of praise that we have been endowed with the gift of enhanced masculinity. 

This is sex as God intended it, as distinct from procreative acts.  I think, in St. Paul’s terms, fucking, sucking cock, jacking off are ways of glorying God in our bodies.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Psalm 5

Looking first towards the end of the Psalm, we can see that it is a psalm for everyone who wants to take refuge in the Lord in a great spirit of trust.  All who believe that the Lord will shelter them will find themselves praying: “All who take refuge in you shall be glad, and ever cry out their joy.”  The beginning of the psalm expresses this confidence of the person at prayer, the Lord is his King and his God.  You get the feel that the opening is really saying, you are the only one I can rely on: “To my words give ear, O LORD; give heed to my sighs. Attend to the sound of my cry.”  So the confident prayer of a man with sighs.   
All human beings have sighs, but, more particularly what gay man does not have sighs?  This psalm says that God neither delights in evil nor has room for the evildoer.  Then it goes on to identify some evils – undoubtedly not an exclusive list – but, interestingly, among the list of evils there is nothing sexual.  There are the boastful, those who lie, in whose mouth no truth is to be found. There are those who shed blood.  There are flatterers.   

If we are free of those evils, or have repented of them, we can lift up our heads to enter the Lord’s presence, reciting with the psalmist: “Yet through the greatness of your merciful love, I enter your house. I bow down before your holy temple, in awe of you.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

Psalm 4

The psalm begins: “When I call answer me, O God of justice; from anguish you released me, have mercy and hear me.”  The dialogue of deep prayer is always with the God we know by faith is truly at our side.  He is a God of justice, the support of those who are in the right.  But for the man with the gift of enhanced masculinity the focus in this verse might well be on the anguish.  At various moments we have all anguished over our homosexuality.  This anguish does not come from God, but from human blindness.  God is just waiting to release us from this anguish.  He is merciful, has a listening ear and loves us as we are.

The second verse of this psalm is really a remonstrance that the man with the gift of enhanced masculinity could direct to his detractors: “O men, how long will your hearts be closed, will you love what is futile and seek what is false?”
But the man who can recognize his gift of enhanced masculinity as a grace from God can really regard himself as loved by God and pray earnestly the next verse: “It is the Lord who grants favours to those whom he loves; the Lord hears me whenever I call him.”  The man with the gift of enhanced masculinity should know with conviction that the Lord hears him when he prays and never identify God as one of those who rejects him and despises his enhanced masculinity.  His very gift of enhanced masculinity is a great favour that the Lord has bestowed on him as a sign of his love.

The psalmist tells us to fear, that means reverence, the Lord.  When he says “Do not sin”, he means do not abandon the Lord.  We have to be careful with that verse because with the Christian formation we have, such a verse can sound like “Do not have sex.”  But that just is not the context of the psalm.  What God wants is not sexual abnegation but the self-restraint that respect for others, or justice, involves.  We should also have a simple confidence that allows us to rest, almost like a child, in the presence of the Lord.  “Fear him; do not sin: ponder on your bed and be still.  Make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.”
Like everybody else, the man with the gift of enhanced masculinity is destined to be happy.  That happiness will come from just being in God’s presence, being enlightened by it.  God can give us spiritual exultation in our gift of enhanced masculinity that is beyond the joy of eating and drinking.  When we know that God smiles on us and encourages us to enjoy our gift, tension will disappear and we will be at peace and sleep well, feeling secure.
“’What can bring us happiness?’ many say.
Lift up the light of your face on us, O Lord.
You have put into my heart a greater joy

than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.
I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.