I am convinced that the institution of patriarchy has contaminated Jesus Christ’s message of equality and love, by male privilege, and by the repression of the feminine and homophobia. The time has come to cleanse ourselves and throw off these aberrations. Gay spiritual groups, I believe, are leading the way for the whole Church to bring about this transformation.
Clearly, after three thousand years of oppression, the feminist movement, still in its adolescence, must of necessity contain a rejection of the masculine archetype in order to purify and grasp the feminine in all its richness. We are at the moment when the feminine archetype’s antithetical moment in the dialectic is in ascendance. This is the time for the feminine to assert its equality and dignity, and to achieve its separation from and independence of the masculine.
However, I believe that within the gay community, both of us, gay men and lesbians together, have a role to play in human history, a role that could be seriously jeopardized, if we should begin to conform to an either/or understanding of masculine and feminine archetypes.
A few years ago, my friend and colleague, Mary Hunt, a lesbian theologian, speak about the traditional Christian belief in resurrection of the body and immortality. She agreed with Rosemary Ruether that in feminine consciousness there is no need for individual immortality. Women can be satisfied with the idea that at death they will become symbiotic with the great feminine matrix in the hope that, although their ego-identity is lost, new life will rise from that matrix.
I believe there is a partial truth in this position. Because of their physical participation of birth, many women stay closer to nature and seem more at ease with the natural process of birth, maturing, and death. If they have children, they can be more inclined to find their immortality in their offspring, rather than in their own achievements. Many of us who are male do have something to learn about accepting life’s processes with peace and equanimity from our sisters. But many of us, especially those without children or the possibility of children, are especially open to this message in scripture:
For Yahweh says this: "To the eunuchs who observe my Sabbaths
And choose to do my good pleasure and cling to my covenant,
I shall give them in my house and within my walls
A monument and a name better than sons and daughters;
I shall give them an everlasting name that will never be effaced."
I disagree with Mary Hunt’s belief that this masculine desire for personal immortality is pathological. On the contrary, I believe that men’s and women’s desire to escape the limits of death and aspire to personal immortality is healthy. This desire falls into the category that the philosopher, Maurice Blondel, explored of human needs that are necessary for human fulfillment and impossible by human means alone. Consequently, the desire for immortality opens us up to our need for the power and the grace of the divine.
Winning for us this divine gift of personal immortality was the Promethean task undertaken by Jesus. Perhaps this task does represent a desire present in a more pronounced way in the masculine archetype, and perhaps it can be opposed to the feminine archetypal drive to seek merger into the undifferentiated. This difference could be one reason why the masculine dialectic had to come first. We had to achieve the ultimate levels of freedom and autonomy of the masculine archetype in order to be able to relate to God, not through symbiosis in the divine matrix, but in a free relationship of love. In the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, "Must I again repeat the truth, of universal application, that, if it be properly ordered, union does not confound but differentiates."
The desire for personal immortality is certainly not exclusively confined to men. Every human being who has had the experience of deep personal love can find that desire in his or her own heart. Every love song ever written speaks about being "eternally" yours. Stoic philosophers urged their followers to never fall in love, because lovers always desire immortality for themselves and their lover and such a desire in irrational. We are all called into a personal relationship of love with the divine, and death cannot destroy that personal relationship. On the contrary, our individual personal identity will continue beyond death for all eternity. This triumph over death is a special gift from God, which lies totally beyond our human power. At the same time, this gift responds to a profoundly felt need in the human heart.
A Moment of Regression