Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sexual Play

Almost two years ago I published my fifth book on lgbt liberation from a spiritual theological perspective. My God-given purpose in all five books was to try with the help of the Holy Spirit to free gay Christians from the lies of pathologically homophobic religion.

Hearing the news of so many teenage suicides gives a new urgency to get the news out about my books [confer] For that purpose I have summaized the message of my most recent book in the following blog.

Sexual Play: God's Gift To The Poor
In my most recent publication: Sex As God Intended: A Reflection on Human Sexualty As Play, I made the observation that scripture , especially The Song of Songs, makes it abudantly clear that God intended human sexuality to be an experience of play. As St Irenaus said: Gloria Dei, homo vivens. The glory of God are humans fully alive. That includes being sexually fully alive. It delights God to see the creatures he loves enjoying God's gift of playful sex within an intimate loving relationship with a spirit of gratitude.
But what makes sex play? The human experience of play, like love, is indefinable. We know what play is when we experience it, but we cant define it. Sociologists observe that a disturbed child ceases to play when it experiences the absence of love. Tht child can be freed to begin to play again only when it feels the security of uncondiional love. Simlarly, we adults are free to play only if we feel loved. Ultimately it is the human experience of God's unconditional love that frees us to totally indulge the spirit of play all our lives.
What makes a human activity play? Play is usually contrasted to work. The human activity of work is frequently based on anxiety. The child who does not feel loved will work hard to earn that love. When one is working what one is doing in the present moment takes its meaning from what the future will bring. Work empties the present moment of its meaning and renders the worker a prisoner to the tyranny of time.
What makes human activity play is the fact that platful activity has its meaning totally in the present moment. The perfect example of that is dancing. The activity of dancing takes its meaning totally from what is happening in the present moment with no reference to the future. The result is a joyful liberation from the tyranny of time.
If human sexual activity is undertaken for the conscious purpose of procreation , it become another form of work subject to the tyranny of time. In Gen 2 we read that God looked at Adam and said"It is not good that the human be alone. Every human should have a companion of his or her own kind" Obviously God intended human sexuality to be a cure for lonliness and help humans enter into deep intimate love relations.. In playful sex we must relate to our sexual partner as end in him or herself and not as a means to something beyond the partner him or her self. Adam and Eve enjoyed playful sex in the garden of Eden in the presence of God. By restoring our awareness of God's love, Christ wanted to restore human sexuality to the same joyful play it was in Eden.
St Augustine once wrote: Ama! Et fac quod vis! "Love and then do wahatever you want!" Exactly! Because what ever a lover wants will be in complete harmony with the spirit of God!

I will never forget several decades ago the first time I heard the famous British theologian, Norman Pittenger, make the statement: "Granting that we are dealing with consenting adults, there is no such thing as bad sex; there is only good, better and best sex!" A wave of laughter went through the room. You could feel the spirit of joyful liberation those words brought from decades of shame, guilt and self-hatred. And every time since when I repeated that statement I witnessed the same result.

We know from Revelation that God created us sexual beings and delights in our sexual play. Every human being has a God-given right to sexual fulfillment. In this article I speak primarily as a psychotherapist as I ask the question what makes sex good, better or best? Best sex is obviously two humans enjoying mutual sexual pleasure within a committed loving relationship. Where this kind of sexual relation can be achieved, it brings with it not only superb sexual pleasure but, as Genesis 2 said, on an even deeper level it brings with it escape from loneliness and isolation into the deepest experience humans can have of intimacy, and frequently opens the door to a mystical experience of intimacy with God.

I am aware as a psychotherpist with several decades of experience that many, if not most, human beings grow up with badly damaged psyches and a wounded self image that render them incapable , except with extreme difficulty, to enter into a committed relation based on mutual love. However, these psychically wounded humans still have a right to sexual fulfillment to the best of their ability. Ia distinction between alpha sex and omega sex. When we perform alpha sex we are entirely absorbed in our own pleasure. we use our sexual partner as a sexual obect in order to obtain our pleasure. In omega sex, on the other hand, we are entirely caught up in the pleasure of our partner. Our primary pleasure comes from the plesure of our partner. As humans, as we mature, we are all caught somewhere in the transition from alpha sex to omega sex.

If all one is capable of is a solitary act of masturbation, then that masturbatory act, undertaken with gratitude to God for the gift of sexual pleasure, is good sex.

Even better sex occurs when two wounded humans reach out to each other to share mutual sexual pleasure in a 'one night stand'. I always liked the joke I heard many years ago about an aging queen in the Bowery who went into a bar with a parakeet on his shoulder. Standing at the end of the bar he announced in a loud voice, "I will go to bed with anyone who guesses the weight of my parakeet!" One drunk looked up and guessed two hundred pounds. "Close enough!" responded the queen. What is happening here. Two psychically badly damaged human beings will share a moment of mutual sexual pleasure . That is all they are capable of and that is good, even better, sex. Even better still is the relation of two "sex buddies" that meet regularly for sexual fulfillment in the context of mutual friendship.

These reflections make it patently clear that no human being has the right to make moral judgments on the sexual activities of others. Only God knows if the person involved in a sexual act is living up to her or his potential. Humans are under an obligation to achieve the highest level of intimacy they are capable of. If you are blessed with a healthy psyche that opens the possibility of best sex for you, be grateful to God and refrain from any judgmentalism about the sex life of your neighor.
one of the most central teachings of Jesus, without doubt of utmost importance to all Christians and especially to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Christians is freedom of conscience. This teaching is founded on Jesus' promise to his followers to send them the Holy Spirit who will dwell in their hearts and lead them into all truth.
In John 7:37-39 Jesus made the promise of "Living Water"!
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood there (in the Temple) and cried out:
"If any human is thirsty, let him or her come to me!
Let the man (or woman) come and drink who believes in me!"
As the scripture says: From his breast will flow fountains of living water.

John adds this comment on the mysterious connection of Jesus' death on the cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit: "He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified."

 At the last supper John records Jesus as promising: "I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete (the Greek word means advocate) to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth whom the world can never accept since it never sees nor knows him." (John 14: 16-17) Jesus declared further: "I have said these things to you while still with you, but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you." (John 14: 16-17)

Jesus declared further: "I have said these things to you while still with you but the Advocate, the Holy Spiirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you." (John14: 25-26) The title Advocate which Jesus gives the Spirit means we will have our own public defender, one who speaks with us and for us; one who will plead our cause.

Fulfilling the Prophets

Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, sees Jesus' gift of the Holy Spirit as the fulfillment of this prophesy of Jeremiah:
Look, the days are coming, Yahwey declared, when I shall make a new covenant with the House of Isreal when those days have come...Then I shall plant my Law, writing in their heart. Then I shall be their God and they will be my people. There will be no further need for everyone to teach neighbor or brother, saying, "learn to know Yahwey"! No, they will all know me, from the least to the greatest...since I shall forgive their guilt, and never more call their sins to mind (Jer. 31-34).

Notice that Jeremiah foresees that the new covenant in which every human being from the least to the greatest who believes in the messiah will have direct access to God who dwells in their hearts. This access to God will not be a privilege of the few who are gifted with extraordinary intelligence, or ritual rank, or even holiness! The Holy Spirit is portrayed in the prophets as a thoroughgoing respector of democratic process. There is no hint here that one must depend on extrinsic authority in order to inform one's conscience and learn what God wants. After the coming of the Holy Spirit, God will directly and immediately inform our conscience.

In the Acts of the Apostles on Pentecost sunday, Peter records these words of the prophet Joel: "I shall pour out my Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters will prophesy; your young people shall see visions, your old people dream dreams. Even on slaves, men and women, shall I pour out my Spirit" (Acts 2: 17-18; Joel 3: 1-2.).

It should be clear from these passages that the Prophets foretold that the spiritual movement created by Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit will of its esssence be a democratic movement in which all members are equal in authority because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It follows that all authority will be based on a discernment of spirits that happens from the bottom up and not from the top down. Just as Jesus had to "go away" in order for the Spirit to come, so today the hierarchy have to "go away" or be transformed into listeners who discern what the spirit is saying through the people of God. As Jesus intended,Theology of Fallibility all authority in his Church must come from the bottom up!