Can I be honest?
I am learning to know myself, and I’ve been finding blind spots. Gaps. There is a gap, for instance, between my identity and my awareness. Sexuality resides in that gap.
Stick with me for a moment.
Sexuality includes interest and attraction; feelings of love, trust and care; social context; a sense of connection (spirituality) that goes beyond what can be known or observed. Sexuality is not a set of behaviors. It is more like a force of nature. Ingrained. Invisible.
Like hunger. Or longing.
Sexuality undergirds our economic and political systems. It’s a foundation on which we have built our theologies – our understandings of who God is and how we might be guided into both mystical union and communion.
Theology legitimates sexuality. Sexuality supports theology.
“Let us make humankind in our image.”
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.”
I’ve been exploring these gaps. My experience of God, for instance, occurs in the space between my identity and my awareness – felt but not seen. My understanding of God is interwoven with my sexuality. Two parts of who I am in struggle.
They’ve been coming undone.
Things fall apart.
Have you considered the grand narrative? The details of our culture were drawn on a blank slate – a world wiped clean by the genocide of indigenous peoples. It was built with slave labor. The New World was undressed and brutalized by the pure and virile masculinity of educated European minds and bodies. All our stories reflect this reality. Might makes right, and winner takes all.
Like it or leave it, we live in a patriarchy.
We say there are two sides to every story. But that’s not quite right. If there are two sides, it is because there is the inside. And the outside.
As Americans, then, we are male. Or we are not male. We are white. Or we are not white. We are normal. Or we are not normal. We are inside the story. Or we are excluded.
Why don’t we notice? Even our awareness is constricted by binary constructions of language. We have a sexuality of domination. We have a theology of control. Our authoritarian God cannot abide doubt, dissent, or disobedience. He cannot stomach difference.
Our theology is heterosexual, and heterosexuality is not neutral.
The very existence of sexuality that is not heterosexuality calls into question our understandings of the nature and authority of God. Even worse, if we are men, it calls into question our own authority. We perceive, then, that any sexuality that is not heterosexuality is a perversion and must be silenced. It is an offense against God. It is anathema.
This might be why people left out of the story love Jesus.
Jesus took instructions from his mother (John 2). Jesus saved the life of a widow (Luke 7). Jesus called women to follow him (Matthew 10). Jesus blessed children (Mark 10). Jesus “overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves” (Matthew 21).
Jesus did not come to power through domination or by control. Jesus undid the powers. Jesus disrupted the dominant. Jesus introduced chaos into systems of control. And his followers didn’t fit the grand narrative. They were outsiders.
Up on that cross, Jesus breathed his last. All his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee –
– they stood at a distance.
I am learning to know myself, and I’ve been finding gaps between my identity and my awareness. And it dawns on me that these blank spaces hold everything I need to know of God.
Something drawing me toward love, trust, and care – a sense of connection that goes beyond what can be known or observed. Like a force of nature. Ingrained. Invisible.
Like hunger. Or longing.