I’m tired of dancing around the politics of sexuality, whether proclaimed by the church and church-related institutions, or by political parties on both sides of all aisles.
All my life I’ve lived by other people’s agendas. Toed the line (most of the time). Made sure I didn’t cause a problem for the powers that be (even though I did).
For a change, this is my agenda: As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am to
- love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind
- love my neighbor as I love myself
- love myself
It couldn’t be simpler or more terrifying than that. Those three, taken together, are my bottom lines. Any attempt to gain my loyalty or affirmation falls short if it requires me to add or subtract from this list.
If I were applying to teach at a seminary and made the first cut of candidates, I might say something like this to the search committee.
- I would like to hear from each of you about your personal journey, including things you’ve struggled with in your life, and how this affects the way you relate to seminarians, particularly regarding sexuality. In return, I’m committed to sharing the same thing with you about my struggles, and the way this has affected my work with seminarians, both male and female.
Perhaps this is unrealistic or unfair. In any case, I don’t think I would get many takers.
I am now and have always been an outlier about sexuality. Partly due to my troubled past with my father. But also because of multiple friendships with gay men and lesbian women, my own troubled past, and fear of being drummed out if people don’t believe me or, more likely, find me unworthy.
When it comes to sexuality, no one has an undamaged mind, heart or body. In addition to relentless private victimization, the advent of ritualized, commercialized pornographic images and social media voyeurism makes a mockery of our felt need to root out those who flagrantly (publicly or privately) violate their own sexuality or the sexuality of others. We have been sinned against, and we have knowingly and unknowingly passed along our anguish.
Finally, though this post is about men as well as women, we women have more to lose when it comes to sexuality.
Nonetheless, if we women keep arguing and distancing ourselves from each other, we’ve lost even more. It doesn’t matter whether we’re homosexual, heterosexual, transgendered or bisexual. It doesn’t matter what color we are or how many husbands or partners we’ve had, or what we have or haven’t done in our pasts. What matters are areas of common concern, and taking initiative to meet each other around those issues, even though it may mean meeting some sisters for the first time.
I’m a dreamer. So was Jesus Christ. As one of his followers, how can I refuse to go where he went? Yes, it’s a kind of death. But the kind that passes life along to our daughters and sons, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, neighbors, and even to ourselves.
As always, many thanks for listening.
©Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 April 2018