This message came to me and I resisted it because it was safer to resist it, primarily for doctrinal reasons. But it built up inside me like a fire. Now I am restless. I feel sick all the time from the anxiety.
It gotten so bad that I handed in notice at work (not that I’m able to get anything done there). I have no savings as well as no plan for income. I’ve got debts. I’ve got expenses. I’m not qualified at anything.
In addition to work, I was going to star in a movie that our small production company was making, starting with next to no resources; we were searching for financing. But my mind has not been in it. I came out to them and told them what I was going to write on this issue. They, with great respect and sensitivity towards me as a person, told me that they could not support my decision to come out publically because they were anxious about the impact this would have on how viewers would accept the movie. I was at peace with their response because I understood it – I would have said the same thing in their place. We ended at an impasse.
That movie had become my life. I’m now surrendering the straight mask; I am therefore surrendering the only power and the only defence I had in this world.
This actually started as a suicide note. No joke. On the weekend of August the 9th all I really needed – all I have ever really needed – was a fail-proof method. But as much as I needed a resolution on the matter, I didn’t want to die. I have loved and been loved by friends, family and many other people. I dated a beautiful man; very few people know about that. I have two awesome nephews and a great family. I love my church. So I made a deal with myself: I’ll post this out into the world, and then have a 40 day countdown. If, within 40 days, I had not gotten a satisfying biblical response to what I’m posting, I’d simply end my life and that would be it. The movie? Let the dead bury their own dead. If someone engages me within the next 40 days, I’ll break that deal I made with myself.
So here we are. Forty days yet.
I am not an academic, so please pardon the lack of proper referencing. Many of these opinions are thoughts I’ve picked along in my life that have hit me like thunderbolts in the last few days. Where I recall reading something on another blog, I post the link. While I “take credit” for being the person through whom this exact configuration of biblical interpretations will first be brought into the world, I cannot take credit for the ideas and the systems of thought that brought the ideas forth. I stand on the shoulders of more giants than I can recall.
I am not absolutely certain about the positions I’ve adopted here theologically, but there is one thing I know: prejudice against the person is wrong. I’ve been unnecessarily discriminated against as a person, more often and more deeply than I can describe. That is wrong. If I’m wrong about everything else, I’m not wrong about that. I have hated myself without cause before; I will now vindicate the principle that I must have done something wrong before I am hated. Even if I am wrong about what I’ve written here, I believe that if Christians acted as though these things were true, they’d experience enormous success in being a force for good and for evangelism in the world.
I also believe that the measure of whether something is good or not is the fruit it produces in the long term. If something keeps leading to death, no matter how holy or good it seems, it’s got to be investigated. The mainstream Christian view of homosexuality that it ought to be viewed as any other sin was a view I too was willing to adopt and have inform all my decisions. I’ve been single around that view; I’ve been celibate around that view, and at all times I could be content. Then one day I realized something. It didn’t work. That view didn’t work. When one person dies because of homophobia – and it’s large list of persons dying – regardless of lifestyle, then this views fails and that I cannot in good conscience hold on to it.
Now I stand on an entirely different view and it is sublimely hostile to many I’ve discussed it with because it judges all of us. I now live to unmask homophobia for what it is: not a judgment from Christianity, but a judgment on Christianity. It’s a slow and methodical unmasking needing much repetitiveness, so I’ll ask you to bear with me.
Also, I typed most of this on my very basic Blackberry. So there will be errors, repetitions and many other editorial problems. I have not had much time to sit down and structure it – I’ve got two jobs, a movie and a 2-hour daily commune vying for my attention. I will ask that you read this as patiently as you can. Also, please read with forgiveness – much of this was typed in anger and I’ve tried rooting out the bitterness. But I haven’t got time to read through the whole in one sitting.
I didn’t want to do this; I didn’t want to think about these issues. But they have hit me too hard. I am partly out. One way or the other, within the next forty days this little stunt would have proven to be the end of my life as I’ve known it up until now.
It begins with our image of God
Two visions of God compete for our allegiance.
The first depicts a God of pure, unadulterated power; the other is a God from whom flows all power though He doesn’t employ all this power Himself. The second One is a God of self-sacrificial love, indescribable wisdom and humble service. Everything about His character defies and astonishes human expectation; there is never a time when humans can say, “Yep, I’ve seen the depths and the limits.”
The first is a God of structure, hierarchy, control and systemization who must be feared because He is bigger than us. He requires much of us in terms of holiness and how we live our lives.
The second is a God who wants to “be” in relationship with people, and for people to “be” in relationship with one another, rather than in hierarchy with one another. This second God makes concessions to our addiction to the safety and predictability promised by structure and control; He speaks to us in and through those structures and the wars they spark off, but He does not like those structures, those wars and that control. He is more interested in our developing a complete view of the personhood of all persons as well as the preciousness of creation; informed by that perspective, we are free to do as we please.
To understand everything about human history, one needs to understand and contrast these two possible images of God. I am not going to say that the one image is wrong and the other isn’t; I’m simply going to illustrate our journey with both images.
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were created by God to live in the Garden of Eden. They were male and female created in the image of God.
He said to them, “You may eat of all the Trees in the Garden. But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you may not eat. For in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” I believe He told them this in order to remind them of something very simple about their reality: it was a gift, and He was the source of its meaning and beauty.
The central, most unspeakably powerful part of this poetic reality was Adam and Eve’s ability to outpicture and image the oneness of God in their sexual union.
The Serpent later approached Eve and asked her, “Did God indeed say, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the Garden’?”
Notice what the Serpent had just done: he’d overemphasized the rule by escalating it.
Eve not only replied in the correct affirmative, but she emphasized the proscription over the provision: “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Then the Serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Having heard this, Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.
Up until this point, I believe Eve had been innocently and contentedly led through her existence. I doubt that it had ever occurred to her that God was stingily holding back on something better.
I think, for the first time in her existence, Eve became aware of the possibility and the principle of tyranny. She projected that image onto God, and her heart, being in God’s image, revolted against that image of God that the Serpent’s words had created in her mind’s eye.
More practically, she sought a way of escaping the imagined limitedness of her existence. The forbidden fruit was her best bet. See, God was this really clever Being who not only created things out of nothing but also imbued them with transcendent moral meaning. He had created sex as a picture of the Godhead. He was the Supreme Artist and the Supreme Poet. He “knew” good and evil. Where did that meaning come from? Wherever it was, was there something there that He wasn’t telling her about? Something more? Something empowering and liberating? She was under a tyrant and she had to overthrow Him.
If she were wise like God, she could possibly figure out what He was holding back and make it happen for herself. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to the man and he ate it.
Then something strange happened: their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
After they sinned, Adam and Eve were naked, ashamed and hidden from God. God came looking for them, and they remained hidden as we all do. God then confronted them about why they were hidden and how they knew that they were naked.
This is where I begin speculating. I basically pieced this interpretation using the biblical evidence, and it gets very, very graphic. We’re doing a post-mortem so this isn’t going to get pretty. The graphicness has a purpose. Moreover, I will describe the characters of Adam and Eve based on most men and women I’ve met. Now, I’ve warned you. Bear with me:
They felt ashamed of their nakedness because their rebellion had led to the uglification of the most beautiful reality in creation – their sexuality, which was their expression of God’s image as unity. They were now aware and ashamed of their nakedness.
“Your desire shall be for your husband,” God told Eve. “And he shall rule over you.”
He shall rule over you. The penalty for trying to become “like God” was that Adam would always see his penetration of her not as their joining to outpicture the Godhead, but as a form of conquest. That was part of the curse. Whenever he touched her, he knew that he longed to dominate her in ways that ran contrary to the rest of his noble nature and contrary to the Godhead they’d been meant to outpicture. There was no longer any innocence in his nakedness around her; his penis was the first spear ever seen on earth – once an instrument of love and communion, it was now a weapon of domination and tyranny. He had become her conqueror; he could not separate himself from the manifestation of that lust to conquer. And that manifestation now lay open at the most intimate, most telling part of his anatomy, far beyond his ability to control.
He could control her, but he couldn’t control himself nor control the way he controlled her. He never quite knew what form of evil would rise up within him against her. He would accuse and criticize without thinking first. He was now tyrant of the bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, and he was guilty for it. He’d become the tyrant Eve thought God was. She had just precipitated her worst nightmare about God, in the person of her husband.
More globally, she had just precipitated her fear about being under dominion: from then on, the earth would be ruled and governed by tyrannical Powers all ultimately reporting to the Serpent. God would give the Law in order to control evil on earth; addicted to the power much as Adam couldn’t help his lust to control, dominate and objectify Eve in ways he himself hated, those bigger and stronger Powers would use the Law tyrannically; mankind would dominate mankind to his injury. Hierarchy would never be innocent again.
Your desire shall be for him, but he will rule over you. Because he heeded her voice and she spoke something contrary to God’s instruction, Eve would find herself in a quandary: she would desire the very man who was “ruling over” her. She would desire her own degradation and conquest even as some part of her rebelled against it. God sure had turned the tables on her: she, person created from person, who had asserted her personhood by overruling God, now found that her personhood would be at stake, at risk from the very objectification, penetration and degradation that she desired and felt undone by. The tyrant was not only real and “out there,” but he was made especially powerful because as fast as she tried to run from him, her knees would go weak when she saw that spear of his being lifted into the air to turn her into an object. Oh, she knew her conquest was on its way, and she knew that just as he’d said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate,” he would surely blame her for his inability to control himself. He would blame her for his inability to control the way that he controlled her, for the way the words just came out of his mouth. He’d always find a way to blame her as the temptress for bringing out the God-damned animal in him.
I’m drawing these descriptions out using what I know about the world and about the heterosexual union.
The God of perfect math couldn’t have invented a more fitting punishment – it literally fit inside her – and she gave in because at the core of her will something in her undid her entire struggle to break free. With every thrust in, Adam pushed his dominating will inside of her to crush and override her autonomy; with every withdrawal, he took out a little bit with himself. God did not exercise great power to punish her, oh no: by merely planting a small, small spark of desire within her, God could render all her Amazonian efforts at taking control of her situation absolutely futile.
Why was God being so extreme now? Well, because she’d mistrusted hierarchy; she was getting in her reality the kind of god she’d imagined God to be. Where was this god appearing? In their union as man and wife, she would now experience the kind of God she’d made God out to be in her rebellion. If she thought the Godhead was based on tyranny and domination, then she and Adam would experience that in their relationship because when they tried to become like God, this was the God they tried to become because this was the image of God they’d been usurping. God was fulfilling their wish in the most bitterly ironic way.
And before anyone says that Adam’s rulership over Eve was not a curse, it must be pointed out that it is mentioned with the curse, not with any other creation description. Eve was Adam’s helpmeet prior to the curse; the curse said he’d “rule over” her. When we read New Testament passages about men leading the home we are not reading a reinstatement of the original design; we are reading a concession to the hierarchies we’ve lived with since the Edenic rebellion. The original design was, as some New Testament passages hint to the early church, mutual submission. If Eve was called Adam’s helpmeet it was simply because he was physically stronger. But that she was given just enough physicality to help him became the Achilles’ Heel in that she now found herself ruled by someone bigger and stronger than she was – just the way she’d viewed her relationship with God. The New Testament makes concessions to the hierarchies we’ve encoded into our cultures; the church has made the concession out to be the final goal. It’s the most confusing thing to listen to godly women explain their different understandings of how the home is supposed to run but not being married, I guess I can’t imagine the reality they’re discussing.
In any case, Eve could only make the best of her situation by deriving her value from how well she could be a commodity; by how well she could be objectified and blamed and controlled. That became the essence of her womanhood.
Their eyes were open, and they saw that they were naked, and were ashamed. They made coverings for themselves using fig leaves. The fig leaves, I believe, represent something that covers the curse, that is, the works of the Law God would soon hand down. I’ll discuss this again when I mention how, in Pastor Greg Boyd’s words, Jesus “cursed the curse” when He lashed out at the fig tree in the New Testament. Perhaps the fig tree reminded Him of Eden and how the first pair tried to cover their shame; the coverings represent our works, and our works under the Law are supposed to bear the fruit of righteousness. When Jesus judges our works done under the Law and finds that they have produced no fruit, what does He do? Exactly what He threatened in the Gospel of John: “Every tree that does not produce good fruit shall be cut down and thrown into the fire.” When Jesus came to the fig tree and found nothing, He unleashed holy hell on it. It was barren and futile just like the whole earth and the people living in it. 4000 years, and not a single good work had come of all the Laws, the Powers and the Tyranny. The fig tree had borne nothing. Because a rebellion fuelled by mistrust had happened against God, the earth was zapped of its meaning; a quasi-meaning could now only be found in the hierarchies as they pointed to Law as the source of all meaning – or something like meaning even as it yoked and bound people in the very evil it purported to cure.
I’m drawing these descriptions out using what I know about the world and about the heterosexual union.
Adam and Eve’s marriage, once a gift expressed in some of the most extravagantly erotic terms – “the two shall cleave together and become one flesh” – was now the quarantine by which God restricted Adam’s urge to “rule over” Eve, to a limited number of women. For Eve to wish to be a commodity to more than one man would have been unthinkable. A master could have many slaves but no slave could serve two masters. I said earlier that the Law was made to cover the curse. Well, the Law does this by dressing up the shame of the curse just as the fig trees had done. The Law is patriarchal so that nobody will see the stark nakedness of Adam’s inability to control the way he controls Eve, or controls every other wife in his polygamy either. Insofar as the curse was concerned, the Law was good because it did restrain the curse even as it kept it alive. The Law covered the curse even as it exposed it.
Everyone under the Law would come to assume that the Law was the normal way things were meant to be; the story of Eden would be read in such a way that it would appear, quite contrary to the scriptures, that it was God’s intention for the man to have it all, all along. The very word “husband” would be the linguistic tool by which we would point to and act from this invisible assumption that men were indeed meant to “rule over” women. The scrolls would be read and kept by men, and in them, one would hear God speak always to the men in masculine terms. The bible would be an undoubtedly masculine library. The patriarchy of the System was hidden in plain sight, and no one bothered to question it or to realize that it was possibly an effect of the curse. For that reason, Jesus teaching women from the Torah seemed to the Pharisees about as responsible as planting bombs in the Temple.
But nobody was wondering why God sounded chronically unhappy with His people in those Scriptures. The answer was simple: God didn’t like the curse that the Law was meant to quarantine, nor did He like the Law itself. He kept asking the prophets, “Do you think I like this? How would you like having blood – blood symbolizing your own future death – splattered at your feet every day?”
Some men who especially love the Law love the way it makes the provisions it does, not realizing that the Law exists to cover the shame of the curse. It dresses the problem up even as it announces it. Clothes cover our nakedness even as they tell the world that we’re naked under them; the Law did the same thing. It took men’s desire to “rule over” many women, and dressed it up in an elaborate, dignified moral code. But under the code, he was still naked; the lust was still there. The Law put make up and deodorant on the corpse and made everyone think the corpse was alive but he was stone-cold dead.
When I introduce this idea to people, people try to explain it away; they begin to stumble over their own explanations. I have more explanations and discussions about polygamy further down this discourse.
In the Law, men could get circumcised so that their foreskins – those exquisitely sensitive extensions of the flesh that self-lubricate, effectively enervating their effort to curb their desire to “own” as many of Eve as possible – but circumcision did not speak to the territorial darkness in the hearts. The issue wasn’t merely physical; it was psychosomatic. The Law was powerless to change people.
I’m drawing these descriptions out using what I know about the world and about the heterosexual union.
The image of God that Adam and Eve were meant to outpicture as “one flesh” was marred. Because they had not trusted God as the Source of all the meaning in their lives, (when they believed the Serpent’s accusation that God was withholding something from them) they could not have that trust in their marriage either. So instead of outpicturing the unity of Godhead, they would outpicture the spirit of distrust, dishonesty, manipulation, dominion and oppression that had led to their rebellion against God; this would perfectly reflect the image of God that had led to the rebellion as being ungenerous, oppressive and dishonest. “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” There: you have your God and together you will be as your image of God is.
Clothing became necessary in order that the shame of dominating and being dominated – the shame of this parody of the Godhead – would be put out of sight. The abomination that was the heterosexual union was so shameful that even Hassidic Jews today will not touch a woman other than their own wives, the only person with whom they will partake in their own shame. They will wear the Law on their clothing so as to be constantly reminded by it that it is wrong to enjoy anything. I’ve heard – but haven’t been in enough bedrooms to see – that when they have sex, they do so through a sheet with a hole. There is no bodily contact.
The Law had countless, countless rules for the handling of bodily fluids. Each bodily fluid was evidence of the deed. And like in CSI, you bagged it, you tagged it, you zip-locked it, and you washed your hands.
Catholicism spent eons longer than its own existence trying to fight people’s pleasure during sex because under the Law they knew how degrading it was. “But sexual pleasure is needed in order for children to be conceived,” people tell me. But those under Law say, “In iniquity I was conceived.” That fell moment when Adam loses control is a necessary evil under the Law. People who know the Law know that there is no provision in the Law for the enjoyment of sex. None. Ever. Ironically, there is plenty of provision for polygamy and slave-ownership and concubine ownership.
To speak of enjoying sex – enjoying anything – under the Law is a contradiction in terms, for in enjoying anything you recalled the time when you could enjoy any of the trees that were in the garden but chose the one through which you’d usurp God. The Old Testament may have strange inbreakings of a future divine ecstasy – between unmarried persons in the Book of Songs! – wherein the man chants insanely as he enjoys His woman, “You are no longer married to the Law; you are married to Me…!” but the Old Testament is largely informed by the grim reality of God’s Law. When Christians say to me, “I’ll enjoy my heterosexuality under grace and condemn your homosexuality under Law,” it confuses the daylights out of me.
“But the Law says, ‘Delight in the wife of your youth.’” Is that a Law, or a Proverb? I’ve seen Proverbs being quoted as Law in the New Testament, so let’s admit the evidence. But there’s a problem: to the best of my knowledge, the Proverb was written by the same man who wrote of the Bridegroom saying, “You are no longer married to the Law; you are married to Me!” and many other theologically suspect things about how in the afterlife there is no awareness of anything at all. Terrifying thought, this, that when the Christian communities discuss and meditate on the Word of God, they are actually discussing people and discourses within the Old Testament. Terrifying thought that we have to think about our scriptures and not just soak them in like they were the Koran, which presents itself not merely as God-breathed but as the dictated Word of God. I’ve seen commentaries that interpret in scripture the opposite of the plain meaning of scripture; I’ve seen commentaries squeeze meanings into scripture that were so far removed from the contextual and isolated readings that I’ve nearly fallen off of my chair. I believe the scriptures are divinely inspired but nobody wants to confess what they’re saying about anything. I’d love to be humble, but I no longer trust most mainstream Christians to tell me about God.
When the first man and woman married themselves to the Law that brought suspicion to their relationship with God, God brought great shame to them and to their relationship with each other. The sex union was thus shameful because even though it was too pleasurable for either of them to stay away from, it brought about the pain, distrust, dominion and betrayal that Adam and Eve had brought to their relationship with God as they tried to be as God, whom they thought was untrustworthy when they ate the fruit and tried to become Him – and so they became the false tyrannical image of God they’d been trying to upstage! In sex, they became an aching caricature of the Godhead. “You must marry a woman because that’s what the Law of God says,” Christians who find out that I’m gay will blurt out, reminding me of the curse. “God has given the Law for your benefit, joy and well-being.” I hear one sermon after another about making marriages work and how, like the Law of Moses, they take work; I am told that such marriages are God’s Law for mankind. Straight people would have me do the things they themselves are ashamed of; on some level they know that they’re under the curse they’re prescribing to me.
I know I seem to repeat many of these ideas. There is a reason for that: with each repetition, I expand the circle of meanings and permutations. I cannot adopt a single structure to do that with.
Before the Fall, God had given Adam and Eve all the privileges in the physical that He had in the spiritual, especially relationship, which the couple would outpicture as the “one flesh” union. But there was one thing that could not change: that this was all a gift from God. To show that they understood that He was the source of the morality and meaning that they embodied, He told them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Serpent capitalized on this instruction to create lust in them that they should become as God. “God isn’t withholding the fruit because you’ll die; He’s withholding it because He knows that you’ll become ‘wise’ as He is, being the source of the meaning in and of yourselves and able to understand and know things far beyond what you do now.”
The Serpent used the instruction to highlight that Adam and Eve were not the Source. They felt inferior and had to make up for it by sinning against the Source of meaning. Hierarchy became problematic. Eve saw that the fruit was good for making one “wise like God” – that is, incredibly inventive like the God who had dreamt up something as wonderful as Eden and sex and its heavenly meaning.
God therefore placed over their God-outpicturing union the very caricature of the stingy, dishonest and dominating Godhead that they had believed in and tried to imitate – untrustworthy, treacherous, mean, manipulative and dominant – especially in their “oneness,” the one thing above all else that allowed them to be as God. It would be addictive yet tormented.
Every time men and women had sex, they outpictured and indulged their treachery. Sexual desire ceased to be contact with divine power and became a reminder of how humans tried to steal divine power, and of how they stole it again every time they copulated, as the Law showed. Every time the Law said, “Thou shalt not” it mockingly reminded them that there existed in them exquisitely unbecoming reminders of their betrayal and untrustworthiness. Every time man and woman copulated, someone was wishing to exercise dominion over someone else; someone was wishing to objectify someone else; that someone else was giving in in order to have her value as a commodity validated. Someone had to find a way to diminish her personhood in order to be able to live with what she was being turned into. This was so much less than what they were made for; they knew it and they couldn’t stand it. Adam and Eve may not have physically died the day they betrayed God, but they began to lose what it meant to be man and woman in God’s image. Now, the image they bore when they copulated was a parody that had to be covered up and done in secret, where, in the absence of other eyes, the shame of their new godhead wouldn’t be as unbearable. No man wanted to be watched as his spear, moving beyond his control of her, conquered the one he’d promised to love. Women couldn’t stand to have someone else see them being impaled, being opened like objects by another – and yes, voluntarily opening up their legs – and being weakened by their own desire to be so treated; being weakened by their own enjoyment of being validated as a desirable object that could tempt men into losing control entirely.
Notice what happens as you read these words. You cringe. You know the guilt behind what you’re reading about. Nobody can speak these words. You’re probably thinking, “How can he just write that?” That’s what I want you to think; it means your body knows about the shame.
Anyone who could have seen any woman not being coy and ignorant about what happens in bed would have immediately called her things for bringing to the surface those treacherous longings in men; she would have been called things I will not type here. Marriage was therefore now necessary; she had to be given away honorably; the Law provided the covering so that society would not be endlessly traumatized, nauseated yet titillated by the displayed reminder that each one sought to rebel against God and all the moral truth – the knowledge of good and evil – that He stood for. Women couldn’t stand that the only way they could possess real power now was as the seductress only to be degraded by it and blamed for society’s ills thereafter.
The “one flesh” reciprocity would now outpicture power, validation within false value systems, and hierarchy. Even as Adam looked at Eve, he knew he wanted to “have dominion” over her, the desire burned in him more than he could control. And she knew that her “desire” was what was going to empower him to “rule over” her; in order to validate her status as a goddess who could get men to eat where God had told them not to eat, she had to become the prettiest object there was.
Adam knew that his desire for her was no longer innocent; every time he saw her naked, his excitement for her expressed not the divine power to become one with another, but the hierarchical tyranny that they had projected onto their relationship with the Creator. Every time Adam and Eve got sexually excited, the shame of their betrayal against God made itself felt. Their nakedness was thus a reminder that mankind had tried to become God.
On Sinai, God gave them a Law that eventually exposed the curse that both of them had been hiding when they hid their nakedness. Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves even as their bodies betrayed their shameful secret. The Law was meant to name and restrain the curse of seeking to dominate (Adam is now globally an imperialist that seeks its validation in conquest) and be dominated (Eve is now globally a commodity that seeks its validation in being conquered as a pretty, covetable, depersonalized object). The Law was meant to capture and codify the essence of sin, that is, lust to be “more” whether by ruling as a tyrant or by being seductively, manipulatively ruled as a desirable commodity who carves out a reverse-niche within the System in order to augment her personhood.
With the Law so blazingly clear, God’s indictments against mankind could be comprehensible. Those indictments would be against Adam and Eve whether Adam and Eve were hidden as in the Garden, but now behind empires, dictators, men, women, businesses, thieves, adulterers, adulteresses, male prostitutes, female prostitutes, Powers and Principalities – a System run by the Serpent. These entities all in their own ways and to varying degrees contained the two sides of Adam and Eve’s curse, whether on a global scale as explained in the brief discourse of the Tyrants above, or on a personal scale as will be explained when I discuss “the lust to validation and gratification within false value systems.” Those false value systems, reflective of Adam and Eve’s desire to be “more than” the tyrannical God they thought He was, are reproduced by the Tyrants and Powers via an emphasis on the Law (which emphasis incites lust and induces the curse) just as the lust to rebel was produced by the Serpent with his emphasis on the Edenic Law. The Law was given in order to expose the shame of wishing to be “more” than the tyrannical God one imagined to be ruling the universe; the Law was given to expose the shame of wishing to be “more” within the framework of a false value system (e.g., “Manhood means dominion; therefore, I will order me as many of Eve as I can get. Now where’s the part of the Torah that discusses how I can do that?”) by normalizing Adam’s wish. After King David killed Uriah the Hittie so that he could have his wife Bathsheba, God pointed out to David that if all he’d wanted were more wives, God could have provided. Adam’s inability to control himself – his nakedness – had a provision; there were clothes to hide the shame.
We may like clothes and keep them in fancy wardrobes and in bright colours. We can advertise them on billboards and in magazines. But the fact that we wear clothes means that we’re naked underneath those clothes.
We may like structures and hierarchies and rules. Political parties campaign for our votes, and preachers tell us of the wisdom of following God’s Law. But the fact that we need those rules and that governance shows that on the inside, we’re deranged, unruly and untrustworthy. The Law of God was the clothing and the Law of God was the structure.
Representative Judgment begins in the household of God
A man with a fear of dogs meets a friendly one the street. The dog begins barking, perhaps to say “Hello.” The man is scared, defensive and it shows; the dog feels threatened and becomes aggressive. Something in the man’s demeanor, therefore, has precipitated the actualization of his fear. The aggressive dog is, as a result of his fear of dogs. There is an ongoing interaction between the two; they constantly communicate to and affect each other.
A boy is raised in a house where he’s told that everyone of a certain race is very conniving and shrewd. He meets someone of that race that is neither conniving nor shrewd. That other person senses that he’s being observed very keenly for incriminating evidence but he’s not sure what he’s being suspected of doing. In everything he says and does he now covers his tracks so that he may, alone, in the absence of the accuser, investigate his actions for himself to see whether he has done something amiss. Voila! His accuser is correct: he is conniving – but he’s conniving because the suspicion and the racism have necessitated this conniving behavior. See how the observer and the observed have an intimate relationship whereby the assumptions each one brings to the table inform the interaction?
There is a strange judgment-representational principle in the scriptures. A lunatic appears naked and people are scandalized at the spectacle. They think that he’s been maddened by God but the actual shame is not on the naked prophet; it’s on the people who see him. Their presumptuous tendency to quickly and self-righteously conclude that the wrath of God “has been revealed from heaven against the wickedness” of this person is precisely what is under judgment in the viewers, along with everything else that judgmentalism covers in their hearts. The naked prophet is a symptom that there is something wrong with the group. They are the naked ones. The person judged by society holds the key as to why the spectacle came up in the first place; in him, society can learn where it has gone wrong. God’s judgment is remedial.
A Man appears, marred beyond recognition, and everyone considers Him stricken by God. But it is everyone else’s transgressions that He has been stricken for; it is for all of us that He has been cursed. He has been made sin for our sake. He thus holds the key as to why the marring has happened in the first place; in Him, society can learn where it has gone wrong. God’s judgment is redemptive.
A snake is lifted up, and heals the snake-bitten that look at it. You’d think that the snake is the problem. But it is symptomatic of the problem; one has to take a look at the symptom, represented by the snake, in order to be healed by looking at the snake. The thing accused holds the answer as to why the problem, for which it was blamed, exists. God’s judgment is therapeutic.
The Prince of this world wins a battle at Calvary but the night before, the Victim discloses that the Prince would be judged, defeated, exposed and made a spectacle of by the violence and brutality of his victory. It is in taking a look at the Victim that the Prince of this world is exposed in all his deceitfulness. God’s judgment loosens the chokehold of the enemy by exposing his true colours.
The Law of God is given, and His people agree to fulfill it. They don’t realize that the Law is the set of clothes God is going to make them wear in order to cover the shame of being human before Him. They take pride in being able to tick off the boxes of the Law. They take pleasure in its righteousness and spend centuries writing Psalms about how delightful the Law is. And while it’s true that the Law of God is a perfect response to where man is, while it’s true that the Law of God is the best Law that could have been accommodated in the world at that time, it’s also true that at some point, a Pharisee more skilled than anyone else at keeping the Law would take a second look at the Law and see it as a mirror judging him.
You see it in history too: fearing the demons of heresy and paganism, supposedly Christian entities have raised monsters – Inquisitions, heresy trials, and witch hunts – which monsters were the very demons that they were exorcising from the world, monsters that they were seeing in the ones they were observing. It is precisely the thought that “the wrath of God has been revealed against the wickedness” of those “wicked pagans” who “suppress the knowledge of God in the unrighteousness of their hearts” that eventually puts the thinker, who is now caught red-handed doing “the same things” he thought the pagans were doing, under the judgment he believed to be destined for those other sinners. In our quest to play exorcist – to be “a light and a guide unto heathens” – we often end up being the demon. Christian colonies found it just to end the violence and immorality of the heathen by exerting their own violence on the heathens and then rewriting history. The irony is unbelievable. In our quest to be the right hand of God destroying those He hates on His behalf, we end up crucifying Him, not realizing that it was He that we thought was cursed by God.
They shall look at Me, whom they pierced.
It is in judging men, for example, who “turned from the natural use of the woman” that one exposes the very exploitative lust one was seeing in the other [emphasis mine] as that other turned to be inflamed with lust for other men, for in designating certain “uses” to naturally be for women, one exposes one’s view of women as chattels. The lust sees in the other exists also in the self. The lust with which other men are inflamed for other men is the lust with which Adam is inflamed for Eve as well as every hot chick walking down the street.
Joan of Arc was accused of witchcraft and deceitfulness because she dressed as a man and did things no one could explain away. But she was the emblematic judgment that stood as a testimony against her judges. She revealed the shallowness and self-centeredness in their hearts. They much more preferred a neat, comfortable world wherein men were men and women were women, over the life of one particular woman who had been of help to them. They used the Law of God to justify how they were judging her; she told them that God was instructing her to remain clothed the way she was clothed. Their priorities put power above life and loyalty. They therefore judged her, yes; but the judgment was emblematic of their problem.
And people who know I’m gay would have me under the yoke and the bondage of the Law that was given to show me how vile I am, and how much more I can be when I keep the Law? They tell me that gay people will go to hell, and then they hand me the Law that will send me there. They cross sea and land to proselytize me and turn me twice into a son of hell than they are.
“They exchanged the truth for a lie,” we’re told. “For this cause, God has handed them over to the lusts of their hearts.” It sounds absolutely logical, doesn’t it? Joan of Arc has exchanged the truth of her gender for a lie, and therefore God has handed her over to her judges. Jesus of Nazareth has exchanged the truth of His identity for a lie, and now is stricken by God for blasphemy. Isaiah has exchanged the truth of propriety for a lie and then claimed that God made him do it, so God has handed him over to the naked lunacy of his mind.
Knowing what happened at the end of those stories, we could never for a moment imagine that we’d have been in the wrong. No, not us. We would have known what was happening all along. We would have known that Joan was going to be canonized as a Saint, Jesus resurrected and vindicated as the Son and Isaiah proven as a prophet. Never in a million years, with all our theological training in the Grace that replaces Law, could we have missed all of that.
The judge has no right to judge, for in whatsoever he finds the other guilty, at that point he too is under condemnation. Romans chapter 2 verse 1 of the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
I remember, in Harry Potter, Potter was possessed by Lord Voldermort and needed Dumbledore’s attention. He snapped, “LOOK at me!”
Look at me.
Look at the bronze serpent. Look at the naked prophet. Look to the Son. Behold the Lamb of God.
Look at the cursed one; look at the one who is “wrong” and begin to wonder whether there isn’t a message from God there for you as well. The Law contains a message. “Look to me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved.”
I’ve blogged about the controversial Kinsey Scale and its revelation about the fluidity of male sexuality. I’ve also discussed the dynamics of shame, reward, fear and repression that jointly make society heteronormative.
I’m going to start this entry by building on what I’d argued there: that attraction to masculinity is actually a rather masculine thing. Homoeroticism, homosociality and homosexuality are disturbingly certain aspects of the male world. Every man has to do what he can to deny or deal with these taboo realities when they appear.
In our denial of how common homosexual leanings are, we call them “passing phases,” “bromances,” “mancrushes,” “hero-worship”, “situational homosexuality” and many other things in many other contexts.
But we are terrified when we see an effeminate gay man displaying these things because that gay man exposes the scandalous truth about the homosexual potential in all men. In gay men, the same-sex attraction existent in masculinity is suddenly condemned as evil. Why?
The Socially Respectable Orgasm
Every society wants to be unbreachable, unrapable and impenetrable. Its “city walls” must be able to protect it from being conquered from without by outsiders. That is one of the reasons the Law exists: it teaches us to return blow for blow and strike for strike.
Being a machine of conquest, defense and sovereignty, each civilization values the strength of its men. Men are thus competitive and unconquerable – each one is a microcosm of what every society wants to be. Unrapable. Impenetrable. Their “walls” always able to protect them from being conquered from without.
This is one of the reasons that male anal sex is the taboo that it is: like men and cities are expected to be, the anus is fortified by a network of highly resistant rings of muscle. It is, or is supposed to be, unrapable, impenetrable, unconquerable, just like the cities whose dignities the men protect. So when an invader does breach that fort, it brings shame and brutal pain to the victim.
But here is where the shame reaches its scalding climax, and some rapists arrange for the rape to happen in such a way that this is discovered: a few inches into the anus lies a walnut-shaped gland that is undergirded by a sensitive network of nerve cells. Manipulated correctly, this prostate gland and its network of cells is able to deliver what has been described as “earth-shattering” orgasms. During male rape, that unstoppable orgasm following that brutal pain of being conquered is the ultimate humiliation.
It exposes a great perversion in the victim’s masculinity; the ability to respond, using a man’s faculties, to the penetrative degradation that only women could enjoy to their own shame and to the shame of Eve who mortified them. It exposes a perversion that makes him “wish” to be treated like a woman, to be “conquered” and turned into a quivering, pulverized, impaled and overcome siren. God Himself scorned the intensity of this siren’s whoredoms by giving it a male body that could respond to being penetrated like a woman.
This in turn says that this man who would orgasm during rape intrinsically devalues all that his masculinity is supposed to protect. He would exchange it all in a heartbeat for the degrading pleasure of being conquered and of having all that depends on him conquered simultaneously. His wives, children, parents, heritage, kingdom, family, legacy and power mean nothing more to him than the 30 pieces of silver he’d sell for an opportunity to ejaculate as he is being conquered. It says that he is like Eve and bears all the curses – and therefore all the vile seductiveness for which men have hated and blamed her – of Eve. It says that though he has a man’s body, he has the softness of Eve within, with which he inconsiderately would tempt men – even from a fellow man’s body! – by seducing them to their own deaths. The fruit is forbidden but he would beckon like the first seductress, telling them to try something strange, new and unknown. He would have all men lose their right to rule before God, just as Eve did in the garden; he would do this using a man’s body that admittedly does hold a mesmerizing fascination that no man can admit to seeing.
And having seen that he has been caused to see the fascination by his desire to degrade the victim, the rapist would blame the victim for bringing the rape on him, the victim, and vindicate this blame by pointing to how the victim did in fact “respond” to the invasion he is now accused of having invited. The rapist thusly rapes and then contemptuously spits on the one he has raped.
Remember and do not forget Saul’s words to Jonathan: You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that to your own disgrace – to your own confusion – and to the exposure of the disgrace of your mother’s shameful nakedness, you have chosen the son of Jesse?
Men will not admit their part of the curse – “The woman whom You gave to be with me” and because Eve did instigate the problem, the Law will make provision for the men not to admit it. That provision is the in-plain-sight patriarchy that never got a decent, publically witnessed look at itself until the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery before Jesus but forgot to bring the man as the Law required. They were exposed by the Law; as Jesus bent to write on the sand, Moses rose to read what was written in the Law.
This is where the heteropatriarchy of the Old Testament comes from: the fear that Eve may come to undo us by exposing our moral weakness, but from the less conquerable body of a fellow man. It is the sudden shifting of what were once predictable and safe categories. The holiness code tells us that everything in our world must be square or circle; any other shape, and it is abomination for you. Never mind that God made all those “unclean” creatures.
Male rape and homoeroticism are dangerous because they are neither square nor circle; they successfully square the circle and toss it back to society. Under the Law, we knew where Eve was and could always prepare to conquer her before she could degrade us. But when she is able to come in a body one wouldn’t expect her in, set a metaphysical ambush and fell us, then it means the world’s categories have blurred alarmingly. The holiness code has been violated; the Law would have been scandalized that the curse was working in this configuration, and thundered down its lightning bolts. It’s one thing for a man to impose Eve’s curse on her and enjoy it; God is offended enough but won’t obliterate mankind in one fell swoop. Now when one man would impose Eve’s curse on another man that enjoys it, then the shame of the curse on Eve suddenly pales into insignificance: a new category of gross and intolerable evil has come into the world. The iniquity of the world becomes staggering in its immensity.
But this new evil is evil because of the curse of Adam and Eve’s evil.
Rape isn’t about sex, or pain in the instances that it’s brutal; oh, no, it’s about power and shame. If a rapist can catch out the “treachery” in his victim by making the body respond as though aroused, then the rapist has undone her – or him – because the rapist has shown that on an anatomical, visceral level, the victim “fails” to be loyal to the spouses, legacies, beliefs and truths he was entrusted with. He fails as a man, and fails at the point just behind the uncontrollable manifestation of his arousal that lies in the bare open to remind him of his sin against God. Rape is the supreme expression of power over the will of the victim, and by the instantiation of that power just that once, the rapist may “blackmail” his victim forever whether they ever meet again or not. Make no mistake about it: the Old Testament had no interest in men seeing, during their own rape, how similar and similarly conquerable their bodies were to those of Eve. The Law did everything possible to keep this out of sight just as it had covered many other things.
Male rape rips a terrifying scar into the colonized society against which it perpetrated because it “exposes” the treachery of the abused; through the conquered man, male rape sends a message to the society that it is built on moral decadence and nothing foundationally real. The raped male body, once a proud microcosm of what the society was, now becomes the twice-fallen canvas on which the rapist broadcasts a degrading picture of that society to itself. The victim is hated both by the one who has taken his manhood away and by the community that has been shamed by his weakness. God remains silent and the conscience cannot withstand itself. “You are slaves because your men want to be owned like women.” Both the men and the women bear the curse of Eve and ought to be dominated as a right given to real men by God.
Every society at some point thus made the discovery that male homosexuality, or a man’s state of being attracted to beings who have a penetrative penis as opposed to those who have a penetrable vagina, is basically being attracted to and giving sexual allegiance to persons with the phallic power to conquer, as opposed to being attracted to female persons who are meant to be conquered. It is a dangerous thing to desire copulation with the conqueror rather than the conquerable.
Homosexuality is thus seen as the cancer of masculinity by which masculinity perversely abdicates and disrobes itself while taking enormous pleasure in the act: same-sex attraction is the ultimate death-wish beating in the anatomy of men everywhere. In the arms of another man is a terrifying place for men to be in because they can be potentially reduced to “women” by a desire within themselves; what does that say about the community the men represent? That it can be reduced to the slave of another community. Homosexuality is therefore treason, these civilizations figured. Like the Law of the Old Testament, each one set up codes in order to guard from this particular permutation of the curse. God had written His Law into every person’s heart; through those Laws, each society began a dialogue with its Powers about what it meant to be a man, not realizing that this particular Law also reinforced the curse by insisting that men are the source of conquest.
Society cannot tolerate the thought that the key to its being betrayed literally exists in its men and can possibly be “learned” in the relationships between men. It takes one man to introduce, in more ways than one, this pleasurable treason to another. Society therefore scales great, great, great and unthinkable lengths to make sure that its men are never “primed” for that ultimate betrayal. It also goes to great, great lengths to make sure that its men choose power over anything else including tenderness with fellow men.
Its men are thus rewarded for choosing to be powerful men. When they choose to be anything else, disapproval rains down on them.
Society covered the shame of where the male orgasm originates by prescribing exclusively what I describe as the Socially Respectable Male Orgasm. This orgasm comes from the front of men as though he were involved in battle; the Socially Respectable Orgasm comes from a position of “conquest.” It is also only allowed to happen in relationship with women who rightfully bear Eve’s reproach under the Law. Any man who dares say that it isn’t as pleasurable as a direct assault on his prostate, or that she isn’t an equal match as are men, or isn’t as “tight” or rambunctious as a man, has betrayed masculinity by choosing pure sensuousness over rightful masculine conquest over females, and all that society derives from such masculine conquest – basically, men have to choose the Socially Respectable, Socially Responsible, Socially Reasonable Orgasm; any other kind is treason. Remember and do not forget: the Law has absolutely no provision for pleasure despite the fact that God taunted humans with the idea all the time: “At His right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” What sort of pleasures? Well, don’t dare think they’re sensual, the Law replies. You have no right to receive from God’s right hand what you stole from His left.
Make no mistake about it – God is not your Father under the Law; He is The Father in the sense that He takes responsibility for creation as its Righteous Judge. But He is not your Father or anybody else’s either.
Also, society figured that heterosexual copulation was the less shameful and more reasonable of two evils; same-sex coupling between men was monstrous; same-sex coupling between women was trivial. A spear could go into its rightful conquerable target, yes. If the targets decided to go and rub off of each other – disturbing, but not worth lifting stones or convening the Sanhedrin for. But the moment uplifted spears get within aiming distance of one another – well at this point Caiaphas stands and rips his robe apart; “Haven’t we heard enough? What more evidence do you need?” he cries as he hears one perceived attack against the character of God after another. Society thus exposed its sexual views and double-standards through its Laws. The Laws were a judgment on the double-standards that the curse had introduced. Now, this is probably the single most important thing I’ll ever write and I daresay it’s divinely inspired, so pay attention:
The Law judges the curse by giving it a structure. The Law of Moses – every jot and tittle – is God containing, judging and cursing the curse. By merely looking at the structure of the Law, one begins to discern the structure of the curse meted out in Eden. From the evidence, one can reconstruct the crime.
By merely seeing that there exist Old Testament Laws about women marrying their rapists, one sees that God meted out this Law to judge Adam’s curse. But the Law shames and judges Adam by exposing that he’s a potential rapist even by covering this by saying his victim has to marry him. The Law exposes the pain of Adam and Eve’s fallen relationship as they parody the Godhead. But sin being sin, some men took advantage of the Law.
When the Law imposes structure and hierarchy in the world and hands the administration of that structure over to the Powers and the Tyrants who operate by Law as did the Serpent who put forth an accusation by the Law, it’s a poignant reminder that by choosing to approach and fear God in terms of Law, structure and hierarchy, man has earned and chosen a normative system wherein some things are forbidden, others are not, and some may not mix with others. He has chosen structure whose ramifications needs one of the driest, most colourless books in the bible – Leviticus, originally named “And He called him” in Hebrew – to describe. Ah, what promise lay in that title! You’d think that God was about to unveil something fascinating and amazing to Moses. Instead, God was about to unveil that Law that played to the pride in man’s heart in making him think He could keep it. “If you think you’re a strong man, come, gather up your skirts and prepare to fight Me!” God said to Job. To the 21st century reader, the phrase “gather up your skirts” should read as an exquisite mockery of man’s pride.
The Law of God judges and names the curse so openly that nobody notices; the Law of God is God “cursing the curse,” to borrow a term from pastor Greg Boyd – though I don’t know whether he’d appreciate the way I’ve used it. By merely looking at the Law, one can CLEARLY see God’s warning come true – “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” as well as its infinite ramifications and structures magnified on large scales and atomized on smaller scales, influencing man’s relationship with even the smallest particles of creation. All of creation began to groan and disintegrate under the burden of the curse even as it showed more loyalty in serving man than man had shown before his Lord. Twice the earth would be depicted as quaking, the first time under the weight of the God-Man’s death and the second time opening up to save the Woman in the book of Revelation. But she was barred from yielding her strength to the man who was tasked with tilling the earth.
This is the Law people want me under. God how they must hate me: they want me cursed in this life and in the next.
The Law is the clothing of the curse just as the fig leaves were the clothing Adam and Eve put on themselves, just as the fig tree was the point at which Jesus lashed out against the futility of this world.
Adam and Eve thought the fig leaves were sufficient; they weren’t and they’re damned lucky that when the Lord saw those fig leaves He didn’t lash out at them and their futility, but at nearby animals in order to cover their sin. You can know that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament because He gets killed by the heteropatriarchal society that get hot under the collar when He hangs out with women and all manners of “sinners” – an unthinkability in those days.
By hanging on a tree and submitting to crucifixion, the Son of God voluntarily came under God’s curse. That immediately took the curse from the rest of us, if we will believe in Him.
Circumcision is so men’s tendency to “rule over” women could be regulated. But when people have been unplugged from the Matrix, they no longer desire to rule over anyone or be validated by either keeping or breaking the Law. The curse is gone! Therefore, God feels no need to curb their sex impulses; that becomes their own responsibility and He gives them the grace to carry it out sensibly.
Look at the cursed One, and you will begin to understand the nature of the curse He bore – as well as for whom He bore it. He was afflicted for us, not Himself. Jesus came to deliver us from the curse of the Law. He came to deliver us from the yoke of bondage. And He did! South Africa, some of you even created a Gospel music group and called it Joyous Celebration to celebrate this event. So 21st century Galatians, pray tell me: why. why. why. Go back to it? Who has bewitched you? Was it an angel from heaven? Was it I or another?
The double-standard inherent in the Jewish Law is not accidental nor is it an aberration; it can be explained but it cannot be explained away.
It is pure heteropatriarchy. In the Law, God offers no apology for its racial, gender, tribal and any other discrimination. Nor does He offer an explanation for His homophobia. It’s coded into the Law in response to the curse. The curse necessitated tribalism; Yahweh was, if nothing else, a tribal deity who stood out for His claim to have created everything in existence out of nothing. The Old Testament is no haphazard collection of myths and legends; far from it. It is history from the perspective of the One who witnessed every last shameful second of the travesty.
But society breeds and normalizes its tribalistic principles into its boys until they’re welded into the consciousness of one generation after another and are confused with the essence of masculinity. Masculinity thus becomes heteropatriarchy. And we take pride in that.
The Sissy Boy Syndrome
Where does the effeminate boy come in?
By being “womanly,” the effeminate boy reveals and manifests in the open what society once tried to hide in the dark. He doesn’t have to experience and re-experience anal rape and orgasm to become a woman-man who is the breathing betrayal of his community; he’s already reached that level without the scandalous journey there. How much worse would the crime be, then, if he did come into contact with another man whether to fuck him or be fucked by him? “If they do these things to the green tree, what will be done in the dry?”
It is a terrible thing for a Zulu man to have a gay son, for in having one, he spawns the treacherous, cursed abomination that would undo society in a heartbeat. It is a sordid blight against the integrity of his manhood, his gene pool and his ancestor’s decorum. He has to shame his son into being straight even if the shaming is subtle. That gay son is everything that subverts society because, anatomically charged with the duty of upholding his people’s legacy, he sexually betrays them by being born ready to betray them.
Based on all these observations, we can conclude that society had no choice but to be heteropatriarchal, and to equate masculinity with enforcing heteropatriarchy. This is the report on the Post-Mortem at this stage.
I now submit that just as the heteropatriarchal Old Testament Law was a ministry of death that empowered the Powers, so too is our choice to vote governments into power because they represent traditional, tribalistic values, our way of invoking the curse that necessitated God’s Law, which is the curse with which God cursed anyone who failed to perfectly fulfill His Law. We choose this ministry of death because it seems logical in our atmosphere of living under the curse, but it just reinforces the persistence of the curse. Let us see if my theory works out as we continue with the Post-Mortem.
A judgment on sexuality’s abominable, inbred, damnable, incestuous lover of an evil twin: politics, surely the one thing permitted by God for which I will hold Him highly accountable forever and forever without rest
The conglomeration of heteropatriarchal entities such as the South African government with the ANC on the pinnacle, the various indigenous royalties and nobilities, the indigenous monarchies, and even the black male presidencies of neighboring countries, all form a formidable superstructure I will hence refer to as “The Powers.” Indeed, they are indistinguishable from any of the Powers discussed in the bible so I suggest you pay attention.
Responsible for the persecution of LGBT people across Africa, they are heteropatriarchy manifest even as they radiate benevolence. In President Jacob’s Zuma’s words, “When I was growing up, an ungqingili (a rude Zulu word for homosexual) would not have stood in front of me. I would have knocked him out.” He has since apologized for this comment. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has threatened to behead homosexuals.
If there are or gay people or women in these heteropatriarchal structures, they’re there either out of greed because they’ve gotten to a place where they can use the System for their own ends, or they’re there because they legitimately want to make a good difference and have worked their way in, working thrice as hard as anyone else. Either way, the System has to tolerate their presence there because the neo-democratic Constitution would have them there. In fact, the System can use them as a front. “Look at us. So tolerant. So Constitutional.” But the system is heteropatriarchal.
The Constitution is antithetical to the Culture because where the Constitution is essentially about equality, the Culture is defined by a worldview in which men are people and women are objects – though the Powers pretend to be operating behind the neo-democratic Constitution which describes women as people. The Constitution, if actually followed instead of the Culture, would immediately divest the Powers of their power over the women as objects. Notice how similar, again, the Cultural Value System is to the Old Testament Law. Notice also how the Constitution just smells more like the New Testament. And notice how the Powers are identical to the Powers in the New Testament who enforce the Law of God in order to keep people in bondage.
The male gaze and the male
According to the Culture, men are at the top of the pecking order. They are unrapable and nobody will report it when they have been raped. They cannot be looked at – they are the source of the male gaze and not its object. As this essay by Mao describes, the male gaze is how they mark their territory and their property; it has no counterpart because they cannot be anybody’s territory or property: they are persons, not objects. They have to be unconquerable, unbuyable persons because society needs them to be such. Men have to be impervious to homosexual temptation, which is the temptation to betray the masculinity that is the heteropatriarchal pillar of society.
They are not to be regarded as aesthetically beautiful because to do so is to begin objectifying them as things, like women, that can be evaluated like the bodies of slaves at a slave trade market; like displayed bodies that can be colonized, owned and raped. Being evaluated in terms of beauty also emasculates and disempowers them because it sets them in competition with one another – and with women, who them become their equals – in competition to be the objects of gazes; to be voluntarily objectified. To voluntarily abdicate manhood.
Men are not to be pretty or homosexuals or both because by being such, they see-saw the balance of sexual power and dignity between men and women – they also confuse other men sexually by attracting them to men who are pretty or homosexual or both – which is “against nature” because it immediately sets the walls of society trembling. It’s as though God made a terrible mistake when He made Adam beautiful. That’s what homophobia says, just as the Law says God made a mistake when He made unclean creatures that, like Eve said of the forbidden tree, cannot even be touched.
If we say that God doesn’t make people gay, then we likewise say He did not create unclean creatures.
This issue has puzzled me greatly. If the heart of God is most perfectly revealed by, and has no contention with, the Law of Moses, and if the Law of Moses was the supreme revelation of deity without qualification, then why did God create “unclean” creatures? Why did God create creatures that He’d later curse?
Perhaps because the Law and the curse directly answer each other.
We all instinctively know, though, that living in a place where homosexuality is not allowed, is always a bad idea. Not only is it be less fun and less colourful, but there will always be some sort of corruption and tyranny happening there. Think. Why? They’re using the Old Law to deal with the curse; at the same time, that Law empowers the Tyrants and reinforces the tyranny of the curse. Think very hard about where it would be nicer to live and then realize that there probably is more freedom there. There must be freedom in order for “sin,” sin and grace to thrive. Notice how the one sin is in quotation marks and the other isn’t. Even optimal evangelism requires a similar situation; every place that seems evangelically reached is actually a comfort zone of churchianity and not of Christianity. There is a reason that one of the only living churches I know is in on Florida Road, a road packed with restaurants, clubs and a vibrant night life that crawls with gays. It would appear that Jesus is a friend of sinners and the Holy Spirit throws more colour into the lives of people who aren’t trapped in the bondage of the Law.
Though they are not the same throughout, lesbian, gay, g0y, grero, CR warriors, the movement to reclaim natural manhood, bisexual and transgendered people are, in their various ways, a thorn in the System’s side. They’re the lump the anaconda cannot swallow, the tick the dog cannot shake, the x the algebraist cannot solve. We tell ourselves that they’re a minority (the most convenient lie that was ever told) even though they’re dominating the news’ headlines more and more lately. If they are a minority, it is because God uses the small things of the world to turn into foolishness the wise.
If men can be “objectified” as these groups reveal that they can be, then, in principle, as homophobia fears, another would do with any man as one wishes just as men have been doing with women in the enforcement of heteropatriarchy. The existence of LGBT persons threatens the autonomy and power-base of every man. The Powers thus cannot – cannot – cope with ideas like male rape or homosexuality though the Constitution they hide behind caters for such situations; such ideas threaten to weaken the Law and shatter their power.
“Thabo Mbeki was a great president,” my father said. “He just made one big mistake.” “What was that?” I asked. “Accommodating the gays the way he did,” Dad replied. “He shouldn’t have given them so many rights.”
“I don’t see how he had a choice,” I remarked. “He was bound to do so by the Constitution.”
“I know that,” Dad said nonchalantly. “But it goes against culture.”
See? The Powers today get to have all the approval that comes with signing off a democratic Constitution while maintaining their power base by enforcing an unconstitutional Culture, which the people keep voting for again and again. The people know that though the Powers have had to sign off a democratic Constitution, they’ll act according to what’s culturally expected. With every election, black people vote their culture, tribe and tribal representative into office again and again in order to assert the superiority of their own tribe over every other – the Zulus over the Xhosas and so forth, thus vindicating “our” claim to superiority as a nation.
They assert their unrapability.
Black people aren’t idiots: they know what they’re getting from their government. They’re getting the heteropatriarchal culture they identify with. They’re getting tribalism and nationalism. The government could theoretically play the Zulus off against the Xhosas by stealing from the Xhosas to give to the Zulus; the Zulus wouldn’t be bothered with the principle of theft as much as they’d be enamored with the display of Zulu superiority as the “Chosen Nation”. Never mind something like Black Economic Empowerment or affirmative action which plays the whites off against the blacks and divides the nation so that it may remain conquered.
The voting majority will not vote according to an impartial Constitutional ideal though they’ll sometimes give themselves the impression that they do; they will vote according to the loyalties dictated by the Cultural Value System which looks at having one of “our” people in power and authority. These tribal battles moved from the hills and valleys to the voting booths. This, even if “we” do not actually benefit from having one of “our” people in power. “That Fox Herod” never achieved a single good thing for the Jews.
By playing to all the sides and playing all sides against one another, the Powers get to have their cake and eat it.
The Culture is threatened by actual manifestations of the Constitution’s rulings because while the Constitution is about the equality of all persons, the Culture is about their inequality. We are a country governed by and buying into an inherently unequal Cultural Value System – one that places chiefs and men at the top, women and children at the bottom as a last priority, and the gays and other gender subversives outside. This is the triune Godhead of the voting majority: the unholy trinity of patriarchy, heteronormality and tribalism.
How South Africans vote from a gay man’s perspective
If the President should embezzle R200 million and make further plans to embezzle another R900 million, the Culture supports that because the Man on top of its Hierarchy gets everything even if it’s at the expense of people at the bottom of the Hierarchy. Never mind the ones outside; they shall fend for themselves. Tribalism 101.
People want the Culture to keep stealing from certain people and give to themselves so that, as they illegitimately climb higher onto its hierarchy, they can enjoy more value and power within their tribe. If the government is corrupt, it’s because the Culture that keeps voting it into place is corrupt. The corruption of the government is symbiotically dependent on the corruption of its voters’ priorities.
The ethnicity of the President is a matter of great importance in every stream of the Cultural Value System. The Zulus care more for having a Zulu president who validates Zulu, patriarchal culture that objectifies women and multiplies wives than they care to have a president who actually cares for equality. For them, heteropatriarchy is the essence of morality. The word “Zulu” means “heavenly people.” This is their God – patriarchal, heteronormal and tribal; these are his attributes and the basis of the morality he has written into his people’s hearts. Because the Zulu have confused their own morality (the good of our group) with ultimate morality, they can tolerate and enable corruption. Somebody ought to tell them that the Torah “is no longer in heaven.” The glory of the Old has faded.
When people don’t make fairness the first priority when they vote, the government they choose won’t make it its first priority either. If people’s first priority is preserving the Cultural Value System as well heteropatriarchy, then the first priority of the government they vote into power will also be about preserving power and hierarchy. It won’t be serving people. The Cultural Value System runs parallel to the Law and so can only breed tyranny. Feeling threatened by actual democracy, the voting majority will keep voting a System into place that protects their heteropatriarchal Cultural priorities.
But the heteropatriarchal cultural prerogatives that the people are voting into power are exactly the heteropatriarchal cultural prerogatives that allow the government to steal from its people. The Man on top takes it all, remember? Adam rules over Eve.
This was the Problem of the Old Testament: the Law kept enabling corruption! Religiosity enables corruption! Unchecked hierarchy enables corruption! Israel went through how many prophets yet never figured this? When she was through stoning her prophets she killed her Messiah.
The Powers maintain their power by promising the heteropatriarchalized society that it will protect its heteropatriarchal cultural priorities so long as society keeps the Powers in power. How is this promise articulated? Through Presidents getting away with rape and polygamy; through Presidents getting away with declaring themselves president for life and taking land, wealth and possessions from “the other” who thereafter is powerless to rape “us.” The Presidents promise to keep the heteropatriarchal Cultural priorities through the persecution and disparaging of gender-subversive gay and lesbian persons who’d unbalance this power.
South African voters prevent getting raped by the man – or the tribe – next door by keeping a rapist in the house. Adam and Eve thought God was tyrannical, oh, but they hadn’t met the Serpent’s Seed – Nimrod, Nero, Hitler, Herod and Caesar. The Israelites thought God was outdated but they hadn’t had one of Saul’s spears whizzing at them. Whenever you yield to the Law, you yield to the Powers and not to God! And the problem with keeping a tyrannical rapist in your own house in order to prevent being raped by the tribe or the man next door, is that you’re keeping a rapist in the house.
The mechanism that these Presidents use to guarantee their power and the Cultural Value System that their people want, is taking it all. Taking it all supposedly for the good of the group but truly for those in the group’s innermost circle, is not something distinct from the heteropatriarchy: it is the unchanging essence of heteropatriarchy. The Law demands, but it won’t lift a single finger to help you fulfill its demands; have you seen how Pharisees will milk you for your cash in exchange for begging God’s forgiveness on your behalf in long, elaborate flowing robes? And being in awe of them, you’ll let them do it. The Government will tax you till Kingdom come, but you won’t see a single well-maintained road running for more than a kilometer. Being in awe of how the President is so Zulu and respects our cultures and God’s Law, we’ll let him so that he’ll have more power to enforce our culture and God’s Law. Therefore, they will take it all. And they will never stop. They cannot stop. They are black holes.
Society is happier to have those cultural value systems in place than to have justice because society thinks it’s living in accordance with God’s Law, feels superior, asserts its unrapability and expects showers of blessings from heaven and its Powers. But the choice of Cultural Value Systems over justice means that justice will always be the first to be sacrificed in any situation. By the same prerogatives that the Powers exercise over the lesser-than, it subjugates and exploits its voters. We do not have a government in service; we have a government in power. We keep choosing a government of power that is served by, takes from and consumes its people. For that is what heteropatriarchy with its sidekick tribalism dictates, and we collectively keep choosing heteropatriarchy because it protects our tribalistic cultural value systems. If we chose a government that served its people, that choice would subvert gender as the voting majority understands it. A government that doesn’t rape, kill and plunder is not “masculine” because it has, by serving its people, subverted gender roles as they are understood by the voting majority. The voting majority wants both the curse of Eden as well as the Law that invokes the curse.
The voting majority wants to be ravaged, broken and eaten up. They display the very shame they point out in the homosexuals – they bear the curse of Eve. They voting majority wants to be fucked by its government, and is willing to throw away its right to decent service so that it can be fucked by its government just as the stereotyped homosexual is willing to throw away everything that is represented by his masculinity in order to be fucked. Black society is thus the thing it feared becoming, and is experiencing the thing it feared experiencing.
(And I thank you God that some Christian moralist is reading this and being more scandalized by the profanities than by the points made using the profanities.)
The voting majority is homophobic. Depict two men killing each other on television, and no one makes a sound. Depict two men kissing each other, and the SABC will get complaints for weeks afterwards. South Africa, your priorities as a nation have exposed and unmasked you. When men begin killing men, the sight of it demonstrates power; it is something that society can control and predict. When men begin kissing men, the sight teaches the boys within its society the very susceptibility required to have that terrifying, humiliating, degrading scar ripped into the body of society. By choosing to prepare for war, you’ve taken away what was needed to prepare for peace. That’s how the Law operates; make no mistake of it. Isaiah himself wrote as much.
“Equal rights,” they said. “Grace,” they said. “Freedom,” they said. “A New Covenant,” they said. “It’s the Freedom Charter,” they said. “The Constitution,” they said. “Perfect Law of Liberty,” they said. But we shrunk back and His soul takes no pleasure in them that shrink back. The curse struck down faster than lightning. And now look where we are: the President is a rapist, the System is a joke, the economy is the fractured, skeletal remains of a feeding frenzy by corrupt officials, the Culture is a prison, the voting majority is a horde of lemmings, and we’re all the System’s bitches. We have become and precipitated exactly what we were avoiding. Now I hid what I was because I thought I wasn’t safe; I kept quiet, but I can restrain myself no longer. My endangerment was your endangerment. I symbolize what you’re trapped in. I am you because I was born representing the tendency you’ve avoided so much that you’ve precipitated it in your experience. Look at me and begin to understand what you fear so much. Fear cannot withstand light. So look at me. You cannot keep going back to that trap. It’s a trap. I’m the one who was outside; I’m the one whose dirty secret – as you imagined it in Romans 1 – you tried to keep in the dark; I’m the naked abomination cursed by God and handed over to degrading passions to fulfill the lusts of my heart, right? You’ve told me so in countless sermons, as have your children at the school ground. None of you finished reading the Letter to the Romans or to the Galatians.
I’m the thing you feared becoming, rejected, and thus became. You feared becoming me, and so you became me and I am now your naked prophet. When you keep me outside, you reinforce and legitimize the framework whereby you are not of the Inner Circle and you are not at the top, and They keep taking from you while promising you more power. The pact you’ve made against me is the pact you’ve made against yourselves. In whatever you have judged me, you too have been doing the same thing. I am the one judged by God for your awakening; I bear your curse so that you may see it in me and perhaps see what you are.
And now that I have successfully alienated everyone, and have made myself impossible to understand, you will perhaps understand why in 40 days yet I shall commit suicide. My suicide will be a judgment on a country that’s committing suicide and a world that’s driven many of its closeted children to suicide.
I will begin to introduce an idea now that’s probably be done by Emerging Church pastors, and done to death at that. I haven’t read their work on it. But it will contain and explain many of the upcoming ideas. I call it “The Matrix.”
There are two things that seem to be the opposite of one another. The first is the Law of God. The Law of God, in itself, is good because as I have explained, it is God’s holy response to the curse meted out in Eden. Remember our original state before the curse: we were free to eat from any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The second thing is the World. The “World” in New Testament use denotes the Powers, the Principalities and the Tyrants to which we handed the Administration of our realm because of Adam’s sin. The World is run by the Serpent. The Serpent creates structures and hierarchies through which he uses God’s Law to run the world and keep it in order as God demands so that the curse may be regulated and quarantined. But the Serpent can also use God’s Law to oppress people. However perfect the Law is, man was made for freedom, not for the knowledge of good and evil, which knowledge we became accountable for once we knew. James writes that, “Anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it is committing a sin.” Under the Law, we are always accountable. We do not enter rest. Ever. God Himself swore it and bound His character to the fact that those who do not rest in Him will never enter His rest.
The World is the bastion of sin and immorality – it is its stronghold. The Tyrants use the Law of God to run the world, as that Law is intuited differently by different nations who have God’s Law written on their hearts. God wrote His Law in the hearts of different nations in order that the world, even without a direct revelation of the Law as at Sinai, may be held accountable for the curse meted out in Eden. Where God has written no Law on either hearts or paper, God takes no account of sin. The Law of God is how God demands that the curse of Eden be restrained by each and every individual living on this planet. Each person owes God perfect obedience to the Law until the Deliverer appears to crush the Serpent’s head. Under the Law, God demands perfect obedience to the authorities and the structures run by the Serpent; that way, the curse remains quarantined. Boundaries must be adhered to; things that aren’t to mix aren’t to mix. The Law must, must, must be kept – or else the curse of God will break out and strike down.
What is the Serpent’s power?
The Law. Always. Every time. It was the Law in Eden, by the heightened awareness of which Law we were enticed into the cycle of good and evil. The Serpent has never bothered using anything except the Law. Nothing is as powerful at destroying humans because when Moses is read, people are veiled from seeing the truth. They’re too proud.
Because every time the Law is articulated, it brings to mind the structures and the hierarchies that the Law is centered on. It makes us believe that we are not okay until we’ve ascended those structures and hierarchies. In Eden, Adam and Eve thought they weren’t okay until they’d overruled God. When we’re under the Law, we’re enticed the exact same way. The Law that says “Don’t commit adultery” and “Do not covet” invisibly creates the conditions that incites lust by making us notice something very simple.
“You will not covet your neighbor’s property” quite frankly reminds you that it’s not your property; you suddenly see the hierarchies and structures that have stopped it from being your property, as well as the hierarchies and structures you would ascend if it were your property. Your heart begins to lust. Remember, the Law guards those hierarchies, so it’s actually taunting and daring and baiting you. The command thus incites the very envy it was meant to prevent and justifies God’s curse on you. Hasn’t anybody read the bible that they throw at me when I tell them I’m gay?
God demands that the structures be there for two reasons: the first is that structure is the only thing that can contain the curse. Cursed people cannot be set free of the Law. That would be lunacy.
The other reason is that in Adam, we chose the structures; we chose the Tyrant; we chose the Law and we chose accountability to the Law through choosing the knowledge of good and evil. Apostle Paul describes how he “died” when he knew the Law that was meant to bring life. The perfect Law can only deliver a curse to those that try to keep it because the Law is indivisible. 99% of God’s Law kept is a fail mark.
We chose the curse that demands the structure; we chose hierarchy by being threatened by it
and by trying to ascend it through betraying God. We choose the realities we focus on, and they in turn become a reflection of and representative judgment on how we are. When we focused on the hierarchy of God-is-the-source-of-meaning-and-we’re-not with the suspicion created by the Serpent’s accusation, which accusation was about how the Law exposed that we lacked something, the hierarchy became bad in our view. God brought a Deliverer to absorb the curse of the Law. When we re-impose that law by bringing about a normative structure, by normalizing any structure, we tantalizingly push the hierarchical structure of he-has-and-you-haven’t got out of hazy relief into the open; we thusly cause sin to reoffer itself as the shortcut up in the hierarchy; as the “lust to power” within the newly re-disclosed and reinforced power-structure.
Articulated Law brings into sharp focus the normative structures wherein sin offers itself to our lower nature as a shortcut to the top of that normative structure; sin is thus “lust to power,” “lust to validation” or some derivative/reflection thereof within the normative structure that it wishes to conquer. As such, normative laws incite the will to sin and stir up lust. Where the Law is not known, the temptation to sin simply isn’t there!
A constant training in the Matrix we develop something we call “The Flesh.” The Flesh is how we move through the Matrix whether we’re breaking the Law of God or fulfilling the Law of God – either way, we’re walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. The Flesh is where the curse takes residence because that’s where we most strongly feel those urges that remind us of our betrayal of God in Eden.
The Law’s strange lover is the World. The World takes the Law and from the Law creates a system of Approval – a Cultural Value System. The Culture uses all sorts of Pavlovian training to tell you what the Law requires. But guess what happens? Every time you hear that Law – “You must be married before you can have sex” – you suddenly notice that your cool friends are either marrying very fast or having sex before marriage. You now stick out and want to fit in. suddenly, wrapped into your natural desire to have sex is an awareness of all the advantages you’ll get in terms of bragging rights and validation. Notice what’s happened: the World and the Law just together birthed in you a lust that probably wouldn’t have troubled you.
Lust is about loving everything in the other that could be used to feed the self-image of the self, and mistaking that for love of the other. Lust dismembers the other so as to feed off of those pieces of him in validation of itself. “The other day, I banged a hot ___ with an amazing __.” However you fill in the blanks, that’s lust talking and validating itself off of the dismembered pieces of the other, who becomes the various pieces of his or her body. That is not sex. By setting up a validation system, society creates a checklist against which lust can rate itself by the conquests it makes as they are gauged by this cultural value system. “Now that’s a lucky ___ to have ____(verb, e.g. married or had sex with) a ___ with such a ___(adjective) ___(noun: money or bodily attribute).” Who created that checklist? When a power-greedy world and a heterosexist church went to bed, that checklist was born. Soon, everyone – including gay men – was tantalized into fulfilling it. The church reinforced the lust by preaching Law; the world in turn reinforced lust by printing it on our magazine covers, putting it on our televisions and selling us fantasies. Lasciviousness and legalism are therefore symptoms of the same problem – being plugged into the Matrix.
Heterorespectability thus creates lust because it creates the heteropatriarchal or heteromimetic standard by which lust will measure its socio-sexual achievement; lust thus sees its need to grow. The interpenetrating Matrix of a World that sells licentiousness and a church that sells Law has just perpetuated sin.
The moment the church made a big legalistic deal about “God’s view of marriage,” and imposed Law around it, people in the world who probably wouldn’t be interested in sex suddenly saw every reason to be fascinated with sex and sexuality. New labels, categories, boxes, definitions, socio-political stances, identity politics and political correctness were born. The church fought harder and harder.
When you impose heterorespectability as a moral norm on society, you multiply the dynamic wherein lust measures its achievement according to heteropatriarchal or heteromimetic standards, multiplied across more people. Thus in history, the church kept meeting with failure every time she tried to impose the Law on anyone – just as the scriptures said anyone would. Paul tried it, the Pharisees tried it, it was tried in the Old Testament and it was tried in Eden: it is counter-productive.
The heteronormal structures that preach monogamy actually incite the lust to promiscuity, as I will explain later; they fail to bring about that which they would impose on society.
Unplugging from the Matrix is falling out of love with the artificial colours of the World, and the lusts thereof, and starting to fall in love with the real colours of heaven. It is also falling out of love with the respectability of Religion.
Lust narrowly focuses on one expression of sexual energy, which is whichever maximizes the most enviable, most respectable imbalance of power as is dictated by the socio-cultural atmosphere at that time; it can only get variety by swapping people. It tries to squeeze life where there is none, and even when it’s finished with one person it has to go find more life and newness (which is a sign of the life it seeks) in a person it hasn’t used as yet. Lust is the greed to possess or be possessed of as many bodies and faces as possible because those faces and bodies denote legacies, dignities, and affirmations all placed as Band-Aids over unconfronted self-esteem wounds.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “I tell you, if you should look at a woman [some translations specifying, “Another man’s wife”] with lust, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.” With the above discussion in mind, some nuances start bleeding out: if you look at another man’s “territory” with an intention to re-objectify and re-conquer her sexually and use her as a platform on which to demonstrate your supposedly superior sexual prowess and gratify your greed; if you wish to use the “newness” of an untested person to recreate an experience that feels like life, or as a Band-Aid over your insecurities, then you would have adulterated the sexual experience for yourself because you have falsified it by applying it within an artificial value system.
If you should look at a man with the intention of having your value as a commodity affirmed, then you would have used the sex impulse as an ego boost.
To adulterate an experience – to commit adultery – is to try to be “adult,” or “bigger,” or more sophisticated, within a Cultural Value System as is dictated by the Matrix, which in turn taints the experience whether you’re running into the World and its Lawlessness or the Law with its legality. Quite simply put, the moment the secular world said marriage was normal and the religious said it was God’s requirement, marriage was cursed by Deuteronomy 28:58.
What is God like?
Always, we go back to this question: where do we get our understanding of what God is like?
If we say that the Law of Moses is the unqualified self-revelation of God, then God is homophobic. God is supremely aware of race not just in terms of how the curse has been acted out by different race groups, but because He intentionally created some races to be the objects of His animosity. God created some animals in order to detest them. God is misogynistic, no ifs buts and maybes. God is how the Old Testament paints Him – just terrifying. That’s the God Jesus saved us from. After we’re saved, that God can never look at us directly, lest He see how we still aren’t fulfilling Moses’ Law; He must only look at the righteousness of Jesus superimposed upon us. Never mind scriptures that discuss how the Godhead begins to indwell us through faith: we are to believe that God at heart is so Mosaic that He insists that Moses be kept at all times.
If, however, we say that the Law of Moses is the revelation of God insofar as the curse is concerned, then we can affirm that God is love and that a righteousness apart from the Law is possible. And don’t we know? Has anybody looked at creation? How do we square the imaginative beauty of creation with the type of God presented by Moses’ Law? Indeed, until we are redeemed we owe Him everything that Law demands, and His character towards us can be described only by the demands of the Law as He restricts the evil in us.
“A New Commandment I give you,” Jesus said even as the disciples fought for positions at the Last Supper. “Love one another as I have loved you.”
That Last Supper passage discusses a realm and a Kingdom that the world doesn’t know – in which coming Kingdom they neither marry nor are given in marriage, which makes me believe that marriage is used in this age to quarantine the curse – or in Paul’s words, we marry “because of sexual immorality.” The 1 John discourse discusses a Spirit that the world doesn’t understand, Who is reflective of a Light the world doesn’t comprehend. It has a foot-washing scene that the world hasn’t repeated. The world is blinded by the veil of Moses as well as its own worldliness.
Often, Christians tell me that we are not under the Law and that we are not to try to live up to the Law. Then, every time I break any the letter of the Law, they tell me that I need to repent. “So we are supposed to try to keep the Law,” I realize.
“Heavens, no!” they tell me.
“So why am I beating myself up?”
“Because we’re under grace,” they tell me. “We have to repent and keep our walk with the Lord pure.”
We must discuss and be careful of how we read the Apostles’ words concerning the sins and the lifestyle of believers, for if we read Moses into their words then the rules haven’t been set aside; they’re still an expression of God’s character. The computational, algorithmic criterion hasn’t been set aside. I am not being judged by a living Person who wants to see in me the appreciation of my own holistic personhood and other people’s. God isn’t living in me through faith in His Son, helping me live more lovingly in the world aside from observing the rules; He lives above me and superimposes Christ’s image over me every time He looks at me because I just keep messing those rules up and He can’t stand looking at me doing that. It sounds like the curse is still upon me and I still need Him to viewing and assessing me through a legalistic lens. God isn’t living, loving and laughing through me. There is no mystical dance, there is no music, there are no colours and there are no lights and there are no smiles and twinkling eyes. There is no wonder here because God isn’t here; God doesn’t get involved in what happens on earth. There is no relationship with Him that I can relate to or understand in human, here-and-now terms; there is no indwelling.
All along I thought the joy and wholeness were real, and the depression and suicidal thoughts were the unreality. But it turns out to be the other way around: no matter how intense my struggle, God just keeps measuring me against the rules and He keeps superimposing His perfect Son over my imperfect image, and therefore doesn’t see just how desperately I’m struggling. I am a gay boy in the straight creation He brought forth; I am the squared circle. I am entirely disconnected from the categories of that creation and I am not allowed to yearn for anything or anyone in it. I am evil for being aware of how deeply I long for intimacy, acceptance and wholeness. There is to be no announcement of who I really am and who I love; there is always and only an announcement of who I am supposed to be. I tell the world that I’m someone else, and God doesn’t know me either; He knows Someone else instead of me as well. I do not exist.
God couldn’t have imagined a more exacting punishment in response to my desire to love and to be loved. When I signed up for Christianity, one of the things I signed up for was an intimate relationship with the Godhead. I was at a point where I would have surrendered anything and obeyed any rules, undergone any change He could bring about, accepted any terms He could have put forward. But the only thing that changed about me, as far as I know, is that I had my capacity to love deepened. I didn’t have my ability to follow the rules increased.
If God is truly Mosaic, then I was duped because He and I have very little common basis for relationship.
Behind the superimposed image of His perfect Son, I am perfectly, perfectly alone.
Lust is the magnification, commercialization and envying of certain forms of validation within and around the normative structures in our lives.
I believe that the actual essence of masculinity, long confused with being able to protect and navigate around normative structures in our lives, is actually trustworthiness and nothing else.
I may be wrong. I came to this conclusion after connecting the character of God as He is revealed in the bible, with our inquiry into the essence of masculinity.
Prepare for biblical theology 1o1.
In the beginning
In the beginning was God, The Word, the Word of Life, and Truth Personified, who was in the Beginning with God. He was perfectly aware of Himself as He related One to Another, as the timeless source of all being and meaning because they were as a result of His activity that is existing and loving within the Trinity.
As the divine-personified and self-existing Truth, God is wholly and eternally “true to” His character. “He cannot deny Himself,” the Epistle to Timothy says. “There is neither variation nor shadow of turning with Him,” James observes. God acts through covenants and promises towards creation because that is how He expresses His character as utterly, unchangeably faithful. Over and over again, the bible tells us that “God remembered.” In some shape or form, the unceasing faithfulness of God’s character – the unfailing loyalty that is the basis for morality – is in every page of the bible. Why is it important to act with integrity? Because of the shadow of the Son under whom we dwell: God does not betray.
In view of the perfect benchmark set by God, we cannot be treacherous either. Loyalty is the foundation of morality.
Because God is at His essence trustworthiness as He remains constant and true to Himself, One in the Other and The Other in One through the Three Who Bear Witness in the crystalline, kaleidoscopic dance of His triune love, God can only be approached and affirmed as God through trusting relationship. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Without trust, don’t even bother; God is trustworthiness. You cannot know Trustworthiness except through trust.
Bear in mind that if He just revealed Himself incontrovertibly to human beings today, it would be the end of free will as we know it; we also wouldn’t be trusting Him. So long as God is invisible we are free to reject Him or accept Him as we please; what we’re not free to do is choose whether he exists beyond our tightly shut eyelids or not. There is a time coming when we shall see Him face-to-face, but that’s not now.
There is no way to know with absolute certainty that anything we’re seeing is evidence of God; faith begins to bridge the gap between probability and relative certainty. Even if every bible prophecy came true before our eyes, we’d have to take a chance on the self-professed faithfulness and trustworthiness of God.
Adam was created in God’s image. God’s essence is dependability. This meant that in order to fully realize his identity as God’s image-bearer, Adam had to be entrusted with something in a way that would validate him as a relational being. He was entrusted with the Garden of Eden – nothing to scoff at, that. God gave Adam the strength (muscularity) it would take to cultivate and subdue the land as well as care for the animals. Adam could then develop a sense of achievement and identity in his relationship with God as he trusted Him, and also in his relationship with God as he was trusted by Him. Adam could, in the physical world, participate in what God was in the spiritual realm; the Elohim (plural) had just made man in Their own image.
When the Serpent presented his case against God, Eve, the wife, was deceived; Adam followed her into the betrayal and they fell from grace because they failed to be trustworthy before God, and also to trust Him.
In the evolution of history, that “muscularity” with which Adam had been endowed to till the garden would later mean many different things to different people. It would symbolize the strength to draw out survival from the ground from thorns and thistles, with sweat in his brow as God had warned. As Adam got better at making the ground work for him, his muscularity would shift from being a purely utilitarian to being a matter of aesthetical form. Form follows function, and in Adam they came together in divine harmony so it was possible for the first layer, which was the need for dependability in men as they fulfilled their identities as trustees of Trustworthiness’ creation, to become the basis for the need for dependable strength. Men’s dependability became their dependable strength.
People began to get better at scouting out which of Adam’s sons had more dependable strength than others by checking for the aesthetics to match. Adam’s physicality was thus romanticized in ways that far surpassed what it was initially given for – as a tool to act out his relational dependability as God’s image-bearer and custodian upon the earth. There was nothing wrong with that multifaceted romanticism of Adam’s body or its complementary objectification in Eve’s body, foretold in the cryptic warning to her: “Your desire shall be for your husband; he shall rule over you.” There was nothing wrong with any of this except that it would contribute to the building of a myth about Adam’s body that would kill off vast numbers of mankind.
To bodybuilders, Adam’s physicality would symbolize achievement. To slave-traders, it would symbolize profit and power. To athletic scouts, it would symbolize sporting potential. To blue-collar employers and farmers, Adam’s body symbolized reliable manual labour.
Adam’s body became a commodity without becoming an object; women’s bodies would become both.
To prospective mother-in-laws, this all built up to make Adam a good husband for their daughters. Those daughters would follow suit and would romanticize Adam’s body, as would some men who’d internalized that perspective. Girls would learn that Adam would maximally affirm their identities and values as precious commodities with the Systems, and they learned to daydream about him and write his name in school notebooks tucked under their pillows. Girls who didn’t know anything about sexually desiring men and were initially aghast at the idea, soon learned that marrying Adam, and becoming Mrs. Adam instead of Just Eve, would open up many, many doors. This man would till the ground and subdue the earth while Eve would luxuriate as a lady of leisure in her reverse-niche; better still if she could do it in ways bigger and better than her friends, proving that she was fairer than them all. Did Eve want to wear a wedding dress like the one she saw her friend wearing the other day? Then she’d better start looking at Adam differently. And she did.
Doll manufacturers realized that it wasn’t just enough to make Barbie; Barbie had to have a Ken in order to show just how fantastic life in a plastic world could be. “Your desire shall be for your husband,” God had warned Eve as Adam brought home the bacon from by sweat of his brow, busting a gut and wanting some respect around the house he was sustaining single-handedly. “And he shall rule over you,” God whispered as the women were owned.
Did women listen? Nope. Through many historical turns that we’ll look at shortly, women took that warning about an otherwise healthy impulse, and internalized it as a self-fulfilling prophecy. One of the things that women had to be delivered from as part of the curse was the curse of having man rule over her. It was part of the curse! It is one thing for a woman to submit to a man who knows that there exist scriptures that point out that the submission should be mutual; it is quite another for the man to own the woman as the Law, which answered the curse, allowed men to keep multiple wives and concubines.
This aspect of the curse contributed to the historical trajectory towards penile penetration being a potentially degrading thing. Is being penetrated intrinsically bad? The curse says yes it is, because it shows who “owns” whom. And if God is going to use aspects of the curse to undo its effects, then He’ll say it’s bad too. I’ll explain just how God would use aspects of the curse to undo its effects in a few paragraphs. Suffice it to say for now that hierarchies formed at this point in history, and there came a point in time when there was no way to reach any human being except to speak to him through the hierarchies he lived in. And there would be no way to deliver him from those hierarchies except to initially give him a codification of that hierarchy and then gradually wean him off of them – before shattering the whole curse in its totality along with the hierarchy.
To empires, Adam’s body meant the military might to individualize everything its empiricism stood for; thus in the bodies of the men who had the dependable strength to “conquer” on its behalf, without ever being “conquered” was born the social demand that men be heterosexual, a demand that’s been intensifying in the last few centuries.
The dependability of men was thus translated into the dependable strength and then the dependable heterosexuality of men; homosexuality was treason. The muscularity of men became shield by which the bodies of men, and by extension their empires, could prevent being raped. But nobody was speaking about the walnut-shaped secret found by any successful conqueror; a secret that once exploited, could drive any man to suicide twice – the first time during orgasm, and again by literally killing himself.
Adam was under more pressure to be a superman than ever before. He had to achieve all of this in the flesh.
Natural selection would also come into the mix. Our biology, which had always been wired for sexual pleasure, erotic contact and reproduction, took to these patterns of understanding Adam’s body; these perspectives on Adam’s body began imprinting themselves as coded, subliminal energies that informed the interaction of our nervous, hormonal and muscular systems from places as seemingly unconnected from the whole as our DNA, to places as seemingly abstract as our minds.
Thus was “the flesh” – spoken of often in the New Testament – this flesh was born out of the body, the potential for lust born out of the instinct for sex, all corresponding with the snowballing of those various commercial and socio-cultural perspectives that allowed people to see the multi-faceted Adam as whatever answered their perspective; this snowball, this mosaic, of perspectives, would be imparted to some degree or another to every human being. Each human thus passed “lust” in all its domination/dominator, territory/territorialized, commodity/objectified, penetrator/penetrated permutations from generation to generation. Adam became associated both with “the flesh” in people’s ability to perceive all these permutations about him, as well as his flesh as he strove to work and till the many fields he had to wrest validation from. Adam had to be superman. It paid for Adam to be superman, and Adam paid a high price to be superman.
By the New Testament, through the invasion of strong militant empires as well as the growing snowball of secular perspectives, “the flesh” became recognized as, ironically, a destructive spiritual entity that had to be confronted and challenged because of the lies it told our body cells about sex, empires, conquest, hierarchy, validation and power. “In Adam all die.” “The flesh” began its existence in the body at the exact moment that the curse came into effect because it began creating myths and perspectives about Adam and Eve’s bodies as it bore out the effects of its curse.
As society refined the lust born out of those perspectives, it even got to the point where Adam’s body was supercommercialized. To model scouts, Adam’s body would be the emblem of an industry that took on a strange artistic philosophy of its own, arising, as it did, from the artistic sensibilities not of women but of fellow men who dared to gaze at Adam and see him for everything he was and everything he was not. Adam was not a superman that could not be admired and, in a sense, cherished like a woman: Adam could be loved and held and cradled even as a grown man. Adam could cry, he could feel feelings and he could be weak and need someone else to be strong for him. Adam could be vulnerable.
Because of gay men, Adam’s beauty was put on public display to be admired. What had once only happened at slave trades was happening on another trade altogether. Today, everybody knows that metrosexuality and homosexuality are secretly cousins and lovers. There is always that smell of incest around the two. What people also know but don’t admit is that a strange type of social salvation exists in homosexuality and metrosexuality: by making men a little more vulnerable, it makes them less aggressive. Face it: on some level you know it’s preferable to live in a place where men are free to be gay than not.
But this social salvation wouldn’t dawn because the central storyteller was the heteronormal lens through which Adam’s body was viewed, because it was the perspective that worked to the “convenience” of most people, in a myth that got passed down from generation to generation and developed its own momentum. Never, therefore could the perspective of gay men be trusted though as admitted above, the gay perspective contributed to society’s salvation. Though some of them were non-exploitative in their desire of Adam’s body and heart, they were viewed with as much suspicion as were the slave-traders and men who raped men. The heteronormal perspective therefore rejected and demonized the homoerotic perspective. Initially, God seemed to reject and demonize the homoerotic perspective too. Why? He was going to use the prevailing hierarchy to eventually subvert the prevailing hierarchy; He was going to use the curse to end the curse. He could say “Yes” to something that would subvert and disturb the curse at this point. But was God like the hierarchy He was about to subvert?
Through the confluence of all these factors, masculinity shifted from being in the image of the dependable God, to something much more complex – heteropatriarchy, which is society’s dependence on its men to be straight. And God said yes to this.
Wishing to remove lust from the now heteropatriarchal society – wishing to deal “the flesh” a deathblow, God embarked on a plan. But to execute this plan, God would have to use the heteropatriarchy that was already in the world as a tool to save the world from heteropatriarchy. The cure would have to be derived from the disease; the fire would have to be extinguished with fire.
Think back to Genesis times. According to the bible, “mighty ones” came to the earth, polluted various strands of the human bloodline, and taught people all manners of violence. God purged the earth through a flood and that didn’t work; Nimrods appeared and united mankind in a project of building empires that had more to do with assimilating more power and creating power-structures than anything selfless or good. They were on a campaign to eclipse God, and they were violent too. Violence, Genesis cries, filled the earth. Again and again, the watching God was grieved about the violence upon the earth. The Word who is God, the being who put meaning behind words, “confused” people’s languages, scattering them across the earth. Actually, that was unnecessary; the moment humans stop agreeing that God is the ultimate meaning behind reality, their discourses fly apart. It’s called post-modernism and deconstructionism, and we’ve tried it before. It’s impossible to construct anything around deconstructionism, whether it’s a tower or a philosophy of non-philosophies. The short version of it is that civilization went to shit.
Go past all the violence and you see God does something very strange: amidst the brutality of the ancient world, He notices the most powerless nation on earth, enslaved to the most powerful of the time, and begins to action the plan He’d promised to Abraham and even Adam way before him. As Eve was, this particular nation was “ruled” by another. “Your husband shall rule over you,” was not just a warning to Eve: it was a warning to all oppressed everywhere that they were about to enter a System that was necessarily and inherently about inequality until such a time that a Deliverer could come in to usher an age of mutual submission and love.
God remembered His promise of a Deliverer for Eve.
Having noticed the dominated nation, He rescues it placed it where we now have the centre of the world map. Picture continental drifts and dancing tectonic plates until God has this nation in the middle and begins communicating to the world through that nation like a laser beam of light focusing intensely at one point, which is a point most free of the dust of human confusion borne of short-term human achievement and pride.
Because of its powerlessness through which God’s message can be most clearly conveyed, Israel becomes, quite simply, the light of the world. The greatest technological and legal advances trace their way back to the Sumerian/Mesopotamian regions where God began talking to the Jewish forebears of Israel. Where God touched down, progress sprung up. The Queen of Sheba herself admitted this just looking at the dining utensils in Solomon’s palace.
Back to the story: while executing His plan to lead Israel to the Promised Land, God sees a very simple dilemma: had this nation learned the love that turns the other cheek at this point – a love God wanted to eventually teach the whole world – they’d have been annihilated if they’d displayed love like that while their numbers were so few and their infrastructures so underdeveloped.
Had this nation learned mutual submission at this point, they would have been finished.
Had this nation learned anything other than to suck it up and live with the curse as it was in the world – “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” – they would have been annihilated.
At some stage, having cultivated them into a loud megaspeaker using the very heteropatriarchal power that made things happen in the world, God would then change tactics and let vast numbers of them be destroyed by the violence of the world in a peristaltic series of divine “judgments” until the world got horrified by its own violence. Until that time, the Jews had to be like the others, adopting enough of their violence to survive being in their midst; and yet, not like the others.
If you’re terrified of the idea of God balancing numbers of people one against the other in the books of history, if you’re terrified with the idea of God putting one group of people on ice in response to their own attitude and then grafting another group of people into His olive tree, then you’d be more terrified of God leaving the whole situation to destroy itself.
In short, God needed Israel to adopt the very structures and power-systems that God wanted to subvert in the world, or a response to those structures. God needed Israel to return strike for strike until one day, He’d be ready to tell them to turn the other cheek.
So God delivered the Law. The Law had many functions in God’s plan. It’s theological, soteriological function was to expose rebelliousness in the human heart, pointing people to Christ the Deliverer. Its cultural function was to distinguish Israel enough for the world to see that there was something transcendent at work. A military function of the law was to keep Israel in existence.
To do that, Israel would have to be able to cope with the military actions of other nations. Meaning that to some degree Israel’s laws had to answer and partially imitate the norms and tactics of other nations, using what was strongest and most functional in their laws to counter what was worst in their enemy’s laws. Survival as a nation meant being able to match the hardness of those nations.
The others had learned to use brutality, rape, human sacrifice and the terrorism of one another’s women as weapons. Israel’s Law had to be able to answer and defend from that: “You will not lie (penetrate) with a man as with another woman; it is abomination (forbidden for you).”
For in the day your men learn to be “conquerable,” the divine plan of reaching the world through Israel would be thwarted in its earliest stages.
God used a brand of codified homophobia in a military setting to strategically resist and judge the pagan nations’ homomonstrosity, homobrutality, homoexploitation, homoopulence and homodecadence insofar as it was mimicry of the selfish reverse-niche by which Eve made use of her status as an object; God’s Law on homosexuality was always meant as a judgment on lust and evil in all its manifestations; it wasn’t an eternal Law as such. As a matter of fact, the Law didn’t speak of homosexuality as we know it. Being innocent, the thing was so socially useful and ubiquitous that it didn’t have a name until the church insisted so strongly on heteronormality, just as heteromimicry didn’t come into its own until the church insisted on people having socially respectable orgasms. Remember, there was a time when the church was anti-heterosexuality and understood it to be a morbid attraction to the opposite sex. Everyone’s been an abomination at some point in history; people used to “come out” about being heterosexual.
The grace of Galatians 3:28 does a better job of answering homobrutality than Leviticus 18; by saying, “There is no more male and female,” the scriptures take the sting and the power out of male rape; it also takes away the framework of shame by which the rapist could hold the woman in mental hostage. Galatians 3:28 is God’s way of taking away the sense of judgment and condemnation behind the sex impulse – any sex impulse – which sense of judgment and failure made rape so devastatingly powerful.
God also protected Israel’s women through tight, tight laws around marriage and sex that, funny enough, restricted women’s freedom. He even allowed for polygamy with a long-term view of creating the type of social conditions in which women could come into their own. Polygamy enhances the perceived masculinity of the men through whom God would militarize Israel, which augmented His long-term plan of bringing about the empowerment of women. Had God not done this, there would have been no women’s lib in the past century. Moreover, God has the right to play God simply because He is God and we see Him monitor the situations that His laws brought about in individual lives.
When we see Jesus teaching women from the Torah – a thing that the Jewish heteropatriarchy thought was an act of Satan – or talking to them with courtesy and respect; when He is attended by women in pre-crucifixion burial preparations, death and resurrection, God is making a stunning statement about how He sees women – as His precious, complete, and glorious image-bearers. God thus used Old Testament misogyny to bring about the conditions wherein women could gradually experience New Testament liberation. I don’t believe the latter would have happened without the former. God was wisely using effects of the curse in order to destroy it.
The Jews didn’t understand that God was using them to reach the world; contrary to His explanation, they understood themselves to have been chosen because they’d earned it. Pride and legalism developed.
In the midst of that pride and legalism, God began working on His plan to subvert the very world systems He’d momentarily developed within Israel:
God orchestrated the most stunning revelation of the world’s own cruelty to happen somewhere between the self-preserving priorities of that proud, legalistic Jewish priesthood, and the self-advancing priorities of the Roman Empire. God was aiming a shot at the Matrix.
A certain Jesus of Nazareth, a Man with an inability to keep His mouth shut when He saw religious pride, hypocrisy, inequality; as well as an inability to dignify any show of insecure, self-preserving power the puny, unimportant Roman Empire with an answer (His one response, that Pilate had power over Him except what God had allowed, notwithstanding) – became an inconvenience. To highlight how unimportant the Roman Empire was to the God who wished to topple all earthly empires, there was no mention of the Roman Empire until they appeared in the New Testament as a footnote in God’s providence.
As I will explain later, Jesus preached messages that tended to make people aware that no matter how they spun the Law of God, it could not root out, only point out, the evil in their hearts. He offered grace that necessarily meant to stop relying on that Law and rely only on Him; that grace, oddly enough, could decisively deal with the evil but could not be used co-simultaneously with the Law or the imposition of the Law as a tool to deal with lawlessness, ever; the Law, as Jesus had shown, not only pointed out the evil as it was intended, but relentlessly pointed it back into the heart. To begin with grace and finish with Law was spiritual suicide immediately after spiritual resuscitation. It was reinstating the curse. It was replugging into the Matrix.
Heard in the cultural background of Judaism that God had created, Jesus’ words left people with only three options: run the other way, beg for grace, or plot to kill Him.
I’d like you to try this exercise for fun: walk into a room full of people who’ve been practicing a moral code for centuries and say to them, “Oh, by the way. The Law you’re practicing was codified in order to prove that you’re actually quite lawless. The harder you hold on to that Law, the more evil you prove to be” and see if you don’t get crucified.
He finally came to those who’d plotted to kill Him.
Everybody wanted Jesus disposed of but nobody wanted to do it. Pilate, the Jews, Herod and the mob all threw Him about like an unpinned grenade. “No, YOU do it!” “No, YOU do it!” “Oh, all right!” Pilate murmured while washing his hands. “I’m not really doing this, okay? But I’m doing this!” Christ was crucified.
Naturally, when just days later, crowds of people started saying things like, “OMG, He’s risen” the Powers roundly shat themselves.
The effect that the resurrected Jesus had on the world was remarkable: having their attention brought to the story of the God-Man who was chewed up and disposed of by the World System like countless others who were sacrificed to the preservation of the Powers, who made the world seem safe, people began to question the Powers and the safety they promised. The Powers had been unmasked. The glamour of the World had been brought into question. The Law was no longer needed to keep people from sinning; people could see that the World they wanted to get the approval and acceptance of was actually quite exploitative. People realized that the World administered Pavlovian training so that they would be addicted to and lust after all the things that the World told them to prioritize and admire. Once Jesus was killed by the World and the Pharisees, people were freed to get disillusioned both with Laws and with Worldliness.
Many people think that there were just three crosses on Golgotha that Friday. There were possibly other crosses dotting the landscape. This is what Rome did, all the time; it had become a norm. The Sanhedrin couldn’t carry out its own stonings anymore and so sold people into the hands of Rome whether those people were criminals, insurrectionists, prophets, teachers or Messiahs – it didn’t matter; if someone claimed to be able to demolish the temple and to be the Messiah, the Priesthood could solve the religious problem He caused their Jewish Establishment by solving the political problem He caused the Roman Empire: “It is more expedient for one person to die than for the whole nation to perish,” they concluded as they enjoyed the perks of enforcing Roman rule over their people. The Jewish priesthood knew its priorities; it knew where it got its money and security from. The whole System was based on people selling out and betraying one another, though it was whitewashed and well-robed. Jesus of Nazareth was supposed to be just one more body and soul chewed up in the preservation of the privileged, cushy religious elite’s lives as they sold more and more people in order to preserve their wealth and power, as well as Rome’s power base. He was supposed to die and stay dead.
He wasn’t supposed to come back, for in coming back, He brought it to everyone’s attention that the mob that shouted for His crucifixion supported the Priesthood, which in turn had reasons to hand any of them to Rome and in fact, was already letting them be taxed exorbitantly on the one side and exploited religiously on the other side. Jesus critiqued the crowd’s awe with the Pharisees and the Scribes by showing how nobody could actually live to the Law of Moses, and also how easily they could sell anyone out – Himself a prime example. For the first time, people began to think.
A representative atonement reading of scripture does not conflict with the penal substitutionary atonement understanding of scripture, and in fact the two are interdependent of each other.
Christianity was not supposed to be a religion. It dies the moment it becomes a religion. Christianity was God entering history and then revolting. It began with a naughty Jewish Carpenter who could not keep His mouth shut nor stop making jokes about Herod, Rome, the religious, or about His disciples meeting up with men carrying water jars to get their ride. Carrying water was seen as women’s work; for Jesus to tell His disciples to meet up with a man carrying a water jar was like Him telling His disciples to meet a man wearing a wig and a feather boa. While I don’t think Jesus would have pulled a Michelle Pfeiffer on a Friday night, neither did He have any interest in upholding the myths about Adam’s body and what could emasculate it, or the effects of the curse any longer. “Rebel,” His actions told everyone. “Rebel against religion,” He said as he purged the Temple with a hand-braided whip. “Rebel against the System,” He said with each day of His life. God’s most practical words to humans in all time and in all space were boomed from the lungs of one Man in a tragically shortened life: “Repent! Unplug! Wake up! They’re using you! Get out! Get out this evil System! They’re brainwashing you! Don’t be complacent!” They said He was a madman. They said He was possessed of the devil. They said He was a lunatic. Only sinners understood Him.
It worries me that the God who roared and thundered in the Old Testament – the God who created the universe and all that is in it – the God of all meaning and Truth about whom philosophers and theologians talk and talk – was most perfectly represented by an angry agitator whom nobody understood and everybody used to promote the kinds of Systems He died trying to destroy.
It worries me that this Man is someday going to judge humanity. It really, really worries me. Do they know Him or what He was about?
Christianity was an exhilarating life of running, hiding in baskets, subverting and disturbing Systems, receiving supernatural help at times – using powers that left people astonished. It was God having fun with His children as they made idiots of everything. Demons, Powers, Principalities, things in the heights and things in the depths – look at how seriously they take themselves, eh? The One who sits in the heavens gets to laugh at them while He gives all things to His children, who no longer need to lust after any validation within any System.
The most jaw-dropping of the powers given to God’s children was the serenity to die with forgiveness at the hands of the System. It was the power to “let go” of everything, everything, that the world sees as significant and irreplaceable, especially physical life itself. By believing in the One who said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life” we affirm that no, this life is not the most serious, most valuable treasure we have. We have another Treasure, Jesus, the unpredictable, irrepressible Son of God with whom God is well-pleased.
“These light and momentary afflictions,” Paul wrote, probably smiling at the irony, “cannot be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us.”
“Light,” he said as he was whipped. “Momentary,” he wrote as he was imprisoned for God knows how long. Christianity is how God takes the grim, somber reality of a fallen world, and turns it into a game in which we are “more than conquerors in Him who loved us.”
“I see you’re very religious,” people say to me. That has got to be the greatest sin there is for me to forgive. I am not religious; I’m alive in God. It is everyone in the Matrix that is very religious.
“Jesus is Lord,” was not just a theological creed meant to express the way to salvation; it was a sign that one had realized how one had been used as an object in the System, and wanted out. It was saying, “I’d rather be crucified like Jesus than stay in this.” It was pulling out. It was the realization that if the System could do that to a Man like Jesus, it could not be trusted with anything. You cannot trust Religion to have your best interests, not in this life nor in the life to come.
One by one, people began to pull out. A crack began to form in the Empire. Oh, it was small, but its effects reached mighty far. In the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel had seen the Rock flung at the empires of the world. The Lamb overcame them for He was King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God had intervened; the angels were dancing. The shepherds heard them praising God. “Glory to God in the highest: peace and goodwill to men on earth!” they said.
In those days, heteropatriarchal masculinity meant liking some of the most violent spectator sports known to history. When Christians became martyrs in these sports, it caused more and more people to wonder just what sort of structure they had bought into. God’s very unusual method of fighting the extreme heteropatriarchy by crystallizing and then shattering it was working.
The glorious, beautiful, slain Lamb was King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He was the justification of the sinful and the justice of the sinned-against.
It is not a far stretch to say that by merely being born into the necessary legal quarantine that was the nation of Israel, dying, and not-staying-dead, Jesus had single-handedly destroyed the Roman Empire and every other empire like it in the whole future of the world. He overcame the world. He overcame the System by which anyone could have dominion over anyone else – He overcame every myth about Adam’s body – and reversed the curse by which even Eve was enslaved; therefore, He also changed the meaning of being sexually “penetrated.” Being penetrated was no longer about being conquered for either the conqueror or for the one who gains validation from being conquered.
He’d therefore killed lust, because He’d killed everything in our sex acts that symbolizes our urge to dominate or be validated by whosoever dominates us.
He ushered in a new Age wherein people would learn to serve and submit to one another just as He served and submitted to them. His Lordship was not expressed by His Old Testament concession to man’s need for a dominant God who was as they were and who fulfilled their understanding of power; His Lordship was best expressed in His irresistible love. In my case, it’s not expressed in Him bossing me around though I wouldn’t hold it against Him if He did; His Lordship is expressed in His intrinsic irresistibility. He is God, after all, and God knows that He is inherently adorable. Oh, and there is no test for getting into heaven. The Door is wide open.
Each time somebody in history needed fresh inspiration for overthrowing a Power that had become a Monster, that person would look back at the greatest Teacher who ever lived, and the greatest lesson He ever taught – which He taught by remaining silent before His executioners. That and not through 613 laws, God said, is how you actually defeat the Powers. That’s how you destroy evil.
The Laws, and the proudly legalistic religious hierarchy based on the laws, were what had empowered the Powers to begin with.
The mustard seed that was the Jesus-movement spread rapidly as Jesus had prophesied it would. God had subverted the cruelty of the world; having fulfilled its function, Jesus had overturned the Law through teachings such as, “It has been said to you of old, ‘Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.’ But now I’m telling you to love your enemies.” Having infiltrated the system of the world through the Law insofar as He needed to use the Law in the Old Testament, God was now ready to shatter both the System of the world and the Law He’d used as a mole. The Law, then, was fulfilled; transgressions against the legitimate moral and relational centers found in the Law, were atoned for by the blood of the Lamb. The Law was laid aside; peace was restored between God and man.
God is a vinedresser who’ll prune not always because He’s displeased but because He’s putting together a puzzle. The eunuch who was “cut off” and far off was always meant to be reintegrated, but not until the military aspect of the world’s salvation was through. The one who was outside was always supposed to be brought in. God had “pruned” people who were once unfit to stand in the congregation of Israel just like His Son was “cut off” before anyone could declare His generation. God is not in the respectable Holy of Holies; He is outside the city walls rejected or dying or both. God is not revealed in Religion: make no mistake about it; Religion killed God and God is saying to you that it will kill you too. You’re on its list as well, one way or the other. Religion will either kill you by killing your ability to wake up and think for yourself, or if you do wake up, Religion will kill you by crucifixion. “If you will come after Me,” Jesus said – if we are to embrace the freedom He wanted us to have – “You will take up your cross and follow Me.” It wasn’t the cross of keeping the Law that He meant; it was whatever punishment the Matrix would give you for unplugging and telling others to unplug.
Moreover, as two incidents with Abraham, one with Moses and one with Peter proved, there are times when we ought to challenge what we understand to be God’s commands even to the point of putting our necks “on the line.” God is not revealed in His Laws; He is revealed in His Son.
The Status of the Law
A dispute kept rearing its head in the early church: did the Law of God that the Jesus movement used as a springboard still matter for the new Christians?
What people didn’t realize that the law had been introduced to highlight mankind’s tendency to “lust to power” within the frameworks of power – and the frameworks of the Powers that crucified Christ – that their societies were based on. Man’s lust to validation existed even if the societies were Edenic and the Law was to refrain from eating forbidden fruit. To keep reinforcing the Law would keep normalizing and empowering those frameworks of power, which people would want to grow stronger in. The Powers could take advantage of that and play around with people’s tendencies to try to fit in, belong and become more, just as the Serpent had taken advantage of man’s need to be wise like God. Just like the ANC and Robert Mugabe takes advantage of people’s determination to enforce “God’s Law,” not knowing why God used the Law when He used it – to build up a plan by which He could topple the Neros, Mugabes, Zumas, Pharisees, Priesthoods and Caesars of the world.
The Law was introduced to expose sin by covering it and cover it by normalizing it; the Law was introduced to reveal God’s gracious character relative to sin and the lust to power; it was introduced to reveal the pristine holiness of God’s love relative to the greed in man’s attempts to love. It would be to reveal God’s servant nature as opposed to the kingly natures of tyrants across the world. To preserve the Jewish nations as they grew among those tyrannical nations meant that God would also exhibit some tyrannical qualities with a long-range goal of showing how those qualities, and the Laws they were enshrined in, were not who He was at heart.
Some people would insist that the moral Law is a reflection of God’s character. But the discrepancy in the way the Law is applied across biblical revelation should make us suspect that something else is afoot; otherwise, the Law would have been delivered once and for all, and that would have been the end of story. No convoluted New Testament passages about how “You’re under grace, not Law.”
At the end of the day, we’ve got to ask ourselves a question: let us say that early in human history as violence started in Cain’s murder of Abel, or the multiplication of violent, violence-spreading fallen angels on earth, let us suppose that God wished He could bring about a more peaceful world.
How else could He have done it? Should He have just told everyone, “Oh, by the way, guys, I’m embarking on this project by which I’m going to make knowledge of who I am and what I’m like spread like waters covering the seas in order to bring peace on earth. I’m going to bless all the nations on the earth and integrate them into My family – the eunuchs, the unwhole, the far-off, the people who are not a people – by a militant project wherein I’ll first exclude them so that I can carve out a niche of power within the world’s Systems of Power, from which niche I’ll expose the Powers that hold those persons captive, and begin to free them. I’ll use already-existing myths about Adam’s masculinity, heteropatriarchy, spirituality and the status of women to subvert already-existing myths about Adam’s masculinity, heteropatriarchy, spirituality and the status of women. And I’ll do it in such a way as to be killed by a monstrification of the very Law I’ll encode to expose the very monstrosity of your sin. You’ll look on Me, whom you’ll pierce, as I absorb the very curse I quarantined into the Law, thereby laying aside the need for the Law.”
The truth is, He sort of did tell us. And when you try to think of any other route God could have followed in creating a fair and just world for all starting at a violent earth, it comes up with flaws. This was the least of all evils.
When you try to think of a heteropatriarchal world without the inequality inherent in heteropatriarchy, you realize that that model also breaks down. You can’t Christianize or baptize heteropatriarchy because it’s part of the curse. When we read God’s response to the curse as though it were the totality of His character, we keep ourselves under the curse and we necessitate the Law.
We don’t believe the scriptures about grace and Law, and that’s why the reign of Christ is taking so long to implement itself fully; as we hold on to Law, we kill ourselves. It took Israel 40 years to complete an 11 day journey. When we don’t trust God, progress takes time.
Many Christians know that the moral Law defines sin; what they fail to acknowledge is how the scripture also categorically says that the Law animates and glorifies sin in our perception. Sin can exist apart from Law except it’s not known as sin; it is merely an unnamed conglomeration of perspectives that make the person wish to be “more.” The law is introduced to cause the sin to flare up so that it may be seen by the sinner – who, in spite of all his attempts to fulfill the Law, keeps sinning because that’s what the Law does! The Law exposes sin because the Law, in demanding that a person act in or counter to a hierarchical structure, exposes that a mirror image of that hierarchical structure exists in the person’s flesh; it is his or her version of the lust-inciting conglomeration of perspectives absorbed from the world. Sin thus exposes the lies on which the world is built, and by which the world has adulterated its experience of reality.
When a person is converted, he unplugs from the World and the Matrix; he must likewise be unplugged from the Law. To keep him under the Law is to keep him in bondage.
Most Christians would have us stopping at the point of throwing more and more Law at the sin that keeps flaring up in order to stop it from flaring up. That’s about as smart as using paraffin to put out a fire. Rather take away the Law through a life, death and resurrection that fulfills the demand of that Law and atones for its transgressors, expose the loveless rebellion and lust to power and territorialism in the sinner’s heart that has been highlighted by the Law, and embrace him graciously with no agenda to “change” him.
In the legitimate absence of the Law brought about by his faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, you have nothing to judge him for and you have no standard to judge him against. He is blameless in God’s eyes because the Serpent that entices him to break the Law – the serpent that articulates the hierarchical implications of the Law – has been exposed and crushed along with that Law.
It had been prophesied and spoken of from one generation after another, and God had achieved it; God had achieved His plan to save the world through the Gospel.
But the world simply did not believe it.
So, though He had laid aside the heteropatriarchal Laws that had served His purpose of subverting heteropatriarchal tyranny, the world could not believe it in spite of the scriptural evidence that this is where God had wanted history to go all along. They now believed that God Himself was a heterosexist heteropatriarch. They wanted to believe that God believed all those myths about Adam’s body.
God had no choice but to fight fire with fire – so He treated Israel much like a loving, good-natured man would treat soldiers He was preparing for war: harshly. And isn’t that the principle behind our Constitution: that we will get militarily prepared in order to protect the equality we have? That’s the whole idea. Feminism and equality are only possible because historically, heteropatriarchy made them possible. While I’m not saying we should switch over completely to a feminine world, I will say that heteropatriarchy is dead. It’s old wineskins trying to contain the new wine of the paradigm that’s flowing into the world whether we admit it or not. It worries me when the world is more in tune with the mind of God than the church is.
The Law was not just a ceremonial, or legal, or moral or civil law: it was a military law, meant to prepare Israel for the spiritual and physical warfare they’d have to face in establishing themselves and subverting the very violence they’d occasionally have to employ. But just as there are many aspects of war that God doesn’t agree with, there are also aspects of the Law that God doesn’t agree with. He simply implemented and chose the lesser and more useful of two evils in order to prepare the weapon that was Israel for war against the Powers of the world, and within Israel prepare His Son to atone for the sin of the world. “He grew up as a tender shoot before Him,” Isaiah foresaw. The poetic line reveals the actual gentleness of God.
Without the God of the Old Testament, without the violence He commissioned, we would not even be here to judge the God of the Old Testament. That’s the math of history. But good God, did people actually believe that Jesus would want women to marry their rapists even beyond the age of the Law? That Law was meant to curb rape, but listen to how it also exposes how objectified women are even as it seeks to protect them. “And he shall rule over you,” woman was warned. The Law manifested and encoded the curse.
How can the Jesus who spent more time enjoying the company of the very people He commanded to have stoned in the Old Testament, albeit a command He gave despondently in the quarantining of the curse, still want them discriminated against today, now that the purpose of that Law has been used up and the Powers have been given a decisive death-blow?
We want to enforce the moral norms that arguably keep those people in bondage to sin, and then wonder why wickedness keeps increasing across the earth.
Our problem is that we’re pouring new wine into old wineskins, and the skins keep rupturing.
I find myself getting frustrated with most Christians who “tell the truth in Christian love” when it comes to the issues of gays and lesbians. When asked whether it’s okay to be gay or not, the correct answer is possibly along these lines, “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.” It is teaching that the person not be enslaved to any System or any mimicry of any system or its false validation; “For freedom, I have set you free.” It’s teaching the person the difference between enjoying something and being enslaved by it. It’s in getting educated and in educating others so that they may make informed choices in psychological freedom. It’s teaching people that in grace-filled communities, we observe decorum and propriety in order that our expression of freedom does not cause others to stumble, be hurt, offended or scandalized. It’s in teaching people that though we are perfectly accepted as saints of God for Christ’s sake, the world ought not to find cause for vilification in us. The answer lies somewhere between “All things are lawful” and the things that actually also build up.
It’s not in making people feel “less than” but in building them up in the family of God and teaching them to live in community. God has won, for God’s sake; let us enjoy the peace He has wrought out of our violence. The answer is in teaching them that in the freedom of the Spirit, we are guided from within in a joyful, heavenly dance by the sweet and total freedom that God loves to watch and embrace us all in. “Not in orgies, not in drunken revelries, but put on the Lord Jesus.” There is nothing wrong with drunken revelries and orgies as such; so long as we are shocked into thinking that they are, they will keep occurring and no one will see the supremacy of “putting on Christ” to partaking in orgies and drunken revelries.
“Does that mean that we can do whatever we want?” Why on earth would we want to do whatever we want when we know Him and would prefer to do whatever He wants instead?
Jesus saves. Jesus saves! Jesus saves individuals from their obsessive lust to validation within artificial Systems by fulfilling and taking away the law that highlights the insidiousness of those Systems. He saves by the circumcision of the heart which was once outpictured by the circumcision of the flesh, which foreskin symbolized bodily responsiveness to and affinity with lust. By “permitting” anything, God’s grace removes the Systems by which lust has a foothold in the heart.
I have a copy of the New Spirit Filled Life Bible (NJKV) which has a commentary reading, “Jesus saves from the power, the presence and the penalty of sin.” I take this to mean that Jesus saves from the power of sin, which is the Law. Jesus saves from the presence of sin by taking away the sin of the world, which is trapped together with the now-fulfilled Law. And Jesus saves from the penalty of sin by dying in place of sinners.
He and alone is a complete and sufficient savior.
Does the world know? The door to heaven is open, yet the church fumbles with the keys to the Kingdom.
Jesus saves history from mankind’s obsession with power over others by bringing together to crucify Him both the most religious and most secular manifestations of the Laws and Systems – Laws and systems that Yahweh had crystallized and codified so that they could be shattered along with the lusts that they were meant to point out – manifestations of those Laws and Systems gathered together in an interpenetrating Matrix of half-truths and lies, in a Roman colony called Palestine. Those Systems (Rome) and those Laws (Jerusalem which stones its prophets) were exposed for their lust to violence as the Law was supposed to do. The whole lattice was shattered by the power of His self-sacrificial death. Some individuals “got it,” but some institutions didn’t and went back to ticking all the boxes that the Law required. “You have forgotten your first love,” Jesus mourned, even threatening to take away their lamp stands as groups even if He wouldn’t take away individual people’s salvation.
The world presented lustfulness, as is the natural course of the world; and the church took the bait by responding with legalism – a bad mistake that put the church in the same position, historically, that the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Priesthood.
If I could paraphrase what Jesus was doing with history, I’d say it was this:
“The Law was needed in order to put a name and a structure to the evils in the world. It was the accusation needed in order to get everyone to see the selfish conditions of their hearts.
“The Law was also given to restrain that evil so that it wouldn’t destroy you. Thence were the normative structures you now have codified.
“The formula ‘male and female’ thus began as the procreative gift by which you’d reproduce. It became shorthand both for the protection of women – the ‘weaker vessel’ – in the restraint of evil under the legal dispensation that turned the gift into a curse; it became the accusatory demand by which you would see your own ugliness.
“You perverted the Law, as We knew You would, and by that perversion killed Me. And you shall look on Me, whom you pierced.
“But in My execution when you carried out the Law as you read it, you let Me answer the demands and accusations of the Law on your behalf because I laid down My perfect life in order to fulfill it. Totally fulfilled, it was silent.
“The scandal of My death also allowed you to see the Powers by which you get trapped because the evil in all of you perverts the Laws, and the way they use these perversions of the Law to keep you in bondage. The Law can bind and accuse you but it will never set you free. Nor was the Law meant as a pattern for your life. If righteousness could indeed come by the Law, then Life would have come by the Law.
“In My death, I bound your urge to pervert the power of the Law – which is the urge to “sin” or lust towards validation within the false cultural value systems and hierarchies inherent in the Law – together with the Law and destroyed both.
“I thus conquered sin.
“But the victory is meaningless if you keep returning to the structures and hierarchies within which the temptation to lust towards validation in those legal hierarchies is a meaningful temptation. You fall from grace.
“There is no more male and female. The moment you re-codify the male and female formula and attach all sorts of rules and rewards around its fulfillment as well as its negligence, you recreate in history the very sin I took away on the cross.
“When you choose to read into New Testament passages any instruction that reinforces Moses instead of believing that it’s describing and judging the culture, you go back to being under Moses. Remember something, when Paul discusses homosexuality in the New Testament, he quotes the Old – not in order to show that you’re still under the Law, but in order to show that the surrounding culture only demonstrated homoeroticism as an expression of being plugged into the Matrix and could thusly have the Old Testament quoted to it. They were still under Law.
“When you choose the believe that the Law is still absolutely binding instead of seeing Paul’s words as a warning to not act as those in the Matrix, you go back to being under the Law yourselves.
“Whenever you read Moses into any guideline made for you, you place yourselves under the yoke of bondage. When you choose to believe that Moses is the decisive revelation of God, and not just the decisive revelation of God for those in the Matrix who still owe the Law a debt, you recreate in your lives the same conditions that made Israel circle the point from where they got the Law delivered to them for 40 years because of disbelief. You were the only hope for moving history forward but because of your unbelief you’ve held it back.
“You therefore re-empower the Powers that I triumphed over on the cross! And you spend decades if not centuries stuck in that trap!”
We missed the simplicity. We missed His simplicity. The simplicity of Jesus is not a “concession” to our “sin”; the simplicity of Jesus is His essence that saves us from actual sin even if it never returns the structures of holiness as we once glorified them. Those structures contained our curse, not our cure.
The real concession isn’t to our hunger for simplicity; God’s real concession is towards our hunger for structure. God uses our hunger for hierarchy in history in order to deliver us from it. Marriage as we now define it is not the be-all-and-end-all: it’s the greatest sign that we have misunderstood! We have misunderstood!
Is marriage wrong or ignoble? Far from it. But when it is the cornerstone, then it’s a sign that we are no longer free! And we’re recreating in history the very sin Christ took away on the cross and all its consequences. And we’re re-empowering the Powers that Christ triumphed over on the cross. When we take any gift and any grace that God has given, like marriage, and we turn it into the measure of moral achievement and significance as though they were by works and not grace, we go right back to being under the curse – and voila! We see manifestations of the curse everywhere. The straight man cannot by being straight earn any more of God’s approval than the gay man can by being gay. God isn’t conceding when He “tolerates” people being themselves; God is being God! We missed the simplicity of His unconditional love in Christ Jesus – that was the whole point, all along, through the Laws and the Prophets. It wasn’t to make us better at keeping the Law; it was to make us better at being loved by God! And that’s what people don’t get – Jesus in His simplicity isn’t making concessions to our “sinfulness”: “He has forever perfected those who are being sanctified.” He really, really has! That’s the Good News! And I’m so sorry: it means we’re all like little children with none being “better than” the others.
Welcome to 2013. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, they’ve been lying to you in the precious, precious Name of Jesus.
Specks of feminism
I was told that the bible was misogynistic. Then I read it. There, I find some of the most strong-minded women I’ve read about being cared for by God. I read about Zipporah, Deborah, Moses’ Ethiopian wife, Leah, Rachel, and many, many others. I read about God visiting and caring for widows, prostitutes and disenfranchised daughters in laws.
The first thing that deeply moved me when I read about the Old Testament is how, though God could get very angry at the very powerful when they abused their power, He cared so, so much for the marginalized. I recall reading about Tamar and suspecting that maybe her foothold in the household of Judah was at stake. She needed her late husband’s brother to fulfill his duty by helping her produce an heir.
Instead, Onan used her for his sexual pleasure while disregarding her need for security. God struck him dead with very little ceremony. Tamar then went on to create an ingenious idea to produce an heir through her father in law by pretending to be a masked prostitute. And indeed, she fell pregnant. The household was about to throw her out when she turned the tables and revealed that the baby was of the household because its patriarch had solicited the services of a prostitute – herself.
I daresay the idea came from God’s mind. She needed to survive, and God made that possible for her. “The prostitute” thus became a symbol of representative judgment on the patriarchy of that world because she exposed its hypocrisy, double-standards, and how difficult it was for women to survive and find security. It’s another victory for God; a stunning one, in fact.
I read the Old Testament looking very, very hard for divine misogyny.
I’m sorry. It’s not there, though it is in the Laws.
Most people read the Old Testament and focus on the bloodshed and the wrath, which I personally am lucky enough to be able to account for and make peace with.
But I am more captivated on story after story of tiny, tiny, insignificant people being known by the God who does not overlook anyone. “El-Rohi,” Sarah’s maidservant realized about God. God sees. The maidservant and her child had been kicked out of Sarah’s house and were probably going to fall off the edge of the desert or the world, they were so insignificant. But not to God, who showed them a well of water. The maidservant had been used in the household of Abraham to produce an heir. That the God who was friends with Abraham could still pick up the human pieces of Abraham’s inconsiderateness struck me as oddly sweet.
I have always found that God in the Old Testament runs counter to all my ideas about God. Left to my devices, I am a deist, believing that God is distant and unconcerned. The Old Testament God insists on proving me wrong by showing up in stories that you just can’t make up. I see His heart, His wisdom and His priorities even in His testing Abraham and the other patriarchs. And there is this shrewd, practical wisdom in His rulings – again, it can’t be explained. It’s more than mythical.
I realized that there was no way for these books to not have been inspired: the contrast between the cruelty of the world that people were immersed in, and the sensitivity of the God who knew persons individually – I found no explanation for it. People around me insisted that the bible was a bunch of myths. I almost agreed because the God I was seeing was too perfect a father figure to not have been psychologically necessary.
Why is it that no book is able to comfort me quite like the Old Testament? No book has ever been able to give me as much hope for meaning. I saw persons who longed, desperately, for more in life. That the scriptures would take time to acknowledge that is a mark of literary sensitivity that I can’t explain away; I’ve never found it matched in any other literature on earth.
Today, when people are trapped in evil Systems they do not get angry. That’s why I love the maniacal rage I find when I read the Psalms. I love Psalm 137. It’s beautiful. It starts with the most poignant, most nostalgic statements about Jerusalem. It protests against the cruelty of being mocked by being asked to sing for God in this situation. Then the anger builds – and builds – and builds – to a stunning curse against the Babylonians: “Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!” It’s like listening to an intensely angry rock concert (no pun intended) wherein the artist just says what he feels.
No holy, churchy, “Lord, I thank you so much that You’ve chosen me as a vessel to bear this cross for You to reveal Your glory.” I can’t stand that. I tell God, “Lord, I hate that person, please strike him dead. Actually, that’d be too quick: make him suffer.” The Lord always entertains my anger and then helps me get over it.
One of my favourite stories is found in 1 Kings. I look at how quietly, how unknowingly, the ornately described characters of Hannah and Eli slip past one another, not realizing that they are both known in the story though they don’t know each other. It is a most unusual story: too real to be made up, yet, the clarity with which each character is known makes it too vivid for it to be real. Eli doesn’t know how much Hannah prays and how she longs for a son. Nor does he know that that son will deliver a prophecy to him. When Eli hears God’s judgment upon his life and his family coming from a little boy, I see the resigned acceptance of the divine verdict. Even in his failure, you can sense that Eli is still aware that God is good. He does not respond like he has been serving a tyrant; he, having full intellectual awareness and honesty, knows that God is being just even as He condemns him.
In Eli’s response, I am shown just how impossible it is for us humans to live up to what God asks of us. I am shown just how indescribably good and just God is in all His rulings, all His actions and all His ways. I feel morally inadequate, and it’s not the false inadequacy that the world often associates with Christianity; it is the real inadequacy of having glimpsed something of God’s character.
In Eli’s response, I am caused to question my own standing before God. Will I someday also find myself someday accepting a condemning verdict of God with a similar resignation in the light of God’s righteousness? I’ve always felt that I would.
Later on in the story, you hear of Eli, Hophni and Phineas dying on the same day, the Ark of the Covenant being taken captive, and a girl going into labour when she hears of it, and dying during childbirth. How does anyone read something that tragic, of a sense of disappointment and pathos that has the power to bring about early childbirth and death, and not see divine perception of human fragility and vicissitude in it? This very delicately written story teaches so much about the pain of living in a world wherein we do not measure up to the light that has been revealed to us.
In the Old Testament, I see people who care about things enough to fast, pray, lose sleep and wear ashes and sackcloth. Those were fully realized people who were alive enough to feel the pain of it. Job knew he was suffering and that’s what makes it so beautiful. People today don’t know it.
Why is it that in all the myths I’ve ever read, nothing came close to the sensitivity of God as He is shown in the Old Testament towards some of the most unimportant, most unknown, most obscure and most unloved people in the bible? I could see Jesus through it without even looking for Him; He was everywhere in all the small stories, rescuing all the small people. Israel was a small nation, and God knew them.
I did not need a bible scholar to tell me that the Old Testament was divinely inspired, as is the New; the books speak for themselves. To this day they stand unmatched.
There, I saw God as a God of the aged, the infirm, the widowed and the outcast. They were not pretty concepts or future promises; God kept coming through with all the things that religion does not come through with; He was the God of the oil jar and the flour, the widow and the orphan. If the Epistles tell us who Jesus is conceptually, the Old Testament and the Gospels show us Jesus in action.
My love affair with the God of the Old Testament began in obscurity when I was about ten, two years before I realized I was gay. I found a tattered copy of a King James’ Bible. I was whisked away to a world within a world and began to know God.
The discovery that I was gay wasn’t primarily a discovery about my identity, my gender, my gender-expression, or my sexuality, but about my soul. I existed “all wrong” relative to society’s expectations. I now knew why I was always bullied, and I suddenly understood the words and the stories. I was wrong, wrong, wrong – the mistake society had to punch out of existence, and a lot of kids had tried. I was taught to hate myself. God and I were suddenly at enmity, and He had full power to save or damn me as He pleased. Of course He’d always had that power but I’d trusted Him to use it graciously; suddenly, because He hated me, I didn’t know how He’d use it.
The God who had whispered my name just two years prior suddenly couldn’t spit it out of His mouth fast enough. I was suddenly on the wrong side of the bible, as I’d always been but not fully aware of it, thrust into the existential struggle to continue existing that I’ve been in for 14 years now. The moment the Law was articulated, I received the curse.
An unmarried Prophet Jeremiah’s words suddenly made so much sense to me: “You wooed me, and I was seduced; You raped me, and I was overcome.” In the most exceedingly painful inbreaking of divine irony, all of God’s scorn came crashing down to curse into me something of the conquerability with which Eve was cursed, and something of Adam’s desire to conquer not an Eve but a Steve. I now bore the curse in my body and it wouldn’t leave. I gave my sexual allegiance to fellow men with an equal power to conquer. God raped me, and I was overcome; He could blackmail me for the rest of my life about this perversion in me by which I failed to be everything that Adam is expected to be. I could live up to many of the myths of Adam the superman, but there was a secret. I begged for this thorn to be removed from my flesh so that like every other son of Adam I could use that flesh to work through the thorns and thistles in the ground and make my life count.
I wondered – did Jeremiah and Paul know something of this weakness with which God could make men weak? Oh, God, no, not I, I prayed. But I knew. It was I.
I prayed, Please don’t tell me that this is what You meant when you said that Your power would shine through the weak. At 12, I cursed myself for having read my way to the New Testament, not realizing that there was a special present there just for me. Suddenly, the fight for spiritual identity was just too real. The Word I’d been so happy with became my greatest source of shame because it exposed me. “It says so right here,” they preached. “You can pray the gay away because you can declare the Name of Jesus over the curse.” And because it didn’t work – the Word which is supposed to contain so much power didn’t work – I had failed to prove the very Word I’d relied so much on. “If he trusts God so much,” the voices mocked, “Then let Him deliver him.”
The one scripture, and the one blog post I found written about it, that gave me much hope was that “He feeds the young ravens who cry out.” The ravens were considered unclean according to the Law; no one could touch them. God has a thing for the cursed – He uses them.
But without something of the “curse” manifest in me, I wouldn’t have had the perspective to see as I do and write what I write.
The funniest thing is that my boyfriend, a Christian who hadn’t cracked a bible open in eons – ever, I suspect – seemed to grasp these concepts with an ease that disturbed me. “Didn’t you feel God in what we were doing?” he’d ask. “It’s good because we love each other. We’re not using each other, we’re not hurting each other, we’re giving ourselves to each other,” he would insist. I was flabbergasted. My theology said “No”; everything else about me knew – I knew – that there was something terrifyingly true in his words. But I don’t work with inner intuitions and feelings; I work by the Letter of what’s written.
But I knew that somehow through love we’d transmutated the curse of Leviticus 18 back into the “one flesh” miracle of Genesis 2 though we were two men! We developed an uncanny ability to read each other’s minds at a distance though we were very different-minded. We developed the ability to heal each other physically, mentally, spiritually and morally. We were an unstoppable pair for – for the exercise of power in displaying truth, goodness and wisdom. We dreamt dreams with common images and themes; we became one and we were powerful. It terrified me, as though we’d performed some sorcery – I knew we’d tapped into divine truth. But we weren’t supposed to have done that. All the Letters of the Law testified against us; real life experience testified for us.
And indeed, we’d tapped into something primordial and terribly powerful at purifying and strengthening us: we were the scorching proof of the “and” dropped into Galatians 3:28 was not an accident and was in fact God’s call to be everything I’d never dreamt God could call me to be. I knew this on a gut instinct level though my theology said it wasn’t true. We were free with a freedom that my carnal mind to this day refuses to accept and therefore turns ugly something so incredibly beautiful.
The theology I will show you adds up. But I don’t take responsibility for it – I am not a pastor: just as the Powers threw Jesus about like an unpinned grenade, each one saying, “Do with Him as you see fit”, I too throw the ramifications of the bible back to society to do with as it sees fit. You will do with Jesus and His silencing of the Law as you see fit.
The single most revelatory Christophany in the entire bible was primarily seen by women. The first witnesses of the Resurrected Christ were women. That alone speaks louder than many other parts of the scriptural witness in a way as to say to the men, “You don’t get Me.” We tend to read heteropatriarchy back into the scriptures but heteropatriarchy was part of the problem in the scriptures. It’s just not a “man’s world.” The Kingdom of God is not an Old Boys’ Club. I no longer trust the Old Boys to tell me what God is like because their primary response to me is disgust when they find out who I am. I need to know for myself who Yahweh is.
The silent, insensitive, ridiculing and belittling cruelty of heteronormality
I started going to a church where I met a very good-looking pastor. The moment he was introduced to me, he scanned me with a nakedly sexual look. I remember shuddering – he was straight; that much I could tell. What was with the predatory glance? Initially I put it down to sexual desire. But it didn’t fit.
At a bible study meeting he presided over, he made a point of asking me the opening question. Something told me he’d guide the topic to homosexuality.
I answered his questions cautiously. And with timing I could have predicted to a nanosecond, he brought up the topic of homosexuality rather skilfully while making a point to look at me. No one else in the room could have heard the conversation behind our conversation – he was warning me not to subvert the status quo.
Since then, I have come to understand his piercingly sexual gaze thusly: it was a signal of his visceral understanding that by failing to exist on the correct side of the male gaze/gazer equation – by playing “off side” – I was, not necessarily an object of his desire, but another other-masculine, and therefore sub-human, colony that he could conquer. He knew that though I pulled off a good Superman impersonation, my Kryptonite was potentially half the human population. If I stood naked before you, you’d probably wouldn’t see anything in me to suggest I’m gay. But people who study me for any amount of time can tell that my priorities aren’t the priorities of a 26 year old boy. He knew that I didn’t fit the bill for manhood that he’d extrapolated from his bible, and he could tell that I’d never tried to fit into the masculinity straightjacket. When the chips are down I am a child of God and I am lethally gifted at wielding the Sword of His Word. No one else knew me as intimately as he did at that moment, and in his knowledge there was the disdain that had been thrust into me by God. But I didn’t buy it anymore.
Knowing that he was good-looking, nothing more irksomely expressed his imagined power over me than his choice to leave me an uneaten morsel on a plate just within his reach. If I openly challenged his worldview by, for example, publishing books such as this one, I would challenge the basis of his personal power. He was warning me not to check him out, which was a warning not only to not desire him sexually – he knew that could have already happened – but not to examine established masculinity too closely, lest I learn too much about it or see the weaknesses in it.
They’re right when they say that rape is about power and not sex. In this case, he was raping my mind with the biggest barbed-wired phallic lance there is – my relationship with God the Father, creator of this world in which I’m a shameful anomaly cornered and cowed by the heteronormality He supposedly wired into everything. When I write these things, it feels like an act of revolt that is both liberating and condemning. I will not be cowed anymore. Jesus won’t allow it.
The writing is an act of revolt. The same revolution that Jesus began 2000 years ago is the revolution, I think, that He’s bringing about using those who exist outside the hierarchy. No one else exists exactly in line with the double-standard inherent in the System, which is the angle required to describe and expose how it works. Is this pastor an evil person? Far from it. He is the son of his experiences.
Nobody understands. Heteronormality flaunts itself to people who cannot love the way it demands that they love. It announces its existence day after day in public displays of affection and acceptability, through people who eat with society’s blessing while we starve; through people who drink while we thirst. Then they say, “Well, you should feel bad for hungering and thirsting.” We are thus stuck in a developmental rut, and form our identities around what we are being denied. But tell me God isn’t working through this. Heteronormality thus makes me think about what I cannot have, what society will not celebrate and validate; I think about it all day, every day. I know the back rooms I can visit if I wish to get some dirty sewer water – but didn’t Christ deliver me from that? I can’t go back. The church pushes me back by not letting me come out front. The lust is gone because so is the Law but it comes back when I think of the Law. There is no longer anything particularly impressive about getting total strangers to overcome moral norms because those norms don’t hold anymore. I’m so sorry, but I’m dead to “sin.” But I’m not dead to my ability to love.
Yet, I can’t move forward either. I am like this guy who is experiencing puberty in his 20s.
Gay people exist as a judgment against society’s legalism.
Some respectable, church-going Christians, upon finding out that their children bear sexual proclivities they cannot help, throw them out of their homes. If the sin of merely having the longing is so bad that it requires this punishment, isn’t it more Christ-like to take the place of the sinner and suffer instead of him? The parents should have left the houses in their children’s place. Gay kids on the street are a judgment on society’s unChristlikeness.
But Jesus preached the Law
Until people couldn’t take it anymore. It was too hard. Too taxing. Too strict. Too severe. God’s perfect Law had no room for sinners. They were “astonished at His teachings”, driven to asking questions like, “Who, then, can be saved?”
And He preached the Law because they owed Him perfect obedience to it. People preach about how Jesus set the Law aside. That’s simply not true: He set the Law aside for those who believed upon Him. Jesus didn’t preach the Torah to them: He told them about the Kingdom of God, which was compared to a banquet to which all the “wrong” people were invited. He preached the Law in their presence when the Pharisees were around so as to show them that nobody had even begun to keep it. Seeing the discrepancy in how He worked, they set traps for Him and tested Him all the time – so that they’d catch Him out for preaching so hard at them and so soft at the sinners. It was pure favoritism and the Pharisees knew what it was – unmerited favour, grace.
To the sinners He perpetually preached a Father whose Kingdom had beautifully dressed lilies, fed sparrows and ravens, perpetual sunshine and endless mercy. It was a fairy tale that actually came true the moment any of them dropped dead believing in Him.
Some Christians argue that the Pharisees merely took the Law of God too far. Jesus showed that they hadn’t taken it nearly far enough. However far they took it, He could take it further still. However well they fulfilled it, He could double their efforts. He was God and they weren’t.
How do our churches go preaching from Christ’s lips the unbearable weights and burdens He was heaping on those who were under the Law?
The Law is good relative to the curse with which God had cursed the World. It is good to have sons, heirs, surnames, laws and families – but by glorifying in and glorifying the Law, we embrace the shame it was supposed to cover. By associating our significance with how well we reproduce and how well we protect our civilizations, we expose that we are cursed as individuals and as a group. By saying, “Marriage is the cornerstone of civilization” and pointing out how nations were felled that abandoned marriage, we are exposing how cursed the world is; we expose that nation is risen against nation and brother against brother. We point out the fact that we need structures to protect us. Protect us from what? The curse. We show that the world is unevangelized and needs Grace because it’s still surviving on God’s Law – it needs the Good News of God’s Kingdom having come and the Law being unnecessary: structure, in the long run, being unnecessary.
And who, again, was supposed to go out and make disciples out of all the nations teaching them everything that Christ had taught regarding the personhood of all people?
We were. Instead we preached Law.
And He will judge the world by the Law because whatsoever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law – to those who are plugged into the Matrix either by Religion or by Worldliness: either way, they have bought into a Cultural Value System that is reflective of God’s heart only insofar as it restrains, regulates and responds to the curse meted out in Eden; therefore, out of their own System God will condemn them because He hates it. It is unjust, it is unfair and it is wrong. If God loved the System or Loved the Law, He would have made it possible for people to keep it. I repeat, if God loved the Law, He would have made it possible for people to keep it. He didn’t, because keeping it only dresses up the shame.
But I submit to you that it’s not His Law; it’s our Law. We chose it over simple communion with Him in Eden. Had God wanted the Mosaic Law all along, He would have implemented it in Eden and then given Adam and Eve the power to keep it. Instead, He gave them one Law – not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – which sounds like a perfect description for the Law waiting to unfurl into the exact shape of the crime. The forbidden fruit was the Law in germinal form; it took the shape of the Mosaic Law because of the way things happened in Eden.
If God loved the Law, then why would He not delight in the death of the wicked, if that was a perfect outworking of the Law? Why did He work to progressively dismantle its shape throughout bible history? The Law does not reflect God’s heart. Jesus would speak to the Pharisees about “Your Law” whether He was disparaging an addition from men’s traditions or reminding them of something said at Sinai, which they still had to keep because they were cursed and plugged into the Matrix.
Jesus preached the Law until people asked for grace. He pushed the Law, highlighted it, exalted it, magnified it, explained it, expounded it and revealed it – until people couldn’t stand it anymore. He hammered it in day after day until people walked away deeply offended by the idea that all their works up until then were unacceptable before a God whose standard was higher than they’d imagined.
I believe that the “law” of God is in two forms. The first is the letter of the Law that was delivered by Moses in order to answer the curse. Whoever is under that Law, and whoever is
unconverted and therefore owes the Law, is cursed if he does not fulfil it exactly. This is the Law that was hammered in by Jesus whenever He spoke publically about issues like divorce and remarriage. The thrust of his public discourse about the will and Law of God was meant to hammer in the difficulty of Moses’ Law. He then also dangled an alternative that He didn’t disclose fully unless He was in the absolute privacy of His disciples. Initially, they didn’t “get it,” but over time it dawned on them that if they believed on Him and took His yoke
instead of the one given by Moses, the “law” He desired for them to fulfil was of service. He wouldn’t damn them if they sucked at it, but all He wanted was for them to fulfil the will of God by serving one another in love. When people love and are loved, they live sensibly. They make win-win decisions. They live by common sense.
This explains why Jesus had such different conversations with different people, meeting them exactly where they were. To the Law keeping Pharisees, He said, “You’ve neglected the weightier matters of the Law.” In other words, “You’ve got to do more – more than you’re humanly capable of paying attention to.” He kept moving the goal posts. But in reality, it’s not so much that the goal-posts shifted as it was that the mirage of human moral perfection moved back by virtue of its own unreality. If God was happy with the curse in Eden, He would have simply let Adam and Eve eat from the tree of Life as well, and let them keep the Mosaic Law perfectly forever.
Notice, also, that though Jesus preached the Law, He hardly ever enforced it in practice for His disciples. That was the Pharisees’ primary objection with Him. They often pointed out discrepancies between the Law He pushed on them. “Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath!” they cried. But Jesus’ approach explained this – He was Lord of the Sabbath and could exempt His own from keeping its demands. “From whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? From their sons or from strangers?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then truly the sons are free.” Jesus preached different things to different people because He was ruthlessly consistent in the type of ministry He offered different people in their different spiritual journeys.
The Law was given to pretty up the ugly reality of the rotting corpse. The Law was the beautiful, white-washed sepulcher in which would lie man’s dead spirit until Someone called it from that death into the light.
Many people would hear the Law and begin to try to attain righteousness by it. But that was impossible: the Law was given in order to cover, quarantine, name, codify and expose the shameful curse. The Law wasn’t given to remove the problem any more than a sunhat can be given to extinguish the sun from the sky, only to shield us from it. Nevertheless, because the Tyrants, Powers and Principalities were God’s way of simultaneously judging Adam and Eve’s coming to Him with a demeaning idea of who He was, as well as a means by which He would enforce the Law that would restrain the curse, it would often happen that when people submitted to the Law again and again, they would often exhibit behavior inconsistent with what they intuitively knew was right. They would also empower the Powers to wield even more Tyrannical power over them.
The Law and the curse were inseparable because the one existed to describe and point to the other. The Law is how God articulated His understanding of the curse. What was the curse? Lust, whether it was lust to gratification, which was inseparable from desiring to have one’s ego boosted in order to become “more,” or whether it was lust to validation as a conqueror and achiever, or as a desirable commodity that had put its personhood aside so that the conqueror could validate the value of the conquered by doing everything for him or her.
Jesus took away the curse of the Law and the Law of the curse; He bore the curse in Himself and fulfilled the Law. But when we live by the Law, we re-create the curse because the knowledge of the one is dependent on the knowledge of the other. They attract each other because of their complementary valences. There would be no knowledge of lust if there were no Law about adultery, nor of envy if there were no Law about coveting. The Law codifies and captures the essence of lust and the envy by saying, “Do not covet”; when we hear the Law, the curse immediately becomes visible and animated within us. The Law seeks to define and restrict the effects of the curse; once the Law is fulfilled by Christ and the curse is removed, it must be put aside, for if it is not, it will keep ensuring that there is a curse to define and restrict.
Obeying the Letter of the Law doesn’t deal with that curse; it only brings it back to mind. The Law brings back to mind the very distrust we brought to our relationship with God, and reminds us that we are “stealing,” and must steal, what He has already given. We can bear to hear this about every Christian liberty there is – we are free to eat pork, for example – but we cannot bear to hear this about the one thing that, under the Law, most intensely reminded us that we had stolen from God. Every time the Law was read out, we could feel the guilt of our sin upon us. When we have sex, we feel safer thinking, “Gee, oh boy, God must be angry now” because if God weren’t angry about our sexuality, it would be a sign that we are now His friends and outpicture the Spirit of the Law, if not the Letter. That would be more significance, freedom and unity with the Godhead than we could bear.
Trying to obey the Letter of the Law without regeneration leads to Phariseeism. Trying to obey the Spirit of the Law without regeneration makes you into a New Ager.
The Law reveals that whoever we are, we are under the Law either imperialists (Adam) or as commodities who desire the imperialists that will validate their seductive abilities (Eve). It is our pettiness, our resentments, our demand that others come through for us in ways we don’t trust God to.
The Law, therefore not only reveals these lusts to dominate and be validated as commodities; the Law also empowers the Powers and Principalities in authority above us because They play by those dynamics that we brought to our relationship with God when we first mistrusted Him. The Powers put in authority are empowered by Law, by Government, things that God gave to impose order on a society that was under the curse. But The Powers themselves tend to get out of hand because, well – they’re Powers! And however beautifully they started as revolutionaries overthrowing an old System, they soon need to be removed from their position of power or else repent drastically.
We thought God was a tyrant; God therefore let us create tyranny in our bodies as we copulated, as well as in our bigger political world through the power of the curse which we reinvoke every time we submit to the Law simply because the Law was shaped by the very tyranny we thought we saw in God; that tyranny manifests as the Powers that wield the Law which restrains the curse. The Law is God giving us what we asked for in Eden. And just as God used Law on an individual scale to quarantine the curse, so too does He use it on a social scale to quarantine the curse. However, this keeps the curse in place and raging beneath the surface even as an appearance of control is maintained. The curse has not been dealt with, only apparently restricted by a set of rules that appears very, very holy and good.
But those rules, the Law, empower the Powers and the tyrannical curse as it makes life nearly unbearable. Naturally, people ask for more rules in order that the effects of the curse – the lawlessness – may be restrained. But then life becomes even more difficult. Even Jesus described the burdens that the Pharisees put on people as “unbearable”; Paul described the Law as the “Yoke of Bondage.” The Law of God did not originate in God’s heart, it originated in ours!
The reason Israel kept getting conquered by other Powers wasn’t that he’d failed to follow God’s Law as the Old Testament seemed to suggest; oh no, they’d followed the Letter, exploiting it for all manners for selfishness. Men weren’t ashamed when the Law told him how to marry many women – the Law existed because of this shame in which he gloried – because it so powerfully appealed to his flesh. The reason Israel was history’s whipping girl was that she had insisted that justification and significance before God were dependent on her performance at following the Law. God possibly had an aneurism when people thought that. By empowering the Law like this, Israel kept reinforcing the curse of being dominated. More than any other nation on earth, Israel cooperated with God at the task of restraining sin by keeping the Law; but this got Israel into constant run-ins with the curse promised in Deuteronomy – “Cursed are you if you do not obey all the things that are written in this Book.” That’s the trick with the Law of God: you only start it if you intend to finish it perfectly. Jesus came also to deliver Israel from that particular curse by removing the Law, unmasking the Powers and shattering the curse – if she’d let Him.
We normally don’t, because we believe that by touching not, tasting not and feeling not, we’re in line with God’s heart for us.
If, by “we are no longer bound to the Law,” we only mean we no longer need the ceremonial aspect of the law to forgive us for transgressions against the Law of Moses, then we in fact still owe the Law of Moses. If we define sin not to mean failing to love as Jesus loved, failing to serve as Jesus served, failing to forgive as Jesus forgave – if we do not define sin in light of the New Command revealed during the Last Supper, wherein we’re told that Christ has “overcome the world” (because He’s exposed the entire System of the curse, Powers, the Tyrants, the Matrix, the Law, sin and animal sacrifice that unfurled from Eden; the Deliverer is about to crush the Accusing Serpent’s head), if we choose
to define “transgression of the Law” as transgression of the Law of Moses and not the New Commandment that was revealed by a Lord the world hated, ratified by a Spirit it didn’t know, illuminated by a light it couldn’t comprehend, and veiled by the Letter Law it was in bondage to, if we refrain from defining sin in those terms, then we very much are still in bondage to the Law of Moses.
If we read the Law into the concessions and guides and rulings of the Apostles, then we’re still bound to Moses. We then need to create strange theological categories to define our relationship with God, like differences between salvation and discipleship in order to protect the doctrine of the freeness of salvation while simultaneously explaining our bondage to Moses. I’ve read pastors discuss “Judicial relationship” wherein God views us through the superimposed righteousness of Christ, which judicial relationship is often contrasted with progressive sanctification, in which we get better not at respecting the whole personhood of people but at keeping the Law of Moses.
What if God isn’t just interested in saving us so that He can view us through the superimposition of Christ over us when we fail to keep Moses’ Law? What if, when He says, “If ye continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” He isn’t inviting them into a deeper knowledge of Moses but to unplug and be free with an indescribable freedom, a freedom that achieves things the Law of Moses couldn’t dream of because that Law was too busy restraining a curse? I call this “Mystical Justification” which arguably does a better job of integrating the best of both worlds and better explains biblical data. It is the only way we can explain a Jesus who doesn’t preach Torah to prostitutes. This is also the only way we can explain how John, who begins with nary a look at people’s maintenance of Moses’ Law, ends with a Revelation wherein people who don’t know Jesus are cursed by the curses of the Law they still owe a debt to. Jesus, the tax collectors and the prostitutes whom Jesus said would enter the Kingdom were not discussing the Torah: they were discussing the Kingdom of God. When Jesus told common, respectable people that unless their righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the Pharisees, He was cheekily telling them to end their fascination with the Pharisees as well as their keeping of the Law. The prostitutes and tax collectors who were to enter the Kingdom first would not enter because they felt really, really sorry for not keeping Moses’ Law: they were entering because, by accepting Jesus’ invitation, they had repented from the Law, the World and any respectability they could have earned thereby. You must understand why the Law of God brings the curse of God: the Law of God is always the mode by which we start looking for respectability whether in keeping or breaking the Law. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t: THERE IS NO SALVATION IN THE LAW. Repent from the Law. The only time the Law of God can fail to deliver the curse of God is if the adherent keeps it as a whole, and the only Person who can do that is an uncursed Person born of a virgin.
I am a big believer in Mystical Justification even though I fear it’s too optimistic. Under this belief, when I meet Christians who’re struggling with Big Sins (as would be defined by the Law), I find myself blurting out how much I love them and how proud I am of them because I see something in them that is purer than, and is overcoming, all the gunk that’s on them. I am not proud of how hard they’re trying or how sincere they are: I’m proud because I see God in them. I see people who are heaven-bound no matter what happens, because of Jesus. I find myself hands-on involved in their lives and in their choices. I find that I am very
permissive simply because I see everything they go through as something that will mature them; I see a greater wisdom in sitting down and therapeutically discussing what’s driving them to make debasing choices, and gently freeing them from those things. I find myself loving people through and out of any and every situation, no matter their choices. I find no condemnation in myself towards them. I find bubbling up in me an ability, a willingness and a delight in forgiving not in order that I may say, “Look at how I forgive you” but so I can say, “See? What
exists between me and you is stronger than any error either of us could make.” And then I hope that when the bible speaks of God, it speaks of Someone who’ll treat me that way as well.
Mystical justification says that because Jesus has dealt with the Law in its every jot and tittle, shattering the hierarchies that express the Law that was supposed to restrain the violent lusts and decadences of the curse, God can now move on to the more involved business of expressing His holiness through us not by striving to keep the Law, but in acting, willing and working through us by the freedom that was once antithetical to the Law – the code of handwritten requirements, the debt that was “against us.”
The Law of God is good; under the curse, we are not good, therefore our death under the Law is inevitable. When the Law is fulfilled by Jesus, the curse is removed and our corresponding desires to gain the validation promised by the Law and the validation promised by the World if you break the Law – the “damned if you keep the Law and damned if you don’t keep the Law” quandary – is gone.
Freed by Jesus, we see the world for the lost state that it’s in. Gutted by the truth, we cannot
lust after the world, or its glamour and beauty, because we know that as beautiful as it all is it is bound for judgment under the Law. We realize that our lusts for the things of the world were taught to us from the value systems of the World, which have a symbiotic relationship with the commands of the Law. The command, “Touch not the unclean thing, and I will accept you” can honestly be flipped to say, “I have accepted you; therefore, touch not the unclean thing.”
When we have been re-enticed by the mutually reinforcing Matrix of the world’s cultural value systems and the Law; we admit it knowing that we have been cleansed from it. We repent of our lusting after the World we have been delivered from.
We live unconcerned with the Law because the Law has no jurisdiction over us: at the same time, imprinted by the love of Christ, we live in, through and from love. This only occasionally looks like living in the Law, but we do not wake up in the mornings seeking to fulfil anything except the New Commandment. When we find ourselves violating a big commandment in the Mosaic Law, we ask ourselves whether we’re being enticed by the interpenetrating, mutually reinforcing Matrix of the World and the Law. If we find we are, we repent by unplugging and
being honest: we don’t repent by trying to stop breaking the Law of Moses. But when we unplug with the assistance of those who know and love us, we are free to accidentally keep the Law we no longer answer to.
Some people say that we are merely not meant to rely on the Law. In that case, Paul would have told the Galatians, “Okay, guys. Get circumcised because the Law of Moses says so, but don’t rely on it!”
By this logic, then, Paul never should have conceded to the Corinthians that, “All things are Lawful”; he should have said, “The Law’s there as long as you don’t rely on how well you keep it.” And who gets to decide exactly which part of the law must be obeyed and which isn’t important anymore? The moment we figured that the moral, ceremonial, civil and military laws are all bound together to answer the curse of Eden, we figured that the whole law was fulfilled in Christ. If God distinguished the moral law from the civil, then how on earth would any ceremony from the civil law resolve problems
from the moral law? How would Christ’s sacrifice atone for any transgression of any Law?
Moreover, if we say that the Law is a representation of God’s essential character in itself, then why did He create the creatures He’d later call unclean? I suspect they only became unclean because they somehow reflected Adam and Eve’s treachery. The Law, therefore, is a divine response: it is not the divine essence. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, a canon was needed for all things so as to contain the curse through the Law. Gay people did not fit that canon, if I’m reading it correctly. But under Christ there is no canon, there are none unclean, and there is no male and female. I am convinced that my importance to God is not dependent on whether I experience the “correct” attractions or not; He is looking for me to act wisely, though. If my sexual leanings violate civil law, then civil law must address it. However, I believe myself to be accommodated within Galatians 3:28. When society refuses to accept that and sticks to the Levitical canon, they invoke the curse of Deutoronomy 28:58.
I’m bringing Moses back. And Moses is a whole. Moses, the humble servant of God, read the damning Law of God as a unit with a clause – fail at one point, and you’re cursed.
In view of all of this, being gay is not intrinsically wrong outside the Law, the World and the cultural value system of that World and that Law. We are indeed “one” in Christ Jesus whether that oneness coincides with the Law or with the original creation or not ala Galatians 3:28.
But when we gay people have to beg for marriage from the Mosaic lawkeepers, then we too join in their curse. The Mosaic Lawkeepers have preferred reading Moses and the Old Creation that necessitated Moses into Paul’s words, instead of reading Paul’s words in light of the final destination of the Creation in which there is no more male and female and therefore no foothold for the curse. Every time I hear of a Christian gay couple deciding they won’t fight a church into marrying them, I believe that they’re a Galatians 3:28 couple and I wonder, “Who warned them to flee from the wrath to come?”
When we beg the world to justify us using any trace of Moses, we repeat Job’s mistake. See, Job was righteous in God’s eyes but when he began to appeal to what he knew of God’s Law as it was written in
his pagan heart, God thundered down and demanded to know who this was multiplying words without wisdom. By assessing himself according to the Law and not by his instinctive knowledge that his Redeemer lived, Job brought all the terror of Sinai down on himself.
1 Corinthians 6:9
1 Corinthians 6:9 discusses Paul’s sense of outrage that people in the church are not only behaving like people in the Matrix, but are also approaching them for resolutions to disputes that have come about because they, the church, prioritize like the Matrix. He then whips out a vice list that is a hybridization of Grace and Law.
If 1 Corinthians 6:9 is not Paul’s warning that the church mustn’t be driven by the same Powers-centric lusts as the world, then one of two things is happening: The first is that God is still Mosaic by nature even after the curse of the Law is answered. God has to view us through the superpositioning of Christ over our lives. That means that God is not with any of us here on the ground with our struggles because He cannot withstand the presence of people who do not adhere to the Law of Moses. God is a penal substitutionary atonement deist and nothing else. Unless you’re praying about something that
relates to your abiding successfully by the Mosaic Law, He’s not listening to you. If you have a gay kid and you’re praying that he gets home safely from his first date, the Lord is either saying, “I’d destroy him in an instant if he didn’t believe in Jesus” or He’s not hearing the prayer at all. If you’re praying that your son who plays football wins the match, God is considering hurling a thunderbolt at the pigskin football along with everyone playing with it. Don’t say grace over your chicken and prawn curry: there is no grace to it. If you’re divorced and you’re praying for your next spouse, God has issues with that unless your previous one committed sexual immorality. If God is Mosaic by nature and not by Law, He may have saved us and He may love us in some theological way. But He can’t like us. He can’t love, laugh, dance or live through us. He’s bound and so are we. If Jesus were here and you began speaking about a problem you have with the man you’re living with who isn’t paying his half of the rent, Jesus would quote Law to you.
In the Old Testament, God said He would write the Law on our hearts in the New Covenant. If the Law He was going to write wasn’t just common sense, but He intended to write the Mosaic Law, then His writing skills suck.
He is obliged to spend eternity with us because of promises He grudgingly fulfilled.
The Mosaic Law is to moral codes what prime numbers are to arithmetic: divisible only by themselves and by 1. You either fail at the whole law or you keep the whole law. So if Paul is making an unqualified case for Leviticus 18 in 1 Corinthians 6:9, then he’s also making an unqualified case for the implicit wrongness of all sexual pleasure. He’s stating that God has allowed the human race to systematically produce generations of damned souls with no salvific divine interventions. He’s saying that the innumerable redeemed made it to heaven by simply never sinning. The blood of Jesus is so dilute, His absorption of the curse so anemic, that it hasn’t washed out Leviticus 18. If it couldn’t wash my condemnation out, what on earth thinks it can wash yours out?
If, in Christ, God is not a p-flag parent, then what sort of relationship with Him can I hope for as a gay person? Unless He changes me in a way I cannot change myself, the core of how I relate at all is actually incompatible with Him. I can choose celibacy and singleness for the rest of my life, but that still doesn’t change the fact that at my core, I am not a friend of God. Jesus wouldn’t have
been my friend either. We wouldn’t have clicked; not even in spite of the fact that I’d given up on the Law justifying me. I then have to wonder whether I’ll really be welcome in heaven, or merely tolerated. “You’ll be a brand-new person,” I’m told. How much continuity will there be between myself then and myself now?
I’d hate to go to hell, but here’s one comforting aspect of it: I find it easier to imagine myself in hell than I do to imagine myself in heaven. Which self would go to heaven?
Look at Galatians 3:10: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that doesn’t continue to do all the works that are written in this Law.” If you’ve unwittingly stylized your life around a normalization of the Law, you might just be damned.
There are two ways to read Paul. The first is through the Galatians 3:28 worldview as a final end. If we do this, Paul’s other comments about slavery, the silence of women in churches, and how to those under the Law he was as those under the Law and to Jews as Jews – they become necessary and explainable concessions. We see Peter’s choice to not eat with Gentiles when the
Jews were around as unnecessary concessions. We see Paul’s comments about sex and sexuality as guidelines that speak to people in their cultural and ecclesiastical situations; they also speak to people who so live for sex it’s as though they are still caught up in the vicious cycle created by a Law-lust worldview. I have presented and will continue to present the Gal 3:28 worldview as a framework whereby we can understand everything else in New Testament scripture. In this
view, we are possibly free to look at gay marriage as a possibility.
But if we read into Paul’s words the unqualified normalization of Moses, then we’re still under the curse.
To go out into the world and “make disciples” (Matt 28) by putting them under the Law is to damn the world. To “make disciples” by teaching people to “strive diligently” to
fulfill a Law in order to sort-of live up to the standard that God has already positionally superimposed on them through faith – is to first of all produce miserable, cloistered, colourless lives, and second of all to send people straight to hell.
The disciples were not under the Law; they lived, died, overcame, persevered, loved, laughed and endured for grace, by grace and through grace in a society that cautiously approached the Galatians 3:28 worldview.
They were not taken from one Law and put under another. They did not “try” to fulfill the Law, and Paul would have shat himself if he’d found out that they were striving for righteousness by the Law. They did not beat themselves up or repent for failing to fulfill the Law; they merely said, “What Law”?
If Paul had heard that the disciples were being licentious and lawless, he would have either questioned their regeneration, or believed in it and then argued that though all things ARE lawful, not all things edify – not all things build up towards God’s Galatians 3:28 vision.
People must be brought before the Law to hear its accusations, but they must not be brought under the Law to bear its yoke of bondage – a bondage that was intended for the cursed and not ever for the redeemed.
People must be brought before the Law so that in hearing its accusations, they may see their lawlessness and repent. To be lawless is to flaunt even what Law is presented by the world as God tries to restrain the curse through the law, and non-Christians of sound moral conscience would at least cooperate with God in that. When people have the Roman’s Road to salvation presented, they repent from the World system and are therefore free of the curse, of the lust to be “more”, which lust informs the cursed hierarchy of the world. Any desires they experience once they unplug from the world are not to be thoughtlessly regarded as sensual or demonic. It’s true that Christians can, when thinking and operating from a World perspective, be enticed by lust and sin, which they have to confess and be cleansed of. But not every physical urge is evil; “Touch not, taste not” in order to avoid the flesh is not only counterproductive, but stifles our
“real” longings which come from God. God made us sexual beings and the devil interfered with that. Avoiding sexuality altogether throws out the baby of what God created with the bathwater of what Satan did.
Nothing is more telling of personal prejudice than the way various people choose to translate Galatians 3:28. I don’t know any biblical languages but I have it on good authority that it’s supposed to read, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
I am arrested by the “and” in this sentence.
The sentence builds up on a series of neithers and nors; that the negation of the “male and female” is described with an “and” instead of an “or,” like the other pairs, tells me that there is a reason that the male and female are negated as a joint pair.
That reason is to echo back to the Genesis humanity creation as “male and female,” one awaiting realization in the other. There were two creation accounts, and originally the “made and female” possibly just Adam, with Eve in his side.
In Christ, then, the “New Creature” is precisely that – a New Creature so spiritual, so radically superior to the first, that it transcends physical gender categories; it transcends even the demand that they “marry and are given in marriage”; we hold on to the structures because we choose to and God concedes to that. The New Creation isn’t a mere reboot or new-and-improved version of the old. It is a New Creation.
At the risk of sounding Gnostic about it, I will dare to say that when God looks at us, He sees His children – He doesn’t see robots that have to live by a legalistic, outer-form determined set of gender expectations, especially surrounding marriage. “There is no more male and female” is another way of saying that humanity has “arrived.” Let us keep in mind that many New Testament texts were written by persons who expected Jesus to return soon. The question of whether to marry at all was a pretty important one. What did human sexuality mean, then?
Well, I speculate that just as an umbilical cord falls away, or cells change function as a person grows, or as milk teeth are replaced by permanent teeth, so too does our sexuality transmutate into something else once we get to heaven – something that will make earthly sex seem about as interesting as a visit to the dentist in comparison. Perhaps, what our ordinary sex drive will become is an ability to tune into and see God. What we do with our bodies matters because it will inform our experience of God in the Age to come.
Moreover, there is no more “male and female” was God’s way of saying, “You do not have to ‘measure up’ for Me; you are perfectly accepted in Christ Jesus.” It is His way of abolishing the very structures that have caused so much inequality and hurt as well as the difference in the sexes that acted as a foothold for both the original blessing and the original curse. By giving us a superior blessing, God takes away the possibility of the curse as well as all the pain and configurations of shame that can be derived from that curse.
We are therefore free to play with the male and female energies that we have, in whatever ways most authentically express who we are. While I’ll never voluntarily help with decorations for a baby shower, you will catch that the ear with which I listen to music is not a conventionally male ear. The basis of my artistic sensitivity and intuition is this gorgeous interplay of male and female energies that I refine and polish and tweak as I soak in creation and send love out to others. .
We must always remember that even something as innocent as the presence of different-gendered toilets in our world must be seen as a legal concession to the shame of the curse that the distinction quarantined; were the curse completely absent, there would be no need of the gender distinction.
Let us remember what the spirit world is like: the preincarnate, feminine Sophia in whom are hid the treasures of God’s wisdom and in whom God created all things, is revealed as the Son of God when on earth. Jesus “births” the church when He is pierced in the side like a mother would birth a baby in blood and water; indeed, He once spoke of how He would gather people like a mother hen gathers her chicks.
Biologically, we are both “male and female,” all of us. The exact tissues that make up the male organs, all of them, are the same tissues that make up the female organs, all of them. They’re
essentially the same organs but arranged and emphasized differently.
He and the Father being in Trinity are what sex is meant to outpicture. Gender exists in the spirit world, but it does not exist in distinct, discrete categories; it exists in the closer-getting Yin and the Yang of things; the soprano and the bass; the violin and the cello. That Eve was made out of Adam should show us that there was the potential for femininity in Adam.
Let us ask ourselves this question: why is it that spirituality is more readily discernible in a gender-nonconforming, almost androgynous person, than it is in persons who conform more closely to their gender? Why are gender-conforming people more likely to exhibit violence? Why were the bisexual Greek boys smarter than our hyperheterosexual boys as I will argue very soon? Why are the most talented male musicians almost always bisexual?
It’s everywhere you look! Grace and power always dancing together in people as they individually and together outpicture the Godhead. “There is no more male and female,” He says, creating flowers and all sorts of other creatures that were once “unclean” because they were neither just circle nor just square but both. “There is no more male and female,” He says as one thing after another happens in history and society to show us that the Mosaic holiness code did not pin gender down. It couldn’t have.
Some people advance the slippery slope argument to say that if such a Utopian view of mankind can be advanced, then why shouldn’t we fear that all sorts of relationships will begin making themselves known?
Galatians 3:28 speaks to mature-minded persons of the Christian faith; there is no danger that a Christian will decide to marry his pet dog. Nothing in an inclusive reading of Galatians makes provision for that sort of decision because it speaks to human beings who have the ability and maturity to understand what is being said; more importantly, it speaks on the assumption that we are New Creatures in Christ who will act in the wisdom of the Spirit who moves in them, but not in the Letter that crushes them. We have been unplugged from the Systems and the Letters of the Law. Jesus unmasked those Systems, so we have been unplugged from them; the curse is gone. This also means that we have been unplugged from the Powers and from the Law.
This is what repentance is about. It’s about repenting from the Cultural Value System of the world, and turning to the cultural value system of the Kingdom where he would be greater serves. This is why the call to repentance is normally worded, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” meaning that from the midst of the Legalistic and Imperial Systems as well as their corresponding Cultural Value Systems which inadvertently feed their bragging rights and requirements that we save face and remain respectable on the surface, God wanted us to be baptized into His Kingdom for the remission of sins. There is no such thing, as far as I know, “as repenting of one’s sins”; there is only repenting from the legalistic System that produces sinfulness. One believes and “buys into” the Kingdom of Heaven; God forgives the sins as a way of stating that the person is no longer in a dispensation wherein sins “count” – He has reconciled you to Himself and is no longer “counting” sins because the dispensation that named and created sins is passed away. God is saying that the Law’s demands in that person’s life are fulfilled, and that the Law is wholly silenced.
However, people who live to take advantage of this grace clearly demonstrate that they aren’t free from the curse of lust and therefore still need the Law to restrain them, convict them of their iniquity and their need for a perfect Deliverer who’d fulfilled the demands and answered the accusations of the Law. For lust is proof that one is still driven by the Cultural Value System of this world. I will explain the difference between sexual desire, which is what Adam and Eve were created for, and lust, which is what the Law was shaped to hold back.
When we insist on reinforcing the normative and matrimonial structures that were bolstered up to quarantine the curse – even the “male and female” of the original creation, whose administration the Law of Moses was intended – we invoke the power of the curse over it. I will demonstrate that shortly.
Heteronormality has been no better and would be no worse at curtailing polygamy than a Galatians 3:28 New Creation worldview; in fact, heteronormality would be worse because it normalizes the Law as well as the hierarchical conditions by which the curse could implant itself into humanity. Hierarchy and “authority” are God’s way of restraining a world where He doesn’t rule from within hearts.
Moreover, the Galatians 3:28 worldview would be acted out at the level of our sensibilities: we wouldn’t swap partners because we wouldn’t be driven by lust but by the thoroughly satiating, meaningful sex that God wanted humanity to outpicture. We wouldn’t abuse those not quite old enough to experience it because no one falls under Galatians 3:28 who doesn’t understand the racial, classist, sexual and theological problems addressed by the “no more Greek or Jew, no more slave or free, you’re all one in Christ Jesus.”
God will send the world gay people until everyone gets that: the Law that says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind” has been laid aside. Why? Because the permutation of shame and curses attached to it is gone. The shame of being penetrated is gone; the demand that the male’s role in sex always be domination is gone; the demand that the person who is as “with womankind” is gone; the “confusion” is no longer possible. The curse which made sex a parody of the Godhead is gone; therefore, when two men have sex, unless they bring to mind the exploitative perspectives that the curse created, which the Law was created to administrate, they are innocent as are the persons in the straight couple. If we invoke or normalize the Law of Moses as a way to stop people from having sex, we invoke its curse.
The domination is gone. When we bring the Law back, we are acting as though the cause for shame is still there – that the curse is still operative, and that Eve is still being dominated, and that therefore we are all trapped in power structures we don’t understand. Under the Old Dispensation, to have one man doing to another what was being done to Eve was unthinkable because the curse of Eve was that through being penetrated, she’d never hold on to both her personhood and her sexuality. Therefore, if under the New Dispensation we insist that for a man to love another man is for both to shame themselves as it says in Romans 1, then we are cursing all women all over again – we reveal the same prejudice against them that the Law was meant to regulate.
And so it is! When we read Romans 1 about men who burned with lust for other men, our Law-conditioned minds are scandalized about such a thought because to us, they are acting out a strange configuration of the curse, to their own shame, both pouring away everything their masculinity stood for under the Law and in the myth about Adam’s body that the Law unfurled into. When we think according to the Law, we think according to the curse. What is the curse? It is the travesty of divine indwelling that happens whenever Adam penetrates and dominates Eve or, more abominably, even Steve; it is the lust, humiliation and abdication and discarding of dignity therein. It is exchanging the truth for a lie, it is exchanging personhood for folly. Of course the Law judges that.
Under the curse, sex was a certain parody of the Godhead that God had enforced upon us – the male using his masculine power to assert and reassert his rule over the female; it was the picture of inescapable tyranny, a picture that had to be regulated by God using the Law.
This parody was only preferable to same-sex copulation simply because, in this cursed mindset, it was the lesser of two evils. If heterosexual coupling was a travesty of the Godhead, then homosexual coupling was worthy of death. But when we normalize and invoke the Law of Moses, then by the same judgment with which we have judged others, we too will be judged.
If heterosexual coupling was the lesser of two evils, it was because it had this redemptive truth to it: it could produce children. Catholicism demanded that it do as much – it didn’t give a damn about “correct plumbing.” Nowhere in the bible is an argument made regarding the plumbing. People who know, really, really know the Law of God, know that we are still bound to the nature of the first creation and that we are not bound to it for pleasure’s sake, but for the degradation of the “natural use” of the woman to augment the man’s rulership and produce him children. But for us to mechanically demand that all unions produce children is Phariseeism because it re-imposes on Eve the demand that her “natural uses” be remembered and enforced.
When you read the rest of Romans, it turns out we were judging by a Law that was meant to expose our hypocrisy, ignorance and iniquity, not to be lived out. When we try to live it out, the curse just returns. Because of Jesus, the Law is powerless to command, accuse, inflame lust, deceive or control. It has no foothold in us. We owe no debt to it. It is fulfilled. Does this mean we can sin all we want? That’s impossible: dead to sin, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh isn’t merely the last of our priorities; it is antithetical to our New Nature. So it’s quite possible to live a life that looks “sinful” insofar as the Letter of the Law is concerned, without actually being “sinful” regarding its Spirit.
The sudden appearance of gays and their “parody” of marriage and sex is a judgment on mainstream society for believing that the significance of marriage and sex can still be earned legalistically. Because the mainstream still wants to do marriage by the Law, it continues suffering the exact curse that the Law was meant to deal with. More devastatingly, the mainstream suffers under Powers that take advantage of the presence of the curse that was meant to be restrained by the Law. Jesus exposed the Powers and in doing so He extinguished in us any desire to have ourselves validated by the world System that the Powers run using the Law; that’s why, for example, the commands “You shall not commit adultery” and “You shall not covet” do not apply to the Christian. Having seen the Powers for the evil that they are, and having been delivered from the Law that regulated this evil, the Christian is too disillusioned and nonconformed from the System of this world to envy anything in it, or lust for validation on its terms no matter how pretty the object of the envy, how enchanting the terms or how pretty the person who could be a potential sex object.
Because it regulates exploitation, the Law shows us all the ways that the humanity of people can be forgotten just as Eve’s humanity can be forgotten under the Law; that’s why the Law needs to tell us not to commit adultery – the Law needs to tell Adam that while he can marry three of Eve, he must not be so greedy that the ends up “conquering” an Eve that is married to another man.
The Law sets a boundary for Adam’s curse. The Law regulates Adam’s greed and lust even while it makes provision for it. So the command shows how low humanity has sunk and just how sinful sin is. Under grace, which is the absence of the Law, people are restored to being fully human again as is seen in Galatians 3:28. And when they see and appreciate one another’s full personhood, there is no need to tell them not to commit adultery. Adultery is antithetical to their new statuses as New Creations; because they love and are loved, they will not exploit or objectify or toss aside.
When the world gets that and stops reinforcing the Law, two things will happen: gay people will “disappear” in the sense that they’ll be integrated into society the way that the puzzle pieces were meant to come together all along, and we’ll see the cessation of AIDS, domestic violence, poverty and all the other effects of the curse that we enforced by reemploying the Law. The Law is not just a ministry of death in some grand theological sense; it also creates literal death by increasing exactly the thing you’d have thought it could end. I have explained this in political terms, and will explain more in terms of disease and divorce.
When we take the Law that was supposed to restrain sin and turn it into a respectable social institution whose structures we must fulfill in order to fulfill an unspoken code of decorum, we cover up the remaining dregs of the curse the way Adam and Eve covered their nakedness by their own efforts. For example, in our contemporary revulsion of the thought that Adam could be penetrated by Steve or vice-versa, we legitimize the idea that to be penetrated is to be dominated and therefore something to be ashamed of. We legitimize and reinstate and recreate the curse placed on Eve; we recreate misogyny and its many, many ills – the greatest of which being the Powers’ ability to use us.
The Law that was supposed to keep sin in check will not be satisfied to remain unemployed in the absence of the curse: if need be, it will resurrect and resuscitate and bring back “the curse” in order that it will have something to accuse and condemn and restrain. The curse is the Law’s magnetic equal and opposite. You can crucify “the flesh” and succeed at it too by not participating in the power games that Adam and Eve play on an economic, political or personal front – by walking humbly before your God in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, by having exposed to you the selfishness of the World’s value system, and not seeking validation within those systems, you can experience immense Christian victory in terms of overcoming the world. But the moment you bring the Law in to say, “Oi Steve, don’t put that in Adam; it is abomination” guess what happens? It does become abominable because the Law brings to mind exactly what it was supposed to keep in check. The curse, in all its infinite terror, comes rushing back into the spiritual landscape we live in and we lose our freedom. The once-crucified flesh comes back as in a scene from some zombie horror movie.
But it doesn’t end there: in our insistence on creating one respectable institution after another rather than hearing God saying, “There is no more male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus,” we bring the curse back on a much larger scale by empowering the Powers who use the curse to exercise the shameful, painful dominion over all of us that God warned Eve about. We recreate on a political scale the tyrant we thought God was on a relational level. We create Jacob Zuma, Robert Mugabe and many other heteropatriarchal tyrants across the world that all enforce God’s Law while simultaneously taking for themselves all power and resources. That is what the patriarchal Law of God allows them to do because that is the mockery of the divine image that the Law pushes on us, and every time we go back to that Law we fall from grace.
Whenever we reinforce the “male and female” rules, we reinforce the Law which was intended to contain the problem between men and women; we therefore reinforce the Law’s accusation that there is trouble in Paradise; we thus reinforce the curse because we reinforce the thing that was supposed to contain the lust of wishing to rule and be degradingly ruled.
This curse is therefore the hierarchical power of the Powers. Whenever we trust in the Law we yield to the Powers and not go God. We empower the Powers because we reinforce the existence of the tyranny that God cursed us with in Eden. When we yield to the Law and the safety and respectability that it promises even a little bit, we ironically discard of our freedom. “Cursed are you if you do not continue in all the things that are written in the Law.” The Law is a ministry of death because no one can follow it exhaustively. When you begin to regard its “Thou shalts” and its “Thou shalt nots” you die. Those commandments exist for people who’ve bought into the exploitative cultural value systems of this world; they need to be told not to objectify people and overvalue things, because they haven’t repented towards the Kingdom of Heaven wherein things are less important than people, and wherein all people are all deserving of the very best that the Spirit of God can bring out of us in terms of the nine fruits of the Spirit from love to self-control. The Law cannot produce these things because the Law was created to contain a curse – “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Listen to that satire of the original design. That’s the curse that the Law was meant to regulate. Why do people want to go back to it when the alternative is so much better?
The primary difference between setting aside the Law, and Lawlessness, is this:
Setting aside of the Law means having heard it, been convicted that it’s pointed out the curse in us, and believing by faith that it is fulfilled in Jesus. The curse of the Law; that is, the curse that the Law was meant to name and restrain, is therefore gone because we repent from the cultural value systems of the world that the curse was meant to regulate. In saying “Jesus is Lord” we withdraw our allegiance from the Powers and Structures of this world; we have no lust for achievement as the world defines it, whether it’s sexual, material or relational.
There is no longer a Law needed because the curse has been rescinded. Regenerated, Adam and Eve, as well as Adam and Steve, would never degrade one another or gratuitously indulge themselves, and therefore need no Law telling them, “Touch not, eat not, taste not,” which is powerless to silence the flesh insofar as the flesh is experiencing a real need for communion. These children of whom no tribute is required are once again free to “eat any of the fruit that are in the trees of the Garden” and with that freedom God will produce the strength and wisdom to eat sensibly. A starving man may overindulge, but moderation is a sign that one knows that one is free.
Lawlessness, however, is never having heard the Law nor having its curse dealt with. It is being under the curse because the Law was never heard in order that it may crystallize and codify the curse. Lawlessness is, therefore, the state of still owing a huge debt to the Law because the curse the Law was supposed to remove is still alive and well. Indeed, Adam and Steve – as well as Adam and Eve – need to have the Law in their world in order to quarantine the curse of the Law. There is still dominion, pain, tyranny, power, manipulation and degradation happening there; the curse is alive and well. To whatever degree they are controlled by the curse, to that degree must the world must be very, very careful to make sure that there are strict Laws around how these will live so that the curse may be regulated.
But if they should hear the Law and believe on Jesus, grace can set aside the Law aside entirely. They unplug from the value System of this world; they are no longer conformed to the pattern of this world. They see that the owning, dominating and manipulation, which the Law held in check but never extinguished in the heart, was wrong.
Grace can never be a license for Lawlessness because Lawlessness is the attitude of refusing to hear the accusations of the Law in the first place. The state of Lawlessness is a state of having been without the Law, ever, up until that point; the state of having the Law set aside is a state of grace. People under grace know what it’s like to be exploited, objectified and used by the Powers that crucified Jesus; they would never repeat that on another human being even under mutual consent for mutual gratification. The possibility of ever being like the world again is antithetical to their New Natures. They have overcome the world.
People fall from grace when whey pick up again the yoke of bondage that is the Law. “The Law is for the Lawless in order to restrain sin.” The Law is for men who abuse themselves with men, who would impose the shame of Eve on fellow men or wallow in the shame of Eve; it is not for those who love fellow men even if that love, I daresay, includes erotic contact. If that is how love expresses itself in that particular situation, how can any Law be created against it, and to restrain which curse? The Law is a response to a curse. The two men are one – which, as I explained, is no longer exclusively a “male and female” prerogative.
To condense a very large idea, the curse of the Law spoken of in Genesis is the imbalance of power inherent in sexual desire and expression as we now experience it, as well as the rules, checks and measures that God has used throughout history to keep that imbalance from destroying civilization even while He used it to restrain civilization’s greed. Remember, the sexual imbalance you’re seeing when Adam rules over Eve is the same sexual imbalance you’re seeing as Egypt dominates Israel: it’s the same curse on a larger scale still playing out into our age.
When we normalize and enforce the “male and female,” (of which Galatians said “there is no longer any,”) we enforce the rules, checks and measures that God no longer needs to regulate that imbalance since Eve’s Deliverer has crushed the head of the serpent – that is, the Accuser that articulated and drew out the Law, its accusation against God, highlighted the restriction of the Law and repainted a tyrannical picture of the hierarchy between God and man; man and wife; the Powers and the people under the Powers. The Deliverer fulfills the Law, silences it, and makes a spectacle out of all the Powers. More than that, when we are told that the Deliverer became one of us, and one with us, so that we may be one with one another, the concept of hierarchy changes altogether. Insofar as we’re still the body of Christ in the World, He is the head of the Body and the male is the head of the household. But that’s us as we interact with the World
It’s not the ultimate goal; the ultimate goal, I daresay, is us being one in another just as the Father and the Son are one, bring their oneness into us and ours into theirs so that all may be one. The Father is the head of the Son insofar as the Son is saving the World; the Father and the Son are One in Another insofar as they are being themselves. We choose the image of God we partake in depending on how deeply we’re aligned with the World. We’ve been choosing since Eden.
When we turn the concession towards the cultural value system of the world into a final goal, we lose our balancing act whereby we were progressively tightroping away from the one-above-the-other hierarchies of the world, towards the one-within-the-other hierarchies of the Kingdom of Heaven; nay, we fail to bring God’s Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven because we just keep conceding. I believe that God was the first feminist in the bible. The reason history keeps nudging towards equality, and towards the oneness that lies beyond equality, is that God hates the curse we brought upon ourselves in Eden – even though we love it by loving the Law that dresses it up. When we enforce the Law that was meant to address the imbalance, we bring the imbalance back as well as the accusing Serpent that articulated and capitalized on the Law.
Many readers would be scandalized at this idea that God’s plan for the two sexes was equality. But I argue that it was better than that; it was the oneness that Deity experiences in the Godhead, which Jesus prayed His church would experience as He dwelt in us. Hierarchy is God making concessions to our imbalance, even in the New Testament Church. I will explain that hierarchy is God’s way of respecting the cultures and structures we have created even as He weans us off of them: oneness and mutual submission in service is God’s desire for us. Gay people exist, therefore, as a judgment on the way society views marriage and sexuality as something that people who’ve got the “correct” pattern (which pattern was instituted to control a problem and reinstates the problem every time it is articulated as a pattern) should “earn.” Nothing can be earned in God’s kingdom; everything is bestowed by a generous Father.
I submit that our failure to accept the grace in Galatians 3:28, as well as other scriptures wherein God subverts the very gender truths He’d once codified, is what has produced the problems that our insistence on fixed gender identities was supposed to solve. The appearance of gays and their “disgusting parody” of “natural copulation” is actually a judgment on the one who sees it for insisting on coming to it with that legalistic, heteropatriarchal viewpoint in the first place. The viewer’s heteropatriarchal viewpoint exposes that he’d prefer the controlled exploitation of Eve under the Law, as well as the male hegemony that ensures, over oneness. When a person is threatened and disgusted by the sight of two men embracing, it exposes his own lust, for when he insists that the woman is specifically designed for this “use” as well as the bearing of children who will carry his name ala the provisions made in the Old Testament for our incredible transience and mortality, (the provision covers up the curse of death and should not be boasted in), he shows how much he loves the Law; he therefore holds on to the shame and the curse the Law was meant to cover. It was good to love God’s Law when the Law was superior to anything else in the world. But do we want to worship a God who normalizes polygamy? Think!
The legalistic viewpoint not only creates the subjective disgust, but precipitates the objective reality of the way gays copulate because when a culture places a very high premium on heterosexual copulation and exploitation, there indeed are some men who want to exploit something even more “valuable” than a woman – hence you have the Roman noblemen who fucked male slaves just because they could. See? We’ve been inching towards Galatians 3:28 because it’s the way we’re spiritually wired.
Holding on to the Law is also a matter of pride for seemingly being able to perform under the System that caricatures our shame. The appearance of gays and their demand for gay marriage, which is a “mockery” of straight marriage, is a judgment on the mainstream viewer and his insistence on the existence and preferential treatment of those who are in the “male and female” category; it is a judgment on the insistence of those who had the decency to be born “straight” that those who “got it right” and “obeyed” God by being heterosexual, be rewarded for getting it right. After all, they are “better than” those for whom the gender-boundary softening grace of Galatians 3:28 was given, so why not reward them for a job well done? Who needs grace anyway?
In view of the way heterosexuality was so perfectly designed to host the curse, heterosexuality is nothing to be proud of except under the Law.
The existence of the “unnatural” way that gays copulate is a judgment and “parody” on the shallowness with which those same mainstream heteronormal judges enjoy their sexual liaisons. For if the heteronormal judges had not been hypocritical, shallow and double-standarded, no one would have commercialized any type of sex at all. All sex, whether gay or straight, would be holy. Sinai exposes us all.
I therefore submit that every other “rule” in scripture and in society regarding clothing, gender roles, marriage technology, safety, hierarchy, structure and culture, is a concession, both from the human writer and the divine Author, to whatever the phase of development the society is in at the time. It is a concession to our need for decorum, hygienic, pathological and military safety, as well as social stability.
All along, we thought the concessions were rules. They were training wheels. We were being weaned off of them. Our oneness in Christ Jesus is the supreme reality of the New Life, and whenever we think it is anything else – even something scriptural – we make an idol of that something else. And idols need sacrifices. There have been too many needless sacrifices, as I will show.
Grace isn’t grace until it can bring forth the oneness seen in Galatians 3:28, which not only breaks down the distinctions among people groups, but also between genders and the very distinctive “shape” of marriage as it was first given. This “shape” of marriage, through a blessing, is exactly what enabled society to host the curse of Genesis 3 and therefore every other biblical curse there is. It’s counterintuitive to propose that something that’s viewed as the cornerstone of society can host the curse of God, but it can.
The New Creation in Christ Jesus has no capacity to host curses unless it too “buys into” curses by viewing reality through the lens of the Law. Even licentiousness is a sign that one still views reality through the Lens of the Law because one hasn’t been transferred from Law. The grace achieved for us in Christ Jesus is perfect and perfectly sufficient at all times, in all ways.
The biblical view at all times – even in the Old Testament, through every dispensation and every legislation – was towards Galatians 3:28. That this piece of scripture in itself provides protection from the “slippery slope” of society going wholly downhill. The grace of it is God’s safety net for us.
By seeing that there are distinction between “lawlessness” and “sin” and “having the law set aside,” we see that there are many meanings to the phrase, “where lawlessness abounds, grace abounds all the more.”
I submit that because of sentence structure difficulty, Paul couldn’t fit “lawlessness”, “sin” and “having the law set aside” into the phrase in order to show the multiple meanings possible within it. Different translators have translated it differently, appearing unaware of the difference in meaning brought about by the different translations.
The grace that abounds when “sin” abounds, when people are “lawless,” is the grace of conviction and the Law’s restraint.
The grace that abounds when people “set the law aside” is the grace of being pardoned from having to fulfill the Law, as well as the “grace” of being able to move freely and innocently without the encumbrances of the Law. It is the “grace” of poetic, gracious “movement,” “being” and “oneness” with community and with God. Until one has had the accusation and curse of the Law dealt with by a perfect Fulfiller of the Law, who also deals with the penalty of the Law being broken by dying under the curse of the Law, one cannot be excused from one’s obligations to the Law; one cannot be freed from the curse, the obligation, the shame and the exploitative mindset of the Law; therefore, one cannot enter the innocent, ecstatic, poetic and graceful dance of grace.
Many Christians have asked, “Is grace how God tolerates sin in Christians?” That question exists because we have conflated the multi-storied meanings of “sin”, “lawlessness” and “setting aside the Law” together, as well as God’s different views of these different phrases. So the question of whether God tolerates sin in Christians falsifies the perspective and cannot be exhaustively answered; it wasn’t meant to be answered, and it doesn’t matter now or in eternity because the question itself is based on false and truncated understandings of sin and lawlessness. Although these words always appear to mean the same thing in the bible, they contain nuances which, once understood, will suddenly integrate the biblical discourse into the simplest explanatory model of scripture ever.
Galatians 3:28 has the capacity to carry and explain every other scripture, but no other scripture has the capacity to carry or explain Galatians 3:28 away; Galatians 3:28 represents a way of living life that every ancient society once practiced in some shape or form, but never perfected because the curse of sin dwelt in each of its members. Perhaps the biblical journey was to first go away from those particular models, perfect our understanding of the genders through suffering and redemption, and then return to those models with more meaning, insight, refinement and the wisdom to make modifications to them as we see the need. The purpose was for us to be more authentic and powerful.
The need for authenticity
Understandably, many people fear the dissolution of gender roles because oftentimes, what the world sees when gender roles disappear isn’t people being their authentic selves (which I have seen, and found irresistibly beautiful) ; rather, it is people seeking validation as something other than what they are, within a false cultural value system. This too is an expression of being under the Law, as odd as it seems; therefore, it brings with itself every biblical curse there is.
Every time we submit to anything other than the grace found in Galatians 3:28, even with the intention of obeying another piece of scripture, we submit in some way to the Powers of this world as well as to the power of the curse.
God’s creation is full of things that are not “male and female” in a conventional sense. Why am I supposed to believe that under Christ, humans can’t also be viewed as no longer “male and female”?
I will show why we’ve held on to ungrace, as well as everything that’s come of those choices.
When Jesus removes the curse that the Law was supposed to restrain along with the Law that recalls the curse, innocence is restored. The structures that quarantined the curse are gone; the oneness and divine unity are bestowed again on people, on couples, as a gift and a grace; they can’t earn it or be good enough for it by checking off boxes as under the Law: man, tick; woman, tick; been good, tick; etc. “There is no longer male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus” is, paradoxically, how God marries us in a marriage incantation that can work for any gender pair of persons that Jesus died for, as I will argue. What if it’s not just a pair that wants to marry? I will explain how the Law in its heteropatriarchy was powerless to stop polygamy and could only put a pretty face to it. “There is no longer male and female,” God says, dissolving the normative structures that contained and quarantined the curse; “For you are one,” He says, telling us that we are no longer parodies of Godhead but image-bearers; “In Christ Jesus,” He says, reminding us of Who had to be broken so that we could be united. The promise is that when we come to God in Christ, He places the divine image on our unity regardless of how we’ve performed legally in terms of getting our structures right. I will prove that when we focus on the structure – when we insist that our safety as communities depends on the geometrical symmetry that we’re bringing before God, we go right back to being judged by the Law that was supposed to quarantine the curse; we fall from grace and end up captive to the Powers because they exploit our insistence on the Law, as I will prove through examples like Zimbabwe and, to some degree, South Africa.
Another association made by the Jewish-minded audience Paul was addressing was that the pagans’ ignoring God in turn led to God (“for this cause”) to handing people over to degrading and disease-causing acts like gay anal sex.
We’re assuming that this was an association made by the Jewish audiences and ignoring the more likely alternatives involving warped theological practices that result from turning from the eternal Creator to four-footed creatures and birds; we’re not going to try to find out more about the realities the text was referring to; we’re going to ignore the more complex, more probable associations held by Jewish audiences regarding temple prostitution, imitation of hermaphroditic, promiscuous deities and all manner of bizarre sexual-ritual activities that would make today’s most advanced sex perverts blush. We’re going to dump our modern cultural understandings and associations on sexuality over theirs in toto.
Never mind the devastating mess such careless projection and extrapolation causes; let’s do it, just as we’ve been doing it for years and praising God for the staggeringly tragic results. We’re going to assume that our generation and Paul’s generation are not speaking past each other, and thus justify our prejudices using scripture.
Okay. So Paul’s rhetoric is addressing Jews who believe that God hands pagans over to anal homosexual practices that incur diseases like AIDS. “The penalty in their bodies” does not refer to the literal, visible scarring that results from when people gash their bodies in order to impress their deities, as did the Baal worshipers at Mount Carmel, or the historically proven practice among devotees of mutilating their bodies to be more like their multi-sexual gods’; oh, no, Paul isn’t talking about that. Paul is talking about AIDS, which God didn’t invent until 1930. The entire Jewish audience was walking in the prophetic, foreseeing not the concurrent consequences which pagan contemporaries were experiencing in their day and age, but the disease which homosexuals would experience in our day and age. “Is Saul also among the prophets?” Yes, he is, as is every other Jew in the early 1st century, apparently.
So Paul’s Jewish audience believes that God caused AIDS in order to punish them for the anal sex He handed them over to. Anal sex is such a disease-causing and evil practice and its practitioners should be quarantined in concentration camps or in hell, whichever comes first.
Why stop at people who practice anal sex? If the measure of how evil a thing is is how much disease and injury it causes, then let’s quarantine sushi chefs, alcohol and tobacco manufacturers, rugby apparel makers, everyone driving on the Durban M4 and in fact, God Himself. He puts so much testosterone in boys that they can’t help injuring themselves. God be damned for allowing the type of universe He has, no?
There are many, many activities that are dangerous. Anal sex shouldn’t be given extra-special treatment. We do that because only a minority of people practice it and enjoy it. I’d be offended my dangerous practices were suddenly banned, though I could push for the dangerous practices of others to be banned. Smoking is a slower, more effective suicide bomber. Why isn’t it condemned like the heinous evil that it is?
The website g0ys.org would have us believe that Paul’s rhetoric was against anal sex, and that anal sex is the real evil and should be banned. I applaud the site for investigating. Good for them. But why stop there? Let’s outlaw gluttony, laziness, selfishness. All evil. Let’s hasten Judgment Day and clean up the earth. Never mind that we’re all flammable. If we had to stop sinning in order to receive God’s grace, then we may as well stop breathing, knowing that in our next breath God will fry us all.
We humans have a God-given instinct against all disgusting acts and things. It expresses itself in different way. I cannot stand sloppy spelling and grammar. My older sister will throw up the moment you start talking about a hair in her food. This all reflects a God who is holy. His image is still in our souls, if only faintly. But there’s a problem:
Still on the g0ys.org site, I read about a television documentary that was made about an orange juice factory. While the cameras were rolling and the machines were grinding, a snake appeared and slipped into the machinery, contaminating the juice, all on live television. The camera crew asked whether they weren’t going to stop the machinery and replace the juice. The response was astonishing: apparently, one ground-up snake slipping into the machinery would cause barely-detectable contamination that would hardly show up on a safety tests. The juice was safe for human consumption even with a ground-up snake in it.
People were naturally revolted to hear this. But what people forget is that this happens all the time, in all food-manufacturing places. Sugar mills get sugar cane, wash and crush it, and then produce sugar. But they cannot control the raw materials at such a level that they eliminate all bush rats, snakes, moles and insects. Our sugar looks perfectly safe, but is it?
Really? Why stop at sugar? Why trust tap water? Why have sex with a woman on her period?
God is saying that it is now safe to outpicture the unity of the divine because there is no shame, no betrayal, no curse and no lust in our outpicturing. The curse is gone; so too, then, is the Law.
Now, there are many, many reasons for gay men not to practice either anal or oral sex, or any sex for that matter. But the principle of “all things are lawful for me” is one I’ll go to my grave defending. While it’s not all things that edify, all things are now lawful – not just gastronomically, but in general. Scandalous but true: in grace, there is no Law. Law and grace are incompatible. If grace, not Law; if Law, not grace.
Therefore, the double-shame that would have occurred if it were two men getting married is impossible. Under the curse, 1 times 1 was one: when one man dominated one woman, it was bad enough but it was one necessary evil. Therefore, the “unnecessary” and “futile” evil of one man dominating another man sexually – 2 men times 1 equaling twice as much futile shame – was unthinkable and for reasons I will expand on, intolerable.
Under the New Covenant, 1 times 0 shame is 0 shame. So is 2 times 0 shame is 0 shame. By removing the curse of the Law, God has changed the meaning of our actions. How come? Because our actions are no longer manifestations of our lust to validation within false value systems.
“No,” some people say. “It’s not right. God wouldn’t agree to a man being penetrated like a woman.”
“So you’re saying that the degradation of Eve is still in force and should be quarantined to just the woman, who rightfully earned that curse for her part of the rebellion?”
“No,” they tell me. “It’s just that a man is a man and a woman is a woman.”
“There is now no more male and female,” I remind them. “The distinction’s enforcement was the legal administration of a curse. Do you think your wife is still under God’s curse? What does it mean for you when you make love to her – that you are one flesh, or that you are ruling over her? What does it mean for you to be inside another human being? And how does that influence the way you judge homosexuality either as something deserving of death or as something redeemed from the curse of the Law?”
Those who treat sex as an expression of lust – who believe in “the natural use of the woman” – will always see gay men as also being inflamed with the urge to objectify and dominate one another. They will always see the abomination. But this is proof that the observer judges from within the framework of the curse of the Law; he does the same things that he judges in others because the curse is still with him. To the pure, all things are pure.
“But it’s so dirty and icky,” they say, having never done it – or having performed anal sex with a woman, which shows the absurdity of it all – and not knowing the hygienic choices around the act. Do they also refrain from copulation when she’s menstruating? “Women have a hole for it,” they say. Then heterosexual anal sex should be outlawed. The judgment is duplicitous and can only ever be done legitimately by God.
“The whole thing is embarrassing,” they say. That’s the curse-shame mentality talking again. The only thing embarrassing about any of this is that any of us is fighting for a right to have sex when we really should be fighting for much more community-building things.
There is a difference between sex as it is had by fallen people and sex as it is had by innocent people; also sex as it is had by redeemed people: the Value System has changed because Jesus has triumphed over the Powers. For that reason, while sex between the two differing sexes was a necessary evil prior to the fulfillment of the Law, sex between two men was abhorrent while sex between two women was distasteful but hardly a cause for social panic.
My opinion? If you have as much confidence in condoms and your psyche’s ability to derive more good than harm from anal sex as everyone has in tap water, sugar and orange juice, it’s your business. If you have that much confidence in your body’s ability to overcome the toxins in sushi and cigarettes, then they’re your business.
Is it possible that in our day and age, the measure for what is sexually immoral is simply when our urge for gratification outstrips our urge to serve God and man? Whether it is the Corinthian who is uniting Christ to a prostitute, or it’s the heterosexual couple who uses sex to manipulate and hurt each other, sex is only wrong when we have it to the detriment of our relationship with others and with God. What I’m lifting up seems easy, but it’s a standard much, much higher than any preached from any pulpit.
If you really want to measure the sinfulness of a sexual practice, then you should create a punnet square of overlapping categories. Work out when and in which situation a sexual activity is disease-causing and when it’s not; work out when it’s at the detriment of interpersonal relationships, work out when these categories overlap. You’ll find yourself sitting on 50 shades of gray, replete with the mental S and M. My advice? Leave the judging up to God, and work on stirring in yourself a holy zeal to serve God and man, zeal that far outweighs your other urges. This is not an instruction on how to get justified before God – for that, “believe on the Lord Jesus”; this is an instruction on how to get sanctified.
If ever an angelic race wants humanity summed up in a single image, one need only point that race to the crucified God. The cross, along with the betrayal, injustice and dishonesty that led to it, is the tragedy that explains, reveals, depicts and observes the world. It is the most honest mirror mankind ever got. It is a picture, not of divine resignation, but of divine love.
“Why can’t you just be normal, fit in and live life?” people ask me. I can’t take the mark of heteronormality and its promised benefits for the same reason that Christians cannot take the mark of the Beast, without which no one can buy or sell: the cost is far too high and the letdown far too great.
The Westborough Baptist Church, infamous for its “God hates fags” slogan, says that the word “fag” is really an elegant metaphor because it foreshadows how LGBTs will burn in hell. I wrest the interpretation out of their mouths and transform it: it is an elegant metaphor for how a society that’s made an idol out of heterorespectability will keep sacrificing its children up to its gods as burnt offerings. They are “faggots” because they are burned offerings; they are necessary sacrifices to keep the gods of heterorespectability, heterosupremacy, heteropatriarchy and tribalism alive and appeased. When white supremacy and racism were the norm in the USA, black people were lynched in trees; they were necessary sacrifices offered to the gods of racial supremacy and power imbalance. “Cursed is he who hangs on a tree,” the bible said, painting a picture of society’s power to execute persons; it most pointedly referred to Jesus who was considered cursed by God. Matthew Sheppard hung up in crucifix pose covered in blood and twin streams of tears; a growing list of gay-bashed, mutilated and murdered Africans – Duduzile Zozo on the day that America offers up fireworks to celebrate independence – are fags, burnt offerings, fireworks lit up to celebrate the gods who promise our independence and fail to deliver every decade. These gods demand a high cost: they demand that we keep displaying examples of the punishment that will be inflicted on heretics who subvert the religion of heterorespectability. It’s how they’ll stay in power – by terrorizing everyone.
But it is also how we wage war against them by constantly exposing them as they are. Christians were once “fags,” that is, lit by Nero on stakes to make a mockery out of their self-description as “lights of the world.” So are we. Each time one of us is offered up, the world sees a little more of what it’s doing to itself.
Fags are offered up to society not just by society itself, but also by the same Truth that held up the Christ we crucified, as a mirror in which we could take a good, hard look at ourselves. When we kill a person, God kills that person as well because God facilitates the execution of those decisions we make out of the free will He has given us, regardless of whether He agrees with the decisions or not. That He empowers us to keep choosing is a gift; it’s reality’s critique on our priorities, which is always a gift. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” the bible tells us. We’ve all hopefully heard the second half, which is that whoever believes in the Son will not perish but have everlasting life; what we haven’t focused on is God’s strange imitation of our child-sacrificing ways. God, like our gods, commanded Abraham to sacrifice his child. Then He told Abraham not to, for He was not a God who needed the sacrifice of our children to remain in power. Then He turned around and gave His Son up to us as though we were the cruel gods whose hegemony, hierarchy and choices require the dying of the innocent – because we are those Powers and Principalities! “You are gods,” He said, “Yet you shall die like men.”
Two gods compete for our allegiance. The one is a god of power; the other is a God of self-sacrificial love, indescribably wisdom and humble service. Being a powerless idol, the one is a god of structure, hierarchy, control and systemization who draws his power out of our fear. Like a roaring lion he prowls across the face off the earth looking for souls to devour, and we hand them over to him in order to appease him.
The other is a God who, in the breaking of His own body and the pouring of His own blood, breaks down the walls that divide people, shares power with them, and wants people to just “be” in relationship with one another rather than in hierarchy with one another. This second God makes concessions to our addiction to the safety and predictability hollowly promised by the god of structure and control; He speaks to us in and through those structures and the wars they spark off, but He does not like those structures, those wars and that control. “One Nation, Under God,” inevitably becomes “One Nation, Playing God,” because a preposition like “under” implies hierarchy. Once we worship a God of hierarchy, our greed inevitably makes us position ourselves high up in that hierarchy.
Some would say that this God only exists in the New Testament, and not the Old. But the history depicted in the Old Testament is, spiritually, an allegory of mankind’s wounded relationship with this God of self-sacrificial love. For example, I read in the book of Ezekiel how God complains about how the sisters Edom and Jerusalem chased after men (nations) whose penises and emissions were like those of donkeys, instead of trusting Him as God. They entered into treaties with these nations out of a compulsion to hide under the protection of the very nations they should have been afraid of – they cut a deal with the Mafia.
God also feels particularly rejected when Israel demands a king in order to be like every other nation. The issue, God is pointing out metaphorically in each of these stories, isn’t so much that He’s unable to perfectly satisfy as a lover; the issue is that His people have bought into a value system that isn’t interested in pleasure as much as it is in bragging rights. “Look at me, I’m the object of this aggressive, power-hungry nation’s pursuit!” The issue is that we as humans put our value and sense of security where we see overt displays of power. God also had raw power and was the source of it; He could split the sea and rain fire on cities. He just used this kind of power very, very sparingly, but often reminded His people of incidences when He had used it. “Don’t you remember how I delivered you from Egypt using ten whole miracles? Your problem is that you’re lusting after constant militant might.” What would it be like, living under the sovereignty of a God who performed endless displays of miraculous power? It would be like living in a war zone where we never know when the next transgression will cause the earth to open up or fire to incinerate people. It would be Sinai smoking on one side and voices thundering on the other. We have a choice, and Israel chose wisely: we can choose a God of power who talks from the mountain, or we can choose a God of wisdom who talks from heaven. But as the letter to the Hebrews asks, if we couldn’t survive the One who spoke from the mountain, why are we contesting the One who speaks from heaven?
I’d formulated a very elegant explanation as to how our inner heart states actually precipitate our eternal destiny. It explained how predestination and free will fitted together, and as an explanation was intended as a parallel in the model of how what we bring to a situation also creates that situation. But this piece became too long.
The point is that telling parallels exists between our overall sexual, political, and social conditions. We lust after status, bragging rights and overt displays of power. We care more about the image of a thing than we do about its substance.
Moreover, we insist on painting God Himself into that God of hierarchy; we insist on painting a corresponding structure onto everything because it is the only structure we know. And by taking that brush and placing it into Zozo’s body, we insisted on painting on her person a depiction of what that structure should look like – penetration and power in reinforcement of the controlling, hierarchical structures we have propped up about ourselves – and condemning and disposing of those that don’t want to play along.
We have chosen our god, and Duduzile Zozo was our burnt offering to him. We performed the ritual we hold most sacred on her because it reinforces the world we’ve chosen, and then we offered her up to our gods in order to pacify their neurotic fear of being extinguished. Another Christ goes on a cross; another Nigger gets lynched; another Shepard gets pistol-whipped and put up in crucifix pose.
Gays in marriage
The appearance and demand for gay marriage is an act of judgment against the institution of traditional marriage for taking a monopoly on security and acceptance; it is a judgment for making those securities and social privileges rewards exclusively given to those who fit the bill. Marriage was given as a gift to create security and significance in a world that had little; in the kingdom, they neither marry nor are given in marriage.
That gays are asking for marriage is a sign of the conditionality of society’s love. “For you are one in Christ Jesus,” the scripture said. The fact that all sorts of people are asking to get married is a sign that they don’t feel particularly at “one” with anything or anyone that they need. The fact that many gay men have married women reveals and exposes the cruel game that the institution of marriage has played with the dignities and consciences of men.
That gay people have to beg for the inclusive recognition that is insistently given by the mainstream viewer to only heterorespectable marriage is precisely what precipitates the very gay marriage that the mainstream disparages.
If gay marriage is a form of judgment, it is a form of judgment on the society that resisted it. By always having had in its bosom the judgmental elements that would resist gay marriage, society has resisted it and resisted it until it eventually came into existence as a judgment on its judgmentalism. What is being judged is our compulsion to think that we somehow “own” the knowledge that has been given to us; to think that we can judge and know somehow the difference between good and evil. We do know, yet we don’t.
In Galatians 3:28, God took away the unique specialness that was in the formula of “male and female.” I submit that He also took away the specialness of heteropatriarchy and the male hegemony that it upholds. But that’s an argument more nuanced than this blunt introduction can show.
By insisting on certain privileges always and only being associated with that formula and those that can keep to it – by insisting on reinforcing the Law mentality that views marriage as a reward for a life well-lived – the mainstream caused gay people to desire marriage they probably would never have been interested in to begin with (born eunuchs?) and thus caused the “problem.”
I agree that admitting gay people’s right to get married, in various countries, will soothe a lot of hurts and achieve much good for society. But it won’t address the problem that brought the controversy up – so another controversy will take its place again. If our error must persist, then I can see God wholeheartedly blessing gay marriages not in a sentimental and patronizing act of political correctness, but with as much respect and recognition as given to straight couples. But that will not deal with the root of the presumptuous judgmentalism that we use to make ourselves “better than” those who, in our view, don’t “know” right from wrong.
Had gay people been graciously loved to begin with, I submit, the very category of “gay people” wouldn’t even exist. It came into existence because the mainstream couldn’t hear God saying, “There is no more male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus.” We enforced the formulaic Law, and look what that did.
Guidelines exist in the New Testament as to how churches are to function as society; those guidelines even include penalties for those who gratuitously ignore the cohesiveness of the group. But those penalties are for people who deliberately choose particular actions just because they can. The man sleeping with his stepmom enjoyed hearing others boast about it. He did not have to sleep with her; he was merely fulfilling his lust to validation within the context of a Law that said that was wrong. He dared it so he could brag.
I recall reading somewhere that one of the reasons for Paul’s insistence that all women wear hairdressing to church was so that they’d be equal and wouldn’t be exposed for widows, virgins, married women, prostitutes, or “fallen” women. It was an instruction meant to protect, not control. Any rules enforced in the New Testament are for the protection, not the control, of the church members; any condemnation issued is for persons who clearly do not want to have the members protected. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul said that there is “now no male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus.” I’m amazed at how the church has believed that this particular grace was an optional add-on to Christianity. But grace is the backbone, heartbeat and organs of the New Life, which is by grace through faith from start to end.
The Male and Female in Galatians 3:28
Nothing is more telling of personal prejudice than the way various people choose to translate Galatians 3:28. I don’t know any biblical languages but I have it on good authority that it’s supposed to read, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
I am arrested by the “and” in this sentence.
The sentence builds up on a series of neithers and nors; that the negation of the “male and female” is described with an “and” instead of an “or,” like the other pairs, tells me that there is a reason that the male and female are negated as a joint pair.
That reason is to echo back to the Genesis humanity creation as “male and female,” one awaiting realization in the other. In Christ, then, the “New Creature” is precisely that – a New Creature so spiritual, so radically “better than” the first, that it transcends physical gender categories; it transcends even the demand that they “marry and are given in marriage”; we hold on to the structures because we choose to.
At the risk of sounding Gnostic about it, I will dare to say that when God looks at us, He sees His children – He doesn’t see robots that have to live by a legalistic, outer-form determined set of gender expectations, especially surrounding marriage. “There is no more male and female” is another way of saying that humanity had “arrived.” Let us keep in mind that many New Testament texts were written by persons who expected Jesus to return soon. The question of whether to marry at all was a pretty important one. What did human sexuality mean, then?
Well, I speculate that just as an umbilical cord falls away, or cells change function as a person grows, or as milk teeth are replaced by permanent teeth, so too does our sexuality transmutate into something else once we get to heaven – something that will make earthly sex seem about as interesting as a visit to the dentist in comparison. Perhaps, what our ordinary sex drive will become is an ability to tune into and see God. What we do with our bodies matters because it will inform our experience of God.
Moreover, there is no more “male and female” was God’s way of saying, “You do not have to ‘measure up’ for Me; you are perfectly accepted in Christ Jesus.” It is His way of abolishing the very structures that have caused so much inequality and hurt. We are therefore free to play with the male and female energies that we have, in whatever ways most authentically express who we are. While I’ll never voluntarily help with decorations for a baby shower, you will catch that the ear with which I listen to music is not a conventionally male ear. The basis of my artistic sensitivity and intuition is this gorgeous interplay of male and female energies that I refine and polish and tweak.
We must always remember that even something as innocent as the presence of different-gendered toilets in our world must be seen as a legal concession to the shame of the curse that the distinction quarantined; were the curse completely absent, there would be no need of the gender distinction.
Let us remember what the spirit world is like: the preincarnate, feminine Sophia in whom are hid the treasures of God’s wisdom and in whom God created all things, is revealed as the Son of God when on earth. Jesus “births” the church when He is pierced in the side like a mother would birth a baby in blood and water; indeed, He once spoke of how He would gather people like a mother hen gathers her chicks. He and the Father being in Trinity are what sex is meant to outpicture. Gender exists in the spirit world, but it does not exist in distinct, discrete categories; it exists in the Yin and the Yang of things; the soprano and the bass. That Eve was made out of Adam should show us that there was the potential for femininity in Adam.
Let us ask ourselves this question: why is it that spirituality is more readily discernible in a gender-nonconforming, almost androgynous person, than it is in persons who conform more closely to their gender? Why do gender-conforming people more likely to exhibit violence? Why were the bisexual Greek boys smarter than our hyperheterosexual boys? Why are the most talented male musicians almost always bisexual?
It’s everywhere you look! Grace and power always dancing together in people as they individually and together outpicture the Godhead.
I pointed out that something of Eve’s “curse” manifested itself in me. But that really depends on the kind of eye you bring to it: the Law, existing to contain a curse, will frown on this. Grace, being innocent, will smile on it; moreover, being redemptive, grace will enable me to use this aspect of myself to see things spiritually that I otherwise would know nothing about.
Some people advance the slippery slope argument to say that if such a Utopian view of mankind can be advanced, then why shouldn’t we fear that all sorts of relationships will begin making themselves known?
This passage speaks to mature-minded persons of the Christian faith; there is no danger in, say, a Christian Greek deciding that he’ll marry his pet dog. Nothing in an inclusive reading of Galatians makes provision for that sort of decision because it speaks to human beings who have the ability and maturity to understand what is being said; more importantly, it speaks on the assumption that we are New Creatures in Christ who will act in the wisdom of the Spirit who moves in them, but not in the Letter that crushes them. We have been unplugged from the Systems and the Letters of the Law.
Jesus unmasked those Systems, so we have been unplugged from them; the curse is gone. This also means that we have been unplugged from the Powers and from the Law.
This is what repentance is about. It’s about repenting from the cultural value system of the world, and turning to the cultural value system of heaven. This is why the call to repentance is normally worded, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” meaning that from the midst of the Legalistic and Imperial Systems as well as their corresponding cultural value systems with their bragging rights and requirements that we save face and remain respectable on the surface, God wanted us to be baptized into His Kingdom for the remission of sins. There is no such thing, as far as I know, as repenting of one’s sins. All one can do is believe and “buy into” the Kingdom of Heaven; God forgives the sins as a way of stating that the person is no longer in a dispensation wherein sins “count.” God is saying that the Law’s demands in that person’s life are fulfilled.
By removing the curse of the Law, God has made it technically impossible to “sin” in that the Law can be neglected as I will explain throughout this discourse. I will also explain why Jesus preached the Law when He was also setting it aside such that it could be neglected altogether.
However, people who live to take advantage of that clearly demonstrate that they aren’t free from the curse of lust and therefore still need the Law to restrain them, convict them of their iniquity and their need for a perfect Deliverer who’d fulfilled the demands and answered the accusations of the Law.
God would not have said, “There is no longer male and female” if He’d meant for us to remain in the Law about this. He would have said something else.
When we insist on reinforcing the normative and matrimonial structures that were created to quarantine the curse – even the “male and female” – we invoke the power of the curse.
God will send the world gay people until everyone gets that: the Law that says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind” has been laid aside. Why? Because the permutation of shame and curses attached to it is gone. The shame in penetration is gone. The domination is gone. When we bring the Law back, we are acting as though the cause for shame is still there – that the curse is still operative, and that Eve is still being dominated, and that therefore we are all trapped in power structures we don’t understand.
And so it is! When we read Romans 1 about men who burned with lust for other men, our Law-conditioned minds are scandalized about such a thought because to us, they are acting out a strange configuration of the curse, to their own shame. When we think according to the Law, we think according to the curse. What is the curse? It is the travesty of divine indwelling that happens whenever Adam penetrates and dominates Eve or even Steve; it is the lust thereof. It is failure to outpicture the innocent mystery of the Trinity. So we think that those that practice these things as well as those that practice them are “worthy of death.” But when you read the rest of Romans, it turns out we were judging by a Law that was meant to expose our hypocrisy, ignorance and iniquity, not to be lived out. When we try to live it out, the curse just returns. Because of Jesus, the Law is powerless to command, accuse, inflame lust, deceive or control. It has no foothold in us. We owe no debt to it. It is fulfilled. Does this mean we can sin all we want? That’s impossible: dead to sin, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh isn’t merely the last of our priorities; it is antithetical to our new nature. So it’s quite possible to live a life that looks “sinful” without actually being “sinful” as I’ll explain shortly.
The sudden appearance of gays and their “parody” of marriage and sex is a judgment on mainstream society for believing that the significance of marriage and sex can still be earned legalistically. Because the mainstream still wants to do marriage by the Law, it continues suffering the exact curse that the Law was meant to deal with. More devastatingly, the mainstream suffers under Powers that take advantage of the presence of the curse that was meant to be restrained by the Law as I will explain.
When the world gets that and stops reinforcing the Law, two things will happen: gay people will “disappear” in the sense that they’ll be integrated into society the way that the puzzle pieces were meant to come together all along, and we’ll see the cessation of AIDS, domestic violence, poverty and all the other effects of the curse that we enforced by reemploying the Law. The Law is not just a ministry of death in some grand theological sense; it also creates literal death by increasing exactly the thing you’d have thought it could end.
When we take the Law that was supposed to restrain sin and turn it into a respectable social institution whose structures we must fulfill, we cover up the remaining dregs of the curse the way Adam and Eve covered their nakedness by their own efforts. For example, in our contemporary revulsion of the thought that Adam could be penetrated by Steve or vice-versa, we legitimize the idea that to be penetrated is to be dominated and therefore something to be ashamed of. We legitimize and reinstate and recreate the curse placed on Eve; we recreate misogyny and its many, many ills – the greatest of which being the Powers’ ability to use us.
The Law that was supposed to keep sin in check will not be satisfied to remain unemployed in the absence of the curse: if need be, it will resurrect and resuscitate and bring back “the curse” in order that it will have something to accuse and condemn and restrain. The curse is the Law’s magnetic equal and opposite. You can crucify “the flesh” and succeed at it too by not participating in the power games that Adam and Eve play on an economic, political or personal front – by walking humbly before your God in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, you can experience immense Christian victory in life. But the moment you bring the Law in to say, “Oi Steve, don’t put that in Adam; it is abomination” guess what happens? It does become abominable because the Law brings to mind exactly what it was supposed to keep in check. The curse, in all its infinite terror, comes rushing back into the spiritual landscape we live in and we lose our freedom. The once-crucified flesh comes back as in a scene from some zombie horror movie.
But it doesn’t end there: in our insistence on creating one respectable institution after another rather than hearing God saying, “There is no more male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus,” we bring the curse back on a much larger scale by empowering the Powers who use the curse to exercise the shameful, painful dominion over all of us that God warned Eve about. We recreate on a political scale the tyrant we thought God was on a relational level. We create Jacob Zuma, Robert Mugabe and many other heteropatriarchal tyrants across the world.
Whenever we reinforce the “male and female” rules, we reinforce the Law which was intended to contain the problem between men and women; we therefore reinforce the Law’s accusation that there is trouble in Paradise; we thus reinforce the curse because we reinforce the thing that was supposed to contain the lust of wishing to rule and be ruled.
This curse is therefore the hierarchical power of the Powers. Whenever we trust in the Law we yield to the Powers and not go God. We empower the Powers because we reinforce the existence of the tyranny that God cursed us with in Eden. When we yield to the Law and the safety and respectability that it promises even a little bit, we ironically discard of our freedom. “Cursed are you if you do not continue in all the things that are written in the Law.” The Law is a ministry of death because no one can follow it exhaustively. When you begin to regard to its “Thou shalts” and its “Thou shalt nots” you die. It’s that simple. Try it for size and see what happens. It’s counterintuitive. It’s scary.
The primary difference between setting aside the Law, and Lawlessness, is this:
Setting aside of the Law means having heard it, been convicted that it’s pointed out the curse in us, and believing by faith that it is fulfilled in Jesus. The curse of the Law; that is, the curse that the Law was meant to name and restrain, is therefore gone. And in saying “Jesus is Lord” we withdraw our allegiance from the Powers and Structures of this world; we have no lust for achievement as the world defines it.
There is no longer a Law needed because the curse has been rescinded. Regenerated, Adam and Eve, as well as Adam and Steve, would never degrade one another or gratuitously indulge themselves, and therefore need no Law telling them, “Touch not, eat not, taste not.” They are once again free to “eat any of the fruit that are in the trees of the Garden.”
Lawlessness, however, is never having heard the Law or having its curse dealt with. It is being under the curse because the Law was never heard in order that it may crystallize and codify the curse. Lawlessness is, therefore, the state of still owing a huge debt to the Law because the curse the Law was supposed to remove is still alive and well. Indeed, Adam and Steve – as well as Adam and Eve – need to have the Law in their world in order to quarantine the curse of the Law. There is still dominion and pain happening there; the curse is alive and well. To whatever degree they are controlled by the curse, to that degree must the world must be very, very careful to make sure that there are strict Laws around how these will live.
But if they should hear the Law and believe on Jesus, grace can set aside the Law aside entirely. They unplug from the value System of this world; they are no longer conformed to the pattern of this world.
Grace can never be a license for Lawlessness because Lawlessness is the attitude of refusing to hear the accusations of the Law in the first place. The state of Lawlessness is a state of having been without the Law, ever, up until that point; the state of having the Law set aside is a state of grace. People fall from grace when whey pick up again the yoke of bondage that is the Law. “The Law is for the Lawless in order to restrain sin.” The Law is for men who abuse themselves with men, who would impose the shame of Eve on fellow men or wallow in the shame of Eve; it is not for those who love fellow men even if that love, I daresay, includes erotic contact. If that is how love expresses itself in that particular situation, how can any Law be created against it, and to restrain which curse? They are one – which, as I explained, is no longer exclusively a “male and female” prerogative. Even that has been set aside.
Where our absence of the Law abounded, Grace abounded all the more. Where the uncursed children of God take the shackles of the Law off of themselves, they “a-bound” gracefully as the dance of God sweeps them off their feet. The more they remove the shackles, the more radically, the more gracefully, the more graciously the Spirit of God lives and dances and plays and thrives in and through them. They become the children of God, showing more and more gloriously what it means to be as the Godhead, the real Godhead and not its parody, not showing it by an exact display of the Letter but by the ever-surprising versatility of the Spirit Who will not be bound or shackled or boxed.
The world that God so loved will be enrapt, watching the dance, being drawn in steadily, unable to resist something from beyond this world that’s so, so beautiful, so meaningfully real, and so heavenly. More and more of God’s imperfect children run in; more and more are uncursed; more and more are swept up in the dance. The church becomes an ever-spinning, ever expanding dance of light and music that, oddly, becomes more beautiful with the more “dirt” she absorbs. She’s starting to look like Jesus – the more they marred Him, the more of His beauty we could see. Where the absence of the Law abounds, her grace abounds all the more.
Oh Church, be very slow – be so very, painfully very slow – to answer these questions. With every second’s hesitation souls enter the balance. God isn’t counting the number that has fallen. You are spiritual infants holding the Keys of the entire Kingdom, and I cannot decisively foreknow which way is which for you. I am actually quite sorry for you because of the enormity of the task I’ve placed on you but it “happened” to me as well.
I know that in spite of all your objections, at the core of your being that’s who you are – you are inclusive; you prefer inclusion over judgment: that’s the dilemma at the core of the human being. It’s the dilemma at the core of God.
Are we scared that God is going to “catch us” having fun just like in Eden? Is this rebellion, or is it imitation of the real God who is generous?
Are we still ruled by fear? Isn’t He the Living One having fun in and through us?
Who is God, and does He rely on what we bring Him? Does He rely on the shape of what we bring Him? What informs our understanding of that shape – Moses, or Galatians 3:28? Is Moses’ intrinsic to God’s heart, or extrinsic to a curse that was once in us? Does God view women the way the Law seems to?
Think of the possibilities, church. I have not slept thinking of it.
Maybe God dreams what we dream of.
To condense a very large idea, the curse of the Law is the imbalance of power inherent in sexual desire and expression as we now experience it, as well as the rules, checks and measures that God has used throughout history to keep that imbalance from destroying civilization even while He used it to restrain civilization. Remember, the sexual imbalance you’re seeing when Adam rules over Eve is the same sexual imbalance you’re seeing as Egypt dominates Israel or Rome overtax Palestine: it’s the same curse on a larger scale.
When we normalize and enforce the “male and female,” (of which Galatians said “there is no longer any,”) we enforce the rules, checks and measures that God no longer needs to regulate that imbalance since Eve’s Deliverer has crushed the head of the serpent – that is, the Accuser that articulated the Law, its accusation against God, highlighted the restriction of the Law and repainted a tyrannical picture of the hierarchy between God and man; man and wife; the Powers and the people under the Powers. The Deliverer fulfills the Law, silences it, and makes a spectacle out of all the Powers. But when we enforce the Law that was meant to address the imbalance, we bring the imbalance back as well as the accusing serpent that articulated and capitalized on the Law.
Many readers would be scandalized at this idea that God’s plan for the two sexes was equality. But I argue that it was better than that; it was the oneness that Deity experiences in the Godhead, which Jesus prayed His church would experience. Hierarchy is God making concessions to our imbalance, even in the New Testament Church. I will explain that hierarchy is God’s way of respecting the cultures and structures we have created even as He weans us off of them: oneness and mutual submission in service is God’s desire for us. Gay people exist, therefore, as a judgment on the way society views marriage and sexuality as something that people who’ve got the “correct” pattern (which pattern was instituted to control a problem and reinstates the problem every time it is articulated as a pattern) should “earn.”
Significance can never be taken or earned from God; it can only be bestowed by Him as a gift. That’s the lesson we forgot in Eden when we ate the forbidden fruit. The righteousness, blessings and significance of God can only be given by Him as a grace – including marriage. When we insist that there be criteria such as “male and female” we find ourselves judged for the inequality, and therefore disunity, that we still enforce within marriage by adhering to the rules that were meant to quarantine the problem.
I submit that our failure to accept the grace in Galatians 3:28, as well as other scriptures wherein God subverts the very gender truths He’d once codified, is what has produced the problems that our insistence on fixed gender identities was supposed to solve. The appearance of gays and their “disgusting parody” of “natural copulation” is actually a judgment on the one who sees it for insisting on coming to it with that legalistic, heteropatriarchal viewpoint in the first place. The legalistic viewpoint not only creates the subjective disgust, but precipitates the objective reality of the way gays copulate. The judgment is on the viewer.
The appearance of gays and their demand for gay marriage, which is a “mockery” of straight marriage, is a judgment on the mainstream viewer and his insistence on the existence and preferential treatment of those who are in the “male and female” category; it is a judgment on the insistence of those who had the decency to be born “straight” that those who “got it right” and “obeyed” God by being heterosexual, be rewarded for getting it right. After all, they are “better than” those for whom the gender-boundary softening grace of Galatians 3:28 was given, so why not reward them for a job well done? Who needs grace anyway?
The existence of the “unnatural” way that gays copulate is a judgment and “parody” on the shallowness with which those same mainstream heteronormal judges enjoy their sexual liaisons. For if the heteronormal judges had not been hypocritical, shallow and double-standarded, no one would have commercialized any type of sex at all. All sex, whether gay or straight, would be holy. Sinai exposes us all.
A lot of Christians assume that in the New Creation, God still views us as male and female.
What if that isn’t true? “There is no longer male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus.” Every bible passage wherein Christ’s marriage with the church is used as a model for how Christians should live in their own marriages is a concession to the fact that the Lord hasn’t returned and we live in a culture where marriage is prevalent and useful, all things being equal. Therefore, Paul emphasizes, not the church’s essential, mystical oneness with Christ nor His immanence within the church, but the church’s practical distinctiveness from Christ as well as His current transcendence from the church, in order
to explain to the church how marriages should best work in this age where, like the church is distinct from Christ, men are still seen as distinct from women. What Paul is teaching us works, and is very useful, insofar as the culture still believes in “male and female” (which is repudiated by Galatians 3:28) more than it believes in the “you are one in Christ Jesus,” which symbolizes the mystical, immanent oneness that can only happen fully in the future as the culture begins to “get it.” The Kingdom begins to descend, and they are neither married nor given in marriage. It isn’t necessary.
So, when Paul teaches us that husbands should love their wives self-sacrificially and lay their lives down just as Christ did, when Paul teaches us anything at all about how marriage and gender should work in the first century, he is drawing out a model of behavior from a time when we were separated from Christ to tell us how we ought to act at this point wherein the culture still views us as being separate; but Paul’s concession to the way the culture is doesn’t tell us, nor can it tell us, about the superiority of simply being “one in Christ Jesus.” Why not? It’s simple. We’re still viewing ourselves as “male and female,” and so can only achieve “oneness” by imitating the redemptive and therapeutic drama of Christ and the church prior to
the mystical union of Pentecost; but we cannot trick ourselves into thinking we’ve gotten to a socio-cultural point wherein we have the freedom to know what the “oneness” that is in Christ looks like, nor its grace, graciousness and power.
By insisting that we are “male and female” and imposing that legalistic view onto the world, the church as an institution fell from grace.
One of the curses of the law is separation and hierarchy. By incarnating as a God-Man, and by saying “there is no more male and female for you are one in Christ Jesus” God unites Himself to believers in a union wherein no Serpent can speak of hierarchy to blackmail or accuse; there is no possibility of any curse. There is no need of Law. Nothing – not the Powers, nor Principalities – can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
In the Old creation, God was the Other who created the meaning of Eden from a distance. In the New Creation, we are, through the death of Jesus, One with God and with one another as we create the meaning together: whatsoever we
bind on earth is bound in heaven. Insuperable because in His death, Jesus achieved the unity He could
not achieve in the first creation. Conflict cannot arise a second time.
When we stop short of gay marriage and prefer the existence of the “male and female” distinction and union over the “there is no male and female for you are one” in Christ the God-Man, then we go back to
being separate from one another and from God because there is a curse in the room and God cannot abide it. The Law recalls and reanimates the curse. Being dazzled by the world’s glamorization of hierarchy recalls the lust to ascend it.
Did we really think that God hated us enough to save us from hell, and then sulk in the background while we broke the Law He still needed fulfilled in the lives of those He’d redeemed, only tolerating them because of the superimposed righteousness of Christ in their lives?
Jesus preached the Law – to those who were under the Law as well as those who were fascinated with them, the Pharisees. He voiced the unequivocal demands of the Law as well as its terrifying penalties. He told them Deuteronomy 28:58 in eschatological terms – “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. Rather enter the kingdom maimed than be thrown body and soul into Gehenna,” which is the New Testament version of “Cursed are you if you do not observe to do all the things that are written in this book” – a curse Paul reiterated in order to stop people from joining that crowd that was so fascinated with the Pharisees and their righteousness. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven,” Jesus told them.
Did He offer no hope for escape? Did He leave the secret to entry in the dark? No! He told them that what was impossible with Adam as possible with God. He told them that if anyone came to Him, He would by no means fail to save that person. He told them that His yoke was easy and His burden was light – to illustrate the difference between Pharisees who loaded men with every sort of demand and didn’t lift a finger to help them, with Himself, who saved to the uttermost, that is, thoroughly, not just positionally but also in practical terms. “Yes, but that salvation has to be measurable by the Law,” some people will say.
To which I explode with an earth-shattering NO! “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” “Your good works are as filthy rags before Me.”
Jesus was a “friend,” that is, deeply involved with sinners who’d given up on ever the Law. If He’d been preaching Law at them, the Pharisees would have loved Him.
The Law is holy, some say. That’s correct: the Law is the best set of rules by which to restrain the curse, while the curse is there. It is holy relative to the curse that it restrains; it is not holy in and of itself. It codifies God’s hatred of the curse; it does not codify God’s heart. The Spirit of the Law is the heart of God expressed aside from the Letter of the Law. God’s Law in instituting a Sabbath was helping man; Jesus’ intent in healing on the Sabbath was Him achieving what the letter had failed to do.
When we die, the rewards we earn in heaven will be measured not by the Letter of the Law and how well we kept it; God will be very interested in how well we kept its Spirit. God’s question to us won’t be, “What did you do wrong?” but “How did you love?” To those under the Law, He will judge by the Law. It will be a terrifying judgment. To those no longer under the Law, He will judge by the measure or lack of grace produced in our lives. It will be a therapeutic judgment and in many ways, quite beautiful.
The Law measures you by everything you’re not in terms of restraining the curse in you; grace says there is no curse in you, therefore, you’re okay; grace teaches you to walk in the regenerative, curse-free godliness that it sees in you. The Law demands performance; grace teaches you to just be, and to just be you.
If you were to go to God and say, “God, I’m gay” while under the Law, the gravel would crush you. How come? The Letter of the Law mechanically fits you in with those who carry some version of the curse of Adam and Eve. If you came to God and said, “God, I’m gay” while under grace, He’d reply, “That’s wonderful!” He wouldn’t force Himself to view you with Christ’s righteousness superimposed on you because He’d see it budding in your heart and overcoming all the lies this world tells about sexuality, domination and objectification. Those lies would no longer be of you though they’d be pressed up all around you.
If you were to go to God and say, “God, I’m straight” while under the Law, He’d look at you with disgust and let you at least propagate. How come? The Letter of the Law mechanically fits you in with those who carry some version of the curse of Adam and Eve. If you came to God and said, “God, I’m straight” while under grace, He’d reply, “That’s wonderful!” He wouldn’t force Himself to view you with Christ’s righteousness superimposed on you because He’d see it budding in your heart and overcoming all the lies this world tells about sexuality. Those lies would no longer be of you though they’d be pressed up all around you.
Why the difference? We already discussed it: the curse is primarily sexual. Sexuality – all of it – is damned under the Law because it bears the curse; sexuality is redeemed under grace because it has nothing of the curse that the Law was restraining. There is simply no Law against it because it is an authentic expression of God’s unity as in Galatians 3:28 worldview.
He’d tolerate it because it’s a necessary evil.
Did Christ’s sacrifice turn God from a homophobe to a p-flag parent overnight? Galatians 3:28 says Christ’s sacrifice turned God from being anti-everything that came from us under the Law to being pro-everything that comes from us who are under grace.
“God was in Christ, reconciling all things to Himself” says that through Christ’s sacrifice, God is reconciled to all things, however “queer” they are by the Law’s standards. He is in all things improving and perfecting and enlivening and counseling them; not by making them better at obeying the Letter but the Spirit of the Law. How come? It’s simple. God has resolved the curse; it merely abides in the humans that don’t believe it and therefore still owe their debt to the Law.
In a practical sense, this means that when I find myself liking a guy, the Spirit of God would immediately be asking me what I’m doing to show that guy that I like him. Am I taking chances or am I hiding my talents in the ground lest my tough Master return to gather where He has not scattered? The Spirit would be asking me to question whether I chose that guy because He fulfils a worldly ideal that would give me bragging rights, and if that’s so, He’d convict me of my lust and then help me transcend those standards of the world. He’d teach me to love that guy selflessly as Jesus loves. He’d be reconciled to me. He would teach me to be good to people, all people, simply because they are in His image. Under Law, this would be a terrible scenario: because the curse would be working in me, God would see in me the threat that could undo creation in an instant.
I’ve had this conversation with more Christians than I can imagine:
“Are we under Law, or grace?” I asked.
“Grace,” they answer instantly.
“What does that mean in case we mess up by the Law’s standard after we’re saved?” I asked him.
“It means we repent and ask for forgiveness,” he replied.
“So we’re under Law,” I clarified. “It sounds like we have to keep the Law.”
“No. Islam, for example, is being under Law. Judaism is being under the Law.”
“But Muslims also sin and repent.”
“Yes, but it’s a matter of how chronic it is,” many of them say – they speak about habitual or repetitive sin and how we should strive to overcome it.
“Both Muslims and Christians break the Law habitually,” I reply, some less than others. “The whole world is sinning and repenting according to some System.”
I then asked one of them what it means to renew your mind and have it no longer conformed to the pattern of this world.
One gave me an interesting answer. He gave me an example of observing that Muslims and thieves (not to put them in the same category) are non-Christian but prosperous. He then said that Paul is telling us not to think of material wealth as the be-all and end-all of life.
I gave him an alternate explanation:
“What if, when Jesus was crucified, people got disillusioned by the Law and the rich Pharisees who’d used that Law to crucify Christ and make themselves wealthy? What if they got disillusioned by the wealth of the World that the Pharisees had used the Law to gain? What if, after that, they could never, ever, ever be enticed by anything in the World however pretty or however it offers itself for their gratification? Someone in that position doesn’t need to be told not to covet, or not to commit adultery; the urge to do so is out of their system because they are out of the System. That person does not need to be given the Law. However, if that person goes back under the Law like those Pharisees, he finds himself prioritizing as they do and producing the same death by the same perversion of the Law. Every time the Law is ministered – whether to an unsaved person or to the Galatians who were saved, it is a ministry of death.”
Moreover, I realized, though people can carry lusts and habits from being under the System, they are helped by grace to scrutinize those habits, sort out the truth and the lies in them, and overcome whatever of the habit is born of a lie. Love as is defined by the self-giving nature of God is the measure of whether something is good or not.
However, the instant we use the Law as a measure of what’s real and what’s not real, of what’s true or what’s not true, we go right back to dealing with the same curse that’s in this world.
The Galatians 3:28 worldview I’m presenting must not be expected to solve more problems than the mainstream Christian view. For example, it cannot be expected to combat adultery more effectively than the mainstream view, though I think it would be more effective at slashing adultery, STDs and many other problems. It cannot be expected to combat any problem – whether epistemological, or scriptural, more effectively than the mainstream worldview, though I submit that it explains scripture more truthfully than any other worldview that I’ve come across. I’ve held the Galatians worldview up against every other that I’ve seen; this explains more biblical data than any other that I know. It was formed out of the failures I saw in every other worldview.
On the other hand, I have argued that the mainstream view – which is based on the normalization of the Law in the church than it is on the normalization of Grace (it’s the world that needs the Law) – the mainstream view is arguably responsible for many, many needless problems that could have been solved had we remained an Acts 2 church headed towards being a Galatians 3:28 church, and maybe a Galatians 3:28 world.
We preach that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. Here’s a devastatingly simple way that the Law of Liberty helps you gain self-control: by helping you see and love people wholly as people. The Law reminds you of how they can be reobjectified. So the temptation to be “more” through their objectification comes up.
How much has the mainstream understanding of God’s requirements for us actually produced self-control? We hear of scandal after scandal.
The grace of God teaches us to exercise our freedom at all times to build others up. Therefore, the measure of self-control is how much we love, how well we keep our word, how quick we are to serve, how slow we are to be self-seeking. We do not achieve these things in our own strength. “Our own strength” incidentally is a phrase that gets thrown around by a lot in mainstream Christianese as they speak about their obligation to the Law. But I’m not under the Law: the things I cannot “achieve in my own strength” are the dethroning of self, not unto the obedience of the Law, but unto loving people.
By this logic, then, Paul never should have conceded to the Corinthians that, “All things are Lawful”; he should have said, “The Law’s there as long as you don’t rely on how well you keep it.” And who gets to decide exactly which part of the law must be obeyed and which isn’t important anymore? The moment we figured that the moral, ceremonial, civil and military laws are all bound together to answer the curse of Eden, we figured that the whole law was fulfilled in Christ. If God distinguished the moral law from the civil, then how on earth would any ceremony from the civil law resolve problems
from the moral law? How would Christ’s sacrifice atone for any transgression of any Law?
The biblical threat to judge all sexual sinners
Extreme sexual sin is psychosomatic. It’s dependent on the lies your mind and your body tell each other about significance, society and God. Extreme sexual sin inhibits the creation of the Galatians 3:28 society.
Correctness of form versus authenticity of Spirit
If there is one thing I’ve doggedly held on to – or let’s say that’s doggedly held onto me – it is the belief that God prefers authenticity to correctness. The first thing I intuited as a child about God is that God prioritizes sincerity to correct form. That statement begs for more qualification than I can give here, but suffice it to say, in our discussion, that heteronormality has made straight relationships the norm – which means they’re more likely to be correct than they are to be authentic. The converse is true: for a pair of men or women to decide to go against what’s correct and expected of them by a heteronormative society tells me that there’s something to investigate there.
By normalizing Moses’ Law, we have created a situation whereby unreality is more likely to hide behind what’s legally required than it is to hide behind what is more challenging to create in the first place. That’s one of the biggest problems with the Law, a problem experienced by every prophet declaring God’s truth in the Old Testament.
Who do we call in to judge today’s relationships?
If we choose to read Moses bindingly, unmitigatedly, into Paul and the other Apostles’ words, then gay people are being flung headfirst into hell – followed by straight people and Pharisees. Everyone is damned by the Law of Moses because it was God’s gag reflex against the curse (in my opinion), as well as the permutations of the curse, and was therefore brought in to guard us until the One who would deliver us from the curse should come. The Law of Moses was brought in “because of offenses” spawned from the curse.
I believe that Jesus did not consider His believers to be under the requirements of the Mosaic Law, though He did, on God’s behalf, demand “tribute” from those who did not recognize Him as God’s Son and the Deliverer.
After Jesus left, the Apostles wrote and in many of their writings, fleshed out what it meant to believe that Jesus was the Deliverer. But it would appear that though they warned strongly against ever hybridizing Moses’ Law with Grace either in orthodoxy and orthopraxy, they themselves often drew deeply from Moses’ Law to judge, exhort, rebuke and teach.
We need to ask ourselves why they did this. What was the cultural and moral context that they were writing into? Were they writing exclusively to people under Grace warning them not to exhibit behaviors as those of people under the Matrix and therefore under Law? Is it possible that the reason the Apostles invoked Moses in the creation of vice lists simply that those behaviors in the vice lists had never been penetrated by the Christian ethos?
For example, let us say that driving began as a dangerous, murderous sport. Apparently, most sports did begin as bloodbaths. Or as something exploitative and immersed in the supercommercialized glamorization of this world. The Apostles would have had no description for that activity except for terminology from Moses’ Law. And because those activities were, up until that point, only engaged in by people plugged into the Matrix, they were correctly condemnable by the Law of Moses that was still in place for those people.
Now here’s a problem: what do we do when believers not plugged into the Matrix want to engage in the same activities but with a view towards love, peace and creativity? Suddenly, believers want to drive but not recklessly. People born with athletic abilities want to demonstrate the grace and power in their bodies.
When I read the New Testament, I see in it the tools necessary to go beyond where the apostles went without going beyond where God wants us to go.
Because of different layers of revelation at different points in early church history, different apostles’ words would have been coloured by their belief that it is impossible to serve God outside of Moses.
Paul’s statement about “righteousness apart from the Law” had not fully sunk its implications in. A person can know that he’s no longer under Law, but still find himself habitually keeping by the works of
the Law. It doesn’t mean he loses his salvation, but that he doesn’t yet understand that salvation fully.
If I’m correct about this, then none of the apostles’ works-coloured statements are entirely correct: they accurately reflect what that person thought at that stage in his transition from Law to Grace. But
if we read into the apostles’ words another implementation of the Mosaic Law, then I don’t see how God can be happy with any of us.
If, however, obedience to the Law of Moses is not what God requires of believers saved by Grace, then we have a rationale for God being very, very happy with the least bit effort to be loving persons. We also have a rationale for God exploding with joy when we take risks and embrace and include and affirm “sinners” who couldn’t be included under the Mosaic Law. If God is not Mosaic by nature, then He does
nothing but wait for us to do something loving that He may rejoice over. His greatest pleasure is when we risk loving and serving people from the heart. He doesn’t much care about the structures we create;
He cares about the communities we create as we all do for one another what is observably in the best interest of one another in terms of common sense. If God is through with Moses’ Law, then I believe we’re freer to love. The Letter of Moses’ Law sets a limit on love even as Christians preach it in the name of love.
The holiness of God in Moses’ Law is relative to the curse in us; it is a holiness of boundaries and defined limits; the holiness of God in Grace is His taking for us the curse of the Law and giving up His life. His body burned from the unbearably high levels of lactic acid He must have had, but His heart burned brighter with the love of God. It is the entirely sincere altruism of His self-giving love. It is the Passion of the Christ as He aggressively, wholeheartedly carried the tree He’d bear the divine curse on even as his back and muscles tore and bled from the whipping. I believe that as agonized as Jesus was, there was an immense amount of joy in His heart: He was carrying the curse of the Law and was going to fulfill the demands of the Law for us. I believe that as much pain as Jesus was in, He was overjoyed at what He was going to do for us. We worship Him not in the holiness of the Law we thought revealed His heart: we worship Him in the holiness of how He whole-heartedly gives us what we need regardless of the cost upon Himself. He is father, He is mother, He is Abba, He is healing, He is good, He is everything we need, He is the bread of life, and He is God.
And now He waits, I believe, not for us to fulfill Moses’ Law, but to be as He was in His sacrifice: the embodiment of joy as one works to do something nice for the other. He’s waiting for us to paint
paintings for total strangers, smile and make funny faces at children who’re screaming and irritating us on the bus, and hand over our wallet with a smile to the person robbing us. You see, under the Law
we have rights, as did the Corinthians who were suing each other. Under Grace, we have all things. Wallets and all that was in them can be replaced quite easily when you have an innumerable number of
brothers and sisters who give joyfully as Jesus did. They’re irreplaceable if you have an innumerable number of church-goers who, like the world Jesus exposed to us, have an eye towards what they can
get out of the world.
It becomes a matter of weighing the risks. And though I may be wrong, the church does owe this framework a look because it alone deals with much of the double-talk about Law and Grace.
Can we still always invoke Moses or a hybridization of Moses’ Law with Grace?
If we call a judge that views the world through a hybridization of Moses and Grace to judge between straight relationships, which are now the norm and therefore a perfect hiding place for inner sin that is incompatible with Grace, and gay relationships, which appear to violate the form of Moses as we read it, then this is where heteronormalized people get the shock of their lives: having been the unquestioned standard, it is discovered that their institutionalized, respectable safety has been a bastion of inward sin.
“Backbiters, violent, proud, inventors of evil things, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful,” – that is, Romans 1:30–2:1 with the more theological sins plucked out.
I find it remarkable that my bible commentary is able to discuss the topic, “What does the bible say about homosexuality?” I’d like to write a commentary titled, “What does the bible say about heterosexuality?” Nay, I’m writing it right now.
Straight people say that gay people make a mockery out of marriage.
What if we learned that from them?
I question heteronormality. For years I have heard heteronormality questioning homosexuality. For years, I have seen same-sex attracted people taking the defensive position. We, who arguably could make the best philosophers on the planet, take the defensive but never the offensive. The reason for that is quite simple – we’ve internalized the shame and the hatred.
While I have nothing against most heterosexual people that I know of, I have a settled hostility towards the System that mollycoddles them and their sins, a System that ignored how it always pushes me outside. Heterosexuality is a gift from God that was encoded into the Law of Moses because it was the most practical way to contain the curse in Eden; heterorespectability is a Power and a Principality that I can arguably launch warfare against in the Name of Jesus and the Book He wrote. There are lies, damnable lies, and then there is heterorespectability.
The lynchpin of my argument is that Jesus Christ, and not the Law of Moses, reveals God. The Law of Moses reveals God insofar as the world is cursed.
When Christians prefer to eternally normalize the Law of Moses instead of reading it as a warning against participation in the Matrix, then they invoke the curse of the Law upon themselves and the world they’re supposed to heal on God’s behalf. Even something as simple as reserving marriage exclusively for straight people reads Moses back into the original creation design as well as the eventual New Creation design.
But I think I have popped that balloon – or at the very least, showed that it’s not necessarily as unpoppable as it first seemed. Moses’ heteronormality, I argue, is an aberration and not God’s Grand Design.
That balloon has become so big that it’s eclipsed our view of the Beginning and the End of time. But there’s just enough light shining in from the furthermost beginning and the furthermost end, and some along the middle, that I see “rainbow colours” shining from and around God Throne after Noah’s Flood. I see God standing with the outsiders and feeding the ravens. I see the spectacular, weird and wonderful created beings offering praises from their various members to the Living God.
My status in God’s kingdom is not second-class. I am as much man as the next man and even then, I’d like myself even if I weren’t because I am a beautiful creation of God. In small and big ways, the World took my manhood away; Jesus, who was stripped naked for me, handed gave me His own from bleeding, nail-scarred hands.
God is over the Law of Moses. It doesn’t show His heart. It cannot accuse, condemn or shame me anymore. If I go back to it, it will kill all that is real between me and God.
A few weeks ago, I heard of an alleged hate crime halfway across the country that, in my eyes, is a grotesque effect of the Christians’ eternal hybridization of Moses and Grace.
I am arguing that while heterosexuality is good, heterorespectability is evil. It’s a Principality and a Stronghold in the Matrix and it precipitates curses into the world.
I do not know all the ethical ramifications of discussing a person’s murder in the abstract like this. But I’ve refrained before, and before that, and before that. So I’ll do it now.
So now, we move on to the murder of Duduzile Zozo in order to show how the demonic god of heterorespectability has been taking many, many child sacrifices – and how the church of God has been handing them over.
Anatomy of a correctional rape
July the 4th. Thokoza, East of Johannesburg
Duduzile Zozo’s body is found with signs of sexual assault
Before we fully explain what it means for a lesbian to be found with a toilet brush in her genitals, let us build up a discussion of what lesbianism is in relation to black Nguni cultures, and then to Christianity as it has now been defined by the mainstream. Zozo was not Zulu, but I feel that there are enough similarities in the black South African cultures that I can use my Zulu culture and Christian background as frames of reference in order to explain our partially Westernized South African townships.
How the existence and murder of lesbians exposes the false promises that Mafia heteropatriarchy makes to women
The unexamined transmission of surnames through men is one way in which women define their existence in terms of the decisions made by the males who lead in their lives. As women, they were born to augment the household of the men they marry, and they know it. Indeed, the biblical Law says as much.
When asked what happens when a woman asserts her independence to a degree that scandalizes her husband’s family, some of my respondents said that it is okay for him to hit her in order to remind her of how society works and what he expects of her as the woman he paid lobola for; others said that he’s to take her back to her family or speak to elders about the matter.
Many of these women I spoke to were happy with the set-up because up until that point it had worked for them though it had not worked for women outside of it. In exchange for their autonomy, these women received protection, provision, social status and respectability from the men who had been trained by society to respond to the Pavlovian cues that signal healthy heterosexuality. Elders, advertisers, movie-makers and many other influences increasingly define masculinity as the desire and ability to please and possess the fairer sex. The empowerment that is associated with men’s willingness and ability to possess women, and the shame that is associated with the absence of such willingness or ability – that polarity of glory and dishonour – is the anode and cathode of the battery that drives contemporary western society’s engine. So Adam definitely wins.
How do the women benefit? Women arguably spend more time raising little boys than anyone else: by unconsciously reinforcing the idea that masculinity is the desire to please and therefore “own” women (Consider promises like, “If you stop making that sound, Mommy will give you a hug and a kiss” or the way little boys don’t what to “share” Mommy with Daddy – “She’s mine!”), the women who were meant to be owned can actually create a reverse-niche within the system that was supposed to own them, wherein they can predict and prescribe masculine behavior for the next generation. This reverse-niche is addictive and debilitating to the women who live by it. Eve wins, though I wouldn’t be so fast to declare her total victor; God isn’t done spelling the curse out as yet.
By the time the boys get girlfriends, they are supposed to be fully trained in these Pavlovian cues especially if those girls like their men all female-friendly like you’d find in romantic comedies. They then live in service of the reverse-niche that the women created. God Himself stated that for this reason, a man will leave his mother and his father. God did not intend Galatians 3:28 as a superior grace. Again, it seems like Eve’s got the upper hand in this parody of the Godhead that she and Adam shamefully struggle in.
But this relayed and delayed victory is grueling for a woman to keep up because to the degree that a woman derives her identity from her appeal as a commodity, and her ability to get men to make life easier for her by persuading them to accommodate her reverse-niche in their men’s world, to that degree she is nothing more than that commodity she has set herself up as she tried to establish her reverse-niche within their System. And commodities, things, really have no personhood; they have no rights. Create a culture where persons unconsciously become things en masse, and there is no need to look much further for an explanation as to why rape and woman abuse persist the way they do.
A man who wants to feel validated within this system can take that validation from the commodity regardless of whether the person-commodity consents or not. In the book of Revelation we are given an image of a woman, one “Whore of Babylon,” the quintessential femme fatale and ultimate seductress who “rides” on men in more ways than one. She has created a reverse-niche in the System that was supposed to own her by playing up the system that turns women into a commodity, into a system that gives her the ultimate in gratuitous highs, orgiastic roller-coaster rides and power-trips. But what happens to her at the end? Her men turn on her, rip her to pieces and burn her down. Adam’s urge to rule over Eve gets the better of him. Another Eve bites the dust.
I personally struggle to coexist with manipulative women because I meet people where they really are, not where their egos are. Manipulative women expect me to treat them like they are precious. And here’s my problem: women are so precious to me that I’d never let them get absorbed in how precious they are.
But many women out there don’t want to be real. They want to buy into this above-described arrangement because cosmetically, it’s pretty and almost effortless. It’s how their mothers lived, and it’s how they want to live.
Unlike men, women who don’t make much of their lives can survive and appear to thrive by becoming less than themselves. They can become pretty objects; they can switch personhood off and become someone else’s trophy. Women will always have one more safety net than men; some women have the personal honesty to not resort to it. They work twice as hard just to prove themselves.
Even if the remaining women who consent to being objectified should become pregnant and unemployed while unable to fend for themselves and their baby, the System offers them grant money which everyone knows is most likely going to be spent on hair and nails as the women work to make themselves valuable commodities for their next baby-daddy. The System thus perpetuates its power as it gives is addicts a fix month after month.
But what about black women who have no interest in being men’s prospective objects altogether?
What it means when a lesbian is found with a brush in her genitals is that some men have responded to the possibility of female socio-sexual independence by morphing into what I call “Mafia masculinity”: just as some women can manipulate the strings of the heteronormative system and psychologically consume men, so too can some men turn the game of heteronormality into an act of terrorism, holding all women hostage to the heteropatriarchal System that claims that femininity. The Mafia that provides for and protects you is the same Mafia that threatens you when you assume independence. Adam will have his dominion and rulership; the curse and the Law say so together. And cursed are we if we do not continue to do all the things written in the Law. The gentlemen that murdered Zozo were demonstrating with brutal clarity what life will be like when their monopolized protection is gone, by perpetrating the very thing that men are supposed to protect women from. The protector can, ironically, be the one from whom women need protection.
When women don’t play the heteropatriarchal game, it pulls the mat of constructed identities out from under the men who wanted their immediate worlds to exist in service of their identities as “men” defined by the System. A woman who doesn’t derive her femininity from the way men see her (as a prospective commodity), a woman who will not be owned, hit, sent back to her family or to the elders, puts a question mark on whether masculinity is really as masculine as everyone thinks it is. By her independence, she says that the masculinity of men and its associated objectifiability of women are plastic and optional.
That masculinity can be disregarded this way – that it can be disposed of – can strike terror and rage into the hearts of some men – and as these articles on the fragility of masculinity explain, some men are like cornered rats; very, very dangerous when they feel angry and threatened at a level as visceral as their masculinity. After all, they’ve owned Mommy and collected trophy girlfriends. How dare any woman challenge their territory by squaring the circle of who can own whom?
The existence and murder of lesbians thus exposes Mafia masculinity for what it is – a false god.
How the existence and murder of lesbians exposes the fact that black women are owned
I’ve asked women why one of the colloquialisms for vagina was the Zulu word for cow – inkomo, which is also the Zulu word for “token” in a game. They understood the implications and the double meanings: when men pay cows for lobola, they “win” or “buy” the property that is the female genitalia and all that it symbolizes, and can display it as any other token. They will say, “My car, my business, my boat and my wife” in a single breath.
I’ve also asked them why the word for penetration (“ukuhlaba”) is also the word used when a cow is slaughtered during ceremonies such as Zulu weddings. I submit that these two words and their corresponding symbol of an inkomo being sacrificed, penetrated, can be intersected to show a cultural insistence that vaginal conquerability must accompany a woman’s right to have her sexual identity vindicated by the heteropatriarchal system. She must be penetrated. Great thing if she enjoys it; too bad if she doesn’t. But that she will be penetrated before she enjoys her sexuality is a must. This ties into the tradition of the hymen having to be likewise penetrated before women can enjoy their sexuality – in the socially respectable ownership and husbandry of a man, of course.
This piercing and hymen’s shedding of blood recalls the Law saying, “Without the shedding of blood there will be no remission of sin.” The soul that sins must surely die. Eve is under a curse and man will punish her for it because of what she brings out in him. If that’s what women will bring out of men, then men will create a system around it in order to hide its shame. That system mimics the Law down to a tee.
When lesbians “have sex” that is non-penetrative and derive pleasure from it, they subvert the myth of the socially respectable orgasm, which inevitably follows penetration because we’ve been taught that this is how it is. When a woman has a vibrant sex life, identity and dignity that doesn’t involve a penis, she assumes a staggering amount of sexual independence from men. “You mean that you’re getting your sense of meaning and belonging not from a man but from a fellow woman?” The men’s monopoly on the meaning of women’s lives is suddenly threatened; the set up from which they derived their masculine identity is called into question.
But it’s more terrifying that that: when black women realize that they have the power to rebel against the heteropatriarchy that demands that they put up with men in order to get sexual and societal privileges, black masculinity is exposed in all its inability to face itself, its violence and its helplessness to understand and take responsibility for the way it wields power over women – which problems have been coded into black men by the society that raised them. And black men don’t like being helpless. They’ve been told that they can’t be, ever.
“If you stop making that sound, Mommy will give you a hug and a kiss,” the promise went. Well, it appears that when the boys become men they don’t “stop making that sound” – they don’t stop being men as society has created them – and so the women stop showering them with affection. The Pavlovian training now has a serious problem, namely, that the men aren’t getting the very things that hyperheterosexuality was supposed to earn them and have validated in them. In fact, the hyperheterosexuality pushes women away.
When rapists wield a toilet brush on a lesbian’s vagina, they are saying, “Because you have assumed independence from the System, this is the only thing your vagina is good for. Your nkomo is not even worthy of being owned by a real penis; it’s worth being owned by a toilet brush. You are shit.” Men’s imposed insistence on the hyperheterosexual penetration that they were taught to seek cannot help but be violent.
I wonder – where would a toilet brush have materialized from if the assault was not partially pre-plannned?
When women develop the power of choice and can even influence their sexual orientation – when some, for their own good, steel themselves away from the opposite sex – it’s a stunning critique on the hyperheterosexuality of that opposite sex, that opposite sex itself and its deficient ability to understand their needs, let alone meet them; it’s also a stunning revelation on the fact that black women are owned by their men, a fact that is only revealed when they rebel.
The existence and murder of lesbians reveals that society is hell-bent on creating rapists
Whether we admit it or not, our black heteropatriarchal system inadvertently tells boys that it’s okay to rape. How often do we say, “Boys will be boys,” when they seize power through small-scale aggression, bullying and violence? We tell them in a million ways, through a million movies and a million messages of what it means to be “a son of mine” that violent possessiveness is synonymous with masculinity.
Growing up, I realized that the standard introduction amongst township boys was the belligerent question, “Uyang’saba?” which meant, “Do you fear me?” The expected answer was a defiant “No!” and then a challenge to prove it in a fight. Sounds trivial, right? “Boys will be boys,” we say, not realizing the power in our self-fulfilling prophecy. We’re telling them, “It’s okay to let your impulses out any way they wish to get out because we don’t expect more of you than that. We don’t expect you to discipline, hone and channel your masculine power in any way except to augment the patriarchal hegemony as it stands. In fact, we’re sort of counting on you to be this kind of boy in order to keep everyone else in check and our enemies in awe of us.”
This idea of masculinity perpetrated on young boys makes them unwitting building blocks in the structure of the possessive, territorial Powers that we vote to keep us safe from being violated by other possessive, territorial Powers – they become individualizations of the Mafia Government, protecting people from the very things they perpetrate on those people. “Boys will be boys” because we will to have them so. A society that guards neurotically from being raped will inevitably produce rapists as a pre-emptive measure. Having a rapist in the house is one way of ensuring that you won’t be raped by the man next door. Many girls grew up being told, “Ngizokushaya ngikukhiphe ubuntombi,” which means, I will hit you until you lose your femininity. It can also mean, I will hit you until you lose your virginity. I will hit you until you lose your independence and your ability to think for yourself. If you must begin enjoying your feminine right to “be” now, then I will remind you that your hymen must first be penetrated before that can happen. I will beat the power out of you. I will exorcise yourself out of your self. I will do this for your own good, to help you avoid being raped and to shape you as a good commodity in the System that prevents the rape of the group. And he shall rule over you.
Today some of my black friends and I were discussing violence against women. Without exception, they agreed that it is absolutely unacceptable for a man to hit a woman who is not his own girlfriend.
They agreed that it is absolutely unacceptable for a man to hit a woman who is not his own girlfriend.
They agreed that it is absolutely unacceptable for a man to hit a woman who is not his own girlfriend.
And he shall rule over you.
I could rest my case here and now, but wait! there’s more: “I don’t date a man who doesn’t beat me,” some black women simper.
Your desire shall be for your husband.
Having a rapist in the house is a guaranteed way to guard from being raped by the man – or the tribe – next door. Having a rapist in the house is one way that the reverse-niche can brook the risk of being owned in order to enjoy the perks. And there are perks, such as having him there to do the thinking, defending, and provide social stature. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.
The gays didn’t make a parody of marriage: the heterosexuals did. In Eden.
Typing this, there is a radio debate on a modern, urban Zulu station as to whether women should be allowed to wear pants or not. I’m talking about any non-skirt, non-dress item of clothing, however innocent.
One of the arguments goes that when a woman dresses “a certain way,” she possibly incites the rapist impulse in men. Women have to tip-toe around this impulse – but men don’t have to tip-toe around women’s choice to wear what they want. When it comes to women’s independence vs. creating rapists, we’d rather preserve the raping power of men, as well as the security and power that seems to promise, than let women wear what they want. Keeping the rapist in the house primed to rape is a guaranteed way to prevent being raped by the man or the tribe next door.
When lesbians likewise flaunt their sexual independence and get raped for it, we’d sooner blame them for flaunting their sexuality than blame the rapists for their rapist impulse. We worship and preserve the rapist impulse because it is the holy foundation of the kind of security and power we want to have in our houses. Rather have rapists than girls in short skirts or girls dating girls.
No wonder the tourists and investors are running with their money – they can smell that we’re breeding hordes of rapists even as we deny it. Then we turn around and create campaigns to prevent abuse against women and children. I get a little aneurism every time I think about it. But it is the next woe, it is the next trumpet. The abomination of desolation, the drought and the pestilence; the inflation and the scarcity.
Voluntary lesbianism is aware of, and exposes, the vast difference between white men as they’re depicted in romance comedic fairy-tales, where they’re slightly feminized such that they’re made palatable for the female temperament while retaining a sense of male “otherness,”; they are benign (and alluring) colonial power that sets itself up as superior masculinity and gentle authority – and their black counterparts that whistle at and grab women walking down the street all the time. There is a difference.
Women who choose to be lesbians, as some do, are showing that they’re aware of the lie.
There is a difference in the heterosexual experiences of women in chick-flicks and women in real life, especially in some sections of the townships. Pull up your local police station’s abuse report statistics if you think I’m exaggerating.
A heteronormative, heterosupremacist society is more likely to produce doomed relationships than a non-heteronormative one. It’s far more likely to create the mechanisms by which the sexes can hold one another hostage. It’s also more likely to produce unexpected pregnancies, diseases, abuse, murder and a lot of other problems than a non-heteronormative society. So heteronormality eats society at every conceivable level even as society refuses to examine it as a sadistic construct; because it is constructed in ignorance of itself, it is even more vicious.
I recently came across a blog post about feminist poet Adrienne Rich’s question as to why women, who could best provide one another with the tenderness and validation they so needed, redirected this energy and this search toward men knowing full well the difficulty and disappointment they’d probably find there. Adrienne Rich is most famous for coining the term “compulsory heterosexuality” through which she dared to bring up the question of the degree to which heterosexuality really is just what it appears to be – the default sexual orientation of most people, and not just a learned cultural trait that serves the System. “Heterosexuality is a political institution,” she said.
t is an uncomfortable question but it is one that has to be asked. If we admit that heterosexuality has an essential reality, and that its imitator, heteronormality, is a constructed extension thereof, then shouldn’t we know where the one ends and the other begins? Shouldn’t we wonder whether the one impersonates the other? Shouldn’t we be able to tell the difference, which naturally implies admitting that we have constructed heteronormality? Why did we construct heteronormality?
I Googled the words, “Love is a sick joke,” to see whether people were as cynical with the pop-culture heteronorm that’s being sold in movies as I am. I thought I was going to read forum posts in online communities about failed relationships. But to my surprise, the first search result was a reference to an upcoming movie titled, Love is a sick joke. The forums were there, but the upcoming movie was the first search result.
Even the industry that is responsible for keeping alive the ever-running portrayal of heteronormality as a living, healthy, unnamed phenomenon is admitting, albeit in a title whose words it seeks to disprove through a clever story, that many people are sick of their disappointments with the heteronorm. The movie thus works like a good sermon that convinces you that although it appears that God has failed you, wait! He actually hasn’t; He just has a plan and you have to have faith. And tithe. And tithe. And tithe harder.
Likewise, just when it seems that heteronormality has failed, wait! your true love will actually find you because it’s fated that way. Yes, Cupid loves me; the movies tell me so. “I couldn’t be so gullible as to be brainwashed like that,” everyone says. “I couldn’t be killed by something so tiny,” the gunshot victim thought as the bullet whizzed towards him. Good brainwashing is supposed to create a third-person effect, I think it’s called, by which we’ll say, Others can be susceptible to that, maybe. But I’m not. And we continue eating popcorn both psychically and physically.
And as an understatedly elegant essay on how “parallels between representations of heterosexuality within romantic comedy cinema and aspects of heterosexuality as constructed by Western culture suggest a reflective or supportive relationship between film and this central sexual identity” predicts, even this movie’s probably written to take viewers through a conceptual roller-coaster ride to show them one couple for whom heteronormative love magically isn’t a sick joke by the time the credits roll up. The title admits the truth, but the paradigm of heteronormality is so invisible and unquestioned in its omnipresence that no one will take seriously the literal truthfulness of the title. Love as it’s constructed by society, therefore, is a sick joke, because it keeps representing heterosexuality to people in a way that trains them up for more heartache and more addiction. It’s where approval, significance, love and social acceptance life. It’s normative. It’s Law. It therefore contains the curse.
And having identified with the characters (the essayist just mentioned gives the briefest, loveliest explanation of how the selection of top-of the-range performers whose reputation “transcends” the movie itself, makes it so easy for viewers to identify with them because of how, like the viewers, they segue in and out of the static story through the vehicle that is the primary narrative viewpoint), the viewers will never catch on to the fact that they’ll probably never be that couple – and they’ll continue searching for that relationship and validating the heteronorm, the only thing that’s been presented to them.
I see little girls looking at Barbie in her resplendent glory attracting Ken, and I see them worship and marvel before her Ken-drawing Evarian powers; I see men looking at adverts with a sex goddess/whore waiting for a real Adamic man to claim her. Don’t the two genders see that they’re being given two different ideals and two different idols that correspond with two different personality-types? Barbie desires Kenn, but in real life he’d rule over her. The boys’ picture is more truthful if they can find a woman who will objectify herself like the woman in the image.
How in the holy Name of God do they not say, “Wait, we’re not signing up for the same fantasy”? The church and the world need each other to keep selling the same ideal. God said, “There is no more male and female.” I take that to mean that He has removed much of the theological and legal significance of strictly heteronormal marriage. It is no longer required to contain the curse. But bring it back as a norm that earns people significance, and watch those kids weaned on the differing ideas re-manifest the curse and experience parodies of unity in their lives.
The heteronormal paradigm for romance arguably trains people towards and sets about half of them up for frustration. Greece thousand years ago, the sexual fluidity of persons was assumed rather than researched; people who were strictly “straight” or “gay” were remarkably rare. Heteronormality is a fairly recent invention and its real power is in how subtly it tells everyone that heterosexuality is the default. Then everyone goes ahead to squeeze into a mould that was made for a select few and can only work for a select few. It’s like playing the lottery: everyone hopes to win; most people lose. But the promise and the obligation keep beckoning to them and they keep going back.
To what degree is heterosexuality an essence, and to what degree isn’t it? Have we permanently turned society straight, and is that a good thing?
If the heteronorm died out so too would Hallmark, Hollywood and all the people whose businesses are derived from the same cntrl-c, cntrl-v concepts and cultural patterns. It’s predictable and it keeps society predictable. It simplifies every researcher’s work and it keeps research simplified. Every time a straight-identified man “discovers” that he’s “gay” it rocks the Titanic that is heteronormality, which society happily boarded because all the marketing done via movies, media, religion and politics made it seem like the human paradigm handed down by God. The violins are playing, the fireworks are exploding and everything seems fine but the ship is still sinking.
Being illusory, heteronormality is a political institution that anxiously broadcasts its existence and neurotic normality every day, daily brainwashing people who would have easily have been bisexual, celibate, or indifferent to marriage as we have nowadays constructed it; they would derive their sense of significance from their relationship with God, or from some calling God has placed on them. I can hardly finish a conversation with decent, respectable people without being gently reminded that it’s time to find Mrs. Right.
I submit that if you took an identical version of most people living at another point in history, and them made them meet versions of themselves living as the heteronorm today, those versions would say, “What on earth were you thinking when you said I do…?” or as Tyler Perry named one of his movies, Why Did I get Married? It’s a pretty good question: why do people get married? “In order to obey what God said about marriage.” Which bit?
As respective genders, men and women have differing sexual energies, insecurities, temperaments, needs and outlooks. Told that these are complementary and must harmonize each other for life, the men and women try to meet their romantic and sexual needs in a heteronormative paradigm, blinded by social conditioning to any other, only to find but never admit that the heteronormative paradigm they’ve been blinkered on to does not always work the way the label says it should. It spawns more entitlement, frustration, unmet expectation, insecurity (and thus more power-struggles) and suffering than we’ve ever known. It was supposed to impose order and predictability onto society, but it’s failing. The heteronormative paradigm is, from the word go, unable to contain the aspirations it teaches its adherents to have when entering relationships; yet it simultaneously guides them to only being able to fulfill those aspirations in heterosexual relationships – or at least to trying very hard.
Heterosexuality needs no explanation; everyone is straight until proven guilty. The world is a simple and rewarding place. When you go gay, you have to specify the pronoun of your partner and navigate a world that suddenly becomes very, very complex not to mention dangerous.
So the fact that some black women voluntarily subvert the heteronorm and try lesbianism is a big deal. It means they’ve caught on to the dupe. They’re supremely aware that they’ll never be Julia Roberts catching the attention of Hugh Grant and making him stutter for her. The narrative perspective that’s designed to draw the black female township viewer to identify with a white woman in a quaint, safe town fails to hypnotize her for a very simple reason: in her reality, this black woman has probably been raped, cat-called, sworn at and betrayed by men lurking around every corner of her harsh, rough township. She may not be consciously aware of it, and that’s the point. Her personhood has been so thoroughly crushed that she doesn’t believe Grant would see something worth pursuing in her. Some women reading this would think I exaggerate; I submit that they’re the minority looking primarily at their own life experiences. I know many more women for whom suffering is a normal part of life, and would be confused by someone telling them that they’re oppressed.
The black female township viewer may also have a historical question running in the back of her mind: just as she might want to know how the black mafia masculinity that violates her when she assumes her independence can claim to be her hope of security, she might likewise want to know how the “benevolent” colonialist power that promises protection and dignity, embodied by the attractive white male lead, can forget its role in creating the very circumstances that placed her and her people in the ghetto.
I’d bet you the whole budget of a romantic comedy that Hollywood didn’t think of that one.
When the black female township viewer voluntarily tries lesbianism, she shows an awareness of the heteronormative dupe and thusly exposes it.
How lesbians being under less pressure to retain their femininity than gay men are to maintain their masculinity reveals both the freedom and the “nothingness” of women within the heteropatriarchal system – until the System calls them to their duty of augmenting men’s identities
Earlier, we looked at how women are relatively free to not make something of their lives, compared to men; we discussed how, by merely objectifying themselves and trading in their autonomy, women are celebrated for accepting their places as chattels in the heteronormative system. This reveals that society places a higher premium on masculinity as it has defined it, and will resist the objectification of men whereas it won’t resist the objectification of women. This reveals that men are persons while women are objects.
We will also discuss something else: if little girls are given the period of their puberty to get over any tom-boyishness that they may have, little boys are given less than a minute get over any girlishness that they may have. Again, men are persons; women are objects. Masculinity is personhood; femininity is less than personhood.
When I go to work, I notice that there is a much greater variety in how women dress than how men dress. Women are freer, but here’s the irony: they’re free, not with a freedom that points to their equality and liberation, but with a freedom that points to their “nothingness” and status as objects in the heteropatriarchy.
Just as the objectification of women allows them to create a reverse-niche within the heteropatriarchal system, so too does their relative “nothingness” within the heteropatriarchal system give them the pivotal freedom to maneuver men from one box that serves the women’s reverse-niche, to another box that serves the women’s reverse-niche. The men, being “real men,” will neither complain nor hesitate to perform in each of the boxes that they’ve been placed in; how can they call themselves men if they can’t live up to the description? Women thus predict and prescribe masculine behavior because they are freer. But that freedom is not the freedom of equality; it’s the freedom of inequality whereby women are, ironically, less important than the men that they maneuver around. I’ve done everything required to play straight in my life, but I’ve never – never – had the balls to enter a straight relationship; not even the pretense of one. I’m not that courageous nor do I any longer see glory in pretending to be that courageous. Straight relationships are blessed; straight relationships that are formed because of a respectability trend whereby your community and your religion will bless you for doing your “duty” give me shudders. I’ve read the story of Adam and Eve and I know the “Law” surrounding their lives and their “duty.” The moment a person participates in a ceremony because it’s the “respectable” thing to do, I worry: it means that affection and attention are being gotten on condition of performance. So perform the parties will.
In the movie, the Titanic crashes into the iceberg precisely because the crew was fixated on a demonstration of heteronormality instead of looking ahead. That is prophetic and profound.
Women mistake the freedom of being lesser-than with the freedom of equality, and celebrate it, even while they demand that men stay in their conventionally masculine boxes when the women are more entertained, gratified and enhanced by those conventionally masculine boxes, and they demand that the men get out of those boxes when they are menstruating and want a man who’ll be sensitive and understanding. One day they want a man who’ll open doors and pay for everything at the restaurant the way conventional masculinity expects; the next, they want a man who’ll prefer to watch chick-flicks with them instead of rugby. They are free to chop and change their needs, not realizing that their freedom points not to hard-won victories for feminism, but to their subtler worthlessness to the System. The System could give them these mere trifles because the women would mistake them for actual victories. Women tasted the first fruits the women’s lib movement and mistook it for the banquet. Having never tasted real freedom, power, or the responsibilities thereof, they settled for and clung onto a counterfeit of the real thing. It is fools’ gold.
Feminism almost, almost got it right. But the heteropatriarchy won because the allure of looking pretty and not having to think or lift a finger was too much to contend with. Feminism almost, almost got it right. But its success depended on women doing something that most human beings won’t do: thinking.
There is a “softness” to women that corresponds with their sensitivity and sensuousness; that softness can segue into their construction and perception of the world, making them believe that the world is more pliable than it really is. That’s why they’re more likely to unwittingly “manipulate” their social environment; they think it should flow with whatever condition they’re in at that moment. It’s the reason she can expect him to “understand” the one moment, but “be a man” the next without giving him a chance to read her mind to see the change. Few women are shrewd enough to manage this feminine softness, using it with much discretion. They have come of age. Heteropatriarchal society fears their awareness and maturity because heteropatriarchy depends on the un-self-aware softness of women in order to objectify them. Again, this is a wonderful arrangement until it’s not so wonderful anymore.
I hate being asked to help with baby-shower decorations because I’m the tallest and strongest in the house. I also resent how female family members want me to be sénsitïf when it suits them and then stoic when I’m upset. But the joke is on them: however they take me out of one box to the next in the puppet show masculinities they want me to exhibit at a whim, their relatively greater freedom in gender expression reveals that they are “nothing” to the heteronorm while my routine oppression shows that I am the one with the premium attached to his gender. Their “nothingness” and the “premium attached to my gender” are indeed an allegory for the anatomical difference between men and women.
The ease with which women would sooner “sink to” lesbianism, as well as the relatively lesser outcry about it, exposes the double-standard and power structure that puts men “above” women, and women in a place where, unlike men, they have no dignity left to lose if they try lesbianism. Men’s penises are spears; women’s vaginas are the points of conquest. Let the conquered have each other, but we can’t dare lose the spears.
All along, women thought that their greater freedom to experiment with lesbianism – a freedom that’s encouraged by some men – was a sign of their liberation. It’s not: a pair of straight girls lesbianically performing for straight men’s gratification are still as much objects as women who’ve only been with men. Women’s liberation’s near-victory only succeeded in producing just one more way women could be objectified. Fools’ gold.
Remember: men have the ability to impart a last name and many other dignities to their female partners because society has given them these powers. The women don’t question it.
Men stand to lose these powers when they get into relationships with fellow men. At the very least let us admit that the terminology becomes tricky: when John Doe marries Joe Soap, does he become John Doe-Soap, or John Soap-Doe…? We have ourselves a neat little pickle there: how do the men retain the preference of their individual legacies and names? Prince Jonathan happily handed all the marks of his right to Israel’s throne to David (who had single-handedly slain a giant that interestingly grew “faint” at the sight of his beauty) before handing emblems of his masculine prerogatives to him as well. His father King Solomon blew a gasket: “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that to your own disgrace – to your own confusion – and to the exposure of the disgrace of your mother’s shameful nakedness you have chosen the son of Jesse [David]?” I took liberties with the translation it varies so widely, depending on who’s done it.
We don’t know whether Jonathan and David were gay or not, but we do know that Jonathan’s father knew what was at stake. Now if it was two women involved, the father would have displayed strong irritation with the situation, and then gone off to fold origami until he felt calmer; he wouldn’t have unleashed all hell at the girls.
Lesbian women have less dignity to “lose,” so they’re less conditioned to hold on to their heterosexuality. The ease with which some women “try out” lesbianism exposes the hollow promises of heterorespectability and what Adrienne rich called “compulsory heterosexuality” insofar as it promises to afford women a higher status in society. Even the fact that women can embrace in public and men can’t reveals a lot about how society views the two genders.
This is what black women forget: when my gender decides that we’re actually going to use the powers that society has vested in us to demand that women fulfill their gender roles as objects relative to our male personhood, my gender can then turn around and forcefully clamp down on the false female freedom that apparently allows women to be lesbians for longer than it can allow men to be gay. Women shallowly, unthinkingly believe in women’s lib; they assume it because they keep hearing it’s there. But what’s there is fools’ gold; the heteropatriarchy isn’t even remotely threatened.
This is why, though my sister can make me help with baby shower decorations, I could use my masculinity against her in more serious matters like disputes about inheritance, the division of duties, and so forth. I could make her take over all the chores in the house, and she’d have to accept that without protest because the Culture would be on my side. Women don’t realize that they hand men the arsenal to do this every time they ask men to display one aspect of masculinity, and then another, and then another. They affirm our right to mutually trap one another, but theirs is ultimately the greater trap.
Black women also hand heteropatriarchy this arsenal when they make disparaging comments about how male homosexuality is “not African” or is “a white man’s invention.” By judging male homosexuality as emasculating or deAfricanizing and therefore of that “other” rapable tribe, they affirm the inequality of men and women, and they reinforce the power-structure of the Powers that oppress them. Women’s power to disparage homosexuality, or label homosexual men as somehow “lesser” men, will always turn the tables on them every time they use it because they will be using mere trifles, toy guns, fools’ gold, which, far from threatening heteropatriarchy, reinforce it. Thus, by judging, black women become the judged; by demeaning, black women become the demeaned.
It is the judgment of the Jezebel of Babylon who rides on men, enjoying her reverse niche on them. In one hour she is felled and burned by the very System she thought she’d become ruler of. “I am a queen and not a widow,” she’d said. She was wrong: she was definitely the loser in this situation.
The “nothingness” of women remains hidden behind false freedom and false power until the day subversive lesbians are murdered; then the freedom sugar-coating the nothingness is violently ripped off to reveal just how oppressed black women still are – or at least, still can be. Heteropatriarchy thus checkmates feminism using the pawns that are women who think they’ve got the powers of queens. Fools’ gold.
By boasting the lowest STD transmission rates, lesbianism exposes the lie of heteromimicry as well as all the lies that are compacted into it.
I’ve heard again and again that the love between women is “the highest expression of love there is.” Even the flippant joke made in the dialogue of the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona (“Next thing she’ll be going to bed with Maria Elena and glorifying it as some kind of superior, alternative lifestyle”) validates that the rumour at least exists. So I began examining the matter.
While we may want to romanticize the heterosexual union by elevating it from a battle for the female’s forced submission under heteropatriarchy, to the sacred process by which life begins; while we have the option of looking at the female body as the doorway to the womb where life begins, we cannot deny that in the moment that lesbians have toilet brushes placed in their genitalia, all black women everywhere are metaphysically held hostage even if they hadn’t realized any reason to escape heteronormality.
When Zozo died, I searched for uncontainable moral outrage volcanically exploding out as some kind of “Enough!”, and found mere complacent shock and confusion in its place. I searched for the “No more, and nevermore!” and found the “What next?” instead. I searched for others who experienced psychotic, suicidal, maniacal rage as I did. I searched for anyone who wanted to burn buildings and bomb bridges and cause some irreparable damage. Good enough some are working to heal the wound, but I wonder whether that’s all the situation needs.
I enviably watched rioting kids in Egypt; I longed to run through the streets of Syria or choke on the teargas in South America. I’ve inhaled teargas before, and it’s hell. These things are bad but at least those people know that they’re suffering. Nobody here realizes it.
I searched for incurable bitterness and irreversible disillusionment opening eyes and wounding hearts; they were numb, blind and unaffected. I searched for martyrs, I searched for witnesses, I searched for prophets, and I searched for wise men. I searched for graffiti artists and revolutionaries; I searched for fishermen I could send out to overthrow the System. I searched for beheaded souls under altars crying out for justice. I got Judases. I got sleeping disciples who could not watch with me for one hour. I got people who cannot read or listen to explanations of what’s happening.
To add insult to injury, I was told that this sort of shit “Just happens.” A wiser friend of mine had to talk me out of harming myself.
I searched for anyone who understood that every black woman was raped in her rape and held hostage in her assault; I searched for anyone who understood that the moment Mafia masculinity enforces heteronormality on one woman because she’s lesbian, heterosexual copulation is no longer optional; it’s compulsory and therefore rape is performed on all women because they all have to participate. God said that “there is no longer male and female”: we thought the grace was an optional extra. Now the ungrace is killing us. I sniffed the air for one burning bra. I listened for the outcry. I got nothing.
Even hell ceased to have meaning. Even the demons were shocked, and looked up at our world, amazed. Their fall from glory was immediately reversed by their realization of what we’re really like: their monopoly on evil had been taken away not by the rape but by the incredible size of our apathy. “People did react towards this,” I’ve been told. I’m sorry to those that did: I missed it. “You’re overreacting,” I was told. Is that possible? Bombs strapped on my body and suicide-bombing someone somewhere would be a decent start for expressing how bad this is. “Try to view it in perspective,” they said. I just explained that every woman was raped in her rape: what the hell kind of perspective am I supposed to view it in? “You’ll drive yourself mad,” they said. The folks at the institution give me the pills that mess with my brain and then tell me that I’m driving myself insane? I will be damned if someone else isn’t. “You’re being dramatic,” they said. Every time I hear that, some dead philosopher turns over in his – or her – grave. Hell freezes over with every chilled syllable. Its inmates slink out one by one, embarrassed and upstaged by us. Either the wrath of God mellows, or He doesn’t care. Hitler and 6 million Jews? Shit happens. Apartheid? Oh well, BEE will fix that. Corrective rape? Wake me up when it’s over. Fair is foul and foul is fair.
I couldn’t recognize Duduzile if I walked past her on the street, so on some level I am not affected by this as her family is. But I can’t separate her name from the principle of the matter. Didn’t you hear it? In the silence, in the dark, in the night, everything that has meaning ceased to mean anything, and nobody noticed.
Because she was gay. She wasn’t really a woman – she rejected her femininity, the myth goes – so her rape doesn’t really count. She “tried to be a man,” and some man “corrected” that by reminding her of how her anatomy works.
And she deserved it, didn’t she, ladies? That’s how I interpret your silence: you’re showing that this anatomy and its heteronormative “natural use” is the reverse-niche by which women can ride men and hold them – ah, the fool’s gold! that passes for actual power! – so in turning away from its “natural use” to other women ala Romans 1:26, she disempowered and betrayed other women around her. By not singing for masculine hyperheterosexuality, like any good fellow siren ought to, she actively failed to dispense the Pavlovian cues needed to keep men in the game. She thusly stripped black femininity of its power – or let us say, it’s quasi-power. She therefore wouldn’t have anyone defending her because she’d rejected the System that would defend her (from the Mafia System itself, remember?)
It’s her fault! You’re saying it’s her fault! That’s all I’ve heard since this happened – you’re saying that she sort of had her death coming. You’re keeping silent because you think that you’re queens and she’s the widows. Wrong. You’re the widows, and soon the Mafia masculinity you trusted in will turn and burn you too. You judged her in Romans 1:26 but Romans 2:1 exposes everyone. We all “do the same things” that we judge in others. How will we answer God? Did we really think we were that innocent, any of us? We are vile! Let the mouths of the whole world be shut up before Him.
The rapist won. Damn the lesbian and exonerate the rapist, right? “We want Barabbas! Crucify Jesus!” Cursed is He who hangs on a tree. It’s a no-brainer: kill the sinner, kill the lesbian, kill the one who is cursed by God. Kill the one who’s exchanged the truth of God for a lie: it’s absolutely logical, isn’t it? Oh, you may not have killed her but the silence approves. The System and the Silence benefit each other.
The reverse-niche is Eve’s power to predict and prescribe masculine behavior. It is a very dangerous power.
So to whom does the “They are deserving of death, as well as they who support them” in Romans apply?
It applies to the one who has “no right to judge, whoever you are, for at whatever point you condemn another, you also do the same.”
On the fourth of July, 2013, Jesus was crucified. And in October 1998. And countless other dates. Please tell me that you’re starting to see the Prince of this world.
Which woman will Mafia masculinity go for next? Will the next woman who’s raped be raped because she’s wearing pants? Or because she’s wearing her hair a certain way? Where’s the line between the rape of a lesbian woman and the rape of a woman who wears pants?
Or between that victim and somebody’s grandmother? The two-year-old girl? A schoolteacher? If one person could be raped because she was lesbian, then why can’t we just swap the word lesbian for any other? They raped this one because she was wearing a blue shirt. They raped that one because it was Tuesday. They raped that one because she was alive.
Those women will get justice because they had the decency to be born straight. They keep heteronormality alive and meaningful. They had the decency to be born usable to the System. Lesbians opt out of the System and are therefore of less use to the tribe.
Indecent women who threaten the tribe
When they brought the one who was caught in adultery, Jesus’ first action was to write in the sand. I can speculate on what He wrote. By not letting us know for sure, He sort of leaves us free to hypothesize. I think that He wrote,
We first placed the woman within the man so that she could be brought out of him when the time was right.
The man was supposed to be the within which she could be protected from a world that wasn’t safe for her; man was supposed to till, cultivate and subdue that earth.
The Law had a parallel function: to act as a guardian until I came, subduing a part of the world enough so that I could declare My message of peace with God.
But the Law of Moses you’re judging her against now actually serves to expose that you’re the very ones from whom she needed protection. You’re showing that you’d much rather preserve your patriarchal power than keep her alive. The law exposes you because you haven’t even brought the man here as the law demands. You fell for the trap We set you at Sinai; We knew you’d only focus on women as the adulteresses. We’ve exposed you.
You’ve chosen your Cultural Value System from which you derive your of self-worth as the owners of sentient objects, and naturally, she’s a pawn, a token; her life can be used as a point in an argument about which of you men have greater honor before God.
You’re exactly like that outer world of pagans you disparage so often. The Law of Moses was supposed to protect you from them and expose them. But I’m starting to see that it could just as easily be the other way around: the Law of Moses exposes you and protects them from your sea-crossing, convert-winning proselytizing that could turn them into twice of what you are. You have no right to judge them because you’re worse than they are: unlike them, you claim to know God’s heart.
And because you hold this woman in such low value, she’s now in a System wherein the only way she can draw validation is if she attaches herself to a man who, like her own identity that’s been dissociated from her, doesn’t belong to her.
The very command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” served to highlight to her this hierarchical structure wherein adultery would be a shortcut to some sort of validation and personal triumph. And she took that shortcut to the only validation of selfhood she could find. She fell into the same trap you did and got exposed in the same manner wherein you were exposed. The Law silences you both along with the whole world. The Law I gave you to protect you from being like the world that throws its women around like objects is the Law you have used to make yourselves worse than the world.
She thought that in the man she didn’t own, she could recuperate the identity she didn’t own and become whole. The law, “You shall not commit adultery” did not restrain the adultery; the law pointed her to one of the ways by which she could feel complete, and that was adultery. Again, the law serves to expose an evil, soul-crushing System.
She didn’t realize that I was waiting at her door. I am always at the door.
This is why I say that when a man leaves a woman, he causes her to commit adultery. When a man leaves a woman, he takes away her identity because he’s as close as she gets to having an identity in this System, which was supposed to protect them but disempowers them.
Your System creates the very adultery that the Law was supposed to stem.
I love you but when you do this you crucify Me. I love you but when I look at you, you spit at Me.
It is not for your sakes that I do this, Ephraim.
Israel, I am almost ashamed to call Myself your God.
Then He stood up and said, “Let He who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.”
The woman caught in adultery and brought by herself was symptomatic; she was emblematic of the problem inherent in Phariseeism.
Jesus told her to go on her way and sin no more. Whether she was plucked into the Matrix or not is irrelevant: under the Law of God, you are not allowed to commit adultery. In Christ, you wouldn’t want to; you’re a real person now.
The angels are silent. So are the demons. Thirty minutes of silence in heaven: no trumpets blasting, no bowls being poured out, no incense burning. Zozo’s murder is too grim for a running commentary on the representative judgments occurring in the battle between good and evil; it’s beyond foul play. But the relative silence from the human quarter – that’s abhorrent. I have not slept listening to it. How does God stand to look at us? “They bear My image,” He tells the angels. The angels shudder at the thought. But He unflinchingly identifies with us because that’s what He promised He would do; “I will never leave you, neither will I forsake you.” That is steadfast love. That’s God. That’s God! He’s God, and there is none like Him. It hurts like hell but He does it because that’s who He is.
The moment heterosexuality becomes heteronormality, and heteronormality is used as the heteropatriarchal way in which the dignity of the male orgasm and his identity, his power over his tribe is restored and empowered again and again, then the vagina ceases to be the sacred vessel from which women bring forth life; it is violently wrenched from that romanticized plane. Women cease to be goddesses. They become objects, tokens, pawns, inkomo, in a heteronormative game that everyone must play; worse still, some of those women go from being goddesses to being manipulative demons who use the system to calculatingly augment their egos in the reverse-niche, not seeing that the greater System they’re playing into and riding on like the Mother of all Fornications is going to turn around and destroy them. You cannot make love with the System – any System – and live to tell the tale.
Tribalism begets heteropatriarchy, which gives a passing nod to heteronormality, which in turn slips some power under the table to its shadier cousins misogyny, homophobia and violence against women and children.
In view of the violent cycles that heteronormality drags heterosexuality into, is it any wonder that lesbian love begins to look like the purest expression of erotic love there is? Absent the presumptuous judgmentalism, and it begins to look like the purest form of solidarity between fellow objectified persons. “Therefore you, O man, whoever you are, have no right to judge” because you don’t know what you’re looking at. You can’t see through your self-serving idolatry of the heteropatriarchy you think will serve you.
It has been shown that lesbians have one of the lowest rates of STD infections; it is assumed that this is because lesbians generally do not engage in penetrative penile-vaginal sex. Yet they claim to have the highest form of erotic love there is. How do we reconcile the data?
Off of the tangent – pardon my rant above
We must understand that a person’s search for affection and sexual satisfaction doesn’t necessitate penetrative sex, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Penetrative sex is what often happens when people feel the need to partake of the Socially Respectable, socially Reasonable, socially Recognizable Orgasm that has been idealized by the heteronorm, or some relational and sexual paradigm that mimics the heteronorm – think of “tops” and “bottoms” in gay male relationships – wherein people think of penetration as the highest expression of sexual energy.
God gave us the grace in Galatians 3:28 two thousand years ago; we gays and lesbians today are a “parody” that exists as representative judgment on the mainstream’s refusal to accept that grace. The Prince of this world is judged.
I will explain how shortly.
To many lesbian relationships, penetration only too easily recalls all the conquerist-colonialist-tribalistic connotations of the heteronorm that both lesbians are opting out of. How, then, did penetrative sex become so popular?
What non-penetrative sex lacks is the ego-trip of either penetrating skin-on-skin or being penetrated skin-on-skin – the ego trip that says, “Look at me; I’m a real adult! I’m a participant in society’s holy of holies! I’m engaging in penetration! And I’m good at it too! Someone does think highly of me! I’m cool like that movie/porn star! I’m not the failure the kids at school thought I was! My church may judge me but golly I’m an adult! I’m a real man! I’m a real __” fill in the blank.
Often at times, successful penetrative sex is a band-aid for the self esteem. And everybody knows this. I’m not saying that the choice to engage in penetrative sex is always wrong or unworthy – I have enjoyed it greatly as an expression of love – I’m saying that it is, in some cases, deconstructable. Penetrative sex has many, many advantages over its non-penetrative counterpart.
But sheer pleasure is not one of them.
What? Am I saying that non-penetrative sex can be as physically satisfying just not as egoistically gratifying as penetrative sex? I’m not the one saying it: my one friend said it when he described his visit a prostitute. “I went to see this mahosha,” he said. “I paid for my hour, and then she reached down and did something to me and I was completely finished.” “What? You couldn’t even get it in?” someone else asked. “Bra, I don’t know what she did, but it finished me. I feel she cheated me out of my money’s worth.”
Society has taught that “our money’s worth,” sexually, is penetration. If you’ve ever heard or said the words, “If we keep doing this I’ll cum before I get it in,” then you know that non-penetrative “outercourse” can comfortably produce as much pleasure as intercourse; you also know that you’ve been taught that it has to go in or it doesn’t “count.” Who taught us this lesson so aggressively, and did he have our sexual pleasure at heart, or the enforcing of a System that’s playing its cards close to its chest?
It’s easy. The more stringently the church enforced the moral law that says that penetrative sex is exclusively for married couples, the more of an ideal penetrative sex became and the more significance people sensed in this sort of act. The thought now was, if you’re going to sin sexually, you’d better get your money’s worth.
The law highlighted the hierarchy, as well as the lust to ascend that hierarchy. The world, being so sensitized to lust, started pursuing this one sexual act – penetration – that the church kept preaching Law on. The more the church preached Law surrounding this act, saying it was meant for procreation, and was the only means of sexual release allowed, the more it created a high-pressure situation whereby sexual penetration was seen as spectacular, gratifying sin. If people were going to do this, they were going to have to get their money’s worth.
Somewhere in Romans and Galatians it says that the more you preach Law at people, the greater the itch to sin. And BOOM! They all went for it. Satan thundered from the pulpits, and the sinners were scorched by lust.
What is it called when two people spend an afternoon rubbing against and exploring one another’s bodies in an extended series of orgasms, but do not participate in a geometrically symmetrical, socially recognized act of penetration? It’s frottage. The most intense sexual experience that most boys consistently report having had with other boys was non-penetrative sex; it was simply rubbing penises and pelvises against each other. Having had the ideals of well-executed penetration painted into my mind, I reasoned that there was no way that something so juvenile could be that pleasurable. Until I tried it.
Now most of us don’t know the name for this sort of sex act; therefore, we say “Nothing” happened though our nerve endings and soaked sheets tell a different story. We thus speak and create in our experience a sexual “Nothing,” construing it as sexual failure unless and until it leads to “the real thing” – penetration, whether of a man or a woman. Why? Because we have charged geometrically symmetrical, penetrative coitus with the status of being “right” and only allowed in the “right” circumstances, for “right” people. Naturally, everyone tried to get some of that – or some mimicry thereof in the case of “born eunuchs.”
But if we, as a culture, decided that “something” happened in simple intimacy and bodily exploration, and gave it a name and the sort of status we accord other forms of lovemaking, we would slash the spread of STDs by half. If we removed the social grooves that channel people’s desire to be validated into such narrow fields of actualization, we would solve many of the world’s problems by breakfast tomorrow morning. But we don’t, even while the numbers speak of people dying. The moral Law, whether expressed in a church or as a secular norm, creates and recreates those grooves. But check what happens:
“I don’t date a man unless he beats me,” some women assert. “I don’t date a man unless he can tear me up and fuck me senseless,” some gay men are very clear to say. “I like my bottoms loud and rambunctious,” some gay men advertise. “I like a woman who can handle it and moans.” “I want her to lie still like a godly woman should in performing her duty as a wife.” These voices are taking our idolization with the heteronorm to its ultimate logical conclusions.
What’s happening in the lesbian camp? And who wants to judge the women for turning to one another? Judge them in Romans 1:26 for their refusal fulfill their “natural use” to men, and I swear to God I’ll catch you out in Romans 2:1. Romans 1:26 is less the mind of God than it is of the Pharisee being examined and trapped in its own legalism.
The truth is that those who engage in penetrative sex might forget partners who gave them multiple orgasms in places they didn’t know they could orgasm from because those sexploits are not worth bragging about to friends; nothing in non-penetrative sex is describable in the socio-sexual vocabulary of power and commodity that we’ve chosen as the oracular tools with which to measure our sexual successes. Rather, we seek out instantiations of sexual aggression, territorialism and power.
Sometimes, penetrated persons are interested in being loved or pleased or in having fun, but only insofar as they’re interested in having their worth as commodities validated by the brute penetrative force a “masculine” man would exert, in asserting his desire and ability to conquer them. The physical pain associated with being invaded, as though by an army, can be seen as a mark of bizarre victory in the heteronormative hierarchy, which gay men buy into more than straight women. Every time a gay bottom gets torn to pieces, he proves to himself that he’s still got the ability to turn men into animals.
I intend no judgment on the enjoyment of pain for pain’s sake. I intend no judgment on the S&M proclivities of some couples. I would discuss the philosophical status of spanking but there isn’t room.
What I do want to point out is that often at times, homosexual copulation is a judgment on the high premium that mainstream society has placed on the “male and female” configuration, forgetting that the letter to the Galatians divests it of its exclusive preciousness; homosexual coupling also reveals and takes to the extreme a lot of the domination/submission that informs our hierarchies and their correspondent lust to power and validation.
Adam’s father finds him dancing ballet or ice-skating. Forgetting countless scriptures that warn fathers not to hurt or provoke their sons to resentment, he yells to Adam that he won’t have a son of his being a poof.
“I’ve been letting your Mama go easy on you! This is all her doing! She’s protected you too much.” Well of course she has; have you seen her hyperheterosexual husband who objectifies his children because they happen to be smaller and weaker than he is? Why wouldn’t she be overprotective? You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that to your own disgrace – to your own confusion – and to the exposure of the disgrace of your mother’s shameful nakedness you have chosen –
Chosen what, Dad? What don’t I think you know I’ve chosen? How does it connect with my soft mother’s disgrace, or confusion, or exposure, or shame, or nakedness? What of her are you seeing in me?
The soft face looks up and begins to cry. “Ah, stop being so precious!” his dad snaps.
Steve’s father is never proud of him. Steve is never man enough, strong enough, good enough, smart enough or brave enough. Steve’s father is never happy with his boy. Forgetting hundreds of scriptures about how children are gifts, he always tells Steve of how cheated he feels for having had such a sub-standard son. Steve’s father doesn’t realize that the gift is not meant to be an ego-massaging expression of his worth as a man; it’s supposed to be an expression of trust that God bestows on humans. It is God’s way of ennobling humans.
Years later, Adam and Steve meet somewhere. Adam is still wondering what it was in him that his dad saw. Steve is still wondering what it was in him that his dad didn’t see. Adam’s legitimate need for validation as a beautiful, graceful person meets Steve’s legitimate need for validation as a real man. Adam’s hunger for love meets Steve’s hunger for empowerment. Thus, in a “perversion” of their fathers’ heterosexist idol, they copulate. Their fathers have successfully painted their own judgments. “God didn’t create Adam and Steve, he created Adam and Eve!” they yell. “There is no longer male and female,” the scriptures whisper. The fathers won’t hear it. They judge. And the more they judge, the bigger the “abomination” becomes.
Are Adam and Steve “deserving of death” and under God’s righteous judgment for doing these things? The people who support them – are they also under judgment? Have they been handed over?
The more accurate question is, “In what way do they symbolize our judgment as judges?”
Through the Law, God has thus exposed the power-hunger, egoism and lust to validation that informs the human condition. There’s a song that says, “God is watching us.” I sing along, changing the words to, “God is mocking us.” Sinai shut us all up.
This is going to get personal but you need to know it:
In my, erm, research, I’ve discovered that gay “tops” who’ve never tried bottoming, tend to make the best “bottoms” because they enter the experience unadulterated by a heteronormative expectation of being validated as an object worthy of a madman’s pursuit; they and I have had indescribable fun together because they’re having sex for the right philosophical reasons. Topping a regular bottom can be an emotionally shallow, commercialized experience. They’re just heteromimicking; they’re simply following the lust that’s incited by the knowledge of the Law – the Law that said, “Check there: only real men experience the sexual power of penetrating another, and only real women – or really pretty boys – experience the validation that comes with being a valued object. So which are you missing in your experience? Which of these two experiences has the world deprived you of because of your failure to live up to the fixed gender roles that were repudiated by the grace in Galatians 3:28? However the mainstream and its ungracious handling of the Law has starved you, this particular sin can fulfill you.”
The Law is the bartender that asks, “What’s your poison?” And then having enticed you, the Law will say, “Now why did you do that? You’re cursed.” How come? Every time we act out of the Matrix, we fall under the Law.
Topping someone who’s never known how to “let go” of control is exhilarating because that person doesn’t enter the experience with a lustful view towards having their value as a passive, covetable commodity proven; they enter the experience wholly vulnerable and unable to determine what will happen next. The surrender of “control” is an act of trust that affirms the trustworthiness of the man before whom he surrenders control. The sexual longings of gay men who enter the experience of sex without any expectations of being “dominated” as covetable commodities are at least philosophically pure because they haven’t been adulterated by any false cultural value system. Are they theologically pure, though?
Had we believed in God’s grace in these areas in the first place, I contend, we wouldn’t even be asking that question. We don’t know which questions people would be asking; we can’t think outside our boxes because we can’t see the sexual history that would have been.
The bare existence of the question is a sign of representational judgment; the moment we ask ourselves whether gay people’s desire to have sex is theologically pure or not, we expose that we still idolize the “male and female” that God has shrugged off of His shoulders. We still have preferences; we still prefer people who reinforce the power structures that make us feel safe and normal; we still play favorites.
This is symptomatic of the mainstream’s legalism. The question exists precisely because the mainstream’s legalism exists. It sounds like I’m creating a metaphysical surd, a philosophical chicken-and-egg conundrum. I’m not.
The point is that while non-penetrative sex between members of the same gender exists as a way of releasing pressure off of the bursting sexual seams of society, our obsession with the socially respectable, socially responsible, penetrative orgasm makes it impossible for any couple, whether same-gendered or not, to participate in non-penetrative sex. They don’t think it “counts”; the church worked so hard to protect penetrative sex that she ended up charging it with a status much higher than simply “being” together.
Our obsession with the heteropatriarchal, socially responsible, sexually respectable orgasm thus makes us lose all the benefits we could have gained had we allowed ourselves to be aware of the power of non-penetrative sex between members of the same gender.
Non-penetrative sex between members of the same gender as a tool society has chosen to ignore
Non-penetrative sex is arguably easier between two persons of the same sex. It’s nearly impossible for a naked penis not to slip into a naked vagina when opposite-sex couples are frotting.
The very same structures that create an irresistible “fit” between members of the opposite sex, and a “non-fit” in members of the same sex, actually provides pleasure even if nothing goes into anything between members of the same sex; an opposite sex couple would only experience immense frustration if they tried to perform non-penetrative sex, I would imagine. Amazingly, I have heard and experienced that same-gender couples experience immense pleasure when they participate in the same act that I imagine would leave opposite-gender couples feeling dissatisfied.
Nature has provided an astonishingly powerful way to help us release sexual energy and bond with others, most practically of the same sex. But we have created and bought into a cultural value system that is incompatible with the provision.
And I don’t know how long it will take society to realize this, but by the time the first pubic hair has sprouted, kids have already started experimenting with their sexual impulses. You can only dam the ocean for so long unless you are aware of the most logical place where you can build a valve; you can only tell the sun not to rise for so long before you realize that you have to prepare intelligently for sunrise.
In spite of their many mistakes as a society, that’s one of the things the Greeks got right. When our heteropatriarchal sensibilities were scandalized, we covered that truth and rewrote history for a million agendas that had nothing to do with the truth. To quote The Shack, “Paradigms power perceptions and perceptions power emotions.” When people read the New Testament condemning same-sex alliances, we have too narrow a scope of historical knowledge from which to work out the nuances of what the scriptures are condemning and we impose a vocabulary and framework that didn’t exist 50 years ago.
The Greeks took responsibility for the paradigms they adopted; they, therefore, could perceive and experience emotions in ways that serve them better than our ways serve us.
We are responsible for the paradigm we take whether we pretend that it’s the absolutely correct one or not.
Go ahead. Deny your body’s carnality. Take the moral higher ground and contest what I’m saying while millions of babies get aborted. Then turn around and preach sermons about the precious lives of those babies, in the precious Name of Jesus.
Attempting to impose a moral norm on people acts contrary to the purpose for which the moral norm was imposed: look at scripture, for that’s what it says. Then look at history. Then look at scripture again. There’s a word for this. Legalism. Phariseeism. It is the cure for sin that, ironically, multiplies sin.
Feminists are a sign of judgment on heteropatriarchal society: that women have to now wrest the recognition and respect that Christ was working towards is a sign that society didn’t “get it.” Abortionists, as described above, are a sign of judgment on society.
This power of same-gender, non-penetrative outercourse naturally points to socio-cultural implications that the Greeks seemed to grasp with astonishing ease and used as part of their pedagogical boy-whispering culture – which, contra the detractor, wouldn’t be pedophilia today; the age-differences were normally quite reasonable and narrow – those implications being that teenage boys were teenage boys’ most expedient, most beneficent and most logical choice for lovers until they were ready for marriage.
We, in our blessed simplicity, just say that black “boys will be boys” and watch them with pride as they rape and kill as they do, not wishing to explore any other way of viewing boys. The Greeks knew more about boys than we want to know, to our detriment. Better the rapist in the house than the one next door. And better keep him as a socio-sexually frustrated heteropatriarchal rapist than turn him into an artistic lover of other men, right? Keep him primed as a killing machine, and then watch him kill his own people.
The System sets up these heteronormative and heteromimetic goals, which have less to do with pleasure than with status, and then leeches money, power and confidence off of people’s various attempts, successes and failures in attaining those ideals.
Divorce lawyers, taxmen, movie producers, condom manufacturers, abortion clinics and pharmaceuticals all have a vested interest in the paradigm of heteronormality (or heteromimicry in gay relationships) being perpetuated as well as the myth of the sexually recognizable orgasm “penetrated” into the minds and bodies of the people participating therein. What does it mean when a lesbian is found murdered with a toilet brush in her genital area, or when the number of HIV infection keeps mushrooming among well-off gay men or when there are unexpected pregnancies? It means that the paradigm has failed exceedingly; the bigger failure is that we haven’t figured this. I write this treatise as a testimony against our civilization.
I know many couples, straight and gay, who’ve yanked the condom off in the heat of the moment. Many people are too embarrassed to admit that condoms complicate their sex lives. In gay couples the “top,” who may have added pressure to prove his manhood by the successful mimicry of the heteropatriarchal conquest by the penetrator (in order that being gay won’t be seen as negating his manhood – we should have listened to Galatians 3:28!), will be too embarrassed to be seen with a softening erection. What will he do? With his highly anticipative partner waiting with baited breath to be torn to pieces by a “real” man, the pain of which will be his badge of victory as a bottom, the top will rip the condom off like He-Man, oblige his bottom and pay his respects to the System. Heteropatriarchy thus exerts its influence even among gay men.
If the myth of heteronormality that informs the religious idealization of penetrative sex dissolved today, do you know how many condom manufacturers, pharmaceuticals and businesses centered on pregnancies and babies would have to close? “Stop crime,” my younger brother once said, reading the back of a police van. Then he asked the devastating question to no one in particular: “If you succeed and actually stopped crime once and for all, what would you do for a living afterwards?” If everyone actually followed the law of God, what would be left for the Pharisee to do? Who would be left to judge?
No, we do not want to stop AIDS or abortion or poverty, for if we did, many of us whose jobs are about fixing or criticizing the fuck-ups created by the System would immediately be made redundant. The Pharisees want sin to multiply; they judge others so that there may be more sin to judge. They know that all the judging and all the Law-mongering multiplies sin. They know that so long as people are told sternly, “This is what you ought to do,” they will sin. “The passions aren’t supposed to be aroused at any time; the only time sex is permitted – without the stimulation of the passions – is during monogamous, heterosexual coupling, in holy matrimony, done with a view to conceiving new life,” they say, knowing that in saying that, they’ll bring about more divorce, abortion, AIDS and adultery than they can preach about the following year. That’s the sermon itinerary filled out. The world grows more lawlessness and needs more religion. The Pharisees collect more tithes.
By rejecting heteromimicral penetrative sex, lesbians expose the Law behind it as a form of bondage. Are we having a Romans 2:1 epiphany as yet?
The failure of gay men to contain the spread of HIV contrasted against the success of lesbians to contain it
This is the most common problem during gay male anal sex: by the time the “top” gets hard, the “bottom” is tight. By the time the bottom’s been loosened, the top has gone soft. By the time the top gets hard, the bottom’s gone tight again. They loosen, loosen, and loosen him until he’s loose – then ah, damn, the top’s erection is gone. The condom all but finishes what erection there is left. This happens with straight couples as well. Even if they can get everything else to match, condoms are notorious for finishing off the sensation and softening erections.
But the ideal… penetration and participation in the socially respectable, socially recognized orgasm, dangles, beckoning and taunting the couple, until they throw the condom and caution to the wind. They go for it. The consequences don’t normally follow one incident; like anything else in life, it often takes repetition and carelessness.
Spurred by a desire to experience exclusive intimacy with the man I was with, I’ve taken that risk and only the grace of God and the prior carefulness of the man I was with protected me.
“This ultra-thin condom will maximize sensation,” the advertisers say. “This lube will make it all so much more sensuous,” they say. They tell us these messages in a million ways, on a billion billboards, again and again. What’s the ideal being brainwashed into people even as the problem is being hidden in plain sight by the alluring words? It’s not real sex until something goes into someone. Get “your money’s worth.” The problem that the copywriting is hiding is that condoms sometimes minimize sensation; why the need to highlight that the sensation will be maximized if not the need to address a common complaint?
Why the couple in the prior scenario doesn’t try one of the million mind-blowing way to get their rocks off, is simply because the myth we’re currently engaged in began as a picture of something magical but then was transformed into a picture of heteropatriarchal conquest, the picture it keeps seeking to imitate because it is the picture that’s guided and won wars; it’s a picture of conquests, legacies, fairytales; the founding and sustenance of civilization as we now know it. We all want to achieve significance in that framework.
Like the heteronormality it’s now wrapped up in, sex isn’t about fun: it’s about power and validation within the framework of the ubiquitous, unquestioned, self-referencing System. If it were just about fun, there would be less penetration and thus less STDs.
Again, I see little girls looking at Barbie in her resplendent glory attracting Ken, and I see them worship as their cultural value system is reinforced again and again; I see men looking at adverts with a sex goddess/whore waiting for a real man to claim her. Don’t the two genders see that they’re being given two different ideals that correspond with two different personality-types? The church and the world need each other to keep selling the same ideal; they exist in a symbiosis wherein they need each other whether they admit it or not in order to keep the Cultural Value System alive.
Now you’d think that gay men would be free of this brainwashing because it’s intended for straight-identified people. So why are they heteromimicking so aggressively?
The beautiful spiritual truth that can inform penetrative sex is that one person can be inside another through the mystery of love. Matter has mass and impenetrably occupies space, science says: but the magic of love says that the mass of one person can occupy the mass of another through doorways into the temples that are the human body; temple doorways that take us beyond the secular realm into the divine presence. Penetrative sex is one of the ways we begin transcending the limitations of physicality. It is the mystery of the phallic, turgid, engorged god visiting the goddess in her sanctuary. Being a gay man who’s been inside another man, I have no metaphor for the poetry that happened when I was inside this other man nor vice versa. But as society, we’ve taken that magic and turned it into a power game by which people earn their validation.
Controlled by these constructions, fun is not just a matter of, “What feels damn good,” but also of “What is adult, mature and sophisticated?” Penetration as is dictated by the Myth of the Socially Respectable Orgasm is the maturation of all sex. The danger here is that when gay men attempt to mimic heteronormative penetrative sex, and condoms desensitize penises, they’ll peel the condom off rather than risk not coming across as a “real butch” in the heteromimetic parallel of heteropatriarchy. They’ll even glorify this condom-peeling moment in porn movies. They’ll make a stream of porn movies about “barebacking.” They’ll insist on giving their partners their “money’s worth” along with the swag of ripping rubber off: this animal just can’t help himself, the bottom thinks. I must be so hot.
Barebacking can open itself up to the magic of sex as it was when it outpictured the magic of love: I’ve experienced this both as “giver” and “recipient”; as material occupier and as materially occupied; as both the object of indwelling devotion and also as its indwelt subject; because it was with someone I loved, it was clean (contrary to popular belief), the front-to-front bodily and private-part fits were exquisite, something that someone who hasn’t tried this wouldn’t understand, and it was unadulterated by any sadomasochistic impulses. Do not be fooled by pornography, which is meant to incite lust and wherein bodies are angled and twisted for the cameras. We kissed throughout and reached orgasm simultaneously because we had each other in mind. Simply put, heaven looked like two men with limbs wrapped around body parts locked into each other; with mouths kissing and hands caressing. I think I spoke in tongues. God knows that my Christian attempts at repenting from this were simply me fulfilling religious obligation as I understood it then. This would have greatly damaged my boyfriend because I piled on him the same guilt and shame that Adam would pile on Eve for his undoing. That was wrong; this boy was not my undoing, he was my bodily redemption. Because at the core of whatever mixture of energies motivated me, there lay the self-giving hero who got to see in his boyfriend’s face the effects of his indwelling, overpowering presence. I could focus on him for the rest of my life; I could love like it was going out of fashion. And on this level, I was not ashamed; I wanted the world to see the beauty of what we were. We were naked, and we were absolutely, impeccably beautiful. We could create the world out of nothing but our ecstasy.
I let him slip away.
I’m celibate now, but, paradoxically, only because I’ve stopped trying to convince myself that it was evil. The Law cannot produce the “repentance” it was supposed to produce; it’s a treadmill. And you can no more repent of sexual orientation than you can of the earth spinning beneath your feet; that, too, is a treadmill. There are many reasons I’ve taken up celibacy but guilt is not one of them.
Penetration can also open itself up to disease if the couple isn’t monogamous. If you multiply the risk by the influence of a homoerotic culture of visual stimulation and variety – gods walk past in all shapes, sizes and colours – in which promiscuity runs rife, you’ll have an AIDS pandemic. Multiply the chances again by remembering that when we’ve tried something risky once without apparent consequence, we’re less hesitant to try it again. Multiply risk again by the influence of abused substances, and you’d have concocted a perfect death.
The System knows that it’s systematically killing gay men off. Millions of gay men have been gladly, knowingly and consciously drinking of this cup with multiple partners. The numbers of HIV infections is spreading. Clearly, there is no use in preaching the same message again and again; people choose death again and again. It’s the flow of the stream and nobody wants to resist it. But from where does the stream flow?
When you suggest to veteran promiscuous unprotected anal sex practitioners that perhaps the thing behind the urge to penetrate (multiple partners) is a socially constructed myth, they balk at you. Penetrative sex, they say, is adult. It’s avant-garde. And that’s exactly my point: it’s so cool not because it’s more fun, but because it’s “cool”; it’s been labeled as more adult because it reflects a heteronorm whose flow reaches us at the most extreme points on the stream. It’s about image.
I’ve heard of, but haven’t directly read, the writings of some very eloquent gay writers who would say that being HIV negative is a sign that you’re not desirable or liberated enough to have sex to the point where the numbers pass the virus on to you; they’re called “bug-chasers.” Most gay people think that they’re crazy. I think they’re just crazier than everybody else. We’re all crazy because we’re all brainwashed to some extent or another.
I started eating olives because it was cool, it was mature. It could make me appear enigmatic, brooding, adult, like I could understand the important things of this world. It was my small way of baiting acceptance and belonging, and carving out a niche for myself. Like I “get” things that are beyond most people my age.
Smoking’s taken up for the same reason by various persons. I walk past the smoking section outside my work building and ask myself what keeps drawing hordes of otherwise intelligent people their deaths like lemmings. It must be image, and image is what’s advertised. Andre (editor at large of Vogue) didn’t eat fruit for a long time because he thought it was “for children.”
Anything can be commercialized: accents, body types, ways of walking and talking. Whatever is dangled as “better” and whatever fills a gap in people’s souls. “There’s a lie that works for everyone,” the song by The Arrows tells us. Nobody wants to know that they’re being brainwashed because that would expose the shallow, hollow basis of their acceptability as a prank and themselves as fools. But we’re all fools; we’re all sheep. That we commercialize certain ways of being shows that we’re always looking for the next “cool.”
People will die and argue vehemently and throw tantrums for their right to engage in what’s been upheld as the apex of adulthood and complete maturity, whatever it is; to get recognition and respect within the System they worship as God. Indeed, the death toll continues to rise. Our desire to engage in what’s adult actually adulterates our experience of it.
In all of this, lesbian women find non-exploitative, non-invasive forms of lovemaking that are not adulterated by the background historical stories of conquests or the need to maintain an image of power in accordance to the hierarchies created by those background histories of conquest and commodity.
The moment they find those ways of making love that are wholly removed from the heteropatriarchy that built and outpictures those background histories, ways that are also wholly removed from the straight-identified black men whose power is derived from invasion, those lesbians critique the culture from which those men derive their power. And they have to die for it just as gay men have to die from AIDS as they worship heteromimicry and fetuses have to die for being conceived unexpectedly in our worship services to heteronormality. At about the third hour, the heavens grew darker.
These victims are sacrifices to our god, heteropatriarchy. Bow down and worship. Then turn around and condemn everyone else for doing the same things.
How lesbian sex is the “purest form” of erotic love
We often confuse sexuality for lust. Properly understood and freed, sexuality is an expression of the divine, while “lust is not of the Father.” Lust is the same felt desire to enact the above-described adulterated conquest/commodity-value myths on a cellular level that literally kill us on a social scale. The same perverted desire we have to enact these myths that burns us on a socio-cultural level is the same burning our cells and body tissues often experience in what we mistake and conflate with sexual desire.
We create the myths that destroy us and the fantasies that undo us. How many of us got a crush on a person, just because he looked like a movie hero at a climactic moment that seemed to ineffably touch us in a private epiphany that we didn’t want anyone else to peek in on – a private moment we were very territorial about? Then we did whatever we could to win the attention of that person’s look-alikes in later life, often forgetting conscience.
The images that create and are created by us are the images that destroy us. The fantasies that create and are created by us are the fantasies that undo us. The cultures that create and are created by us are the cultures that consume us. They burn us because they are the pictures, fantasies and cultures that inform our lust to power.
This is the difference between sex and lust:
Sex is creative; like the God it outpictures, sex heals, bonds, and brings joy; its evil twin lust seeks gratification, ego-boosting and validation in a heteropatriarchal framework of false empowerment; even male rape is a form of heteropatriarchy because it shames the victim by feminizing him. Heteropatriarchy thus shows its disdain of women; were the disdain not there, the rape would be meaningless.
Sex possesses by setting free; lust possesses by holding hostage. Sex validates by telling the other that he or she already belongs; the promise of love is already present. Lust judges the person as though he were a commodity – because it views him or her through the lens of a worldview that turns people into items at a meat market. Because it is inherently built on a lie, lust leads to the frustration and destruction of society.
The battle between good and evil is not a culture war for decent, respectably-dressed people. It’s not a political war. It’s not a war about gay marriage.
It’s a war that happens in our cells, in our genitals and in what we choose to do with our own genitals and the pictures we paint on the canvas of other people’s genitals, even if the brushes we use were designed to clean out toilets and the pictures we paint hold every woman in the land hostage to a myth that simply isn’t working the way it’s meant to work.
Sex is the desire for what is; lust is the desire for a myth about what is. That myth supports a paradigm that promises, promises, promises – and fails to deliver.
Lust is therefore about power, starves people of power, demands that they get their power by disempowering others – and thus leads to rape. Sex is about loving the other as he or she is; lust is about loving everything in the other that could be used to feed the self-image of the self, and mistaking that for love of the other. Sex holds the other intact; lust dismembers the other so as to feed off of those pieces of him in validation of itself. “The other day, I banged a hot ___ with an amazing __.” However you fill in the blanks, that’s lust talking and validating itself off of the dismembered pieces of the other, who becomes the various pieces of his or her body. Lust Picassofies people. That is not sex.
Lust demands, “Stats?” on the hookup App. The world wants to know your height, weight, body fat percentage, dick size, race, etc. so that it may know where you fit in on the pecking order that exists as a Worldly mirror image to what the church has normalized. The person on the other side of that hookup App is weighing you against another option for tonight. You wait while the other person decides whether he’s hooking up with the Caucasian with the Gabrielic face and the legacy of familiarity, or you the black man who has only started showing up as a real, interesting person on media and the discourse of the World. The World worships what it sees displayed on its televisions, and the church created the categories of respectability by which the television stations feed back to you with your subscriptions and preferences and godly tastes.
In this World and on that App, you are meat, which is fine if you’re into being objectified. Church, you do realize that by preaching Law – that a “real” man will be with a “real” woman – you inadvertently gave the lusts of the world a standard by which people could measure their value and worth in the pursuit, not only for the fulfillment of pleasure, but for the much underestimated, much more invisible need to belong within an ideal? You created that ideal.
The World supercommercializes what you’ve normalized, and everyone runs for it. I’ve searched the World for that “real” and I haven’t found it. God gave His standard: “There is now no more male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus.” This verse was speaking about how we approach, enter and “do” community in churches; as such, this verse has demolished the traditional ideas of how we are to enter community in Christ Jesus. Apply this standard, and the World will need to find something else to get people obsessed with.
By setting up a validation system, society creates a checklist against which lust can rate itself by the conquests it makes as they are gauged by this cultural value system. “Now that’s a lucky ___ to have ____(verb, e.g. married or had sex with) a ___ with such a ___(adjective) ___(noun: money or bodily attribute).” Who created that checklist? When a power-greedy world and a heterosexist church went to bed, that checklist was born. Soon, everyone – including gay men – was tantalized into fulfilling it.
Heterorespectability thus creates lust because it creates the heteropatriarchal or heteromimetic standard by which lust will measure its socio-sexual achievement; lust thus sees its need to grow.
The moment the church made a big legalistic deal about “God’s view of marriage,” and imposed laws around it, the world suddenly saw every reason to be fascinated with sex and sexuality. New labels, categories, boxes, definitions, socio-political stances, identity politics and political correctness were born.
I find it remarkable – those who’ve had their debt erased still want to hold others in debt.
When you impose heterorespectability as a moral norm on society, you multiply the dynamic wherein lust measures its achievement according to heteropatriarchal or heteromimetic standards, multiplying that dynamic of false validation across more people. Thus in history, the church kept meeting with failure every time she tried to impose the law on anyone – just as the scriptures said anyone would. Paul tried it, the Pharisees tried it, it was tried in the Old Testament and it was tried in Eden: it is counter-productive.
Sex is holy in its self-giving love and experiences pleasure as a gorgeous bi-product of its self-giving activity: lust desecrates by its self-preserving, self-building, self-focused grasp on pleasure and power – and thusly forfeits both pleasure and power.
Because its essence is life, sex is widely varied and beautiful and always new even as it focuses its attention on one person for life, affirming the truth that no amount of time is sufficient to fully know the beloved. Sex constantly renews and rejuvenates the people participating in it; that’s how monogamy is possible. Sex is like the Beatific Vision that eternally transfixes the soul. I am not prescribing monogamy to anyone; I am merely describing that when people enjoy their sexuality in a way that isn’t distracted by the background noise of the heteronorm or heteromimicry, they have no compulsion to be promiscuous because lust isn’t present. Lust is what happens in hell: so many faces, so many bodies, so many things to try, such little time and absolutely no relief. The worm doesn’t stop gnawing and the fire doesn’t stop burning.
The heteronormal structures that preach monogamy actually incite the lust to promiscuity, as I will explain later; they fail to bring about that which they would impose on society.
Lust narrowly focuses on one expression of sexual energy, which is whichever maximizes the most enviable, most respectable imbalance of power as is dictated by the socio-cultural atmosphere at that time; it can only get variety by swapping people. It tries to squeeze life where there is none, and even when it’s finished with one person it has to go find more life and newness (which is a sign of the life it seeks) in a person it hasn’t used as yet. Lust is the greed to possess or be possessed of as many bodies and faces as possible because those faces and bodies denote legacies, dignities, and affirmations all placed as Band-Aids over unconfronted self-esteem wounds.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “I tell you, if you should look at a woman [some translations specifying, “Another man’s wife”] with lust, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.”
With the above discussion in mind, some nuances start bleeding out: if you look at another man’s “territory” with an intention to re-objectify and re-conquer her sexually and use her as a platform on which to demonstrate your supposedly superior sexual prowess and gratify your greed; if you wish to use the “newness” of an untested person to recreate an experience that feels like life, or as a Band-Aid over your insecurities, then you would have adulterated the sexual experience for yourself because you have falsified it by applying it within an artificial value system.
If you should look at a man with the intention of having your value as a commodity affirmed, then you would have used the sex impulse as an ego boost.
To adulterate an experience – to commit adultery – is to try to be “adult,” or “bigger,” or more sophisticated, within a cultural value system, which in turn taints the experience.
By inadvertently showing the difference between lust and sex, as well as the fantasies, messages and outcomes of them both, lesbianism exposes heteromimicry as a hollow promise.
Gay men failed to subvert and resist heteromimicry: their entrained idealization and idolatry of the mainstream that had the unquestionable power to establish heteropatriarchy – even among gay men! – made it nigh impossible for gay men to escape the gravity of heteronormality.
The failure of gay men to contain AIDS intimates that men, whether straight or gay, by temperament and by biology, are more likely to buy into heteromimicry and heterorespectability than lesbians are because men have more dignity to lose, as explained earlier. The System plays them like pawns.
That they are more likely to buy into the way the System has been duping gay men while promising to assimilate them into the mainstream and heal their diseases, both psychic and biological, shows that the System plays Jesus but in so doing it exposes its hand; it shows how it has set up the very parameters within which its services become what is demanded and needed by its market. It diagnoses a leprosy that isn’t there, outcasts people to go live with other lepers from whom they get actual leprosy, and then offers reconciliation and wholeness on its own terms to the contrite, sick sinner. Look at this: it’s not the Jesus of the bible; it’s His very, very gifted imitator. Heteropatriarchy is unquestioned and unquestionable; nobody would dream of looking at it as the cause of society’s problems.
Through the mouthpiece that is heteronormality, heteropatriarchy speaks down to gay persons. Believing themselves to be free from the pain of being rejected by their judgmental heteropatriarchal societies, gay persons don’t realize it but they set up a similar structure – heteromimicry – and maintain it at any cost, perhaps as a way of recouping the exact validation they lost when they were rejected by heteropatriarchy. “If I couldn’t have my sexual victories celebrated in the straight world” – if the prophet couldn’t be accepted in his own land – “then maybe, if I penetrate or am penetrated in the gay world, I’ll get validation there!”
This parallel system isn’t intrinsically evil, but it did begin as a result of being rejected and will therefore, likewise, threaten with rejection those that don’t conform to its hierarchy. Begotten of the heteropatriarchy that rejected same-sex attracted people, heteromimicry in turn invites gay people into a parallel validation system and doesn’t let them seek validation in other ways even while the heteromimicry kills them. Nobody spells it out in those words or forces them to play along, and that’s what makes it so powerful. It’s nameless and it’s normal. It uses the third-person perspective; “It couldn’t happen to me; I couldn’t be brainwashed like that.” The best way to enslave people is to make them think they had a choice; that way, you’ll get away with it for decades.
The Powers are being exposed. Prepare for battle.
Where did heteromimicry learn to be so stingy with validation, to the point that gay people feel invisible unless they participate in penetrative sex, with or without condoms? From its father that rejected it, heteropatriarchy. Heteropatriarchy’s reach thus extends however far the rejected homosexual will go. “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go to hell, you are there.” The sins of the father are visited upon the next generation. Heteromimicry brainwashes gay men into believing that they’re not experiencing real sex until they either penetrate or are penetrated by someone. Again, the fact that it’s peer pressure without being peer coercion is what makes it so subtle, so insidious, and so irresistibly powerful.
Heteropatriarchy thus suffers from a Mafioso-Messianic complex; everyone is too enrapt with its constant announcement of its own existence and moral “normality” to figure out what’s happening. Every time the pastor preaches against what is “against nature” and the congregation says “Amen,” the number of persons getting HIV increases.
We say that homosexuality has produced death. I contend that heteronormality and heteromimicry, as a result of enforcing heterosexuality, have done more to produce death than homosexuality. The Law is the ministry of death.
The Serpent WINS.
Every time we legalistically preach Romans 1, ignoring the warning in Romans 2 as well as the grace in Galatians 3:28, the universe produces yet another “mockery” of the thing we’re trying so hard to protect, prioritize and preserve. The universe produces another “caricature” of our god. As we resist this, it keeps happening. It is a sign of judgment. The law, “Thou shalt not covet” has produced all manners of covetousness. Legalism has produced all sorts of death in society.
Why the gay- and straight-identified male communities make me sad
By allowing themselves to be raped like this, men, both straight and gay, have allowed the System to make repulsive or destructive to them the one thing that, for many centuries in many advanced civilizations, was more than half the essence of masculinity:
The ability to love other men spiritually, socially and erotically. Because eroticism is an aspect of sexuality, and sexuality is an aspect of humanity. The problem is when lust impersonates sexuality. Unencumbered by a sense of rejection from the heteronorm, same-sex couples can celebrate or eschew sexuality in ways that are sensible.
Straight men find loving other men repulsive because it subverts everything that’s been said about conventional masculinity, even as straight men occasionally whiff a bit of the irresistible madness in homoeroticism. It is divine madness; that’s why it’s so irresistible.
Gay men find loving other men destructive because the very void created by heteronormative society drives them to feeding frenzies when they do get their hands on any form of love or lust from other men. And lust, once incited, invites seven times as many demons in with itself. Had our society been more gracious, there would have been a far smaller chance of something like Zozo’s murder occurring.
There are many ways in which the capacity for same-sex love is now coming to the fore as a major deterrent to violence and force for spiritual awakening and apotheosis. This has been whispered of throughout history – older male teenagers are young male-teenage whisperers. Older male adults are young male adult whisperers. They groom them into adulthood in ways that include, but are not focused on, non-invasive sexual contact and release. It’s a mammalian pattern, and it helps channel those distinctly masculine sexual and psychic needs in a way that the heteronormative paradigm cannot currently contain.
The insistently heteronormative paradigm coyly sets teenage boys and teenage girls up for a young-age opposite-sex pairing that they might not be emotionally ready for, and wherein, as described earlier, they might not be able to keep the penis from slipping into the vagina. It then says that sexual genders are fixed, and terrifies parents into believing that once their teenagers explore homoeroticism, they’ll stay in it permanently without ever marrying (marriage having gone from being a gift from God to being a demigod under the deity that is heteronormality; grandchildren too are seen as rights and not gifts).
Perhaps as a response to heteronormality, the gay community has taught the same myth of inflexible sexualities. The truth is that most people’s sexuality is somewhat fluid and that’s not necessarily a threat to society, if society remains intelligent about it and uses it to its own advantage. The first step in that direction is realizing that we’ve collectively taught and made real certain myths about sex, and they’re not working the way they ought to work because they’re precisely that: myths.
I suggest that interested individuals research and perhaps critique Greek pederasty, the g0y movement; read up about Spartans, the sacred tribe of Thebes, Sappho, and many other elements of homoerotic history beginning to make their presence known online. There is anecdotal support to say that Shaka Zulu like others, saw the value of this type of homoeroticism, as well as it existing among black men who worked in mines away from home; the alternative for black men, which was heterorespectable penetrative sex with either a woman or heteromimicral penetrative sex with a man, could bring about venereal infections.
Sexual contact happens, and people die when deniers who’ve switched off both their consciences and their sexuality (there may be a relationship between the two) suppress historical information on such precedents, which precedents would expose the myth that the armies and ancestors they reference as “real” men and women, could never have had the desires that people in our day and age have. “But traditional marriage is the cornerstone of civilization,” they say. There is so much that is historically unsound with that statement; much more than I have room to explore in this piece.
At any rate, the psychological effect of thinking you’re the only one who’s wired a certain way, or has certain instincts, is harrowing. The psychological effect of believing that everyone else in the past was too morally pure to need an intelligent sexual outlet is devastating. It’s actually an act of mental terrorism. It’s one of the things that even Jesus was outraged by.
Three things come together at this juncture: anecdotal claims, based more on real-life on-the-ground experiences than respectable methods of data collection, saying that up to 70% of men experience substantial attraction to other men at some stages of their lives but are too scared to admit it for fear of being vilified; the historical possibility that non-penetrative sex was how men traditionally coped with such attractions, and, of course, the fact that condoms have done precious little to stop AIDS: their manufacturers would rather the world gets infected than disclose how many people fail to use them, or why. To disclose would be to downsize.
History is laughing at our Emperor’s new clothes. I see the failures of the heteronorm as it pulls the curse down on itself and do you know what I hear? “And such were some of you.”
The trumpet is sounded, the woe is called, the incense is burned and the bowl is emptied.
The scalding irony of discovering that the judge is the judged is the one trick of God that’s always disturbed me – but He uses it too often for me to feel safe around Him. I am amazed that His church is so blithe about dishing out, not quite condemnation, but disparaging comments. Hasn’t anyone read the bible? No one is ever correct before God. It’s impossible. You’d have always missed a crucial fact somewhere. Like, in this case, we’ve missed a tiny fact called history.
We can now investigate and substantiate that in the absence of condoms, the men (and women) who lived in these cultures did not normally practice penetrative sex; they practiced various forms of frottage. Today, heteromimicry in many ways insists that we have to engage in penetrative sex, and then sells us the condoms and lube to do so while the copywriting makes us too embarrassed to admit when the condoms kills our erections. The heteronormality sold by the church is so powerful because it makes penetrative sex so alluring by making it the legal mainstay and privilege of straight married couples who’ve ticked all the church’s boxes in the correct sequence – “Good girl! Good boy! Now go ahead and eat the showbread that no one else can touch.”
The heteronormality and heteromimicry sold by the world is sold through media and the advertising of condoms. In their mutual heteronormality, the church and the world are strange bedfellows, unwittingly committing the figurative fornication the church preaches against in the world. They each reinforce the same idol. They together create and sustain the Matrix: between the two of them, they broaden and make attractive the way to destruction, and there are many that are on it.
Had there been as many churchgoer protests against the fornication scene in Titanic as there were in the sex scene in Brokeback Mountain, I would not judge the church and the world in one breath. But right now I can’t tell the difference between the crowd watching gleefully in the movie cinema and the crowd sitting in the megachurch building yelling “Amen!” to the sermon against homosexuality. Sinai exposes their hypocrisy: just as the Pharisees should have taken both the man and the woman to get stoned for their adultery, so too should society protest every depiction of every transgression of the Law, and not just those that make them feel strange. I’ve had seasoned Christian fornicators tell me that my sin is worse than theirs; they can’t define and hate sin by the same standard in all of us.
That they fail to do so shows that no one has the right to judge, for everyone does “the same things.”
Every Christian who disparages homosexuals in Romans 1:20 is judged by the same judgment he’d been meting out on others in Romans 2:1. “Judge not, lest ye be judged. For by the same judgment wherewith you judge others, you too shall be judged.”
Many of the old systems of containing and using homoeroticism that worked are now undergoing an underground, online Renaissance. Some of the central ideas about male sexual fluidity, as well as anal sex, came from goy.org and grero.com. The discourse about women’s reverse-niches was inspired by the book about Reclaiming Natural Masculinity. I may not agree with, and may feel misrepresented by, certain elements of these movements, but overall I think if we’re willing to have more unity than the various denominations of Christianity have shown, we can shove back hard enough to make the gods sit up and take notice, perhaps even applaud us.
We must learn to distinguish, understand and appreciate what each of these cultural packages stands for; we must know their strengths and weaknesses, their modern modifications and what different thinkers are pointing out about them and what they mean for society as whole.
Each one throws awareness on different aspects of health, spirituality, masculinity and power – inescapable aspects that have remained hidden from most women in the world, which I think they should be told the truth about. Again, the heteronormative paradigm has been unable to disclose or contain all that there is about sexuality. The masculinity that’s been painted up is not what it appears to be, and that’s not necessarily a threatening truth.
Each of these schools of thought is about men grooming good men into great men, and many men have “graduated” from lives that otherwise would have been blights on the earth as they’d have protected their masculinity the only way that today’s heteropatriarchy teaches them: by exhibiting Mafia masculinity. Men who underwent such friendships in their teens often do not need to exhibit Mafia Masculinity as adults because they’ve had their masculinity affirmed in other ways, ways that have escaped the judgment of our heteropatriarchal society by remaining hidden. Until now, if society begins to dialogue and think in earnest.
The number of intimate same-sex liaisons in the world of men is so high that it defies intuition, but handled well it does society more good than harm. If this number dropped, civilization would, quite simply, come to an end. True story.
g0ys.org put it this way: “When peer-empathy, tenderness and physical affection become the signals of the ‘queer,’ – what is left for men to build interpersonal relationships on? Violence.”
There are also indications, noted most infamously by Professor John Boswell, that the early church performed rituals to consecrate exclusive life-long relationships between men. Boswell has been critiqued on his reading of early church manuscripts. I cannot repeat the arguments involved in great detail, but what we don’t know is to what degree, if any, the parties of those relationships were romantically and sexually affectionate, as well as the complexity of being able to declare “spiritual” love but being barred from declaring that the love was physical as well. I understand that the following questions are anachronistic and betray a very weak understanding of the finer detail of history at this point, but I will ask them: these spiritual unions seemed life-long and exclusive; were the men joining in mutual celibacy? Why does a “brother-making” ceremony use up all the once-in-a-lifetime promises and privileges associated with marriage? Why couldn’t the “spiritual brothers” marry women? Why take a vow with another man that excludes the prospect of marriage to a woman in the future, unless the vow being taken with the other man is a wedding vow in the first place?
When we look back in history at David and Jonathan, the Greeks and Romans, the persons united by the early church, we are left clueless about how much sexuality permeated those relationships or how it expressed itself, except in the case of the Greeks who painted us images on vases so that we wouldn’t have a doubt that there was a sexual, homoerotic component to their relationships. YouTube and Facebook weren’t around as yet, but having foreseen the need to pre-empt our affair with homophobia, they came out about being sexual beings and “uploaded” pictures.
What about men in other parts of the world, who were in close relationships with other men? Did they experience any same-sex attraction? Or are we reading our oversexedness back into history?
Maybe they were saints.
Maybe the male sexual impulse was invented in 1000 BC in Greece, and didn’t get around to other parts of the world, where they recognized male bonds, until the development of modern logistics after the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent Sexual Revolution. Then those infernal sodomites began actively recruiting everyone through their insistence on seeing “gay” in all things philadelphic, the fear of which we’ve allowed to let shrink our range of brotherly love lest it affirm what they’re saying about everyone being a little gay.
Maybe all those monks and knights and “brothers” who shared beds hundreds of years ago, and maybe those Davids and Jonathans who stripped royal garbs and kissed, were not really sexual beings even though they wrote Psalms, for God’s sake (literally for God’s sake) wherein they celebrated their non-erotic love that was not so wonderful that it did not surpass the love of women.
Maybe the male sexual impulse is a post-modern construct, though without that male sexual impulse, there would be no one constructing a post-modernism because no one would exist to construct it.
Suffice it to say that the specter of fear that chases society from male-on-male affection has little basis in history and may in fact be the key problem in today’s world.
I think it was in Whosoever that I read that contrary to ideas that gay marriage promotes polygamy and the rest of slippery slope scenario, in places where gay marriage happens openly, polygamy is not accepted. Places wherein polygamy is accepted do not accept gay marriage. Rape is rare where gays get married because the hierarchy that enables men to flex their muscles on women is nonexistent. What’s the salient factor behind these opposites? Misogyny. Where women are objectified, men cannot be seen as “taking” the relational or sexual “place” of women for then masculinity is threatened. Where women are respected as full-fledged human beings, there is no shame in one man tenderly loving another because there is no second-class status for masculinity to slide into (previously occupied by femininity alone) when it turns to another man, or when one man with the phallic power to penetrate turns to love another man endowed with a similar power to penetrate. There is no fear of men “becoming women” because women aren’t constructed as commodities to begin with; if they were, then polygamy would occur and men would refuse to be looked at by another man romantically –the look would be the threat to objectify, to rape, which is common in misogynistic cultures. In other words, these countries basically respect human beings.
God will use gay marriage simply as a step to where He wants to get society to. Gay marriage is neither an end nor is it an abomination: it is merely the means to an end.
The “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy in the US Military was implemented precisely because all-male groups have homoerotic tendencies; being a high-maintenance extension of the bottled hyperheterosexuality it neurotically sells to its subscribers in exchange for socio-cultural value, heteronormality had to be protected lest the men begin losing their sense of value and self as it had been defined by their society. How would they lose that sense of value? When a man likes lying in the arms of another man and someone else says, “That’s gay!” he immediately begins to feel like a failure.
It can be argued that under a different, healthier social paradigm, the man who felt compelled to assault Zozo could have been challenged, educated, taught to share power with a man or woman his own match, instead of being taught to seek power over a woman he was taught was supposed to be his inferior. How would they have been so challenged and educated?
Ask those Greeks. They were masters in pedagogy.
But the very unthinkability and absurdity of this solution, when it would have been perfectly legitimate in other cultures and to some of the most powerful philosophers (Read the Symposium), is a testimony to our narrow-mindedness. We were born in it. We will die in it. “And in their thinking they became futile; their minds were darkened.” Who is that about? Who is the Jewish Christian and who is the real pagan?
This is the swapping of the roles, it’s the turning of the wheel, the balancing of the equation, the scoring of the own goal. This is the bringing about of an own checkmate. The most sophisticated and advanced civilization to live on earth thus far refuses to acknowledge these basic truths. How will history judge us?
The woe is called, the trumpet is blown, and the incense is thrown upon the earth.
Here’s what happens as I question the heteronormal paradigm: gay-identified people validate and appreciate the questions I’m asking. Straight-identified people say, “You’re only questioning this because you’re gay and fall outside the norm. Heterosexuality works just fine for me and the majority.” That’s the point of the heteronormative paradigm: to acclimatize people to one “norm” while blinding them to all the flaws and mismatches and inequalities inherent in it, as well as their political ramifications. But, like pain does for an injured and unbalanced body, Mafia masculinity will remind us of the inequalities in this paradigmatic norm precisely because the probability for Mafia masculinity is built into the norm. The probability of Duduzile Zozo’s murder was programmed into the Matrix long before she was born. She had a sword dangling above her head her whole life as do countless others; it precipitates in patterns and cycles that correspond with men’s sense that their power and identities (as defined by the System) is threatened. Heteronormality is dying, but it’s taking victims down with itself.
Remember and do not forget: we have collectively limited the number of ways that young men can deal with their socio-sexual insecurities and aggressiveness. There is a dearth in the number of ways boys can have their masculine, spiritual and sexual identities validated among other boys; it is extremely narrow, untender, and it inevitably involves the only form of masculinity that society celebrates; the only form of masculinity that is glorified, the gentle opposite of which is shamed – the possessive, womanizing, raping kind.
The spectrum of “masculine” activities that men could get involved in with other men in ranges from violence (upholding Mafia masculinity) at the one end, which ties into the heteronormal paradigm. It ends at sexual activity and love among men at the other extreme, which ties in with a homoerotic, pedagogic paradigm in which men groom other men. There are reasons it couldn’t work heterosexually – to quote the author of g0ys, “Women form about 51% of the perceptual problem in raising men.” I may complain about hyperheterosexuality, but there are women out there who’d want men psychologically castrated altogether. And of course, there is the problem of a genital fit sooner than is desired; when men and women practice non-penetrative sex, there is always the risk that some bodily fluid will get stuck on panties and impregnate someone. For mathematical and historical reasons (see the Greeks) I submit that a culture wherein young men practice frottage and intercrural sex is superior to a culture that tries to pretend that its youth will simply masturbate or use condoms until marriage. Heteronormality slashes the chances of this type of culture coming into existence. Society is thus screwed by its own god. Do I have personal reasons for preferring such a culture? Yes, as does the straight person who prefers a heteronormal culture. I simply argue that a wholly heteronormal culture actually fails to achieve the goals it sets itself.
The spectrum of masculine activities that men could get involved in with other men in ranges from violence at the one end, which ties into the heteronormal paradigm, and ends at sexual activity and love among men at the other extreme, which ties in with a homoerotic, pedagogic paradigm in which men groom other men. In the middle are more sexually neutral activities like drinking, sports, church, and so forth. Currently, we experience masculinity being displayed in ways that include the violence and stop short of the love on this spectrum. What if we shifted it this range – still keeping it wide enough to accommodate the same diversity of temperaments, but also nudging it intelligently to suit society’s needs? As per Adrienne Rich’s intuition and many other observations that I’ve made, same-sex affection that is unshackled by a desire to “fit into” heteronormative society is better equipped to contain the aspirations of its members until they’ve matured enough to make informed decisions about the rest of their lives.
Shift the emphasis like this in the way we represent society to itself, and the shape of society would alter dramatically in a positive direction. But of course, we’re not willing to shift anything. The inertia of the path we’ve chosen plays a trick on people: the people who benefit financially and get votes from the current path promises society what it’s been promising for decades, (which promise is being revealed as hollow on a romantic, social, political and spiritual level – heteronormality has been a grand disaster because it’s an illusion) which is all people are accustomed to. But it is precisely the narrowness of what they are accustomed to that is killing the people even while it benefits the movie-makers, religionists, advertisers and politicians who siphon money off of them.
Meaning that today while athleticism and violence can be validated – while we would rather watch a movie with two men asserting their masculinity, tribalism, nationality and strength by killing each other rather than kissing each other – there is limited space for artistic or philanthropic urges to grow and be appreciated.
Greek boys wrote each other poetry, hunted together and loved each other, subsequently growing up to hopefully be good husbands and fathers. Galvanized by the mutual admiration and intimacy that men often need from other men, male lovers founded empires and civilizations; they raised armies and founded schools. What are our boys doing?
Plugged into a much harsher system of objectifying women from which to derive their sense of value and worth (while subsequently avoiding being objectified or vilified by being identified as gay), they are killing the lesbians who refuse to play along and objectifying the women who do play along. There exist three things that Mafia masculinity must do to maintain the System we’ve created, then:
Take possession of the women who submit,
Eliminate those lesbians that don’t, “correcting” them through rape, thus exposing the violent hand of Mafia-Messianic heteropatriarchy however gentle the rape or violent the brain-washing,
Eliminate anything that reminds the Mafia male of gayness on the inside or on the outside, for gayness equates masculinity to femininity and endangers the power base.
Boys will be boys, and they will do these three things in service of the world we’ve commissioned them to create. This is the threefold ministry of Mafia masculinity. It is our god.
Heteronormality has failed because heteronormality is a stronghold and the bastion of the very sin it claimed to clean up
Building towards an aerial and spiritual argument on how the existence and murder of lesbians expose the spiritual violence of heteropatriarchy
We’ve already discussed how the heteronormative paradigm we endorse as society has failed to contain the relational, pedagogical and erotic aspirations of men and women. It aggressively trained them up to fail; they failed, and society made a culture and a business out of the failing. Divorce lawyers make fortunes scavenging on failed marriages. Then society turns around and guilt-trips those who’ve failed for their failures.
When straight-couple friends say, “We’re engaged,” I hear, “We decided to fulfill our obligation to…”
To whom? To the unnamed majority putting up an ideal that a small fraction achieves. “And while marriages still outnumber divorces, the gap is rapidly closing,” says an article that goes on to explain that marriage is very, very hard work.
What if it’s such hard work because we’re resisting reality?
There is no longer male and female. Heteronormality is dead: God Himself killed it.
“Do not attempt to adjust your picture. We control the culture, and we limit the representation. We control the vertical, and the horizontal. We will deluge your senses with a thousand images only of what we want you to think.” There need not be any Secrecy Bill to keep people ignorant; simply keep them unwilling to learn and see.
This morning I was speaking to a mother who had a group of neighborhood children at her house. They were arguing about a wide range of topics. Exasperated, she yelled, “Stop arguing and start debating.”
That Friday, they came back prepared with thought-out discourses.
Greek society had its flaws, but at least it taught people to debate. By shifting the grid of permissible activities among men to the end of the spectrum that we’re currently living in, the culture of “boys will be boys” has taught them to argue and use their fists instead of having well thought-through debates. For if boys stopped to think, many of them would realize that some of the boys they’re competing against and beating up, are arrestingly attractive; they’d also gain enormous respect for women, as well as legitimate attraction to them informed not by non-stop brainwashing but the real knowing of the real person. There wouldn’t be separate representations for heteronormality – a Ken and Barbie poster on the one hand and some racy sports mag on the other hand. Men and women would sign up for the same thing.
The brain is the largest sex organ there is; when it begins to think, it rocks the boat that is society with its little structures.
We cannot afford to have thinking kids. We can’t. We must not dare improve our education system. Our god, heteropatriarchy, would be extremely upset if we did.
Why would God want us buying into a Cultural Value System that has done more to decay society than anything else we’ve seen in two thousand years?
We are responsible for Zozo’s murder. It’s not a hate crime, for a crime is something that transgresses society’s norms. This is an outcome of what society has normalized. I therefore submit that it’s not a hate crime; it’s a publically sanctioned execution of a socio-sexual subversive; it’s an example displayed in public. By calling it a crime we get to vindicate it by hypocritically hunting down the persons who did this and punishing them for taking what they’ve been taught to the only logical extreme we’ve exposed them to. Pilate also washed his hands to purge himself before he had Christ crucified. “Father, forgive them they know not what they do,” He said. No thanks to the divine forgiveness. We know: “Zozo’s blood will be on our hands and on our children’s hands forever.” We are a culture of death, and we know it.
“The culture’s wrong,” someone told me. Wrong is an underestimation: I’m arguing from biblical principles as well as Duduzile Zozo’s murder that the culture is damnably, inexcusably and indefensibly wrong. On the Last Day, whether I am going to hell or not, I and many others will rise up and condemn this generation along with Sodom. We will judge, and we will make it absolutely terrifying. I am through playing nice and taking it lying down when people hate me for merely being born.
Society must decide: either we want people to get raped and murdered in the maintenance of the heteronorm, or we don’t. We must not cry when this happens – not while we’re causing it. It makes a mockery of the emotions of those who do care. It is a spit in the face of all things good and true. The universe works on a very simple and straightforward principle: you get what you put in. If we refuse to think through the implications of everything we’re putting in, then we have no business pretending to care when it all falls down.
Marriage – the cornerstone of the heteronorm – is not failing because people are selfish, or neglect pre-marital counseling, or aren’t trying hard enough. “Tithe harder,” the church says. People grow up being taught everything it supposedly takes to make marriage work. I’ve met great people who couldn’t make their marriages work – they were saints, but it just didn’t happen and they’ve lived with intense feelings of guilt and shame, as well as the loss of faith; others have become very cynical. I know that there is a lot in the bible that speaks to marriage as we’ve got it today – and a lot that doesn’t – but even in the bible, marriage is presented as something for an elite few. It’s a calling; heteropatriarchal society presents it as a duty. The Pharisees were shocked by Jesus’ teachings on divorce and re-marriage and questioned just who, then, should marry. I think that in the midst of that culture, Jesus was trying to teach people just what serious business another human being is, and rightly so.
We instinctively know which parts of the law no longer matter. We see and don’t judge people divorcing and remarrying because as wrong as it is, we know that they don’t divorce as flippantly as the Pharisees. We charge interest and do many other things that the Law forbids.
Whatever happened to, “There is no male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus” or Jesus’ teaching that in the Kingdom they neither marry nor are given in marriage? Nobody examines the implications of those statements; the heteronorm gains too much from marriage. Marriage began as a divine gift, became an institution, then an idol, and is now a tool for assessing the achievements of men and women.
Marriage is failing because as it keeps attracting people who aren’t meant to be in heteronormal marriage, though it has trained them up for no other shape of life; heteronormality has eclipsed historical information on other meaningful models for doing life, and even if they were revealed, heteronormality has, by imposing its cultural value system on everyone, made those models “less significant” even to persons who would have thrived in them.
That’s what the heteronorm does – it banks on people to possess a production-line sexual and emotional orientation when we know they don’t, and then subtly, subtly, at the refined, vulnerable, sensitive level of people wishing to fit in, pushes them to living something that doesn’t work.
This morning I read about an Eric Myers whose family presumed him dead about 21 years ago when he went missing. He returned recently; apparently, the pressure to live a heteronormative life got to him and he ran away with a male lover. He said he spent the first chunk of his life pretending he was straight. Now while I don’t defend what he did, I do explain it thusly: it’s not just enough to put in bare laws that promise to protect one’s life as a gay man. There must be a shift in the attitudes of the culture – or at least self-awareness and honesty. Implementing laws to protect a man while fostering a culture that doesn’t respect him is like putting a bag of money in one hand and taking his soul from him with the other. It’s not a fair trade.
The self-righteous, heteronormative paradigm that was set up to facilitate and contain economic growth is detrimental to the economy. I recall, at the start of the Recession, Oprah featuring an advert starring a smiling, forcefully cheerful man with a housewife, their kids, and house in the suburbs. Riding his lawnmower and using his top-range barbeque to make a feast for his family and friends, this man with smile plastered on his face cheerfully confessed how nothing around him actually belonged to him – he’d bought it through loans and credit. His situation intimated that he’d wanted to keep up with the Joneses; the banks had seemed to know that, and they kept meeting him at his place of “need,” which society had created by fostering in him a need to have the stay-at-home wife, the big house and the kids.
Pray tell, if every two people with child-bearing ability averages out a minimum of 2.4 kids and we put forward the ideal that the man should be able to afford to single-handedly feed the whole household, how can that not lead to inflation and a rise in the cost of living? How can it not put pressure on all our resources? We must reproduce, but we are not supposed to be reproducing at this rate. Children are precious but not every person that has them ought to have them – and we know that. Many of my peers from the township have asked me whether I have a child or have plans to have one. They ask me whether I’ve picked the woman with whom to have that child. When I point out that I don’t make enough to support a child, they remind me that every man simply has to have a child to perpetuate his legacy and validate his claim to dignified manhood as is determined by the tribe, economic factors be screwed. What was once against the Law has become law, as it always happens.
The unnoticeably omni-visible, unquestioned heteronorm is more important than trivialities such as the financial feasibility of fulfilling its demands. Starving, badly-dressed kids in poor schools are a judgment on our cultural value system.
How does the heteronormative paradigm that trains society to be a baby-making factory plan to feed, educate and employ all these kids who happen when poor people decide they must have children or when teenage penises slip into teenage vaginas? “How on earth could we have reached this point?” the experts wonder. “Through overpopulation. Now how do you stop everyone from having sex?” No solution works well. The myths of heteronormality, heteromimicry and heterorespectability are the basis of our assumptions when we think about sex; therefore, we can’t think past them.
I beg the heavens for an aneurysm as I watch the circus. I get worried, very worried, when the brightest minds on the planet cannot, by taking a single glance across history, see how we’ve gotten to where we are. Of course, they’re going to need to keep track of all the people that they’re creating. I spoke to a total stranger who was worried about how everyone was being cornered into systemizing their finances. “They’re getting a chip that will contain all your details on a card,” she said. “Then they’ll take the chip off the card and put it on your body.” I did not make a reference to the Mark of the Beast in Revelation, but yes, that’s exactly what I thought about.
When a species is enormously successful, nature tries, even with drastically lethal measures, to limit the number of sexual penetrations that occur. A less esoteric way of putting that is to say that as a population grows, so too do venereal diseases. At the same time, nature tries, through drastically sensual means, to increase the amount of sexual tactile stimulation that occurs. A less esoteric way of putting that is to say that the sexual touch is a healing, life-affirming form of communication that facilitates group cohesion and therefore brings about peace and well-being. Father God is the holy idealist; Mother Nature is the pragmatic pre-emptive planner. One can get you to heaven; the other keeps you in one piece along the journey. But you’ve got to keep your eyes open for the provision – especially when He has graciously said He understands, again and again He says He knows us.
We’ve tried pretending to be “purer” than we are, and Sinai has exposed us again and again. “There is no more male and female, for you are one in Christ Jesus.” Grace isn’t God tolerating sin; it is God declaring total victory over it both principle and in the practical lives of His children.
Adrienne Rich wrote that “the lie of compulsory female heterosexuality today afflicts not just feminist scholarship, but every profession, every reference work, every curriculum, every organizing attempt, every relationship or conversation over which it hovers.” I argue that it’s equally true that the myths of heteronormality and the socially respectable orgasm afflict and make a joke out of every attempt to end rape, domestic violence, AIDS, poverty and the many ills that are with us. Being the most invisible and pervasive thing in society, it is also the most likely common denominator to all our problems. Heterorespectability brings about the respect it promises at a staggeringly high cost to the society that employs it. That cost can only keep rising.
But just as a tobacco manufacturer has a vested interest in not overtly announcing all the effects of smoking, and just as an alcohol manufacturer has a vested interest in depicting fantasy-based images of what a lifestyle of drinking alcohol could look like, so too do large and important sections of society’s Power-structure have a vested interest in keeping us chasing the same dangled carrot stick for decade after decade.
We are all in a collaboration to deceive and cheat and con one another. We have collectively decided that Truth in principle and by itself is not worth revealing the Truth for; the lives of men and women who are victimized in a million seemingly unrelated ways – such as living in an economy wherein resources are strangled – are not worth telling the truth for. We, in effect, decide that we as the human collective are not worth the honesty; we decide that the cheap thrills we get in the interim are worth the mass deception. We chase trifles like power and wealth and security, missing the power behind the empowerment of all; the wealth of making all wealthy, and the security of making all others secure.
Remember, and do not forget: whenever He is silent, God is watching to see what sort of God we think He is. What is our image of God, and where did we get it from? This is a test, guys. Do we err on the side of caution, fear and Law, or of exuberant generosity? Notice that the bible gives us just enough information for the answer to flash within our souls; there the truth thrills but it’s too brief to know for sure what God is really like. “For without faith, it is impossible to please God.” What are we trusting in for our salvation? – the rightness of the structures we bring before God, or the rightness of the Spirit He breathes over them? Does the Spirit need the Letter in order to work?
A biblical argument for how lesbianism exposes the spiritual hollowness of the heteronorm
When we condemn lesbianism, we actually prove the letter to the Romans is correct: the law that labels sin, the law that brings the knowledge of sin, is also the law that creates sin in ways we didn’t realize in the beginning. The strain and manifestation of legalism doesn’t matter: “By the law, sin came.” This is how I understand the biblical letter to the Romans, especially the part that supposedly condemns homosexuality:
“You Jewish Christians claim to be morally superior to non-Jewish Christians because you grew up with the Law of Moses prior to your conversion to Christianity, which the once-pagan, non-Jewish Christians didn’t. You therefore disparage non-Jews and contemptibly judge them on behaviors (such as homosexuality, which is when women turn from men and men turn from the “natural use” of the woman – note the structural misogyny!) that would have made them worthy of death in your Jewish legal dispensations.
“But you don’t realize that your cultural norms are now informed by echoes of a Law whose geo-political, military and ceremonial purposes you didn’t know. You created a socio-cultural structure of norms to mimic the holiness of a Law you spent two thousand years not understanding; you systematically killed your way through 40 prophets who tried to help you get it.
“You never realized that when you strive to fit the demands of that socio-cultural structure as though morality and significance were human achievements and not divine graces, you actually create the very lust that the norms were meant to abate.”
Heteronormality creates heterosexual and heteromimetic lust. “By the law comes the knowledge of and the temptation to sin. The law that says ‘Don’t commit adultery’ invisibly creates the conditions that incite lust.”
Articulated Law brings into sharp relief the normative structures wherein sin offers itself to our lower nature as a shortcut to the top of that normative structure; sin is thus “lust to power,” “lust to validation” or some derivative/reflection thereof within the normative structure that it wishes to conquer; as such, normative laws incite the will to sin and stir up lust. Where the law is not known, the temptation to sin simply isn’t there!
“Yet,” the New Testament realizes, always amazed, “You insist on creating and re-creating the moral norms!”
When we legislate our particular understanding of morality, we inevitably create Power structures that keep us in bondage.
When we legislate our particular understanding of morality, we inevitably create Power structures that keep us in bondage.
When we legislate our particular understanding of morality, we inevitably create Power structures that keep us in bondage.
These imperialistic, security-promising, soul-devouring, enslaving, seemingly benevolent Power structures that people believe in and buy into, even as they are robbed by them, are also alluded to throughout the New Testament as Powers, Principality and the Beast of Revelation. They are alluded to in the Old as idols, nations with certain sexually aggressive colonizing tendencies. Those tendencies correspond partially with the Law because the Law was created to protect Israel from being overwhelmed by those nations – a point I’ll expand on later. “There is no more male and female” means that the sexually aggressive colonizing tendency to own Israel loses its foothold in her; people are thus freed.
They were false gods. They were clouds that didn’t deliver the rain they promised.
Their master was the Prince of this world.
At the heart of their power is our trained-in compulsion to impose a similitude of the “natural law” on people (a trained-in compulsion shared by the “morally superior” proselytizing Jews who “crossed over sea and land” to win a single convert, making him twice as much a son of hell as themselves), not realizing that when we impose the externalization of the moral law that we acknowledge, we set off a domino effect of cataclysmic consequences that eventually comes back to bite us – most forcefully in the manifestation of the Powers.
That Jesus preached the Law did not conflict with the fact that He laid the Law aside. How would people know just how disastrously they were failing or how spectacularly they were being betrayed by Powers and hypocrites unless Someone came in and highlighted it? For example, by re-emphasizing divorce, Jesus was telling people that other people are not disposable; that since “the beginning” they have been made both in the image of God, male and female. In doing so, He was showing the most difficult part of morality – it isn’t following a particular set of rules; it is total surrender to the humanity of The Other. Most of us would prefer to follow the rules but we inevitably twist them because they expose our lack of love. Yet, the rules are just less effort than actually loving people.
We say, “Marriage is the best structure within which to raise children.”
Then the existence of marriage testifies against us: if we need structures within which to raise children, then that’s an indictment on how bad things are in the world, and how complacent we are regarding how bad things are.
Creating a permanent police force is a way of saying that we expect evil to stick around. In fact, it empowers the Powers who own that police force and can then use the Law against you but never themselves (sound familiar?)
The presence of a Law, any Law, is a judgment on some unseen principle working in or around us. I repeat: the presence of a Law, any Law, is a judgment on some unseen principle working in or around us. The Law exists to restrain and name some sort of evil. Our mistake is in adapting to the presence of the Law, and then confusing adaptation with intention with final destination. And while it’s true that the ultimate picture of history’s end is a picture of Jesus marrying the Church, it’s equally true that this picture is meant to symbolize something that’s already happening: believers are already the Bride of Christ.
But once we treat the Law as though it were intended for us and forever, then we get problems. God wants us free and flying. So long as there is a Law, it’s a sign that we don’t trust the Spirit of God living in us to help us fly in ways that lead to life.
The teachings, Laws and instructions given to God’s people are not a revelation of what God wants to be eternally true (for “in the Kingdom they neither marry nor are given in marriage”); the instructions are a reflection of the way God has acted on His people’s behalf in their circumstances, and therefore how He wants them to act towards one another in the contexts like those in which the instructions are being given. For example, when Paul teaches men to love their wives with a love that lays down its life, he compares it to the love with which Christ loved His church and laid down His life for her in the context of the distress she was under. Likewise, while the world is dangerous for women – while it’s misogynic – men should be prepared to lay down their lives. But when we codify these rules into eternal Law, we keep in place the very issues they were meant to address. As I will explain, heteropatriarchy is God’s natural defense against a hostile world situation; He capitalizes on the resourcefulness of Adam’s body as I will describe. But when we hold on to that, we also bring the problem back.
I also submit that the hierarchy of marriage as a system wherein the male is the “head” was given to the new church as a gift whereby they’d be able to deal with the misogyny in the surrounding cultures; when we take that hierarchy and use it as an opportunity to display our prejudices and preferences, we sin.
The very act of disparaging people we believe don’t have the moral law “written in their hearts,” and thus “deserve to die,” such as lesbians, places one under “the same judgment” because it reveals that one is owned, entrained and deceived by the System’s mimicry and imposition of the divine law. “You have fallen from grace,” Apostle Paul says in the letter to the Galatians as they tried to imitate Judaism, not realizing that they’d bring not only legalism on themselves but also a sharp awareness of the normative structures that Judaism contained (“Look at me, I can keep 613 laws!”), and therefore, a lust to ascend within those structures, becoming murderously legalistic as the Pharisees were. This, ironically, is exactly the church today.
We have MISSED the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.
Heteronormality has, through this domino effect of multiple consequences, FAILED to bring about the supposedly biblical family with supposedly biblical sexual norms (has anybody actually read the bible?), and its failure is most apparent in the corrective rapes it spawns.
The Man of Sin, the Antichrist, the Beast, will not be identified by an overt philosophy of sin: he will be a Religious Spirit because that is what appeals to the self-righteousness of people as they work to earn approval. The judgmental attitude that disparages lesbians is just a subtler form of the violence that rapes them with toilet brushes; it is derived from the belief that the rapist, whether he is a priest with a few isolated verses or a thug with a toilet brush, “knows” the difference between good and evil and has the moral prerogative to impose it on the other that he holds in contempt as the Roman Jews held the pagan converts in contempt. The condemnation, therefore, was not on the pagan converts but on the Jewish Christians who judged the pagans, thinking that they deserved to die. Paul pointed out that the Jewish Christians actually “did the same things” and had to remove the log from their own eyes before pointing out the speck in others’.
We impose those morals on others because we want to preserve and enhance ourselves, not because we love them.
I wonder how most Christians will feel to see a rainbow flagged around God’s throne, as well as the diverse bio-spiritual life that would scandalize our sensibilities of what’s “normal”; creatures with many eyes and mouths and appendages all offering praise to God. Being in heaven, they offer their diverse, “queer” members up as instruments of praise to the living God (instead of using them as instruments of “sin.”)
We demand that earthly queers do the same thing but forget the great love it takes to make that possible. It requires the perfect law of liberty. The normalization and imposition of a moral structure is always powerless to achieve the moral purposes for which it was imposed; in fact, it tends to bring about the thing it was supposed to prevent as well as unexpected side-effects like guilt and condemnation.
“It has been said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But the law, by exposing the hierarchical structure whereby some ‘property’ belongs to someone else and not myself, entices me to become as they are, to eventually become powerful and validated within the hierarchical structures of married society wherein adultery is a threat. The law brings to mind the ‘advantages’ of sin.
“Lust is not merely the understandable urge to touch, feel and enjoy, the restraining of which is powerless to sanctify anyone; lust is the urge to feed one’s self-image incited by the very law that exposes the distance between the self-image and the things that would augment it.”
As I understand it, Christ’s death satisfied the demands of the law thus dealing the urge to “sin” a death-blow; in a sense, by taking away the sin of the world, Christ made the term “sin” meaningless – but only “in a sense.” When we re-impose that law by bringing about a normative structure, tantalizingly pushing the hierarchical structure of he-has-and-you-haven’t got out of hazy relief into the open, we cause sin to reoffer itself as the shortcut up in the hierarchy; as the “lust to power” within the newly re-disclosed and reinforced power-structure. “You will not covet your neighbor’s property” quite frankly reminds you that it’s not your property; the command thus incites the very envy it was meant to prevent. I suspect that’s why the early church surrendered individual possessions; today, we re-impose the norms of capitalism and consumerism, naming and claiming the things we want “in the Name of Jesus Christ.” Socialism won’t save us; remembering will.
Having had a lust to power stirred up by a recognition of the hierarchy inherent in God’s instruction, which power they seized illegitimately, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened and they realized that they were “naked” – that as created beings, they were “less.” Shame followed. The knowledge of the lust to be “more” (to be as God) within the now-recognized hierarchy, the shame and nakedness of realizing that one is “less,” and the envy of realizing that there will always be someone “higher,” someone who is “more,” had just tainted their innocence. The serpent highlighted the hierarchy inherent in God’s instruction: “God knows that you will become as God, knowing good from evil.” In other words, “You have been forbidden from usurping God’s prerogatives. Don’t you wonder how big those prerogatives would have to be in order to have such a big rule and penalty erected around them?” Eve then saw that the fruit was good for making one wise. Did she and Adam die? Yes; they became aware of power-structures, their “nakedness” and the guilt of their betrayal.
How you restore innocence to people is that you imitate the scandal of God’s outrageous grace and liberty. Unconditional love is the only legitimate answer to “sin” whether real or perceived.
The command “Thou shalt not lie with a man as with womankind: it is abomination” is a self-fulfilling prophecy because through a string of tangential revelations about the hierarchical and heteromimetic advantages associated with the paralleling ability and willingness to “lie with womankind,” it incites in same-sex attracted men the lust to penetrate or be penetrated other men (heterorespectable heteromimicry). The command creates the lust because the command momentarily renders the power-structure it upholds sharply visible; people suddenly see the point in ascending that structure, and are drawn to the sin. The sin offers itself as a shortcut to the gratified apex of that hierarchy. The sin, then, isn’t in the form of the action; it’s in the spirit that informs the form.
But the spirit of sin is the Letter of the Law; the thing forbidden suddenly does become abominable because the proscription incites lust. The fruit in the Garden of Eden was perfectly harmless; the lust to rebel, coupled with the awareness of a hierarchy brought about by an emphasis on the command, turned the fruit deadly.
But there’s hope: if the law can demonize same-sex attraction, then maybe grace can render it holy. It’s an idea I’ve put forward, and I think the church ought to pray about it.
Always, the command brings about awareness (Eve saw that the fruit was good for making one wise like God) charges the natural inclination with demonic, Luciferian, rebellious lust to be “more” and sends the cells into a firestorm to do what was proscribed. “A contrary law works within my members and my flesh,” Paul realized. “I do not do what I ought.” The contrary law at work in his members, he realized, was knowledge of the Law!
The command therefore brings about the sin it was purposed to combat. The Law doesn’t merely describe sin: it inadvertently prescribes it as well in order that the insidious, opportunistic sinfulness of sin may be exposed for the lust-to-gratification and validation that hides within.
Prescribing a moral norm to combat sin (whether real or perceived) is counterproductive; grace can only act, sanctify and abound when humans “let go”; grace can only thrive under the circumstances that we imagine sin would thrive under. The circumstances in which grace thrives are almost identical to the circumstances that sin thrives under. That’s why Jesus was known as a friend of sinners; “Wisdom is justified by her children.”
Many Muslim countries are infamous for misogyny as well as anti-gay laws; they are also the sources of sayings such as, “Women are for procreation, and boys for recreation.” Roman Catholic priests who belong to an institution that views homosexuality as a disorder and women as unfit for senior-most offices in the church, molest altar boys to pass the time (speaking of all things Roman Catholic, I recall worshipping under images of a white God, white saints, white angels, and black, lost pagans supplicating to that white-populated heaven. I knew my place).
Protestant congregations have many closeted devotees, their aversion therapy spawns sexual abuse and Sri Lanka has the highest number of gay porn site searches, while a observations show kids living in liberal UK to have a surprisingly healthy ability to interpret, manage and ultimately dismiss pornography altogether. Clearly we’ve failed to pin morality down. “STOP!” the New Testament yells. But we persevere. Mistaking verses that describe the fight against surrendering to the Powers with verses that discuss the fight against ourselves, we try harder and tithe harder. It doesn’t work. It wasn’t meant to.
The Romans 1 passage though appearing to discuss things against which God’s wrath has been revealed, wasn’t primarily intended a list of things that provoke God to anger and in fact is quite dangerous when that way read – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The list is used, provisionally as though it were an accurate reflection of the divine mind, to prove that any mentality that says “God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness of men” is quite toxic spiritually because it places one under the exact judgment one believes God to be meting out to others for their sins – including, if one believes it is, the sin of homosexuality. This is seen in the conclusion that, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” God judges no one; the Law judges people. The Father handed judgment over to the Son; the Son handed judgment over to the writings of Moses. He spoke of the Law of Moses as “Your Law” to the Pharisees. God did not sit around from eternity waiting to impose the yoke of the bondage of the Law on human beings. What Paul is arguing in Romans is that if the Law of Moses is applicable to me, it is also applicable to you. For in whatsoever the Law speaks, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that they have to do all the things in the Law.
The conclusion turns to the source of the judgment and wrath exposing it to be judgmental man playing God, and not God Himself. It sounds unbelievably convoluted, but it’s just the way Paul wrote.
For the purpose of this paper, I have assumed the worst case scenario; that is, that there is a direct correlation between “homosexuality” as Apostle Paul understood it, as Abraham understood it to be in Sodom and Gomorrah, as Moses understood and observed it in the temple practices of the pagan nations the Israelites were among, as the Jewish priesthood understood the term “dogs”, as the idolatrous Roman pagan temple cult prostitutes understood it and as psychiatrists understood it in 1950. I will assume that they’re talking about the exact same thing and that there were no cultural or historical qualifications to what they understood; that Judaism 2000 years ago would understand and wholly accept our understanding of homosexuality today, as well as the reactions we have about it. I’m stacking the deck up against gay people living today in order to show that no matter how bad things appears is, they don’t lose. They weren’t meant to. I am thus assuming, for the sake of argument, that we’re all speaking the same language. I don’t really believe this – I don’t believe that Moses, Paul, the pagans, the philosophers, Greek athletes, Roman emperors and our psychiatrists view sexuality the same way across the ages. But for the purpose of this paper, I have said that they did and they do.
My argument is that even given this darkest view of homosexuality across history, Paul never meant for people listening to the letter to the Romans to walk away with a confirmation that the Law still applied, or a sign that God has handed society over to evil. That’s not what the sermon was about though it runs tangentially through that idea in order to refute it.
The point Paul was making – that the Law, however interpreted and practiced, could not justify or even sanctify one’s soul – that was a point that could be made whatever people believed about homosexuality. That he was speaking to a Jewish audience allowed him to assume that they would condemn it. Again, we’re ignoring the complexity of history and assuming that Moses’ understanding of homosexuality, the Greeks’, the pagan idolaters, the Roman emperors’, the Jewish converts’ and our psychiatrists’ were exactly the same understanding of homosexuality and that it was that homosexuality is evil.
I therefore also submit that Paul’s writing is a piece of rhetoric that mimics, speaks into and exposes the Jewish mindset that twists devotion to God into Phariseeism that says things like, “I thank you God that I am not a Gentile, a slave or a woman”, or “I thank you God that I am not like that sinner over there” by first affirming the correctness of that Phariseeism as though it were true, taking it to its ultimate logical conclusion, and then showing its toxicity. “I thank you God, that I am not a homosexual,” says the Roman Jewish Christian convert, assuming the concept existed. To this, the God of Romans 1 would reply, “You’re absolutely welcome. You should be just as grateful that I only made you a condemnable gossiping, back-biting, parent-hating, covenant-breaking Jew, and not an all-out sinner like those pagans I’ve handed over to homosexuality in your logic.” Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but God uses it with humans very often – which shows His contempt for our attempts at self-righteousness. Paul’s purpose in affirming Phariseeism is showing that even if it were correct, it would not save.
Notice that this list of things that provoke God’s wrath doesn’t have to be wholly true or wholly false to achieve the purpose for which it was intended. That purpose is to illustrate how thoroughly our attempts at Law-keeping fail to save. The Law wasn’t supposed to cure us; it was supposed to diagnose something in us. That something isn’t prevented in future by adhering to the Letter of the Law for if it were so we’d all be wholly doomed.
Paganism doesn’t have to truly lead to sexual confusion, but if you believe it does, Paul will argue as though that were true. Every interpretation of the Law people brings, every understanding of the causality in God’s universe they present (“For this cause…”), Paul uses.
He does this all the time – when the Corinthian says, “All things are lawful for me,” Paul argues as though that were true. Notice, Paul doesn’t dispute that “All things are lawful for me.” If a Jew “knows” that the wrath of God has been revealed against the ungodliness of men who’ve suppressed the knowledge of truth (leading to homosexuality), Paul will argue as though that were true. He won’t refute it in order to make whatever point he needs to make about the Gospel being by Grace. He doesn’t clear away lies before he deposits the truth; some truths, once accepted, clear away the lies as time goes by.
The Athenians had an altar erected to an unknown god. Paul used that as a starting point for his sermon to them, weaving into it their own poetry and motifs. The bible often starts where people are. The purpose of Romans 1:18 is to show that the instant and however any of us enter God’s court of judgment, we are doomed, “for there is no difference; all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It is used to prove the point made just a few verses back, which is that that our acceptability before God is by grace that gives us “a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.” We do not begin by faith and then plug into works. That is basic Christianity.
Holy contradictions among scripture
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” is a far cry from “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” It is a far cry from, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” Contrary to popular belief, the God who has every reason to be angry with mankind is simply not angry.
The accusation of man’s suppression of God’s truth found in Romans 1:18 also doesn’t square up with the biblical acknowledgement of non-Jewish people who were seeking the truth about God en masse. It doesn’t explain the “sign of the gentiles,” that is, the Greeks who showed up looking for Jesus, poignantly signaling to Him that He was about to be crucified. “You will seek Me,” He would tell His disciples, “and not find Me.” We cannot isolate texts.
Like all human wisdom and insight, Romans 1 is true, but only partly true. On the Jews’ side, it is true that “man suppresses what he knows about God in wickedness”. On the other side of the story, it’s also true that man is sincerely ignorant. The “good pagan” may very well exist, contra a face-value reading of Romans 1; Job comes to mind. Likewise, we cannot know for sure that every active homosexual has been handed over by God to debasing himself as though acting out a double-perversion of the curse. God alone knows the whole truth of the matter.
I therefore submit that Romans 1: 18 is not a direct reflection of God’s thoughts; it is human thought used tangentially and strategically by Paul to push forward God’s Gospel just as the Law is not to be taken in as a direct revelation of God’s intentions for us.
“Turning aside from the natural use of the woman” or “They turned from natural relations with the woman” cannot be a valid reason for God’s anger towards gay Christians, if God also says “There is no male and female in Christ Jesus.” God must decide. He cannot have His cake and eat it. Either He has dissolved the rigidness of these gender distinctions in Christ by revoking the original creation of male and female, or He still expects us to adhere to them. It can’t be both ways. I therefore submit that Romans 1: 18 is a God-given glimpse into man’s inconsistent theology just as the whole Law is a perfect glimpse into mankind’s double-standards. It hides them by exposing them and exposes them by codifying them. If we can’t accept that, then we can’t explain the way Jesus treated women.
For scripture to be God-breathed, it does not need to be wholly true at every verse and point; it only need to paint a true picture through the sum of all the verses and all the points, however true or false each of those points are. Every verse of scripture is needed, regardless of how true or false it is. Scripture requires Midrash.
Not everything Job said was true and can be accepted as Gospel truth, for example, though his worldview was truthfully reflected throughout the book of Job. God is a perfect author, and the scriptures are perfect literature. But in literature, people have misunderstandings and misperceptions that help clarify where the Author stands on an issue. When we affirm the plenary verbal inspiration of scripture, we’re not saying that the bible is the Koran which claims to be the undiluted Word of God. We are saying that as we engage the bible, we have our thought patterns challenged, altered and conformed to those of God’s Son – who, recall, used the Law only to heap condemnation on those who kept it, and revoked it when His own were concerned both while He spoke to them personally and as the Epistles reveal.
You and I know that a huge chunk of gay Christians did not reject God and then get “handed over” to their attractions. We also wouldn’t dare talk about “the natural use of the woman” the way this passage does; it’s not politically or theologically correct to say things like that unless you’re a staunchly patriarchal Jew. There are a lot of associations and nuances that aren’t necessarily true in this passage. So what we’re overhearing, by divine providence, is a dialogue between a Jewish Christian apostle who is motivated by grace, and Christian Jews living in Rome believing that they are superior Christians because they have the Law of Moses – which is meant to expose the curse and the double-standards the curse created.
I submit that “There is neither Greek nor Jew, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ,” speaks to every other scripture. We can try the reverse interpretation – that is, reading Galatians in light of Romans – but there will be problems.
Ministry of Death.
Read the book of Job. God had declared Job perfectly righteous and faithful all by Himself. God had no issues with Job. God was perfectly pleased with Job. God saw Job as blameless. But the moment Job tried to argue for his own righteousness using what he knew of God’s Law written in his pagan heart, God blazed in to silence him and his three friends. God neither affirmed nor denied any aspect of Job’s imperfect knowledge of God’s Law; He simply threw out the bath water, the baby and the rubber ducky.
In God’s speech from the whirlwind, we have a snapshot of Israel being shut up before Mount Sinai as the Law is spelled out in its most demanding terms; we have a snapshot of people listening to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and being astonished as He reveals just how impossibly demanding Moses’ Law can be. The volume is turned up much, much, much higher than anyone wants it to be. Approach God through the Law, and its volume will increase. Isaiah was floored by his vision of Yahweh’s holiness. Under the Law, God will nit-pick at everything you have ever done, exposing both sins you knew about and sins you didn’t know about. People who keep pushing Law on gay believers – with the same judgment you have judged others, you too will be judged. What is God saying on Sinai and in the whirlwind? “You don’t know me. You cannot possibly know me through the rules. These rules exist for a reason that happened in Eden.” What is God saying through Jesus? Through the Son, we most perfectly see Abba.
Forty Days Yet, and Nineveh Shall Fall
I have borne two crosses, and nobody I know has been able to relate fully to both of them. Most gay or gay-friendly persons I know of have not been able to understand my need to authentically listen to the entire scriptural witness. Most Christians have not been able to understand my sexual orientation and identity.
The only four people who could tell that I was carrying more than I could bear were a certifiable madman, my boss, a Hindu woman and someone who believes that religion is the source of all the world’s evils.
I am tired. I now wish to put both crosses down.
To divide scripture is to dissect the monogenetic or “only begotten” Word, who in the Genesis was with God. It is to examine and spiritually engineer the “genes” of God. It is to handle the very re-generative “seed” of God that was meant to be spoken, and thus heard and received through the Spirit, by those who will be saved.
I have always been told that I was meant to be a preacher. But it’s a terrifying thing, dividing the scriptures. You can mix the holy with the profane in anything else – this is far too important to get wrong.
But having been told and told the Word of God by a thousand versions of it that didn’t make sense at the time, I was compelled to speak back.
Church… we need to talk. My name is Siya Khumalo. Thank you.