Jesus the sex God: Post-modernism and sexuality

gender signs 

I propose that gender is not a static, platonically absolute ideal. Our humanity, and thus our sexuality, means so much more than simplistic metaphysical maleness and femaleness occupying female and male bodies.

Irony is a bastard: I don’t know whether to call it an obsession or an ambivalent affinity, but ironically the sexual policing by the Church remains married to a naïve and often ambiguous authority over sexuality. Evidently, as history has shown, what the Church doesn’t understand is relegated to an anthropological anomaly or worse yet, a sin. I believe Christian anthropology is at a cross-road, not knowing whether to stay on the track of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ or to venture down the road less trodden of Christ-centred sexuality.

Just like astronomy, evolution/adaption, slavery abolishment, racial equality and the rights of women; the LGBT community is the Church’s present ‘social devil.’ In fact in the social debate around marriage equality, the Church has done more damage to the ‘meaning of marriage’ than the so-called sexual infidels. Indeed the status quo seems to minimalize marriage to procreation. Really, is that all God intended marriage to be, an institution to procreate? Sounds a bit Darwinian.

As Jesus prioritized people over the institution of the Sabbath, so we could ask whether humans were “made to fit into an absolute, unchanging institution called marriage, or whether marriage was created to help humans…to live wisely and well in this world” (McLaren, 2010, p. 237). It may seem very odd, but I propose that Jesus is THE sex God in which we find what it really means to be embodied souls of humanity. Sexual intercourse is just one aspect of sex, Rob Bell suggests that our sexuality is all the passionate ways we go about connecting with the world, God and others (Bell, 2007, p. 42).

Interestingly in the Edenic narrative of Genesis, the only thing God deems ‘not good’ is the loneliness of Adam. Indeed through the post-modern theology of relationality, we begin to see Jesus as a sexual God, a liberator of oppressive disconnection and the instigator for reconnection. In turn the gospel becomes not about saving souls from hell-bound behaviours (like having a different sexual orientation from the status quo), rather the good news is an invitation for ALL people to participate in reconnecting ALL things through mutual, meaningful and faithful relationships.

Works Cited

Bell, R. (2007). Sex God: Exploring the endless connections between sexuality and spirituality. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

McLaren, B. (2010). A new kind of Christianity. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.

 

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Cheers: Communion as drinks with Jesus

communion glasses

Last Sunday, holding the little communion shot glass with Ribena in it, I had a kind of epiphany, a realization of what it means to commemorate the Passion of Christ. I imagined Jesus and his disciples at the table having a feed, and then the Messiah stands as if to toast:

“Friends, charge your glasses”, Jesus vigorously pronounced, looking around at the people who had followed him for the past three years. The ever attentive John tries to quiet down the other disciples who are in the middle of a rowdy debate over who should have the last chicken thigh.

“My friends, charge your glasses. Soon I’m going to suffer and die…” the mood suddenly becomes serious. Levi nudges Philip to listen.

“Friends, everything that you have witnessed can be summed up into the most excellent way of life: love others as I have loved you, for by your love, others will know that you’re my disciples…” a tear kissed his cheek, pausing the moment in what can only be described as holy.

“Friends, as you eat this bread…remember this moment with me…friends, as you drink this wine…remember THIS moment with me…”

“To this moment!” exclaimed Peter.

“To love, peace, and brotherhood…cheers!” added Jesus, as everyone stood with their glasses charged. So the night continued with table fellowship and drinks with Jesus.

So as I took communion last Sunday, I turned to my wife and said, “if you think about it, we’re kind of having drinks with Jesus, it’s like saying cheers to what he did and what he is doing.”

So the next time you take communion (if it’s part of your weekly routine), raise your glass and say cheers to Jesus.

Criminalizing the homeless: A man named Harry

homeless-feet

Last Wednesday I met a man named Harry (pseudonym), sitting on Queen Street with no money. He didn’t bash me with the Bible, harass me with a petition, or eyeball me to donate towards a cause I don’t believe in. Actually, he never said a word to draw my attention.

Offering my hand towards his own I introduced myself and sat down beside his cup of coins. “How’s your week been bro?” So starts a conversation that neither myself nor he expected to receive on a cold Auckland morning.

45 minutes with a total stranger that I will forever remember as Harry.

The new by-law that essentially criminalizes beggars is a disgrace to democracy let alone what it means to live in society. Time, money, a listening ear, an attentive heart, and the will to see the humanity of another; we have forgotten what it means to encounter someone’s needs other than our own. I’m all for giving to charity, but you can go your whole life giving to charity and never see poverty humanized, incarnated, fleshed out, and needing help in the NOW. The new by-law has fundamentally killed the spirit of the Samaritan, just to justify the ignorance of the priest and the neglect of the Levite.

“People walk past…but they don’t see me… If someone just gave me a chance…” – Words that I will never forget.

Bob McKoskrie and hetero-phobia: The fear of people different from yourself

vote_McCoskrie

It is incredibly sad that even though today is a historic moment in New Zealand’s social history, there are still trolls trolling about ready to pounce on the fun and dampen the party. ‘Hetero-phobia’ can be described as the fear of something or someone different, and as Bob McKoskrie has shown yet again – trolls be trolling (http://bobmccoskrie.com/?p=9066).

McKoskrie’s creativity seems to be limited to stale boundaries of hyper-fundamentalism, in which apparently he holds the universal truth of the definition of marriage, in which he has and still does vehemently defend. The use of the Bible as an authoritative weapon of mass distraction obviously does more harm than good. Why, why, why do fundamental evangelicals continue to paint a violent, judgemental, racist, condemning and bigot of a Jesus? As the popular maxim goes, ‘what would Jesus do?’ It is obvious that the actions of the fundamental right differ extremely from the ethos of Jesus the liberator of the oppressed and healer of the broken. This reminds me of the passage in scripture when Jesus gave up his last breath and cried out “it is finished!” In which the curtain in the temple was torn in two, and the division that kept people from encountering God freely was done away with.

It seems to me that whether it has been slavery, colonization, segregation, apartheid, and now same-sex marriage – the Church has always been the one justifying the dehumanizing of ‘the other.’ One could say that throughout history, the Church has metaphorically taken the torn curtain and repaired it to once again separate people from fully encountering their humanity.

I beg of the so-called ‘defenders of THE definition of marriage’ – everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when it is discriminating against others then serious analysis needs to be considered. I’m no pastor or theologian but I think it’s pretty straight forward that Jesus’ message hung on two paradigms in which it seems dominant Church culture has neglected: LOVE God, and LOVE people. Difference is wonderful and should be celebrated.

Doubt saved my faith

a-new-kind-of-christianity

Last week I was ready to give up on the story of Jesus, a story that is dominated by an individualist, environmentally negligent, hell evasive, and dualistic worldview. I began doubting and questioning my faith and whether the good news was actually ‘good’ let alone relevant to society. So I started reading this book – ‘a new kind of Christianity’ – and it pretty much ‘saved’ me from the contempt I had for the gospel according to mainstream evangelicalism, replacing it with a realization that the good news of Jesus’ kingdom is far more authentic and holistic than the lines that Church norms conform it to reside within. This existential epiphany was then solidified twice today in both a morning and night service at an emergent Church aptly named ‘the edge’. Indeed tonight I feel renewed and hungry to live out my love for the Jesus of the kingdom of God; a kingdom in which social justice, the environment, economic equity,  and a faith of doubting (wondering) is intimately important to the God of all creation.

The reason why the Church doesn’t give two hoots about social responsibility

OCCUPY JESUS P

Mainstream evangelicalism (dominant church culture) is embedded with a dualistic philosophy that denies the relevance of social justice now. This platonic theology relegates the earth to a sinking ship in which the only solution is to rush every individual onto the life raft of Jesus. As the world/matter and heaven/spirit are platonically opposing, ‘saving souls’ takes precedence over social responsibility. In a way one could term conversion as the only ‘social responsibility’ of the Church. Indeed if what really “matters is the soul, then thinking about the way socio-economic, material structures and institutions shape people is hardly important” (Sider, 2012, p. 3).

Socio-political concerns are labelled as irrelevant in a dying world, in which the only thing that matters is escaping “this world and its problems by going to heaven after death” (McLaren, 2007, p. 21). This dualism cements the Church’s main goal; which is the salvation of every soul through personal conversion (being born-again). Sider (2012) indicates how this perspective encourages personal conversion over social transformation – accordingly social problems would apparently disappear “if everyone were converted to personal faith in Christ” (Sider, 2012, p. 2).

Social responsibility should be crucially important to mainstream evangelicalism as it was a key message of Jesus’ ministry. The individualistic philosophy of dualism has silhouetted the socially inept gospel of evangelical culture. The gospel has ceased to create transformation and liberation, and has instead become a spiritual message of societal distraction (p. 29), in which the only things that matter is individual souls going to heaven and the accumulation of personal blessings in the meantime. Mainstream evangelicalism denies the relevance of social responsibility, even though societal concern and transformation is at the heart of the kingdom of God.

Works Cited

McLaren, B. (2007). Everything must change: When the world’s biggest problems and Jesus’ good news collide. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Sider, R. (2012). Evangelical advocacy: a response to global poverty. Evangelicals and structural injustice, 1-5.