Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Series #2: Sexuality - I am Who I am

Almost missed my deadline LOL... (thank God for Central Standard Time)

Today I faced one of most challenging experiences… preparing a bible study around the theme: SEXUALITY. What do I say? How do we begin? Should we start with questions? What if someone gets highly offended? What do I do if…? Soon after worrying about how I was going to present this topic/begin the dialogue, I thought about why it is so hard to have such a discussion. What about this topic makes it difficult to prepare a bible study? So easy to talk about the children of Israel or the life of Christ, or examination of the Psalms, but sexuality??!!? Then I realized it is hard because we don’t talk about it! Period! Growing up it was taboo to acknowledge ones feeling towards the opposite gender and even harder if those feelings were towards the same gender.

When I asked my students why they decided to come to talk about sexuality, many of their initial comments centered on how homosexuality is a major issue in their particular denomination. In other words, they skipped the word sexuality and went right to homosexuality. They had no language developed around sexuality, but knew that the church has been facing splits and separations because of varying views on homosexuality. So we had to spend time distinguishing the difference between the two and how our focus for this discussion would be based on sexuality as a whole and not to single out homosexuality(although we then decided it would be our next bible study topic).

Another student emphasized how much we avoid Songs of Solomon /Songs because of the deep sexual nature of the writer. We avoid! We don’t talk about it! We don’t even acknowledge our sexual nature and therefore disregards one of the major parts of God’s creative genius, our sexuality. How many sermons, how many bible studies, how many workshops, how many worship songs acknowledges God brilliance in creating sexual beings. Instead, we constantly associate sexuality with sin, and fornication, etc. (sidebar: yall know yall Christians don't be listening to gospel music, when you express your sexuality!!!LOL Yall know Shirley Caesar(or for my light skinned family, Michael W. Smith) do not be in the background!!! hahahaha. okay end of sidebar)

I do think it is important to note that my view on sexuality and homosexuality have changed quite a bit since my journey through seminary and my interaction with some great people from diverse backgrounds. I will go deeper into this at some point during my Lenten journey. But for right now, there is something very significant that struck me from Psalm 139. Ohh how I love that psalm! It really places emphasis on the fact that God knows all about me!! Not only am I “fearfully and wonderfully made”, but “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

In other words, it was clear that when God created me, God created me in secret. I hope this will help somebody cuz it helped me! When I was created in secret, I was created in the image of a God, who knows all about me.  Every part of me, my personality, my sexuality, my frame, my big-bonedness :) , my heart, my soul, my corks, my EVERYTHING. Therefore, I must stop allowing society, the world, the church, my parents, my friends, dictate who I am, but I must know that my God knows all about me and that  is more than enough!!!! I am who I am, and that is indeed a child of God, complete with sexual desires, brilliant mind, handsome features, and the same MUST BE said for each human being, my sisters and brothers.

If the church is going to be relevant in the 21st century, then we can no longer allow the creation that God made be ashamed of who they are, but embrace it and utilize our sexuality as a means of growing closer to God, to oneself, and to each to each other in community because I am who I am! Friends, I leave you with portions of Psalms 139.

Psalms 139 1-6; 13-16
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance."

Peace, Love, and Prosperity,


lynn said...

Michael Hunt, you have brought me to my feet. PREACH that word!
I was touched deeply by your words here -- what a powerful insight into that passage, and what a liberative, inspired word you bring!

Penelopepiscopal said...

Michael, in the Episcopal Church, we have a rite of passage for 13-year olds (appropriately named the "Rite 13 liturgy" that uses this psalm for the 13-year olds and their parents to say back and forth to one another. It's a powerful witness to the children claiming their identity as those made in God's image as well as their budding sexuality and the parents' recognition of all that as well as they say in response to the children who say they know they are made in secret and known by God, "your works are wonderful and I know them well." Good stuff.

River Cocytus said...

This is an interesting topic, that some of us were chatting about on Valentine's day at our cheesefare party / Valentine's day fete. (Monday begins Lent for the Orthodox.)

Some, like Gregory of Nyssa, insist that we are only potentially sexual beings; i.e. that we have capacity and may choose to 'fill ourselves' with sexuality or not (remain celibate.) Others insist that the dynamic of man and woman is a unique and intended path of purification, which obviously is distinctly sexual in nature.

We had 'a conclusion in which nothing is concluded'; I had thoughts of alchemy and catharsis and lead, gold, virginity of spirit and marriage and mystery, love, sacrifice, and the breaking of bread (body) and joining of flesh. But they're poetic thoughts and perhaps not the best guide for moral theology.

I can only think that Christians are called to both marriage and virginity; but to do both is impossible! But we have some of the holy virgins telling us that they are not yet true virgins; that virginity is like circumcision - of the heart.