It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally, at the Crystal Silence League, I see a prayer request to remove or cure homosexual desires.
Now, I was raised in the Western Scientific Tradition, in the far-out 1960s, in Hippie Town, USA, no less. So, despite a decades-long detour into conservative Christianity, it is fairly easy to understand why I would be unwilling to pray for these requests.
But I do. I do place them on my altar.
Whether you are “struggling with same-sex attraction” or celebrating it as a nourishing part of your personality and daily life, you are probably aware of the “liberal” interpretations of the Bible’s few verses that are commonly interpreted to forbid homosexuality. I will only list a few of the less theology-geeky links:
- Soul Force:
- What the Bible Says — and Doesn’t Say — about Homosexuality
- What Science Says — and Doesn’t Say — about Homosexuality
- A selection of posts from John Shore
- Romans 1: where Paul gets it wrong (by a Christian minister)
GLBT folks in conservative Christian churches are not the only people who are tied up in knots about sexual desire. That’s worth another series of posts in itself, but the work has been done for us:
These folks are caught in a double-bind: on the one hand evolution — or the Creator — made us with seemingly unconquerable sexual desire and capacity for arousal. Even after we get old and start to dry up, we notice sexual signals constantly, even where they are not intended.
The question that these guilt-ridden folks don’t get to ask is: How sinful is this, anyway? And the larger question: what is lust?
Resorting to the dictionary is supposed to be a specious argument, but honestly, I really think the meaning of the word lust has drifted farther than is accurate or useful. So:
lust (lst), n.
1. Intense or unrestrained sexual craving.
a. An overwhelming desire or craving: a lust for power.
b. Intense eagerness or enthusiasm: a lust for life.
3. Obsolete Pleasure; relish.
intr.v. lust·ed, lust·ing, lusts
To have an intense or obsessive desire, especially one that is sexual.
[Middle English, from Old English, desire; see las- in Indo-European roots.]
The third definition, mere pleasure or relish, is obsolete. But, as near as I can make out from the Oxford English Dictionary, it is the original definition of the word, and was so innocent back then that it was applied to Jesus himself!
He [Jesus] is feyr and bryht on heowe…Of lufsum lost of truste treowe.
I’m having trouble finding a translation for this couplet, but I think it means something like: “Jesus is fair and bright on high [?] … Of lovely lust, of true trust.” (We could now digress into a fascinating discussion of Christ as the Ideal lover — and maybe we will, another day.)
You see the wiggle in her walk, or the fem in the black leather jacket, because you were made to express love and innocent pleasure in the flesh. It’s only when you lose your grip on the Golden Rule that corruption enters your world through lust the glamor of sexual pleasure.
So I will print out your prayer for release from evil desires, and I will pray for you.
I pray that your desires bring you only love, splendor, and abundant life.
I pray that these desires bring happiness to the others you encounter.
I pray that god heals you of needless shame.
I pray that the truth of the Love Supreme will set you free.
Weren’t you, after all, born in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?