Tag Archives: sexuality

Gay Pride and the Plank in Dr. Pritchard’s Eye

gay_bible

Last week, I received an e-mail from Dr. Ray Pritchard warning of a “coming evangelical divide” over gay rights.

He assures us the divide will not be over homosexuality or gay marriage. Pritchard claims that when this line is drawn in the sand, it will be over “biblical authority,” and will mean “splitting denominations, the leaving of churches, and in some cases, the division of families.”

Pritchard says this issue is a “deal-breaker,” that there is “no middle ground,” and that “the people who think it’s okay for two guys or two girls to get married and then come and lead Awana on Wednesday night will never be accepted by the rest of us.”

Can’t we all just get along?

“No, we can’t,” he says.

“No one can be happy about the very real pain involved” in this coming split, he continues, but it’s “better that we should separate than stay together and pretend at a unity that does not exist.”

I’ll return to that in a minute. He goes on:

Pastors, church leaders, Christians, and those with influence who admit to “struggling” over the issue from the “seductive voices calling us to ‘rethink’ our position,” you’d better pick a side in this battle, he says, because in the end, “we all get to decide where we stand.”

So be it.

Really, Dr. Pritchard? Do even our lesbian, gay and transgender brothers and sisters get to decide for themselves where they will stand?

You say the divide will be over Biblical “authority,” but I wonder if what you really mean is biblical “interpretation.”

I understand that you’re approaching this topic from a strictly Christian perspective (though I’m sure Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists would totally have your back on this). But, unfortunately it seems that the “authority” in you that drafted this letter is rooted in your own ego and self-preservation, as well as the preservation of the organization that trained you — the old tried-and-untrue concern of the Orthodox church that accepting homosexuality will somehow erode the perpetuation of our species. Your authority is not rooted in love, it is rooted in irrational and paralyzing fear. And that’s a form of man-made “authority” we need less of in this world, not more.

You claim in your letter (or shall we call it a tract?), “it may be that we will be the ones leaving some churches because we are the minority.” I pray that this is true. I also pray that those who count themselves in your number continue to dwindle, as their hearts and minds inversely expand in a blinding compassion for all of humanity. I pray for a world where minorities (actual minorities, not just minorities of the mind) can learn to love and respect one another, and do away with the borders and boundaries that continually seek to define them. In this regard, this line in the sand you propose may very well serve to benefit both parties. We (since we’re at least temporarily choosing “sides”) only want for you to hold more love and understanding in your heart. For in the stages we move through on our road to devotion, we begin in ignorance, before moving on to disquiet, insight, surrender, transformation, understanding, and ultimately, unification. Your letter is rather disquieting, so I can at least congratulate you on being slightly less ignorant than you were before you wrote it. Continue reading

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Creating a Cohesive Worldview (Part One: Either/Or)

“What can we do when things are hard to describe? We start by sketching out the roughest shapes to serve as scaffolds for the rest; it doesn’t matter very much if some of those forms turn out partially wrong … In the final filling-in, discard whichever first ideas no longer fit.

That’s what we do in real life, with puzzles that seem very hard. It’s much the same for shattered pots as for the cogs of great machines. Until you’ve seen some of the rest, you can’t make sense of any part.”

– Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind


We are born. We are taught to communicate. And most of us are immediately asked to choose a side.

We’re told by people that we love and respect that we are either liberal or conservative, left-brained or right-brained, introverted or extroverted, left- or right-handed. Either/or. We’re sometimes told that these traits are predetermined – by the stars or by destiny. That the universe is a magical, vibrating world of opposites, and that we hang in the balance. We’re told that this duality is our reality. But this is not the whole truth.

Our compass orientation need not point us in only four directions. In three-dimensional space, we’re not limited to only 360 degrees. Are there not an infinite number of grays, colors, dimensions, subtle gradations and subjective ethical and cultural nuances between the concepts of black and white – or good and evil?

Haridas Chaudhuri writes in The Evolution of Integral Consciousness, “One devious root of war-mindedness is the dualistic logic of the arrogant intellect – the logic of either/or. Dualistic logic says: Either communism or democracy, either socialism or capitalism, is the ultimate truth, and thus creates an irreconcilable opposition between them, diving the world into two warring camps sworn to destroy each other.”

We are also taught that we are innately masculine or feminine. We are not told that there are both masculine and feminine qualities in each of us that will be appropriate at certain times and in certain moments. We are not taught how to easily switch from barking orders (“being the rock”) to nurturing flexibility (“being the tree”) and back again. But there is a time and a place for each. We are never explicitly shown how to change our mind, but every moment as a conscious human being – living among other conscious beings – demands it.

Even before we’re born, people start asking, “Is it a boy or a girl?” But, what if we are both? What if we are a girl on the outside and a boy on the inside? And what of the hermaphroditic, the transgendered, the bisexual, the polyamorous? Sexuality and gender roles exist along a full biological, psychological and sociological spectrum, and the idea of simple one male/one female binary pairs is a learned one. Perhaps the fact that we’re learning untrue (or partially true) things about gender might explain why there is so much confusion and trauma around human sexuality (not to mention sexual ethics).

Brain vs Heart

Even our worldviews – our philosophies and religions – are separated into “Eastern” and “Western.” We may be told that Eastern religions are all about Zen and the Tao and “formless emptiness” and are based in concepts like “detachment” and “discipline.” We may be told that Western religions are all about monotheism and hierarchy and are based on things like “compassion” and “reason.” But in actuality, some religions have sprung forth on one hemisphere and migrated to another over time. In actuality, all religions are a product of a certain time, place and culture. In actuality, there is nothing more unreasonable than seeing only part (or one half) of the bigger picture.

One of our primary tasks should be to unify eastern and western thought into a global philosophy that satisfies both detachment and compassion, both discipline and creativity, hierarchy and holarchy. Yes, we need to honor and uphold the need for ceremony and ritual as well as the deep social roots of our individual cultures and our learned roles within them. But we also need to bring science and religion into alignment as aspects of the same universe – convincing both that not only is there room for the other, but that neither can stand on their own.

A modern approach to religion should not only be inclusive of the mostly partial truths found throughout the world’s wisdom, but also shouldn’t rely on a solitary book, philosophy or teacher. It should continually adapt and evolve, co-creating and recognizing new mythologies (from Star Wars to Shakespeare to Dharma Bums). It should be written by the people who live it, breathe it, and believe it.

Continue reading