Sunday, March 27, 2011

How Can I Go To a Church?

I've attended a church called "The New Church" for the past 5 years. I like the community. I don't necessarily believe everything that they profess to, but I like being around people who are trying to do the right thing in their lives, and who intend to act from love. It's the only church I ever attended that has the freedom to say that other religions (or no religion) can also be fine. I have my own words for things - I believe that there is a higher love and consciousness and that is what I am referring to when I reference "God". I don't believe that it's our place to make certain judgements about each other. It's impossible to know what is going on inside someone's mind, spirit or body. What keeps me there is the music, and the people I play it with, which includes the pastor. I love playing in the band, and I love hearing live music with a spiritual bent (I am a Who fan after all) when others play it. And, I love to pray. When I first met the pastor, I noticed a huge poster of The Beatles on his office wall, and I figured this was a match made....well, in heaven.

Marriage is a big thing with the New Church. Going there has really helped my own marriage with Ozzie. Ozzie and I are the last people you might expect to go to a church. But we find that it gives us an hour or two to evaluate ourselves, and our life together, and make changes if we need to.


Today, we were talking about marriage, and what is appropriate inside and outside of marriage. My husband Ozzie made the point that not everyone has the opportunity to be married, so maybe it can't be so black and white? He got into a conversation after the service with the just-out-of-seminary assistant pastor and was told that 'homosexuality is something to recover from'. That prompted Ozzie to write a bit of a protest to the pastor, who was away. That hadn't been the stated point of view of the our local church in the past, as we knew it. Granted, the Boulder version of the New Church is probably considered a bit out there by the 'corporate' church. Ozzie did a little research and found a page where a New Church administrative group wrote up a summary of their thoughts on homosexuality. It prompted me to write this as a comment. (I don't recommend reading the page, although this article was the lone stand-out in terms of being written by someone I'd want to hang around with.)

"It's interesting to me that the New Church, and Swedenborg, seems to go out of its way to explain the "non-literal" translation of The Bible, Old testament and New, yet takes all these alleged references to homosexuality at face value.

I would propose that the New Church is limiting its consciousness by how it is choosing to view body type. My body type looks like a woman. My gender seems to be mostly feminine. Others I know with female body types have much more of a masculine gender - with the 'traditional' masculine strengths. And vice versa. Many of those more masculine women are labelled as lesbian because they are attracted to the feminine in another woman.

If you look at the study of intersexed humans (once called hermaphrodites) - those who are born with mixed or ambiguous genitalia - you find heartbreaking cases where a doctor made an arbitrary choice that 'this is a girl' for someone who clearly identified as male. What most enlightened people do theses days is let the child grow and self-identify as male or female.

The existence of intersexed humans to me clearly shows us that gender and body type do not always concur. It seems then that it could be true in all sorts of people, not just the physically intersexed. Why any of us should decide what body type someone else needs to be with...I don't understand. Consider gender as a continuum. We all fall on it somewhere. We've all been given a body that also falls on a continuum beween male and female, with intersexed humans somewhere in the middle.

Why not let the person inside determine where they fall, and who they are attracted to. Perhaps masculine----->masculine is an "abomination". I don't know. But there is no way for someone outside a body to determine which gender that person truly is. Perhaps gender *is* a spiritual issue, not just "natural". Judge not what you cannot see.

I've read just about all of the articles referenced here. Rev. James Lawrence really touched me with his point of view.

I find many of the other articles to be impossible to differentiate from any other Christian denomination, other than mentioning and quoting Swedenborg. I think the General Church could try to go the extra mile and think outside the box on the matter of gender -- in many ways, not just pertaining to homosexuality.

There are some good films and documentaries that delve into the complex childhoods and lives of intersexed humans.

With all the emphasis on believing in a God we cannot see, and not relying only on our senses, I don't know why we are so hung up on the things we can *only* see.

I'm not giving up on church, however. I think change comes from within.

1 comment:

paulobrian said...

Got to this late, obviously, but absolutely loved it. VERY well said.