Sister Jose Hobday, the Franciscan sister and Native American whom I cited a previously regarding the spiritual leadership of gay and lesbian people, told me that in her rich ministry of retreat giving, “the most beautiful Christians of all” were very often homosexual men and women. This has been my experience as well. Why might this be?
Behind the dualism of body versus soul or of spirit versus matter that has heinously infiltrated Christianity from Hellenism lies the dualism that spirit is about soul and not body. That is not the case in biblical teaching, where the word too often translated as soul, nepesh, indeed means all of the following: throat, neck, desire, life, person. The homosexual, by not equating sexuality exclusively with procreation, as Augustine did, allows for the energies of Spirit to flow once again, to overcome dualism that neither Jesus not the prophets ever imagined, to allow passion its proper place so that compassion might be born.
Furthermore, by removing sexual expression from a dominantly reproductive motif—as if sexual love needs to be justified by having babies—the homosexual, like the author of the Song of Song, teaches society to pause long enough to savor life and its divine delights. In this way homosexual love is an affront to capitalism, which is per se production-oriented and has never developed an art of celebration.
The brilliant psychologist Otto Rank, often credited with being the father of humanistic psychology, believed that humanity is emerging from the sexual era when the quest for immortality of the soul was expressed in an exaggeration of family or of its opposite, celibacy. In this era sexuality was in fact taken too seriously by all of us. As we emerge from the sexual era, we need those who can teach us the other, more playful, less serious, and less goal-oriented side to sexuality—the mystical side. Here, as Masters and Johnson have found, the homosexual offers a gift to the heterosexual community and society as a whole.
If it is true, as Gustavo Gutierrez writes, that the spirituality of liberation will have as its basis the spirituality of the anawim,* then the issue of First and Third World Liberation, of feminist and male liberation, of North American as well as Latin American liberation, of white as well as black, brown, red liberation cannot be joined without the sexual anawim being listened to.
* “anawim” means “those without voices” or “the voiceless ones.”
From Matthew Fox, “The Spiritual Journey of the Homosexual and Just about Everyone Else, in Fox, Wrestling With The Prophets: Essays on Creation Spirituality and Everyday Life, pp. 244, 262-263.
Queries for Contemplation
What do you learn from homosexuals you know or from yourself as gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or genderqueer about the playfulness and creativity of life, of art, of friendship, of the art of love making?
In one of his foundational works, Fox engages in substantive discussions with some of history’s greatest mystics, philosophers, and prophets on today’s social and spiritual issues on such challenging topics as Eco-Spirituality, AIDS, homosexuality, spiritual feminism, environmental revolution, Native American spirituality, Christian mysticism, Art and Spirituality, Art as Meditation, Interspirituality, and more.