Kissing a girl

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AuthorTopic: Kissing a girl
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #100
Alex, thanks for having the courage to share that. Really...thanks! I just shot this reply off from the heart, and I guess it’s rather ridiculously long, but I don’t know what I could cut out to shorten it. All due apologies to any who find it annoying, unneccessary, preachy, disturbingly and obsessively overlong, or anything else you’d rather it wasn’t.

It must be such an ordeal wrestling with these issues and decisions, especially as a Mormon. I love it when people have the guts to be real and vulnerable, and your issue hits home with me. It’s not that I am wrestling with homosexual feelings, but I am wrestling with trying to understand what homosexuality is. I’m in a psych masters program right now because I am going to become a counseling psychologist. My roots are strongly religious, and I grew up with very strong convictions about sexuality from a Protestant Christian viewpoint. These evoked much guilt and conflict in me about whether or not to be sexual and how to date.. For the most part, I abstained and was frustrated...okay, miserable.

In my teens I rejected organized Christianity as I knew it, seeing too much hypocrisy and theological contradiction, and a lack of true love being expressed, but I had a strong sense of what love is, and something of Who God is and THAT God is (existent and underlying all things), even if I didn’t understand why so much else seems to be such a mess. A bit later in my life, I came across some new perspectives on God and spirituality which freed me from my former religious hangups, but gave me a new passion for truth and spirituality and seeking. That’s some background so you know where I am coming from.

One thing I came to understand about spiritual language, and therefore scriptures which both Christians and Mormons subscribe to, is that it has many layers of meaning, and its truest significance is in the spiritual realm at the deeper layers, rather than the surface literal. Many Christians recognize this to one degree or another, but usually not in any coherent or consistent way to my experience. For the very little that the conglomeration of 66 disparate writings Christians call Bible discusses homosexuality, I think there are deeper meanings rather than literals we are meant to glean from them. Male and female and sexual uniting and the new life resulting in which two truly become one (fused!) are powerful spiritual symbols we can understand to some degree because we understand the natural. In spiritual symbology, homosexuality represents a spiritual condition of relationship which cannot produce spiritual life and represents something out of order.

Under the new gospel, Paul talked about salvation by grace, whereas Peter and the twelve apostles taught grace mixed with works for salvation, a fact little recognized by the instituations of faith, but plainly there on the page. Paul was given a revelation of truth to extend to all the world (the Gentiles) while the original apostles were sent to the Jews, who were steeped in religious history and the law.

Paul made it abundantly clear that we are freed from ANY law other than the inner law God would write inside upon one’s heart. The law becomes an inner mandate operating out of a spirit and principle of love which changes our very nature and desire rather than leaving us to struggle to follow an outer law we really don’t want to follow. Capture someone’s heart in love, and you capture all their behavior. Capture someone’s behavior through shackles and tyranny (which the OT Law truly was), and that someone is out the cell door first chance he gets. You haven’t changed his will or allegiance one bit. The bonds of love are the strongest in the universe because nothing can break them.

Surely you know all this. I just wanted to preface that for what Paul also said about marriage. After all he said to describe the relationships of men and women in marriage, he said the whole point of what he was saying was to represent Christ and the Church. Christ is just a Greek word (rather than a name) which means “anointing” or “anointed”. Church is from ekklesia in the Greek meaning “the called out.” The Christ Spirit (the anointed spirit of God)—the Bridegroom is male and has a “masculine” function. Church—the bride, is female as we know.

Paul was establishing a relationship between the “masculine” Spirit of God (which is love and which changes hearts and natures from within in an infusing, proactive, creative, and procreative sense) and the church (which is the receptive female part of the equation and can be seen symbolically as our own soul which is the soil in which a new spiritual life can grow and express as a fusion of the two together in harmony.)

Soul must marry to Spirit to produce harmony and a new inner life. Soul must submit to the Spirit in order for the two to grow together as one and for the new law to be written within. It’s all about spiritual relationship (given through the window of sexual relationship) within each human being rather than any new external law aimed at sexual or relational behavior....or pointing to the subjecting of women to men, I might add. I also might add, is that it implies the intimacy and joy of tapping into that Spirit of Love and becoming one with it. Sex is an awesomely wonderful thing and also has its awesomely wonderful spiritual counterpart. I also assume you probably know much or all of this. I’m not sure how much the Mormom perspective differs on the symbology or implications.

In this simple context, to follow the gospel of the Bible should give you complete liberty to follow what your heart is telling you, your responsibility being only to seek to submit to the Spirit of love within which is God. It may lead you in surprising directions over time, but you can’t go wrong following it. You don’t need to second guess it, if you trust the Source to which you are connected. There is no absolute law of “do” and “do not do” any longer. Paul was not seeking to establish new rules for the natural life, despite his advisings to specific churches on more practical immediate matters.

Literal laws of marriage (and sexual relationship) are easily the one huge lynchpin of the Christian Churches, yet I think they got hung up on the natural and missed out on the spiritual, which is what it was all about to begin with. In reality, I think God has no concern about whether a man has one wife or five (polygamy was the norm throughout the OT with no word or condemnation to it), or vice-versa (!) or who experiences sexual pleasure with whom. The real issue is do you do out of love for the greater good of the many or out of self-serving?

The law is now in our hearts, not on a page. And the only law, as Jesus said, was to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as you love yourself. It is important we love ourselves so we can love our neighbor. We are not to condemn ourselves, for we are not condemned. If we can condemn ourselves, we can and will condemn our neighbor.

Remember the vision Peter had of unclean animals being offered to him from heaven for food, representing the liberation from the Hebrew law and a new dispensation of grace? The voice from heaven said three times to take and eat these things. Peter recoiled in horror and was unable to accept, because as a good Jew, he was powerfully conditioned to see them as vile, unclean, and impossible things to consider for consumption. He did not accept the new liberty in the gospel and remained partially in bondage to the old law, preaching a gospel of both works (law) and grace. Institutionalized Christianity claims Peter as much of its foundation (which I might dispute); either way, much law was dragged back into a new simple word of grace and liberty and hope and good news to all.

Guess what I think would be lowered from heaven upon a sheet in a vision for the modern day Christian to recoil at and find impossible to accept or embrace in any way? Sexual issues, different concepts of marriage, and homosexuality very much in particular. What would one say if a voice said, “Partake freely of these things? These have been external laws and burdens to you, but I say you are free from them, for these are not what make you who you are spiritually.” It’s the same kind of law hangup with the same degree of conviction in modern times. And the same degree of unneccessity. I don’t think God is at all concerned with one’s sexuality. It is not what one puts into a man which defiles him, but what comes out...think about it.

So...what I personally am wrestling with is no longer the “morality” of homosexuality, but what it represents in the natural. From a natural, biological view, it suggests something gone awry, as any homosexual animal is not going to reproduce and will die out. But I am not an evolutionist or biological determinist in my thinking, though I don’t rule out their relevance. I still sense that homosexuality represents something that has gone a bit off in psychological development, as you are suggesting as well. Is it evil? No. Is it “wrong”? Not in the moral sense. I think it is unfortunate, considering the grief and guilt it causes so many. I also think it *could* be possible to “remedy”.

I also wanted to add here that to Love is all that truly matters. I know longer know a God Who judges the context of love. I have seen some homosexual partnerships which I think demonstrate the most inspiring and awesome example of true committment, respect, and love which puts to shame the majority of typical marriages I have observed.

Love is spirit and spirit is energy and energy has power to affect other things. We affect one another with how we love and demonstrate love. Whoever it is you wish to love in your heart, I say do it with all your heart. I see all outer rules have been dissolved. It is a degree of liberty given that most of organized religion has not yet been able to truly comprehend, accept, or permit. There is safety inside the box. You can see the walls. You know the parameters. But you don’t get to see much of anything or go much of anywhere, and your own expansion is limited. Boxes are coffins. Kick the sides out of the box and it’s amazing how big and diverse and wondrous the universe is beyond it. It’s also very very scary after a lifetime safely within...this degree of liberty. But there’s no going back once you get a taste.

So, with this perspective of true spiritual freedom in mind which is not at odds with God and His nature, I am myself thinking and wondering more about the spiritual, emotional, situational, and generational influences which might be at the root of homosexual development in an infant or child. I don’t believe genetics determine us absolutely or permanently, quite contrary to the current enchantment in scientific thinking. I have seen too much evidence which suggests we have tremendous power through thoughts, attitudes, and words, even with babies in the womb, to activate and trigger genes. Our environment, or more specifically, our perception of our environment, triggers differing genes in our own bodies and even in eggs and sperm of the unborn and unfertilized! It’s pretty tripppy research I’d love to go into—maybe elsewhere...this is huge enough. It makes good sense to anyone who has a perception of the power in the energy of thoughts and attitudes and words. I find it a most compelling fusion of biology meets psychology meets spirituality. Very cool and for me, very exciting.

I don’t think most people who are homosexual would choose such a challenging and frequently unhappy lifestyle for themselves if they truly felt they had a choice. I don’t think it was a choice, any more than someone chooses to grow up with a personality disorder. But I think something was lacking and/or present to permit its development rather than “normal” sexual development which can result in reproduction as nature designed.

I really care about this subject and I hope I’m not being misunderstood here. I’d like to believe in and will continue to explore the possibilities that just as homosexuality can be triggered and gendered in a human being somehow, that we also have the power, through what I might call spiritual means primarily (and others might call psychological) to flip those genes, if you will, whether any literal genes are involved or not. I suppose I do believe in “miracles” though I wouldn’t call the means miraculous any more than the more obvious natural laws of the universe we do think we understand. I think spiritual laws operate just as surely, but we don’t yet really comprehend them. I think there is great hope for anything you can put your mind and heart and soul into. We have the power to shape and reshape ourselves in ways many of us probably wouldn’t imagine or consider. It’s all a battle for the mind primarily. The power of belief in a thing is not to be underestimated. And many things simply take time. God may not be in the hurry we think He is and we know we are.

If there is anything I can possibly encourage you with, Alex, I hope it is to recognize that even within your religious conviction, you have that true liberty Paul described so simply. There can be no condemnation to you, whatever path you take. If it is in your heart to seek a reorienting in your sexuality, I see no hindrance to you finding the way in Spirit to accomplish it in time. “I can do all things through Christ (the anointing) which strengthens me”....right?

If you need to explore and experience homosexuality first, you will have to contend with the judgement of the Church and some in the world, but not from God who concerns Himself with what is in your heart and that you love, not whom or how. Jesus’ best buddies were the scum of the earth: cussing fishermen, sleazy tax collectors, prostitutes, and so forth. I think Jesus was way cooler and more controversial that our sanitized view of him permits. He was a punk and a rebel in his day in his way. If you feel comfortable to remain in homosexuality, then that too is grace to you I should think. You express a desire for children one day, a noble desire. May it be granted to you in whatever fashion your heart truly seeks.

In seeking God and truth as an adult, I gained a new paradigm of how we grow up spiritually and of how God see us. We act our age (spiritually and physically) and that is always okay. We will continue to mature and grow up, usually faster as we experience things, rather than amass knowledge and opinions of things. It is okay to make mistakes and fall on our faces. That is how we learn—by experience. We are not condemned at any stage, and we are not left unattended at any stage either, no matter our perception. What Father neglects the rearing of His own children? Truly all is permissible to us just as Paul said. That is the true extent of the kind of grace God demonstrates. And as he also said, not everything is profitable and edifying to us. That is for you to discover for you with God in you and AS you. Two become one, right?

Here is the bottom line of the kind of relationship I think God actually intends with us. If it is deeply in your heart to do a thing, you better go ahead and do it...so you can get it over with if necessary, or figure out its value by experience. The principle Jesus stated was that to desire a thing in your heart is the same as to do it. And if we desire an unprofitable thing for ourselves, we may need to go through the experience to have any hope of putting it in our past. We may be amazed to discover that things we are certain are “unprofitable” may not actually be the things we find unprofitable in our lives.

I personally find religious hangups and boxes and burdensome laws to be unprofitable. Yet, all children start out with very strict absolute black and white rules, for young minds don’t comprehend the whys and the nuances. There is a place for that. Thus, the nature of God’s dealing with Old Testament Israel...it was all law and discipline, as if dealing with stubborn little two year old spiritual infants...which He was in essence. As we grow older, we get more understanding, more responsibility, and more liberty. The lessons were for all of us to learn from, not just one nation. We don’t have to go back there.

I believe collectively we as humanity are progressing spiritually and will continue to do so, with much much more to come, and getting better all the time. That’s the kind of God I know, even when the process looks so utterly bleak and messy and interminable. I still have a young mind. I can’t comprehend many things yet which are over my head. But I am not an infant any longer and God is not dealing with humanity in those terms. I and we have spiritual liberty to love according to the law written by Spirit upon our hearts. That is the law we are required to follow.

Any organized Church will have its own rules and laws in addition. You show you wish to remain true to your Church as a Mormon if I understand you right, Alex. If that is your heart’s wish, you should surely seek to do so. So, to me, what you face is the conflict, not between you and God or between what is right and wrong or permissible, but it will be between your spiritual liberty freely given and the lesser liberty your Church will permit. These are not easy choices, but I wish you the best in your undertaking of them.

And in writing these thoughts to share with you, now I betray my vulnerability through some of my beliefs which are a very intimate thing to a person and can cause division with others merely by being known. I realize you might even greatly disagree with the understanding I shared here, and that’s okay too. I shared it because this perspective of God and what is even written in scripture I found very hopeful and helpful and, well, revolutionary in my own spiritual evolution, and thought maybe it could be just a little bit useful or provocative for you or someone else. If I failed utterly, well that’s okay too...it was a good exercise, and as we can all see, I have no aversion to writing.

I SAY: Cheers to Alex, a really cool guy and gifted cartoonist who brings much mirth and merriment to many through his great artistic gift. Anyone who can bring joy and laughter to many is a most precious commodity, my friend. Of incalculable worth indeed, and that’s just speaking for myself alone. Love ya, man. I think you’re great. And I of course wish you the best and to find the support you need through whatever happens next.

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 13:03: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Skip to My Lou
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Thanks, for the positive responses so far. I'm an open-mined person with extremist, fanatic parents and my biggest fear is to have what I am actually trying to express to be rejected and devalued, as it so often has. I can't even imagine actually saying these sorts of things to people out loud. Right now, just typing this, my hands are actually shaking.

As for the psychological developmental path, I would be happy to discuss it with you at length, but I'm not sure if this is the place for it.

[ Saturday, October 08, 2005 09:27: Message edited by: Archmage Alex ]

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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #102
quote:
Originally written by Archmage Alex:

I'm an open-mined person
Ow, that sounds painful. Did they file an environmental impact statement first? Did they find gold?

--This has been "Tension-Relieving Fun With Typos" lesson number 242. This will not be on the final.--

[ Saturday, October 08, 2005 11:15: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Skip to My Lou
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quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

quote:
Originally written by Archmage Alex:

I'm an open-mined person
Ow, that sounds painful. Did they file an environmental impact statement first? Did they find gold?

:P No, they found uranium.

And I meant "open-minded".

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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
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I like to believe I just always was homosexual, and that anything scientists have to say about it is completely untrue; I can't remember anything happening in my life that would indicate anything like a "turning point," and it leaves me feeling better about it. But that's just me.

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Posts: 549 | Registered: Thursday, October 17 2002 07:00
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Alex, I gotta respect your honesty and insight. And I'll try not to press my personal opinion on you, and I already have a feeling that your are a person of integrity. So this may come as no surprise to you, but..

If/when you choose to enter into a monogamous relationship with a member of the opposite sex, and you have a pretty good feeling that it will be the one you die with, make damn sure you tell that person ALL the dark and hidden secrets of your life. That really goes with every relationship that will potentially reach permanency, but especially given the views of your religion, it could be disasterous on an emotional level if the two of you weren't on the same page.

That's it. I wish you luck, you clearly have thought through this decision.

Edit - purprise isn't actually a word, so I used a variation.
*this message sponsored by the better half*

[ Saturday, October 08, 2005 16:52: Message edited by: Mournin' Salmon ]
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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To Zxquez: That's entirely your choice. Believe me, I can comeletely understand that point of view. My point of view is just what feels the most right to me.

To Salmon: I had already thought about and planned to do just what you say. It's hardly a pressing concern though, as marriage is definately several years off for me.

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Posts: 1629 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
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Oh, I know that. I just felt like saying it.

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I eat blueberries in pie square.
Xerch'de/Rate.
I miss you, but I haven't met you yet.
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Posts: 549 | Registered: Thursday, October 17 2002 07:00
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Alex, allow me to say, reading that post has given me a lot of respect for you. You've got guts, bro.

Don't think you're alone, either. Even for those of us religious types who aren't gay, there's plenty of sexual temptation of all flavours to go around.

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Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
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I'm not sure how "big" a post I should make this... especially considering Synergy edited and cut his (which was a very long and very good post, btw. I saw it before the edit).

I guess I'll try to keep it as short and simple as possible (which doesn't mean much, in my case).

I just want to say, though. If you want to discuss further about anything, please don't hesitate to PM me. :)

...

Alex, again, thank you for your post.

Not only for the trust in your fellow board members, but for giving, I believe, giving anyone who reads it something to seriously think about.

It may be intensely personal, but by the same token, it's well-written and—I believe—touches upon certain core principles of the human condition. With the heart and honesty you put into it, I can't help but see your post as a gift to us.

Enough with that... on to my ramblings.

...

First of all, if you haven't read Synergy's full reply, I strongly suggest you ask him for it. He said many things I would have liked to say, and better than I could have said them.

Second of all, I'd like to state for the record that I believe that our natural state is bisexuality.

Personally, I guess I would consider myself bi-curious. There's no doubt in my mind that I prefer women a lot more, and I very much look forward to starting my own family.

It's entirely possible that I'll go through my entire life without having a homosexual encounter, and I'm fine with that. But conversely, if it happens, it happens. And I'm fine with that as well.

I think Synergy did an excellent job dealing with the religious aspect, so I'll leave that alone. Not coming from a religious background, I wouldn't be able to do it justice like he did. I haven't read the Bible yet (though it's at the top of my "must read" list).

There's just one aspect I'd like to focus on, and that's love. In the end, I think that's the most important thing.

I simply can't see how anything done with genuine love can be wrong. And by the same token, I consider heterosexual sex devoid of love as much of a "sin" as homosexual sex devoid of love.

From a "natural" standpoint, heterosexuality makes sense within the context of reproduction. But relationships between humans aren't limited only to reproduction.

Sex is something intimate to be shared between people, and IMHO, approached from a position of love, trust and integrity, it can be a beautiful thing, no matter the genders involved. It's a unity shared by people who care about each other.

I'd just like to point out that homosexuality and bisexuality is prevalent in nature. Sex isn't always about reproduction, it's also a powerful sociological act.

I don't believe that any act or state of being is inherently sinful; what makes the difference is the approach taken.

I'll try to finish this off... I could ramble on an on and on... especially if I took the time to explain where I'm coming from (which would be relevant, but extensive). So again I remind you, if you'd like me to continue, I'd be happy to do so in PM.

I'll just finish off with this thought:

If homosexuality is seen as wrong because procreation doesn't enter the picture, then what is to be thought of a heterosexual couple who simply chooses not to have children? What makes them any different than a homosexual couple?

A homosexual couple might even want children. And, in some places, be able to adopt.

By the same token, what are we to think of a man and/or a woman who is infertile? It's not their fault. It's not their choice.

If we see homosexuality as being unnatural and sinful simply because it goes against the "natural order of procreation", then must we not also damn any heterosexual victim of infertility as being inherently unnatural and sinful?

In conclusion, just stick to the path you're on... it seems to be a good one, if not an easy one.

Follow your heart. That's the best advice I can give anyone. If you're honest with yourself (which you seem to be) and listen hard enough, your heart can never lead you astray.

...

quote:
Originally written by Mournin' Salmon:

If/when you choose to enter into a monogamous relationship with a member of the opposite sex, and you have a pretty good feeling that it will be the one you die with, make damn sure you tell that person ALL the dark and hidden secrets of your life. That really goes with every relationship that will potentially reach permanency, but especially given the views of your religion, it could be disasterous on an emotional level if the two of you weren't on the same page.
Yes... and I think that's good advice for just about anyone.

I know that people tend to say that politics and religion should be left out of a relationship, especially at first, but personal experience has taught me that next time I enter any kind of relationship, those are two of the first things I'll bring up.

I guess this isn't for everyone, but for people who have strong beliefs one way or another, I think that it's important that those issues are addressed and made clear from the get-go.

One relationship in particular comes to mind... incredible compatibility on so many levels. And there were troublesome issues to deal with (about to get a divorce, but wasn't finalized yet, had a daughter from a previous relationship, etc.)... things that required serious considerations. But in the end, it was our religious differences that drove us apart. We had waited too long to deal with those and had already gone too deep. It hurt. A lot.

So kids, learn from my mistakes. ;)

quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Alex, allow me to say, reading that post has given me a lot of respect for you. You've got guts, bro.

Don't think you're alone, either. Even for those of us religious types who aren't gay, there's plenty of sexual temptation of all flavours to go around.

Or being gay without being religious.

Depending on where you live, and your background, being gay—by itself—can be hard enough to deal with without dragging religion into the mix.

...

Much love and respect, Alex. :)

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"Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed." -- Lao Tzu
Posts: 124 | Registered: Monday, September 26 2005 07:00
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Gee, Muji-meister, that was nice of you to say, and a very fine post you made too. I was feeling pretty sheepish about the river of thoughts the subject drew out of me, being so steeped in Christian-context spiritual symbology and such esoterica. But I'm going to put it back in place for the moment.

I actually hate editing in the sense of deleting anything that was real and in the moment. A number of us here are obviously passionate and intensive writers. It can be hard to end a thought which has such potential depth to explore.

I did mention somewhere 'round here recently that I think gender issues are some of the most critical ones which we are facing today. A lot of the current key religious and social issues I see as gender issues at heart, and it's all about relationships ultimately.

I hate to be overwrought....but I'll put my many many many words back for now....that is until I change my mind again. ;)

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 12:42: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Muji:

If homosexuality is seen as wrong because procreation doesn't enter the picture, then what is to be thought of a heterosexual couple who simply chooses not to have children? What makes them any different than a homosexual couple?
Well, you know, the Catholic Church believes all forms of contraception are wrong; even the rhythm method is wrong if you're attempting to use it to avoid having children at all as opposed to just controlling how many children you have and when. It also considers infertility to be sufficient reason for a marriage to be annulled.

Not saying that I agree with them, just pointing out that their position seems internally consistent on this one.

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quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

Gee, Muji-meister, that was nice of you to say, and a very fine post you made too. I was feeling pretty sheepish about the river of thoughts the subject drew out of me, being so steeped in Christian-context spiritual symbology and such esoterica. But I'm going to put it back in place for the moment.
Don't mention it.

It was a very long post (and I know long posts!), but a good read and—under the circumstances—fully appropriate, I think.

The Christian-context spiritual symbology, IMO, was one of the things that gave it so much weight.

I'm not Christian, nor have I ever been, so I could have never made those points. But I found it very interesting to read, and quite informative. It made a lot of sense to me.

I'm glad you decided to put it back. :D

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

I actually hate editing in the sense of deleting anything that was real and in the moment. A number of us here are obviously passionate and intensive writers. It can be hard to end a thought which has such potential depth to explore.
It can be hard, but we do what we can. And nobody's forced to read anything they don't want to.

I don't know about anybody else, but personally, I find these discussions to be among the most rewarding aspects of being on the internet.

After all, isn't that what the net is all about, in its purest form? The sharing of thoughts and ideas.

And I find a delicious irony in the fact that such meaningful discussions can come about from such a simple and banal common thread as shareware games. ;)

I've always marveled at that. The way people—sometimes literally on the other side of the planet—come together, linked by some mundane, material and arguably meaningless (at least in the big picture) topic, then sometimes end up dealing with some core existencial aspects. I find that beautiful.

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

I did mention somewhere 'round here recently that I think gender issues are some of the most critical ones which we are facing today. A lot of the current key religious and social issues I see as gender issues at heart, and it's all about relationships ultimately.
Oh, that was you? Yes, I remember that comment. And I had replied how that could make an interesting discussion in itself.

If you want to make a starting post, I'll follow along. ;)

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

quote:
Originally written by Muji:

If homosexuality is seen as wrong because procreation doesn't enter the picture, then what is to be thought of a heterosexual couple who simply chooses not to have children? What makes them any different than a homosexual couple?
Well, you know, the Catholic Church believes all forms of contraception are wrong; even the rhythm method is wrong if you're attempting to use it to avoid having children at all as opposed to just controlling how many children you have and when. It also considers infertility to be sufficient reason for a marriage to be annulled.

Not saying that I agree with them, just pointing out that their position seems internally consistent on this one.

I knew about the no-contraceptives bit, but not about the infertility aspect... :eek:

Still, that's Catholicism. Not all Christian sects look at it the same way (in regards to contraception), but homosexuality, in general, is viewed as "bad".

I must admit I at least respect internal consistency, but are all those things seen as equal? That's not a rhetorical question, I'm actually asking (and not just Thuryl... anyone who has an answer).

I could be wrong, but it would seem to me that, by and large, homosexuality is viewed as a far greater sin than simply wearing a condom.

And does anybody have more info about the whole infertility thing? I'd be curious to know more about how the Church sees that, how they explain it in a religious way (is it punishment? A test? What?), etc.

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 13:16: Message edited by: Muji ]

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"Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed." -- Lao Tzu
Posts: 124 | Registered: Monday, September 26 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Muji:


I don't know about anybody else, but personally, I find these discussions to be among the most rewarding aspects of being on the internet.

And I find a delicious irony in the fact that such meaningful discussions can come about from such a simple and banal common thread as shareware games. ;)

I've always marveled at that. The way people—sometimes literally on the other side of the planet—come together, linked by some mundane, material and arguably meaningless (at least in the big picture) topic, then sometimes end up dealing with some core existencial aspects. I find that beautiful.
I couldn’t agree more, and I marvel at the very same thing. I came here a month ago just to kick around and check out the BoA scenarios, but I am quite startled and pleased to discover the richness and diversity of dialog going on here. You people are amazing, you hear? Amazing. It scares me how much brilliance and heart I see in this one unlikely little place we call the Spiderweb. I dearly love the diversity of thought, attitude, belief, humor, and culture we get with an international gathering in a place like this. It’s a fantastic time to be alive.

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

I did mention somewhere 'round here recently that I think gender issues are some of the most critical ones which we are facing today.... Oh, that was you? Yes, I remember that comment. And I had replied how that could make an interesting discussion in itself.
Oh, was that you? ;)

quote:
If you want to make a starting post, I'll follow along. ;)
I think there are some great gender issues and discussion going on in this thread right now, yes? Despite my intermittent torrents of contribution, I’m not in a hurry. There will be more to come as inspiration strikes here or in new threads. I saw a flurry of interesting discussions on some of these kinds of topics from earlier this year which I am sorry now I missed. Another good one I love to dig into, by the way is the etiology of two simple words which are huge to currently established doctrines of Christianity: “hell” and “eternity/eternal.” I got some really good background on those, turned my thinking on its head years ago.

Hmm, and I can’t really quite call myself “Christian” at this point actually. I have a rich heritage of experiences through that lens, but I think there’s scarcely an organized church who would have me if they knew the dangerous perspectives I have come to embrace concerning the nature of God and so on. There is much I love and embrace from that lens, just as there is much I can no longer embrace. There is scarcely a thing in this world that is not mixture, and our job is to find the babies in all the bathwater. Organized religion is a colossal mess, yet has held within its confines forms of many great truths and has done much to bless the world, as well as curse it. I think it’s all going somewhere. Nothing is for naught.

I have deeply personal reasons I have no doubt of a great Heart and Mind behind all things existent, but I really don’t have any agenda or proof to push on anyone. In fact, I don’t believe there can be. It’s not for the head. It’s for the spirit known by experience, rather than words. I think I must often sound preachy when I get going on spiritual matters, but it’s passion really. I just love talking about the ideas of things, Who/What I think (or “know”) this “God” is, and especially things which are beautiful and hopeful ultimately in a world so jaded and contentious and judgemental overall.

If I can say nothing else, it’s that I live with the simple and joyful conviction that God and the truth of our reality (despite what any of us sees or does not) is far better and more hopeful and more purposeful that we mostly dare to entertain or hope.

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 13:53: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

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Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

I couldn’t agree more, and I marvel at the very same thing. I came here a month ago just to kick around and check out the BoA scenarios, but I am quite startled and pleased to discover the richness and diversity of dialog going on here. You people are amazing, you hear? Amazing. It scares me how much brilliance and heart I see in this one unlikely little place we call the Spiderweb. I dearly love the diversity of thought, attitude, belief, humor, and culture we get with an international gathering in a place like this.
Hehehe, yup... I just joined a while ago to ask a few questions about BoA... I had no idea this would come of it!

But I've been a part of quite a few communities on the web throughout the year, and I must say, I'm quite happy with how easy it was to just dive right in, here, especially considering the topics at hand.

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

It’s a fantastic time to be alive.
Far more than most of us realize, I think. Humanity is at crossroads, and we have front-row seats.

Good or bad, it doesn't matter... the fact remains that we live in immensely interesting times.

And when I look at all the things that are coming together in this particular day and age, I can't help but marvel, it seems so surreal. Almost as though this is when we're meant to be alive. And as much as our human world pains me much as it is, I can't quite conceive of a more meaningful time period to be part of.

Granted, I don't know what the future holds, but compared to any other time period in recorded human history (and some are very interesting indeed!), this one seems head-and-shoulders above.

I read something yesterday that very nearly floored me (unfortunately, I can't find it again, or I would quote it... it was in an article from Scientific American).

Something about how light from the big bang was just now reaching us. They didn't elaborate, as this wasn't the main topic of the article (I read two yesterday... one about black holes, and the other about a potential pre-big-bang, as hypothesised through string theory). I wish I did, though... it was just this tiny mention, and I'm not entirely sure what they meant, but it got me thinking.

Present estimates have our solar system at about 4.5 billion years old, the galaxy near 11 billion years, and the universe at 13.7.

What did they mean about the light just now reaching us? Our ability to see the early universe—from my understanding—relies mostly on the strength of telescopes (stronger ones able to see farther, therefore capturing light which hasn't reached us yet). I'm not clear on the implications... if the big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago, and it's just reaching us now... where does that leave us?

This page says that by some calculations, our universe is probably 156+ billion light-years wide... that's pretty damn big.

So if (arguably a big if) all these things are true, what are the chances that we happen to be at the exact spot that the light from the beginning of the universe would reach us as we'd start looking?

Granted, cosmic time is not on the same scale as our own (humans have been around for a nano-fraction of the cosmic existence of all that surrounds us), but even looking at it in a relative sense, we seem to be at a "right place at the right time".

Even such vagueness put aside (as I said, I'm still not sure about the implications of what I've just ranted about), even thinking locally, it seems that this generation is in a very special and particular "in-between" position...

Then again, maybe it just looks like that cuz now is now. Humans do have a tendency of seeing things as more important than they really are when they're directly involved. ;)

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

Oh, was that you? ;)
Indeed, t'was I! :D

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

I think there are some great gender issues and discussion going on in this thread right now, yes? Despite my intermittent torrents of contribution, I’m not in a hurry. There will be more to come as inspiration strikes here or in new threads. I saw a flurry of interesting discussions on some of these kinds of topics from earlier this year which I am sorry now I missed. Another good one I love to dig into, by the way is the etiology of two simple words which are huge to currently established doctrines of Christianity: “hell” and “eternity/eternal.” I got some really good background on those, turned my thinking on its head years ago.
Yes, definitely. And true, no need to rush anything. We don't want to overload, or anything. ;)

I'm staying away from the old threads on purpose. Otherwise, I'd be far too tempted to revive them myself, and I hardly feel that's my place.

If someone else was to do so, though... ;)

Oooo... I'd love to tackle hell and eternity/eternal with you sometime. Sounds like fun!

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

Hmm, and I can’t really quite call myself “Christian” at this point actually. I have a rich heritage of experiences through that lens, but I think there’s scarcely an organized church who would have me if they knew the dangerous perspectives I have come to embrace concerning the nature of God and so on. There is much I love and embrace from that lens, just as there is much I can no longer embrace. There is scarcely a thing in this world that is not mixture, and our job is to find the babies in all the bathwater. Organized religion is a colossal mess, yet has held within its confines forms of many great truths and has done much to bless the world, as well as curse it. I think it’s all going somewhere. Nothing is for naught.
Well, more Christian than me. You still come from that background, to a degree. Neither of my parents are religious, and I had to find my spirituality on my own. A large chunk of the people in my social circle are atheists, unfortunately. Makes for boring conversations. :P

Organized religions are definitely a mess right now. It seems that a lot of the evils in the world today can be attributed to them. Even if not directly, at least by association, because of the religious polarization and friction we're seeing all over the globe these days.

Which is a pity. I appreciate science, and I find it very fascinating (I mentioned Scientific American a bit higher. Yes, I got myself an online subscription, and I very much love it). But on the overall, I find it lacking in spiritual matters, which only religion and philosophy seems to be tackling.

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

I have deeply personal reasons I have no doubt of a great Heart and Mind behind all things existent, but I really don’t have any agenda or proof to push on anyone. In fact, I don’t believe there can be. It’s not for the head. It’s for the spirit known by experience, rather than words. I think I must often sound preachy when I get going on spiritual matters, but it’s passion really. I just love talking about the ideas of things, Who/What I think (or “know”) this “God” is, and especially things which are beautiful and hopeful ultimately in a world so jaded and contentious and judgemental overall.
"In fact, I don’t believe there can be." ~nods~

I think that the most important things in this world are beyond empirical proof. For now, at least. But that shouldn't stop people from seeking answers. We might not always find the answers we seek, but we can often find all sorts of other interesting things on the way.

I know what you mean about preachy, I have the same problem. :(

But I think that's unavoidable, to a degree. If you speak passionately about something which you hold dear to your heart, if someone disagrees, there's often a good chance they'll take it as preaching. This applies as much to scientific things as it does to spiritual matters. In the end, the best we can do is keep an open mind and remember the imperfections of language.

Hope is something severely lacking in this world, IMHO. Even among the faithful, I would say... considering all the friction between the different Faiths we see all over the world these days.

People seem to be so caught up in the past, so intent on proving their side right (which is, arguably, impossible... faith, in the end, being a matter of faith). Instead of fighting and telling each other how wrong we are, what would happen if we focused on the common threads?

I think that if humanity was to focus on its similarities instead of its differences, it would find that we all have far more in common than we might think...

quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

If I can say nothing else, it’s that I live with the simple and joyful conviction that God and the truth of our reality (despite what any of us sees or does not) is far better and more hopeful and more purposeful that we mostly dare to entertain or hope.
I couldn't agree more. I know two languages, and I can't think of any words in either to describe how utterly majestic "it" all is.

It's easy to forget, sometimes, when bad things happen... but whenever I manage to remind myself... ~just shakes his head~

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"Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed." -- Lao Tzu
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Sorry for lowering the tone of the discussion, but...
quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Even for those of us religious types who aren't gay, there's plenty of sexual temptation of all flavours to go around.
Maybe I should become religious. I could do with some more sexual temptation.

And to add to the general consensus, thanks for sharing that, Alex.

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quote:
Originally written by Khoth:

Sorry for lowering the tone of the discussion, but...
quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Even for those of us religious types who aren't gay, there's plenty of sexual temptation of all flavours to go around.
Maybe I should become religious. I could do with some more sexual temptation.

And to add to the general consensus, thanks for sharing that, Alex.

Well, if you get off on the forbidden, I definitely recommend joining a puritan religion or two. :D

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"Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed." -- Lao Tzu
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I've missed most of this discussion, but nonetheless, much credit to you, Alex. Thank you for sharing with us.

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quote:
Originally written by Khoth:

Maybe I should become religious. I could do with some more sexual temptation.
The temptation factor remains consistent. The guilt and frustration factor exponentializes.

[ Monday, October 10, 2005 03:26: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

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Alex, good luck. There is not much else I can add besides mentioning my admiration for your effort to reconsile your beliefs with reality while staying true to both.

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For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
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Thanks everyone. I definately feel like I've made the right decision, but it certianly isn't an easy one and your support really does mean a lot.

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The best things in life are rarely the easiest...

Ultimately, you get what you "pay" for.

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"Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed." -- Lao Tzu
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tSynergy - I come from a conservative prodestant background. Your point of view is quite lovely but imho a bit too liberal. It sounds like you think it's alright to have an affair as long as it's in the name of love. Loving others with our whole hearts should be practiced, celebrated, and sought out. But physical intimacy is special, the two shall be joined to make one. True that the old covenant has been replaced by a new covenant, but the new covenant still has some of the old rules. 'Thou shalt not commit adultry' being one of them. God's call for us to love one another transcends the physical to the spiritual. Perhaps you think the same, but it was not clear.

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Yeah, I hear you Jewels. It’s curious to me that you find a thing beautiful, yet too liberal. An interesting conflict. Liberal used to be a dirty word to me, also from a mostly conservative Protestant upbringing (it got a lot more colorful when we went Pentecostal). I have rather grown fond of that word and what it embodies now, however. Liberal : generous, giving, plentiful gracious. Whereas, to conserve is in a sense to hold back and prevent further flow or change. If God never stops moving and doing new things, then if we pitch camp and conserve at some point along the way, we have been left behind in a cozy little coffin of our own building. I think God keeps moving up the mountain and we are invited to follow. I think it gets better all the time and more expansive and unfolding all the time...as long as we are willing to keep up. I’m not much concerned with politics, but in every other way, I desire to be liberal: generous, forgiving, big-hearted and outpouring. It’s not such a bad word, really. I think God’s grace is far more liberal than we’ve been willing to accept, having turned back to mix law with grace.

I esteem physical intimacy as a very special thing, especially on a personal intuitive level. I do think Christian tradition and superstition of a religious sort have made physical affection and union into something so mystical and sacred that it’s long become overwrought and a tool of much fear and manipulation. One example being that concept of giving away part of your soul when you lose your virginity...a part you can never get back or that you have created some magical connection between two people which is dire to break, often treated as a sort of unpardonable sin which ruins something of you forever.

Well, in a way it’s very magical of course, but so can be a good piece of music, chocolate, a dream, or a good conversation with someone you really click with while sitting by the ocean under the stars. The concept that certain very specific kinds of physical interaction are magically binding in ways no degree of emotional and even spiritual connection can approach is not sensible to me. I find emotion and spiritual connection much more meaningful and binding than the physical in and of itself, which for me only becomes magical where those deeper bonds are established.

Infidelity to one’s loved one is wrong under the “new dispensation” not because of the commandment given to Moses, but because it violates the law of love, which the law of Moses reflected in both practical and symbolic ways. That external law in stone is clearly stated by Paul to a be a law no one is any longer subject to. He said it’s only purpose was to bring sin to fullness (to full awareness) and that it was only able to condemn men but not remedy the lawlessness (selfishness) in hearts. It had in it only the power of death and was said to be designed to make us aware of our inability to keep an external set of laws. Mission accomplished. Israel demonstrated that perfectly so the world could then see what the real law is, an internal thing from the heart shown by the power of a spirit of love which comes from union with God.

If it is the spirit of love which is critical, then anything done or shared in love with loving persons fulfils the law of love. There is no need for external constructs and limitations on what relationships may or may not demonstrate and share love. We shouldn’t underestimate the degree to which we are socially (including religiously) trained to anticipate, idealize, and favor one kind of ideal relationship for true love. But there is nothing actually there telling us that has to be the case. That is cultural. That is our choice, our paradigm. Again, the OT was a time of polygamy with no condemnation at all from on high. The magical “one man-one woman” relationship was never ordained as necessary to love or keep the OT Law. It was a practical arrangement with little romanticized notion at all. A few cultures have even been matriarchal and reversed this arrangement.

Why should the NT law, which represents a true liberty from external laws, take a step backwards and set one specific relationship alone as acceptable for love to be expressed? Other possible arrangements are so distasteful and unthinkable, I think, because of powerful lifelong conditioning according to social custom and the persistent, unrealistic romantic ideals handed us from Europe a few centuries back (which our media are steeped in). I think it is especially because most of us, regardless of faith are yet alltogether too practiced in selfishness and mistrust.

When people are sufficiently operating out of the truly selfless spirit of love, there is nothing left to mistrust or fear. Love will not fail the other, and circumstances truly become irrelevant to the course of love. I think we mostly have not come to the experience of love where we can wholly trust and know our concerns are truly foremost in our beloved. So laws, rules and constraints persist to enforce our failing love. Underlying it all is the fear that something out there has the power to diminish or destroy the love given us by another, and so it would betray us.

And so if Paul said, there is nothing that goes into a man which defiles him (nothing external in way of ritual, food, drink,and I would suggest manners of physical love), but that which comes out of him (attitudes of the heart expressed in word and deed). To sum it up, I plainly see the edict from God being, “It’s not what you are doing with your natural body, but by which spirit you are doing it which is of import.” Our hearts, in love, convict and direct us according to time, place, person, and circumstance, what is appropriate and acceptable for us in expressing love. The Spirit within is to teach us that, and not any external physical law. Most of our limitations are practical and self-imposed.

And all of that said, all my heart personally desires is one special woman for whom to pour out my love and devotion for all my days. I could imagine other satisfactory arrangements. The truth is any kind of relationship, just like any kind of government, can work successfully where corrupting self-interest, manipulation, and fear are not present. The problem is simply lawlessness, self-serving, rather than the arrangement. 50% of marriages result in divorce in many nations. Failed governments which resulted in revolution and overthrow. Two were not united in love. Any combination of two or more can conceivably form a government, an arrangement of love and have it work beautifully to the degree all parties involved surrender selfishness at the altar of love. Very very hard to picture or find appealing for most of us, perhaps, but in principle I think it has to be true. Collectively, humankind is not really there yet or ready to take such steps perhaps, but I could see a future with a variety of household arrangements, communes, and relationships which could work just fine.

What is so amazingly cool about Who God really is to me is that He is extremely intimately known and expressed to us, within us, and as us—just as the kind of people we are, and that can look and behave in so many myriad ways suited to any time or culture or custom. It’s all beautiful. It is all potential. It all permits the expression of a God of Love and purpose.

It’s ok if you just can’t agree with that vision. Parts of me still revolt against it. I too have been strongly conditioned toward only one possible arrangement of love and family, but I recognize now where that bias comes from and that all things can be dissolved in the fire of love. A Scripture states that “God is a consuming fire.” That’s a good thing. Fire purifies and liberates the elements, allowing things to freely flow and mix together which were rigid and separate before.

And I have to sleep now.

[ Monday, October 10, 2005 21:34: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

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I don't want to see two girls kiss each other until at least three girls have kissed me, or unless these two girls are the ones who are also kissing me.

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