"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Not My God - Queer Theology And The Remaking Of Jesus

The sign outside the Westover Congregational United Church of Christ said, “Queer Theology Is For Everyone.  Pastor Phillips at 11am Sunday”.  The congregation, most of whom joined the church exactly for this reason – to hear how Jesus embraced the new theology of race and gender and how the New Testament must be reinterpreted to dispel old, patriarchal myths and repatterned to promote acceptance of the new man -  filled the pews that day.

“Who was Jesus?”, Pastor Phillips. asked the congregation. “ He was a young single man until the age of 33 and his unfortunate death.  Gay? Perhaps, and more than likely given his intimate ‘brotherhood’ with his all male disciples.  The Last Supper was the apotheosis of male, queer bonding, his allusions to marriage and family metaphorical and culturally bound, and his personal relationships with women incidental.

The gospels speak only of duty, obligation, and reproductive necessity; and Paul was quite outspoken about the nasty confines of marriage.  Better avoid it, he said, and lead a single life.

Netflix ordered to pull film depicting Jesus as a gay man | UK News | Sky  News

“Paul and Jesus were more than friends, sharing a particular male affection – a kind of Lawrentian bonding of sexual interest and spiritual epiphany that raised them both higher in the sight of God.

“And of course Jesus was a man of color.  Those faux white interpretations of the Renaissance were nothing but patriarchal racism.  Jesus, a Palestinian Jew was not white, but colored with the tints of his cultural and genetic community.  There was not a drop of white European blood in him.  He was a proud black man preaching the gospel.”

Hunter Blakeley squirmed in his seat, frowned and absently leafed through hymnbook and there, by pure chance, was the Christian hymns of all Christian hymns:

Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
see his banner go!

Onward, Christian Soldiers – Becoming the Oil and the Wine

Now that was what Christianity was all about, muttered Blakely – a masculine, militant leading the faithful into war against the heathen.  A message of might, resolution, and indomitable right.  God did not send a woman down to earth to reform it and mend its ways, and most of all he didn’t send a dubious man.

At the sign of triumph
Satan's host doth flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers,
on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver
at the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
loud your anthems raise!

‘Brothers’, the verse read, not sisters or partners or companions, but brothers! Men going forth, men battling evil, not men in tights, no pirouettes or sweetness and light, no feminine side.

“…And so it is that we must conclude", said Pastor Philipps, "that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were only stand-ins for Jesus, and that no one in today’s pluralistic, inclusive, and diverse society should take them at their word.  After all, every writer has an editor, and theirs were bullish, regressive men in robes who denied everything really holy about the gay men whose writing they concluded was hopelessly fey and insinuating.  No, the Biblical editors did a job on the papyrus originals, expunged every last innuendo of unusual maleness, and so ensured the propagation of a defiantly cis-gender book of fantasy”.

Pastor Philipps’ sermon was the last in a series sponsored by the church.  Those that had preceded it were entitled: ‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – A Cis-Gender Fairy Tale’; ‘Men At Play – Sex and Sexuality Among the Apostles’; and ‘Jesus and the Jerusalem ‘Hood – Down and Dirty in the Holy Ghetto’.  The church had been filled to the gills every Sunday.

The Catholic Church across the street was known for a welcoming embrace of queerness.  So many young gay men had flocked to the seminaries that there was no room for all of them.  The priesthood was nirvana.  Living in close, intimate quarters with similarly sexually attuned men and never having to bother with women was why they were priests. One of the greatest reforms of Vatican II was to reduce nuns to the status of all women, thus reduce their ranks to zero, and prompt an exodus, so all traces of the feminine side of things was eliminated.  

Church rectories were now happy social gathering places, witty, familiar enclaves for the lighthearted priests who now formed the Catholic clergy.

Not all gay Catholics are pleased about how Vatican priest came out of the  closet - The Washington Post

Catholic priests never had to bother with all the Jesus-is-gay fol-de-rol of Pastor Phillips who, a gay man, was welcomed into the rectory most Saturday nights, but whose sermons were a bit over the top.  Jesus was God, for Christ’s sake, they hectored Phillips when he had had too much to drink and was banging on about the gay scene in Judea.  Leave the poor man alone, meaning Jesus, and focus on the mysteries of the cross, the trinity, and transubstantiation.  The priests were good Catholics – good Christians, actually, carrying the world of the gospels without ‘rephasing’ as Phillips like to call it.

Martin Luther opened the door to such secularization.  Once Christians were loosed from the embrace of the Holy Mother Church, they could search for God without mediation – a good thing, said Luther, corrupt as the Vatican was, but a  bad thing in that people without institutional guidance could easily go off the rails

Pope John Paul II condemned the new Protestant sects that were based on nothing more than ecstasy and personality.  Faith is nothing without the logic of theology that precedes it, he said, referring to the four centuries of Christian theological debate before Constantine closed it down at Nicaea.  

John Paul II was never more apt in his remarks.  Not only are Protestant sects proliferating, and the mainstream churches gone secular, he said, but they have drifted into a a secularized theology, such as the one at the Westover church.

Martin Luther | Biography, Reformation, Accomplishments, Quotes, & Facts |  Britannica

“I would like to leave you with these words”, Pastor Phillips concluded.  “Queer theology is for everyone.  Not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for the straightest Tom, Dick, and Harry among you”.  He had given the slightest ironic smiling pause at ‘Dick’ to which the congregation chuckled.  “It is not revisionism, counter-revolutionary, anti-Athanasius cant, but the truth which as we all know can set you free”.  

Applause was frowned upon, but the congregation could not help themselves.  They were proud of their pastor and proud of themselves for being members of the church.  Some things were absolutely, positively right.,

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