One of the most commented on parts of 2007’s Soulfully Gay is the section “T.I.O.B.G. 1 of 6: God Is Gay”, from Chapter 1, “God Is Gay”. Bear in mind that these words were written in 2003, not 2007, and reflect my very first effort at a quasi-Integral systematic theology as a 33-year-old man. Some 13 years later, I have more to say, and so I start a new thread on the topic.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30
T.I.O.B.G. 1 of 6: God Is Gay
Human nature teaches us about the nature of God, the Source of All and the Destiny of Everything. Human beings include male and female. God is like a man and God is like a woman. There is beauty in mankind and in womankind, and God is so beautiful that God’s beauty includes all the beauty of women and men.
We can try to express what these aspects of human nature teach us about God with words, but only poorly. We could say, for instance: God is male. God is not male. God is female. God is not female. These are all fine (but limited) ways of talking about God.
Human nature teaches us about the nature of God. We include gay people and straight people. Gay people love in gay ways and straight people love in straight ways. We can try to express what human nature reveals about God with words, but only poorly. We could say, for instance: God is gay. God is not gay. God is straight. God is not straight. These are fine (but limited) ways of talking about God.
God is like a gay person and God is like a straight person. There is beauty in gay people and in straight people, and God is so beautiful that God’s beauty includes all the beauty of gays and straights. There is beauty in gay ways of loving and in straight ways of loving, and God’s ways of loving are so beautiful that they include all the beauty of gay and straight ways of loving.
God made some men gay, because He made them in His image. God made gay men to love in gay ways, because God loves in gay ways. The beauty of gay men reflects the beauty of God. The beauty of gay ways of loving reflects the beauty of God’s gay ways of loving. When someone fears and hates a gay man, he or she fears and hates God. When someone denigrates, despises, loathes, and harms a gay man, he or she denigrates, despises, loathes, and harms God.
Some people have repressed the truth about God’s gayness, because they have hated and feared God. Some who have repressed the truth about God are straight and others are gay. The truth about God’s gayness has been revealed to those whose eyes are open.
With these words, I began to tell a new story about God, the superstar, the celebrity, the personality that religious people are always talking about and irreligious people are always railing against. The story begins with the revelation of a secret teaching: psssst, hey, did you know that God is Gay?.
In subsequent parts of Chapter 1, “God Is Gay”, I proceed to erect something that theologians call a theological anthropology (i.e., a conception of human nature in relation to divine realities). In this new map of human nature, I compose a cross at the center, and put Masculine and Feminine (or Yang and Yin) at the horizontal axis and Sameness and Otherness (or Homophilia and Heterophilia) at the vertical axis. All of gender and sexuality dynamics — the grand story of our essence and our expansion, our translative spirituality and our transformative spirituality — are denoted on this diagram. And every human being can recognize themselves on this cross: men and women, heterophiles and homophiles, and even people who don’t fit neatly in the categories can at least see intersection which reveals them.
It is pretty astonishing to me that until the publication of Soulfully Gay in 2007, this simple explication of human nature had not gotten any play in Christian theology. No one else had put Sameness and Otherness as the vertical axis, representing transformative spirituality, in their conception of human nature. (Nor had this understanding of gayness been explicated in Queer Studies or LGBT Studies, which taken as a whole were Green/PostModern and uninterested in the possibility of cross-cultural and cross-linguistic universals).
If you know something about Christian theology, then you can start to see the horrible challenge this theological anthropology poses, particularly in Chapter 3, “Deeper Connections”, which builds on this map of human nature an add more associations: Eros for the heterophilic, outside-pointing arrow of the Y-axis, and Agape for the homophilic, inside-pointing arrow of the Y-axis. The spirit of self-transcendence itself enacts the heterosexual impulse and sprints ahead to God’s Evolution (or Ascent) … meaning that self-immanence itself enacts the homophilic impulse and describes God’s Involution (or Descent).
In other words, the moment that sexual sameness is associated in a proper, robust theological anthropology capable of describing this facet of human nature, something wonderful and horrible happens. Homosexuality and same-sex love can now be seen as playing a role at the central drama of anthropology — and therefore Christology. You can’t understand human nature or Christ’s nature without understanding that homophilia is the inward-arrow of God, and it is a gay direction. It is also a direction associated with the distortions of Grand Narcissism and the Death Drive (Thanatos).
Thus, God — viewed from the inside angle, pointing from the infinite expanse of Evolution toward a central point within the inner face of All Things — is gay. Christ knows God from the inside and out, and when manifest in human history reveals its “broken” nature, homophilic in a symbolic sense if not literal. Put bluntly, to be a Christ is to have gayness.
Arguably this is the most important teaching in Soulfully Gay, and I am heartened that quite a few people have come to me and expressed how important this finding is. Some divinity schools have assigned the book to students of Christology or theology. I have even heard that it is nothing less than a radical inspiration of the Holy Spirit because it tells everyone what a Christ is — if it is not already obvious — in the form of gay and lesbian people.
I think I’ll leave this story right there for now. If you want to explore this topic further, then please spend a few dollars to get the book at Amazon. There’s quite a bit more to this teaching — and its development — than I will be hashing out in this blog.