Sunday, March 04, 2012

Jesus and Human Sexuality 

From the Gospel of Matthew, 19:3-12:
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 7 They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." 10 The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." 11 But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."
The words of Jesus are, of course, paraphrased by the author of Matthew, but the story is authentic. In addition to showing a partial awareness of the range in gender, Jesus is saying that male/female pairing is not the only acceptable way to live, by reason of God and man. But the description "eunuchs who have been so from birth" is not a figurative allusion to homosexuality, as some people would like to believe; it is a literal reference to people born with atypical physical characteristics. In the modern world, the condition is commonly referred to as "intersex".

The truth is that despite his goodness, Jesus probably believed that a gay man's best bet was to make himself a eunuch for, as the author of Matthew puts it, "the sake of the kingdom of heaven". That makes as much sense to me as "certificates of divorce" did to Jesus. And that is the answer to this conundrum.

In the same way and with the same authority that he contradicts and overrules Moses, I contradict and overrule Jesus by declaring:

For your hardness of heart Jesus allowed you to incorrectly judge the nature of homosexuality, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: God approves of adults lovingly and responsibly enjoying their lives and sexual drives together, regardless of orientation.

There you have it.

The other interesting thing about this quote is that it gives us a glimpse of the story behind the story, which could not be ignored or completely obscured. The author of Matthew was a eunuch, and so was Jesus. That is why Christian priests were intended to be celibate: as eunuchs, literally at first and later, figuratively.

Even though I arrived at the state of not having a sex drive through gender dysphoria, I understand the eunuch's advantage: perpetual automatic control over the most distracting, time-consuming and overwhelming animal drive. It is a state that I enjoy very much, although it is not costless.

Jesus may have been a eunuch who thought it was acceptable to have his testicles removed as a strategy for enlightenment, (it is more likely that he was a gay man serving a penance of sorts), but please don't take my comments as an endorsement of that.

This secret also leads to the conclusion that as a eunuch, Jesus was both educated and privileged. That was the reason why his message was taken seriously by so many people, and why he was given the choice to repent publicly. The carpenter? He was a builder of love in the world.

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