Monday, February 14, 2005

Continueing thoughts on Sex Celibacy and marriage

My struggle is this: I accept that certain interpretations of celibacy and marriage labeled as Christian have been and are still sources of domination and the denial of difference. Yet, I am coming to be ever more convinced that those who talk about a liberated sexuality and of justice in areas of sexuality and sexual expression, know little of true liberation and are ignorant of the justice that has it's source in the righteousness of God. Even to say this though sounds to me oppressive. My reflections here are a seeking a true liberation and a true justice, as one who is himself bound by the disorder of our world and our sexual selves.
I write this out of a longing, a longing that I think is often sought fulfillment in "making love." This insight came to me last night, as I was out with Kate at a local Cafe, Katarina's, with Friends to hear "Greek Gypsy" music. It was astonishingly beautiful music and the musicians and the singer, Katarina herself, played and sang rapturously. The music was deep with longing and sensuality. Since the lyrics were in Greek I do not know what was sung except when Katarina would give a little commentary. In the very least she saw them as songs of love and love making. I wondered if in part this was so because in the world view of this music and I think especially so of our time, we seek the fulfilment of our longing in sexual intimacy and pleasure. The truth, the justice, the love we long for is to be found in bed with the other by whom you have been smitten.
Yet, what in fact these songs and their proclamation of longing say is that sexual intimacy, making love, even between those who are committed to each other for life, will never satisfy the longing. In fact it creates longing for a deeper unity for the truly other. If the longing that is part of the very risk and thrill of making love, if the union we seek is fulfilled in romantic love then we would be bound to go arround untill we find that perfect union through sex. And yet the very act of making love prevents that union. Even in the end of the uniting in love making I still only know my own experience, and when I talk with my wife about our expreinces I am confronted with the reality that we experience sex differently. This is also complicated by the reality that the pleasure of sexuality can also stand in the way, the pleasure of sex tempts me, at least, to objectification to seek the intensification of my pleasure, and at best the intensification of the pleasure for both of us. Yet, even in pleasure, even if the pleasure we seek is fulfilled for the moment, it leaves us with longing.
In the world of the music last night, in the world of the music of our culture, we express a longing and seek its fulfilment in "love making", in romantic love. In seeing this as an eternal cycle of longing and temprary releif in pleasure and intimacy, we fail to see that this longing and the momentary relief has its source elsewhere.
In part this is why I think celibacy and the monastary are seen as such a scandle: it points to the fact that sexual intimacy and pleasure, even in marriage, will never relieve us of this longing. Rather the Monk and Nun tell us that this longing typifies, signals, for us the deep longing of God, of God for us and of us for God.