Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pastor Ted and the wild side

Found this posted as a comment on Thought Theatre:
Evangelical/charismatic Christianity lives within the tensions of a gender paradox that can rend people's inner selves assunder. On the social/physical level, homosexuality is condemned. But, taking the cue from old Catholic bridal mysticism, evangelicals are taught to erotically love the "passionate bridegroom-Jesus" who has "fire in his eyes."

To picture oneself as a bride, to enter the "King's chamber" and be "ravished by his love" is the highest spiritual goal in this religion. This all might be good and well for a heterosexual female, but what about males? How does a man imagine himself (herself?) as a bride of Christ? What does it mean when for a male to swoon for Jesus and cry out with anxious desire the words from Song of Solomon: "Oh, that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!"?

It means that although in his social and physical realm the Christian man denounces/renounces homosexuality, in the spiritual realm he has taken on the passive homosexual role in a gay marriage. "He" has become "she," a bride in the bridal chamber. Take the lines from that old Lou Reed song: "...shaved her legs and then he was a she; she says, Hey babe take a walk on the wild side..." Conservative evangelical males would be horrified at such a thought, yet this is EXACTLY what they do spiritually, when they image themselves as brides of Christ.

While human males are off limits in the church, divine males are deliciously enticing; God and angels are imaged as buffed, macho men. They are the rightful objects of spiritual desire and passion. See, for example, the huge scupture titled "Exalter" in the lobby of Ted Haggard's New Life Church. Physically, this angel looks like a weight lifter pumped up on steroids. His arms are raised in exaltation of the the ultimate Super Alpha Male; the exalted (post-resurrection) Christ. Ted Haggard's accuser, Mike Jones, is of similar appearance. He obviously works out quite regularly.

So, that which is forbidden physically is the same thing that entices one spiritually. The same "six-pack" abs and iron pecks that are off limits in the human realm, are the legitmate objects of spiritual desire when one imagines Jesus this way, as the heavenly bridegroom.

Today's evangelical/charismatic male may look fully masculine. He might even have a wife and kids. But when he goes into the "prayer closet," he becomes a she--transgendered into a fawning, cooing bride, seeking bliss in the arms of 'her' "bridegroom-Jesus." When 'she' emerges from the prayer closet, the man becomes a "he" again.

When one goes in and out of this closet so often, for so many years, and eventually the closet door revolves so quickly and efforlessly, is it any wonder that people can become badly disoriented as to their gender? If these allegations prove true, perhaps pastor Ted eventually became confused at times as to which side of the closet door he was on.
There are, of course, different types of love. The love you feel for a child is not the same that you feel for a spouse, for instance. The emotion of love can be considered separately from the physical act. And when the two go together, the act is only incidental to the emotion. Perhaps this is what evangelicals need to discuss, because their fixation on the physical act is really, really creepy,

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