Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Understanding God: body of faithful, gay discussion

*warning, some blunt sexual terms and ideas, as usual I regret having to do so and look forward to God's coal on my lips for having to dialogue as such, but someone has to do it*

I am going to write more, here, about understanding God, understanding faith, understanding sin, and I will illustrate what I am going to explain with using the debate about being homosexual (I will use “gay” for brevity) as a case study.

One must first understand that while knowledge of God and obedience is an individual matter, faith must be and is a group matter. In other words, the faith of individuals is not enough; the knowing and the worship of God must take place within the gathering, the community of people. Why is that? Well, first of all, recognize that what I am saying is true, before I explain the “why,” by examining the scripture of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths. All of the scripture is oriented toward the “body of the faithful,” the group working united and in unison in their belief. Just because the word of God is spoken through an individual, this does not mean that God is not addressing the group as a whole, and the scriptures all make that plain. In the Book of Exodus God has Moses gathered the people together, and they “see” God in the great Theophany, even though the words of the Law, which are for ALL the people, are spoken into Moses’ ears. Likewise in the Qur’an God, through the angel Gabriel, gave the Prophet (PBUH) instruction and law for all of the Muslims as a whole, as it emerged as a faith from amidst a time of unbelief. Thus the Prophet had companions to whom he explained what God taught and required and he (the Prophet) expounded on the meanings (preserved in the Hadith) and, further, had them memorize the Qur’an, which was at first oral and then written.

Finally, Jesus taught continually in the community of the faithful. This is obvious if you only note that in his public ministry he went from synagogue congregation to synagogue congregation preaching to the whole body of the faithful: the original body of faithful assembled by Moses. Thus God’s law and his word are continually given to the entire body of the faithful as a whole, not as a matter of personal and individual endeavor.

The Muslims, despite the sad split into their sects, retain this understanding that God instructs the body of the faithful, and not individuals. Likewise the orthodox Christianities understand this quite clearly. The Catholic Church, heir to the Apostolic church, and the equally united and ancient Orthodox churches (despite the divisions among the Orthodox and their sad separation from the Catholic Church) understand and preach the unity of the body of the faithful as the recipients of God’s teaching, law and grace, not individuals. Individuals must work to remain in communion with God. This is where many have become confused, particularly among Protestants and their children. The salvation of the individual soul is of course of importance, but it is done through the entire body of the faithful, as God intended and made clear in the first place, and consistently through the orthodoxy of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

So why does God insist upon presenting himself to the unity, the community of the faithful, rather than allowing faith to be an “individual” matter of “conscience?” There are two very fundamental reasons, and many supporting purposes to God’s will in this matter. I will explain the two fundamental reasons. The first is that belief in God is egalitarian, as everyone is in truth God’s adopted children, equal in the sanctity of their newly made souls when they are conceived, and equally open to his love in God’s eyes. Thus God will only consistently reveal and rule to the body of the faithful, not to individuals, and further, his expectations weigh upon the entire body of the faithful, not upon individuals. When individuals fall away from the orthodoxy of the true faiths they fall away from God; it is as simple as that. They cannot “good guy” their way to God as individuals who have fallen out of communion. The writings of the Apostles and disciples, and the early Church fathers, often meditate on the difference between those who have never heard the word, compared to those who heard the word and either reject it, drift away from it, or fall from it. St. Paul in particular was a stern taskmaster in this regard and rightfully so. Here is the way to understand it. The soul is the individual “currency” of salvation, for it is the soul that like a penny is put into the salvation bank. BUT THE COMMUNION OF THE FAITHFUL IS THE MINT, the treasury that maintains the value of the penny. Thus one must never think that the entire focus of the faith is the one by one “good guy” model of finding individuals who ‘believe.’ That is how the penny is used, but it is not how the penny is made nor is it how the penny maintains its value. Someone who denounces the orthodoxy of their faith and its community has lost his or her value as the “penny,” since they denounce the mint that made that currency and its continual value. Jesus never ceased to explain that he is addressing “Ye,” the body of the faithful, and their need to stay together, worship and believe in unity.

Thus to maintain one’s place in God’s egalitarian eyes, as an equal loved “child of God,” one must recognize that this gift was given to the “child” through the community of the faithful that God enfranchised, not through individual merit or “inheritance.” God has enfranchised the communion of the faithful and given his expectations to them as a WHOLE. Thus the Law, such as the Ten Commandments, are given to the people as a WHOLE, not individuals. Jesus preached to synagogue congregations and crowds of the thousands, thus the Beatitudes and his other preaching was given to the people as a WHOLE, to be followed and members of, not to individuals. This is why as I have pointed out in previous blog postings that Jesus never did a “tsk tsk” scolding of individual sin, such as sins of passion or greed. For example, when he recruited Matthew from being a sinful tax collector, he did not give him a lecture on how immoral he had been, he simply said, “Follow me.” Jesus continually emphasized that while individuals commit sin, communities are saved. Do you understand the nuance? When a saint talked about the saving of a soul, that saint did not mean salvation is an individual matter. That saint “saved souls” by getting the individual back into communion with the orthodoxies of the communal church! This vital understanding has been totally lost in this “me” generation that has turned that understanding on its head, in total error.

The second reason that God gives faith to communities of faithful and insists upon it is that faith cannot survive individually, for humans are too weak. We only need to look at the past several decades where the more people feel they can individually “save” themselves through either trust in Jesus or through “good deeds,” the more they fall away from orthodoxy and the communion of the faithful, and the more they are likely to be the among the surprised who are not saved. Jesus warned that many will say “Lord, Lord!” calling for recognition and he will not recognize them. While Jesus used social justice and charity as the examples of people who did not recognize him among the needy while they were alive, think about who he was talking to at the time of the Gospels: the faithful who belonged to the body of the communion of the faithful. In other words, the background assumption that Jesus is using is that these are people who are among the communion of the faithful, but fail in their charity. How much more will he not recognize those who not only failed in their charity but deified themselves by taking themselves out of the communion of the faithful that God himself had created?

So you must understand that when a soul is spoken of as being “saved,” that means that soul is given faith and belief and brought back into the communion of the faithful who have authentically received God’s word and enfranchisement, for lack of a better modern word. Jesus warned how difficult it is for the rich to be saved (the eye of the needle) for example. Remember, he was speaking of a rich man who was OF the body of the communion of the faithful! How many, rich or poor, will be saved if they are “giving the finger” to the communion of the faithful, separate from them? Can you say “infinitesimally small odds?”

Therefore, let me now use an example to help you to make this distinction. Let us look at the seeming contradiction between God prohibiting the practice of homosexuality in the Bible, and the assurance that all are equal before God and open to God’s love and salvatory power. Remember that the law is given to the COMMUNITY. Thus God prohibits to the COMMUNITY homosexuality. I will explain why in a bit, but first, let’s focus on this important distinction. Look at the first Commandment, which regards that there is only one God and only he should be worshipped. That is a COMMUNION OF THE FAITHFUL commandment. Thus the Jews, the Muslims, and the Christians AS a WHOLE are to believe in one God. Why is that distinct from individual sin of disbelief? Because, obviously, many humans fall into periods of disbelief, paganism, idolatry, even being raised that way as children. The community of the faithful “keeps” the first Commandment, and thus individuals who are at odds with this can “find their way back.” Likewise the second Commandment, keeping of the Sabbath, the day of God for worship, is a commandment of the COMMUNITY. It’s not like a billion people all conduct their own “service” whenever they feel like it. The communion of the faithful maintains the Mass, to use the Catholic example, even if a handful of people attend (or even if the priest must be alone). Thus is it always there for those who have fallen away to come back. The Commandments, each and every one of them, must be understand as COMMUNITY Commandments, not solely as individual “choices” and “behavior.”

Think about the ninth and tenth Commandments prohibiting coveting. Coveting is a mental stance where one craves what someone else has to the point of wishing ill or loss on the other person. One doesn’t even need to lift a finger in harm to break those Commandments. Again, while individuals perform sin it is a COMMUNITY Commandment, for God’s communion of believers must not create a society where coveting is encouraged, children are raised to covet, and coveting is even forced on others due to their suffering and being deprived of what others have. Both individuals and communities break the ninth and tenth Commandment, and that is a dire problem that, frankly, fills hell with some surprised people.

Thus one must look at homosexuality that way. God is prohibiting to the community homosexuality. God is not damning the individuals. Remember that the first and second Commandments are examples of how the communion of the faithful maintains obedience to God, so that the orthodoxy is always there for those who are not part of it at that time. God does not want humans to structure themselves as a homosexual society; it is as simple as that. This does not mean that God damns gays, or that their individuals acts are necessarily sinful or unforgivable, or that they must be closeted or they must be oppressed. If the Commandments and the Law were viewed that way, you would see, for example, the oppression of individuals while they are out of phase with the first and second Commandments. No one drags the faithful to synagogue, the mosque, or the church, and they are not damned and demonized if they do not go. They are, in the long run, individually accountable to God when they are personally judged. If the Commandments and God’s scriptural admonishments were targeted exclusively to individuals and not to the community, the scriptures would be filled with such examples. None observers would be beaten to a pulp with God nodding in approval, so would coveters, and so would gays. But there is absolutely none of that in the scriptures of the Torah, Bible and Qur’an. As I said, Jesus never so much as gave a “tsk, tsk” to individual sinners, but he brought them back into communion. More important, the purity of the communion was preserved, not succumbing, in what would be a falsehood, to “social pressures.”

God does not want, therefore, humans to organize themselves as a homosexual society. God does not want humans to organize themselves in a coveting society. God does not want humans to believe in gods, which are false, other than him, nor does God want people to work throughout the week without having a day to be in communion with him, and at rest with one’s family. God does not want an adulterous society, nor a thieving society. God does not want a society that dishonors parenthood. But that is the communion of believers, when one refers to society. It does not mean that individuals do not do the best they can with the cards they are dealt. Thus the non church goer is not damned, nor is the adulterer, the thief, the parent abuser, the coveter, nor, using our example, those who are gay or those who have conducted gay acts. God’s heaven would be empty except for the angels and the saints. No one is saved if they either 1) pull apart the communion of the faithful by appointing themselves arbiters of their own salvation or 2) “modify” the community of the faithful to suit the sin that they are engaged in. Again, by sin I mean the societal structure that God prohibits.

Gays who expect the communion of the faithful to endorse a homosexual society are out of their minds, since that is clearly not what God wants. But God wants homosexuals to come to church, to believe, to live individual lives the best that they can.

Let me be a little blunt, as I dislike doing, but I have to be, obviously. Some gays think that unless the church endorses their sexual positions that they are being slighted. Um, who else brags about their sexual positions in church, heterosexual or homosexual? I mean, do we show up to church in order to let people know how hot our partners are and where they put their genitals at what time?

If that were the case, then think about Abraham and Sarah, who conceived Isaac in their extreme old age. I’ve commented on this topic before as this was the time that God himself appeared as one of three angels to Abraham, as simple travelers. Abraham realized after a while who they were, including that God was with them and even argued and bargained with God to try to save Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction. It was during that visit that God announced that Sarah would conceive in her great old age, and bear a child, and Sarah laughed. Well, if church is the place to brag about sexual positions for equality, would we not have gotten some details about how Abraham “turned on” the elderly Sarah? I know, and I’m sorry, that the decent of you are horrified at what I just typed, as am I at my need to be so blunt and crude with moderns; you have no idea how sick at heart it has made me over the years. But unfortunately the depravity and error of this generation is so bad that, like Jesus, I have to be blunt in the vernacular of the times. If going to church, or speaking to God, or receiving grace, or witnessing a miracle related to genital body parts, believe you me, the Bible would have recorded, well, how Isaac came into being.

So it is disgusting and absurd that some gay people think that they go to church so that the church can say that where they put their genitals and with who is “great” and “wonderful,” any more than I want to know if the couple next to be do “muff dives” in their straight relationships. Shut the hell up and make it about God.

In fact, you all ought to be ashamed of bringing such thinking into the church, mosque or synagogue at all. Just show up as a believer and shut the hell up about what you do or what anyone else does.

So that is why there is no inconsistency with what God teaches, admonishes and expects. God instructs the communion of the faithful (representative of hopefully all of humanity, God willing) how humans as a whole, as a society, should function. Just as we should not have a society of coveters, we should not have a society of homosexuality. That does not mean that God exiles or damns anyone, coveters or gays, nor is the love of God, or Jesus, diminished at all. It simply means that society should not become comprised of those values in total.

If God wanted human society to be “gay” in total he would have had parthenogenesis or other biological techniques for reproduction via cloning or splitting to be the norm. God does not want society to be gay, to seek artificial human controlled means of reproduction. That does not mean that he did not “create” “gays,” as in, gays are like everyone else, born of God’s heritage and those called to be saved and join him in heaven after leading worthy lives. How can you not see the vast difference between being an open and serene person who happens to be gay and creating gay agenda gay nation? Gays bridle when some pastors try to use such comparisons as loving someone with a disability and so forth and I understand that. I don’t view being gay as a disability. It can be a cross to bear, just as, actually, being anyone in search of decent love is, straight or gay, a growing cross to bear in this insane and cruel society. I have to compare it to the sin of coveting for my analogy, though, only because we are discussing the scriptures. Just as God does not want a society of coveters (but apparently, that is what we have today) God does not want a society of gay agenda, what one could say being purposefully proselytizing of gayness for its own sake. People covet; it is human nature, and that is why God prohibits it, to curb its power. Likewise people have the desire for love, which is good, and some are straight and some are gay, which is normal, but society should not be structured to be “gay” anymore than it should be structured to be coveting. I don’t want to know what Abraham and Sarah did in bed. Why should you, and why should you force me, and our children, to know about it?

Thanks to former President Clinton many children learned what oral sex was years before they should have, especially since the media lost all self control and pushed oral sex discussion at all hours for our children to hear about. Likewise, children are not “naturally curious” to “know” what Fred and Ted are doing in bed. Shut up for the love of God.

I hope that you have found this helpful. The water’s over the dam and the horses have left the barn, and the barn has burned down, but all I can do is keep repeating myself in hope that you all will allow me to help pick up the pieces that remain.