Embracing Sexuality and Spirituality

For Quest’s conference 2016, “Feathers on the Breath of God”, we will be investigating gender, sexuality and spirituality. The keynote speakers will be looking particularly at issues of gender, but there will also be a workshop on sexuality and spirituality – topics which are too easily assumed to be in conflict for LGBT people. In fact, there are many reasons to believe that this assumption is entirely false. There are eminent Catholic and other Christian writers on spirituality who argue that  embracing and accepting one’s sexuality as gay or lesbian can be a path to both psychological and spiritual growth. Others have written from personal experience, on how they have “found God in gay love-making“.

A particularly powerful description of how this is so, is presented by the theologian Chris Glaser, in the introduction to his prayer collection, “Coming Out to God”.  A summary of his argument, with some extracts from that introduction, may be read at “Queering the Church”, in a post titled “The Intimate Dance of Sexuality and Spirituality“:

I first heard of this book when it was recommended to the congregation by the celebrant during Sunday Mass – so it has the warm approval of at least one Catholic priest in good standing.  Looking into it, I was particularly impressed by the powerful and moving writing of the introduction.
Glaser shares with us his own early struggle, torn between his innate sexuality and spirituality, which he believed, like most Christians, to be in some kind of conflict. Using a striking metaphor, picturing each of these two as strangers wary of each other at a dance, he tells how they first put out tentative feelers, then began cautiously to dance, each struggling for dominance and attempting to lead – before finding true partnership, and allowing the dance to lead them:

 

“When my sexuality began to emerge,  my spirituality froze in fear, then nearly ran out of the room.  But then it noticed other souls dancing gracefully, and realised it was missing their grace. My spirituality wondered if the lack of grace had something to do with rejection of the stranger on the other side of the room, my sexuality.

Timidly, one invited the other to dance.  At first, they scarcely looked at each other… they were lousy dancers. Then they cast furtive glances at each other, sometimes angry or resentful, sometimes flirtatious and seductive….Finally they found times when the dance led them, and for brief moments they became perfect dancers, full of grace, true to each other.  They danced together as my soul.”

He also draws an important parallel between sexuality and spirituality, stating that they are both routes to intimacy in relationships:  sexuality builds intimacy in human relationships, spirituality does in our relationship with the Lord.  This equivalence thus makes them natural partners.

 

“Sexuality and spirituality are not opposing  forces, as is frequently supposed today.  Instead, both draw people into relationship. Sexuality draws us into physical relationships: touching, hugging…… kissing and intercourse.  Spirituality draws us into relationships that both incl ude and transcend bodies because it includes and transcends that which is visible……Both our sexual and spiritual powers are holy, and therefore both my be profaned. At their holiest, these powers lead to love in all its many expressions.  At their most profane, they may lead to apathy or hate. The integrity of both sexual and spiritual powers is called the soul.”

The final observation that struck an enormous personal chord with me, was his statement that when we come out to God,  we allow God to come out to us:  to enter more fully into our own lives, which is the best defence we can develop against the homophobic bigotry that masquerades freely under the name of religion:

 

“In prayer, coming out to God as sexual-spiritual beings opens us up, I believe, to God coming out to us in the dance of Substance and Sensuality, spirituality and sexuality.   Prayer becomes a place wherein the choreography of the dance of spirituality and sexuality gets worked out.  When we allow the Lord of the Dance to lead, sexuality becomes responsible and spirituality becomes responsive.”

(Quest conference 2016, “Feathers on the Breath of God”, will take as its theme, Gender, Sexuality and Identity. The keynote addresses by Tina Beardsley and Chris Dowd will be respectively:

  • “My Body was Made for the Love of God” (Ernesto Cardenal): transgender Christians and the Body of Christ.
  • The new Normal- how sexual minorities are going mainstream.

Conference will also feature a Sibyls workshop on  “‘Gender, Sexuality and Spirituality: exploring the interplay.’

Book your place here.)

Books:
Kelly, Michael B: Seduced By Grace
See also:
At The Wild Reed:

 

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3 comments on “Embracing Sexuality and Spirituality
  1. Pingback: Portraits in Faith: Michael B Kelly. | Quest

    • This is a perversion of the faith that Christ teaches. If your agenda, and that is what it is, is counter to the bible and traditional teaching of the catholic church. God hates homosexual acts. Yes the God has mercy for those who have same sex attraction as long as they are repentant, which means wanting to change their life and QUIT SINNING! I hope you realize that those people that follow your agenda are on the road to hell. Its not that God wants them there but it is what they are choosing. And your agenda is helping to bring others there which will adversely affect how deep your decent will be. I am sorry that the teaching and fortitude of the Magiesterium have failed to bring the truth to you and the people you proclaim to serve. I pray that God the Father God the Son and God the Holy Spirit will renew the truth and enlighten your intellect. Please understand i do this in charity i want all souls to goto Heaven and be joined with my God for all eternity but he says to admonish the sinner and bring to life their faults. I hope that you can find the path to the truth or leave our church since you are protesting the truth. Please pray for your own souls as well as mine as i will do for you.
      God bless you may the truth enlighten you.
      In Jesus love your brother in Him,
      Scott cowen

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