So I've been revisiting a book I read a while back by this Catholic theologian named Ronald Rolheiser. The book is titled, The Holy Longing, and the chapter I just can't stop thinking about is dramatically titled "A Spirituality of Sexuality." In the chapter Rolheiser explains that what our culture calls sexuality is actually no more than genitality, only involving sexual intercourse and that things that lead to it. He goes on to address a true understanding of sexuality.
He starts with the word "secare," the latin root word for sex. Traditionally, "secare" means to be cut off, like a branch from a tree. True sexuality is all of creation's longing to reconnect with the whole. Therefore, Rolheiser explains, someone sworn to a life of celibacy, like Mother Theresa, is fantastically sexual, connecting the broken and dying to loving and caring people all over Calcutta. He goes on to assert that our culture, known for its sexuality, is in many ways not sexual at all, lacking the ability to connect on so many levels. Believe it or not, Americans may very well be sexually deprived, decieved by a reductionist understanding of sex.
Looking over at Genesis 2 we find God creating plants, animals, heavens, earth, waters, people ect... I find it so profound that the only thing God doesn't deem "good" is Adam's lack of human companionship. Therefore, God creates Eve out of Adam, also profound I think. So at the end of chapter 2, God has established harmoney between God and humans, human and human, and human and nature. Enters the Fall. The serpent throws a lot of craftiness at Eve, (notice that Satan is never used here to describe the snake) Eve eats the fruit, Eve talks to Adam, Adam eats the fruit, they both realize that they're naked and wallah, God enters the scene looking for his hiding humans. I find chapter 3 to be so telling of the human condition. After dialogue is established and the humans are discovered, Adam blames God for making Eve, Adam blames Eve for decieving him, and Eve continues on to blame the snake for decieving her. In an instant the harmony felt between Adam, Eve, God and Nature is obliterated. In essence they had all been sexed, cut off, disconnected.
In comes Jeff Tweedy. I was laying in bed one night watching and completely enjoying I might say the Sunken Treasure, Live in the Pacific Northwest DVD. During one of his interlude conversations Tweedy discusses his role as a servant of those he plays shows for. He goes on to talk about how happy concerts make people, but not just concerts, really any event when people can get together, these collective experiences that he assumes church should be like, if church was as it should be. I've thought a lot since about Tweedy's insight.
What if at every concert where people gather to hear their favorite bands something bigger than music is happening? What if all these people are just trying to connect to something bigger, to eachother, to the band, to God? What if all of us are just trying to get back to the Garden? What if every weekend, every club and stadium and bar were filled with people relentlessly working towards Eden? And its not just us working back toward the Garden. Its not just us who has been sexed. God has been working toward the garden as well. Through thick and thin, rebellion, deceit, joy and heartache he chased humanity all the way to the cross. And then brilliantly what started with a tree ended also with Jesus binded to a tree in sacrificial love.
So I was talking to a friend about all this the other day and he said, "You know Kirk, if that is an accurate understanding of sexuality, the church needs a lot more sex." I think he's right, and I think its bigger than just the church. We all need to reconnect with eachother, with nature, and with God, and I think Jesus might want to teach us how.