In the Name of Religion

At St. Nicholas, a 9-part series on sexuality and spirituality has been ongoing since September. The first three sessions focused on homosexuality and spirituality - primarily as depicted by Hollywood. The most recent sessions, in January and February, focused respectively on St. Chrysostom's understanding of marriage and how it might inform our own understanding of that institution today and on the Song of Solomon and how it establishes a richness of humanity and of human expressions of love.

In early March, we will be viewing the documentary "Fish Can't Fly: Conversations about God and Struggling to be Gay." This film is described by its director, Tom Murray as an opportunity for people "from both sides of the issue" to "gain a better understanding of the difficult process people can go through trying to establish a harmony between their sexuality and spirituality." I intend for the film to be the starting point for a broader discussion of how sexuality is often described and defined as right or wrong "in the name of religion."

When I Googled that phrase, I found this blog entry. Its author, Bill Brewer, states, "The Christian faith has a unique prophetic nature in manifesting the mind of God" and then goes on to suggest that it is the American ethos of "pervert[ing] the forces of sexuality" ( through anti-intellectualism and radical individualism) that has subverted Christian faith by putting "a religious stamp of approval on same-sex marriage." Brewer's conclusions are, in my opinion, highly suspect, in that he also refers to sexuality as "disturbing" and, in its context, this seems to be referring even to heterosexual marriage. I commend the Song of Solomon to Brewer.

How does one's faith - individually or institutionally - manifest the mind of God? And what is it that any of us are promulgating "in the name of religion"?


AlamoBill said…
Thanks for taking my post seriously.

The relationship between sexuality and spirituality is a complex subject that I've treated in detail on numerous posts. See for a thread on homosexuality. Also see for a thread on spirituality and sexuality in general.

I've also dealt with the Song of Solomon. See for the post.