25 March 2017

Holy Things for the Holy


At RCIA we discussed sex and sexuality.  What an interesting thing, in the context of (Adult and Teen) confirmation class, to have an entire session devoted to sex. I say interesting because I think in 12 years I've heard the topic come up only a couple of times, and never as the main topic of teaching. It was certainly never touched on in adult classes. Archbishop Benjamin once mentioned marriage in a sermon that was on the topic of "we will never change our teaching" but without talking about what that teaching actually was.

Anyway: Father started with Does the Church say sex is good or bad? Uncomfortable laughing. No really, he asked again. Finally getting a few answers, he said that the Church teaches sex is holy, a Divine gift. From the beginning of the human story the first commandment is to participate in God's bringing forth life. My brain wafted off on a meditation then. The issue is not sin or evil sex, then, but rather the constant essay at desacralizing sex. We just want it to be fun, useful, no more nor no less what we want it to be. It's taking the leavened Lamb of the Byzantine Liturgy, after the anaphora, and slicing it up, serving it with butter, lemon curd, and tea.

Amusingly: there are those Christians who would do that to the communion bread. They also don't think sex should be held that way either. This is the real issue. We live in a world that tries to define Sacred beyond its properly described boundaries. That is the only issue around sex.

But it is not the only place this same issue comes up.

I had a conversation once with my housemate in Astoria, NY. We were walking home from "the bars" at 4:30 or 5:00 AM on a Saturday. We were talking about a song that was running through my head from a TV show I'd seen once in childhood. I couldn't remember the rest of the show - and he couldn't place it from the fragment I had in my head (it's in the video below). But I pointed out to him that it came up whenever something was "impossible" but I knew it wasn't. I took it as a sign that things would be ok. He looked me square in the face and said,"There has to be something in your life that doesn't mean something else." In fact, there is nothing of the sort. Nor, until recently, did I know that this was the case for anyone. I just assumed that for most of us the issues was disagreeing about what things meant.  Evidently, for some folks sex (and other things) only mean the thing itself.

I have no idea how that could even be.