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Another long one....

Posted by deirdrehbrt on February 28, 2006, at 2:08:14

In reply to Re: Lynn, An answer. Long., posted by rayww on February 27, 2006, at 21:53:56

First, I'm sorry you got hit with a "Please rephrase that". In your post below, I answered with my explanation of our conversations, and what I believe them to mean. I'm not taking any offense to what you are saying.
Now to your questions.
My concept of death, and what happens afterward may be different from yours. I don't believe in the three kingdoms. I do believe that we do continue, and that we shall have a life. I'm not certain what form it will take. Perhaps there is reincarnation. That seems to work for me, as I have had a number of experiences that point in that direction.
In any case, homosexuality was considered a disease until just a few years ago... when the DSM IV came out. I don't remember the year. prior to that, it was considered a disease because it was 'deviant' from the rest of society. Since that time, we have learned that human sexuality exists on a continuum. There are those who are exclusively heterosexual, there are those who are exclusively homosexual, and there are those inbetween. There are some who may expirement once or twice not being sure, and there are those who are certain in either direction, and have no need of expirementation.
I don't believe it to be a disease. I believe that honest and sincere love between any people is sacred. It can be any combination of gender, the love isn't generated from the body, but from the spirit. The body is a vessel. It shall decay. It shall become dust once again.
In my faith, which deals with spirits or souls more than the body, we recognize that we shall meet again. There is a saying that says "to fulfill love you must return again at the same time and place as the loved one, and you must remember and love them again."
We don't have scripture, per se, but we do have writings of some people that we hold dear. This is one that some of us hold dear.
I don't believe that I will necessarily return in a body of the same gender. I don't believe that I was necessarily the same gender in a prior existence. I'm not sure that spirit has gender. That is part of the reason that I believe that true love has the capacity to transcend gender, and why I don't believe that homosexuality is necessarily wrong.
Too, I think that the heterosexual community could learn much from the homosexual community. Heterosexual males seem to me, to be quite frightened of appearing homosexual. So much so, that they have distanced themselves from many experiences of affection.
When I was growing up, I was compelled to act like a male. I was taught that boys or men ought not to show affection for each other. When attending a movie with a male friend, it was proper to have one empty seat between us to prevent people from thinking we were too close. That sort of stuff.
Many years later, still trying to "play the man", a friend, who is gay, was celebrating his union to his partner in a church. I attended the wedding. I learned a very important lesson that day. Perhaps I wasn't offended because I didn't see myself as male, but when I went to the receiving line, I received a kiss from my friend and his partner. What I learned that day was that a kiss from a gay man, to another man, is not a sexual act. It can be a sincere way of saying "I love you, thank you for being here".
A kiss can be a wonderful way of communicating, but because we have become so afraid of possibilities of interpretation, it is lost to a great part of our culture.
As far as your friends who keep themselves pure, I'm happy for them, if they are truly happy. They may well be. I have a lesbian friend who is celebate. It is her life, and she is content. I am happy for her too. I believe that there are good catholic priests who are gay, but chose to live a celebate life dedicated to God, rather than enjoying the love and companionship of another man. In some cases, I think this is sad. I think that they retreated into the priesthood because they were afraid of what being gay meant. Serving God wasn't their primary purpose, rather, it was a means of escape.
The same holds true for celebacy, in my mind. If it is one's calling, then by all means, attend to that calling. That is a just, noble and good thing, worthy of honor. But if instead of a calling, it is a retreat, that then, is sad.
I'm not casting any judgement on your friends. I'll assume the noble choice for them. I have no reason to assume otherwise, and to doubt the nobility of an action in a person I do not know would be wrong. No matter what, I admire thier convictions and their adherence to their faith. That is nothing but commendable.
I disagree somewhat with your description of homosexuality as an addiction. I see that as no more of an addiction than heterosexuality. In either relationship, the sexual act is seen as something both pleasurable, and sacred to the relationship. It is a physical act that brings a couple together on a deeper level. Calling one sacred, and the other an addiction just doesn't work for me.
An addiction is something that I know something about. Being an alcoholic, I understand the physical compulsion, the mental obsession, and the spiritual loss of values that comprise an addiction. When I take a drink, it is impossible for me to stop until I am either out of alcohol or too drunk to drink anymore. That is the physical compulsion. When not drinking, I would obsess about drinking. It got to the point where if I didn't want to drink, I would dissociate, and actually watch myself going into a store and buying booze. That is the mental obsession. The spiritual loss of values came in when I would do things hurtful to my family just to be able to drink. Things such as driving (I would say I wasn't drunk, but I'm certain that my blood alcohol level would have said otherwise) while drunk, with my children in the car; or driving drunk with no-one in the car and putting a great many people at risk anyway. The spiritual loss of values involved putting myself ahead of the good of others. It made me into a being seemingly more worthy than the rest of the world. A hedonist.
So, that's what an addiction means to me. It means being out of control, and valuing that drink, or drug, or whatever, more than anything else.
Hetero, or homosexual love is expressed physically and emotionally. The lover has a deep need to fulfill, and be fulfilled by the beloved. Were it about sex alone, should the beloved die, or go away, it would seem that the lover would seek another to fulfill the physical need. Such is not the case in the committed homosexual or heterosexual couples that I know. Certainly there are promiscuous homosexuals, but there are promiscuous heterosexuals as well. The existence of promiscuity in some cannot point to homosexuality being an addiction in all homosexuals anymore than it can point to love being an addiction in heterosexuals.
In my mind, homosexuality is merely another state of being. It is challenging. It means that finding your beloved may be quite costly in this culture. For that matter, being any brand of GLBT is costly. A while back I read in a newspaper of a friend of mine who got severely beaten just because she was recognized as being transgendered. She was hospitalized, but fortunately recovered.
This also gives lie to the argument that LGBT people do this for 'fun'. Certainly it wasn't fun for me to be beaten nearly every day in school. Certainly it wasn't fun for my friend in Rhode Island. Nor is it fun for any of us to be hurt, or hear of friends being hurt. The case of Matt Sheppard sent waves of agony through our community, while some anti-gay demonstrators have parties dancing on his grave. Certainly, this must prove that what we are doing isn't for the fun of it.
Again, there must be another explanation. And again, the only one that I can come up with is that it is another manner of being. Of course, it is one that some churches will say is in error. I don't begrudge any church from making rules for it's members. Too, I recognize that if a member of a church disagrees with the laws of that church, then he or she has the right to leave, and ought not to try to force that church to change it's ways just so they can feel comfortable.
I agree that true science and true religion will complement each other. There have been cases in the past where religion has been shown to be in error, and there have been cases where science was in error. When the errors were rectified, each grew. Deity put the marvelous clock of the universe in motion, and science has a sacred task of understanding it.
We, the faithful, your church through scripture, and my faith through understanding nature and experiencing deity personally, come to an understanding of what deity asks of each of us. It is your belief, and that of your church that a proper relationship is between a man and a woman. I honor that for your religion. My religion holds the love between two committed people as sacred, regardless of gender. Does this mean that Deity is divided? I don't think so. I think that it means that we, as human beings are unable to fully comprehend deity. Were we able to, we would be deity. Perhaps, different religions are created with different rules in order to accomodate the unique differences among a diverse people. And maybe all of these religions exist, with all of their different ways of expressing love, tolerance, or intolerance, joy, reverence for the numinous, all of our different concepts of who deity or God is, and our utter humanity, just to bring glory to the creator. Maybe all of this shows just how impossible it is to categorize deity in a single set of beliefs. Maybe this variety exists in order to teach each of us that there is so much more than can be contained in our limited understanding.
I have no doubt that your religion never let you down. I have great respect for the LDS. As I said before, the Chruch's dedication to morality and family and faith were such that I haven't seen in any other church that I have been a part of. If you remember, or re-read, I never said that the church let me down. I don't believe that it did. What I said was that what I learned after baptism was not something that I could reconcile with my understanding of God at that time. Still, I can't accept the beliefs and teachings of your church. That in no way diminishes my respect for it.
As far as faith mixed in with my other belief, my other belief is my faith. Faith is that which defines our relationship with the universe and with deity, or the spiritual realm. My faith tells me that there is one ultimate deity. That deity is neither male nor female, but is beyond sex. It encompasses all of what we call male and female. Though defined as polytheistic, our 'gods' and 'goddesses' are actually aspects of deity, much as many names were given God by the Jews, each recognizing certain aspects of God. A list of some of the names is:Ehiyeh sh'Ehiyeh "I Am That I Am": a modern Hebrew version of "Ehyeh asher Ehyeh".
Elohei Avraham, Elohei Yitzchak ve Elohei Ya`aqov "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob".
El ha-Gibbor "God the hero" or "God the strong one".
Emet "Truth".
E'in Sof "endless, infinite", Kabbalistic name of God.
Ro'eh Yisrael "Shepherd of Israel".
Ha-Kaddosh, Baruch Hu "The Holy One, Blessed be He".
Kaddosh Israel "Holy One of Israel".
Melech ha-Melachim "The King of Kings".
Makom literally "the place", meaning "The Omnipresent"; see Tzimtzum.
Magen Avraham "Shield of Abraham".
YHWH-Yireh (Yahweh-Yireh) "The Lord will provide" (Genesis 22:13, 14).
YHWH-Rapha" "The Lord that healeth" (Exodus 15:26).
YHWH-Niss"i (Yahweh-Nissi) "The Lord our Banner" (Exodus 17:8-15).
YHWH-Shalom "The Lord our Peace" (Judges 6:24).
YHWH-Ra-ah "The Lord my Shepherd" (Psalms 23:1).
YHWH-Tsidkenu "The Lord our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6).
YHWH-Shammah "The Lord is present" (Ezekiel 48:35).
Tzur Israel "Rock of Israel".

Though not technically polytheistic, the Jews certainly were aware of the many different aspects of deity.

In the few communications we've had, I can say I am fond of you, and I enjoy this talk. I think that we both realize that we aren't going to sway each other, but in understanding you, I understand myself better, and I hope the same holds true for you. Your questions help me re-evaluate my beliefs. That is something that all religious people ought to be doing. Our beliefs ought to be owned rather than borrowed. Reading and reciting scripture is one thing, but if it is not believed, wholely owned by the believer then it is nothing but legalism. It is when a faith is owned that it becomes something holy. I sense that in you, and I honor it.
I am in no way uncomfortable, threatened or troubled by your questions. I hope the dialog continues.
Believing that all the blessings come from one, I remain your friend,




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