Clean Of Heart
I’m on day 30 of Clean Of Heart, which is cool. Father T. is my official accountability partner, but as I’m not willing to ask him to give me time every single day to talk about the silly, petty mechanics of my lust, even though he’d never put it that way; and, knowing what a thorough and generous shepherd he is to his flock, I doubt he’d have time anyway. So we only talk once a week or so. But imagine my delight when somebody else in my life decided to start using the program and asked me to be their partner! Now we both get one.
Speaking of partners, it turns out that there is some kind of trend among some gay Christian folk to have some sort of unclassifiable relationship that isn’t marriage, exactly, and isn’t pointing towards marriage, either, because it is celibate; but isn’t friendship, exactly, either, because it involves a kind of exclusivity that friendship doesn’t. I presume it involves an amount of cuddling that friendship doesn’t usually involve, either.
I don’t know what to think about all that. Maybe it depends on which side you approach it from. It would be a terrible idea for me to enter into a kind of relationship like that, because it’d be a movement away from my commitment to celibacy, even if it wouldn’t by itself constitute a rejection of celibacy.
On the other hand, it would obviously be a good thing if two gay men who had previously been sexually active with each other decided to make their relationship celibate; good in the same sense that Benedict XVI famously, and misconstruedly, said that for a male prostitute to start using condoms, after having not used them, would be step in the right direction; even though the best thing would be for him not to be a prostitute at all. But, you know, baby steps.
Speaking of cuddling, I recently read a particularly heartwrenching blog entry from a reader. Excerpt:
I can tell you about the hundreds of times I have felt the need to cuddle, embrace, hold, and kiss another man. I know the ache of wanting a hand to hold and a partner to love. It is such a strong desire at times that I feel as though my heart is about to rip out of my chest. I feel the desire streaming through my veins, and in every fiber of my being. It is a burning ache that yearns to be satisfied and is begging to be quenched.
I know what he means. At the same time, I don’t believe this is something that simply needs to be accepted as a permanent feature of his day-to-day existence. It has to be accepted and offered up right now, yes, and doing so will get him further along the road that he needs to travel.
But this kind of heartwrench doesn’t only point to the fact that he’s celibate and would rather not be; because this isn’t the way that straight, single people express themselves. This kind of heartwrench is what comes to people, gay or straight, who have deep wounds that badly need tending.
A gay guy that aches for touch that badly isn’t going to find healing in getting a boyfriend who will touch him, because such an ache that intense is indicative of something else. But, the point is, a straight guy that aches for touch that badly isn’t going to find healing in getting a girlfriend who will touch him, either. In both cases, it’s a bandaid rather than a cure.
Yesterday I set up a Facebook page. I also put some social-media links on the navigation bar, up yonder, and some liking-and-sharing buttons at the end of every post. You won’t hurt my feelings if you ignore them.
Realer Than Real
The cover photo on the Facebook page, by the way, is Nicholas Roerich’s Bridge of Glory. Miniature version below. Click to embiggen.
His landscapes always seem alive, his earth less an expanse of dead dirt and more the hide of some huge, slumbering animal. In that way he reminds me of Charles Burchfield, who was a pantheist and, well, it shows:
Roerich’s landscapes are often visited by gods, who always seem larger than life, not only in dimension but in quality: in that way they remind me of the creatures of Ray Harryhausen. Cf. Roerich’s Order Of Rigden Jyepo:
For Burchfield, on the other hand, God, or a god,1 is rarely visible, but he suffuses the landscape, or maybe waits just outside the frame — cf. his Autumnal Fantasy:
I like painters who make things look realer than real — not because reality isn’t enough by itself, but because if our doors of perception were cleansed, then I imagine the world would look a lot more like Roerich and Burchfield than it does. As it is, we’re bound to trudge along with foggy eyes for the time being, but it’s good to have a reminder of what we’re trudging towards.