I ponder the message in this, considered by Jesus to be God’s Greatest Commands: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and love your neighbor as yourself,” I suggest the Christian version of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is the essence of a universal concept of “homospirituality.” As many a truth contains its paradox, loving your neighbor as yourself implies loving yourself. It seemed to me that I was programmed toward a compromised sense of self-love (shame?). Fearing I was a homosexual didn’t help. However, every time I read the definition of the latter, it didn’t seem to typify me, as I couldn’t really say “it “was sexual, whatever “it” was. The focus on sex in the word and the concept of homosexual kept me in denial on some levels for decades after I actually had begun to come out to myself. To try to reduce us to a focus upon sex, sex acts, and sexual behavior is to objectify us, making it easier to invisibilize us, and excise us from your lives.
The term “homospiritual” is one I have played with through my years away from the church, as I drew from other faith traditions. Judaism, which emphasizes the hallowedness of all life, and the Native American faith, emphasizing the connectedness of all life. Always in that Temple of the Abiding Presence were my Lutheran roots of “no man can command my conscience” (Martin Luther’s words; contemporary Gospel version: “No man can hinder me”). Also, the Quaker Inner Light, with an active sense of social conscience and passion for walking with God in truth, justice and mercy. It is out of apology for the superstition, persecution, inquisition, anti-Semitism, racism, heterosexism, and homophobia which has historically typified Christianity in the world, that I emerge. The word “homospirituality” indeed feels like a coming home. The love of the other as the love of self, indeed implies a quality of respect worthy of that which I have to give. As our story goes, Jesus the mystic Jew embodied such respect. If we are queer, and we dare to brave that path to self-love, we had best draw every moment upon God’s Unconditional Love and Divine Nature Authority within. Such is our protection from the massive messages of unworthiness given by the world. Simultaneously, we expand our capacity for giving love, even as we recognize our essence as one with the other, on our own bittersweet journey home.
Is not the Christian concept “Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself” the same as the Jewish concept of hospitality to the stranger? Is not the rainbow flag a banner celebrating our oneness and our diversity, as well as our hospitality to the stranger, who in our cases, oftentimes in our very own families, is ourselves?
We hear the message of the rainbow written across the sky and flowing in the blood of our varied souls. GLB persons of every faith and and shade — including and beyond Judaism and Christianity — broaden the scope of reality by sharing such a celebration. It is in our different colors that we together form a rainbow of faiths, and proudly wear our banner of diversity.
How do we finally come home to ourselves from the faith of our fathers, the churches, synagogues, and mosques of our families?
How does the concept of homospirituality translate into other religions, if it does at all?
Is there a common conceptual language of homospiritual morality with which we can forge an interfaith dialog?
How does the concept of homospirituality play into the process of building a bridge across the various colors, genders, orientations, and creeds which have historically divided us?
How can we form a beautiful rainbow of world religions, celebrating both our unity and our diversity, our respective hetero- and homo-spiritualities.
In the depths of our social psychological, spiritual, rational selves, we know magical recognition that we are all part of the same thing. I am another yourself. (In lak’ech).
Dedicated to Mother Ruth and Mother Maribelle
In Memory of Mother Maribelle (Jan. 22, 1922 – June 20, 1997)