‘Beyond the Universe: The New Christian Theology’ by Carmen Chimento | Review

The universal homospirituality

After that last issue of Whosoever, the Spirit prompted a hotbot search for “homospirituality” on the web, and all that came up was Carmen Chimento’s book Beyond the Universe: The New Christian Theology (The Spiritual House Press, Brookline, N.H., 1996).

I have since read Beyond the Universe by Chimento, an ex-seminarian, who speaks of homosexuality and homospirituality in approximately four pages of the book. In those pages, he says:

The nature of God, is the nature of all of us. If there is a natural attraction, it is something we should explore. Gay bashing and fear are not products of the Holy Spirit, understanding and love are. (Chimento, 1996, p. 274)

In his discussion “The Moral Vantage Point”, he reminds us that:

Hitler, for example, not only attempted to exterminate all Jews, but he also attempted to exterminate all homosexuals, artists, and so on….in all societies…none are devoid of same sex attractions no matter how permissive or how intolerant those societies were of same sex attractions. In today’s world, it is an amoral question…most people in the Western world look upon it as a personal issue between the people involved, and not an issue that is legislatable, one way or the other. (Chimento, 1996, pp. 274-275)

Chimento’s discussion asserts that instead of it being a moral question, it is an economic one, and then his discussion culminates in individual responsibility. “I believe that every citizen of the United States, has not only the right to equal protection under the laws, but also has a duty to assure that every citizen has a right to equal protection under the laws. From a moral vantage point, God would expect no less from us.” (Chimento, 1996, p. 275).

Chimento contends that in all cultures and species, homosexuals are found, obviously created by God in the image of God, but that God is genderless. This former Catholic seminarian, husband, father, and grandfather – states unequivocally that the “most important aspect of any relationship is the spiritual aspect.” It is our Divine Relationship which affects the most important part of our being. “No relationships have any meaning without it.” (Chimento, 1996, pp. 273-277).

Major portions engaging me were chapters on “Liberty and Freedom vs. The First Amendment; The Bible: Literal, Allegorical or Both?; Jesus Christ, Prophet or God?” The most compelling chapter, in addition to the one on the First Amendment, is the one on Jesus Christ: Prophet or God? In it he tells why he left the seminary. Other chapters examine the concepts of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit, Free Will vs. Predestination; Life and Death; The Nature of God. An additional section includes writings from Tao The King, Bhagavad Gita, Hebrew Scriptures, Koran, and the New Testament.

His understanding of Jesus’ message was as one of prophecy rather than a proclamation of divinity. Both his demythologizing of Christian icons as well as his distinguishing between God and religion, especially as pertains to the First Amendment, point to the need for us to provide “our children with a sense of Divine purpose.” (Chimento, 1996, p. 5).

The new Christian theology, as per Chimento, is perhaps a challenge to literalists and non literalists alike to look beyond the resurrection and ask. What is Jesus’ significance to us today? That he was Divine, Human, Both? There will no doubt be more discussion upon this theme. In any case, Chimento asserts that which may be the most important spiritual concept that Jesus advocated, according to Chimento, the cornerstone of the code of behavior based upon Christ’s commands. This concept is the one I also accept as The Message Jesus taught: that all the great commands of the world can be summed up in those two great commands, even one command, phrased adequately:

Love God with your whole heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

My gratitude to Chimento, and to this Divinely Inspired concept, truly the greatest strength of Beyond the Universe. Perhaps it suggests that if we could get beyond the tug of war of Jesus’ Divinity vs. Jesus’ Humanity, there would be balance in our lives and space within for a most powerful spiritual relationship concept, with power for creation, rather than destruction. Perhaps then we could dialog on an equal level with other faiths on the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical importance of respect for both same and other, even as the other is part of the self, the self is part of the other, and each of us, children of God.