Monday, November 25, 2013

on (psycho)analyzing Wesley and Kierkegaard: sex lives/spiritual lives of the stars, reduction of seduction part 3

Because  "Sexual energy drives the engines at church"...

                                   ...let's talk.

Kierkegaard, though often writing in pseudonym
 ( see Pseudonyms and Style in Kierkegaard),
journaled lots of self-refection...

Wesley, on the other hand?:
 "No one in the eighteenth century published such detailed journals yet revealed so little about his interior feelings as John Wesley"

Many years ago, I started a series of posts called "Reduction of Seduction," based on the inevitable..but inevitably ignored (instead of acknowledged and elevated)... spirituality/sexuality connection, triggered by Aberlove's controversial book on Wesley:

Well, sometimes sequels/prequels show up years later (Did you all know a new Star Wars movie is in the making?)  So in part 3..let's bring in Kierkegaard.  It hit me that both men, and comparing notes on their conficted sexuspirituality might be quite helpful.   Both had  women/marriage issues .  SK is infamous for his "commitment anxiety," and one might make the case that JW had a similar strain of that disease...though much more extroverted and public than SK..

Oh, and if Aberlove paints Wesley as part prophet and part seducer, at leasy SK was upfront (!) enough to call a book of his "The Seducer's Diary."

So I'm only getting started here, and will pick up later.

For some overview of Wesley's story, see


For the juice..I mean, history..on Kierkegaard on relationships/sexuality, see


Some teasers on Wesley:

First, clearly John Wesley lived with his conflict regarding women and it did not diminish his ability to make an enormous contribution to his century and England's religious life. Thus, Wesley could not be said to have suffered from a disabling psychopathology. He was profoundly troubled about the question of authentic intimacy with women and perhaps in some way this conflict contributed to the compassion and spiritual concern he showed toward others throughout his life.
Second, psychohistory and psychobiography, no less than history and biography, involve speculation upon sources and data which are constantly being expanded, revised and reconstructed (Kohut, 1986, Pois,1990). What we have proposed, therefore, is not intended by any means to be taken as a finished or whole view of Wesley's psychodynamics. We present, rather, a story based upon the data as we currently have them-a story which we hope brings additional perspective and depth to Wesley's life. We take as a premise that many dimensions of our own lives as we live them are opaque to our conscious understanding; how much more so the life of a highly significant historical person. That John Wesley was infinitely more complex than this picture, or any picture, of him should go without saying. Indeed, his complexity and multi-dimensionality make him of continuing interest.  (link)

Edward T. Oakes, :

ll well and good, and no one doubts that the enthusiasm that greeted Wesley’s sermons owed at least something to the starved condition of souls planted in the fallow soil of a desiccated, established Christianity. Unfortunately, enthusiasm sometimes bursts its own bounds, especially when sexual energy gets commingled with spiritual fervor. But of the authenticity of the fervor, both in Wesley and in most Methodists, there can be no doubt.   link, see full article

Oh, on SK.. There has to be a U2 connection:

Both U2 and Kierkegaard speak of divine love and erotic love together, as components of a good life.Authentic Love, Kierkegaard, and U2 | Psychology Today
Developing a Kierkegaardian Sexual Ethic



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Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!