Tuesday, July 01, 2008

of course orgasm is partly prayer

"For many, sexuality is simply what happens between two people involving physical pleasure. But that's only a small percentage of what sexuality is. Our sexuality is all the ways we strive to reconnect with our world, with each other, and with God." (Rob Bell, "Sex God," p. 42)

"The Reformation sometimes looks like a case of baby and bathwater. In neglecting the sensual for the explicable we damage our ability to model the Otherness of God.

...To a medieval person the church building gave unparalleled sensual pleasure as an analogy and actual foretaste of heaven. Maybe church was even better than sex, given how little people washed back then. And chocolate hadn't been invented."

-Stephen Shields

Okay, first of all, "Don't hear what I'm not saying," as St. Reggie McNeal taught me to say...

Of course,
the Da Vinci Code is inevitably partly right:

form of prayer

Or a precursor to prayer/call to prayer/means of prayer/avoidance of prayer (and thus prayer).

Maybe all orgasm is prayer;
but not all prayer is orgasm.

Ask someone who would intuitively know--a rabbi:

Prayer is not something the believer just recites...it is an
experience he enters into. There is no room for inhibition; singing and dancing
are essential means by which he expresses his emotional cleaving to God….but
such ardor/desire for God has to be so overwhelming that any extraneous thoughts
are excluded…If distractions are erotic in nature…and he faces up to the
predominance of the sexual urge at both conscious and subconscious levels, and
its capacity to intrude even during prayer...then he has learned to take
measures…by introducing the (ancient) doctrine of the "elevation of strange
thoughts." This is a Chasidic Jewish technique not of sublimation, but of
thought conversion, whereby the beauty or desirability of the woman is latched
upon and used not as a sexual but rather as a mental and spiritual stimulus. We
are taught to "elevate" these thoughts by substituting the beauty of God for the
physical beauty that is currently bewitching us. The pray-er has learned to
immediately contrast the pale reflection of beauty that humans are endowed with,
on the one hand, and the supreme Divine source of authentic and enduring beauty,
on the other…This is not sublimation; This is elevation
"Blessed are You: A Comprehensive Guide to Jewish Prayer," by Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen
Elevation Church:Jesus Loves Righteous People

Ask another rabbi:

'Celibacy was utterly rejected by biblical and rabbinic teaching. Those who refused to marry and bear children were regarded not only as having violated the first mitzvah of procreation, but also as if they had shed blood and diminished the image of God from the world, since man is created in his image. And according to the rabbis, they even caused the divine presence to depart from tthe Jewish people. The rabbis taught, 'No man without a wife, neither a woman without a husband, nor both of them without God (Genesis Rabbah 8:9 and Babylonian Talmud, Yev. 62b,63a)...An unmarried high priest was not even allowed to officiate in the temple on the Day of Atonement. Sexuality was seen as a potentially positive drive in rabbinic thought; for without those desires, 'no man wold build a house, marry a wife or have children.' (Gen Rab. 9:7)
-"Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein"
How Firm a Foundation," p.137

Ask someone who is a poet AND scholar (that tribe must increase!)-Eugene Peterson:

Because of the common origin of our creation and redemption, an examination of our sex life leads to an examination of our prayer life and vice versa.

Ask the author of the incredible "On Borrowed Words", Ilian Stavans, who recalls losing his virginity in a Mexican brothel:

"I felt warm and cold at once, and mostly bestial, but truly alive and mystical." (54)

Ask someone who has holy gall--Pete ("Imagine if being a Christian were about life?") Gall:

"Look, if this whole deal with God is at all real, it has to do better than drone on in hypothetical and scholastic debates. It has to apply to premarital nudity, dreams of personal glory, colossal lapses in judgment, family dysfunctions, battles with addiction, and frustration with fools. It must have something to say about tenacity, idolatry, heroes, love, sunsets, demons, prayer, miracles, worms, rivers and hard-won orgasm. Tell me about that stuff. Admit that you’ve somehow come to believe that the sin of the world can hold a candle to the wretchedness of your own heart. Take on questions that are bigger than your answers. Fight to let pain serve its purpose. Let grace shine through if it’s so real and so great and so worth living for. Show me a Jesus who gives a shit about the world I inhabit, and I’ll keep reading."

Doesn't this mean "Global Orgasm For Peace Day" is largely whacky but also partly right?

Don't ask John McArthur.
Sign up for this seminar instead. (:

This also means The Edge..as a "Zen Presbyterian" ..is partly right:

..which is partly what is bandmate meant on that same night about "God walking through the [bed]room."

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Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!