Sunday, April 10, 2016

An Erotic Encounter with the Divine

Enter your wonder
Submerge into me
And take me higher

Submerge within the light
Illuminate my night
Let your atmosphere surround me

Submerge within the light all night
'Til we become the sun

Oh, my God
'Til we become the sun

In response to the disappointing lack of acknowledgement of the Divine Presence in the lives and relationships of same-sex couples in Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Love"), I thought it would be good and timely to continue The Wild Reed series "A Gay Man's Guide to Love and Loving" by sharing the following excerpt from Eric L. Hays-Strom's powerful testimony, "An Erotic Encounter with the Divine."

Eric's testimony reminds me of a similar one by "Michael S." in Thomas Stevenson's book Sons of the Church: The Witnessing of Gay Catholic Men. Michael's testimony is shared in this previous Wild Reed post.

Do I expect the Vatican to share these types of testimonies, word-for-word, in official church documents? No. But I do expect those who claim to be leaders and teachers within our Catholic tradition to be open and responsive to the transforming presence of God within all people's relational lives (including the lives of LGBTQ people) and to be committed to ensuring that our statements of collective wisdom (i.e., our church teachings) actually reflect the diverse nature of the beautiful gift of sexuality.

Is that too much to ask?

It seems it is, which means that it's up to those of us outside – or beyond – the Vatican's hierarchical clerical caste to be the authentic teachers and leaders as we shepherd and gather these holy testimonies of divine encounter and prophetically announce and share them as best we can.

And as we do so, we continue to hope for the day when all within the church are able to acknowledge and celebrate the type of erotic and transforming experience with another – and thus with God – that Eric so beautifully recounts below.

Soon after I began silently inviting the Divine Presence to be with us during lovemaking, I noticed that both Scott and I became more aware of each other’s bodies and more focused on finding those areas that the other enjoyed having stimulated. One day, Scott and I took a lazy spring afternoon off from housework to, as we euphemistically phrase it, Play. With a capital P.

After some time in intimate exploration, I invited Scott to enter me. There are several possible positions for this form of lovemaking, but one or two are especially conducive to a more loving intimacy. Scott chose one of these. Scott wrapped me in his arms and I surrendered to the intimacy of the moment. I prayed, thanking God for God’s Presence, and for having brought Scott into my life.

As I prayed, an awareness of God’s Divine Presence flooded over me. I knew Jesus to be with us, joining with us in our lovemaking. Every one of my senses was heightened. I felt exquisitely the caress of hands, smelled a scent that was heady beyond belief. I heard the beating of Scott’s heart, my heart . . . another heart. And though my eyes were closed, it seemed that a soft diffuse light glowed just in front of me.

At the very moment that climax arrived, all else washed away except for an overpowering feeling of love unlike anything I have ever experienced. I felt wrapped in arms from both sides, my breath stopped for what seemed an eternity. Both Scott and I commented afterwards that our lovemaking had never before lasted such a long time.

Eric L. Hays-Strom
Excerpted from "An Erotic Encounter with the Divine"
Jesus in Love Blog
October 21, 2009

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Spirituality and the Gay Experience
The Holy Pleasure of Intimacy
No Altar More Sacred
Carlos: Part 4 of The Journal of James Curtis
To Be Held and to Hold
Lovemaking: Pathway to Truth, Harmony and Wholeness
Never Say It Is Not God
Love as Exploring Vulnerability
Making Love, Giving Life
The Many Forms of Courage
Your Scent I Know
A "Truly Queer Theory" on Sex
Intrinsically Sexual
Beyond Limited Ideas of "Real" Gay Sex
The Many Manifestations of God's Loving Embrace
Somewhere in Between

Related Off-site Links:
Finding God in Gay Lovemaking – Terence Weldon (Queering the Church, October 25, 2009).
A Review of Seduced by Grace: Contemporary Spirituality, Gay Experience and Christian Faith by Michael Bernard Kelly – Victor Marsh (White Crane, April 2008).
The Gay Male Quest for Democratic, Mutual, Reciprocal Sex (Part 1)The Leveret (August 7, 2008).
The Gay Male Quest for Democratic, Mutual, Reciprocal Sex (Part 2)The Leveret (August 17, 2008).
Sharing the Good of Sex – Westernstock (Enhanced Masculinity – Christian Man to Man, January 18, 2015).

Image: "Would You Let Me Sleep Beneath Your Beauty Tonight" (watercolor) by Brendan Sanborn.

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