Resources on Sexual Identity, Energy, and Archetype

For several reasons, this has become an increasingly important issue in my life. Although I no longer experience (for the most part) the frantic, desperate fear of evil that causes such vitriolic reactions both among fundamentalist, evangelical types, and equally among the reactionary atheist postgender types, my concern only increases.

It’s not just that I’m looking out on the world and seeing changes I don’t like. Rather, my experience among my friends and acquaintances, as well as my wide (if not terribly deep) reading, suggests that most millennials experience some level of discomfort – often deep – with sexual identity, energy, and/or archetype.

I believe the concern of the Christian Church should be to gain a unified understanding on these issues as they confront modern people, so that whether or not we are believed by those outside our borders, we at least can speak with one voice and offer a consistent, trustworthy haven from the chaos of a world without spiritual authority, driven by the impulses and spontaneous desires of the mind and the body.

So I simply want to collect here, for everyone’s use, any information I find interesting on the subject. Not all of it will be in agreement with me, with my readers, or with other information on the page, but I suspect that’s healthy. We cannot adequately answer the questions of seekers or strugglers unless we listen to their experience.

For instance, have you ever wondered whether the homosexuals that St. Paul describes experienced their homosexuality differently than today’s burgeoning queer population does? Is it really helpful to read them verses about burning in their lust toward one another, or homosexual gang rape, when they see themselves as seeking a mirror image of heterosexual marriage, only with a person of undifferentiated gender?

On the other hand, who among us, offering our timid yet courageous disagreement with the spirit of the age, wants to be bludgeoned to death with the “committed loving relationship” bat, if that’s not what the homosexual population, by and large, experiences? What about research that indicates most lesbians abuse one another? What about research that indicates most gay men live 20 years younger than heterosexual men? Do these mean nothing?

Does the wholeness of the Christian conscience mean nothing?

What about apparent enemies of the faith who are actually making good points about Christian failures? Should we fight against them? Or should we see them as helping us to correct ourselves? I say, the latter, especially when they have become enemies of the faith because of some failure of Christian love.

On the other hand, we have to consider that an enemy of the faith may use our Christian commitment to kindness as a sort of blackmail against us to make us change our beliefs to something less offensive to them.

Some might wonder why I don’t just say, “The Bibles says women have to obey their husbands and marriage is between a man and a woman. The end.”

I guess my concern is that when we directly apply Bible verses to a situation, we are implying that the situation is exactly the same as the one that prompted the writing of the Bible verse. I can’t assume that.

For instance, in a world where no decent man would ever give a direct order to his wife, what is the point of preachers hammering at women to obey their husbands, as if we still lived in a pagan-created soceity where a household was like a small nation with its own economy, with the husband ruling several classes of society, of which his wife was the highest under him?

On the other hand, if Christian/medieval-authored romantic love has changed the face of marriage to such an extent, can’t it change further? Or does homosexual union change, not just the face, but the fundamental and sacramental nature of marriage? These are not just exegetical questions, to be answered by simple appeal to the scripture. (At least you may comfortably answer them to your own satisfaction that way, but in a larger forum it’s obvious that’s only part of the picture.) These are theological questions – and theology is complex.

As a woman I want my viewpoint to matter to the leaders of the Church. When I read from an Orthodox priest online that women are rebellious creatures who naturally want to usurp authority from men, I realize that this discussion needs to happen. If everything I say in protest to some current situation is dismissed because I am a woman and therefore must necessarily be motivated by a compulsive rebellion against men, then what is the point of my having been created with a mind and a moral sense?

Nor can I assume an evangelical position on the nature of the scriptures, of spiritual authority, and of divine judgment. To put it succinctly, I see the scriptures as profitable, not infallible; I see authority as authenticity, not totalitarianism; and I see divine judgment as being more along the lines of natural consequences, with God being behind nature as its creator, than as a his alleged personal hatred for or intent to torture or cast away the sinner.

How this plays out in gender issues is a long conversation, one that I hope will unfold in the nature of that wisdom which is from above: first pure, then peaceable. Purity in scriptural language is a lot like integrity or wholeness. Division, fragmentation, scattering, brokenness, contradiction, the stain of self-deception, the muddying power of abuse, and the torment of being pulled in opposite directions – these are indications that an infusion of heavenly wisdom is needed. That’s what I seek.

I have ongoing conversations with several people in private about these issues, and from time to time I may report on the information and ideas I am gaining through those conversations, as long as I can do so without injuring anyone’s delicacy or betraying their expectation to privacy.

If you want to submit materials for consideration please leave them in the comment section or email them to me at alanaasbyroberts (at) yahoo (dot) com

I won’t necessarily include everything that is suggested to me. I am looking for honest, joyful, moderate, healthy opinions supported by well-researched sources of information. As such, inclusion does not imply complete or partial endorsment.

Below are a few links that I hope will grow longer as time goes by.

***

Why Do I Have These Feelings? By Dr. Warren Throckmorton

Was Jesus Gay? by Alden Bass

Efforts to Modify Sexual Orientation Throckmorton

Did Jesus Bless Homosexuality? More Throckmorton 🙂

What Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Gender Identity Disorder Have in Common by Joseph Burgo

The Animus Blog Post on Jungian Gender Theory

Are Women Human? Blog Review of Sayer’s Famous Essay

What Is Intersex? There’s been some discussion among my friends about what physical intersexuality means (if anything) for our sexuo-theological theories. First one must know what it is and how it is experienced.

Homosexuality and the Orthodox Church Here is a very decent explication of the normal Orthodox view.

4 thoughts on “Resources on Sexual Identity, Energy, and Archetype

  1. After so many years, so many mistakes-hurts given/hurts received-failures-sins, you’d think I would be out of ideas about other people’s loves because I’m still trying to learn about my own. Still . . .many thoughts stirring here, though none worth saying. And no research beyond anecdotal. I’ll get back to you if. Meanwhile, I look forward to more from your gleanings. Very helpful, really.

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    • It’s true about the research. It seems obvious to me that only certain types of research, tending toward certain conclusions, are allowed in practice in this country because everything depends on grants, and grants follow political correctness, which is pre-decided based on desired outcomes rather than on desire for truth. So much for social science coming into its own.

      I read a lot of British news sources, and both journalists and commenters constantly make statements that would burn an American for life if they so much as tweeted a word of it. They have the same disagreements, but a much more lenient code of how you can voice those disagreements.

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  2. I’ve read the articles you’ve linked. I’m really not sold on the Jungian animus/anima concept– my knowledge comes from the book “You’re Not What I Expected” by a Jungian therapist, Polly Young-Eisendrath, and she relied heavily on the idea for her couples therapy. I can see where it might be useful for some individuals in a therapy situation in order to address subconscious issues blocking functional relationships with members of the opposite sex, but I don’t like it for a foundational premise for an overarching gender theory. I feel like a theory needs to be more unifying, and less conflict-driven, than Jungian psychology, which may be very useful in clinical situations where there is a substantial amount of conflict. Do you see what I mean? It may be useful for some people, but if it doesn’t ring true on some level to nearly all experience, then it’s too exclusive a premise to start with.

    I was most interested in the article on “gender dysmorphia,” and I was fascinated that the comments took a turn towards the philosophical implications of intersex individuals. 🙂

    Hope the book is going well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Some good thoughts here, Alana. I received emails for other recent postings of yours and ended up on this provocative topic.
    While we have an editorial slant, if you will, in scripture against homosexual practice, it would seem that we also have a responsibility to understand why homosexual practices are characterized as ungodly acts rather than self-justifying our own acts of hatred towards persons who have different preferences. It is not a simple study to undertake. It is also not a study that should be based in an assumption that real truth consists in verification of objective phenomena. Thus, how we perceive sexuality among members of society is deeply personal. Yet, of a practical necessity, we also have to have norms of behavior which are considered violations of moral conduct to protect persons from those that would prey on vulnerabilities of some members of society. But I am not about to start that personal study here. I will just make a few more comments on your comments which are for a dispositional attitude when approaching the issue of homosexuality for Christians.

    Your statement, “I see the scriptures as profitable, not infallible” is going to be incendiary for most all brands of Christianity. Yet I do see a distinction to be made between understanding the intent of the Spirit and the more virulent literalistic interpretations which cry out for intolerance, anger and rage. So viewing the scripture as simply, “profitable” is far too weak a position to have regarding scripture while undertaking how to approach with understanding certain human relationships. The use of words and stories which have been collected over centuries do show an unchanging and unfailing; an infallible portrayal of love, which is God. The stories themselves and actions taken therein should not be taken a base set of rules of behavior but rather seen as examples of love making cracks and breaking through very hard hearted and compassionately closed minds. We should certainly have gone beyond taking leftover young women as the spoils of war (Deuteronomy 21:10-14) and have shown compassion by letting her mourn the loss of her father and mother a full month before forcing her into a new role in life as a concubine or wife. Yet the raising of such a standard is an expression of love at the time and place. And perhaps we should understand the context of time place in our day and age when undertaking to have a perspective on this issue which has come to fore in recent years. I would consider unfailing as an intent of the Spirit regarding scriptures and regarding compassion and at the same time not one of license for any type of behavior so long as it is shallowly classified as “victimless”. Scripture is not intended to teach us how to be lawyers and work the rules to our own benefit, but how to make upright, good, fair, and beneficial judgments in life as creative acts out of our own persons.

    Which brings us to your statement, “ I see authority as authenticity, not totalitarianism; and I see divine judgment as being more along the lines of natural consequences, with God being behind nature as its creator, than as a his alleged personal hatred for or intent to torture or cast away the sinner”.
    Wow! There is a lot in that statement. This is a home run statement; on the money! (I somewhat apologize for the mixed metaphors). Authenticity is a genuine spirituality. It is powerful because it is real being as opposed to a totalitarian ideal derived from intellection of a rule. Yes, God is the One who orders nature. Juxtaposing God and nature and trying to reconcile the 2 as 2 equal sources creates all kinds of double-minded confusion. It is the wrong footing to begin with. It’s not a personal or malicious attitude that God has towards homosexuality or other non-standard gender based issues an individual may have. My perspective is to understand good taking into account nature and that nature does not always function according to what appears to be natural – say for instance where a person is born with both male and female genitalia. How can we act with compassion and acceptance and avoid inflicting pain by ostracizing someone? At the same time, do we simply accept any assertion that, “this is just the way I am”, when it is actually based in willful anger? There are no litmus tests for one’s subjective perceptions let alone an ability to tell whether ones subjective perceptions of self are in fact true.

    I do commend you here for the approach you advocate to this and other difficult topics.

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