Thursday, August 22, 2013

Do We Need an Alpha Male God? (John 4:48)

Jesus replied, "unless you people see signs and wonders, you won't believe."
 John 4:48
Hunky Brokeback Mountain Jesus
for a great article on "Hunky Jesus" please see Kittredge Cherry
What miracle do I need to experience before I believe? What will convince me that God exists? What tangible manifestation can give expression of intangible reality? On the reverse, why does God seem to be more hidden than revealed? Is faith always a struggle for clarity?

This thing called faith is a bit fuzzy for me. It waxes and wanes. More fluid than substance, faith is the stream I can never step into twice. The flowing water of faith changes by the time my second foot gets planted in the stream. What is "God" to me one day is but only an image or mythic expression the next.

The rather stringent parental god of my youth gave way to the Ground of Being in my early adulthood. Now the ground of being melts away as the God of emergent horizon captures my religious imagination and calls me to worship. I know the spiritual quest I am on  searches out the thin places where the vail is removed and God is comprehended. I also know that there are other quests where the need for certainty is not as prominent, and I honor those other quests as well.

For les-gay-bi-trans-queer-intersex-asex persons the ability to experience God is hampered by the supposed heterosexuality of God. Unconsciously in the dominant monotheisms it is assumed that as we approach God we approach an older white (or middle eastern) heterosexual male. Even for those who are not as concrete in their imaging of God, the tacit thought still abides that God's self-expression is from the capacity of a straight alpha male.

It has been assumed that those who are not older, or male, or heterosexual need this God's presence mediated to us. No wonder gender and sexual diverse persons have difficulty accessing God. Not only is God's sexuality removed from us, but the assumed form of mediation has been used, still is used, to hound us.

I have made more than one person angry because of explorations into what is deemed blasphemous images of God such as a BDSM-slave Christ, a sex-positive God, a lesbian-expressive Holy Spirit. None of these images, have particularly produced faith in those offended by them, for they do not confirm to the culturally valid image of a fag-hating God, or a least a God who hates the same things I hate.

I wonder if Jesus' critique of needing signs and wonders for belief is apropos to the need by the dominate culture to enforce its image of God. Can we paraphrase Jesus as "unless you people see only the culturally approved God, you will not believe"? If we can paraphrase Jesus in this manner, then what are the implications for those who, in honesty, must answer "yes"?

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