Passion, desire, the erotic – supposedly emotions and feelings that ought to be avoided or at least strictly controlled by any person of faith who deems herself holy. Let’s (re)consider (from a Christian perspective):
“Asceticism – the denial of desire and pleasure as an act of religious devotion – is not really a pronounced biblical theme. . . . [It] really develops after the biblical period in the third century C.E., mostly with the desert hermits, who renounced worldly affairs for a desert of silence and hardship in service to God, and then with monastic orders beginning in the fourth century.”
Too often, too much Christians forget and/or deny our roots:
“Desire [in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament] is not something to be suppressed, discarded, or channeled strictly into religious devotion, but is presented as simply a facet of human life. . . . Desire itself is nowhere prohibited, just redirected or schooled.”
Let’s not even mention the erotic! Fear displaces erotica to a hidden and banned place in our lives when ought to be honored and utilized toward a fullness, a robust sense of being and doing.
“Audre Lorde describes the erotic as somewhere between our ‘sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.’ That edge is both potentially disruptive and the source of our vital energies. This is why, for Lorde, it is worth the time to explore and celebrate sexuality. It is the resource for our truest selves and our creativity.”
How aware are we that chasing such a foundational and critical part of ourselves does more harm than good – for the self and for the communities in which we live?
“[L]onging tells us about ourselves: who we are is our desire, what our soul loves. It need not be ignored, downplayed, or even displaced. And even if we opt to ignore our desire, Freud’s caution is that it haunts and scripts our life nevertheless in muted (or not so muted) screams of need, neuroses, and desolation. What is truest about our inner selves, our souls, is certainly worth knowing.”
Let’s put on our big-girl panties, allowing ourselves to (re)discover, accept, embrace, and share exactly who we are with all of our desires fueling truth, awareness, and knowledge!
Walsh citations – Carey Ellen Walsh, Exquisite Desire: Religion, the Erotic, and the Song of Songs – part of the second chapter, “Erotics in the Bible”
(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc