Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Original Love

Many have posted on the recent suicide of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist. Rachel Barenblatt on the Velveteen Rabbit, James McGrath on Exploring our Matrix, and though not directly related I should mention the insights of Richard Beck and his post on Narratives of Injury.

It is very difficult to write on this subject. So many correspondents are deeply afraid of their own bodies and so many others might take offense at such boldness. If there anything that my Lord has done for me it has been to teach me about this body that he prepared for me that I might do his will (Psalm 40 - 'body prepared' LXX or 'ear dug' - it's all the same in its context).

This Lord my God taught me about his own presence with me and in me. This I learned through the death of Jesus - I know that needs unpacking - but it's a lifetime's job, like the study and love of Torah - and it is the same Spirit and the same anointing for Jew and Gentile alike and for all who fear God but have no language to express it.

The more I study Psalms (and the Writings), the more I see this same Spirit of truth leading, correcting, and embodied in his ancient anointed servants, the writers and redactors of the canon, and in his son and servant Israel, and in the daughters of Zion - in all these images of us in the fearful love into which we are born - there - original love rather than original sin.

Having learned, sometimes painfully, to love ourselves, he teaches us then how to love others - even those, especially those that are not like us - not conservative or not orthodox or not reformed or not Christian - for if the Spirit is poured out on all flesh, and the glory of God is in the face of the outcast, and the knowledge of that glory covers the earth - who am I to judge against myself, or against those whose works I have sung (like Tchaikovsky or Britten) and who had more discipline that they knew in themselves than I knew in performing them.

All those who use the New Testament - especially Romans - to condemn others have not read it nor do they know in themselves the salvation of his presence - for if they did, they would no longer speak or act to condemn same-sex intimacy. As for one who exposes another to reveal his private life, (for there is a private life - a hidden manna and a white stone on which is written the name that is known only by the one to whom it is given and the Lord himself) one who so exposes another's life is himself revealing his own fear and his own abuse of his own person and of others.

I have known such abusers and their end was destruction. If the end is to be destruction, let us destroy ourselves by the Spirit in the atonement so that our judgments might remain on the scapegoat and we ourselves be engaged by the Spirit to use our energy in the Elect for love rather than the will to power. It should be our desire to confirm the holiness of all lives when they seek such in truth. God is capable of bringing such people who are different into the body and into the great assembly in the same way that anyone else is so brought.


  1. What a beautiful and powerful post. Thank you for these meditations.

  2. Thank you for writing this. I am delighted with the phrase "original love rather than original sin".