Imagio Dei

I was reading a post from a Catholic author that was claiming as its thesis that God ordained marriage between a man and a woman only because that was where
God first created….Man and Woman….and that one was incomplete without the other. Of course, my reaction was somewhat skeptical. God created Adam first and in the reading of the story there is no indication whatsoever that woman was to be created. Adam was complete in and of himself; and it was only his lonliness that caused God to consdier creating woman – out of one of Adam’s ribs. It can be a wonderful mythological metaphor for the creation of humanity; however, if Adam was complete in and of himself would the loss of a rib cause the completeness to be diminished? I think that instead of focusing on the missing rib, one should instead focus on the aspect of relationship.

It is in the interaction of these two separate beings that completeness is seen. Not in their separate physical attributes. One is a call to a higher level of living. The other, simply the seeing of the divine in sex. Not that sex is not divine; but if one wants to hold to a “slippery slope” arguement then seeing completeness in the separate physical attributes coming together leads to God best being seen in a sexual orgy.

Best to stick with relationship.

I have entitled this post “Imagio Dei” to point to that image of God. The story of creation is a story of relationship. Between God and others. I think that this God is seen, not in physical attributes but in the interplay between human beings in our varied multitudinous possibilities of relationships. It is when we interact with others…. when those interactions cause disquiet, discomfort and disharmony that the image of God becomes potential… has the best possibility to be seen.

Ed and I saw a movie called “Weekend” It follows two men as they meet and spend the entire weekend together…. only to go their separate ways in the end – despite the fact that they obviously fell for each other. It is set a a romnantic film that can show how two people can “impact each other’s lives in a way that will affect them the rest of their lives…” It was a good showing of the gay male reality. One could see in the blossoming relationship the slow move from self-centerdness to other-centerdness.  It is this movement, I think, that best displays the “imagio dei.” It is when we move from only concern about ourselves to concern about the other that the transcendent becomes immanent.

Unfortunately, that movement for these two was to come to abortion and not fruition.  The movie was making the point that this was the way of life; that it was indeed good. In many ways, it was good.  But that movement that displays the life and image of God does more than allow us a glimpse of heaven and then allow us to move back to our self-centered universe.  Which is what these two men did.  Neither one could see enough beyond themselves to make a leap of faith for the other.  The pain of their own existence was far better – to them – than the taking of a chance on the other.  Drop your plans to move to America!  Grab a ticket and go with him!  Do something that moves you outside of yourself!  That move where the image of God is seen calls us – subtly, but surely – to move beyond our self-centerdness and towards the other. It calls us to risk.  And when that call is answered we see God.

At the risk of being politically inncorrect it was a good movie that displayed emotional retardation.  Neither thought that the “we” was more important than the “me.”

I see that a lot in the gay men I know.  An inability to see beyond their own wants, their own needs.  An inability to give of themselves in a way that enhances the “we” without diminishing the “me.”  A persistent emphasis – however subtle – on their own needs being met to the exclusion of others and an inability to see that for what it is….

Ahhh, the human condition.  Not limited to gay men and lesbian women – but a problem with the whole human race.  We have such possibility.  We have such opportunity to display grace; to see in our interactions what lies beyond the veil of unknowing – that place where God resides.

Which brings us back to relationships.  Specifically gay male relationships. More specifically gay male long term committed relationships.  When two come together and begin to move beyond their own needs…begin to move towards a “we” that is separate from enmeshment… that preserves the “me” at the same time…. We see the image of God.

It is not just the property of the male-female relationship.

And it is every bit a sacrament.


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