This is our truth, tell us yours
Dennis Potter was a phenomenal playwrite, who seemed to attract controversy simply by putting pen to paper. One of my favourite of his works is The Son of Man, an account of the life and death of Jesus. A man who had written of his own childhood sexual abuse was not considered qualified to write about a religious figure, and so the usual suspects trotted out their outrage, and cried “Blasphemy.”
As usual in these situations those who claimed offence tend to have less scriptural knowledge than the average member of my church youth group. Whilst on this earth Jesus was fully human, he was not as the Greek or Roman gods were in their myths, a god inhabiting a shell. This would negate the sacrifice of his death, whilst he could, through His Father perform miracles, he was a man, the son of man. As Potter has him say, he eats, he sleeps, he pisses , he shits. This is not blasphemy, no matter what Mary Whitehouse insisted,
Some of my favourite passages in the New Testament are those that remind us of Christ’s humanity, the moments when two thousand years of iconography are lifted away to show the person beneath the spin. Such as when his mother and brothers turn up and deciding he must be mad try to get him to return home. I picture Mary as an archetypal Geordie mum (well they were northern) arms folded, telling her son not to make a show of himself. Then in John there is her request that he save the wedding, which always reminds me of the Matriarchs of my family insisting the men put money in the pot at various wedding receptions. She knew better than any his miraculous origins, but she also knew he was her son, a man, and someone she was more than willing to clip round the ear.
Discussions of Christ;s humanity have caused so much trouble for the church because of one thing, after all the duality of his incarnation is pretty basic theology, the big problem was of course sex. If he was fully human, how human was he? The question “Did Jesus have wet dreams?” is one that I leave for others to complete their PhD’s on, but he was a normal male, when you have a sex positive view of the world, this does not present a problem. I personally do not believe he was married, purely because his compassion and empathy would have meant leaving a widow. In first century Israel this was not something I believe he would have chosen to do. Dying on the cross he asked Peter to care for his Mother, (who, was from the total lack of mention of Joseph,we can assume was a widow) . Widows were outcasts, surviving , if they survived, on the fringes, the kindness and tolerance of their families. My view of Jesus can not be reconciled to someone who willingly left a woman in this state.
Don’t worry we are getting to the sex bit, sort of, soon.
One of the commandments is “Thou shalt have no false idols” What is an idol? It is of course a statue you worship, believing to be holy, but there is more than one form of Idol. Believing people to be perfect, that they do not piss and shit, that they do not have feet of clay, makes idols of them. Romantic love and the more twue aspects of BDSM share the desire to make idols of their other. Venture onto fetlife and you will soon find many subs declaring the perfection of their Dominants. The problem with idols is they can be toppled, no person is perfect, believing they are only sets us up for being let down. When we accept someone fully for who they are we move beyond immature ideas of perfection, and our acceptance has real meaning.
There is the person who is the perfect fit for you, whether lover or Dominant, but being that person involves accepting they are fully human, as able to fuck up or have bad days as the next man, or son of man. Just as my feelings for the people I care about are not changed if they have a bad day, so my feelings about Christ, his mission, and his teachings, can not be destroyed by discovering he had a wife, or had sex. I have no idols, and so they cannot be toppled.