Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back From The Dead

I've been ill for about the past four weeks and out of commission - resting peacefully at home, but continuing to read and follow events here and there - including the exciting news of yet another Federal Appeals Court striking down the infamous DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) in the US - a significant victory for gay rights, as the tide of history continues to sweep us away into the future, leaving the detritus of the past scattered on the shore - in particular the fragments of a discredited Roman Catholic Hierarchy. Time moves on.

 I try not to focus too intently on Roman Catholic 'things' these days, despite a deeply devout Roman Catholic upbringing for which I am eternally grateful. The spiritual formation I received through this upbringing and through my years of training with the Jesuits  brought me from death to life in more ways than I can count and 'connected' me to the living Spirit of the Heart of Jesus within my own being (to use some of the traditional phraseology), the very Spirit that has given me the gift of discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff, the authentically Catholic from the bogus masquerading in purple robes. This same Spirit of the Risen Lord has moved me gently but firmly and irrevocably outside the formal boundaries of the very church that brought me to life spiritually, with the message that - at least for me - the authentic Spirit of the Beloved I first encountered through the Church can now only be encountered 'outside the door'. It is as if the Face of the Beloved Master first appeared to me within the formal structures of the Church, yet once S/he had united my heart to hers, she then led me by the hand outside that hallowed space I had come to love so much. It was a painful sacrifice, but such are the demands of Love, sometimes asking the inexplicable and the impossible.

And so that is where I remain, in obedience to a sense of vocation, yet stopping from time to time to look in the window at the institution that carries the very tradition that gave birth to my own soul. Without it I would have been nothing. I can only return the gift, in deepest gratitude, by taking a position of prophetic distance from a church presently in crisis and a Mother that at least formally rejects me as a gay person, and to witness in my own small way that Catholicity and the living, beating Divine Heart of the Master and his life giving Spirit are not solely or necessarily linked to formal membership in the formal Roman branch of Catholicism. 

I'm currently reading two very gay themed works, both of them very inspiring and signs of hope. 


This is quite a short read at only 176 pages, but it is one of the best surveys around of the growing field of Queer Theology. Cheng has a sequel, which I've also bought, with the provocative title, 







And I'm presently reading this year's UK Orange Prize for Fiction, a wildy homo erotic retelling of the tale of the Iliad and the love story between Achilles and Patroclus. It has already become a gay classic. 





“Wildly romantic [and] surprisingly suspenseful....[B]ringing those dark figures back to life, making them men again, and while she’s at it, us[ing] her passionate companion piece to The Iliad as a subtle swipe at today’s ongoing debate over gay marriage. Talk about updating the classics.” (Time magazine )

2 comments:

William D. Lindsey said...

Jayden, I'm sorry to hear you've been under the weather, but glad you're on the mend. I'm going to add the three books you recommend to my must-read list. I've actually looked at Achilles in bookstores and have wondered if I should buy it: and now I'll definitely do so (or check it out at the library) on the strength of your recommendation. Blessings and good health to you!

Jayden Cameron said...

The Patrick Cheng book is fantastic,Bill, for its great bibliobgrophy, as well as the theological reflection. I'm also reading Alan Hollinghurst's Stranger's Child, which I had put down half way through. By sensitive contemporary gay novel from one of uk's best writers.