Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sermon: Christ and the Homosexual

[Excerpts from: Itkin, Michael, “Christ and the Homosexual,” sermon preached at Midnight Holy Eucharist, Christmas 1969 at the Community of Jesus our Brother, San Francisco and repeated at the Free Particle All-Gay Symposium – West Coast Gay Liberation Conference, Wesley Center, Berkeley CA 26 December 1966, Gay Clergy, 96-3 Carton 2, Papers of Raymond Broshears, Courtesy of the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society.]

“It is time we come up out of the land of the living dead, up out of the tombs of our oppression. We must admit that half of Homosexual life in the oppressive society, the half that includes hiding in ‘closets,’ furtive meetings and the dehumanized hunt for sex without human encounter, is life in the tombs. But we have before us now the prospect of coming up out of the tombs.”


“The Church of Christ must recover its mission to enable these kinds of person-affirming relationships to occur.”


Itkin continues by sharing the ancient Serbian Liturgy for “Pobratimstvo,” which in the words of Mary Edith Durham “’was as follows: The two parties went together to church. The priest read a prayer. The two then took a large goblet of wine, and both, setting their lips to it, sipped at once. They then broke bread and each ate a piece. They sipped and ate together thus three times, and then kissed the Cross, the Gospels and the ikon (sic), and lastly, each other.’”


“The Gospel calls us to become a ‘New Being,’ a new humanity in serving the people even to the Cross, as Jesus did, if need be. This new humanity has been described in such terms as the ‘city of God’. Yet if you walk down the streets of the city today and see the desolate, alienated and oppressed people, you cannot help but wonder at how the city can reflect the new humanity. Take a moment out to talk to adolescent runaways and so-called ‘hippies,’ to youth without homes an d street-people, to Black-people, Latin Americans & Indian-Americans, to draft-resisters demonstrators for peace & radicals who rightly feel that the institutional church has betrayed the revolutionary message of the Gospel; know in your gut the feeling of many Homosexuals and others seeking to know Love in any of its diverse forms, who have been rejected by the institutional church which has refused to admit that Love, any kind of Love, is the reflection of the Love of God shown in Jesus – and realize the alienation of an entire cross-section of our population.

“In the midst of this desperation there also lies our most creative hope. For here the new situation of urban man, with his rebellion against the cultural poverty, economic oppression and bureaucratic dehumanization by the State is now coming to a head: shaping new structures, new patterns, alternative forms of human life.

“It is precisely in this place and at this time that we are called to participate in the revolutionary lifestyle of Jesus as the man for others. Now our survival may well depend on our ability to overcome past inadequacies and introduce anew His revolution of nonviolent and transforming Love.

“While the institutional church condemns that Love which differs from society’s norm, an alternative community has the possibility of recognizing that whatever is done with Love is done in the Spirit of Jesus. While the institutional church takes itself so seriously that it dies, an alternative community has the possibility of learning how to play and celebrate and, therefore how to truly worship. While the institutional church is safe, an alternative community has the possibility of persecution, martyrdom, prison, sainthood and also of victory and the transformation o f the world into a loving and creative Community of Man in the Spirit of Jesus.

“The Community of Jesus needs to acknowledge every man’s and woman’s need for intimacy and, if there is a choice between intimacy in the sex act alone or no intimacy at all, the sex act alone has to be recognized as an authentic moment of human and eternal encounter.”

“Jesus, Whom we follow, is not a Lord of withdrawl from the sphere of social action: but He is our Brother and Liberator, and He is the Leader of rebellion against all vested bureaucracy and oppression, the Leader of challenge and nonviolent revolution, reconciling Love incarnate among us as the Centre (sic) of history and the Centre of our lives."