Friday, October 29, 2010

Fresh Sperm: Bishop Eddie Long and John Paul II's Theology of the Body

One of the supposedly earth-shaking insights of the Catholic theology of the body developed by the late pope John Paul II is its insistence that male-female complementarity is the central thread on which Judaeo-Christian beliefs hold together.  The theology of the body insists that everything in scripture and tradition should be read through the optic of the crude biological facticity of gender, of maleness and femaleness.

And because it employs a literalistic framework for reading scripture and tradition, the theology of the body tortures the central symbols of religious traditions to make them fit its mindless literalism. And so we end up with arguments that priests must be male because the church is female, and priests are married to the bride of Christ through ordination.

And here's where these arguments are headed; here's where the mindless literalism, with its fixation on biological gender as the most significant fact about Judaeo-Christian faith ends up, when taken to its logical, absurd extremes.

This is Bishop Eddie Long of Atlanta preaching about the "fresh sperm" that he and other (male) preachers inject into the church's "womb" through their preaching:

"The word of God is potent. The word of God is His sperm," Long thunders. "The job of the preacher is to bring fresh sperm and when he speaks it, the womb -- the church -- is to take it in and say, 'Sho' you're right.'"

And this is absolutely no different at all from what John Paul II teaches in his theology of the body, and what those (like Maggie Gallagher and Robert P. George) now trying to impose the theology of the body on our entire culture through the political process, are arguing.

It all comes down to fresh sperm.  And male preachers and priests supplying it.  And the supple, receptive--but above all, passive--womb of women to receive it.  And the womb of the female church, with its its passive, receptive stance to the mighty men supplying it with fresh sperm.

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