God Doesn't Have Genitals

by Charles Bidwell, PhD

Our lives and spirits are richer when we can sense the presence of the Divine or the Sacred in our lives. There are many ways to foster that. One is to imagine (image) the Source of our being or the Creative Force which formed our world and all creatures in it. This is an awe-filling Force/Source that is beyond our complete understanding or even imagining, but it is fun to try. Scientists keep telling us mind-blowing things about our universe at its extremes: expanding galaxies and discovering teeny-tiny particles. All things great and small come from the same Creator of All, including us. None of us can comprehend the whole truth about the Tremendous Mystery who created it all. That is why it is helpful and interesting to share our individual images of Divinity. It is also important to listen to others as they share their images. Goodness knows what insights it might lead to.

Nobody I know has seen the whole of the Divine Source/Force. Some may feel that they have had glimpses of the Divinity and others who have had a near death experience are among them, but I can't imagine a divinity small enough to be contained (constrained?) in a single visible entity. Some of us find it comforting to image God as a nurturing father or as a loving mother, but if we restrict our whole concept of the Divine to that one image, then we risk the sins of idolatry and intolerance. In idolatry, we exclude all other images and we lose something. Such a small god cannot represent the whole truth and we are at risk of missing out on something more wonderful. In intolerance, we fight to protect (project?) our image and put down other people's images. It is arrogant to think (and act) as though we alone held the whole truth and had the Divine in our lifeboat. Some religions and some Christian denominations are prime examples of this and look at the disunity and splintering it causes.

I want to encourage all of us to think about the divine spark that is in us and every creature. I want us to enrich our conversations with speculation and sharing of instances and images of the Divine in our experiences. I want us to be more aware of the sacred space we carry about us. I want us to be more alert to the sacredness of our life-boat planet and quit raping Earth and pissing in our drinking water. [I could go on about the holy calling of recycling and reusing, but I'll save that for another time.]

This is a holy planet (perhaps unique in the universe, but that may be a conceit) and all life is sacred. Nature doesn't need us humans and in fact could do better without us and our waste. So take time to notice where you walk and what you pass. Hug a tree; thank a flower or creature for its beauty and animation; sink your hands and feet into the earth and feel grounded; smile at someone who doesn't have one, and take a deep breath among the trees and celebrate being alive.

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it...." [Alice Walker, The Color Purple]

From what I know of the Divine, Creator needs us and wants to be (and is) in intimate relationship with us. I suspect (boy, do I have questions for Creator when I transfer to the next stage after death!) that Creator made us in order to experience what we experience. I suspect that the Source of All dreamed of what we might experience but was incapable of that direct experience until we had it. I could be wrong; I don't claim to have the whole truth about anything; I just want to spark you to some speculation of your own. Anyway, having made us as sexual beings, Creator thrills when we do and cringes when we do. Holy Orgasm, Batwoman! You mean that even with the lights out and the covers drawn, Creator knows what I'm doing in bed with someone else, or as a solo? You've got it! And I suspect is pleased with this connection. My Source and Destiny is intimately connected to me and all others. When I hurt someone else, Creator senses that as well as they do. When I pleasure someone else or myself, Our Source is in heaven.

So I think sex is a powerful bonding agent in a relationship and Creator is always a present partner -- a Holy Threesome (or is that Trinity?)! Yet many of us have been raised with confusing messages from our religious communities and our elders about sex -- a message that sounds to us like, "Sex is dirty and nasty and filthy, so save it for the one you love." [Daniel Spencer, Gay and Gaia]. It seems so dirty that we don't talk about it seriously in polite (straight) social circles; we only tell 'off-colour' jokes about it. It seems so filthy that it is never talked about (let alone celebrated) in churches and synagogues, except to state grim warnings and prohibitions. Creator must be wincing at all this denial of that gift that lasts a lifetime. Then our efforts to control sex have driven it below the surface and caused untold abuse when it erupts, for it is a life force that will not be entombed. Let sex out into the sunlight. Talk about sex with respect and joy. I think that is one of the gifts we can offer to the straight world -- respectful talk about sex in our lives. Being honest about what thrills us, and what pleasures we share with others, will keep others from thinking that they are 'warped' or 'the only ones' and will promote a healthier climate for sharing this essential aspect of our being. My sexual orientation is a gift from my Creator. My sexual behaviour is my gift to my partner and my Creator.

Charles Bidwell, PhD is an MCC minister in Edmonton, Alberta.