Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Symbolic Castration, Homosexuality and Depression

Do you ever feel like you can be honestly you in any situation?

There is the perceived 'you' that is the projection of who you are from other people. In other words, there is the 'you' who people think you are as opposed to who you know you really are.

Job interviews are a good example of this. We are trying to sell ourselves and project the very best (or what we think is the very best!) of ourselves so that we might get the job we want, and there is nothing wrong with this. If we were honestly and actually our full selves in a job interview it would most likely break all kinds of social etiquette! 

But there is a point that we all need to be a bit more honest about who we are rather than trying to live up to a certain expectation that we have placed upon ourselves or that others have put upon us.


Living up to a perceived 'you' is exhausting. A time has to come whereby you try to ever more become honest about who you are. This honesty is not only to those around you but to yourself. This is not some kind of 'be yourself' mantra, for how many of us really know what that even means, rather it is about honesty, not lying, about becoming more human. 'Be yourself' is propaganda from advertisers trying to make you buy their products. What I am suggesting is to become more aware, to reflect honestly about who you are and what others think you are like. It is to try and live honestly, flaws and all. This does not mean opening your heart to every person, revealing everything to everyone on Facebook because that in and of itself is a form of lying. What it means is to less and less act a character or role that is expected of you. Don't respond to everything, reflect more, take time to think more. Be honest with your own thought processes.

To become more human is no longer believe the symbolically castrated version of yourself.

My friend Luke wants to be a Baptist Minister. He studied at college the same time as me and we went to India together as part of a team from our college to witness and experience what churches were doing in and around West Bengal. I've witnessed first hand his love for God and his love for others, the gifts he has and the passion he has for Christian ministry. Yet this ministry is barred from him because of his sexuality.

Luke is in a long-term committed same-sex relationship and so it seems that because of this he is not allowed to enter into Baptist ministry.


He is feeling the frustration.

Yet to do so, to have kept secret who he is would have been symbolic castration, pretending to be someone he is not. He is being honest, and it is in honest dialogue that an honest way forward can be found (hopefully!). Luke, I stand with you and hope a door to the calling and ministry God has given you soon opens.

The other day I blogged about my twin brother and his depression. The honesty of his post about his depression is important, as is Luke's honesty about his sexuality because it begins to open the space for conversation, for shared stories, for common ground, understanding, reconciliation, peace. It begins to open the door into our common humanity.

I am not in any way here comparing depression and sexuality, I am merely saying that both Tom and Luke have found a way to tell the truth about their own humanity.

Now not everyone will agree with our version of events, that has to be expected, Tom and Luke will both be well aware of this in their own experiences. But that disagreement must not then shape the person you are for we end up becoming a version of ourselves determined by all that we disagree with not with who we know we are in honest reflection.

This is no easy road for we are a people shaped by people. What we need to be able to do is discover a path to our humanity that enables us to be truly and fully human.

This is why Jesus is so significant and crucial in what it means to be human.

Jesus was the Ultimate Human. In Him we discover how humanity should be lived and understood and how we are meant to treat each other. Jesus never symbolically castrates anyone, rather he deals with their true selves and in doing so beckons them to discover their real humanity bound up in the effervescent love of God. Very often Jesus calls us way from 'being ourselves' because it is a version of us created by others. Instead he challenges people in their true humanity, exposes them in their true humanity and all that is dehumanising them and thus ushers in a life they never expected. This life is not a '5 Ways to Unstoppable You' rather a life shaped by the Crucified and Risen Son.

Here, in Jesus, a path to true humanity is given to us. May we find the courage to walk it.

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