Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mount Athos, with a Twist

Last weekend, nineteen open-hearted, gifted men lived for  three sweet days in intentional  community at Stonesong Center in western Maryland, as guests of the beautiful, generous-hearted couple who steward the land there.

Our temple was the second floor of a barn. The odd bat flew through at night. There were crickets and cicadas and tree frogs. The full moon silvered the nocturnal landscape.
The magic that arose among us in less than seventy-two hours was deep and powerful, and more than Frank Dunn and I, who led the retreat, could have asked or imagined. I won’t presume to describe everything that happened--first, because, well, you had to be there, and second, because so much of what took place belongs to that sacred gathering and that gathering alone.
But for me, the most vivid, the most powerful memory of the retreat was the experience of the land itself transformed into holy ground by our shared practice: a line of prayer flags made by each of us to mark the respective spots we’d chosen as the site of personal shrines. Over the course of the next two days, we deepened our practice by tending those shrines and welcoming one another as pilgrims to our holy places. Walking along the path, looking up the slope, rounding a corner, wandering in the woods, we came upon these witnesses to the riches of other men’s souls made into invitations to look deeper, to open wider, to feel ourselves woven into a web of connection richer than anything we could have achieved without one another.
Many religious traditions have birthed landscapes honeycombed with gestures of reverence. The dwellings of the Essenes of Qumran; the hermitages of the Egyptian desert; the monastic cells of Mount Athos; the temples of the mountain that towers over Miyajima in the Inland Sea; the folk shrines of northern New Mexico. Last weekend, we became heirs to that broad human heritage--but with a twist: a community of queer men laying claim for ourselves and our tribe to that from which the keepers of so many of those traditions have attempted to exclude us.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Holy Hardness: a guest post from Robin Gorsline

The Rev. Dr.. Robin Gorsline identifies as a poet, Queer theologian, and spiritual activist and also serves as Writer-Theologian in Residence at a D.C. church. By his permission, his poem below is reblogged  from the wonderful blog site, www.gayshiva.tumblr.com. If Whitman hadn’t needed to practice at least a degree of understatement, I find myself wondering whether he might not have written something like this poem.

Holy Hardness

I woke this morning with a more or less hard-on.
It felt so good I kept it up during meditation
feeling as if God's real presence had settled in my cock
each stroke connecting to a breath, holding my little guy
between, and knowing that my body and my God are connected
in sacred erotic embrace.

Some may see blasphemy in this connection but I remember
Jesus, the Incarnate One, who when focused on healings
and teaching may have set aside his cock but I feel sure in those
quiet alone times away from companions and the world
he too found his hard, connecting with God and his sacred
body with the caresses that bring joy to me.

That early erotic energy continued throughout the day
as I, naked, sat writing and touching myself, feeling the high that comes
when I begin to point toward climax. But I did not want
to explode then, saving it for joy with my man.
I did begin to hope that this time, unlike so many others lately,
our lovemaking might result in the eruption of precious liquid love.

To bed we went that night, and oh how his mouth on my cock and mine on his
brought sweet electric sensations, rising exquisite pure yearning
giving hope that here, now, we, phallus and I, if we can truly be understood
as separate, might experience embodied communion. But it was not to be then, though
my man lay across me and thrust his member between my legs and
ejaculated Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Thank you God!

This old man did not despair, however, and with more pure organic coconut oil,
I lay gazing on the beauty of my man, stroking, stroking, up, down, up and down
the small but sturdy shaft went from fairly hard to less and back. Then I rose to stand
in front of the mirror to enjoy my own self-lovemaking and knew, oh I knew,
that with more vigorous strokes and a turn back to see the naked
languorous body of my beloved on the bed I would indeed favor the world
with divine liquid love of life--oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Thank you, my God!

It was holy communion then, embodied memory now a few hours past. I sit and type
and stroke and yet again give thanks to my parent God, and Jesus, and Holy Spirit,
grateful to have been created for this mystic sweet union, certain my beloved
and I were brought together for such a time as this, and more to come, yes, more cum.

I am called, we most are called, to such communion, divine eros joining bodies
in delight and ecstasy, it matters not the particular bodies, body parts, numbers,
or ways of joining, all are blessed because all are loved, God sharing
in the joy of orgasm as well as licking, sucking, fucking, kissing,
wondering why we carry so much shame about this holy gift.

So I write, a man now almost three score and ten, slower of gait
but still erect, even at times for my beloved, and when not so favored
I still know pleasure in touch and tongue--I swear so long as I live
I shall enjoy such holy hardness as it is mine to receive and share,
praising God with my upward and more often softer shaft.

It is not performance that counts, or even size, but faithfulness
to union with and through sacred eros, giving thanks to God.

Copyright Robin Gorsline 2016
Used by permission

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Green Man

Thanks to John Archibald, for sharing here his homage to the Lord of the Forest. John writes this:

"I love Greenmen. Such mysterious male energy. Must be those faces made only of leaves; that image invites a kind of primal reaction from the viewer. Weird, but it catches at you, as if reminding you of something you’d forgotten, long ago. Some of the medieval ones actually have roots growing out of their mouths. There was a shop in the gay neighborhood of Hillcrest in San Diego, called Column One, where over the years I found a number of Greenmen, orginally in an unpainted beige plaster, and have painted a number of them.

"I found as well a number of Greek gods here and there, which I’ve also painted. In the ancient world, practically all the statues were painted, with the larger, more important ones being made of molded sheets of ivory and gold, with semi-precious gems for eyes. They must have been amazing!"