“Shameless Desires” – 2019 Folsom Sunday Sermon

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“Shameless Desires” – 2019 Folsom Sunday Sermon

Folsom Sunday Sermon, September, 29, 2019 – MCC San Francisco
ReadingsLuke 10:1-11, 16-20 (NIV) & “Guilt, Desire and Love” by James Baldwin


Happy Folsom Sunday!!!

This past summer we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and of Metropolitan Community Churches!

And this weekend marks the 35th anniversary of Folsom Street Fair.

My first Folsom Event ever was Up Your Alley Street Fair 22 yrs ago

South of Market and Dore Alley were very different back then…

I recall seeing music videos popping up on MTV back in the 80s that depicting images of our “alternative lifestyles”

The Village People with “YMCA” and “In The Navy

Frankie Goes to Hollywood invited us to “Relax” – 2 versions of this music video (NSFW)

Culture Club asked “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”

Sylvester asking their listeners “Do You Wanna Funk?

And Bronski Beat sang about the plight of a “Small Town Boy

This music video depicts the plight of a young gay man who is beat up by fellow students because he comes on to one of them…

The police bring him home, is outed to his parents and must leave home…

From the song:

Mother will never understand why you had to leave

But the answers you seek will never be found at home

The love that you need will never be found at home

[Pause]

The love that you need will never be found at home

How many of us have heard or lived a similar story?

This is still very much an issue regarding our queer and trans youth today…

We have come so far since Stonewall….

and we still have much more work to do…

Will you pray with me?

<PRAYER>

Guilt and Desire are attempting to stare each other down –

Until Love came slouching along.

Some of us desire love…

Many of us desire love…

Most of us desire love…

Love for right now…

Love for tonight…

<singsong> Love for sale…Appetizing young love for sale…

Love for a lifetime…

Love for ever and ever and ever?

There are many ways we seek out love

And there are many things that keep us from love and our desires…

This past May, I taught a class “Embracing Your Desires” for the Leather community here in San Francisco.

We talked about the many influences on our desires.

Self-esteem tells us we aren’t worthy or deserving of our desires…

Body image can keep us disconnected from our desires…

Feelings of abandonment and loneliness can have a great impact on our desires…

James Baldwin tells us that Guilt keeps Desire from Love…

Shame is a kindred of guilt…

Guilt tells you that something you’ve done is bad

Shame tells you that you’re bad

Shame has told me many things to keep me from my desires and love….

Shame told me I was too fat, and I listened…

Shame told me I was too nelly, and I listened…

Shame told me I wasn’t smart enough, and I listened…

What has shame told you?

Too butch or not butch enough

Too old or too young

Not pretty enough, not handsome enough

Or just not sexy enough to be desired or loved.

We have heard many of these messages of shame from our families…

From our peers, our colleagues, bullies, the media, and society…

And especially from religion…

This programming of shame as social control helps to spread the continuation of patriarchy and gender conformity.

Culture affects how we view sex and the ‘normalization’ of heterosexuality promotes a socially preferred performance of sexuality.

Heteronormativity’ is the cultural bias in favor of opposite-sex relationships as the sexual norm, and against same-sex relationships.

A commonly held belief by many is that each person they meet is heterosexual – until proven otherwise.

The sexual phobias of the few affect the sexual freedom of the many.

This enforcement of heteronormative values upon sexual minorities has caused extensive damage to the emotional and spiritual health of the LGBTQ community.

Those who present something other than “normal” can become the recipients of ridicule and bullying for not being “normal.”

But what is normal?

In Justin Lehmiller’s book “Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Improve Your Sex Life”, (Amazon)

He outlines the results of his anonymous survey about the sexual fantasies of adults living in the United States… (published 2018)

4175 adults to be exact – ages eighteen and up –

I believe the oldest were in their 80s…

72% identified as heterosexual…The gender split was about fifty-fifty…

This was the largest survey on sexual desires & fantasies ever done in the US…

From this survey, Lehmiller was able to extract seven broader themes to account for the vast majority of the fantasies & desires submitted…

And they are, listed in rank…

  1. multipartner sex
  2. power, control, and rough sex – AKA BDSM
  3. novelty, adventure, and variety
  4. taboo and forbidden sex
  5. partner sharing and non-monogamous relationships
  6. passion and romance
  7. erotic flexibility – specifically, homoeroticism and gender-bending

Dr. Lehmiller defines all of these as “normal” desires and fantasies…

He defines ‘normal’ this way:

“As a scientist, saying that something is normal is basically the same as saying something is statistically common.”

In other words, a normal desire is one that a lot of other people have.

He’s calling fantasies and desires “normal” in a sense because they are “common”…

So, what really is normal?

It was sexologists who developed the categories of homosexual and heterosexual the late 1800s and early 1900s, respectively.

I find it interesting that the word homosexuality didn’t exist until the 1860s…

Modern people who use the Bible as a weapon are inserting this word into a text that was written thousands of years ago –

Millennia before the term homosexuality was even a concept…

They argument this is the reason for the sinfulness of our deviant sexuality and desires

In his book “Forging a Secret Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay“ –

Ed Oxford writes how it wasn’t until 1946 when the word homosexual was inserted into the Revised Standard Version of the bible.

And he also discusses the discovery that the translations of those Greek words were actually “boy molesters

No wonder Paul was against this practice.

The original translations of the text in Paul’s letters is about pederasty and his condemnation of this non-consensual, exploitive and demeaning practice by the Greco-Roman culture.

It’s about adult men using boys as sex objects and not about the consensual sex between two or more consenting adults.

Some Christian communities attempt to have members of the LGBTQ community believe they are sinful and unloved by God for their ‘lifestyle’ choices.

Liberation of the marginalized happens through a community of openness and inclusion, as was the ministry of Jesus.

A ‘radically inclusive’ community can be like a beacon of hope for those living on the edges of society,

It is a place for them to come and find acceptance and love.

In today’s scripture reading, Jesus sends out members of his beloved community to spread the message of peace and love…

These were humans from all parts of society…

From the lowly to the respected…

Jesus encouraged them to share his peace and love with others and if they accepted that peace, to bless them…

He also told them that if the towns and communities did not accept their peace…

To brush the town’s dust off their feet in protest…

As our transgender siblings did yesterday at the Trans Visibility March in Washington DC.

“Whoever rejects you, rejects me”, Jesus told them…

– there is nothing loving or peace-filled in those people…

I give you authority to tread over snakes and scorpions…

  • Also known as “haters” and “homophobes

Over all the power of the enemy…

And nothing will hurt you…

The power of the enemy is their internalize self-hatred and shame-filled lives they need to project upon others…

In my work on shame…

I invite people to explore the voices in their head that are telling them that their desires are shameful…

That their desires are bad…sinful…deviant…a mental illness…

Whose voices are they?

Parents?          Teachers?  A previous pastor?   Peers?            Siblings? The media?

Recognize that our internalize homophobia and self-hatred was planted there by someone else…

This shaming did not come from a place of love…

In her book “Our Tribe”, Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson writes about…

The sharing of ourselves sexually is to give and receive bodily hospitality

Hospitality can function as a metaphor for ethical sexual relating

Honoring self and others…

And through this, much healing can come from the ways we have been alienated from our bodies

Love was the message that Jesus taught those who followed him…

Love is the message that Jesus was trying to impart upon the world…

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams stated that…

God desires us, as if we were God.

We are created so that we may be caught up in this…

So that we may grow into the wholehearted love of God by learning that God loves us as God loves God.”  <Pause>

God desires us…

Finding the wholehearted love of God within us is through growing to love ourselves…

Our authentic selves…

Not the person our parents wanted us to be

Not the person our spouse, family or friends want us to be

The person God desires us to be… Authentic and wholehearted

Our sexual and kinky desires are not chosen, they’re intrinsic to who we are

We can choose which desires to act on and embrace them wholeheartedly…

Without feelings of shame or guilt or sinfulness

Embrace the fact that your love is authentic

And that your desires are normal…Amen

Daniel is currently a Hospice Chaplain with Vitas Healthcare (www.vitas.com) in Oakland, CA; Assistant Night Minister with San Francisco Night Ministry (www.sfnightministry.org); and Volunteer Clergy at Metropolitan Community Church San Francisco (www.mccsf.org).

About Rev. Daniel Borysewicz

Rev. Daniel Borysewicz is a progressive chaplain and spiritual leader seeking radical inclusion for all people; regardless of race, nationality, sexual or gender identity, or socio-economic class. Daniel works to provide solutions for problems that individuals have difficulty dealing with; shame and internalized homophobia and transphobia are some examples, and assists in connecting people with others for mutual benefit. Social justice is also an important part of his work. Daniel graduated from Pacific School of Religion, May 2013 with a MDiv and Certificate in Sexuality and Religion and is currently working as a Hospice Chaplain in Walnut Creek and an Assistant Night Minister in San Francisco.

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