Once upon a time a heavily biased scholar published a work on the (scandalous) existence of a rite for same-sex union within the Christian tradition. And he was right.
Allow me to imagine your responses…
“D:< !!! WHAT THE HELL!”
It’s not a new topic, in fact, it’s quite old news… but apparently Huffington Post doesn’t think so, so I feel it might be time to address the whole thing again.
(My first reaction to the story:
“Huffpost wut r u doin?
What is The Rite:
First of all, this isn’t some old, secret, hidden thing. In fact, it is still used in some Eastern Christian communities (mostly in the Middle East), called adelphopoiesis.
It also has nothing to do with sex.
The rite is a “making of brothers/sisters,” meaning that through this rite one adopts someone else as their brother/sister. I’m not quite sure why this translates (in Huffington Post’s article, and the text which it makes reference to) to “the ordination of two women/men to the vocation of having sex with one another,” since sex between siblings (even adopted ones) is frowned upon by basically every society… but either way, that’s a misrepresentation, and a rather tragic one at that.
Why Does The Rite Exist:
This rite of making siblings exists for a pretty obvious purpose (at least to me), because Christian brotherhood/sisterhood is a good thing. There’s an old saying, “one Christian is no Christian.” Thus it makes sense that the Church would want to promote, and even bless God in thanksgiving for, true Christian friendship.
Why the Rite Was Suppressed:
Obviously (since very few of us had ever heard of this rite before the book on the subject became a source of much controversy) there has been a rather large scale suppression of the rite of making brothers. This is not because the Church was afraid that it was “a little too gay,” rather it was because it made civil courts into a NIGHTMARE.
The question of what to consider an “adopted brother” when it came to questions of legal issues (mostly inheritance) became a really serious problem, and thus, it was generally decided that it was better to just not have it, and since unlike marriage it wasn’t a sacrament, that was perfectly alright.
What Our Misunderstanding Says About Us:
Our collective freak-out over this simple, and frankly beautiful, ritual says something rather depressing about us. What kind of society can’t envision a serious and committed relationship between two people which does not involve sex?
A society who (first of all hasn’t read enough Foucault…and) has completely given into the self-objectification which requires us to think of our self, that which makes us what and who we are, in terms of only our sexual preferences/orientation.
The Making of Bros:
We are, in general, terrible at friendships, most especially men. However, this trend (started largely by the industrialization (can’t have those workers fraternizing too much…) and furthered by the generally hostile environment of the corporate hierarchy (you’ve seen “Mad Men”)) is starting to wane. We are a generation who can use the term “bromance” and to whom the ideas of a “bro code” and “broath” are not foreign. Who knows, perhaps we may someday (soon?) be mature enough both about sex and about friendships in general to bring back this (legal issues aside) wonderful piece of Christian heritage.