This is a line-for-line response to a vlog post I happened to stumble across by Brian G. Murphy, founder of QueerTheology.com. I understand this video may be quite controversial for most of my readers, and I’m sure my critique of it might garner an equal, if not greater, reaction.
His lines from the video will be in red, while my responses will be in black.
Jesus is polyamorous.
Yeah, you heard me right. Jesus is polyamorous. We know this already though, even if we don’t think about it or put it in those terms.
We don’t put it in those terms because it’s a complete misnomer. The terms do not fit. How did you come to that conclusion?
If you’re one of those Christians who believes in the importance of a ‘personal relationship with Jesus,’ well….. Jesus is having personal relationships with billions of other people, too.
I don’t disagree with you, there.
He’s kind of a ‘relationship slut.’
An empowered, reclaimed sort of slut.
Okay, I see where you’re going with how God’s omnipresence allows him to be in a relationship with many, but you lost me when you called Jesus a slut. Where I come from, we call that ‘blasphemy.’
Hey, there. I’m Brian G. Murphy. I’m one of the co-founders of QueerTheology.com, I’m a Christian, and I’m polyamorous. I’m also kind of a slut. The reclaimed, empowering kind of slut. Like Jesus.
Hi, Brian G. Murphy, I’m also a Christian, married but definitely not polyamorous. I also think your claim that Jesus is polyamorous is grossly misguided. But I’m also willing to hear you out and discuss your points.
Jesus’ polyamory goes beyond this ‘personal relationship’ idea though… it’s deeper. Biblical even.
In Ephesians 5, Paul specifically uses the word ‘marriage’ to describe Jesus’ relationship with us.
I think we’ve opened up a serious can of worms here. I’m not sure what English translation you’re using, but let’s look at verses 21 to 33 in the Revised Standard Version for greater context…
“21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
This is probably one of the most controversial passages in the Bible because it opens up the topic of traditional gender roles. But for the sake of remaining on topic, let’s focus on the ‘marriage’ portion. The key word here is ‘allegorical.’
Repeatedly, Paul reminds us that Jesus gave himself for us. Us. The Church, which Paul describes as ‘the whole body of believers.’ In this marriage, Jesus isn’t married to one person – he’s married to the entire body of believers.
Jesus is in a pansexual, polyamorous relationship with us. And so, of course Christians can be polyamorous. That’s a biblical model of relationship!
Now, let’s take a step back and observe your sentence.
To give credit where credit is due, I would agree with you that Jesus’ love for humanity is gender-blind. As Scripture mentions:
“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28 RSV
But to say it is a pansexual relationship is a complete misnomer. As Wikipedia.com words it:
“Pansexuality, or omnisexuality, is the sexual, romantic or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity. Pansexual people may refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are not determining factors in their romantic or sexual attraction to others.”
Scripture reveals that the biblical view of marriage between a man and a woman is allegorical to the relationship between Christ and the Church, as previously mentioned in Ephesians 5:24. The Bible also vehemently speaks out against Christians partaking in sexual relationships outside of the context of marriage. (Exodus 20:14; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).
Though open relationships have become more of a trend in the modern era, I’m aware some Christians are trying to normalize it. But that doesn’t come without severely twisting Scripture and exhaustive mental gymnastics. As Christians, we are called to be transformed by something that transcends the world’s trends and expectations (Romans 12:2).
We all recognize that God’s love for us isn’t diminished by God’s love for others.
And that each of us can have a unique, transcendent relationship with the divine.
Also true, but to an extent. Every person is made unique, which I’m sure you would agree with. But that doesn’t mean we can all take a relativistic approach to God’s commandments. Jesus specifically talks about entering through a narrow gate to gain life (Matthew 7:13-14). As a Catholic Christian, my relationship is nourished by receiving Jesus (Body, Blood and Soul) through the Eucharist. As far as life on earth is concerned, having a transcendent relationship with the divine doesn’t get any more intimate than that!
Our relationship with God can be a model for our romantic and sexual relationships as well.
It can be, I agree. But I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible where Jesus omnipresently goes around having sex with everybody.
You know how you feel when something good happens to someone you care about? When your friend, child, neighbour, or coworker connects with the divine?
Careful, Brian. Phrasing!
That’s how I feel when my friends date or meet someone new or are just head over heels for someone else. How beautiful, how majestic that they get to have more love in their lives? And how exciting that someone else gets to share in the amazingness of my partner?
Do you want STI’s, Brian? Because that’s how you get STI’s.
The word ‘polyamory’ comes from ‘poly’ and ‘amorous.’ Many loves. We all already have many loves.
Hello, Google dictionary.
The question that becomes: how do you express that love? With whom? How do you do life?
I’m glad you asked! We hear the popular phrase ‘Love is Love’ so often, but what does that even mean? There are four distinct types of love as defined by ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. They are also discussed by 20th-century Christian thinker C.S. Lewis in his book ‘The Four Loves.’
- Agape – an overall universal love for God and humanity.
- Eros – romantic, passionate, sexual or erotic love.
- Philia – shared goodwill and affection between platonic friends.
- Storge – familial love, pertaining to affection between parents and their children.
So, to address your opening statement, saying that Jesus is polyamorous would be to confuse agape with eros.
We want to help you sort through these questions: is polyamory for me? How do I share with my church community that I’m already in a polyamorous relationship? How do I talk with my partner about wanting an open relationship? How do I integrate polyamory with my faith?
If you call yourself a Christian and believe every word of the Bible to be true, integrating polyamory with your faith is like trying to mix oil and water together.
We see in Ephesians an understanding that marriage can be polyamorous.
That Jesus is polyamorous with us.
Also, no. See my above responses.
And so we know that it’s possible. Of course, we also see other types of relationships in scripture – some healthier than others.
Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon, all had many wives. There is no hiding from that. But the Bible states it as a mere fact that it happened. Many practices in ancient Jewish culture were adopted from pagan cultures, but it doesn’t mean the Bible condones the actual practice of polyamory.
And no one has to be polyamorous. But it’s one way of structuring relationships. And it can be a deeply faithful one. And so it is.
I can appreciate you saying it’s not a ‘have-to’ thing to agree with, but I think you’re trying too hard to appropriate Jesus into your own view of sexuality. From my understanding, the biblically orthodox definition of marriage only makes sense if God truly exists. If He doesn’t, then maybe pansexual polyamory wouldn’t be such a big deal. I can imagine why some individuals who aren’t religious might consider structuring their relationships as you’ve mentioned.
But since you and I are both Christians who do believe God exists, here we are. And since we’re on the topic of ‘marriage’ as an allegory to God’s relationship with humanity, let’s dig a little deeper…
I’m going to open up the beginning of Ephesians 5 — the very chapter you’ve cited:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
I don’t think this passage requires much commentary on my part, but I think it speaks for itself to both of us. In my own marriage, I am called to fidelity to my wife, just as I am called to fidelity to Christ. Dividing my love for my wife with someone else would be akin to serving two masters or two ‘gods.’ The first of the Ten Commandments says, ‘You shall have no other gods before me; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God (Exodus 20:3-5).’ You’ll never give 100 percent of your being to more than one partner, it’ll be more like 60/40 or 30/70. As mentioned in Matthew 6:24: you will either hate the one and love the other, or else you will hold to the one, and despise the other.
If you claim to be polyamorous, that’s your deal. But for the sake of your own integrity, don’t claim to be a Christian and polyamorous at the same time.