I’ve been talking to a Gay Guy for a few months now. He’s Jewish, Chabadnic, gorgeous (amazing six pack, he works out constantly). He has a daughter from when he was trying to live a straight life style (he goes back and forth between being bisexual and homosexual, since I’ve met him) and he wants to meet me the next time I’m free in NYC: the problem is that I’ve come to find (after talking to him on the phone tonight) that I think that he wants to do the Jewish version of ‘witnessing’ where you attempt to make a fellow Jew “more religious” which I find just a little more than annoying.
The problem is, that we read the same book (essentially) and our individual understandings of it are so vastly different that I’m not sure what he thinks he’s going to be able to accomplish by speaking with me (if it’s with the intent that I believe he has).
I can’t be described as Conservative, or Reform or Reconstructionist at this point…there’s parts of each that I like and parts of each that I dislike, and I’m also a fan of Jesus; I don’t believe he’s God, or the son of God, or that he rose after death…I do think, however, that he was an amazing human being who inspired countless, that he deserves our respect and that we’d all do well to listen to what he had to say.
He believes that only Rabbis understand God and know God and it’s our job to listen to them and follow them blindly. This isn’t something that I can accept for myself: I know God, I have felt him in love, I have felt him in the heart beat of another man as I’ve laid on his chest, I have felt him when I thought I was standing alone when I stared down hate in an alley on my way home as three men moved in to intimidate and accost me, and I have felt him when I came up against the Klan on the High Holy Days, I have felt him when I fell at my Grandfathers grave in mourning and when I was at the Western Wall beating my chest with my fist in public admission of transgression…I have felt him when I have had to walk a dangerous path, and I take that deep breathe before I take the first step…I don’t need a rabbi to tell me what life is about: that’s why I have one, to figure it out for myself. I also reject the implication that I’m not smart enough to study something and figure it out on my own.
I can’t agree, or accept, or even recognize any religion that asks you to lie, to deny who you are, that says no to love and that because a man and a woman can make a child then that’s the only option and that you should struggle against yourself and who you are when there are so many struggles out there that are actually valid and important (like the struggles against hunger, war, famine, poverty and hate): that, for me isn’t God…it’s the Antithesis…why would I ever hold the beliefs of a religion that would seek to deny my existence?
He keeps telling me that he was just like me, in the same way that the sixty year olds at the bar do when you turn them down when they offer to pay you $20.00 for a handjob…or the same way the know-it-all does when she tells you that she has all the answers despite the fact that her life is a total mess, and the problem is that I’ve never found anything but comfort, and hope, and acceptance from my interpretation of God. I’ve never found anything but inspiration; and there’s a certain feeling that wells in your chest that I can only call “Praise” when you get the message and you cry out in jubilation because you feel a presence, a feeling in your heart and when on Simchat Torah you dance with the torah held tightly in your arms, pressed up close to your chest in circles surrounded by your community, dancing with the crown of our people.
And I’m sick and tired of people saying “lie with a man like a man lies with a woman” because no Gay man does…we lie with a man like a man lies with a man not as a man lies with a woman…and apparently no one has read about what actually took place at Sodom and Gomorra, because if they did then they’d know that the whole thing was actually about rape and selling your daughters, the butt sex was really the least of the story…Cliff notes didn’t work in English class and they don’t work for Religion either.
He had many issues with his homosexuality and coming out…I didn’t. My only issue was that I was confused and didn’t know what to call how I felt, and I had so much mis-information that I thought I was supposed to date women and jerk off to guys…I lived in a bubble and rapidly expanded my horizons in the West Village of NYC as I began to discover that there were other options…I have never, for a moment, ever wished to be straight…I’ve often, in my prayers, said that if I had to live this life over again, I’d like to be Gay again…and I’ve also made mention to whatever higher power exists that being a bottom is great and has worked out very well so far, so no need to fix what isn’t broken…so I’m not sure how he thinks that we’re so incredibly similar.
It’s these kinds of movements, and many others in the Jewish Community that I just don’t understand and I think that the thing that upsets me most, is that because they drape themselves in Tefillin and wear a Yarmulke and grow a beard that people who aren’t Jewish think that they’re the religious sects…those are material things and are one way of expressing faith…but there are many other manifestations of faith…pouring soup at a soup kitchen or into the mouth of someone who is sick, massaging a person who has AIDS as they die in a Hospice to provide them with comfort (physical, and emotional because someone is finally brave enough to give them human contact), shouting in the woods until your primordial voice is heard, playing music on a piano are all equally as valid as ways of expressing your feelings, your praise, your prayers for and to God. If you can’t speak, or you don’t know how to pray then fall to your knees and cry: God will interpret the tears and know what you want to tell him. Their notion that God would ignore prayers from others because they don’t reference a supreme being in the right name or don’t dress the way that someone thinks they should is beyond asinine…and just because these people who are purporting to be religious wear beards and tzitzis and wrap tefillin doesn’t make them religious, or pious…for many whom I’ve known to be rapists, pedophiles, liars, cheats, and thieves it just makes them posers. Not everyone who looks like they’ve just walked out of 19th century Poland is a Rabbi or well educated.
I’m also against the whole “conversion” process, in many respects (I think the education is necessary): however, do you feel God in your heart? Then welcome home! if God is ready to accept us whenever we are ready to turn to him, whenever we are ready to turn from wickedness, from evil, from hate then there can be no intermediary, no gatekeeper…Jews have a very close relation to God, Secular and Non-Secular alike…almost every Jew I’ve ever met has a running conversation of some sort with the divine on, pretty much, a daily basis in our heads as we go about our day…you don’t need permission of clergy to open your mouth or your heart and talk to God. (some) Rabbis are great people, admittedly, and wonderful leaders in their respective communities and some do good, if not amazing, work…but at the end of the day, they’re humans, who got a degree and are working a job and have the same faults all the rest of us do.
I am Jewish…I just have no idea if I even fit into any branch at this point in time, and I’m slightly disappointed that someone who I wanted to get to know (on a purely friendly level – he has a kid, a career, and a permanent apartment in NYC that he plans on staying in for another 29 years – and I’m just starting my Journey) doesn’t want to get to know me, but wants to try and ‘save me’ and get me to Join Chabad (and worship their dead Rabbi instead of God)…and since we don’t have hell anyway, I don’t know why he is fearful. I do not fear God as I would fear an abusive boyfriend…I love him in all the ways that he manifests himself: from beautiful mountains, to sunsets, to laughter to curling up in the arms of a lover.
Something about our conversation last night just bothered me.
I board the plane in a little less than twenty minutes for New York City.