Friday, August 23, 2013

Soul Sex

I wrote a post a while back reflecting on Ted Seeber's language in talking about sex. I didn't let him know mostly because there were already some very long conversations with him going on at Patheos and my aim was not to start one more but to reflect a little deeper on one aspect of it. Well the topic just didn't go away. Strangely enough, about 9 months later it seems to have given birth to something. Ted got a chance to read my post and seems gung ho to use my post ends with:
Really we need 2 words. One for good, Catholic sex that we want to use very positively. Then we need one for the opposite kind of sex. The sex that is not good enough and is therefore immoral. That can be a bigger challenge because you want to use this word negatively. You don't want to be insulting or judgmental but you do want to highlight a significant lacking in many sex acts that are not typically seen as lacking much. I am wondering whether to offer a suggestion. All I can think of right now is soul sex and soulless sex. There has to be something better.
Then Ted's response:
Oooh, I'm going to start using that. I wish I had found this last November.

Soul sex and Soulless sex- and the physical proof of that soul sex is 9 months later you have to give it a name and it won't leave until it's grown up and ready to get married itself.
Not sure where that will go but it should be an improvement over the language of rape that he has been using for quite a while now. I do think we need some good words to communicate the much misunderstood Catholic philosophy of sex.

There is another interesting fact. Micheal Sean Winters over at NCR wrote something on one line in the mass liturgy.  The word "soul" is part of the line and part of his reflection.
Our word “soul” does not capture the Latin word “anima.” And, our own word “soul” has now largely been displaced in our understanding of the human person by the word “mind,” as Edward Reed detailed in his extraordinary book of the same title, “From Soul to Mind: The Emergence of Psychology from Erasmus Darwin to William James,” a book that should be on every bookshelf.
“Anima” is our deepest self, our “I” if you will, which is why the previous English translation rendered the phrase “and I shall be healed.” But, “I” does not capture it either or, to put it differently, the “I” in the modern West has taken on its own trajectory and acquired a meaning that is too ridden with autonomy to capture what is meant by “anima.” "Anima" is something that unites the human race and the "I" is not understood that way. And, as noted, in the biblical passage, the phrase is “my servant shall be healed.” So, what are we to do? If there is no imperfect rendering of the word, let us at least try to excavate what is meant: In our deepest, darkest, most broken selves, the parts where we do not want to let the light shine, where we prefer not even to consider because it just hurts too much, Jesus can shine His light and bring healing. “My soul” or “I” is not the key, is it? The key is the healing.
Read the whole thing. It is very good. But the passage strikes me as getting at what we mean by Soul Sex. Something that really impacts us at a level that we don't even dare contemplate. That is so deep that only Jesus can get us into contact with that part of ourselves. Sex and marriage are powerful enough to let us connect with our spouse at that level. That connection is agape love which is the essence of God Himself. The same love that unites the 3 persons of the trinity into one God can unite man and woman into one flesh. That is soul sex. That is what we should be aiming for when we enter into the sexual embrace.

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