Jesus is My Ken Doll (Sex and the Bible - A Comic Perspective Pt. 4)

            If the Bible is supposed to teach us what and what is not proper when it comes to sex, you’d have to say the person whose sexual behavior is considered least proper is....


            Jesus does not have sex.  In fact, to suggest such a thing or, way worse, depict it, is in some circles tantamount to publishing a Mohammed cartoon.  When “The Last Temptation of Christ” came out in 1988, a film that included a fantasy sequence of Jesus and Mary Magdalene passionately coupling, a theater in Paris was set on fire by ultra-conservative Christians and, as a result, 13 people were burned, 4 severely. 

            This awful thing apparently happened before the invention of international freedom-of-speech solidarity marches.  It would have been something, though, back in the day, to hear hundreds of thousands from all creeds and countries walking down the Champs-Élysées arm-in-arm shouting, “Je Suis Kazantzakis”! 

            Sex is the one big arena (or maybe the biggest of big arenas) where the popular question “What Would Jesus Do?” isn’t the least bit helpful.  At least for contemporary sensibilities and needs to know. 

             Jesus would never have sex.  Never ever.  Never ever ever ever ever ever.  Ever.

            Actually, Jesus may have had sex.  Chances are Jesus was married.  Most Jewish men of his time were.  Some say the "Wedding at Cana" account in John 2 is actually a scene from Jesus’ own nuptial celebration.  Could be.  Who knows?

            The point is, for the purposes of what scripture wanted to tell us about Jesus and his mission,  his life between the sheets was completely irrelevant, maybe even intentionally disregarded.

            Why would that be?  Is sex bad?  Well, in New Testament thinking, the answer would probably be "yes," but not for the reasons we're probably at present assuming.   

            To reiterate what I wrote in a previous blog (St. Paul Visits SCOTUS), Jesus was all about announcing and modeling The Kingdom of God -- beloved community whose most stunning and significant characteristic was that it had nothing to do with bloodlines, gender, class, appearance or anything else that might result from sexual activity (and its consequence, procreation).  The Kingdom of God is propagated by those born from above, not from…”down there.”  It doesn't at all matter where you come from, we're all a vital part of God's family!! 

            Don’t then dilute this liberating message with stories of actual baby-making the Son of Man may or may not have done. Or of behavior that may lead to the making of babies.

             In fact, the closest thing we find to a “romantic Jesus” in ancient Christian writing is in the gnostic document known as “The Gospel of Philip.” This is a text believed to have been written in the 3rd century AD but not discovered until 1945 in a cave near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt.  While the Gospel of Philip never made it into the New Testament canon (for any number of reasons), chances are it was sacred to the “Philip Community,” one of what seems to be many early Christian groups. 

             One of the stunning pronouncements in the Gospel of Philip is that Jesus considered Mary Magdalene his special “companion” and that he (according to the parchment) “loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her […].” [64]  D’oh!  Wouldn’t ya know it, just when we're going to learn where Jesus kissed her the next part of the page is either ripped away or completely illegible.  D'oh!!

             This acknowledgement of Mary's "companionship" with Jesus and her receipt of his kisses (wherever on her body they may be) form the basis of the celebrated claim made in Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” that from the beginning the Church, in the interest of preserving patriarchy, went to great lengths to cover up the fact that Jesus and Mary Magdalene scandalously promoted the "Sacred Feminine" by marrying, living as equals, and enjoying a healthy sex life. 

            However, if one reads the Gospel of Philip closely, they'll realize what Jesus and Mary are said to be doing, in their most intimate, climactic moment of ecstatic connection is…more like a Vulcan mind-meld.

            Even our much less salacious letters of Paul talk about how Christians are to greet one another with a kiss (2 Cor. 13:12; Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 1 Thess. 5:26).  We’re not talking about something leading up to heavy petting.  Rather, it’s a sharing of God’s breath, God's Spirit.

             In fact, before noting Jesus kissed Mary (on her whatever), the Gospel of Philip emphasizes...

            “The heavenly man has many more sons than the earthly man.  If the sons of Adam are many, although they die, how much more the sons of the perfect man, they who do not die but are always begotten.  … It is from being promised to the heavenly place that man receives nourishment […] him from the mouth.  And had the word gone out from that place it would be nourished from the mouth and it would become perfect.  For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth.  For this reason we also kiss one another.  We receive conception from the grace which is in one another.” [59

             I can't but help imagining a date night for Jesus and his “companion” Mary, might have consisted of an evening of passionate debate (as the Early Desert Fathers were wont to do) over a hypothetical conundrum, like “What would do if you saw a man commit a murder and he flees to your cell and when the police ask ‘Do you know where the murderer went?’ you can either lie or hand him over to killed?” Then the lovebirds walk along the Jordan as Jesus picks up a stick and says “How many ways is the Kingdom of God like this stick?"

             They brainstorm for an hour or two on that, and then it’s a few nibbles of bread and fish that fill them like a feast and off they go to the outskirts of town to enjoy prayer time with strangers.

            At the end of the evening, as Jesus leads Mary to the front of her tent, they look at one another and think the very same thing:          

            And then it's time for a smoke.