Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Husband the Jedi

Recently, Göran joined the Temple of the Jedi Order.

Before trying to explain what this is, I need to explain what it isn't. It isn't a Star Wars fan club. It isn't a role-playing game. It isn't a joke.

It is an effort to build a spiritual community, using the heroic image of the Jedi Knights developed in George Lucas' Star Wars series as a model for personal spiritual development. In developing the Star Wars stories, George Lucas himself drew on the thinking and writing of Joseph Campbell, an American mythology professor who has studied all of the major religious traditions and reflected deeply on the relationship between myth and psyche. So it is no coincidence that powerful spiritual themes were developed in the Star Wars saga, and not entirely unlikely that fans of the films might feel moved to use them as a springboard for personal spiritual growth.

You don't have to leave whatever religion you belong to in order to join the Temple of the Jedi Order. In fact, they encourage you to be faithful to whatever religious tradition you belong to. Nor do they exclude people based on religious affiliation. They even let Mormons join! Nor is affiliation with any religion required. It is apparently also possible to be an "Orthodox Jedi," though so far only one person has volunteered for that since, Göran tells me, it requires a vow of total poverty.

Some of the principles of the Temple of the Jedi Order emphasize the sanctity of every human being, regardless of outward characteristics such as gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, etc.; renunciation of torture and all forms of cruelty; democracy, freedom and self-determination as basic governing principles for all human order; tolerance in relation to others who believe differently from yourself; embracing the spiritual values taught in all of the major religions of the world; and striving within whichever religious tradition you belong to, to correct error and promote the highest good.

To be a Jedi, you must "Believe in the Force and its power. A Jedi is devoted to the Force."

Now I know some of you are rolling your eyes and saying, "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." But I knew this thing was for real when, a couple of Sundays ago, our pastor at Lyndale United Church of Christ preached a sermon on spiritual discipline (incorporating daily prayer, scripture study, meditation and fasting into our personal lives), and Göran sat up and actually got excited about the sermon. After the service, he approached Pastor Don and actually wanted to discuss it more with him, something I've never seen him do. But the day I really knew something was up was when he told me, "I guess it's OK that you are a Mormon. The Force teaches respect for the many different ways back to the One." Wow. That almost brought a tear to my eye.

Göran has been taking karate lessons for years. He's serious about it, not just as a discipline for the body, but as a discipline for the soul. Now the Jedi are giving him a structure for spiritual discipline. Yesterday he was excited because he had been contacted by a Jedi master living in Germany. He had taken note of some of the generosity and conciliatory spirit in Göran's on-line interactions with members of the community. Would Göran consider, he asked, becoming a padawan?

Göran felt that before saying yes, he needed to come clean about the fact that he was gay. The master who contacted him is a Christian, and Göran wanted to make sure he was OK with the fact that Göran and I have been in a relationship for fifteen years. There was a bit of suspense waiting for the response. This was as much a test of the Jedi Order as it was of Göran. Soon, however, the answer came back. "No problem," was the response, "It does not matter who you love, just that you love."

Now, to paraphrase Obi Wan, my honey pie is taking his first steps into a larger world.


GeckoMan said...

Okay, okay, it's all good, but does he get a light sword?!

Please convey to Goran my best wishes and admiration for his journey into spiritual discipline, aligning with The Force.

I would like to join him. Maybe not as a Jedi Knight, but as a fellow brother who needs to practice a more rigorous discipline (if I can ever stop bobbing up and down).

J G-W said...

As a matter of fact, another member of the Temple makes custom light saber hilts, and has agreed to make one based on Göran's own design. (He makes them so that you can insert a colored plastic tube, and use it in actual light saber duels!)

Of course, we have the fancy store-bought light sabers that look really cool and realistic (one of them pictured in my post).

Mine is of course the red light saber of the dark side.

Becky and Joseph said...

yeah they wouldn't let me join the order either. I make Darth vader look like a pansy. Give goran our love.
cant wait to see you guys.

playasinmar said...

[the following comment is for your next post for which I can't seem to find the "comment" button]

"Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief." -Joseph Addison

Anonymous said...

it is an honor to have you at the Temple. i give positive energy to you for your path to be always clear and in the Light. if i may be of any service or help in any way, you have only to ask.

i would also like to ask becky and joseph about the comment posted here "yeah they wouldn't let me join the order either" ?? we welcome all, even sith. we have several "Rites" and one is the Sith Rite. it may be that you went to a different site?, as we do welcome all. as long as the Temple rules regarding posting on the forums are adhered too, then usually there are no problems. we welcome different opinions and concepts, as it spawns new thought, new learning. to all who wish to find out for themselves please stop by at templeofthejediorder.org
Arch-Bishop Bylar of the Pure Land Jedi Rite

J G-W said...

Arch-bishop Bylar - thanks for reading my post, and thanks for your kind wishes.

I think my little brother Joe's post was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Trust me, I know the guy. If he were to join the Order, he would definitely want to be a Jedi of the Light, as would I.

Nevertheless, I heartily agree with your approach of welcoming all, regardless of their philosophical perspectives, and trusting the Force to guide people in the path they must go.

May the Force be with you also!

J G-W said...

My sweetie pie informs me that I prematurely announced that he is beginning training as a padawan. This has not yet been determined yet, so I've edited this essay accordingly.