Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Gay Whore of Babylon

In this dream, Göran and I were at a big party.

The person who invited us was our lover. At the party I recognized many friends there, as well as prominent members of the Twin Cities gay community. In fact, everybody in the gay community of the Twin Cities was invited and was there, and they were all his lovers. The party we had been invited to was his birthday party.

The residence of our host, where the party was being held, was an enormous and luxurious penthouse at the top of a skyscraper. There was a spectacular view of the entire city surrounding us, visible through picture windows that went all the way around the apartment. At the very center of the apartment was our host's bed. The bed was huge, big enough to accommodate twenty people at once.

Our host was young and extremely attractive and popular and had been born into wealth and privilege. He had received every advantage in life from the time of his birth. Göran and I asked him if he would commit to us and come live with us, but refused to give us an answer. Later I overheard a conversation between him and his mother, and he explained to his mother that as long as he could have sex with whomever he wanted, whenever he wanted, he had no desire to settle down with anyone. At that point, I realized something needed to be done.

I began talking to people at the party, and told them that we needed to demand commitment from him, and tell him that without it, we would no longer have sex with him. I organized a protest in which we all took shovelfuls of dirt and threw them onto his bed. I spoke with a prominent member of the Twin Cities Gay Community, and together we convinced people that when it came time to raise toasts to our host, that instead of toasting him we would each confront him and challenge behavior he had engaged in that was hurtful. That is what they did. One after another, guests began to tell our host that they had invited him to join them at their Christmas parties year after year, but he had refused to come celebrate Christmas with them. He never celebrated Christmas with anyone.

After this "intervention," I showed a video tape of the earlier protest when people had thrown shovelfuls of dirt on his bed. From the camera angle of the video, his bed looked long and rectangular, like a grave, and the shovelfuls of dirt flying onto the bed looked like dirt being tossed into a grave.

Until this moment, our host had seemed oblivious to our protests and our confrontations, but when he saw the video he became angry. He seemed very upset, not because he felt bad about his behavior, but because he realized we were all going to stop having sex with him. He announced that the party was over and he was throwing everyone out of his house.

As I was getting ready to leave, I overheard someone saying that he had every intention of continuing his behavior, but now he wanted revenge against certain trouble makers, namely those of his former lovers who were "religious." He had a giant bulletin board on one of the walls of his apartment that looked like the giant departure/arrival sign at an airport. On the board were the names of everyone he had ever had sex with. Next to the names of those he wanted revenge against was the letter "R."

*****

This dream was striking in its parallels with imagery of the Book of Revelation, but translated into a setting distinctly more familiar to me, and with a few Book of Mormon images thrown in. Instead of Rome, the location is Minneapolis/St. Paul. The great and spacious building in my dream looked suspiciously similar to Minneapolis' tallest building, the IDS Center.

The "host of the party" is the world. As in the Book of Revelation, "having sex" in this dream is "commerce." It's the devil's pact we all make in order to live in the world. And what is the world but acquiescence in the social pacts that leave the poor to starve and that deny love for the sake of power? Or even merely for respectability? The world is the conventions whereby we exchange that which is of greatest value for convenience. The world is compliance to the standards dictated by idle privilege. It is the unwillingness to be bothered to alleviate suffering.

At the end of my dream, the gay whore of Babylon has not given up, he's just trying to divide and conquer, biding his time to see whom he can buy off. I have often felt that the gay community is now at the same crossroads as every community that has faced marginalization and rejection. Will we learn our lessons?

The movement of the dream was one of repentance. The unmasking of true intentions, defiance of corruption, the rejection of business as usual. It is interesting to me that in Revelation, the Saints' only role in the unfolding of the final drama is to refuse to be marked, to prefer starvation to injustice, and to suffer affliction as they wait for salvation. The birth of the new world calls not for revolution, but patience. If we don't understand that the only battle we can ever fight is in our own hearts, we soon end up back in bed with the beast.

5 comments:

Reuben said...

Your dreams are so vivid!

J G-W said...

This one was vivid all right. The good ones always give me something to think about for days after I have them. I find myself thinking over the imagery again and again.

It used to be it took me a while to figure out what they meant. But after three and a half years of writing them down and interpreting them, sometimes now the meaning is clear to me almost from the moment I wake up.

TH said...

Dear Young Stranger:

This is a very thought-provoking post, full of symbolism and metaphor as you have mentioned. I wanted to comment on the point you made regarding the response of the gay communities that were like the man in the dream seeking to exact revenge. It seems to me that when people who have been put into victim roles gain power, sometimes they use that power to get back at those who denied them the power, rather than using the power to restore something better. We see this a lot in political situations...one party loses favor, then gains power again and goes after the other party. We see it in race relations. And we see it with gays. In my experience, sometimes, because of social and cultural constraints, people are forced to choose between groups in where they will place their loyalty, even if part of them fits with one group and another part fits with the other group. It is difficult to find and honor integrity in situations like that. I think there is a big avenue for "ministry" or "service" in transcending the victim/perp cycle. Thanks for your post.

J G-W said...

Thanks for the comment, TH.

I was just reading a very interesting article about the Twilight series, that was discussing the fact that the quality of "transcendence," achieved through self-control is one of the least appreciated virtues in our culture. The author of the article loves the Twilight series because it is one of the few very popular movie/book series to explore this virtue in a positive way.

It seems to me that that is precisely the virtue we all need in order to avoid the cycle of victimization/revenge you're talking about.

TH said...

Good point. Even that can be used to hurt others though, such as saying that those who are gay should not act gay and that they should have self control. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit, but so is love and joy. Knowing yourself and paying attention to how God leads is, I think the best way to be true to yourself and your calling...whatever that looks like.