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Polyamory


Some people seem to have no jealousy; it's as if they didn't get that piece installed at the factory. Others, including some long-term polyamorists, feel jealousy, which they regard as a signal that something needs investigation and care, much as they would regard depression or pain. Jealousy is neither a proof of love (and this is where polyamory differs from possessive or insecure monogamy) nor a moral failing (and this is where polyamory differs from emotionally manipulating one's partner(s) into relationships for which they are not ready).

"Since a certain 'learning experience' I have felt strongly that I should never allow my relationship with a new person to be a tool used to avoid dealing with a 'broken' other relationship. In fact, one of the things I am most careful about is 'emotional spillover'; I have a policy of not spending intense time with other loves when there is something out of balance with one love. Naturally this tends to speed up the opening of negotiations about the difficulty. ;-) I think it's unfair to my loves to use the time I spend with them as a palliative when there's trouble elsewhere; it keeps me from doing the work I need to do, the work I agreed to do when I took on the reality of the relationship."

"There aren't polyamorous and monogamous people; there are polyamorous and monogamous relationships. The same person may at various times be happy in both monogamous and polyamorous relationships at various times in his/her life. What is right depends on you and your feelings, and the feelings of those you are involved in relationships with. You may at some times be involved in a relationship that is monogamous, and that may be the right thing for the people in that relationship; at other times, you may be in a relationship which works better as part of a polyamorous network of relationships. In any case, the important thing is probably to act kindly and responsibly, and to communicate clearly with intimate partners and potential partners about these issues. Don't deny your feelings or the feelings of those that you care about. Get in touch with how you and those you care about really feel, rather than how society wants you to feel, or how you think it would be logical to feel, or how you've been told polyamorous people (or monogamous people) should feel. Then behave in ways which are honest, and which make you, the people you care about, and the people they care about, happy and fulfilled. If this results in you having more than one intimate relationship at the same time, or being involved in a relationship with more than two people, those who are big on categorizing and labeling people will label you a 'poly person'."

Seriously, where is the PASSION in polyamorous relationships? I don't love my boyfriend because he has a set of attributes that fit my requirements...I love him because, apart from being a wonderful friend, he arouses a passion in me that can't be equaled. We have chemistry (History, Geography and damn near all of the subjects you can think of), we have also established a level of "intimacy" beyond just sex...Why would I happily accept him wanting to be with another woman for a couple of days a week? How is that different from him having an affair? And why on Earth would I want another man to touch ME, when I could be being touched by the person I love more than anyone else? Passion means you'd take a bullet for your lover, share your most private thoughts, give up your most treasured possession...Not that you'd allow him a couple of pages in your diary, on the days when you're NOT sucking another man's cock.

As for monogamy, Scott LaMont's comments quoted at the beginning of this article are pertinent, namely that nobody ever seems to have a biblical text handy to prove that monogamy is the highest form of human relationships or the only marital form sanctioned by God. The fact is that there is no biblical proof that monogamy was ever prescribed for the church as a whole. The only realistic text on the subject in the New Testament is 1 Timothy 3:4 (repeated in Titus 1:6) in which Paul exhorts church leaders to be "husbands of one wife." Debate has raged for centuries as to the meaning of this passage. The most likely meaning is that it is indeed an exhortation to the leaders of the particular local churches in question to be monogamous. It is likely that the purpose of this exhortation was to prevent scandal in churches whose largest membership was of Jewish origin at a time when polygamy had generally passed away among the Jews. Paul and Peter give exhortations regarding dress and head covering for women (1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 1Peter 3:3) for the likely purpose of encouraging Christian women to distinguish themselves from the common appearance of prostitutes of the day. In the same way the application of the Timothy and Titus passages is limited to the cultural and time setting of the day and the injunction cannot be construed as a blanket requirement for either leaders or laity beyond those contexts.

Many scriptures have been twisted in the history of the church in an attempt to prove a monogamous rule, but the interpretations do not stand up under serious scrutiny in their contexts. The classic example is Genesis 2:24, the text on leaving father and mother and cleaving to one's wife. This text is repeated various places in the New Testament, including by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6. In the first place, the Jews of the Old Testament never understood this text as prohibiting polygamy and it is never cited for this purpose in the Old Testament. No Jewish authority in history called for a ban on polygamy until 1040 AD, although for social and economic, not moral, reasons the practice had probably begun to disappear among the Jews during the captivities.

Jesus' use of the passage in Matthew 19 is in the context of a exhorting the Jews regarding their careless practices of divorce (see verses 7-9) and has no application to the question of monogamy.

One of the errors in the attempt to support monogamy from this passage has been to take the reference to "one" flesh as a numerical reference and therefore as meaning that each person shall have only "one" mate. But this interpretation is completely off the point of the text. The reference is not to numerical oneness but to the unitary oneness of Adam and Eve. The interpretation and application of this text elsewhere in Scripture must follow this meaning and, indeed, that is what we find in the New Testament. In particular, the well-known teaching about marriage by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5 quotes this same Genesis passage and clearly shows that the unitary sense was understood by Paul. Greek lexicons also support this meaning of the Greek word for "one" in the Matthew passage and in other places where the Genesis passage is quoted in the New Testament.

In summary, there is no support for the notion of monogamy in Genesis 2:24 or in any text in which this one is discussed, for it is true that a person can certainly be in meaningful union, emotionally, spiritually and sexually with more than one mate.

Introduction: Another Christian's Pilgrimage
While planning a new article on sex and Christianity for this newsletter, I came across an article by Scott LaMont printed in "Loving More" magazine's Winter '96 issue. Scott, also a supporter of Liberated Christians, describes himself as a conservative, evangelical Christian who had been interested in poly relationships for years before and during his marriage. Eventually he began to research these issues to determine whether what the church had always taught him was true.

He says: "I had always been assured that in the new covenant, Jesus had abolished polygamy, but nobody ever had the verse handy."

He continues: " I looked up everything Jesus had to say about marriage--but I still could not find anything about monogamy or polygamy. Well, maybe it wasn't Jesus, maybe old sex-negative Paul? No dice. None of the other Apostles either. Perhaps one of the prophets at the end of the old testament era? Nothing..."

"So now I had established that Jesus had not outlawed polygamy, nor had anyone else in the biblical era. I had also found a whole bunch of other stuff that indicated that I had been misled during all of my church life with regard to what the Bible had to teach about human sexuality."


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