"Balancing faith and lifestyle choices". Mr. Big is one quarter of a Poly-fi quad. His column will focus on his current struggles to find balance between his chosen lifestyle and the faith he was taught to believe. Join him while he journeys the path of enlightenment.
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Christianity, polyamory, and sanity
According to the 2000 census, 76.5% of Americans consider themselves Christians. I would approximate from my limited view that only 10-15% of poly people feel that way. I would imagine that the majority of Poly-Christians are so liberal in their thinking that the more fundamental Christians would doubt that they are even in the same camp. I know that not all Christians know the same Jesus I know. Iím not sure of each personís salvation nor is it mine to know. I believe we are to share what we have learned so that we can each take the information and grow. Letís be willing to agree to disagree if we canít find the common ground. If everyone agreed with everything I believed then approximately six billion of us would be redundant.
I recently decided it was time to discuss our lifestyle choice with my parents. At some point, one wants to be transparent with the people closest to him. My father and I have since had several conversations concerning this matter. I was to a point where I did not want to lead two lives. In his 50ís, my father attended seminary. He is very fundamental in his thinking. Of course I knew when I approached him how he would react to our situation. When I want to discuss thought processes with someone, I find it is fruitless to talk to someone in complete agreement with me. If I felt otherwise, putting my thoughts and questions out in an environment like this would be a painful experience.
My father gave me a book to read from his library titled The Story of Christianity (vol I) by Justo L Gonzalez. The first statement to catch my eye was "The notion that we read the New Testament exactly as the early Christians did, without any weight of tradition coloring our interpretation, is an illusion. It is also a dangerous illusion, for it tends to absolutize our interpretation, confusing it with the word of God". I want to dig further into "absolutize our interpretation".
I remember our children being taught that salvation is as easy as ABC (accept, believe, confess). I wonder how many people were pushed away from Christ by believers with an ďabsolute interpretationĒ who wanted to tell them how to live. I imagine most people with that belief structure are shocked to find out that Christ wasnít a Caucasian or a Christian and He didnít speak in King Jamesís English.
With all the above as a backdrop, I was pleased to find a forum to share some of my discoveries as I continue to blend my worlds of being a fundamentally conservative Christian with being a quarter of a young poly-fi cohabitating cross-coupled quad. Iím a little afraid to use labels because I donít know if your definitions are the same as mine. I donít want to frighten/anger/provoke/etc you over a semantics argument.
Another benefit of this outlet is that I need an environment where I can ask questions in the course of my search. When I research any concerns or challenges in life, I generally find that problems either grow and their seriousness becomes very apparent as they are studied, or they diminish and lose their choke hold as they are scrutinized. Each of the challenges that I have faced in blending my belief structures has fallen in the second camp. They have lost their power over me.
I was recently sent a very long thread from another poly site where the original writer laid out his arguments on how the two worlds of Christianity and Polyamory were polar opposites. Many of the responses that came back were rapid, relentless, and angry. I hope I can ask questions and direct conversations in such a way to avoid such resentment. Based on these potential concerns, forgive me if this first column is nothing more than an introduction of myself and the first of many questions running through my mind creating questions that have stirred conflict between the two worlds I have chosen.
I presume we can agree that the high majority of Christians today are monogamous and that many of the patriarchs in the Old Testament of the Bible were Polygamist; a type of Polyamory if you will. Whether or not other poly family styles would have been written about if women had been considered equals is a question I will save for another day. How did this transition from a "poly society" to monogamistic come about? I would love to have more information and documentable sources. I have found a reference that this transition was brought about by Roman or Hellenistic influence on the Jews just prior to Christ. I do not know if polygamy was the norm or merely an acceptable family structure. One reference actually said that having multiple wives was limited to the few that could afford it.
I expect the reasons for my question are obvious. I was asked to write this column and accepted because many people have faced or will face this dilemma. I would hate to see anyone miss out on choices available to them for the wrong reasons. If the understanding of the transition is more readily available and it takes the direction I imagine it will, perhaps poly and Christianity wonít be as mutually exclusive as some make it out to be.
Mr. Big is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. He can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.
Mr. Big; July 16, 2006
folks have read this article.