Why Are Polyamorists Mostly White?
This was the topic of a forum I participated in after someone used the following intro I wrote for a black poly group as a lead in for the discussion:
“So you are African American and you never heard of Poly? That is really no surprise. The closest thing that most people in the black community can think of when you mention poly is deliberate man-sharing, swinging, or some of the freaky stuff that goes on at frat parties. Other than that, the image of Mormons or hippie white people generally comes to mind. Though poly is a historic tradition dating back thousands of years and still practiced in 80% of world cultures, the “western” version called “polyamory” is a lot more liberal than the origins. The origin of poly was to maintain large, strong tribal families that could fend for themselves and defend against a common enemy. This required sons as warriors and hunters and women as caretakers. Without the advantages of modern conveniences, a woman with child was a lost worker so it was only practical to have more than one spouse since a man had to hunt and gather and could not take a day off. Of course between the abuses of this system and modern conveniences, many do not see poly as truly practical anymore. What has remained are versions of poly where people just agree to be sexually open to each other, and a traditional poly where people have their spiritual reasons for choosing to live this way. The generic term of polyamory can include all combinations of reasons and genders. The truth is, many of us live some form of poly even if we don’t see it to admit it. In the black community we see it with a man who has children by multiple women who is often still cared for by each mother. What we call a “playa” and the women who accept his ways is also a form of poly. The same can be said of a man who accepts a woman who is with more than one man like anyone who dates a married woman. The only difference between it all is the degree of honesty.”
After discovering that my writings were being referenced but there was no African American voice in the discussion, I weighed in with the following:
Speaking from the minority standpoint and having dealt with these issues as both a journalist, broadcaster, and lecturer, here is some food for thought:
1. I have found that most people in the black community are not big on labels. It has nothing to do with being in the closet. Black people can never be in the closet. Gays can lie about being gay. Other ethnicities can even change their last names to come across as white. But there is no hiding being black so there is no absence of bigotry in the daily lives of blacks. Therefore taking on another label that invites further bigotry is far from the minds of blacks.
2. Polyamory is not a “cause” for blacks. It is hard enough just being black sometimes. Poly terminology and the sermonizing that goes on in poly communities is not appealing to blacks, many of whom practiced poly long before white folks gave it a name. I saw it in many incarnations growing up.
3. Blacks generally fall into three camps regarding open relationships: Open Players who make no secret of their predatory sexual lifestyle. Monogamous swingers who couple into committed relationships and play with each other and share a common cultural camaraderie which they do not wish to share with a general poly community. And Baby Daddies and Mommies who share common interests in children by multiple partners which constitutes a tacit societal endorsement of poly that is tolerated as long as the children are financially supported.
In many cases the mothers know each other and are even friends in the same neighborhood. Since most of these practices were born out of the common segregated black experience, the only whites that are usually involved are the ones who have either joined with a black male or are immersed within the black community.
4. Toleration of alternative lifestyles in the black family is usually conditional upon you not becoming an overt embarrassment to your family. The black community, because of its racial experience in this country, tends to wash and air its laundry internally. On the family level, there is much more tolerance than people realize, but if you draw negative societal attention to the community by being too way out there, you are seen as setting back the greater issue of civil rights.
5. Most blacks do not feel as though they need labels and organizations to validate who or what they are, the only exception really being civil rights organizations which have even diminished in membership. For many, such choices are intimate and personal. You will only know by getting to know the person.
(Apparently someone in the discussion brought up the use of the generic term “white culture” which set off a few people who wanted to proclaim that there was no such animal- to which I addressed that subject as well.)
Oh and I got a great kick out of those who want to debate the use of the term white culture. It originated out or the nation’s segregated history and although later generations have departed from much of it, much of its founding principles are still very much practiced in how power and economics are distributed today. A lynch mob, for instance, was a product of white culture. There were no blacks with picnic baskets and their children watching these spectacles. Native Americans and others commonly use similar terms as an expression of things that were experiences introduced from outside influences and yes it has been a historically permeated mindset for anyone who studies history notwithstanding progress, the internal use of the term has legitimacy.
For whom did all the “Whites Only” signs exist? This during the same period that we glorify as the good ole days when we start dancing to John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. I love the musical Grease but there is hardly a 50’s movie out there that is historically accurate. That is why so many people think such things are ancient history. Some of those signs still existed in my northern town when my older siblings were little. But you couldn’t tell it by watching a movie. Little wonder why there is still so much misunderstanding. Unless your family was negatively impacted by history, you generally have no reason to understand such things.
And therein lay, with no disrespect intended in my choice of words, a true ignorance of history. While I do agree in point to the sentiment of your words, please educate yourself a bit more as to why it is nearly impossible for the great majority of Americans of African descent to even know from whence they originated. There is a huge cultural difference between being overrun by war and being bred like cattle with every semblance of original language, religion, mores and such beaten out of you then forced into illiteracy and worship of a God foreign to you, and homogenized into a subhuman class bereft of continuity to those centuries old traditions that help to contribute to such a grand experiment as the United States. You can’t just break up families for hundreds of years and force feed foreign Gods and moralities onto a mass of people and there not be ramifications.
With African Americans you are dealing with the youngest most unique culture on the face of the earth because the clock was reset the moment these slaves were disconnected from their cultural history. Take the German out of Germans. The Pole out of Polish. The Brit out of British and so on.
Institute selective breeding regardless of the same social or moral standards by which you live and without regard to the importance of the innate lessons of historical continuity and character and values that each unique culture has learned. Then prove the hypocrisy of your own teaching by raping and breeding with the same and being dismissive of your progeny. Set them free and you’d have a screwed up “white” culture of European descent of equal disarray to what the black community has experienced.
I didn’t want to digress in this direction and I had hoped someone would have not gone there because there is so much that is not thought about on both sides of this issue. Many have talked about education and economic opportunity but all miss the point.
Have you ever even wondered why everyone else can can identify themself as an American of a particular country’s descent and I have to identify myself by a whole freakin continent? I mean the African American culture is probably more homogeneous than the great American Melting Pot but for all the wrong reasons.
You can cite wars, battles, and conquering that nations have done to try to be dismissive of the singular importance of such history to you, however, until you are able to recognize that you are dealing with a UNIQUE and NEW world culture with all the accouterments of adolescence, you are kidding yourself in trying to compare. I say this as an African American who has to deal with these issues myself.
Those of us who have arrived at some level of understanding of it all become mutual targets of non-black and black because none of you know what it is like to dig out of such a hole until you do it. Some of you are right on target. Embrace and empower the enlightened blacks to be able to make a difference. And I am not talking about your Al Sharptons and Jessie Jacksons. But mostly, stop over intellectualizing and listen to the black people around you who are poly. You might just learn something.
All Rights Reserved. NeoBlaqness.com
THE POLY LETTERS PART 1
This was a response written to a white gentleman in an online Poly Forum who started a topic entitled “Why Christians Cannot Call Themselves Poly”. Since he was a self proclaimed atheist and quite a learned and intelligent man, there was a need for my response to be equally as poignant. This is part one of my response which first laid the groundwork of biblical poly history and beliefs. Suffice to say, there was quite an audience for this exchange. The following responses to him are not entirely representative of my personal beliefs, but as a theological scholar and former instructor of humanities and world religions, I tried to reply within the context of the history of Christian theology, notwithstanding that there would still be those who claim the label who would object to my observations. Regardless, it made for a lively discussion :
No matter what our beliefs are, I have found that real truth lies in how you practice what you believe and how you treat others who are different from you. Your life is your greatest witness and testimony to whatever values or God you serve.
I caught Pat Robertson’s show a few years ago and it was so funny when he was asked the question on his TV show and the shock of the staff when he said that while plural marriage is illegal in America and not acceptable in western culture, he saw no scripture against it though he knows he does not have the make up to ever be in such a relationship, he respects his brethren who are and prays more so for them.
What you need to understand first is what marriage is within the literal context of Judeo Christian history. Marriage is a consummated union between a man and a woman. That means, regardless of whether you take vows, you are married to whomever you sleep with. So there is no such thing as “pre-marital sex”. For strict constructionist believers, in God’s eyes, you married that person the moment you had sex. Lord knows most of us have quite a few wives or husbands out there. In Christian terms, the sin of FORNICATION is sex with the deliberate intent of disregarding the principle that doing so consummates marriage.
Under Judeo Christian cultural and religious history, the sin of ADULTERY can only occur between a married woman and a man who is not her husband. Jesus addressed a woman in John 4: 16: “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17: The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” Polygyny, is the only historical Biblical standard for multiple marriage unions and it involves a man who takes on more than one wife. I am not stating this as a belief or an opinion. It is a historical fact no matter what preacher tells you differently. It’s up to the individual to determine in their spirit what works for them.
So let’s review. Under Judeo Christian cultural and religious history, if you sleep with a woman you don’t plan to keep as a wife or she rebuffs you as a husband, the sex act is the sin of fornication. Under these same rules, a woman is forbidden to sleep with another man so long as her husband lives unless he divorces her. If she does sleep with another man, she commits adultery and he is then free to divorce her. However, since polygyny was never spiritually repealed such that it qualified as a sin (which under Christian Doctrine would be impossible because the same doctrine says that God does not change His mind), despite western laws and sociological rejection, a married man who sleeps with an unmarried woman does not commit adultery because he is free to take on another wife. If the woman is married, the man and she commit adultery. Or if she is not married and he sleeps with her with no intent of marriage but only for his pleasure, he commits fornication- not adultery.
In the purist of Biblical context, a man is free to sexually consummate marriage with another single woman so long as he cares for her as his wife. Again, this is something that western culture frowns upon and it has manifested itself as revisionist church doctrine but a man who professes Christianity is Biblically free to take on another spouse. This may not be popular or viewed as sexist or unfair but those are the Biblical facts.
As for sexual antics in the bedroom. The Bible advises you not to really get into that discussion with others- Christian or not. Heb:13:4 states: “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.” Just like the sacredness of prayer, as discussed in the New Testament as something that should be done in secret and not as open as is commonly practiced heretic-ally in many churches, the bedroom is a sacred place of oneness for you and your wife(s). What you share there for your own pleasure is precious and private and intimate. If you want to add kinky, dirty, and nasty to the mix, my only statement would be that there are some things that should remain between you, your wife(s), and God because they aren’t meant for others to know, judge, or understand. That you enjoy such intense passion and freedom of expression between you is a blessing.
In strict theological terms, the primary purpose of human sexuality is procreation. However, in those same constructs, people are also given the ability to experience free and unencumbered pleasure within the context of a marital union where everyone spiritually becomes “one flesh.” Now let me divert into something that is strictly MY belief: It is my humble belief that persons of one flesh no longer have gender when it comes to pleasure within the context of a marriage and that while homosexuality, under a strict historical interpretation of Christianity, is viewed as an abomination to God because it cannot fulfill the law of procreation and, thus, under Christian theology, can never count for marriage, there is no such animal within a marriage that includes both genders of any combination since marriage constitutes one-ness of those who are bonded. There is nothing to be called a sin as there is only one flesh- be it two, be it three, be it four people- there is only one. Under Judeo Christian religious and cultural history, such a sin can only exist in a non-marital relationship and falls under fornication.
Further, Christian theology indicates that gender and the ability to procreate is unique to humanity above all other known sentient creation and that once the spirit is released from the body, it is gender neutral. This was evidenced when Jesus was asked about a woman who has no children and whose husband dies. Under the Jewish law the husband’s brother was to marry the woman and conceive a child in the dead brother’s name. The situation presented to Christ was that the woman went through several brothers who died without her bearing a child. They asked Jesus, that in heaven, whose wife would she be. Christ said, NOBODY’s because there is neither male or female in the spiritual realm. That is why spirits can manifest themselves in this realm as either sex. Something else to notice here is that Jewish law made NO exception to whether the living brother was already married. He then took on the woman as ANOTHER wife regardless. This was a practice that Jesus himself never said was wrong. In fact, the Old Testament speaks of God slaying a man who ejaculated on the ground rather than fulfill this law because he hated his brother and refused to conceive a child in the brother’s name.
Therefore, strictly diverting to my opinion once more, the spiritual realm being gender neutral thereby absolving any rules of sexuality, it does beg to question the legitimacy of acceptable sexuality in this realm when gender is not a factor of existence once we leave our human bodies. But I will leave that for another time because there are also some very interesting things as to the difference between rules that are inherent from the God of creation, versus those higher beings involved in our development whom we perceived as God and simply adopted their definitions of sin.
Be that as it may, my views toward sexual intimacy in a poly relationship is that if a union is truly one, then that releases all parties to explore intimacy on any and all levels to which they mutually and lovingly agree. That means that the type of sex experienced between myself and any partner is unique to our personal intimacy and cannot be compared nor should it be shared. But it does not exclude my partners from establishing their own level of intimacy between them as they grow and deem appropriate. If, together, out of their defined intimacy, they choose to share with me together, that is for them to decide. Otherwise, I respect the unique intimacy that they choose to maintain in the same manner that we each respect our individual faith walk as our own and remain open to joint fellowship as a natural part of our union.
My opinion aside, lets get back to theological facts. Sexual immorality is the physical manifestation of desires that are not spiritually qualified to occur. So in the strictest interpretation of Judeo Christian religious and cultural history, that would include anything outside of qualified polygyny. As a challenge to to believers who subscribe to polygyny, some professed Christians are quick to refer to one of Paul’s letters to Timothy which defines a Bishop as being the husband of one wife as a point of reference that God reversed himself on poly relationships. That in and of itself is heretical to the Christian principle that God does not change his mind. Paul’s letters were selectively included and politically interpreted. Upon closer scrutiny of the original text, the proper interpretation of a Bishop was one who was the husband of his FIRST wife.
There are many biblical references to men having left their FIRST LOVE or having betrayed the “wife of thy youth”. This related to the common practice of men conjuring up reasons to dismiss their older wife for the younger which is what the true immorality was. Thus any man who was polygynous and was shown to have dismissed their “first love” or “the wife of thy youth” was said to be just as likely to be unfaithful to the Gospel when it inconvenienced him. Therefore a Bishop, IF he had more than one wife, needed to show faithfulness and honor to the FIRST that was in his life.
So, as you can see, Christianity, despite its orthodox corruption, does not exclude poly relationships. It is left as a choice to individuals. There is much of Christian orthodoxy that I simply do not buy into, but I believe in the legitimacy of poly relationships- the ability to honestly and ethically love more than one person. so many people try to use such beliefs to justify screwing around, for me, the question I like to know of any person which helps me to identify my spiritual compatibility with them is, “Why are you ?
For me the answers are:
Because I have always possessed a capacity to love and commit to others on all levels of intimacy equally.
I have always struggled between my natural peace with this ability and the societal and religious teachings against it.
I have spent my lifetime watching and participating in the hypocrisy of breaking up one family to start another and could never figure out why that is morally superior than people who can honestly and ethically live as one family without lies, deceit, and mistrust.
I have come to understand that the basis of my life, which, despite my departure from religious labels, was originally founded on my Christian faith, actually supports my capacity to love and commit to more than one person and always has- and that for, many reasons, some honorable, others less than righteous, societies have represented its own social choices as religious doctrine against poly relationships and that such teachings are of course false.
But that understanding alone does not make me ready to be in a poly relationship no more than my being single made me ready for marriage.
The second question I would have is, “What makes you think you are ready for a poly relationship?”
For me the answers are because
I have loved more than one person equally but unethically in the past and I believe it could have been successful if I didn’t feel that I had to lie about it or conceal the other person.
I used to blame society for forcing me into such dishonesty, but now I realize that if I simply stand on what I believe, the people in my life have a right to make a choice based upon that stand.
I make certain that anyone in my life knows what I believe and why in order to come to their own spiritual and personal understanding and acceptance of poly as a natural part of life. I don’t lecture or preach. I don’t use scripture because most of it has been deliberately conscripted for political reason. I am honest and open about what is in my heart and why.
What you think you understand about Christianity is the watered down orthodoxy necessary for controlling the masses. Your theory is correct on the face of what is commonly known, but how much of such things do we later find out aren’t as they seem? Hopefully this has served to shed a little more light.
THE POLY LETTERS PART 2
***After I answered him by outlining the historical construct of poly throughout Christianity, he responded with a tirade against all aspects of spirituality. Since he was quite a learned and intelligent man, there was a need for my response to be equally as poignant. Suffice to say, there was quite an audience also for this exchange. My response to him follows:
Dear Friend, I do not doubt that you are an intelligent and knowledgeable person. But I think that you, out of whatever experience or perception of life, have decided some things about a title that you lack the discernment to wisely determine the truth. I am an African American male. Were I to determine my views of anyone of European descent by the experiences of my father and my ancestors, I could easily formulate an anti-white doctrine with as much vehement justification as you elect to present here.
Certainly there are enough racial injustices, supported strongly by both by empirical and anecdotal evidence, that I could start an argument as to why black people should hate white people and convince myself that I am coming from a right position. Certainly there would be those who would call me crazy and bigoted and tout many examples of successful relationships between whites and blacks and I could always revert to the well documented legacy of institutionalized racism as a defense.
You see I could choose to become an EXPERT on institutional racism and debate adnauseum the evils of white power but would that really be the truth or simply my personal advocacy of the facts as I interpret them?
The problem that comes with saying you are allowing the “facts” to speak for themselves and then become emotionally entrenched in your own rigid interpretation of them, is that you are then creating a tainted “doctrine” and are no different from the zealots who first co-opted world belief systems in their own interest.
For me to propose by preponderance of empirical evidence that all whites are racist would be to ignore the early abolitionists, or those who participated in the underground railroad, or marched in Selma or Washington with Dr. King, or those white mothers in a male dominated society who quietly tried to teach their children different in the face of a father or husband who was a card carrying member of the Klan, or those white lawmakers who tried unsuccessfully to vote down racist laws.
To be true, in all cases there always exist empirical evidence to the contrary. Above, I presented the biblical model of poly. Not for everyone to agree that it is a model that they would elect to follow, but to make the point that the rules of poly under the known tenets of Christian faith are more defined as opposed to a broader form of polyamory.
Like it or not, believe what you will or not; most human beings at least try to aspire to some modicum of moral justification for life decisions. The problem that ensues with any principle or standard is separating the history of human hypocrisy from the validity of the original concept. Therefore any moral reasoning is most certainly going to be met by a chorus of examples of those who fail to live up to them. Are the general principles of the Ten Commandments less virtuous to the non-religious? I would like to think not.
For example, our involvement in Middle Eastern matters has also caused western culture to face that human societies have always been founded upon some common understanding of life, living, and love and create belief systems to support it- even unto death. What we call poly here is a hybrid of the original principle. The luxuries that we exercise here in determining our partners is a reflection of an arguably and ostensibly “free” and “safe” society but bears little resemblance to the original precept of poly that was forged out of the necessity of survival.
No religion has ever cornered the market on poly. Most have spiritual roots in it. The demonization of poly came with the evolving enlightenment of people that began to threaten the power of their religious and governing overseers. Look at it this way. Nation A practices breaking an egg on the small end and worships ZOG. Nation B breaks the egg on the large end and worships ZIG. In order for Nation A not to be wiped out by Nation B and vise-versa, they multiply their numbers. Given the amount of years it takes to produce a viable male protector of the tribal nations, a poly order is maintained sustained by religious and ethical teachings endorsed by a ruling class who sees its survival based upon it.
What poly societies soon found out is that whenever dissension rose within its ranks that it sought to quash, poly families of size and influence who chose to evolve beyond the status quo could not be so easily dealt with. They had land. They had farms. They had the manpower to maintain sustenance, and alliances among like-minded families with whom they intermarried. There was no reliance on a central religious or governing order that could be threatened.
There were two ways these “renegade” factions were dealt with. The short-term policy was to label them as heretics under religious law and destroy those who would not repent. The long-term policy has been to systematically change societal and religious doctrine such that families would no longer grow polygamously, reducing self-reliance, and to create a dependence on more central authorities for their socio-economic survival and to tailor a new morality to fit the cause.
Long-lived religious standards that once sanctioned poly were either removed or no longer taught. Moreover, clerics remained silent as societal laws set about to demonize the practice of poly by singling out the most abhorrent of abuses and promoting them as common and reason enough to rescue “helpless” women and children from the practice. The demonization of poly was never about morality, religious or otherwise, and never about the plight of women and children who statistically suffer greater under serial monogamy. It has always been about power. What you have in the Middle East is millennia old corrupt religious power structures sustained by poly-tribal alliances. It likewise exists throughout Africa, albeit absent the religious oversight and more so on the basis of everyday survival.
What is often absent in the dialogue of poly is the fact that, however practiced, under whatever religious or societal order, it reflects man’s natural ability to love exponentially and survive as one body serving one goal. There are strong differences in what people believe to be the “natural order” of the gender make-ups of relationships in general and I believe it to be the right of any human soul to personally reconcile that within their own spirit, however, poly is an unquestionable human reflection or mirror, if you will, of the higher spiritual plane from which we emanated and will, I believe, most certainly rejoin. Such a wasted existence this point in our spiritual journey would be were we not capable of living and exercising love and compassion to our fullest potential right here and now.
Sexual intimacy is but an outward expression of the truer inner passion. We express ourselves this way because we can. Can we be reckless and callous in doing so, yielding only to base eroticism as opposed to deeper spiritual expression? Absolutely. Does poly corner the market on this? Absolutely not. But I submit to you that there are no illegitimate children born of true poly relationships. As poly people, we spend our emotional capital based upon the gold standard while monogamous relationships resolve emotional debt by printing worthless paper. A piece of paper that says you love someone. Another to say you no longer do. When we were children, I recall resolving such issues with flower petals. “She loves me…. She loves me not…”
In western society, we have the luxury of making poly only about the sex if we so choose. But isn’t it curious that in this society, if we gravitate to multiple partners of deeper emotional meaning it is somehow worse than a lifetime wake of meaningless passion. One is forgivable and as long as you disavow the tertiary relationships as having ever been meaningful, but if you so dare to espouse a capability and capacity to LOVE each person simultaneously, you are somehow possessed.
We are all victims of societal programming and there comes a point where we who know there is no Santa Clause must disengage from the fraud even if it means departing from those who find life more agreeable remaining therein. We are, in reality, choosing to live in the restoration of what has always been and was always meant to be. The rest of society is not unlike a band of sentient apes of unlimited potential finding every reason to remain among the trees. Because they refuse to fathom the emancipation of their potential, their enslaved minds only know what those who provide the bananas teach them is safe to think and to explore. The deck is too well stacked to reason with the greater majority of them. There is much for them to lose compared to the creature comforts of their captivity. All we can do is live, lead, and suffer long in the example of our convictions.
Initially, we gather in tribes such as this, knowing that some of us are, indeed, strange bedfellows out of the necessary survival of our minority status. But not unlike the societies from which our choices have caused us to find one another, we are constantly sifting through each other, even here, to find that “perfect” order to our poly world. We tolerate, even humor one another but we too will ultimately divide amongst planes of comfort, hopefully having learned more about the path of others who will not join us than what we find disagreeable between us.
What I have personally found amongst each and every one of you that have espoused a spiritual poly calling, regardless of your practices that differ from mine own, is a passion to always recognize the humanity that we all stumble to encompass while trying to discern directions we never seem quite wise enough to make all the right turns. Oft times here, the hand that reaches out to pull you in the right direction is the very hand your prejudices have told you can never offer anything of substance.
It is impossible that we can go through life having never loved another as equal to any single human being. It is in the denial and concealing of this essential human trait that causes harm because we face each other lying daily to ourselves and those who would judge us; yet struggle likewise. It is a sham of shame.
Sex has nothing to do with poly except that it is a natural and eventual expression that deserves to be experienced between those who share such a bond. It doesn’t take the deed being done for the passion worthy of it to already exist in the hearts and minds of those who possess such love. There exists a biblical story already discussed here in which Jesus came upon a crowd about to stone a woman for adultery. As the story is commonly told, Jesus said, “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” In reality, the true translation is even more remarkable. What Jesus actually said was, “let he who has never committed THIS SIN, cast the first stone.” And not a single stone was thrown. What was reflected here was Jesus bringing to light the hypocrisy of calling a sin that which was naturally and divinely inherent in the spirit of man. He essentially said that if this woman has sinned, then you all have sinned because you all, even without having done the deed, possess the spirit and mind to do so which is of no less consequence by denying it.
What I would find to be a necessary core element of engaging anyone in poly is that they truly understand that which they claim to believe, as well as the consequences, and the conviction to stand by their beliefs. What others lack that ultimately causes any relationship to fail, they lacked from the very beginning of the relationship. You cannot “teach” anyone to be poly or to be “accepting” of poly. It is a level of enlightenment that only comes by way of epiphany. Some of us are born with it, while others are shown through the commitment of those who live by it. They are who they are; as are we. ZIG, ZOG, or GOD, whatever you choose to call it or recognize not at all, we are a spiritual species unto ourselves who can no more be satisfied being less than poly than we can revert to bowing to a rock and proclaiming the earth to be flat.
Certainly, there is a vast majority of professed Christians, or so it appears that have anti-poly beliefs. The same could be said of whites anti-black beliefs prior to and during the civil rights era. Statistics and intellectual interpretations can be quite compelling.
The Bible is not the beginning nor the end nor the entire story on humanity. It is merely the Reader’s Digest version of a never ending story condensed and edited by flawed humans with questionable motives. I do relate to the concept and construct of redemption but not in a traditional orthodox sense. I do not worship Jesus. Jesus is and was my spiritual sibling. Nor do I believe that man was created to bow down without question in order to earn his place to strum a harp in heaven. I believe that this is a training realm for the spiritual being known as man- our play pen, if you will and that was the intent of our creation- and that we are released from this body upon “death” and constraints of this realm to join the family of sentient spirits to serve as guides to younger creations- as part of the “god head”, a collective of honorable souls whose actions in this life and thereafter determine the extent of their further training into all of the heretofore hidden things of the spiritual realm.
As a religion amongst others, orthodox Christianity has sought to mystify and cause people to fear the true nature of man’s being and the power that we are designed to hold and practice in this realm. Orthodoxy is about control. Faith is about limitless intuitive discernment of power and its use for good. This is evidenced by Christ saying that if you had the faith the size of a mere mustard seed, you could tell a mountain to move out of your way and it would disappear. Christ was actually telling man how much of their true capacity they were wasting on religion instead of studying life for themselves to take dominion of this realm.
Dominion is a blank check to engage the understanding of any power in order to be the superior over it. Instead we call it mysticism and witchcraft and evil. I believe that if people would really come to understand the nature of the Christian concept, they would find parallels to every religion known to man. The Gnostics also had a great deal on the ball but lost credibility in some of their unwise assertions in the heat of defending their position.
Likewise dear friend, you are not unlike the Gnostics in the detail of your observations but your embattled consciousness screams for undeserved validation of points that, if you truly believed, you would also have the peace and wisdom to live and let live. How far would I get in a thread stating “Why Klansmen Shouldn’t Call Themselves Christian?” and would it really be worth my time to engage in such a debate? I know Klansmen. I was chased and attempted to be killed by them when I was a child. I have sat down with one who still hates what I am. I know another whose entire belief system was uprooted by who I am. Your arguments are so intellectual that you lack the wisdom that only the heart can reveal. When a species of animal is hunted by man, they, in turn, adopt a fear of ALL men.
Do not mistake religion for personal faith nor written doctrine for living discernment. I am saddened by the deep anger that permeates your rhetoric and consumes a potentially great mind such as yours, and like Malcolm X, I await your emergence from the crucible of spirit in which you are embroiled. Meanwhile, I am happy to dialogue about anything, but do not diminish yourself or bring others to become less than loving in trying to contend with your suppositions. Let’s not Balkanize this place.
BONUS ARTICLE 2
POLLY WOLLY DOODLE ALL THE DAY
An article written for a poly website some time ago.
When I was much younger, I remember the running joke for any kid who wore Adidas sneakers was for another to point at their feet and yell “Ha ha, your shoes mean All Day I Dream About Sex!!” It was a cute little acronym that got a lot of mileage. Then came puberty and the joke became real… I did dream about sex… all the time… and I wasn’t wearing Adidas.
I recall later, sex being about the taboo and the excitement, then about the score. Some grow out of that part, some don’t. Still others find a way to keep the excitement and a little taboo and still grow, which can be hard without appearing quite shallow and immature. Most of those little games are kept behind closed doors amongst what we always called “the closet freaks”. We all knew a few… commented negatively about their lifestyle, but secretly envied their sexual freedom all the while trying to appear as part of the mainstream.
I remember how funny it was when I learned that there was a strong undercurrent of mainstream passion that, like molten lava, reflected the core of who we sexually were but remained crusted by a serene appearance of splendor and paradise until ancient pressures caused a modern eruption of truth, purifying the landscape and allowing the natural beauty to begin anew. That’s how sexuality seems to me in this life. Everybody knows that a woman who has children has had sex but nobody wants to think about whether or not it was pleasurable. Everybody wondered how grown men could live a life of chastity but nobody asked so now we have the biggest pedophile cases in legal history going on. And don’t let me start on what my partner told me about the nuns and their “habits” when she was a teen under their care. Some things are just natural and the unnatural suppression of them have moral ramifications well beyond the moral justifications for their restriction.
I grew up in a Christian household and while all my other siblings were doctrinal drones, I was enamored with the study of doctrinal duplicity and made no secret of my findings… my very tough ass can attest to that. Most of what I have been able to reconcile while still remaining Christian, reflects very little of the practices I have known or the doctrine that I was taught. But I also discovered that neither do the doctrines reflect the truth of what scripture reveals in context. Call me a “renegade saint” I suppose. But most Christians would likely call me the devil himself for my stands which I most often can defend greater than they can pretend to know otherwise.
Nobody could ever tell me how they could call to example these “great men of God” but never truly address how greatly they were used of God without condemnation for “poly” which western culture has demonized as sin. I can still hear the preacher hoot and holla and dance from the pulpit… “Lawd lawd lawd!!! I just, I just, I just, wanna be just a little little little like Moses… Use me lawd, use me!!” When I grew up and first discussed with him my poly beliefs I told him “I just wanna be a little like Moses too.. and the majority of every other Bible great.” So now I’m a heretic. The way I see it, I’m in pretty good company.
I’ve digressed. Or, perhaps not.
So here am I wandering about in life. The Christians don’t want me for being poly, the non-Christians don’t want me for being Christian, white society still has hang-ups about me being black, and black society has hang-ups about me not using my intelligence to become the poster child for the NAACP, pro-lifers have problems because I believe that what people do with their lives is their own damn business, and abortion rights advocates think my personal views on birth control are a page right out of the Roman Catholic manual.
God knows we tried to enter the so-called “Christian” poly groups but they are stuck in an eternal purgatory of moral justification to the whole world and their “fellow believers” of their poly perspective. I wondered if they had booty straps on the asses of their wives so they could read the scripture justifying “their position” while doing them both from behind. If you’ve ever been in one of their web site threads, you’d know what I was talking about. Needless to say, I couldn’t stay there either.
We all have our reasons and justifications for the one thing we all have in common in being here. For some of us, that is all we have in common. That is why the threads can sometimes be stretched thin by perspectives and values diametrically opposed to one another, or so they may seem… until we take the time to know each other. I never imagined the emails from people living poly lives much different from that which I would chose, expressing appreciation for giving them a fresh outlook on someone with a “label” they thought they’d never have a reason to talk to. And it made me take a second look at profiles that I, admittedly, ignored because they’re “life choices” were not my cup of tea. How many potential friends have I passed by for the very reasons I too have been passed by, by so many segments of society?
We, who are poly, say that we aren’t swingers but some of us are guilty of looking at each other first from “the potential sex mate” vantage point and that is unrealistic. I know, subconsciously, I have. And the presumed “unlikely” emails helped bring that to the surface. I hadn’t realized the shallow nature of my perusing before.
If you’ve truly been poly for a while, then you have a perspective that has aged, hopefully with wisdom that you are willing to share with the neophytes who only think they know what they are getting into. If you’ve considered poly that long, you know it to be something that is beyond lifestyle, beyond negotiation, and beyond arguing. It is something that is unquestionably who you are and have always been, not something that you became, but something that life compelled you to accept. Think about that. Think about that real long and hard when you are tempted to substitute poly solitude with an act of poly loneliness. One is a choice, the other a compromise. We all long for that perfect fit for the life which was made complicated by that which we are, in this place in the world, at this time.
Alexander Pope wrote in “An Essay on Man”
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Every profile that dares to admit a poly stance is an expression of hope. Every person behind each profile is a beating heart hoping to be blessed, by large or part, through the fellowship of this single thread that binds us- that which we affectionately call “poly”. It is indeed an uneasy place in that we would rather be accepted and our choices acceptable by those whom life has taught us to care for and those to whom we are most familiar. Nevertheless rest we here, in this place, strangers to each other but kindred spirits still, in an oasis of hope changing the days to come by the growing numbers of those made unafraid to be and to practice and to falter and to grow beyond the capacity of love which we have been taught to believe impossible and immoral that we dare express.
This sin I embrace whole heartedly. If in the condemnation of my heart must I dwell on the outskirts of acceptance, I shall greet you there- each and every one of you; that we may together, turn this hell, into the paradise that only such hearts are able to create.
BONUS ARTICLE 3
THE POLY SIDE OF ME
I am always up front about the fact that I have openly dated or have been in relationships with a few partners at one time. Even though I give every indication of my views and experiences on my social media, it remains, perhaps, the most controversial side to those who see my relationship views as a threat, but it is simply who I am.
Most women pass off my bluntness about it as “oh well that was your past” as though it is a part of me that somehow ceases to exist just because they are interested in me. That is just as naive as a man or woman getting with a partner who is, admittedly, bi and believe that they are magically no longer attracted to the same sex just because they are in a relationship with you. Or getting with someone then suddenly being scared of who they are when they told you up front. While that person can and well may be satisfied in a relationship with you, you would be foolish to live in denial as to who they are by nature because if you cannot love the total person, you need to leave them alone for your sake and theirs.
When it comes down to the polyamorous side of me, even though 80% of non western culture, including our African motherland and throughout Bible history encompasses some form of poly, there exists a lot of fear and anxiety over the notion that people can honestly and ethically engage in non-monogamy that has been mainly supported by European versions of religion. So I do try to give a little more personal insight now and again- not so that you will agree with me, because that doesn’t matter to me, but that you take the time to learn from someone rather than go by your own bigotry.
On this site you will probably get the most blunt talk about being black and polyamorous that you thought you would ever hear. I would encourage to go through each of the related posts pertaining to the subject for a complete view. But you will find that I am liberal with regards to most relationship choices. I am straight and have been in monogamous relationships. But you already know about those types. Here is your chance to understand the honest side of ethical nonmonogamy.
A lot of people are more comfortable living in serial monogamy- leaving one relationship for another while still sustaining intimate and financial ties through children and the courts; then having another person in their life being paranoid about whether or not there is still a “relationship” because of those ties. I just refuse to play that game.
Relationships can evolve in levels of commitment and intimacy. Some people call it “falling out of love”. I don’t. Relationships often reach prodigal pinnacles where you have to let someone go for their own good. Sometimes it means that the other person has a path they need to discover without you but it doesn’t mean forever. If eternity was meant for us to only find and completely love one person then the universe would have stopped at the first soul created and we at the first child born.
It is not that I HAVE to be physically intimate with more than one person at all. In fact my relationships have been largely monogamous and I am not opposed to being in a monogamous relationship if that is where my life leads. I just think there is a reason we have more than one friend. Collectively our friends cover all the areas of support, understanding, and need, we have and to expect any ONE person to be the end all and be all is dangerously naive. I love being in love with my friends. So my form of poly is that I am comfortable with deep emotional intimacies though in some cases I have been fortunate to have a few lovers in my life at the same time.
I believe that anything honest and transparent should simply be respected as the choice of the grown up adults who mutually agree. It is not that I have to be in an active poly relationship. It is more so that I don’t play well with possessive people. I am the listening ear that my friends call when they want to actually hear the truth. They avoid me when they don’t. Though I am straight but my friends encompass every sexuality without judgment from me. I expect the same of anybody in my life even as casual acquaintances.
I am eclectic, passionate, and polyamorous. Get over it. Or go away. I’m not changing for you no matter how cute you are or how bad you think you can put it on me. Sex has nothing to do with it.
Trying to get to know me can be an uncomfortable experience for some because I know what I want and enjoy having close to me and if you are not it, I do tell you and I will limit how much I choose to deal with you. We do this with family and friends all the time but we never say anything or we just avoid or lie about it. It is interesting how it affects people when you are honest with them about it and yet people say they want the truth. I have found in most cases- that too is a lie. People just want to be loved, and often for reasons that are not the healthiest for them.
I approach every interest with a singular passion that most are used to only applying in one direction and not the multi-faceted way that choose to bring each gift into a discipline of excellence. I do it because I am compelled, because I am driven, and because I can. Sometimes I wish I could just turn it off. It is a fire I know so well that were I on the other side, I am not sure if I would willingly choose the responsibility of it. I am well aware that I have been blessed but on some days it is a lot to carry.
My friends have always used one word to describe me: Deep. At the same time they are always amazed at how my downright “stupid” sense of humor can throw them off guard. On the other end, my clients always know me by my smile. I never gave it much thought until I had to visit an office after a few months and someone said “Oh we missed that smile around here”. I guess you never know the little things you give to people sometimes.
The easiest way to communicate with me is to understand that I am not the last guy who dated you, married you, lied to you, or hurt you. If you unpack your baggage on me, don’t get offended if I go through your laundry or toss a little bleach your way. Also bear in mind that I say exactly what I mean to say without apology- nothing more, and nothing less. If you play it fast and loose with your words, don’t come back and tell me what you meant to say. I will hold you by what you do say. While I am often accused of being a mind reader, I am more impressed with someone who knows how to open their mouth. I would rather respectfully leave you alone than to have you just try to get along with me. No need for games. Just keep it real.
When in a poly relationship, I have found that the poly relationship model I work best under is a closed triad involving me and two others. My life has always remained open to anyone in my past with whom I have shared intimacy. But for practical purposes you can only spread yourself so far. The way I have always looked at being poly is that you have only so much room in your house and so many hours in the day for work and other responsibilities but it does not restrict your ability to care about what goes on outside of your practical daily life.
To me being poly is more of a model of priorities where people mutually agree to fulfill the needs of home before anything else. I have never looked at love as a means to restrict anyone else from other relationships except that once someone pursues something that makes them unable to meet the agreed responsibilities of the home front, then they have made a choice to move on to a new primary relationship but even that does not have to end the fact that there is friendship between us. We all grow and evolve so you have to be flexible enough to respect that.
I was once in a poly triad where I knew that one person would eventually move on. We were kind of like a nest for her growth but her direction and ours were never intended to be lifelong as far as a primary relationship. However the intimate bond we all share is lifelong regardless of her lack of daily physical presence and the fact that we are no longer each others primary mutual support. We remain family and can count on each other no matter where we go in life. To me that is the true spirit of poly.
When the economy turned south several years ago I got a call from her. She had settled into a monogamous marriage. She and her husband had lost their jobs and were desperately looking for leads or references. Her husband knew of her poly past and relationship with me and that I pledged to always respect her relationship choice to go into a monogamous marriage and said she could count on me if there was anything I could ever do for her as long as she was honest with the person in her life.
Fortunately her husband was not the jealous type and when she suggested giving me a call, he agreed and after she told me what she needed, I talked to her husband, he emailed me his resume. I got him an interview with a company that never advertised openings and he got the job. To me, that is polyfidelity. Lifelong even without sex… the meaning of the relationship never fades.
Yeah there are a lot of nutball religious perversions of poly just as there are secular people who are really swingers masquerading as polyamorists. But as you really mature in poly and create real friends there are those who truly become a part of your poly family with whom the intimate bond of trust never fades regardless of whether you are still physically involved. When I didn’t know much and had few poly friends or experiences love was only about being committed to who was right in front of you sleeping with you and in your life. But just like your kids grow up and out of the house does not make them less than family… neither do the poly people who for whatever reason had to move on. When push comes to shove, even if I am again someday in a poly triad, I always make it clear that I got poly family out there and my heart remains their home whenever they need me.
Any straight monogamist woman trying to get with me who has negative or fearful views of this side of me is best served to step away because I don’t suffer fools easily. To know me is to understand that it takes a lot for one person to get close enough to me for a relationship, let alone two. And if all I wanted to do was go find two women to sleep with, that is easily arranged without the need for explanation or complications of a relationship. Poly is simply my capacity to love.
BONUS ARTICLE 4
Carl Joseph Walker Hoover and The Sins of Unintended Consequences
I had originally posted this entry the day before Susan Donaldson James posted her recent article for ABC News with the following opening sentence: Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover was 11– hardly old enough to know his sexuality and yet distraught enough to hang himself last week after school bullies repeatedly called him “gay.”
I am rededicating this article to Carl and those like him in hopes that some lessons can be learned:
When I mention to someone that I am polyamorous in my view of love and relationships, usually what little they do know of the term leads them to conclude that it is a sexual decision in which I desire to sleep around.The curious thing about western culture is that conversations about relationships always boil down to sex.To hell if anyone actually loves someone, it all comes down to round peg into round hole.
I was having a conversation with a friend this weekend who I would consider your typical evangelical Christian but he is also a young man with more of an open mind to understanding the differences between truth and doctrine. The conversation turned to a recent sermon he heard about how homosexuality and lesbianism is so rampant that it is destroying the fabric of society. Of course that is the typical stance of the “church” who is at war with secular society over same sex marriage.
I turned to him and made the statement that the rise of homosexuality is directly related to failure of the church to teach the truth and that the church has been responsible for “creating” an environment where homosexuality would abound. Now I have made some pretty blatant statements before and even I was not sure if I could support that statement. It just came out of nowhere without me giving it the usual scrutiny that I give to anything I write. But as he smiled to challenge me, I realized how correct I was.
Every time the wisdom of life is turned into a religion, it causes mankind to fall into deeper sin. Take, for example, the Catholic Church’s stand against priests being married. It was a made up rule loosely based upon the casual writings of Paul the apostle who suggested that those who were capable of having no sexual desire could use their lives more for the purposes of the church.
Of course this sounds noble. No wife, no kids, no family responsibilities equals more time for God right? Wrong. Paul was absolutely wrong. And therein is the problem of taking someone’s writings and trying to make doctrine out of them. Paul was no more or less spiritually inspired than you or me. His observations for that age were as biased as what we think we know.
Certainly a single person can easily jump around to help with different causes. But to somehow suggest that singleness affords more an opportunity for a more productive Godly life is typical of the patriarchal bigotry of the early church that exists even up to this day. Is a life of service to family and children somehow less God serving? If we are to believe Paul’s writings to be the perfect inspired word of God, then we have to say yes.
So based upon this, the Catholic Church thought it noble to suppress sexual desire and remain chaste in the name of God. Not, exactly “be fruitful and multiply” if we are to believe that is what God said to Adam and Eve. So was Paul right, or was God right? And if Paul’s writings are the perfect word of God, then God is in conflict with himself on a whole host of levels that Paul’s statement appears contrary to in scripture.
The facts speak for themselves. The Catholic Church made a doctrine of singleness for priests that was contrary to God’s natural order and sexual immorality ran rampant though the priesthood. The recent revelations of child molestations pale in comparison to the history in which the church even allowed prostitution among the priests to try to get a handle on their sexual appetites.This is what happens when we put words in God’s mouth and pretend something to be spiritual when it is just our own piety and stupidity.
Likewise what was done to the family and the twisting of scripture and doctrine to demonize poly relationships was also a great evil of the church that it tried to correct by limiting marriage to being between one man and one woman. The end result became what we now embrace as serial monogamy which is more harmful than poly relationships, which remain a Godly option, despite erroneous and heretical church teachings against it.
I am no more promoting that all men and women should practice poly relationships any more than Paul had any business saying that a person should consider that not getting married will enable them to do more for God. Like all things, it comes down to the leading of the spirit within the individual and nothing to do with some twisted scriptural lies promoted by the Orthodox Church.
However I believe the biggest sin of the orthodox church is the continuing of the patriarchy after the coming of Christ and teaching the heresy that women are weaker and should submit to men.The patriarchy IS the GREAT SIN of the church for either Jesus came and died for ALL sins or he could not be the Christ.
As such, since the gender assignment of female submission was a result of sin and there is no indication that Eve was created to be less than Adam but rather they were to compliment each other in the realm of creation, once Jesus arrived upon the scene, the church had a responsibility to put away any laws and or doctrines that bound a woman to the law of submission to any man.
But men of generational privilege could not imagine what that would have done to society and their power so they wrote submission back into doctrine in the same way that churches continue to teach tithing despite it no longer being the law.Say what you will about whatever good has been accomplished by teaching such heresy, for it has only served to empower men and not glorify God.
Over the generations as men and women have learned to embrace the spirit within, there has been a battle of the sexes that the church created by continuing to tell women that they were in sin for trying to be equal in every way. But their spirits were telling them otherwise. It reminds me of the following story in Mathew Chapter 12:
22: Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23: And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24: But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25: And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27: And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
Women who have dared to challenge the truth of the law of submission were accused of being unruly and being of the devil despite their spirits clearly telling them they were right. And Jesus warned that such accusations would destroy homes, communities, and nations because calling something not of God that is clearly of God would create a confusion of desolation. Christ warned that later generations will reveal the foolishness of such deeds.
Even today we have old fashioned men screaming where are the “real men” today and even women foolishly seeking a “real man” to rule over her.But in the middle of this has been generations who long for an equality of spirit in their personal relationships- women who want true partners and men who want mates and not wives. Church doctrine has driven them away through the heretical patriarchal teaching of submission.
As a polyamorous male who believes in male/female relationships as the divine model for procreation, I have never believed that any women I would be involved with should ever be less than me. My greatest battles have been with women who have been indoctrinated into accepting that bondage mentality. In fact, it is easier for me to find two women to be in a poly relationship submissive to me than to find one woman who is prepared to be in an equal relationship- at least among my peers.
The reason is that most independent women are so battle scarred by the evils of church sanctioned patriarchy that they either don’t want to consider a committed relationship with a man because of what it represents in society among their generation, or they are so tired of “men” that they prefer the company of women.
I have never met a gay or bi person who could not admit to being able to have a physical attraction to the opposite sex- otherwise they would not desire to engage in acts that simulate a physical intercourse with the opposite sex. But in the absence of allowing gender to evolve into the spiritual neutrality that God intended, the human spirit thirsted for that equality. And when it could not be found among the opposite sex because the church continued to manufacture gender based male dominated societies, attractions naturally switched to the same sex.
The best relationships I have ever had with women have been with those who had given up on men and found their way into the arms of another woman. Why? Because in what the church has called the “great sin” of homosexuality is actually the most extreme repudiation of its heretical patriarchal doctrine- indeed the children have become the judges.
What woman in her right mind in this age, with all that she has discovered she can be, wants to be told she is responsible to submit to another human being just because of one chromosome difference?And what man, after seeing the progress of women to accomplish anything they set their mind to, wants to define his humanity by the subjugation of another human soul? When we teach these models of human inequality in the face of modern truths, we drive a wedge between our children and the God we say we are serving. White people had to learn it when their kids challenged the church and fell away on the basis of institutional racism, and Christian societies are now having to face it when it comes down to homosexuality.
When gender is removed from doctrine and love and family is defined as what is purposed in the hearts of men and women between their spirit and their creator, things will balance into the order that they should. Generation ally, it is already happening. The young are following their own spirits when it comes down to gender and relationship models. It may not be pretty. And all of it may not be healthy. But absent a wholesale repentance of its patriarchal teachings and removal of such as doctrine, the young will choose to humor the priesthood while relying more upon the church of the spirit within. Which, in reality, is what Christ intended his message to be in the first place.