That's very interesting, thank you—an intuited reading against religious guidance.

I wish that I had been better about my intuition. I realize how much a religious subculture suppresses one's actuality, so that it can seem like coming awake, every day.

I spent a few days reading about Philemon and was very startled. Scholars note that the Greek original - not the English - is full of rhymes and alliteration. It seems to have keys to public performance. It's a song about a slave.

Paul calls Philemon a 'brother' (v.7, 20), and calls Onesimus a "beloved brother" (v.16). I took note of a point by the scholar Alicia J. Batten: "Paul therefore combines two words that he applies to Philemon separately, 'beloved' and 'brother,' in his description of Onesimus."

So, two words are used of Philemon, separately, which in Onesimus are combined.

I began to read it as a wedding song.

A slave has no parents. Paul stands in their place, calling Onesimus his "child"—as he gives him away.

There is the puzzling matter of "bowels" coming up in this book—references that are mistranslated "heart." The same word is used of the guts or the entrails, and also the woman's vagina, or the place where a child is born.

Whatever qualities are assigned to human anatomy, it isn't a 'heart' but something lower that is in view--three times! Philemon has been "refreshing" the "bowels" of local Christians (v.7); and in sending Onesiemus, Paul is "sending my very bowels" v.12 in hopes that Philemon will "refresh my bowels" v.20.

Is it possible there's a wry hint here of anal sex? I don't expect a scholar to suggest it.

There could even be "gay" content in Colossians 4:9, when we seem to see Onesimus again. Paul is making arrangements for a party to arrive in the city, a man "coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you."

A reminder to the early Christians—he is one of you.

religion. sex. facts.

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