“We are not on earth to guard a museum,
but to cultivate a flowering garden of life.”
- Pope John XXIII
The following is excerpted from Dody Donnelly’s essay, “Homosexuality and Radical Love” in the Georg Feuerstein edited anthology, Enlightened Sexuality: Essays on Body-Positive Spirituality (Crossing Press, 1989).
Sexuality is an education in how to be human, how to be open and vulnerable, not hiding behind facades and pride; it opens us to growth and learning how to love. Yet some writers have, through their pronouncements, made it into a most dangerous activity. Books of moral theology (ethics) are still often about what not to do in order not to sin.
Moral decisions are often made in the name of religion. Yet valid religious experience is, first of all, human experience. Historically, we’ve learned to call religious those parts of life that are mysterious, beyond comprehension, because they are so other. They send us in search of the sacred and the transcendent. Calling ourselves religious but denying these dimensions of life makes us the opposite. And in the opinion of Anthony Padavano, if one responds to these aspects of life, even if not as a member of a formal religion, one thereby becomes religious.
All valid religious experience sends us in search for two precious jewels: freedom and fidelity – excellent criteria for judging the worth of our decisions. Freedom is the right and ability to do what we feel we must do to be human. Fidelity finds us using freedom to be what we choose to be even though others may not agree with how we interpret that choice.
Freedom and fidelity serve our goal of becoming radical lovers. The agony and ecstasy of good decision making means using freedom in search of a commitment to what makes our life meaningful. Chosen commitments free us and allow us to stop thrashing about, never arriving at God’s heart within our own. Commitment centers our energies and releases them for action.
- Excerpted from Dody Donnelly’s essay, “Homosexuality and Radical Love” in the Georg Feuerstein edited anthology, Enlightened Sexuality: Essays on Body-Positive Spirituality.
Others highlighted in The Wild Reed’s “In the Garden of Spirituality” series include:
Zainab Salbi, Daniel Helminiak, Rod Cameron, Paul Collins, Joan Chittister, Toby Johnson, Joan Timmerman, Uta Ranke-Heinemanm, Caroline Jones, Ron Rolheiser, James C. Howell, Paul Coelho, Doris Lessing, Michael Morwood, Kenneth Stokes.
Image: Michael J. Bayly.