Frederick Buechner on love and gender orientation

I've been wanting to post this here for a while now, but it just seems that there are a lot of things to do, and better topics to blog about.

Nevertheless, I decided to re-post this piece from Frederick Buechner's Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized, in his entry on the word --Homosexual he writes:

One of the many ways that we are attracted to each other is sexually. We want to touch and be touched. We want to give and receive pleasure with our bodies. We want to know each other in our full nakedness, which is to say in our full humanness, and in the moment of passion to become one with each other. Whether it is our own gender or the other that we are chiefly attracted to seems a secondary matter. There is a female element in every male just as there is a male element in every female, and most people if they're honest will acknowledge having been at one time or another attracted to both.

To say that morally, spiritually, humanly, homosexuality is always bad seems as absurd as to say that in the same terms heterosexuality is always good, or the other way around. It is not the object of our sexuality that determines its value but the inner nature of our sexuality. If (a) it is as raw as the coupling of animals, at its worst it demeans us and at its best still leaves our deepest hungers for each other unsatisfied. If 9b) it involves some measure of kindness, understanding, affection as well as desire, it can become an expression of human love in its fullness and can thus help to complete us as humans. Whatever our sexual preference happens to be, both of these possibilities are always there. It's not whom you go to bed with or what you do when you get there that matters so much. It's what besides sex you are asking to receive, and what besides sex you are offering to give.

Here and there the Bible condemns homosexuality in the sense of (a) just as under the headings of adultery and fornication it also condemns heterosexuality in the sense of (b) it is silent as it is on the subject of sexuality generally in the sense of (b). The great commandment is that we are to love one another -- responsibly, faithfully, joyfully -- and presumably the biblical view is implied in that.

Beyond that, "Love is as strong as death," sings Solomon in his song. "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it." (Song of Solomon 8:6-7). Whoever you are and whomever you desire, the passion of those lines is something you are quick to recognize."1
With his usual penchant for finding the spiritual in the ordinariness of human life Buechner here hits a bull’s eye in stating that we as creatures are relational and that it is all but normal for relational creatures to desire to love and be loved; to love in a language that points towards this desire to express it in gestures –in the way we express our full humanity.

Perhaps, this definition from Buechner could serve as a grounding reflection on the nature of how we view love, fellowship, communion and consummation as creatures that are yet to experience real love—that is love that is made perfect in Christ who has promised to wipe every tear from our eyes and is making things new.

Buechner , Frederick. Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized (New York: HarperOne 1988) pp. 62-63

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