Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom - Henri Nouwen

"Your body needs to be held and to hold, to be touched and to touch. None of these needs is to be despised, denied, or repressed. But you have to keep searching for your body's deeper need, the need for genuine love. Every time you are able to go beyond the body's superficial desires for love, you are bringing your body home and moving toward integration and unity."
- Henri Nouwan

In our Biblical Ecology class today we had guest speaker, Rabbi Arthur Green. He described spirituality and sexuality as being very closely tied together - they originate in the same area of the brain and flow from the same sense of libido - both are centers for feelings of attraction and love, for God and for others. Perhaps this is why some religious folks are so suspicious and intolerant of sexuality in any form, and why so many rules have been created to restrict sexual expression - whether it's a need to be chaste (outside of marriage), celibate, monogamous, or to fit into an outdated understanding of a heterosexual norm. With both sexuality and spirituality flowing from the same center, it's easy to confuse the two, or to  have one get in the way of the other. We must ask ourselves: Is it sex that we desire? Or love? Love of another? Or love of God? Which need, which sense of emptiness, are we trying to fill?

These are not easy answers to discern. But it's a shame that we feel we have to deny one side of our humanness in order to fully experience the other. If we allowed ourselves to fully experience both sides, perhaps we'd have a much easier time differentiating between the two.  Just a thought.

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