Fred Kaan: Hymn Writer Par Excellence

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 13 December 2006 0 Comments
Please login with your account to read this essay.


In a recent column you wrote: "If sexual relationships are to

have the potential to be holy and life giving, they must be fully consensual

and they must be grounded in mutual love. Otherwise they are exploitive,

meeting the needs of one, but not the other. That is why rape is always

wrong. It is the imposition of one with power on one without power. That

is why sex with multiple partners is wrong, for it reduces sex to a loveless

thrill, not a sustaining and loving relationship."

It seems to me that the last sentence does not necessarily

follow from the first in that I can imagine having sex with multiple

partners, either at the same or different times as meeting the test of the

first sentence which test I accept as very legitimate.


You and I will simply have to be in disagreement. Sex to me is

the ultimate relationship of intimacy and calls the partners to the ultimate

level of commitment. I think that this kind of commitment elicits in those

who follow it a new dimension of consciousness that makes us more deeply and

fully human.

I do not think that monogamy is natural, especially among males

of any of the higher mammals. I do think that it takes a very deep

commitment and that the nature of such a commitment introduces us to new

levels of consciousness. To give yourself away totally means that you have

to possess yourself totally. To give yourself away in commitment to another

is to accept great vulnerability, but that is now what I think life is all

about. I would not trade the depth of love and trust that a monogamous

relationship creates for anything. I do not believe the pathway to that

deep human experience can be found in multiple relationships.

My best,

John Shelby Spong




Leave a Reply