“We are called to include everyone in the dance”: Stephen D’Evelyn on “Human Sexuality” and Questions about the Intentions of the Church

The primates of the Anglican Communion are gathering shortly to explore approaches to the big issues of the day. Prominent along these issues is homosexuality. The much-publicised open letter from bishops and other senior clerics asking the Church to recognise how it has abused LGBT persons has brought this discussion into the headlines.
Again and again one hears the pecular phrase ‘human sexuality’, Having heard it many times, I stopped really noticing it until today. Suddenly it hit me that this euphemism for homosexuality and bisexuality–for anything deviating from the heterosexual norm–was actually a translation. Homo is human being not man. I wondered if the Church were trying to show off its still-remaining grasp of Latin.
It then occurred to me that as human being homo stands for all humanity. Homosexuality is thus normative–the erotic relations of all human beings.
This is more than frivolous word-play. If ‘human sexuality’ is defined as different categorically from the unspecified norm, we may call to mind humanity’s relation to God who gives being itself. We are all marginal, all firvolous play-things, all dancing gaily on nothing. Perhaps we are called to include everyone in the dance and remind ourselves that the dance-floor is not all there is.


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