September Reflection: An Open Universe

By Jillian Langford

As summer draws to a close, I am already counting down the days to October. And no, not just because I am excited about the changing leaves and hot beverages (hello, Pumpkin Spice Lattes!) that I get to enjoy as the weather changes on the East Coast of the United States. I am counting down the days to October when I will fly across the country to attend the wedding of my old college roommate.

When I got a save the date in the mail last year, I was so thrilled to see that my former roommate had finally asked her girlfriend to be her wife and that she wanted me to celebrate with them. I’ve purchased plane tickets, rented a car, and I am picking out the perfect outfit for the occasion. What could be more joyful than celebrating my dear friends’ love? All was well until I got a text from my old roommate asking for advice. I was crushed by what she shared with me.

With her wedding just around the corner, she’s received messages from several friends and family members that they will not attend her wedding because she has made the decision to marry a woman. This disappointing news made me wonder what exactly these friends found offensive about her decision and how the guests made their decisions in the first place.

Despite progress in biology, gender and sexuality is still perceived and often discussed through a binary – we are men and women, who fit together like puzzle pieces. However, one has only to study the evolution of sex from simple cellular to multicellular complex life to realize that nature is not entirely binary. Even some of the first sexual beings to emerge were called isogamous, meaning somewhere between male and female. Today we see the sexual “binary” challenged among bird species, insects, and even mammals throughout the animal kingdom.

When we only seek to understand a person through their sex, we fail to embrace the fullness of their personhood. In fact, the very root of the word sex comes from the Latin word, secare, which literally means to “to cut off,” “to sever,” “to amputate,” “to disconnect from the whole.” Considering a person only through their sexual identity severs the person from their connection to the whole and reduces their identity to “parts.” When we do this, we show how truly dualistic thinking is ingrained into our lives.

Sexuality is one part of personhood, and it is a gift that allows the human to move toward more freedom in wholeness. Ilia Delio writes that “to be a person is to be an authentic relational being, a flowing of being in the giftedness of one’s life. Personhood is not a given or a mandate; it is a constructive process of ongoing identity.”[1] If developing authentic personhood allows us the ability to contribute to the going creative flow of life, sexuality should be embraced as part of the completion of personhood. God simply wants to become wholly alive in us and the embrace of sexuality is a part of this process.

Sexuality – gay, straight, bi, trans, and beyond – is an expression of the open universe, expanding toward more and new life and love. Embracing sexuality, then, in all its forms and functions helps us to see God more clearly. If the central message of the Christian Gospel is to love God and to love neighbor, what better way to embrace this love than to love God as manifested in all beings, and to love God within the unique manifestation of God in ourselves? When we embrace a non-dual spirituality and see that God really is present in all materiality, we can begin to understand that we are all connected in this universe, and all persons, in their own unique way, add to the ongoing life of God and world in creation. In other words, all of us add to the rainbow of creation through our life, spirit, and sexuality.

Every facet of materiality and life contributes to the ongoing creation of God and world. Reducing ourselves, our world, and persons to dualisms limits our ability to begin to see an organic unity, a dynamic process, where every part of the whole participates in the perpetual evolution of our universe. Movement toward a non-dualistic embrace of reality is the only way forward. Ilia Delio put it beautifully when she wrote: “We have only one real task in life, to live from the heart in truth and freedom. It is time to put away our fears and judgments and to look into the eyes of another, to gaze at the face of another, and to love the other.


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  1. Martha Ann Carey on September 21, 2022 at 9:54 am

    I really enjoyed reading this. I have some sympathy for people who have a negative response to people who are other than 2 genders/sexes. It probably is very new and seems strange. When my children were very young (1 1/2 and 3), my mother-in-law came to visit and she coud “take her hair off” ( a problem with minor baldness). Then 2 weeks later, my mother came to visit and she “could take her teeth out.” My children were amazed. What is next – could I take my arm off? The children have grown up to understand and accept many people. As a nurse, I have worked with people who are gay or lesbian, and have dear friends who so identify. Often adjusting to new and seemingly “strange” characteristics takes a little work.

  2. jferro7067 on September 18, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    It is sad that this needs to be explained Jillian. We are all made up of billions of cells which control our lives. Acceptance of life, as it is, should be primary. Being judge mental is a form of meritocracy which is not open but closed. It makes us into gods which we do not deserve to be. I am thrilled that you are going. Celebrate life and relationship, which is the same as saying love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Have a great trip Jillian!

  3. Brian M Davis on September 18, 2022 at 4:49 am

    Profound thanks for this reflection. My wife and I have seen disgraceful acts over and over with respect to people whose sexuality goes beyond the standard pair, including members of our family. We believe God is expressed and glorified in multiplicity, not in ordinariness. Your words here touch both our hearts and our minds.

  4. Joe Masterleo on September 17, 2022 at 9:36 am

    At this evolutionary stage, Jillian, the earth is still primarily a wasteland of separation-consciousness, the root cause of all global divisions, schisms, and “isms.” One cannot see (to say nothing of love) properly inside the density of dualistic thought and perception. As evolution happens over deep time, not over lifetimes, our progeny, perhaps grandchildren or great-grandchildren, will be graced by more unitive consciousness than not. But not before humankind undergoes the birth pangs and convulsive purging that collective dualistic thought, perception, and behavior inevitably brings upon itself. No one escapes the law of dark-side reaping and sowing, not even the enlightened. So the planet, I’m afraid, is in line for more karmic suffering, the likes of which the earth has never seen, preliminary to its resurrection and renewal stages. Our hope is in your generation, and those who follow, by dint of more evolved levels of seeing, knowing, and loving. It falls to wise elders, like Ilia, who like old trees drop seeds, allowing seedlings and young trees to gain height, strength and enduring stature for their times, improving upon them for the generations that follow. Absorb what you can, Jillian. Your time to be a fruitfully generative elder (old tree) will come soon enough, with all the brilliance and color of a northeast fall.

  5. Joe Masterleo on September 16, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    Everyone must go down his/her own road to God-identity, no matter the cost, which in unitive consciousness is most often very high. Kingdom life and living is counter cultural, and has little in common with human norms, traditions, and conventions. As such it is oft times personally grievous, lonesome, and convulsive. Yet it does pays dividends to those who enter in and persevere, true to themselves and their Maker. I pray that your friend stay on the road, no matter what, and that you also be blessed in standing firm beside her on the journey.

  6. Karen Heath on September 16, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    Totally agree. We must get to love everyone for God made us to learn and love.

  7. ARLINE Schoenberger on September 16, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    Beautiful! Thank you we need to hear this more often.

  8. Darryl Nelson on September 16, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful reflection. As I sat recently in a cafe reading my email. An older woman, who seemed to be having a coffee with her sister, shared loudly her uninformed views about gay marriage. I wanted to interrupt and question her knowledge of the history of marriage in western culture. I chose to pray for the woman instead.


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