The Gospel and Sexuality

The idea that ‘preaching the Gospel’ has nothing to do with sex and that ‘preaching about sex’ has nothing to do with the Gospel betrays layers and layers of seriously misguided thinking. When we divorce God’s love from sexual love, as Pope Benedict says, ‘the essence of Christianity’ becomes ‘decisively cut off from the complex fabric of human life.’ (Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) 7). The ‘gospel’ then becomes cold, aloof, inhuman. In other words, we’re no longer preaching the real Gospel. -Christopher West

I think Christopher West is exactly right. The gospel has everything to do with sex, sexuality, nuptial union, marriage, bodies, and sexual organs. As a professor of mine said, ‘any religion that doesn’t tell you what to do with your genitals or your cookware is not worth your time.’

I wanna talk a bit about the Erotic love of and for God. When we talk of love, we tend to think that God has a gift love and we have a need love. We love because we need to be loved, or any other such schema. And God loves us as pure gift. I agree, but I think that these loves are not mutually exclusive, i think they interpenetrate each other more than we think. I think God desires our erotic love for him.

Now, what I mean by erotic is not pornographic, for those of you concerned with my term. Originally and theologically eros is a type of love based in desire. corrupted eros is called porneia where we get the word pornography. Pornography is a corruptoon of desire, but that does not mean desire itself is evil. God desires our desire be for Him, and Him alone, so that through Him, we shall rightly love all other things. Above all, erotic love is delineated as follows: In erotic love, the lover loves because the beloved is lovely. We need to understand that God finds us lovely.

The City of God book XIX ch. 23:

Justice is found where the one supreme God rules an obedient City according to His grace, so that it sacrifices to none but Him…where this justice does not exist there is certainly no association of men united by a “common sense of right and by a community of interest”

Augustine says that Justice can only happen in the place where no one worships any but The Lord. Why? Because as the Lord Who is Love, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have a special and new revelation of what love truly is, and what it must mean for us after all. Through the Father, we see what is desired of creatures, God erotically desires that we should be His people, that we should be His lovers. The Son reveals the shape and nature of what a true and healthy eroticism for God looks like, and the Spirit is the purifying and activating agent moving through our desires and opening the ‘eyes of our hearts’ for proper desire for God and neighbor.

He has spoken to us, and found favor with us, and having redeemed us from the throes of sin and drawing us unto Him as proper lovers, we are now lovely. And despite the sin that continues to raise itself against us, God truly and fully desires us. When we divorce the thought that the Love that God shows us is proper sexual love from our sexual love, we no longer understand the Love of the gospel not because God has lust, because sexuality is not inherently lustful, but because the love of the Gospels is inherently desirous. God desires a people to call his lover, a bride, a people whom He shall be erotically united to in the end, filling them with Himself.

God’s love of Creation is not mere benevolence, it is the love of a lover, a “jealous” love, that places all our attentions and deviations from this God into terms of adultery not for mere poeticism, but as a crucial understanding of the type of God we serve and the type of lover He is.

Sex and sexuality and sexual love have everything to do with the love preached in the gospel, and to neglect this is to no longer be preaching  the gospel. To ignore the gospel’s claim on the body is to divorce yourself from the gospel through gnostic suppositions that all that matters is material fulfillment, or the opposite, liberal modern supposition that the gospel has no place anywhere outside our private practice of “religion” whatever we mean by that.


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