Adult Sexuality

Attic Greek Red Figured Vase - Brussels R 351





Gustav Klimt, The Kiss





[W]e must continue to work on the central content of a viable sexual theology.

A viable sexual theology for our time will affirm that human sexuality is always much more than genital expression. Sexuality expresses the mystery of our creation as those who need to reach out for the physical and spiritual embrace of others. It expresses God's intention that we find our authentic humanness not in isolation but in relationship. It is who we are as bodyselves experiencing the emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual need for intimate communion with others, with the natural world, with God.

Such theology will understand our sexuality as intrinsic to the divine-human connection, as one of the great arenas for celebrating the Source of Life. Hence sexuality will enter directly and consciously into our understandings of every major Christian doctrine--God, human nature, sin, salvation, history, and eschatology. . . .

Of particular importance in our time is the reclaiming of the much-neglected, much-feared erotic dimensions of love. Fearing that to embrace eros would mean a sanctification of the selfish quest for our own satisfaction, we have too frequently collapsed all meanings of love into agape. We need to recapture a vision of the divine eros as intrinsic to God's energy, God's own passion for connection, and hence also our own yearning for life-giving communion and our hunger for relationships of justice which make such fulfillment possible. . . .

Yet many religious people still learn to fear, despise, trivialize, and be ashamed of their bodies. But if we do not know the gospel of God in our bodies, we may never know it. When we find bodily life an embarrassment to so-called high-minded, spiritualized religion, we lose our capacity for passionate caring and justice, precisely because caring and justice are about embodied creatures. Those of us who are Christians might begin by embracing the scandal of God's continuing incarnation.

James B. Nelson, in chapter 1 of Body Theology, 1992, pp. 22f.