SPIRITUALITY & SEX
Part 1: The God of Sex versus Sex God 
Believing in the wholeness and sacredness of matter and energy (i.e., monism/pantheism, the theory that God is all, and all is God), New Age/New Spirituality views that sexuality complements spirituality. Sexual people are spiritual people, and sexual experiences are spiritual experiences. Sex facilitates persons getting in touch with the mystical dynamic and rhythm of life. Being one of the most vibrant experiences life offers, it is not therefore surprising that the new religionists should incorporate sex into their spirituality. As one author puts it, “Sexual ecstasy can transport us into union with the sacred Other, whether soul, God, human beloved, or nature. Uninhibited sexual opening powerfully alters consciousness . . .” In a similar vein, the stunning statement of a radical Anglican priest has been noted: “Sex is the spirituality that reveals the sacramental richness of matter.”
Having introduced ourselves to the thinking of the New Age/New Spiritualists, we proceed to set forth their theory that sexuality-equals-spirituality, after which, we will see how this theory seems to be influencing avant-garde evangelical authors, teachers, and leaders, and then submit sex-spirituality to the scrutiny of Holy Scripture.
“SEXUALITY” AND THE “NEW SPIRITUALITY”
Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, the defrocked Dominican priest excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), is a proponent of Creation Spirituality. Creation Spirituality claims to be a cure for the ecological crisis the world finds itself in, a crisis the capitalist and Christian West created by separating nature from technology and science. To stop the wanton exploitation of nature by the Christian West, to stop the hemorrhaging of earth’s resources, a spiritual awakening is needed. The old Christian worldview, because it is responsible for getting us into the trouble we find ourselves in, needs to be jettisoned and a new “framing story” embraced. To save the earth, consciousness needs to change. Instead of viewing earth as a machine, humanity, especially the Christian West, must turnabout and embrace the sacredness of Creation. To this end, it is believed that something like Native American spirituality must be accepted.
So Matthew Fox tenders a hypothesis that the Christ and cosmos are co-extensive. Together, they form a cosmic Christ. In his spirituality, Fox advocates a mystical mixing of liturgical Christianity with the religious beliefs and spiritual rites of Native Americanism (i.e., smoking the sacred pipe, visiting the sweat lodge, dancing in circles to the steady beat of drums, etc.). In his panentheistic understanding of Christ and nature, Fox does not hesitate to relate sexuality to the spirituality of creation. He writes: “[T]he Cosmic Christ is encountered in human love and sexuality. Sexuality is revealed in a living cosmology as still one other theophany, one other transfiguration experience.” Again, after extensively treating the presentation of human sexuality in the biblical book Song of Solomon, Fox writes that, “Play lies at the essence of all sexuality re-visioned in light of a Cosmic Christ paradigm.” To Fox’s way of thinking, as well as other New Age/New Spiritualists, sexuality enhances one’s relationship to the spirituality of a self-creating cosmos. Hence, Fox can speak of a Christ who is present in, with, and around sex; that is, because of its value in first, enjoying life (thus endorsing homosexuality, and seemingly any other pleasurable sexual experience), and second, in propagating the life of an ever-evolving human species. Seemingly, this is one way in which sexuality plays into the spirituality of the New Age/New Spiritualists.
Eckhart Tolle (who came to fame by appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show) suggests that one hindrance for people consciously feeling at one with nature is their fear of, and consequent failure to become friends with, their “animal nature.” He writes:
Adam and Eve saw they were naked, and they became afraid. . . . Shame and taboos appeared around certain parts of the body and bodily functions, especially sexuality. The light of their consciousness was not yet strong enough to make friends with their animal nature, to allow it to be and even enjoy that aspect of themselves—let alone to go deeply into it to find the divine hidden within it . . . 
New Age author Neale Donald Walsch claims God talks to him. He has stenographed his conversations with his god in a series of books named, Conversations with God. In one conversation, god told Walsch not to condemn that “which you call the lower, basic, animal instincts of man.” Then Walsch records deity to have explained to him,
It is why I have said, play, play, play with sex—and with all of life.
Mix what you call the sacred with the sacrilegious, for until you see your altars as the ultimate place for worship, you see nothing at all.
You think “sex” is separate from God? I tell you this: I am in your bedroom every night!
So go ahead! Mix what you call the profane and the profound—so that you can see that there is no difference, and experience All as One. Then when you continue to evolve, you will not see yourself as letting go of sex, but simply enjoying it at a higher level. For all of life is S.E.X.—Synergistic Energy eXchange. 
Such a view of sex makes God out to be a sort of cosmic “peeping Tom”! I make this crude analogy simply to ask, how far are we willing to reduce God’s holiness to crassness, God’s transcendence to immanence?
In that like a harlot the church ever desires to play with and posture toward the host culture, the question emerges, is sexual spirituality—like that of Fox, Walsch, Tolle, and other “New Lights”—influencing the church? It appears to be subtly gnawing its way into the evangelical church and, in some instances, being openly promoted.
SEXUAL/SPIRITUALITY AMONG EVANGELICALS
Though he makes legitimate observations and provides some helpful counsel in his book Sex God, like a New Age teacher emergent pastor Rob Bell connects sexuality to spirituality. He writes: “Sex carries within it the power of Life itself. . . . Something given by the creator of the universe. Something divine.” We should note how like Neale Donald Walsch, Bell spells “Life” with a capital “L” and “creator with lower case “c,” and how like Eckhart Tolle, Bell views sex as “divine.”
A Canadian newspaper recently reported the view of one evangelical psychologist-professor summarizing it to be that, “the relationship between humans and spirituality is essentially erotic -- some Christians even have peak religious experiences while being sexual.” The article further states that Dr.-Professor MacKnee. “believes humans’ relationship with God is essentially erotic.” Like other psychologists and philosophers, “MacKnee calls God ‘Divine Eros’.”
In The United Church Observer, the in-house magazine of Canada’s largest protestant denomination, Rev. Trisha Elliott, stated: “If our ability to love makes us most like God, then it stands to reason that when we make love we might be in our most holy state. Should we break out the linens, candles, incense, flowers and wine? O God, yes! Great sex is not only possible – it’s divine.”
Similarly, in his latest book, Life with God, well-known contemplative author Richard Foster states: “[T]he luscious imagery of Song of Solomon has forever linked the spiritual and the erotic with exquisite unity.”
Thus we can see that the theory of sexual spirituality is asserting itself through church persons, both liberal and evangelical. The emphasis is not new. The Internet user can observe the sculpture, Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) displayed at the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittora in Rome. By means of iconic visualization, the statue compares a mystical orgasm of soul to sexuality. The reporter for The Vancouver Sun writes that, “The Ecstasy of St. Teresa sculpture was inspired by the writing of 16th-century mystic St. Teresa of Avila when she described her vision of an angel who pierced her heart with an arrow ‘to leave me all on fire with a great love of God’.” The sculpture visualizes that mystical moment when the marriage of one’s soul to God is consummated. In seeking God, monks and sisters covet such an ecstatic experience because they feel their being has been fused into God’s. Their soul to Soul union (i.e., theosis) takes place absent mediation by Christ or His Spirit (See Romans 8:9.).
To be continued. . . .
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:9)
1. Two titles of recently published evangelical books are juxtaposed to each other; The God of Sex, How Spirituality Defines Your Sexuality written by Dr. Peter Jones (Colorado Springs: Cook Communication Ministries, 2006), and Sex God, Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality written by Rob Bell (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007). In the latter title, as an attributive adjective, sex, adds definition to God. The first title stresses God as the source of sex, as the creator. Bell seems to make sex a part of God while Jones separates God from it. The later is the position held by this pastor. For the joyful purpose of propagating the human species, God created sex ex nihilo (i.e., out of nothing). He is the God of sex. However, it is improper to speak of the sex of God! Sex is not an extension of God. Other than the metaphorical reckoning of God to be masculine—theologians hold that, in His transcendent being, God is asexual—nowhere does the Bible speak of the sex of God. This may surprise many modern Christians who, like modern culture, are increasingly obsessed with sex.
Nevertheless, in His holiness, and because the transcendent God has not, does not, and will not propagate Himself (i.e., polytheism), He, though being provident over and knowledgeable of His creatures, must remain separate from the process by which the planet is populated (contra process theology). As it is below, so it is not above. Failure to keep this distinction leads to idolatry. If God is to be considered holy, what’s happening below must remain separated from what’s happening above. Yet with their monistic world view (i.e., all is one, all is god), and as will be documented in this paper, New Age/New Spiritualists are combining the below with the above. And in their attempt to mimic, to be “with-it,” Christian ideologists are attempting to combine sex (what happens on earth) with spirituality (what’s happening in heaven). We would do well to keep in mind that God is Being (Exodus 3:14), not becoming.
2. Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (Novato, California: New World Library, 2003) 284.
3. Jones, God of Sex, 47, citing Charles Pickstone, The Divinity of Sex.
4. After pointing out three crises our world finds itself in—depletion of planetary resources, disparity between rich and poor, and danger of cataclysmic war—Brian D. McLaren traces their cause to a “spirituality crisis”; which is, “The failure of the world’s religions, especially its two largest religions, to provide a framing story capable of healing or reducing the three previous crises.” See Everything Must Change, Jesus Global Crisis, and a Revolution of Hope (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007) 5. With his dismissal of the collective sinfulness of humanity and fallen-ness of creation as sufficient causes for these crises, the Christian religion, especially that of a fundamentalist of traditional-evangelical variety, becomes McLaren’s scapegoat. But McLaren’s “new framing story” will not stop hurricanes and earthquakes (Romans 8:22), or oppression and terrorism (Ecclesiastes 4:1). Though perhaps to a lesser degree, McLaren’s “new framing story” is as visionary of social, economic, and political perfection as Sir Thomas More’s Utopia. It is difficult to see the picture when you’re inside the frame. Even though McLaren calls his framing story “eu-topian” (297), utopia is a perennial heresy. See Thomas Molnar, Utopia, the Perennial Heresy (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1967.). Personally, I prefer the hope inspired by the Apostle Peter who wrote: “[A]ccording to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
5. Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1988); See also author’s Creation Spirituality (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991).
6. Fox, Cosmic Christ, 169.
7. Ibid. 171.
8. One must wonder at how the new sexual-spirituality addresses the issue of when one person’s ecstasy is another’s agony (e.g., pedophilia and child prostitution), when one person’s pleasure might cause another’s pain.
9. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (Novato, California: New World Library, 1999) 113-114.
10. Neale Donald Walsh, Conversations with God, an uncommon dialog, book 3 (Charlottesville, Virginia: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1998) 56. I am grateful to Peter Jones for drawing attention to this quote. See Jones, God of Sex, 48.
11. Leonard I. Sweet uses the term “New Lights.” In Quantum Spirituality he links to the writings of Matthew Fox; first in his chapter “PATHOS,” Footnote #67, page 324, and then again in his chapter “THIRD TESTAMENT,” Footnote #c, page 340. Calling, “Light . . . the metaphor for the great mystery of consciousness,” New Lights are those persons who take on a “‘new minded’ approach to the planetary crisis,” those creative individuals who seek a new spirituality to avert a planetary meltdown. See Quantum Spirituality, A Postmodern Apologetic (Dayton, Ohio: Whaleprints, 1991) 43-44. Though ‘light” is a grand biblical metaphor describing God (1 John 1:5), Jesus (John 8:12), the Word (Psalm 119:130), Creation (Genesis 1:3), and much more, we must note that Paul states, “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
12. Bell, Sex God, 197.
13. Neale Donald Walsh, Tomorrow’s God, Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York: Atria Books, 2004) 69.
14. Tolle, Power of Now, 114.
15. Douglas Todd, “Sex brings Christians closer to god,” The Vancouver Sun, July 26, 2008 (http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=c8cd77ac-b993-4bbb-963d-7cb4dc07e5de). Todd cites the view of psychologist Chuck MacKnee, who teaches at Trinity Western University in Vancouver, British Columbia.
18. Ibid. Todd quotes Rev. Trisha Elliott and The United Church Observer.
19. Richard Foster, Life with God (New York: Harper Collins, 2008) 113.
21. Todd, “Sex brings Christians closer to god.”