“Sexuality Is Relational” – An Excerpt from Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter

The following is an excerpt from “Understanding Holistic Spirituality,” chapter 7 from Generous Spaciousness: Responding to Gay Christians in the Church by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter.


I would submit that human sexuality is, fundamentally, relational. The key to our sexuality is not our biological sex; the key to our sexuality is that we are created to be in relationship.

Our experiences of relationship, particularly covenanted and consummated ones, are impacted by biological sex and gender. However, to make biological sex the foundation of all understanding of sexuality reduces our image bearing of God to a construct that does not describe our Triune God.

Is God’s essence connected primarily to maleness or femaleness, masculinity or femininity? Or is God’s essence love—relational, self-giving love? If it is the latter, then that ought to be the foundation from which we understand human sexuality as image bearers of God.

While holistic understanding of human sexuality is often promoted and defended by the church, it is not applied to gay followers of Jesus. Instead, it is all too common to encounter depersonalized reductionism. It would seem at times, in the church, that a person’s entire spiritual formation is reduced where they land on the question of sexually consummated same-sex relationships.

Rather than seeing the integrative beauty of our sexuality as part of our interaction with God, others, and creation, some Christians compartmentalize gay persons’ sexuality as disordered, undesirable, and something to be mastered. While same-sex attraction may not be viewed as inherently sinful, it tends to be seen as overwhelmingly negative.

The reality is, however, that human sexuality reveals both our immense value and pervasive imperfection. This is true whether the attractions one experiences are toward the same sex or the opposite sex. Our experience of sexuality is both beautiful and broken.

Across the board, our sexuality retains a connection to the goodness of creation and the devastation of the fall. But, more often than not, those in the sexual majority are unable to see the fallenness of their own sexuality.


©2014 by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.