Thursday, August 25, 2005

”excuse me while I whip this out.”

last friday morning, around 7:15, i read an article entitled the young and the sexless in rolling stone (props to pastor rick for the recommendation). the article focuses on a group of tragically hip evange-kids in new york city who are smart, sensual and sexless.

after reading the article i flew into an absolute rage that produced a couple of bad haikus and carried me far into the afternoon. i didn't know whether i was angry at the author, who at times seems to eschew any measure of objectivity (i.e., somehow i do not think that this particular group of evange-kids is reading john hagee), or the masturband (the livestrong inspired tool that indicates one's ability to master auto-eroticism) wearing evange-kids, who seemed to be utterly enthralled with the idea of displaying their acts of righteousness before men. although i found a number of things about the article troubling, i'll only clue you into a few.

the evange-kids commitment to virginity was so extreme that their interest in all things sexual seemed to border on obsession. these kids talk sex, blog sex, eschew and scrutinize sex to such a degree that sex seems to overwhelm their horizon. i found it particularly troubling when one of the evange-kids in the article insisted on referring to sex as "communion." while there is a intimate, communal element of sex, his linguistic choice seemed to confound sex with the one of the highest ordinances (in baptist language) or sacraments in the Christian tradition. while i appreciate the reverence with which he treats the act, i fear that he is setting sex on a far too lofty pedestal from which it cannot help but fall. although the Bible has a good deal to say about sex (no unsuspecting calves, brothers!), it does not obsess upon sex to such a degree. in fact, such an obsession seems to have more in common with canaanite and greek mystery religions.

second, if i walked into a church and saw dozens of twenty-somethings giving one another "chaste side hugs," i would hit the exit quicker than you can say hot karl. in my opinion, such practices do not help one properly order sex so much as it enflames our scantly repressed desires. legalistic practices such as these remind me of paul's teaching about the purpose of the law. the law does not restrain sin, paul tells us, but it illustrates the remarkable extent of our brokenness and prepares us to receive God's grace. as horrible as it sounds, i almost found myself wishing that these kids would just do the deed, so that they could come to terms with their brokenness, set aside their virginal pride and allow grace to reshape their developing sexuality.

third, i felt like a couple of the evange-kids who were interviewed were being less than honest with themselves. one of the boys confessed that a year or two before his girlfriend gave him a blow job and he felt absolutely horrible the whole time it was happening. i don't want to judge, but i have an extremely difficult time believing that (in fact, my original response was "liar. liar. liar."). i have little doubt that a shitload of guilt followed the experience, but in the moment i think that he felt a little more ecstatic than he was willing to admit. at some point, evangelicals need to come to terms with the fact that disordered sex and many other forms of sin are quite fun. we may choose to abstain from such practices for very good reasons, but to misrepresent the experience itself seems a bit dishonest.

fourth, the brief discussion about evange-kids infiltrating liberal organizations at u.c. berkley so that they could proselytize more proficiently made me want to puke. maybe its just because i'm a flaming liberal, but i do not think our calling is infiltrate and deconstruct the structures of this world so much as it is to actively incarnate the love and compassion of Christ and call people towards a more beautiful, good and true way of life.

okay, so i've bitched enough. i would love it if you would read the article and then do what i have failed to do here. namely, suggest healthier ways that Christians can maintain the sexual practices that are set out for us in Scripture and affirmed by the overwhelming majority of our traditions, without setting legalistic standards, becoming sexual isolationists and teetering towards damndable self-righteousness. basically, i want to think through this more clearly and eventually espouse a more holistic and healthy response. in order to do so, i could use your help.

i've also been reading a lot of articles on killing the buddha lately. i think this site is absolutely spectacular and would like to contribute something meaningful to them at some point in the future. if you only read one article, read a slut for faith. if i worked in a more traditional church, i would have every unknown couple who asked me to sanctify their secular contract read this article before proceeding. i think you'll love this site.

that's it for now. i need to strap on the masturband and get to work. er, i mean i need to wax my rocket. no, i meant...