|Real-life vampires are not |
My last blog included part of a dialogue with Anne Rice, author of famous books on vampires. Looking over reviews for one of Rice's non-vampire, non-Christian books, I got a bit of a feeling of having been duped. This older, well-read, and somewhat moralistic (when decrying the crimes of Christianity) lady, having made millions and received her fifteen years of fame, chose to write about: spanking. Torture. Sexual slavery. Border-line pedophilia.
And come to think of it, the "vampire cult" is essentially about sexual predation. In fact, it is a lot like the use Chinese men made of those girls in Snake Alley, Taiwan, as justified by traditional Taoist quackery:
“According to Pengzu the Long-Lived . . . If a man wishes to derive the greatest benefit . . . He also had better choose young maidens . . . My late master handed down these methods and himself used them to live for 3000 years. If combined with drugs, they will even lead to immortality.”
“The Queen Mother of the West attained the Tao by cultivating her yin energy. As soon as she had intercourse with a man he would immediately take sick, while her complexion would be ever more radiant . . . She always ate curds and plucked the 5-stringed lute in order to harmonize here heart and concentrate her mind . . . “
This latter quote reminds us that women can be sexual predators, too. (And some of these girls had been sold out by their mothers!) My own feeling is that both sexes abuse one another, and their same-sex rivals, about equally, though in different ways. (And that Sandra Fluke, the 30 year old Georgetown "coed" who wants the school, or perhaps the state, to pay for her sexual activity, abuses her fellow-citizens' wallets, not to mention intellects.)
I should also say, unlike Anne Rice, I don't see sexual abuse as all that interesting. I enjoy trying new cuisines: Indian samosas, Dai baked fish, Russian soups, the regional cuisines of China. But all these foods do just one thing: they deliver nutrients through the mouth to the stomach. So many of these sexual fantasies seem boring and stupid, like pouring soup into the ear instead of the mouth, just to be "exotic." As G. K. Chesterton recognized, "conventional" sex, in its full form, is as exciting as it gets, already. "Kinky" innovations "lack the realization of sex," as he put it.
Yesterday morning, Mark Driscoll preached about porn addiction. The flagship church for Mars Hill Fellowship is located just across the Ship Canal from Seattle Pacific University, and just a few miles from the University of Washington, so there are a lot of young people in the audience. Blunt as usual, his edgy sense of humor rather subdued, Driscoll challenged his young congregation, and the tens of thousands who watch his sermons on-line, to grow up and live productive and pure lives. He illustrated his points by interspersing the sermonizing with an interview with a former porn star, a pretty, but broken young woman.
Her life had been a series of abuses and broken dreams, which began when she was abused by a neighbor. She was like those girls I saw in Taiwan. She brought to mind my grandfather's comments about the fertile bottomland of the Kent Valley, that was filled with warehouses, and could no longer grow crops. Only the warehouse of her life was filled with dung piles and trash heaps. Christ had begun to tear that broken structure down, to make room for a cottage fit for living in, a garden and perhaps a home.
As a human, I can't help but take the beauty and the ugliness of sex personally. As a Christian, I think the Gospel gets things right, or rather Jesus gets things right, that are usually out of joint.
But what we Christians don't often do, is step back and look at sex, and what it means for the world, outside of our own, parochial, human concerns. Driscoll's interest in sex, when not personal (and very monogamous), is pastoral, and limited to homo googlus sapiens, the on-line generation of porn addicts.
Biologist Nick Lane looks at the bigger picture in Life Ascending. He notes that "some of the best minds in biology have wrestled with the problem of sex." (I bet!) Sex is a peculiar thing, he points out. It's kind of a waste, producing equal numbers of males and females, when only one can bare children. Wouldn't it be more efficient to produce assexually, through cloning? And it's hard to find a mate, with lots of head-butting and Romeo-and-Juliet type drama along the way. Plus when you get a particularly fortuitous gene mix, and a scientific genius appears, his kids are likely to play the guitar for some basement rock band, the potential diffused by the random sorting.
Still, our world would be a drab place without it:
But who can say the life of a hummingbird is a sad thing?
As humans, we inherit and imbibe all of that: still more, we can see the beauty and enter into the trajedy. Unlike the hummingbird, we can also choose to rest our passions. Yet the joining of unlikes to create something new, can also be transposed to describe our union with God, the "wedding feast of the Lamb."
|Still more sex!|
It is not a coincidence, or an anthropomorphism. We are not projecting our provincial mating mores on Ultimate Reality. All Nature echoes and prepares us for marriage, which by definition involves the joining of unlikes: from two up-quarks and one down-quark in a proton, to protons and electrons in a hydrogen atom, to two hydrogen and one oxygen atom in a molecule of water, to the complex assembly of atoms that makes proteins, proteins that make tissues, tissues that make organs, and organs that make bodies. Then bodies join in sex, creating the smallest "platoon," as Burke put it, that constitutes the elementary particle of clan, village, tribe, state, empire or civilization, and the ephemeral hope or pipe-dream of a "United Nations," or the "Federation" of biologically unrelated sentient beings that the Bible anticipates, long before Star Trek.
"Women! Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em!"
But especially the latter.
Spring is in the air!