Sunday, August 13, 2006

Beyond getting wasted and getting laid ...

An interesting piece by the Rev. Sam Hill Wells, chaplain (Anglican? Epsicopalian?) at Duke. Why our culture won't heed the Church on sex. [Via Catholic Sensibility.]
For many students today, sex is a sport. It largely happens late on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. It’s mostly about one-night stands, preceded by heavy drinking and followed in the morning by — almost nothing. How has this culture come about? I suggest a story in three parts.
Yep, worth reading! What follows is an interesting analysis of the commodification of sex by market forces and consumerism. Not the only lens through which to view the subject, but it certainly helps understand underlying socio-economic currents, for sure.
Christians may believe that they have good news about the body — as a gift from God, destined for glorious resurrection and transformation, and a beautiful instrument for showing another person how deeply cherished he or she is by God. They may believe that sexual expression belongs in a relationship of passion, permanent friendship, and hospitality to children. But Christians can no longer rely on social norms or economic necessities to shape sexual behaviour for them.

One can easily fall into thinking that once there was a golden era, when Christian assumptions about propriety were reflected in the general society’s sexual habits. Whether or not this was ever so, it makes the mistake of thinking that one can legislate for or demand adherence to Christian patterns of life, without communicating the convictions or practices that make those patterns meaningful.

Christians can no longer rely on economic hardship or a culture of shame to do the work of ensuring adherence to their expectations about sex. They have to rely instead on their own witness and example. They have to live in marriages that inspire others. They have to offer models of a good time that go way beyond “getting wasted” and “getting laid”. They have to portray a sense of corporate duty as compelling as that on offer in the ’50s, and a sense of passionate love as thrilling as that on offer in the ’70s.
I do think he's right on the money about the college culture ... and, pastorall, I just don't think one starts out with, "these are the rules and if you don't cut it get the heck out of here." This is not the same as tolerating sin or what have you, but recognizing just how vast a gulf there is between what the Church teaches and where the culture's at.

And, of course, if you're being hypocritical, well, so much for the Good News then.

Now how to best invite people to discover the reality about "Good News for the body?" ... [Kinda apropos, Georgette has a neat quote about St. Maximilian Kolbe, manliness and chastity. Hmm.]


assiniboine said...

I felt certain that "The Rev. Sam Hill" must be a pseudonym (as in "Where the Sam Hill did you get that idea?") but alas, it turns out that it was only your typo, and he's actually Mr Wells. Oh well (as 'twere).

Gashwin said...

LOL. It's late. Oh, and let's not get into the whole thing about the proper title for Anglican clergy ... :-D

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Another great point from the article (thanks for pointing it out) was this:

Life at university is dominated by building a CV, and the social scene is absorbed into the cultural pattern of acquisitive consumption. It is not just the partner who becomes a commodity: one is in the process of turning oneself into a consumer item, to be hired by an employer and sent around the world as the employer sees fit.

"Hooking up" as part of the process of making onesself marketable makes sense, in a wierd way. I recall discussions Izzy & his Duke classmates had about "the mating call of the Duke Undergrad Female: 'I am so drunk.' "

All of the commoditization (new word?), none of the consequences of conscience. Kinda like the lack of consequences we got in Period 2.

Makes Campus ministry tough, doesn't it?