Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hippies, Prudes, Catholics, and Sex

Or, Sex Isn't a Four-Letter Word.

It's hard to ignore sex completely, although I suppose it could be done. Sexuality is part of being human: the basic coding is there, as soon as DNA strands come together in a fertilized egg. X and Y chromosomes, and all that.

Folks can have quite a few attitudes toward sex, including these:
  1. Low responsibility, high fun
    • 'Free love, baby!'
      • 'It's been fun, gotta go'
    • Feels good in the short term
    • Ignores
      • Subtle consequences
      • Not-so-subtle consequences
  2. High responsibility, low fun
    • 'Yecch!'
      • 'One does what one must'
    • Feels good in the short term
      • For those who enjoy feeling
        • Self-righteous
        • Grim
      • Ignores
        • Subtle consequences
        • Not-so-subtle consequences
  3. High responsibility, lasting fun
    • "God blessed them, saying, 'Be fertile, multiply....' "
      (Genesis 1:28)
      • "God blessed them, saying, 'Be fertile, multiply....' "
        (Genesis 1:22)
        • I'll get back to that
    • Feels good in the short term
      • Except when it doesn't
        • Pleasant feelings don't last
          • Neither do unpleasant feelings
        • Change happens
    • Ignores
      • Pressure
        • Social
        • Psychological
        • Hormonal
      • Desires for self-gratification
A caricature of the situation? Simplified? Of course.

Why Pick on Hippies?

"Hippies, Prudes, Catholics, and Sex" isn't quite what this post is about: but it's close. It's not that I'm sloppy about picking titles. Not for the most part, anyway, and that's another topic.1

Hippies weren't the only folks who decided to take a vacation from cause and effect. Or try, anyway. But now, a half-century later, "Hippy" is a fairly common term that most Americans associate with a particular set of choices.

And It's shorter than "a person ... who rejected established institutions and values and sought spontaneity, direct personal relations expressing love...." (Dictionary.com) Seriously: titles like that could put a person to sleep. Or, worse, bore a potential reader.

As for wanting spontaneity, and rejecting established institutions? That's not necessarily a bad thing.

I grew up in the '60's, and saw huge problems with America's "established institutions." So I converted to Catholicism?!

Bucking the system doesn't have to involve love beads and incense. Come to think of it, though: I wear a chaplet around my neck, and incense is a routine part of Mass.

Still more topics.2

Why Pick on Prudes?

Prude: "A person who is or tries to be excessively proper, especially one who is easily offended by matters of a sexual nature." (Wiktionary)
I don't think much of prudery. But I don't 'hate' prudes, or anybody else. I try very hard not to, anyway. Hating people is against the rules. Yet another topic.3

As for being easily offended - I think many old-school American Christians made the mistake of assuming that their wardrobe preferences were God's unchanging dress code.4 And I'm getting off-topic.

Or maybe not so much.

Gloomily Grim for God?

I take my faith very seriously. Or, more accurately, I take my Lord very seriously. But that doesn't mean I think I should be conventionally 'spiritual,' and go around looking grim. 5

Sure, there's a time for being solemn. Like when the Man who was killed but didn't stay dead shows up in person. And that's yet again another topic.6

Not everyone who seems to feel that 'gloominess is next to Godliness' is of the "God Hates You" ilk.

(Reuters photo, via FoxNews.com, used w/o permission)
These are not, in my considered opinion, typical Christians.
(June 14, 2011)

Outfits like Jim Phelp's little band aren't even representative of American Protestantism. They are, however, loud: and colorful enough to get on the news from time to time.

It's little wonder that some folks get wrong ideas. Like:
  • The Catholic Church says some things are bad for people
    • Examples include:
      • Homosexual practices
      • Suicide
      • Rape
      • Drub abuse
  • Therefore Catholics are taught to hate
    • Homosexuals
    • Suicides
    • Rapists
    • Drug addicts
It may sound corny, but it's a matter of 'hate the sin, love the sinner.' Which is the principle behind those 'friends don't let friends drive drunk' ads. And those 'repressive' rules the Church has about being human. (April 26, 2011)

Sex, Electricity, and Common Sense

Sex is great. So is electricity. But there's a reason that we keep live wires covered, and won't let children poke things in electrical outlets. We're not trying to keep the kids from having fun: we're trying to keep them alive until they develop 'common sense.' Which sometimes seems to be uncommon. Still more topics. A short, incomplete, list of what the Catholic Church has to say about sex:
  • Sex is good (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2331-2336)
  • Lust is a disorder (Catechism, 2351)
  • Sex is special (Catechism, 2348-2350)
  • Rape is bad (Catechism, 2356)

"God Blessed Them"

Oops. I said I'd get back to "God blessed them, saying, 'Be fertile, multiply....' " (Genesis 1:22) I'll have to put that off until tomorrow. It's getting late, and I need sleep: which ties in with what I had to say about that quote. Lots more topics. Related posts:

1 The idea is to get your attention with a title that gives a general idea of the post's topics. I figure a short title is generally better. You can get details by reading the post. I try to give posts titles that:
  • Have something to do with the post
  • Are fairly short
  • Get your attention
    • At least aren't
      • Boring
      • Unimaginative
      • Like a thousand other headlines
2 "Hippie" is often used as a generic term for someone who's obviously counter-cultural. Like me. Except I'm not. A hippie, that is:
3 You may have run into a Catholic who hated someone: but that's against the rules:
It's another specific instance of what's in Matthew 22:36-40.

4 The admonition in Deuteronomy is against men dressing as women or vice versa: Not that the dress code of America, 1950 A.D., was God's unchanging rule for how men and women should dress.
5 With spectacular exceptions, like some Southern Baptists, quite a few Americans who are Christians and take their faith seriously are - serious. Terribly, unrelentingly, unsmilingly, doggedly serious. 'Serious' can be good, but I don't think it's the whole picture:
6 The Resurrection, and the Eucharist, are remarkable things. Putting it mildly.


Brigid said...

Why an 'x'? "5x"

And then there's this mysterious number six in the bullet-point list: "6"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Left-footer said...

Great post.

'Serious' does not have to mean 'gloomy', but maybe the opposite of "frivolous'.

God bless!

Brian H. Gill said...


Good point - and may God bless you, too!

Brian H. Gill said...


Thanks: found, fixed, and found some more.

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