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The Catholic Mark Driscoll

Funny, in all the blogs I’ve done about Mark Driscoll’s antics I’ve never thought that his craziness might be embodied in non-Protestant traditions. However, apparently American Catholics have a similar iconic figure in the person of one Christopher West. West has, apparently made a career out of propagating JPII’s Theology of the Body and holding it up as the ultimate sex manual for Catholic Christians. He got particularly well known for comparing the Pope to Hugh Hefner in a Nightline interview in which he seemed to argue that the Hefner and JPII, together, rescued sex from prudish Victorian sensibilities. He, like good ole Driscoll refers to the Song of Songs as “the Bible’s centerfold.”

To his credit, West doesn’t seem to be as belligerent as his pomo fundamentalist cousin; but certainly no less sex-obsessed. I can’t help wondering though, if this passionate frenzy about sex among strongly conservative church leaders does more to fetishize sex than anything that ever happened under the tyrannical regime of Victorian sensibilities.

I mean, seriously, JPII and Hef aren’t even talking about the same thing when they talk about sex! The notion, so present in these sorts of circles, that a central duty of the church is to make sure that all its married parishoners are having fireworks going off in the bedroom every night seems to me to indicate the degree to which we’ve all bought into the kind of sexual obsession that creates the problems of frustration and fantasy in the first place.

Why the hell can’t Christians just let sex be ordinary?? That would be something radical.

11 Comments

  1. Dan wrote:

    For a couple decades shady church leaders have pushed the gospel through the promise of wealth, seems like they’re just switching it up to sexual gratification.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink
  2. I think one of the best books that makes sense “ordinary” is David Matzko McCarthy’s _Sex and Love in the Home_, New Edition (SCM, 2004).

    As for Driscoll’s fetishes, I’m reminded of my colleague Rebecca DeYoung’s constant admonition to remember that chastity isn’t just for singles! It’s for marriage, too.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink
  3. Sorry, correcting “sense” for “sex” (philosophical Freudian typo?):

    I think one of the best books that makes sex “ordinary” is David Matzko McCarthy’s _Sex and Love in the Home_, New Edition (SCM, 2004).

    As for Driscoll’s fetishes, I’m reminded of my colleague Rebecca DeYoung’s constant admonition to remember that chastity isn’t just for singles! It’s for marriage, too.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  4. Halden wrote:

    McCarthy’s books is exactly what I was thinking of when I wrote that. Best book on marriage and sex out there for my money.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  5. kim fabricius wrote:

    “What is baffling and sometimes outrageous to the modern reader is just this assumption that, in certain circumstances, sex can’t mattter that much. And I want to suggest that the most important contribution the New Testament can make to our present understanding of sexuality may be precisely in this unwelcome and rather chilling message. We come to the New Testament eagerly looking for answers, and we meet a blank or quizzical face: why is that the all-important problem? Not all human goods are possible all the time, and it would be a disaster to think that there was some experience without which nothing else made sense. Only if sexual intimacy is seen as the last hiding-place of real transcendence, to borrow a phrase from the American novelist, Walker Percy, could we assume that it mattered above all else.”

    Rowan Williams, “Forbidden Fruit”, in Martyn Percy (ed.), Sexuality and Spirituality in Perspective (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1997), pp.25-26.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  6. Halden wrote:

    I’m putting that into a post slot. Too incredible not to.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink
  7. Paul wrote:

    The man’s a genius, and when he is no longer the head of my beloved communion I hope he continues to pick up the pen for the sake of the church catholic.

    Unfortunately, Williams’ theology is nowhere near as influential in America as Driscoll’s.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
  8. roger flyer wrote:

    We are a nation of ADD addled idiots. Bart Simpson is our most potent theologian.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  9. Jason Oliver wrote:

    Hey, Roger. What about Ned Flanders?

    Friday, June 12, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink
  10. Paul wrote:

    Mark Driscoll, in summary:

    “Dude, Song of Solomon gives you carte blanche to do whatever you want to your wife in bed! Like, totally!”

    Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  11. James Silk wrote:

    Of course I can’t speak for all that West has said, or even for his Hef comment for I know not the context. I am currently reading his “Theology of the Body explained” and can attest that he teaches nothing that our Holy Mother Church does not affirm. If I could speak for West, I would only say that he wishes to assist JPII in rescuing sex from the culture of death engendered by the enlightenment and extract the life affirming meaning in this primordial sacrament. Where as Driscoll and his literalist mind cannot see the mystical aspect of the Song of Solomon, West would assert that it is both a poetic musing of human intimacy and divine intimacy – for one is the image of the other. The physical world makes the invisible visible through symbols.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

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