Mumblings…


My friend Marc announced on his blog that his church in Maine is retiring VCW version 1.0 in order to dedicate his efforts to design, develop, and implement version 2.0 in the (hopefully) near future. There’s a lot I could talk about with that, since the idea fascinates me, but towards the end of his entry, he admits that he also needs a rest. And Americans don’t like to rest. It’s not something we value; we see it as a waste of potentially productive time. Simply stopping is decried as being lazy, or, if we are feeling more generous, we express our sympathy for someone who’s “burnt out.” Our idea of vacation is to go somewhere different, cram in as much new stuff to do while we’re there, and then come back to do our normal routine.

Maybe it’s just me, but can’t relate to this. I never have. The modern American “vacation” does nothing for me, and so I try to resist. But some people can’t enjoy their vacation unless they load the calendar with activities (and, I might add, spend more money in a week than they might normally spend in a month or two). My idea of rest is quiet and stillness, to walk the Garden with God in the cool of the day during the evening breezes. My idea of vacation is this exact same thing, only for a more extended period of time than what I can manage normally.

We annually make the trip from CNY to NH to go “home.” In Christian spirituality, “home” is often a metaphor for “place of rest.” In our society, though, it is anything but; some “vacation” at home in order to get more done; others use their “vacation” to work on/around the house for their entire vacation period. When I go to NH, I want to rest, even as I know that I must continue to work in other ways. I do not desire to have my calendar filled up with either my own work or with dozens of activities and excursions that we are not normally able to do. During my rest periods of the day, and on my weekly Shabbat, I desire to sit, perhaps read something light and unrelated to my work, or fish, or walk in my woods. Not everybody understands this or, if they do, they reject it in good American fashion. When I’m “caught” just sitting and enjoying the breeze over the water, I am likely to over hear “go ask your father, he’s not doing anything right now.” I am likely to be accosted with a request for a project that, since I’m not doing anything, I’m able to give a hand to (or be told to do outright by myself). Ironically, in order to rest from my labors, of which there are many, I have to pretend to work, to look like I’m working.

Shabbat is good for the soul. It is good for the mind, and it is good also for the body. It is a lost art. We drive ourselves, our workers, and our students very hard in our society. I wonder how much our work, and the work of our students etc., would improve by allowing them rest, and I wonder what it would take to cultivate a climate that values rest as much as it values productivity.

Jon LesterI am a sports fan. Not simply a fan of my hometown Boston teams, which I am, but of the sports that these teams play. I love the games of baseball and football, and I’ve watched my fair share of the Celtics and Bruins in basketball and hockey while I was growing up. Sport inspires me, and occasionally you hear great stories of athletes who overcome incredible odds to do something they love. One of the most powerful moments for me last baseball season, for example, was the return of Jon Lester to the mound after beating cancer (at least for the time being). I remember Mario Lemieux’s triumphant return to the ice after his own battle with cancer. Josh Hamilton’s story is one of an all-world talent, drafted out of high school, who was led to the depths of potential suicide, only to make his major league debut on the baseball diamond for the Cincinnati Reds last season after battling demons of drugs and depression. This past football season, I watched on TV as Kevin Everett nearly lost his life on the football field and who was supposedly not ever going to be able to walk again, let alone play football. And it was only a few months later, in the same season, that Everett was able to walk onto the field at Giants Stadium, inspiring the Bills, the Gians, and football fans nationwide.

I am not alone here, of course. Millions of sports fans worldwide likely feel the same way. But here in America, our passion for sport has created a monster of idolatrous proportions. Here, right in our midst, is our very own golden statue, one that Nebuchadnezzar himself would have been proud of. And the ramifications of that statue’s presence is on full display today on Capitol Hill. One of my childhood idols, Roger Clemens, will almost certainly face perjury charges for lying under oath in a Congressional hearing over his reported use of performance enhancing drugs. Not far from this, Sen. Arlen Specter is grilling the commissioner of the National Football League over its handling of the now-notorious “Spygate” incident that involves my hometown New England Patriots. All this while the same government is passing new surveillance laws, is unable to do anything about healthcare, and is unable or unwilling to stand up against the Iraq war. But against cheating in professional sports? Call in the bastards! This is America! There’s no cheating or blackmarking our great pasttimes! They’re not going to get away with this!

The golden statue of American Sport is casting a very, very long shadow. For years, I have looked forward to spring training. It is a sign of hope, of forgiveness of the past, of looking to the future. But I’m finding it awfully hard to embrace the upcoming season. I wish that Roger Clemens would have just come clean, as so many other athletes are doing when caught using PEDs. His career would still be over. His reputation would still have taken a massive hit. Now, however, Clemens is adding his own shadow to that of the Golden Statue. Between the two of them, its getting hard to see the light from a game that many of us have loved our whole lives. A GAME.

Jayson Stark of ESPN notes that he thinks this is bigger than Watergate, of Oliver North, even of McCarthy hearings. Over GAMES.

The darkest shadow of all is that he may very well be right.

crows.jpgCity living doesn’t often provide the opportunity to sit in quiet and try to hear the sounds of nature in the stillness. This morning afforded me the rare opportunity, though. After getting ready for my day, I was able to sit in silence and enjoy some lectio before heading to the university to teach.

I read a short passage from the Psalter (Ps. 137). It’s an exilic Psalm, written by someone despairing of being away from home in a strange land, someone who wondered how to make the best of their new environment. I kept returning, over and over, to the first four verses:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song;
and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?

I have been thinking lately of New Hampshire, reflecting on the White Mountains, the former years of deep snows, the seacoast, the lake behind my house, the woodlot and swamp on the other side, and have been hearing songbirds perched in the giant white pines. This time of year the lake will, of course, be frozen over, and fathers will be taking their sons out to the ice to build a little campfire and try to reel up some perch, bass, bluegill, and crappies. I wish I could be out in my woods, trudging along the paths in the snow with my snowshoes, rather than holed up in a tiny apartment in the city, with nothing but the sounds of trucks, jet planes, snowplows, and arguments.

After I closed my text, I sat back in my chair, and suddenly noticed the silence. There were no trucks, no planes, no human voices, music. But it wasn’t silence. Instead, I heard what I have not noticed in my three years here. Outside my window, the clear call of a half-dozen black crows mingled with the chirping of house finches and sparrows.

I do not know where the crows live, but they are an ubiquitous presence here, often doing a better job of keeping our street clean than than property management or city workers. I do know where the sparrows and finches live, though; they live in the bushes surrounding my building and in the attic.

While I was sitting, enjoying the caw! caw! caw! of the crows and the unmistakable chirping and peeping of the smaller birds, I felt as if they were answering the question posed by the Psalmist. My feathered friends were singing the Lord’s song in an alien place. Crows and birds are not native to city apartment buildings. But they have learned to call this place their home, much better than I am these days. And so the two of us live in exile, one longing to return home, the other building sukkot, knowing that however long they stay here, they will be provided for and carry out their existence in the best way they can, in this place.

Word Made Flesh.Whatever else Christian faith may be, it is incarnational at its core. It is common for us to think of this in the classical expression of “God becoming man,” but the gospel of John speaks of it in terms that are not spoken of nearly as much. For John, the incarnation is the Word becoming Flesh.

I offer up some thoughts of reflection on the idea of Word becoming flesh.

Flesh is passionate and desirous.

But it is not only passionate and desirous for other flesh, but also for knowledge.

Knowledge for us comes in the form of Words, and we are oversaturated with words in the twenty-first century.

Knowledge is erotic. The Bible tells us as much in its Hebrew expression, and the classical Greeks knew this to be the case in Homer as well.

To know something is to regard it, and as Jane Hirshfield notes, “what we regard must seduce us, and we it, if we are to continue looking.” The power of the Word is in its power to seduce us and to awaken desire for knowledge.

Adrienne Rich: “I dreamed you were a poem, I say, a poem I wanted to show someone…”

Rich, again:

What kind of beast would turn its life into words?
What kind of atonement is this all about?
-and yet, writing words like these, I’m also living.

and:

I have written so many words
wanting to live inside you
to be of use to you

The Desert Fathers of the Christian tradition believed the flesh to be evil on account of its capacity for passion and desire, and so they fled into the desert, long the archetype of dryness, infertility, and anti-passion. Yet it is in this environment where passion and desire are awakened most. They also had a profound mistrust of the written word, and yet their own words were assiduously recorded onto parchments. It was as if the Fathers knew the eroticism of knowledge and the desire for the Word.

The connection between parched desire and parchment may be more than coincidental.

Grinch in the Aedificium!I’m home from church, listening to a random selection of some of my Christmas music and thinking about various aspects of Christmas and Advent, Church, St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, and so on. Coffee with cinnamon with a nip of butterscotch schnapps.

Random thought #1. Second week of Advent lights a candle representing Hope. Like last week, the question has to be “What are we hoping for?” Can it be the same thing as waiting? Is it the same thing as expecting? I’m hoping that the Church may experience the Gospel anew. But do I expect it? Not especially. I expect more of the same, but I certainly am not hoping for it. Hope is the audacity to dream of and perhaps even prophesy the unexpected, the utterly new, the totally absurd. Hope is holding a newborn in your hands today and just dreaming the dream that the child lives and that you can leave him or her a world that is a little more like the Kingdom of God than it was when you found it.

Random thought #2. One can’t be faulted for thinking from time to time that graduate education is a Faustian bargain that may very well cost you your religious soul.

Random thought #3. Christmas is easily the most icon-saturated period of time in the entire year. There are more festivals and rituals that go with this season in America than any other American holiday. Most of these do not occur in the churches, but on civic spaces like malls, buildings, family dining rooms, state houses, and public squares and parks.

Random thought #4. What does transpire in the specific sphere of religion is always the happy, feel-good story of the Christ-child’s Nativity. The story itself, should we actually care to look at it carefully, is anything but. Indeed, the birth of the Savior is something worth celebrating and should be celebrated with joy and revelry, as the Romans celebrated the birthday of their own savior Caesar. But the story cannot lose any more context for its meaning than it already has. The Christ was born under empire, and the Gospels describe the Nativity in counter-imperial terms. His birth challenged the Empire of the World; considering America’s position as a 21st century Rome, we need to hear this story challenge us and unsettle us, lest a new Caesar or Herod order another massacre of innocents. Again. And again.

Random thought #5. Many of us know that the songs, images, icons, and general “folkloric” celebrations of Christmas have little or nothing to do with Christianity and the churches over the last 1800 years or so. We also know that much of our Christmas symbolism are “baptized” forms of ancient European and Mediterranean popular culture, and for this reason many Christians of more fundamentalist stripes, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and independent fundamentalist baptists, refuse to observe the holiday because it’s a pagan and Catholic thing, not a Biblical one. There’s a long history of this in the US, particularly from the Colonial Era and into the nineteenth century. But there have always been those who, even while recognizing the ancient pagan provenance of so much Christmas practice and symbolism, have baptized and re-christened the symbols into all Christian icons. Example: the candy cane, simply a confectionary convenience in shape, became a shepherd’s crook. Holly and Ivy became Christ’s crown of thorns and his drops of blood. Four calling birds and the other twelve days of Christmas became the four Gospels. And so on.

All well and good. But there comes a point where it’s too easy to re-christen anything and everything, and what bugs me about this is that the same principles are used to justify the all-pervasive practices of consumption that the Christmas season celebrates and perpetuates. It just galls me that many Christians, individual and collective, try to harmonize a system like this of gross capitalist injustice and advocacy of empire with a faith whose scriptures, which we supposedly consider to be fundamental to our identity, condemns this very thing. Ugh.

Random thought #6. It’s not healthy to watch the Grinch, Charlie Brown, any version of Dickens’ ChristmasI killed it…Oh, everything I touched gets ruined! Carol, and the New Line Nativity Film all in the same week. It’s even worse if you read them in connection with the nativity stories of Matthew and Luke. Result: blogs like this.

Waiting for GodotThis week’s message was a bit related to my own from a couple weeks ago, specifically the idea of Advent being a season of waiting in hope and expectation for “something.” My point (here) was precisely that Advent was the season of waiting and hoping and yearning for something new, but that we are too damn blind, stuck and stupid to really recognize anything new, because “everything” is new every year. Reverend Doctor left us with a challenge to think of something we are waiting for this Advent.

But as my five year old son asked (turning to his mom during the message, in fact!), “What are we supposed to be waiting for?” Indeed! and even better: “waiting is BORING. I don’t wanna wait and especially for something I don’t even know what I’m waiting for.”

Holy smokes, we have a critic in the making. Talk about the faith of a child. My kid’s question and complaint was more prescient than the message itself. Leave it to a 5 year old to liken Advent to Waiting for Godot.

But the kid’s right. That was the impact. In taking up Reverend Doctor’s challenge, you’ve got to ask this question and address the inevitable boredom if you do, in fact, decide to wait around for Godot. Because other than the usual suggestions (at least in liberal protestant sermo-theology) of justice, peace, civil rights in various formats, economic equality, healthcare, and unstated other possibilities (next paycheck, serenity at home, a sex life, overcoming addiction, etc) there wasn’t much of an answer. Is Advent about the possibility of all these? Well, sure. And I’ll be the first to say that these are all vital, essential, biblical, Christian ethical values we should indeed hope for in expectation. But is this any different than the rest of the year? No, and my kid knows it. Advent shouldn’t be just another opportunity to preach the same-old-same-old. This is exactly why we can’t see newness, and power, anymore; liberal churches continue with the program of justice, while conservative churches continue to drill home the narrative of Christ’s coming, his being born-to-die at the expense of really looking at the implications of this for social, prophetic justice. The former leaves out the narrative; the latter leaves out the prophetic (and I’m not referring to the apologetic “prophetic foretellings” of conservative and evangelical churches).

So what am I waiting for here? How about hearing from our pulpits a message that fuses the two? A prophetic message of justice that includes the narratives of Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2? We liberal church people can’t assume that our fellow parishioners are biblically literate enough to simply assume the prophetic and Gospel material is common and assumed knowledge part of our social mnemonic makeup. We’re generally not. That much is clear. We evangelicals can’t assume that we have any clue on what is really going on in the prophets when we read them for Advent. Thirty something years of being brought-up-born-again has revealed that to me as well.

This Advent, I’m waiting for something new. My prayer is that when it shows up, it’ll be like porn; I’ll know it when I see it. This Advent, I’m waiting for nothing less than something as radical and ridiculous as the idea of an unwed pregnant teenage mother bearing a baby at once human and divine who would scatter the proud-hearted, forgive sin, give light to us who sit in darkness, and speak through the mouths of the prophets of old. There is a waiting for this newness, but this waiting is a vigil, and it requires alertness, awareness, sensitivity, and vigilance. It’s not a passive waiting. It’s a waiting that involves getting off our ecclesiological asses and being vigilant in the dark. It’s nothing less than being vigilant for the Kingdom, a Kingdom here and now, always and already and to come. That’s what I’m waiting for. Not the usual; waiting for the usual is, as my son says, boring. If he knew the expression, he’d be dead on if he said “boring as hell.”

Exactly. Come, Lord. And FTLOG, bring Godot with you.

In light of the discussion going on in an earlier post (Oct. 31), I give you a piece from the NYT directly relevant to the relationship between sense, material, and, ahem, spirit.

Bourbon & Bluegrass 

04bour6001.jpg

And remember that the sainted inventor of Kentucky’s bluegrass nectar was none other than Elijah Craig, ordained as a Baptist minister in 1771, pastor of Blue Run Church, Kentucky, and was arrested for peace-disturbing sermons. You can pay him homage here.

Ah, life in the spirit, materiality- and sensory- style.

Samhain play Well, I’m kinda more and more becoming aware that the study of religion can be a no-win or even a lose-lose situation. (And yes, I have – presumably – completed my written comprehensive exams, so I’m looking forward to blogtharsis again.) My primary objective in my work is to encourage anyone who listens to me or reads what I write to rethink certain conceptions, conventions, and whatever, and obviously, doing this in “religion” is to tread in some dangerous waters. If I were a so-called secularist, which I most emphatically am not, as anyone who knows me and who reads this blog is fully aware, I wouldn’t care that this is a minefield. I’d simply say my piece, denounce those who damn me as a heretic or a liberal or whatever else anyone might want to call me, and move on to the next thing.But that’s not why I study religion. I’m not trying to simply secularize old “religious” holidays or explain away anything of my own, or anyone else’s tradition. I do not make my starting point the social, human nature of religious faith and practice, although it is absolutely this. I assume this. But I start more from the other side, that religion as such is the experience and search for the sacred in life as much as, if not more than, it is anything else.

But this is precisely where we (those of us “in the guild”) get in trouble. When I talk or teach or write about the Christmas holiday, for example, and draw out the history of social transformation of this ancient holy day and criticize contemporary participation in the Christmas festival as not being particularly “Christian” and certainly not very “biblical,” I get accused of secularizing a genuine Christian holiday in a way that offends Christians by robbing it of everything that is Christian about it on the one hand and promoting the social and commercial carnivalism on the other. I’m not doing either. I’m assuming from the start that the Christian holiday was a day that marked off, for the faithful, remembrance and recollection by those who shared the Christian identity of one of its foundational stories, and that while the story itself is usually well known through cultural preservation of it, its meaning has been lost. It’s been lost for a long time. In pointing out the social and carnival nature of the Christmas season, I’m not championing it; I’m pointing out the phenomenon, from a historical and mnemonic perspective, that has overshadowed the sacred nature of Christmas, and criticizing it from the same perspective and arguing that the Nativity story, understood in its own context of the first century, challenges the very thing that Christmas has become.

Today, obviously, is Halloween, or, as it was once known, All Hallow’s Eve. I get it here too. On what used to be a day/night observed to “scare off” the demonic and protect the Saints and places of God by spooking the evil away (literally, scaring the hell out of the spirit world), we now have it that the night is, in good social carnival fashion, the very opposite, when we raise hell just for the hell of it. Instead of remembering the sacred aspect of Halloween, many Christians prefer to avoid it all together as a glorification of evil, a notion to which I’m kinda sympathetic, but when I start working with this as religious phenomena, I’m accused of trivializing evil rather than recognize the vestiges of anything sacred in it. So I’m trivializing evil here, but the same routine vis-a-vis Christmas leads to trivializing the sacred, and usually by the same crowd of critics.

I think the most irksome thing is the accusations of academics and professors who try to sensitively treat aspects of religion as being arrogant know-it-alls who seem to setting themselves up to play God. Perhaps, but goshdarnit, we are professors, and we do profess to know something that isn’t usually “in the public domain,” so to speak. But when folks in our guild of academic religionists, theologians, and, heck, even pastors, come to conclusions that challenge what other people hold dear and which are ends in themselves, I have to say it sure as heck is not the professors who act like the arrogant SOB know-it-alls picking fights, or not only us.

What it comes down to is that there are a lot of people who psychologically can’t handle it very well when someone tells them they’re wrong, or rather the particular perspective or understanding of something religious that has been a part of their life for years, and my approach, especially in the sensitive souls of my students, is to avoid doing so as much as possible. Like I said, the sacred is the starting point; it’s human relation, interaction, and so on with the sacred that makes the study and teaching of religion worthwhile, and we all have different experiences with the sacred. For folks in this category, because my “mission” is to stir things up, like any self-respecting academic, please know that I’d rather not bug you, because I’m sure I’d be nothing but trouble for anyone who already thinks they’ve got it all together. But for those who, like me, are disappointed with the desacralization of our religious heritage, I would hope that we academics, professors, and “know-it-alls” can be allies here, not adversaries.

storage-00.jpgIt’s funny how you can come to associate different regions of the country with their own special and ubiquitous landmarks. When I’m in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, for example, I think Dunkin’ Donuts. In central New York, “Dollar” stores of various names. Southwest Ohio, Skyline Chili. And now, back in New Hampshire, I’m reminded of the local ubiquity: self-storage facilities.

Ugh. It seems like the whole concept of self-storage units could only be a concept of the US. I mean, good grief, even the smallest country roads around here boast a facility or two. For families who needed to start a business for financial reasons of their own, it used to be that guys who were half-way mechanically inclined could start up their own auto repair shop, and as families gradually went from one car to two cars to 3 or 4, these folks did pretty well. Then it was computers; if you could install your printer and a mouse to your old Windows 3.1 system, you qualified as a bona fide tech and could safely open your on PC service, repair, and dealer shop. Now it’s the EZ U-Store-It! rentable garages.

I used to wonder to myself why the heck these things were so common and popular. After flirting with the idea that people were willing to shell out 40 bucks a month (at least!) for garage space because they didn’t have a garage at all, the real reason dawned on me: Yeah. We, as a society, just have Too. Much. Crap.

We know, of course, that the US is by far the single biggest consumer of resources and manufactured products in the world. There are only two categories of things to consume: necessities (like food, clothing, and so forth) and luxuries. I think that, by definition, if you don’t need it at home, and you can afford to stash it away in a garage a couple miles away (if that!), it’s a luxury. The presence of so many self-storage facilities is testimony to our need to just accumulate and buy simply because we can.

Admittedly, I often wish that I had one of these things; in the winter, my family’s bicycles take up a ton of room in the apartment and we’re always tripping on the things. We have pieces of furniture that look nice, but are in the way and are hardly used, except to store other stuff that we don’t use often. We can’t use one of our closets because it’s full of things other than coats, because “we don’t know when we might need these for such and such again.”

But, in the interest of family and friendships, we’ve come up with a solution that works ok for us; we offer friends with garages or sheds the opportunity to earn 40 bucks every winter if they’re willing to store our bikes for us. Sometimes we run across people who need another chair more than we do. With kids who are growing older, and neices and nephews who are much younger, we’ve been able to put much of our old “stash” of toddler’s items to good use. Donations to charitable organizations happen often.

I don’t think the solution to having too much merchandise from Walmart, Dollar General, or Home Depot or anywhere else is to throw money into a long term offisite garage. I’d like to think that the solution is to simply try to, well, simplify. Buy less stuff, and what we buy, make sure it’s better. And, at the very least, make sure I have the space for it.

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, stuff like this reminds you of what Bruce Cockburn says: You’ve Never Seen Everything. For which, I guess, we can only be thankful. But here’s a new one, at least to me: Virtue Perfume, a new beauty product that the creators say was inspired by biblical ingredients and which is geared toward assisting the wearer, or the lover, as the case may be, towards spiritual attainment. $80 bucks gets you a chance to be biblical, spiritual, and sexy all at the same time.

Scent From the Bible

Obviously this kind of materialist marketing, capitalizing on obscure content from the text of the Bible, is nothing new. Pop-culture pragmatic evangelical products have been around for at least 30 or so years and include everything from rock music to visual art of biblical scenes and characters, Christian Tee-shirts that parody popular consumerist products and ideology, to Christian horror flicks. The Christian retail industry hit something like $4 billion dollars in sales three years ago, and this figure doesn’t even include sales of Catholic bookshops and gift stores that marked incense, images, and other such sensory aids to worship. So I suppose that the surprising thing is that it took so long for a Christian perfume to appear at all.

Now, while I find the consumer-capitalist junk products of Tee-shirts and other Christiany knick-knacks highly problematic, especially for the purpose of evangelism, I can definitely appreciate sensory, physical, and material elements in the practice of faith. The natural, physical world exists to be experienced through the senses, which can deepen faith for those who have it and can inspire mystical ecstasy even among those who profess no faith or who cannot intellectually assent to the Divine. There is nothing that inspires my experience of God so much as things that allow me to participate in the physical, sensory world of the Creation. So much that I find sensorily beautiful move me to tears and to stronger faith. And smells are one of these; food, for example, is a spiritual experience for me from time to time, as it engages sight, smell, and taste. The human body is also an inspiration to beauty that engages the senses. I love good perfumes on my woman. So the concept of something like Virtue Perfume as an aid to experiencing the sacred isn’t particularly foreign or offensive to me.

What I find ridiculous is the need to justify the spiritual value of sensory and bodily beauty to certain Christian groups by marketing the stuff as a religious product and, especially, by making it “biblical.” As if to say that smelling good and feeling sensual or sexy is sinf, unchristian, and unbiblical unless it can be shown that smelling good, feeling sensual, or being sexy is OK’ed by Scripture. The way Virtue tries to pull this off is by listing its ingredients as “biblical.” And so they are. But so what? In fact, the website even notes that one of these biblical ingredients, Apricot, was probably the original forbidden fruit. This would have been news to medieval theologians like Bernard, no stranger to sensual spirituality himself, who thought of the fruit as the apple, and of modern scholars who find it much more likely that the forbidden fruit was the pomegranate. But in any case, it is highly ironic that an ap-peal to the forbidden fruit in this very biblical list would be used as an aid to experiencing God.

The thinking is that “Christians won’t buy perfumes if they psychologically associate them with negative stereotypes of sexuality that most perfumes perpetuate.” And that’s probably the case. Why feed into the sex industry even more by buying products that perpetuate sexual imagery that is damaging and destructive? It is tough, I suppose, to avoid thinking of having wild sex on the beach if your schnozz picks up avirtue-perfume.gif whiff Nautica or whatever. Having a marketing image that provides an alternative to ads like Nautica’s or Calvin Klein’s is commendable, but to actually say it’s “biblical” goes a bit over the top. Some things can be good, and sensual, without having to justify it as being biblical.

Plus, its $80.00 bucks.

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