Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Spanking the Achtung

Too bad you can’t do that (masturbate) for a living, Thousands of people would come to watch you. You could sell out Madison Square Garden. "
-the mother of a Seinfeld character (George)

"If you want to (euphemism for masturbation) into the headphones, go ahead and buy it," the salesman sarcastically sneered, "But other than that, it's not really worth it; it's a bunch if unfinished demos."

It was the post-Joshua Tree days when the demo bootlegs of that U2 album had leaked to the record stores (No internet leaks; and I mean literal records) bold enough to sell bootlegs. The employee at Logos Santa Cruz was simply responding o my friends inquiry about "Salomé: The Axtung Beibi Outtakes."

I am not sure exactly what the man meant by that graphic image (Maybe "why settle for spanking the monkey when you could buy the full-blown coitus of The Joshua Tree in the next bin for half the price." ) ; but it was enough to gross out my friend: "Ew, I don't want to be accused of THAT!"

For years, I was sorry we hadn't bought the contraband collection. Of course, much of it is online and Youtube; as

you can see here.

With new leaks..the infamous "beach clips" and "stolen" CDs... attending every U2 release from that album forward (see this year's model), I often remember that day...

And ponder the masturbation metaphor (one that holds its own). Not only for the music connection (Jurzak posted an interesting blog on the connections; and of course the list of songs allegedly written to soundtack the activity under discussion is legendary.
But for me, it captures American culture's capitalismisimo and consumerism, and church's koinonitis (interruptus). I have written on this elsewhere under such provocative titles as

Annihilating nihilism and cultural masturbation with a good memory, and a bad movie or two


Moving From Postfundamentalist Masturbation to Holy Foolishness: Missing Jesus


of course orgasm is prayer

If you are a bit worried about those links, the CS Lewis article on the topic is a hands-down classic.

Do we pastors...do prosperity preachers...encourage the ingrown idolatry of the masturbation prison (Lewis)instead of the even more passionate/elevated missional heart of God?

And that means not unnecessarily sexualizing short term mission trips.

John Tschetter notes:

Our culture is deeply committed to images, and is blatantly idolatrous in doing
so. The 2001 (? date) Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue had written on the
cover, “the goddesses of the Mediterranean”. This goddess can be none other that
the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, sensuality, and sexual love.
Considering that normal speed movie film contains 24 frames per second, try to
imagine how many times per hour the image of Aphrodite is presented to be seen
and worshiped through the projected world in our culture. Suddenly 1 Corinthians
10:14 and 1 John 5:21 take on great significance for us today! In a similar way,
the more deeply we attempt to engage our culture through the projected world,
the more vulnerable we are ourselves to idolatry, because the essence of the
projected world is made images. Both roots of idolatry are at work in the
formation of images for the projected world. Our making of images to present our
work in ministry is not invulnerable to idolatry.

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