Count them: 1, 2, 3...
The Freebie, Hall Pass, No Strings Attached.
Films are going further. Stretching. Sex has long not been a taboo in our culture or artwork. It is such a common mark that its mention is almost mandatory in any action movie trailer these days. You'll be hard pressed to find any (outside of Stallone flicks, God bless 'em!) that don't intersperse glimpses of sex and seduction between raw moments of unmediated adventure. But okay, I've become accustomed to this. I can look away. It is not always an easy task, but it can be done. It can be accomplished.
What I can't ignore is subject matter. Plot. When the course of events revolves around not just sex, but some aspect of sexual ascent, my ignorance capabilities are famished to death. I have to invite it into my eyes, my thought life, or just run away.
The three films mentioned above are all coming to theaters in the next few months. They all star household names (well, okay, Dex Shepard isn't exactly a superstar...), and if you wish, you can easily find tantalizing teasers for the three romcoms.
They are stretching our social conscience. Stretching, stretching, stretching. Count the ways.
|Peter Paul Rubens|
Sometime after Stephen Arterburn published "Every Man's Battle", his wife left him. According to the reviews, Mr. Arterburn was not promiscuous, and in fact did everything he could to remain married, but his efforts proved futile. If the woman wants out, she gets out. And that is that. But the story continues. After the divorce was finalized (his second), Mr. Arterburn fell back into a lifestyle of pornographic addiction. This was the man that wrote the playbook for how to avoid such venomous tripe, and yet he got sucked in again. Man alive! Where are the heroes of the faith? It appears that they (the heroes) are not the ones writing books. Note: My intention is not to defame the character or motive of Mr. Arterburn, but only to sigh that men of renown in the Christian tradition fall to such sinful ways. It also rubs me a bit that he got married again for a third time, but that's a conversation for another, not here, time.
Can someone please tell Mr. Haggard to read the first line of "The Purpose Driven Life". It's not about you, Ted. Get off the damn stage.
Surely it is a good and righteous thing for our Christian leaders to be open with their flock about the sin in their life. But on that same note, they are our elders in the community, the ones chosen to lead us in rightward living that strives to bear the image of Christ in our hearts. Their standard must be high.
Paul's words in 1 Corinthian's 11:1, Be imitators of me, as also I am of Christ.
Ted Haggard (and sadly, Mr. Arterburn as well) can't tell us to be like him. He should take himself out of leadership, and in his place hungry servants of the Lord will fill those defiled shoes... people who do imitate Christ.
No Strings Attached, The Freebie, and Hall Pass all deal with the wife (and/or girlfriend) allowing her beloved to go stick his penis in some other woman. That's the freebie. That's the hall pass. That's life without strings.
I'm willing to bet that all three films reach mushy conclusions about how it isn't worth it, and the man comes running back to the girl saying, "I only want you." But it won't matter. The films will give us well over 60 minutes of fantasizing time. That thought will permeate the minds of all the men and women who see it. Monogamy is getting the short end of the stick.
I don't know. I don't have an answer. I don't want to say, 'Hey guys, let's all get together and boycott these films, because that'll teach 'em!' Perhaps my only concern is just to look around and say, 'Hey guys, you see this, right? You see what's happening here?'
To tell myself that sex is a function of the institute of marriage -- that it's this beautiful fruit that I currently have no right to -- that's a hard pill to swallow. Often, keeping my mind and body sober of sexual thoughts and actions just makes me feel like shit. But that's just when I need a Ted Haggard to yell at me, 'Hey Dante, it's not about you (and your penis). Sit your ass down.'
Grant the Body of the Church peace, stamina, and perseverance, so that we would not succumb to the succubus that appears ever-so alluring.
Father, help us. We drown without you.
These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.