Posts Tagged ‘delusions’

The Body of Christ?/Marriage: The Eternal Love Triangle

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Okay, not to say that our other readings weren’t interesting and all– they were– but I was fascinated by Paula Jean Miller’s “The Theology of the Body.” One point of interest has a lot to do with Kristen’s earlier post, in defining the role of marriage and both (or roughly speaking, all three) parties contained within it: “…John Paul focuses on the true goal of human sexuality: the union of man and woman, body and spirit” (502). Although Miller proceeds to say that John Paul perceives this institution to be “the basis for a fully human, sexual-personal relationship,” (502), I wanted to push this a little further and argue that it is actually the basis for, scripturally-speaking, a sexual-personal-metaphysical/spiritual interrelationship. How’s THAT for complicating things??

I mean, New Order says it best when they beg the beloved addressee of the song below to pay attention and work on the relationship: “Every time I see you falling/I get down on my knees and pray/I’m prayin’ for that final moment/to say the words that I can’t say.”

Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order

The delightful throwback moment of classic New Wave Brit Pop Electronica circa 1982 aside, I’m serious when I say that God/the Holy Spirit is the third “partner” in marriage, and that this, instead of increasing the sin in carnal feeling, actually alleviates some of it (within the confines/context of traditional, legal Christian marriage, of course). Rather than being ashamed of the body (Eve/Fall from Eden, anyone?), “…the Holy Father teaches that the body is the very oldest sacrament, instituted by God at the dawn of creation: He calls it the ‘primordial sacrament'” (502). This seems to suggest a certain growing tolerance on the part of the Catholic church towards sex for pleasure (no birth control though!), and that our bodies are, indeed, a blessing, an instrument, and a constant source of temptation.

This is a frightening, weird, and tantalizing contradiction, when we think about it. Our bodies can be used for either evil or good, and we can neither become too appreciative of them (lest we fall prey to vanity), nor too harsh about them (lest we begin to covet aspects of our neighbor’s physique).Gosh, the seven deadly sins are everywhere, aren’t they?! Reminds me of Cyndi Lauper’s album “12 Deadly Cyns (And Then Some).” 🙂

12 Deadly Cyns And Then Some

What complicates this seemingly-impossible avoidance of body-related sin even FURTHER is that Miller outlines how our bodies are indistinct from our essential “selves.” In fact, she claims, we are all physical manifestations of God’s “body,” so that in order to be embodied, we must carry on with God’s perfect plan, or else we are not our actual selves, if that makes sense…or that our physical skin, muscles, bones and brain are somehow wasted, since we are not the “incarnate spirits” we are supposed to be. I think Miller puts it best in the following passage: “As embodied persons, there is no way for us to come to know one another except through glances, words, gestures, idiosyncrasies, hugs, and withdrawals, all of which we experience through the personal body” (502).

And then, of course, there’s the sexual-spiritual element we discussed in class last week when we talked about spiritualists/spirituality/spiritualism– after all, this class is about Sex AND Religion! But just for kicks and giggles (and good music), here’s John Mayer to teach you the good news: 😉

Haha 😉

 

Here Comes the Ghost, doo doo doo doo :)

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

In Ghosts of Futures Past, Molly McGarry touches on several things that “struck my fancy,” so to speak. A brief list of these may include the following:

-Mediums channeling those of other sexes/genders, and the complications thereof

-“Free love” and how it upset the “moral hierarchical order” of man-woman marriage—who knew the turn of the century marked the first hippie era?! (Just kidding—I know it’s not parallel, but the terminology made me laugh.

-The “science” behind the “hysterical” woman—and the sexualization thereof

-Phrenology (I’ve just always thought it was cool), and

-Walt Whitman!

 

Of all of these subjects of interest, however, I found the section concerning Walt Whitman to be the most compelling. It is no surprise to me that one of America’s earliest poetic geniuses, who arguably created all-new forms of dealing with language, was also interested in the occult and wished to channel other’s souls. In fact, as the general public became more comfortable with and receptive to spiritualism, such instruments of spiritualistic “tinkering,” such as Ouija Boards, landed on the market. Spiritualism had officially become marketable, and the American public readily consumed.

Ouija Board and “Spirit”

*Side note: I still think it is really weird that Ouija boards are sold at Toys R Us, right next to Apples to Apples and Monopoly…as if they try to serve the same purposes in terms of entertainment…

This fascination with otherworldly or spiritual means of communication became somewhat of a motif throughout the 1900s, actually; some other major artists who exhibit similar interest and dedication in spiritual efforts include Madonna, who dabbled in Kabbalah (much to the fury and/or excitement of Jews worldwide), and my beloved Beatle, George Harrison.

George Harrison <3

Both Whitman and Harrison made spiritual beings integral to their lives and their art; however, Whitman’s efforts in the matter were, of course, complicated by the fact that he was gay. This is where phrenology sailed in to “save the day,” by justifying Whitman’s love for and commitment/connection to other men as biologically-based; it was literally “all in his head.” As we talked about last class, biology served to “prove” (read: assuage) certain aspects of American society that were “undesirable”; in doing so, it provided evidence for racism, sexism, etc. As we can see from the image below, sometimes we still see vestigial signs of this phenomenon:

“You’re just a woman with a tiny brain, a brain 1/3 the size of a man’s. It’s science.” -Ron Burgundy

So basically, “Anchor Man” aside, I have a lot to talk about in class today…

I’ve Just Met a Girl Named Mariaaaaa…

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

…and BOY, is she an awful liar!

Okay, I am basically going to repeat the sentiments everyone else’s posts have already expressed:

  1. Sex sells. Whether it be rape (*cringing, can’t believe I wrote that*), incest, or any other negative/questionable sexual content, it grabs the reader’s attention.
  2. Babies. Gotta have infant death if it’s a worthwhile story. (For the record, I HATE “dead baby” jokes. Can’t stand them.)
  3. Priests make good scapegoats. They’re the guys people love to hate. Who would come to the door of a convent, make hissing noises, and expect to be let in around midnight for some wayward sexual pleasure? A priest, of course!

But seriously. I know that in 19th-century America– and indeed, since then– there has been a strong anti-Catholic rhetoric going around. Sometimes, the faith itself was used as a basis of racial oppression, as well. Indeed, two of the most discriminated-against European immigrant groups– the Irish and the Italians– were primarily Catholic, and in the early 1900s, they were “hated on” quite a bit for this reason.

HOWEVER, I would like to believe that if I were alive when the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk came out that I would have been at least a little bit skeptical. No matter how terrible you may think a particular religious sect is, would you really ascribe to them infanticide, rape, murder, and whatever else, all in the name of God? This seems to be a stretch, even for your average illiterate American Protestant who “didn’t know any better.”

Therefore, I must say that Maria (a.k.a., the shady Protestant males with a knack for tall tales…hey, that rhymed) may have put forth an interesting horror story through this volume, but no wonder it was disproved within months of its publication. It was simply “too bad to be true,” and the writing style itself left a lot to be desired– I think I yawned twice for each page.

The Awful Delusions of Maria Monk, Is More Like It

Monday, January 28th, 2013

She looks angry, must have found out Maria Monk’s stories were a lie!

 

So, in reading this delightful piece aloud to my children at bedtime. *laugh* Just kidding, I did not read this to the kids at bedtime.

But, I was struck by how disturbing this piece was.  The vivid accounts of rape, murder and sexual abuse presented by Maria Monk was enough to make the reader eerie of Priests, Nuns, convents and the like.

However, one universal truth about this piece that I kept referring back to is the fact that Maria Monk was eventually discredited for her account.  So I again, ask myself: Where in the world did this woman get these accounts from? The two most disturbing stories were:

  1. The births of babies in the covenant, who were eventually baptized but then drowned under the assumption that they would somehow be granted immediate entry into heaven.
  2. The execution of a nun at the hands of her fellow sisters via strangling by what seemed to be a leather belt strap?

I mean what kind of woman sits back and think of these tall, gruesome tales.  I wonder if Maria Monk was ahead of her time.  I mean something written like this in the 21st century would be considered a cake walk considering what is published now and is presented to viewers on television.  It was interesting to hear her intricate tales of how there were secret trap doors which the superiors used to navigate through the rooms of the nuns, stating that “they were often in our beds before we were.”  (Chapter XII)

So it got me thinking, where did this woman get her ideas if her story was not true? Rumor has it that Maria Monk is said to be a former prostitute.  One interesting fact is that after she was discredited it was rumored that  “she was later arrested for picking the pocket of a man who had paid her for sex, and she died in prison on Welfare Island, New York City, in 1849.”  (“Maria Monk”)

Maria Monk’s alleged demise got me thinking even further.  Was it because of the current societies disposition to sex and sexuality that this washed up prostitute had to disguise her lifestyle as some tall tale in order to get attention?  It’s not like Maria could come out express herself as a prostitute, or was she just so me batty lady filled with delusions?

Also, I had to ask myself, how did the public soak up this story?  I did some research via the internet and I found that her story was believable because there was a lot of anti-Catholic rhetoric being circulated.  Those who hated the Catholics around this time specifically, were the English colonists or the Puritans.  My research also further pointed me to the rise in anti Catholic sentiments as linked to the rise of Catholic immigrants i.e. from Ireland who were entering the United States through such ports as New York. (“Catholic Culture”).

So I have to wonder if maybe this woman was not crazy, that she knew that the public would soak it up and that she would someone receive a big pay day because of her story.

Work Cited

“Library : Maria Monk – Catholic Culture.” Library : Maria Monk – Catholic Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013. <http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=154>

“Maria Monk.” Maria Monk. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013. <http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/mariamonk.html>.