Thursday, March 29, 2012

Christopher West and the Flattened Cosmos

How can the key to our redemption be dependent on the distortions of the secular culture of death, such that we must identify our sexuality with the culture's forms and categories in order to live the ethos of redemption and have our sexuality "untwisted"?

But what is the present culture's pornographic stance based on? Whence came it? You really think it's just a Freudian revolt, or flipping, against a puritan heritage? You willing to bet your soul on it?

Shall we align ourselves with a false identification in order that a true identification may come of it?

We are not historical beings in that sense. Aligning or identifying ourselves with the spirit of the age, the Zeitgeist, for whatever restorative or redemptive reason, is revisionist history on a personal level.

***

Christopher West reminds me of this woman who I used to deliver groceries to. A kind, generous woman, she gave me a new King James Bible once with my name dedicated on the inside cover. She bought boxes and boxes of groceries at a time, and since she is still there, I assume she still buys boxes and boxes of groceries at a time. One box for instance would have in it all eggs, cartons and cartons of eggs. I'm not sure what she did with them. I think she provided for others, either through her church or by herself.

I would bring the boxes of groceries up her front, outside stairs to her second-floor porch that gives a wide western view of our town. Dowdy, old and not able to walk too well, she is one of those women who manages a number of feats that many limber healthy people do not. She lives on a long steep hill that runs into town. I live several blocks away from her on the top of the hill. The hill is big. The flat top of the hill is big.

She spoke to me once about demons. She wanted to give me a book; indeed, I now remember, she did give me a book, which I never read, that had to do with what she spoke to me about: that demons lived under the earth, literally, underground, verily as we spoke on her porch. And these demons come out from under the earth and take on the form of human beings and go around deceiving people. They have their places in the echelons of the society-shapers and controllers of money.

It's the sort of thing one would almost entertain if one were bored enough, for it is rather exciting - except for that part about it being delusional (not because it's "too crazy" but because it flattens the hierarchical universe). I have no doubt that demons can take on human form and deceive people. I'm no abstractionist when it comes to the realm of evil and evil spirits, but her ideas, though innocently held, were what you might call the extreme opposite of the theologian who abstracts evil to the ideological ethers.

But I don't believe it's merely a question of finding the middle between those two extremes. One could find in the abstracting theologian something materialist and clunky; one could find in the spiritual materialist something assuming and abstract.

The point in fact that makes her ideas alarming, making one wary, and which brings me to the point about Christopher West, is what's behind them. Not so much the notion that the reality is as plain as that demons are living underground and regularly coming out under the guise of human beings to infiltrate the UN and the world bank, but the notion that we are "figuring them devils out" and "catching them in their wiles" is what I find in common with West when he speaks about the Devil blinding us to the key in our sexuality.

West in this interview:


"We must come to see that our sexuality is a sign in the world that is meant to proclaim the love of Christ for the Church. That's what Scripture teaches us. No wonder the Enemy is after this. Think about it. If there's an enemy who wants to keep us from Heaven - and how does Scripture describe Heaven? - it's the marriage of the Lamb. The Bible begins with the marriage of man and woman, but it ends with the marriage of Christ and the Church. And the marriage of man and woman is meant to be a sign here on planet Earth pointing us to our ultimate destiny of union with God forever in the marriage of the Lamb. No wonder the Enemy is after this. Because if he can twist and distort and disorient our sexuality, it will no longer point us to the marriage of the Lamb. It will point us in a very different direction. John Paul II's Theology of the body gives us the tools to reclaim sexuality for Christ and His Church. The sexual confusion in the world - if you could put it this way - the sexual confusion in the world and in our own hearts - you know what it is? It's the human desire for Heaven gone berserk. And the gift of John Paul's Theology of the Body - if we could put it this way - is that it un-berserks it; it re-directs it; it re-orients it once again according to God's original plan, so that it can launch us, like a rocket into the stars."


It's the same flattened, Hollywood universe as the "demons underground" schtick.

Since the devil has been blinding people to this "key" - being that our sexual/spousal bodies contain the Gospel message - throughout all the ages before us and in this present age, then that would mean that the particular unprecedented pornographic media of our present culture is the result not of intrinsic evil, but of the burgeoning awareness of our sexuality and of the key that it presents to us; and that the devil has been trying to twist this new age of burgeoning sexual awareness in its process of self-realization, because he knows what that key will lead us to, and he knows his time is short. This is why we have pornography at the touch of a mouse key, on billboards, on television and at eye-level of toddlers in the magazine racks of the 7-11. It is the sign of our burgeoning sexual awareness, which contains the key to the Gospel message of the wedding feast, in the process of being tripped up and blinded and stopped at the surface.

Sodom and Gomorrah were obliterated with fire from heaven because the people of those cities did not go far enough to see the key in their sexuality: the fire that fell on them was their karma for not going deep enough, thus sublimating that denial through the indulgence of a cheap substitute. Their lusts burned so much that their lusts replicated actual consuming flames that destroyed them. Mary, on the other hand, opened herself so profoundly that she conceived eternal life within her womb. God did not find them offensive; He just found them to be tragic. Every single person of those cities had a hungry heart. They couldn't get no. Satis-faction. No, no, no.

Ah, those Old Testament people, so tragic. One minute turning their eyes away from the shapely woman according to the coping mechanisms of their Wisdom texts, and the next minute bursting into sulphuric flames because they flipped that puritanical pancake over from repression to indulgence. Those dang devils underground blinded them to the decoding keys in their bodies.

But unlike them, we have Christ who came to provide us with the image of the wedding feast and untwist our distorted sexuality, thus opening our eyes to the key in our sexuality. You see, He decoded the Matrix for us.

And yet there is going to come another Christ. The Christ before was just a forerunner. Now we await the Cosmic Christ come in the flesh, who will be more enfleshed, for the Cosmic Christ is not the Christ out there in the abstract heaven, but is cosmic: he is more enfleshed - and he who denies this Cosmic Christ come in the flesh is of the anti-Christ, for it says in 1 Jn 4:2-3 that the spirit that denies “Christ come in the flesh” is that of the anti-Christ.

After all, if Mary opened herself so profoundly that she conceived eternal life, and we also conceive that very same eternal life so often with the Eucharist, then surely having that eternal life, we can open ourselves even more profoundly and conceive a better Christ. So certainly the Cosmic Christ will be made incarnate. Certainly this is why there is so much pornography then: our sexual awareness must be just bursting at the seams with sexual redemption, just yearning so deeply to be made manifest - free from the twistedness, we've almost made it, indeed, we already have; we just need to shake off these blinding rags. Because "God is teaching us through our sexuality". Our redemption is "already, but not yet". And did not Christ say that even "greater works than these" we will do? Truly He was the forerunner.

It is time for us to be inebriated by the wine of the Holy Spirit! It is time for our idols to be untwisted and be the true icons that they are!

3 comments:

Enbrethiliel said...

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Blogger Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

It's "You're either with us or against us" all over again.

I once had a roommate who was a Politics major, and one afternoon she teased me about my being a "capitalist." For apparently, anyone who is anti-Communist must be a capitalist. And I thought, Can't I just be a Catholic?

She was just having a bit of fun and didn't actually believe that the world was that black and white . . . But imagine if she did think so and if the books she wrote about it sold thousands of copies! It would be maddening, aye?

Paul Stilwell said...

Reminds me of this:

http://maryvictrix.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/theology-of-the-body-and-the-mystical-magical-train/

The whole you-must-be-opposite thing is hardwired into West's teaching, because he's a dualist.

Wade St. Onge said...

For any of West's defenders who want to keep citing Cardinal Schonborn as an authority for endorsing his work:

http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=13870&amp