In Psalm 84:10, the psalmist opines “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” One does get the sense that the tents of the wicked are kind of like party tents, like stepping into a beer commercial where everyone is young and beautiful, every witticism is funny and everyone is happy. No one is a mean drunk or a mean girl, no one has a hangover, a beer-belly, cirrhosis of the liver or acne blemishes on their perfect sin. Yet the psalmist still wants to be a doorkeeper in God’s house. Why?
I think that impulse is in all of us, and it starts to get loud as the beer commercial we’ve been living in naturally becomes less intoxicating and starts to show some stress fractures. Somehow, on some level, we know that it isn’t going to last and the best we can hope for is that it will last as long as we do. But there is a downside to that too. It gets us to consider having a go at living in reality, living outside the beer commercial in a life that necessitates harmony with God. Reality doesn’t have the fake snow, the special effects, the extensive editing, along with the sequenced, scripted sound bytes with carefully modulated spot-on lighting. But both reality and nature soothes the soul, even when the elements and the weather aren’t spot-on. After some getting used to, it is peaceful, a peace that the beer commercial cannot give..
I remember a teenager challenging me on why our faith-based school didn’t have condom dispensing machines in the washrooms. He was going to a public school the next year and had these beer commercial daydreams, he would be leaving us to enter Pleasure Island. I tried to tell the student that there is no such thing as “safe sex”, (save within marriage) but it wasn’t working. It seemed like a stalemate between to deeply entrenched religiously held doctrines. Evangelicals want you to declare Jesus as your Lord and Savior, Catholics have 24 hour Adoration Chapels where you can talk to Jesus in Eucharistic form, and the secular religion has its own Holy of Holies and requisite declarations of faith. It is a sacrilege for a washroom to be without a condom dispensing machine, the benefits of such devices are a must tell requirement in schools. Kids are given this irrational fear of missing out on their halcyon day of youth if they don't walk around life with this small plastic burka for their privates. The problem is they are going to miss out on the mountaintop experiences of young love, in exchange for the tawdriness of meaningless orgasm. Then there are the other bathroom related ideologies such as, “Hey kindergarteners, let’s imagine we are going to change our genders, let's all use the other gender’s designated bathroom, won’t that be fun?” Ron DeSantis stopped all that in Florida. Doesn't the suppression of modern education make your blood boil? But I cross-dress, I mean digress. Forward and onward, back to the topic at hand.
Anyways, I was making no headway in arguing that “safe sex” is a misnomer and for a split second the clouds lifted and I was inspired to try another argument. I took the student on a thought experiment, one that was in the beer commercial genre. I asked him to imagine that he found his Miss Right, married her and in the course of time he became a father of a baby daughter. He was a good father, they had oodles of daddy daughter time, the whole bit. It was a nice dream, and I wish I could have been as good a father as he was imagining he would be. Then I sprung on him the scenario where the daughter is now a teenager in grade nine like he is at present. Then one day a boy from his daughter’s class comes to the father, (our student in the thought experiment) and says “I had sex with your daughter last night, I want you to know, however, that it was safe sex, it was consensual and I completely enjoyed myself.” I’ve seldom seen such an eruption of rage in a student. The beer commercial was over. He wanted to tear the guy apart limb by limb and he had the adrenalin rush to do it. He wasn`t mad at me, his volcanic anger was solely directed at the imaginary male student who had violated the imaginary daughter that he only kept in his mind for the space of 2 or 3 minutes. I tactfully guided him to the concept that, with regard to the object of his rage, "That man is you.``
But all the while, in my mind, I was saying to the student, `God bless you for that.` The protective instinct is in the male DNA. It gives me hope for the future that it is still there. Pope John Paul`s point that "It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman" has a power because it resonates in the male soul, we feel it in our gut. There are the times in a guy's life when the compass needle wavers between protector and predator, either emulating the True Shepherd or patterning one's behavior on the hired hand who runs away in the face of danger. A passion for justice and right dealing is going to be an enormous help in making the right (and ultimately blessed) decision. The trick is to ditch the intoxication of sin (of the beer commercial variety,) and instead drink from the clear springs of conscience and harmony with our God.
More on this next week. Check out the Repentance comic so far. God bless