I wrote the following post back on November 1, 2011. In the wake of Friday’s movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado this might bear repeating. Also, my heart and prayers to the victims and their families of this tragedy; may God’s comfort and peace wrap around them in the days ahead.
I recently posted this question on Facebook: Imagine what kind of world this would be when we celebrate healthy and affirming sexuality in all its forms; and demonize violence in all its forms. A similar question was on my Twitter page.
What generated this question was my observation of a young boy playing a violent video game at a nearby store with such ease that I found it rather concerning-even with his parents nearby. As my young friend played, I asked myself what would his folks do if an explicit (non-violent) sex scene appeared on the video display? I bet they’d probably yank him away from the game and complain bitterly to store management.
I’ve noticed this pro-violence/anti-sex trend in our Western culture. We use politics, religion, race, and other factors to propagate this. We’ll exile sexuality to the societal hinterlands-be it a city’s “red light district”, late night cable TV slots, or no funding for explicit artwork. We mock sex in the media because its call for openness and (healthy) vulnerability is too scary for us. On the other hand, we’ll bomb others in the name of “freedom”, allow our children’s impressionable minds to be shaped by the latest Gears of War game, celebrate any medium that promises more bruises, cuts, or a body count to beat the band, and turned Jesus’s love ethic into a mutated blood cult.
What if we did a 180-degree turn?
What if we started to celebrate loving, nourishing, affirming sexuality-regardless of one’s gender preference? What if we started to clear the patriarchal, time/culture-specific baggage out of religion when it comes to sex, and realize that God’s not having a coronary about our sex life (as long as it doesn’t hurt, demean, or deprive)? What if we celebrated-and explored-the responsibly non-monogamous sexuality we’ve demonized so long? What if we were up front with our children about sex, and not so quick to cover their eyes when one’s “naughty bits” (thanks Monty Python) is displayed. What if we took the chance to be open and vulnerable with each other in intimate settings?
On the other hand, what if we demonized violence? What if we started to boycott video game stores that promote an endless stream of “war-n-gore” games? What if we started to protest bloated military spending, and demand that Washington put money back into more human and peaceful uses? What if we put our religions under the microscope of criticism and realize that many of our pet verses of violence are not relevant to our age and that some are just myth? What if we teach our children that war and violence are not “make believe” and are to be looked upon for what they are-evil?
Imagine a world like that: I’d like to. Maybe God does too.
This post is calling to our attention the culture of violence that allowed this tragedy to occur-from James Holmes’s stockpiling of weapons and commission of the crime to the lives lost and wounded as a result. Also, this is not to say that just healthy sexuality is the answer either. We can easily take out “sexuality” and put in “peace”, “love”, or “creativity” as well-anything that enhances human life.
The days ahead are going to be hard: for the families of the deceased; the surviving victims and their families; and, the family of James Holmes. The days ahead will also be hard on us as a society since this impacts us all one way or another.
Let’s continue to imagine or re-imagine such a world in the quoted post above, so that one day tragedies like the one in Aurora will be a thing of the past.