Circle of Joy and Sorrow

Everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be. -Marcus Aurelius

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Left Hand of God

Now I just got done reading the longest singles ad ever. I refer to the much-lauded “Left Hand of God” by Michael Lerner, who’s the editor of Tikkun magazine. A magazine in which I will now never get published, but oh well!

Here’s not where I’m going to go on and on about how dispiriting I found the polemic, or that Lerner’s spent a bit too much time drinking Kool-Aid at Republican parties. Or the aerobics involved in avoiding talking about atheists, or how he equates them with secular, and excludes anyone religious from taking an existential view of governance. Or that he misrepresents central tenets of the feminist and environmental movements, and thinks that the drive towards conservative religious groups in America has been largely because these people had too much bad sex. In his defense, Lerner’s really too old to go undercover to Intervarsity and Young Life meetings where he would have discovered that either everyone’s just having sex anyway, or they’re afraid to have sex and are pretending everyone’s a virgin. Talk about group dynamics.

Back to that part about Lerner’s search for romance. I admit I had to drag myself through the chapter that’s actually supposed to be about sex, and yet my eyebrows entered orbit on page 309, when he’s supposed to be talking about health care. Lerner decries our cultural failure to “combat the pervasive ageism with its willingness to… stigmatize the sexuality of the elderly (“dirty old man” or “dried up old woman,” as though cross-generational sex among adults were dishonorable because old people should not have sexual energy or the emotional and intellectual wealth to offer younger people in a sexual relationship)..” Now I’m not going to go off the deep end here and equate this with the condoning of sexual predation of teenagers by middle age men. But I do have more than two cents to say as a 27-year-old.

Look, you’re just not attractive. It’s not about “emotional wealth” that all those hot chicks in short skirts won’t give you the time of day. And it’s a perfectly healthy response for me to not see you as an attractive mate. I want to spend the prime of my life changing the diapers of babies, not those of a grown old man. And yes I am sick to death of having to mute my own sexuality or face the pawings of dirty old men who try to use my progressive values as an argument about why they should get to have sex with me. I don’t miss the fact that you aren’t talking about sex among the elderly, you’re insisting that younger women aren’t spiritually progressive if they aren’t willing to have sex with dirty old men.

And how see through can you get? When you invite people to pay to be members (if you like how they present themselves and they don’t disagree with you, of course) of your Network of Spiritual Progressives, and you can’t pay attention to everyone who responds, and then you say (p.366) “If you would, send me your photo so I can have the pleasure of seeing how God manifests through your physical being!” And in which room of your house will you be having this pleasure? Oh really now!
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