Sunday, July 13, 2014

When People Become Things, God Becomes a Thing

Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig has interviewed Annie Lobert, the founder of Hookers for Jesus, an organization that helps women break free of the sex industry.

Lobert's point is that prostitution is simply the extension of the basic principle of a radically capitalist culture: everything can be bought and sold, including people, including the most intimate parts of a person's body, including the most intimate parts of a person's soul.  Lobert is a former hooker, who has managed to discover that sex exists only in a much larger and more profound context (my emphasis) ...

“I love sex now, because I’m with my husband. But does it fulfill me? No. My husband’s relationship with me does, his care for me, his concern,” Annie says. Sex is a part of all that, she adds, but only when it’s sex that can’t be dislocated and commodified.

And while I'd guess that most of you out there have had nothing to do with the sex industry (beyond pornography, which victimizes addicts every day), all of us can understand what it feels like to be made a thing.

Taking the human being out of context, out of the larger mystery that he is; removing him from the purpose for which he is made, is common.  Employers do it, selfish drivers who cut off other drivers do it, fair weather friends do it.

And (pay attention) anything we do to another person is something we're willing to do to God.  We commodify God; we buy Him and sell Him, for thirty pieces of silver or more if we can get it.  We don't want the great mystery, power and awe of God, we want a god-thing that we can put in our back pocket, a god-club we can hit others with, a god-doll that we can play with, a god-mirror on the wall that tells us that we're the fairest of them all.

We use God and we use others, and we ourselves are used and abused in return.

Love breaks free of this.  And the sign of Love is an ugly public humiliation, a man on a cross, bleeding and dying for our sake.

The world buys and sells.  The world objectifies.  The world is filled with false friends, flattering and betraying.  The world is filled with hookers, pimps and johns.

But take heart.  For the crucified one tells us, "I have overcome the world."  (John 16:33)

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